Via the Daily Rushbo, here’s the end of a long segment from yesterday’s show in which he tried to explain that having to follow a bunch of rules about delegate-wrangling that were known to all of the candidates months before people started voting isn’t really all that “unfair,” come to think of it. He’s not saying that because he’s anti-Trump — lord knows, he’s not anti-Trump — but because, I think, he’s reached the limits of his patience with Trump’s whining. And maybe with some of Trump’s supporters too: Note his parting thought about the sudden disdain some “conservatives” seem to have developed for letting states (or state parties) run things as they see fit and support for having the RNC run one uniform top-down primary system. I don’t know how many actual conservatives think that way. But if some do, what can I say? Defending Trump has been known to make conservatives behave strangely.

Rush thinks Trump was fully aware of what the rules were about wrangling delegates in Colorado and beyond but chose, as a strategic matter, not to compete there so that he could claim now that the system is “rigged.” I’m highly skeptical of that; I think Trump’s delegate failures are ignorance of the rules on parade, which has led him to the “rigged system” nonsense now as a way to save face. Either way, though, Rush’s underlying point is correct: If he knew what the rules were, why wasn’t he trying to reform the system for choosing delegates before voters started choosing?

My point is that if Trump is really worried about how a state is “rigging” its procedures here, as he is saying about Colorado, he could have — at any point in this entire process — called the people of Colorado that run the Republican Party there and said, “Look, I want to come to one of your meetings. I don’t like the way you guys are doing this. I know you’re gonna do it this way, but I want to push the rules changes. It’s undemocratic. I don’t like the way this is working.”…

My guess is that Trump looks at this as highly inefficient to go out and hire a bunch of people and go traipsing around state to state to all these different places while they’re choosing their delegates when they’re all gonna be in essentially the same place for five or six days in a row: Cleveland, Ohio. It’s much more efficient to get ’em there, and when as he arrives in Cleveland, he’s gonna come in as the presumptive winner. He’s gonna come in either with 1237 or just shy of it. There’s a lot of power in that…

But if you don’t like the way Colorado’s doing things, you’ve had six months to go in there and try to change it, influence the changing of their rules or what have you. But it turns out also that there is, from Trump’s standpoint, an imaging standpoint. There’s an upside here to the way this turn out, ’cause he’s clearly got a meme, a narrative, that the deck is stacked against him, that it’s not a fair fight, that people are cheating, that they’re canceling the elections — and he’s using that to his benefit in the world of perception being reality.

It’s very Rush to give Trump the benefit of the doubt by assuming he’s working some sort of strategy — skip the state elections, cry “rigged system!”, then win delegates at the convention — rather than scrambling to cover up for months of incompetence in failing to outmaneuver Cruz for delegates. But there’s a problem with that theory. By standing pat while Cruz runs rings around him in getting delegates elected at state conventions, Trump’s weakening the perception that he’s some sort of crafty managerial wizard who’ll outwit America’s enemies. Catherine Rampell:

In Trump’s world, exploiting the nation’s byzantine bankruptcy laws, or its bizarre eminent domain laws, or its opaque campaign finance rules, or any other system-rigging tools freely available to entrepreneurial types is proof not of shadiness but shrewdness — of his unwillingness to play the chump…

As my colleague Marc Thiessen observed this week, Cruz is taking advantage of the peculiar, convoluted delegate system just as adeptly, and just as amorally, as Trump has taken advantage of the nation’s peculiar, convoluted bankruptcy laws…

The [lesson] is that the main premise of his campaign — that his wiliness in the business world will translate to wiliness in politics and policy — is bunk.

Trump boasts that his whole life he’s been “greedy, greedy, greedy,” that his greed has paid off in the private sector, and that ergo he’ll be effective at being “greedy for the United States” in all its affairs. But if he can’t even figure out how to manage a primary campaign — let alone get his own children registered to vote for him — the chances that he’ll be able to seamlessly convert his monetary greed into political greed look slim.

Trump might be able to shake loose 50-100 delegates at the convention (he does, after all, have “better toys” to offer them than Cruz does), but why would any candidate who’s as close to a presidential nomination as he is leave anything to chance? If he had gone all-in on building a top delegate-wrangling operation from the beginning, he might be preparing to win on the second ballot now (after narrowly missing on the first) instead of watching hundreds of delegates defect to Cruz. That is to say, if Rush is right that ignoring Colorado was strategy rather than incompetence, it’s exceptionally poor and risky strategy. Which is to say, it’s really a different form of incompetence.

Here’s the audio, plus a little bonus. Exit question: On what planet does this make sense?