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SCOT LEHIGH

Reality kicks in for the GOP

Angry word clouds are scudding across the darkening sky of the GOP.
Angry word clouds are scudding across the darkening sky of the GOP.Shutterstock/Sabphoto

An otherworldly orange glow — an orb, almost — hangs like an ominous augury in the political firmament.

Angry word clouds scud across the darkening sky. Devilish gusts whip the landscape.

Those wise in the ways of the upheaval study the portents and pray to St. Ronald for salvation.

But worried whispers are everywhere: The GOP Apocalypse is upon us.

Even those with five bars on their celestial cell phones seem powerless to help.

Speaking at a recent prayer rally in West Virginia, evangelist Franklin Graham, begat by Billy, urged the faithful to elect more Christians to their school boards, the better to turn back the secularism that has snuck through the unguarded national gate. But as far as the likely top-of-the-ticket choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Franklin had no advice beyond this: Pray to God; perhaps he can help you decide.

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Even the GOP elders are hunkering down. George H.W. and George W. Bush have made it clear they’ll sit this campaign out. Mitt Romney, the party’s 2012 nominee, intervened earlier in an attempt to stop the Trump tornado, but now seems ready to retreat down the car elevator to his storm shelter.

No such refuge for John McCain, the GOP’s 2008 standard-bearer. Up for Senate reelection this year, he’s in grit-your-teeth and bite-your-tongue mode, though saying something equable about the Donald is obviously akin to choking down a tankard of MiraLax in preparation for a colonoscopy.

And pity poor Paul Ryan, who, as House speaker and Republican National Convention chairman, is on the spot and in the spotlight. Ryan, trying to temporize, has said he’s not yet ready to endorse Trump. Which set the political furies upon him.

Irate at Ryan’s refusal to rally round, Sarah Palin, tongue-tangled tribune of “we the people,” has threatened to come to Wisconsin and swing one of her deadly verbal daggers at him. Maybe like this one, from her recent Ryan-decryin’ interview on CNN:

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“And, um, yeah, as the, uh, the, the leader of the GOP, the convention certainly, he is to remain neutral and for him to already come out and say who he will not support was not a wise decision of his,” she, um, explained.

Fox News philosopher Sean Hannity has his dander aloft as well. Hannity, who qualifies as every bit Palin’s intellectual equal, considers the GOP’s failure to hold the Donald in a full and loving embrace a personal affront.

“I’m getting a little ticked off,” he declared. But though Reince Priebus (50 partisan messages to the gallon!) tried to assure him that unity will eventuate, it’s hard to see how Trump can hold the Party of Reagan together.

Which explains why so many GOP officeholders are desperately searching for a formulation that lets them placate the Trump avengers without associating themselves too closely with a candidate they view as an electoral albatross.

Sometimes that means saying they will support “the party’s nominee” or “the Republican nominee,” as though they can’t quite think of his name (you know, that Drumpf fellow, the one with the gravity-defying hair).

Or saying, a la Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia, that they support the GOP ticket.

Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri is contemplating a less verbal solution, Talking Points Memo reports: “I may do a total moratorium on any Trump questions.”

But my personal favorite is the Ayotte Evasion, named for New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte.

She’s supporting Trump — but not endorsing him.

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Any port in a storm? More like: Any cop-out in an apocalypse.


Scot Lehigh can be reached at lehigh@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GlobeScotLehigh.