By Walter Brasch
Donald Trump, whose ego is larger than Trump Towers, called Sen. Marco Rubio “Little Rubio,” a derogatory reference to the Florida senator’s height.
Rubio responded by saying that Trump’s hands were too small for the size of his body. “And you know what they say about guys with small hands,” Rubio counterpunched, adding that Trump “doesn't sweat because his pores are clogged from the spray tan.” Trump, said Rubio, “isn't gonna make America great, he's gonna make America orange.” The pro-Rubio crowd in Salem, Va., loved it. Unfortunately, Rubio wouldn’t be able to zing Trump much more, dropping out of the race for the Republican nomination less than a month later.
During the past two weeks, just when the people didn’t think politics could sink lower, Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) proved the people wrong.
Lyin’ Ted was behind the latest attack, said Trump.
The media circus had left Rubio in the Everglades and rolled onto the elementary school playground where Trump and Cruz, now the two leading candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, were squabbling and jabbing at air over pictures of their wives.
A photo of Trump’s wife, nude and alluring, first appeared in a 2000 GQ photo spread, and was widely spread by social media 16 years later, challenging voters to decide if that’s what they wanted in a First Lady. Later evidence revealed that a Cruz SuperPAC, officially unaffiliated with the campaign, was probably behind planting the salacious photo in front of the voters.
Retaliating, Trump tweeted side-by-side pictures of his wife and Cruz’s wife; the glam-photo of Melania Trump, a former model, was something that models send to agents to get photo shoots; Heidi Cruz was seen in a photo that made her look to be too ugly to even be a stand-in for the Hansel-and-Gretel witch. When Cruz called Trump “classless,” the man once known as The Donald threatened to “spill the beans” about Cruz’s wife. The beans, coated with the ink of the National Enquirer, sprung the news upon a public that salivates at every sordid allegation in the presidential race, that Cruz had multiple extramarital affairs. Cruz, as expected, denied the allegation and claimed Trump and his “henchmen” had planted the story. Trump denied it.
About the same time the national media and every blogger in America had published the 75th rerun of the same story and were looking for something else to amuse themselves when ISIS terrorists killed three dozen and injured more than 150 persons in Belgium. The “Barnum & Bailey It Can’t Get Any Worse” political media circus took center stage, and the elephants began talking. President Obama was in Cuba on a diplomatic mission when the terrorists attacked. After the obligatory comments by the Tea Party wing of how the U.S. needs to turn the desert into glass and attach a monitor to the back of every Muslim who survives the genocide, even those who are U.S. citizens, they attacked President Obama, condemning him for being in Cuba when he should be in the White House leading the destruction of ISIS.
The right-wing, more concerned about TV lights and sound levels than reality, is unaware that the president of the United States doesn’t make policy and defense decisions for Belgium or that the president has full communications and dozens of civilian and military aides wherever he is, not just in an office in a building in the nation’s capital. It really doesn’t matter what the candidates and their own staffs believe, the reality is that the blathering was recorded by the media and then channeled to the public who are waiting to hear every syllable of every word that Trump, Cruz, and fellow politicians are spewing. The voices also follow the dictate that whatever President Obama or any Democrat says or does is wrong. Jimmy Carter stayed at the White House for six months during the Iran hostage crisis, and the Republicans said he was wrong to do so. George H.W. Bush vacationed in Maine during the beginning of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, and the Republicans backed the one-term Republican president for not being in the White House, knowing he had just as much capability to function in Maine as he did in Washington, D.C.
But, Obama is different. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell so decreed in 2008 that the primary function of the Republicans would be to block whatever Obama wants, even if it is good for the country.
So the past two weeks, the clowns were juggling attacks not only on a sitting president who isn’t eligible to run for any more terms, and Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, the two leading Democrats for the presidential nomination, but also on their own leading candidates, who are daily proving that hype will always trump the truth in a presidential election.
In Wisconsin, Trump demanded that Ohio Gov. Kasich drop out of the race, arguing that Kasich couldn’t get the nomination, even if he won every one of the remaining primaries. Kasich, a conservative who appears to be a moderate in a party that has been skunk-sprayed irrational by its Tea Party wing, declined Trump’s offer.
So far, Clinton and Sanders have focused primarily upon policy issues and not resorted to bar room politics. If either expects to win the election, they now need to focus upon the greater issues of a campaign—their opponent’s appearance.
[Dr. Brasch, an award-winning journalist who has covered politics at all levels for more than 40 years, is also the author of 21 books. His latest book is Fracking America: Sacrificing Health and the Environment for Short-Term Economic Benefit.]