Henry McMaster’s shocking endorsement of Trump. Yeah, DONALD Trump…

OK, this is a stunner.

Henry McMaster — former state Republican Party chairman, moderate and modest soul, the guy who stuck by John McCain in 2007 when everybody said he had no chance at the nomination, and who is therefore not a guy to jump onto any bandwagon that comes along — has just endorsed Donald Trump.

And not in an “I surrender; we might as well cooperate with the inevitable” way, either. He used language he might well have used to describe McCain, or George H.W. Bush, or Mitt Romney:

He’s not a bomb thrower, not an impulsive man. He thinks things through. He’s very careful. He takes advice. He listens. He seeks advice. He’s very gentle, fine manners, very courteous.

Um, Henry… Could you step over here a second? I want you to meet somebody…. Henry, meet Donald Trump… Because I don’t know who it was you were talking to and thinking it was Donald Trump.

Wow. Just wow…

I mean, Bob Dole trying to talk himself into settling for Trump was bad enough, but this

35 thoughts on “Henry McMaster’s shocking endorsement of Trump. Yeah, DONALD Trump…

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    I mean…

    I mean… Henry’s the kind of good party soldier who would dutifully campaign for Trump if he won the nomination. Henry accepts voters’ decisions without question. No one campaigned more enthusiastically for Nikki Haley after she yanked the nomination out of his grasp in 2010. He’s a good sport.

    But this just beggars belief…

  2. Doug Ross

    What’s better for him politically if Trump wins as expected? Backing a 4th place Jeb or Rubio? Trump is going to finish first or second in the first two primaries. He’ll be coming into SC on a roll. Backing the winner can’t hurt him.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      For Henry’s brand as a relative moderate, and as a guy who gets along with everybody? Backing Jeb or Rubio protects his rep better. He could always get in line behind Trump if and when he got the nomination…

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      Also… there’s a bandwagon now, but it’s highly unlikely this ends well. Either Trump goes down hard (for unforeseen reasons) before getting the nomination, or he IS nominated and gets CRUSHED in the fall, in which case the party is greatly weakened, and there’s a bad odor attached to everyone somehow identified with him.

      OR Hillary falls apart and he is elected, at which point the country falls apart, and none of the rest of it matters in comparison to that catastrophe…

      1. Bill

        If this is the pride that comes before a fall,WATCH OUT.Right now,they’re only throwing tomatoes…

      2. Doug Ross

        Define CRUSHED. It will be a 4 point win or less for either side no matter who is on each side of the ballot. Even closer if Bloomberg runs. And if Trump wins SC, then McMaster looks like he’s on board with the will of the party. He can’t lose in this.

        You think all this palpable hatred of the other party is going to go away in the next 10 months?

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          No, absolutely not.

          But when there’s a defeat, people look around for someone on the team to blame. I wouldn’t want to have been an early adopter of Trump when that happens.

          1. Doug Ross

            But Trump won’t be CRUSHED, right? He could lose… but there’s no way it will be a rout. And if he’s against Hillary it will be a bloodbath that she might not be able to weather.

          2. Vito Corleone

            “But when there’s a defeat, people look around for someone on the team to blame.”

            But I’m a superstitious man, and if some unlucky accident should befall him… if he should be shot in the head by a police officer, or if he should hang himself in his jail cell, or if he’s struck by a bolt of lightning, then I’m going to blame some of the people in this room, and that I do not forgive.

        2. Bryan Caskey

          “It will be a 4 point win or less for either side no matter who is on each side of the ballot. Even closer if Bloomberg runs. And if Trump wins SC, then McMaster looks like he’s on board with the will of the party. He can’t lose in this.”

          A few thoughts: First, McMaster has already lost the respect of a lot of conservatives by this endorsement. So he’s already lost something.

          Maybe you’re right and maybe it will be a close election no matter what, but I know a lot of conservatives who will not vote for Trump – no matter what. They’ll abstain. For instance…me. So maybe you’ll be proven right if Trump brings out new voters and wins with them (or at least makes it close). But he won’t do it with the traditional base. He’ll be forming a new base of sorts, I guess.

          If the GOP nominates Trump, then I’d rather see the destruction of the GOP. Trump’s a Democrat. He’s the opposite of everything a conservative supports.

          That’s what makes McMaster’s endorsement so disappointing. It’s so completely untethered from any actual calculation other than personal gain. Maybe he’ll get a cabinet seat in the Trump administration. Good for him.

          I’m gonna go throw up now.

          1. Doug Ross

            What’s McMaster’s political future look like anyway? He won’t run Governor again, right? He’ll be past 70 the next time an election comes around for him.

            You say he’s not a conservative. Fiscally? Militarily? Socially? Probably just the latter when it comes to gay marriage and abortion but those topics are dead for Republicans to run on anyway. They’re settled or nearly settled. The genie isn’t going back into the bottle (or the fetus back into the womb).

            Trump can blather all he wants but he’s not going to start dropping bombs on Russia day one. He’s not going to build a wall.

            But he might have the power to push for Obamacare to be repealed and to (hopefully) decimate the Department of Education and Common Core. If he does just that in his first two years, he becomes a Republican hero.

            I won’t vote for him either but I wouldn’t vote for any of the other clowns except Paul anyway. So if I can’t have Paul, I’ll enjoy Ringo blowing up the status quo.

  3. Karen Pearson

    I’m not the least surprised. Mr. McMaster, I’ve observed, seems to base his positions on what’s ‘in’ in the Republican party and/or in local politics, and his positions are prone to change with the wind. I have not trusted his political position for a long while now.

    1. Juan Caruso

      Mr. McMaster has now countered both of Gov. Haley’s presidential endorsements.

      As to his positions “on what’s ‘in’ in the Republican party and/or in local politics”, and being “prone to change with the wind”, I find him less prone to do so than the majority of elected lawyers, who usually support other lawyers for elected office.

      Supporting a non-lawyer (trumo in this instance) hardly endears him to his local, state or national colleagues (the government “lexocracy”).

      McMaster has the experience of a former prosecutor, something that few lawyers and even fewer elected lawyers ever had.

      Having had a state-level D.A. in my family, and being of McMaster’s age makes me slightly more confident that his motivations are not entirely self-serving.

  4. Bill

    Who cares? It’s SC.Trump’s not the worst thing that’s ever happened.That would be Ronald Reagan.

  5. Brad Warthen Post author

    Before this, I could honestly say that I only knew one person in South Carolina who was for Trump — Nancy Mace, who’s working for his campaign. And Nancy, while I consider her a friend, has a penchant for fringe politics — having been partners with Will Folks on his blog (although she had nothing to do with the content), and having been one of the candidates running against Lindsey Graham last year from his right wing.

    Now I can’t say that…

    1. Doug Ross

      The world isn’t going to live up to your expectations or wishes, Brad. Your view is as fringe-y as the Tea Party.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        No, my view is — compared to most of what we see — eclectic. Actually, you can’t say I have a “view.” I have views, plural. A different one on each issue, according to the conclusions I reach about it.

        I don’t go in the way ideologues do, thinking, “What’s the liberal view?” Or conservative view. Or Democratic, or Republican, or modern, or old school, or materialist, or populist, or libertarian, or feminist, or even communitarian view. I do my best to look at each situation pragmatically, and think, “What’s likely to work here?”

        And “work” means have the most beneficial effect on society as a whole. Which, I admit, is sort of a communitarian assumption. But sometimes (rarely) I conclude that the libertarian view is more likely to benefit society as a whole, and serve the principles upon which this country is founded (there’s another assumption — I believe in the American experiment, and don’t want to see it go off the rails.)

        What’s an example of such a libertarian conclusion? My opposition to laws against “hate crimes.” I think when we go beyond punishing actions — murder, assault, what have you — and start punishing the thoughts, the political motivations, behind those actions, something precious is irretrievably lost. That precious thing is what the First Amendment — every clause in it — is trying to protect. Freedom of conscience, and expression.

        Over time, I might notice that there are tendencies in the conclusions I draw. I’ll frequently come up with the communitarian answer, or the neoconservative answer, or the traditionalist answer. But I don’t really set out to make my conclusions conform to those tendencies.

        Boy, did I just digress, or what?

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Sometimes I say to myself, “You know what you are?” You’re a liberal — circa 1960. Then, moments later, I think I’m a conservative — also circa 1960.

          I’d rather vote for either JFK or Ike’s VP (which is to say, I like the 1960 Nixon better than the 1968 Nixon) than almost anyone who’s run for president since. That was a time before both parties, and both ends of the political spectrum, sort of went off the rails.

          It’s also before my time. I’m not nostalgic for how things were when I was a young man. I think things went off the rails by the time I was old enough to vote.

          The height, the pinnacle of liberalism in this country was the Civil Rights Act in ’64. The best time for conservatism was probably the 1950s, when people were such squares, building the country back up after the war, and minding their own business. Both started going downhill after that…

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            And what happened to them?

            Vietnam was the ruination of the Democrats. First, they escalated our involvement there. Then, they drew the conclusion from it that U.S. military power can NEVER be a force for good in the world.

            Nixon’s Southern Strategy destroyed the moral authority of the Republican Party.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              I liked Democrats when they were still willing to use American power as a force for good in the world.

              I liked Republicans when black Americans still had good reason to vote for them.

              1. Phillip

                Overly broad, indeed. If you look back through the history of the Clinton and Obama administrations (the only two Democratic administrations not counting the immediate post-Vietnam administration of Jimmy Carter) you’ll see that neither could reasonably be said to believe that American force could “never” be utilized as a force for “good.”

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Up to a point. But they are always held back by the leaden weight of their bases; making them far too reluctant to act. Tony Blair had a difficult time persuading Clinton to act in the Balkans, and Obama is admired by much of his base for failing to enforce his own “red line.”

                  They definitely lack the confidence in what we can do that FDR, Truman and Kennedy had. And LBJ, but I know that will set off alarms. But let’s consider LBJ. The confidence that we could win in Vietnam was related to the confidence that we do away with state-sanctioned Apartheid, and do away with poverty.

                  An important element of liberalism is lost once liberals get it into their heads that we need to take ourselves down a few notches and believe less in what we can accomplish.

                  Given the conditions that we had when Obama came into office, with the Democrats in Congress ready to do SOMETHING about healthcare, do you think LBJ would have gone for something as halfway as Obamacare? No way. He’d have pushed through single-payer… He might have been defeated — today’s Republicans are not the Republicans of the mid-60s — but he’d have gone down swinging.

                  Seriously, think about it: What have liberals accomplished since 1965? I can think of one thing: Obamacare. And that’s a pretty watered-down, pale accomplishment compared to the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, Medicare, Medicaid, the whole War on Poverty.

                  Liberals lost their mojo in Vietnam.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    And yes, I know, I know… there were other factors. There was the fact that we were still experiencing the huge postwar economic expansion. The Democrats had SUCH dominance in Congress. Johnson was such a master of the legislative process. Democrats and Republicans just weren’t all that different, and all of those who were just coming into power were members of the WWII generation, which produced two huge effects — the sense that we were all Americans first (as opposed to these ideologues today who think people who disagree with them are the ENEMY), and the firm belief that we can accomplish great things against great odds.

                    But I still believe Vietnam did a number on liberals’ heads, causing them to think smaller about everything…

  6. Karen Pearson

    I was reminded tonight of when McMasters ran against Hollings (I think). For some reason McMasters thought that Hollings was taking drugs and demanded that he take a drug test. Hollings responded that he would take a drug test if McMasters would take an IQ test.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yep, and that’s gone down in history as one of the great put-downs.

      Here’s another, from that same link:

      During one of his campaigns against President Eisenhower, Adlai Stevenson was approached by a supporter.

      “Governor, every thinking person will be voting for you,” she told Stevenson.

      “Madam, that’s not enough,” he replied. “I need a majority.”

      Now THAT took some political guts to say…

  7. Jeff Mobley

    From Rich Lowry:
    There is much argument about what really constitutes the establishment. The past few weeks suggest a simple acid test: If you look at Donald Trump and think, “There’s a man I can deal with.” If you tell yourself, “He’s utterly without principle and therefore encouragingly malleable.” If you wonder, “How can I keep my head down, and maybe come out OK during a Trump campaign or even a Trump administration?” Well then, you are a member of the establishment in good standing, and you’ve got a problem.

  8. Harry Harris

    2 issues with Brad’s comments stood out with me. One” moderate and modest soul.” If you consider McMaster moderate, your sample size is too small and way off. Maybe his soul stays hidden from the rest of us. Two “I liked Democrats when they were still willing to use American power as a force for good in the world.” Though Democrats disagree on both the uses and restraint of military power, they are much more aligned with the thought of direct use of force in defense of American security than furthering our interests. They are less eager to commit ground troops or use deadly force to spread our “values” and advance our business interests than, say … Dick Cheney, Rudy Guiliani, Dick Armey, Karl Rove, Phil Gramm, Bill Kristol, and Rush Limbaugh, and other “hawkish” folks who never served in the military. They are more in line with Jimmy Carter, Bob Kerrey, John Kerry, Daniel Inouye, Wesley Clark, Tom Harkin, Jack Reed, and others who actually served and fought.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Look back at the GOP field for governor in 2010. Henry was pretty much the moderate.

      When I wrote “modest,” I was thinking particularly how meekly Henry went to work to help Nikki after she won the nomination in an upset. Some people would have been bitter, but not Henry. He had no problem playing second banana to the upstart.

      Perhaps “self-effacing” would be better…

      1. Harry Harris

        Yes, and I think the loudmouths in the presidential field (including the one that you were shocked he just endorsed) make most any public figure look moderate lately.

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