In the early 20th century, as the film industry was coming into being, a series of comedy shorts called the “Keystone Cops” was highly popular. These films depicted a squad of “cops” who were outlandishly incompetent. No matter what these cops did, they screwed it up. What created the comedy was that these supposed cops were so bungling and inept they could not catch a cold, let alone the bad guys. (Click here to see an example of a “Keystone Cops” film.)
Each of these Keystone Cops comedy farces followed a set pattern. There always had to be a wild chase with the cops futilely trying to track down their prey. The Keystone Cops never had a coherent plan, but would franticly zig-zag their way through the chase as if they were bouncing off invisible walls. The cops always ended up frustrated and out-foxed by the nefarious bad guy.
Keystone Cops Reincarnated
When the Cruz, Kasich “arrangement” to work together to stop Trump was announced, my first thought was of the Keystone Cops reincarnated. These two – Cruz and Kasich – are frantically zig-zagging their way through the Republican presidential nomination process attempting anything – no matter how frenzied – that might allow them to arrest Trump’s momentum toward the nomination.
It seems as though Cruz and Kasich have adopted the same patterns as the Keystone Cops films. While their goal is to take down Trump, the effort has become little more than a wild chase without a coherent plan. Cruz, for all his lovability, seems to be the leading Keystone Cop as he zig-zags from one desperate effort to the next; always bouncing off the walls of Trump support.
The idea that Cruz and Kasich would collude in an effort to stop Trump is not only a sign of desperation and the failure of their own campaigns, but proof that desperate men do desperate things. And in true Keystone Cop fashion, this attempt to “team-up” against Trump only plays into the strength of his narrative.
Proving the System is Rigged
For weeks now Trump has been railing against the Republican nomination process, claiming that it is an anti-democratic fraud that is rigged against him. And now along comes these two Keystone candidates entering into a combined effort to stop Trump that, on its face, seems to be nothing more than an unseemly effort to rig the process. Trump could barely conceal his glee when the announcement was made.
Under the arrangement announced in the dead of night on Sunday, Kasich will step back from the May 3rd Indiana primary to let Cruz go one-on-one against Trump. Cruz will do the same for Kasich in Oregon and New Mexico. The deal itself is not even fair and balanced. Cruz has out foxed Kasich because he is giving up nothing by ceding Oregon and New Mexico to Kasich. The reality is that Cruz has about as much chance of winning those states as he has getting named “most popular” in Congress. Indiana is the most important state in the agreement, only because if Cruz loses it he is clearly finished. According to recent polls, the only way Cruz can win Indiana is if all of the potential Kasich voters switch to Cruz. Thus the Keystone Cops strategy.
In true Keystone Cop tradition, Cruz and Kasich could not even get their stories straight as they zig-zagged through their explanation of the deal. First Cruz, in his normal pompous and self-important fashion announced, “This is a big deal that will end up saving America from the clutches of Hillary Clinton.” At almost the exact same time, Kasich was telling reporters (between gulps of his breakfast) that, “This is no big deal and I still want the people of Indiana to vote for me.” Then later in the week, Cruz changed direction again and claimed there “never was an agreement with Kasich.” Keystone Cops at their best!
It is difficult to understand the logic of this arrangement, unless you view it in an atmosphere of desperation; recognizing that desperate people take desperate actions. It is not unusual for politicians to get together and make a backroom deal, but the success of this “deal” depends entirely on the voters buying into their scam and following along in lockstep obedience. Initial polls indicate that a majority of the Kasich voters in Indiana not only don’t want to vote for Cruz, but that they are offended to be considered pawns in this plan. A large chunk of the Kasich voters have indicated they may even vote for Trump as a protest to the deal. Talk about inept Keystone Cops!
Cruz is now the “chosen one” of the establishment Republican Party, but did you read what former Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner said about Cruz? Boehner said in a speech that Cruz was the “Lucifer in the flesh” and the most miserable “SOB” he had ever known or worked with in Congress – Republican or Democrat. What does that tell you about the health of the Party? How weak must the establishment of the Party be if they have to encourage two weak, flawed candidates to band together against a strong front-runner? Do two negatives make a positive? I now know why Trump, despite all his weaknesses and wackiness, has been winning. His opponents have been so inept at attacking him, they make him look stronger.
Fiorina in Bed with Lucifer
Kasich seemed to disappear after this deal was announced, but Cruz has doubled down on his Keystone Cops antics. On Wednesday Cruz made the dramatic announcement that he would select Carly Fiorina as his vice-presidential candidate. Talk about running into another wall. At a time when keeping and creating jobs in America is a critical issue in the election, Cruz selects Fiorina who has lost every election she has entered and was fired as CEO of HP after laying off thousands of workers and earning the moniker as the “outsourcing Queen” for outsourcing thousands of jobs to foreign companies. The Keystone Cops would be proud!
There is one thing we can all learn from this: Trying to understand the actions of a politician – especially a desperate one – is one of the great causes of insanity.