Thursday, December 24, 2015

Gifts we hope not to get

"I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts." — Will Rogers, American humorist, August 25, 1962

BY WAY OF a little present, here's New York Times columnist Gail Collins' take on the presidential candidates at Christmas. You're welcome.



The Donald Trump Days of Christmas

By Gail Collins
December 24, 2015

Happy holidays! I say this with some trepidation, because Donald Trump has vowed that when he is president, “We’re all going to be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again.” That was a while ago, during his war on the Starbucks coffee cup design. So very much water has run under the Trumpian bridge since then.

But I’m still trying to figure out exactly how a universal “Merry Christmas” mission would be accomplished. Would there be a “holiday” gag order? Seasonal salutation checks at the border?

This is supposed to be a down period for presidential campaigning, since most of the population is focused on celebrating you-know-what with friends and families. But Trump has given us such a not-normal year that people will be drinking eggnog by the fire and discussing the proper use of the word “schlonged.”

The happiest holiday parties should be with Team Clinton, which clearly believes that going to war with Trump is good for her cause, and that having Trump as the Republican nominee would be even better.

Their current fight began when Hillary, in the last Democratic debate, said ISIS was “going to people showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists.” There is actually no specific evidence this is happening, although it certainly seems probable.

For the sake of perfect accuracy, Clinton should have said that ISIS “is bound to start going.” We would dwell on imperfect verb choice longer if PolitiFact hadn’t just announced that out of 77 Trump statements it looked into, 76 percent were rated Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire.

The Trump campaign is a new phenomenon. He mainly flies around on his planes, speaks at big rallies and calls into radio and TV news talk shows. Trump brags about his lack of interest in fund-raising, but he doesn’t seem to be spending much of his own money, either. This is a guy whose great keys to fortune were inheriting real estate and putting his name on things that other people often paid for. Maybe he figures he can become president just by branding it.

After the Hillary diatribes, Trump told a howling audience this week that he hates journalists, and he appeared to be mulling the idea of killing some of them. To be fair, he did conclude by announcing he wouldn’t do that.

For which I presume we’re supposed to be grateful.

Once, long ago, I was the subject of Trumpian ire — I had referred to him as a “thousandaire” — and his response was to send me a copy of the column with a couple of insults written over my picture and a note in which he misspelled the word “too.” So really, he’s not all that threatening. As long as he remains a private citizen, the worst he can do is to throw up an ugly apartment building or hotel in your neighborhood.

But the president thing is no longer a joke. You may have noticed that the competition is starting to fall away. This week Senator Lindsey Graham threw in the towel, or, in polite political-speak, “suspended his candidacy.” Carly Fiorina, Rand Paul and John Kasich seem likely to be consigned to the loser’s section when the Republicans have their next debate.

That brings us down to six people, one of which is Ben Carson, who’s fading fast. Also Jeb Bush, who was last seen wandering around New Hampshire, reminding people how many times he’s been there. At this point in the political cycle, if you’re a desperate candidate you go somewhere cold and try to get the population to fall in love with you just because they’ve had so many opportunities to shake your trembling, frostbitten hand.

Ted Cruz is doing something along that line in Iowa, where he’s ahead. But he’s also moved into a clear second place in the polls, terrifying the party establishment and many Republican billionaire donors, who regard Cruz as an obnoxious self-promoting egomaniac. There is nothing the oligarch class hates more than egomaniacs.

The big donors appear to be particularly fond of Senator Marco Rubio, the attractive, 44-year-old Floridian who has done very well in the debates. The other candidates find Rubio’s popularity irritating, particularly since he hasn’t been campaigning all that hard. Or doing anything else, it appears. Trump called Rubio a sweaty underachiever “with no money, zero.” This is, if nothing else, a campaign where the insults are meeting a new norm. Thanks almost entirely to the front-runner.

On the seventh day of Christmas, he gave to you and me …
Seven Mexican rapists
Six terrorist refugees
Thousands of Muslims partying on 9/11!
Four “loser” opponents
Hillary-bathroom sniping
Two birther rants
And a bromance with Vladimir Putin.

1 comment:

  1. His popularity makes me ill - and really sad for the folks who support him. It can't feel good to be so hateful. Good article.

    ReplyDelete