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Every Candidate Needs A Good Smack or Two

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Every Candidate Needs A Good Smack or Two

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump holds a rally with supporters in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S. May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Politics is a rough game, and it is the rare candidate for public office who could not benefit from a little smacking around.

Still, there are unwritten rules even for politics. And one rule says that you don’t stand behind a squealing microphone and suggest your opponent should be shot.

Kinda bad taste, ya know?

Coming home with a bruise or two, well, that’s part of the monkeyshines and the tomfooleries of the business.

But coming home with a .38-caliber hollow point in your cranium, well, that’s going a little far.

Donald Trump, whom comedian Jon Stewart describes as a “man-baby,” likes to talk tough and play the rugged two-fisted brawler because he doesn’t look tough. Trump’s swagger is a ludicrously phony swagger. He looks like an overgrown preppy, but he likes to talk like John Wayne in a cowboy epic.

This often makes Trump get in over his head. For example, a few days ago, Trump tweeted: “Crooked Hillary wants to get rid of all guns and yet she is surrounded by bodyguards who are fully armed. No more guns to protect Hillary!”

Hillary Clinton wants to get rid of guns because she is crooked? How does that work? And how does having Secret Service protection make her hypocritical?

As a former first lady, Clinton gets Secret Service protection regardless of her views on gun control.

And in fact, Trump demanded and got the same Secret Service protection in November. Was that “crooked”? Was that hypocritical?

Our public servants deserve to be protected because there are people out there in the general public who are even loonier than they are.

Clinton, for all her faults, is rarely a name-caller. In the Oct. 12, 2015, edition of The New Yorker, Philip Gourevitch wrote about Libya and how on Oct. 20, 2011, Libyan rebels found Moammar Gadhafi hiding in a desert culvert.

They pulled him out and killed him, leading President Barack Obama to call a Rose Garden news conference in which he announced that the United States had “achieved our objectives.”

“Hillary Clinton, who was then Secretary of State, put it more archly,” Gourevitch wrote, “telling a reporter, ‘We came, we saw, he died.'”

I rank this high in the nifty quote department. It has everything — brevity, wit, verve and what Gourevitch termed as archness, defined by Webster’s New World College Dictionary as “the quality of being … saucily mischievous.”

It has what the 2016 presidential campaign lacks so far — a note of sauciness when a man is killed. True, we iced Osama bin Laden in May 2011 and hanged Saddam Hussein in December 2006. But I don’t recall any archness accompanying those events.

This left our nation with only one person to whom we could turn our lonely eyes. That’s right: Jeb Bush.

Bush got deep into the sociology of archness last Saturday at a conference in Amsterdam. And he proved to be exactly what Trump said he was not; he was not “Low-Energy Jeb” at all.

In fact, he displayed considerable energy at the three-hour conference by sarcastically praising Trump for being “phenomenally good” at manipulating the media.

Bush said of Trump: “He can literally wake up — I have this vision of him in, you know, silk pajamas, with his little slippers on with a ‘T’ on his emblem. He wakes up and he sends out a tweet ripping, you know, someone a new one.

“He’s the first guy that’s ever been allowed to call in to everything but ‘Meet the Press.’ I think they even relented. So he has been a master at how you get into the media, the new media, the diverse media that exists today in a way that had never been done before.”

How this played to a foreign audience, I do not know. I suppose an English translation was provided. But in this case, an English translation was needed even for the native English speakers in the audience.

CNN reported: “Although Bush was not aggressively critical of Trump, as he had been during his campaign, he showed no signs that he was warming up to the presumptive Republican nominee, like some other establishment Republicans have started doing. Still, Bush said, he doesn’t blame voters who are supporting Trump.”

“What I fear is that people, kind of looking down their nose, will say the people that are supporting Donald Trump are a bunch of idiots,” Bush said. “They’re not. They’re legitimately scared. They’re fearful.”

He continued: “If we were warmhearted as a people, my guess is our political system would look dramatically different. And politicians that would prey on people’s angst and their fears would not gain the kind of support that appears that, at least temporarily, that they’re gaining in the United States today.”

Translation over here, please? I’m guessing that this is an attack on Trump for appealing to the “angst” and “fears” of the American voters but that Bush is also claiming such an appeal will not work this time.

Or something.

CNN reported: “Asked if the message he gave was similar to his stump speech as a candidate, Bush said it was a version of it. ‘Now, I’m not living proof that it’s successful,’ he joked.”

Don’t worry about it, Jeb. Leaving us with the indelible image of Donald Trump waking up in silk pajamas and “T” slippers makes your entire campaign worth it.

Roger Simon is Politico’s chief political columnist. His new e-book, “Reckoning: Campaign 2012 and the Fight for the Soul of America,” can be found on Amazon.com, BN.com and iTunes. To find out more about Roger Simon and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at www.creators.com.


Photo: Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump holds a rally with supporters in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S. May 24, 2016.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst 



  1. Dominick Vila May 25, 2016

    The last thing a narcissistic, immature, and vulgar person like Donald Trump would think of is to emulate Julius Caesar by using a variance of a famous phrase such as “Veni, Vidi, Vici”. Talking about his great brain, and other personal attributes is more likely.
    However, he does have the ability to remain on the spot light, however, and stops at nothing to keep it that way, and the so called “liberal” media is doing everything they can to please him.
    From inciting violence, to engaging in personal attacks on issues that were litigated and settled long ago, to reminding Jeb that his brother was President when 9/11 occurred, it is clear that The Donald will stop at nothing to get his way, including trashing the party whose nomination he is seeking.
    As disturbing and perplexing as his candidacy is, the most amazing part of what is happening is the level of support he enjoys. I find it hard to believe that so many Americans support or condone Trump’s behavior and speech because part of his speech addresses their innermost fears and prejudices, because he is promising to bring jobs back to America by engaging in a trade war with our trading partners, or because he has promised to deport all illegal immigrants, ban Muslims from entering the USA, and not honoring the Paris Agreement because, in his opinion, global warming is a chimera…all of this while building a wall to protect his golf course in Scotland from the effects of global warming!

    1. FireBaron May 25, 2016

      Well said, Dom. Well said.

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    2. itsfun May 25, 2016

      No one has to like or agree with Trump, but telling half-truths is wrong.

      Have you seen the difference in money with our “trading partners”? Should we just keep losing and losing? He wants a “temporary ban” on immigrants until they can be properly vetted. The Paris agreement was just another way for Obama to go around the Constitution and Congress. He is signing treaty like plans because he knows Congress won’t cave into unproven science. Iran deal is another example of Obama going around the Constitution. Trump wants to secure our borders by building a wall. If Obama and his administration would enforce the current immigration laws, we may not need a wall.

      1. Dominick Vila May 25, 2016

        Our GDP is second to none. Our trade agreements, since the first one was signed, have been designed to advance the interests of corporate America, on the premise that growing and profitable companies are good to the American people (trickle down comes to mind). Trump has not offer a solution to our trade imbalance, he has suggested a mix of isolation and raising tariffs on companies like Ford, for building plants in Mexico…while he invests heavily abroad.
        Correcting his initial statements seem to be an integral part of his irresponsibility. Yes, he changed the original statement to include the word “temporary”. As for adequate vetting, I have the feeling the applicants will die of old age before a decision is ever made.
        Global warming is not false science. Our polar caps and glaciers have been melting at an unprecedented rate, to the point that China is considering opening shipping lanes via the North Pole to accelerate deliveries. With the exception of oil and carbon company “scientists” the world community agrees that climate change is one of our most pressing problems, and it is determined to do whatever they can to slow down the process and prepare for its effects. I wonder who will the Republicans blame when the effects of global warming are felt throughout the USA?
        President Obama has been enforcing our immigration laws, and has deported more illegal immigrants than Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II combined. He did signed an EO granting TEMPORARY reprieve to those who have been in the USA for several years, and had children born in the USA. The ones that have suggested ignoring and changing the Constitution are those who want to deport children of illegal immigrants born and raised in the USA.

        1. itsfun May 25, 2016

          Check your facts Dom. All Obama did to make his immigration numbers look good is change the way deportations are counted. You will find he says anyone turned away at the border is not considered being deported even though they never got across the border. The old adage figures don’t lie, but liars figure comes to mind. How much is our trade deficit? Trump wants to turn that around to our favor. What is wrong with that? The world temperature has changed something like 1 degree in the last decade. But that is not the point. We have a President that just goes around our Constitution and Congress whenever he doesn’t get his own way. You personally like the deal in Iran, so it is okay with you that Obama again ignored our Constitution and Congress by not working with Congress to avoid a treaty. You can call the “deal” just a deal, but it is in fact a treaty. Obama has no power to make a treaty. He is like a little kid. How will you feel about this kind of underhanded dealing will you approve of when the shoe is on the other foot? The biggest problem or danger to our country is having a President that ignores the Constitution and Congress for his own personal feelings. If this keeps going on there will be no more Constitution or even a reason to vote anymore.

          1. Dominick Vila May 25, 2016

            We have been running trade deficits for decades. This is not new. Our trade deficit in March 2016 went down to $40.44B. A huge amount, but an indicator of a downward trend compared to previous monthly deficits. The problem with what Trump said about trade deficits is not that they don’t matter, but the approach he has suggested to end them or reduced them. A 35% tariff on imported good would elicit immediate retaliation by our trading partners, and it would result in a resumption of inflation, and rising interest rates to control it.
            As for immigration, deportations, and climate change, we all have our opinions on these subjects. Obviously, mine are different from yours.

          2. itsfun May 25, 2016

            Are you saying its okay to have huge trade deficits because we have had them for years? What is wrong with not have a trade deficit? Why are you so afraid of what trading partners think or do? You keep saying how great the economy is how our GNP is so great, so whats the problem with making things better?

          3. Dominick Vila May 26, 2016

            I am saying the opposite. We should do everything we can to turn our trade deficits into trade surpluses. My comment about having trade deficits for decades, and the fact that they are finally going down, largely as a result of increased oil production in the USA and less dependence on foreign oil, is that this is now a new problem, and that it has been ignored for far too long.
            Unfortunately, outsourcing, heavy American investment overseas, the subsequent migration of manufacturing to foreign countries, and our inclination to buy cheap foreign products does not augur an end to this pervasive trend any time soon.
            Slapping a 35% tariff on foreign products is not the answer. That would simply contribute to a trade war that we cannot win. Our investors must start investing and creating new businesses at home and we, the consumers, must start buying American products…when we can find them.

      2. Sand_Cat May 25, 2016

        “Unproven science”? You want to add that idiocy to your list?

        Do you want to pay the estimated billions for that wall?

        Of course, we all know no one you ever supported could be accused of “going around the Constitution.” Trampling it to dust, maybe, but certainly not “going around.”

  2. Siegfried Heydrich May 25, 2016

    Drump’s single biggest problem is that he’s too arrogantly ignorant to be even remotely aware of just how abysmally ignorant he actually is. He has no core beliefs beyond himself. He knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. His interviews with the WaPo and NYT editorial boards were, to put it charitably, scary as all hell in the lack of awareness he displayed on literally every issue discussed. Other than his developments and accomplishments, of course.

    To be quite honest, I’m really starting to wonder if he’s not sandbagging the campaign. He just got into it with Susana Martinez, the governor of New Mexico, in a move that will further divide the GOP, alienate hispanics, and anger women. I think he’s probing just to see how far he can go before provoking a serious backlash. Thus far, there has been NOTHING he can say or do that triggers this. This is a positive feedback loop that will eventually melt down one way or another. And when it does, it’s not going to be pretty . . .

    1. Dominick Vila May 25, 2016

      I don’t think he is sandbagging his campaign. He knows he can trash the GOP, Democrats, and Independents, with impunity, and that his supporters will love him for it. He knows that NM has an above average unemployment rate, and he is capitalizing on it by attacking Gov. Martinez, who shares some of the responsibility for it. He is also feeding red meat to the white supremacists who love every attack he directs at Hispanics-Latinos, African Americans, women, and the LGBT community.
      He is a narcissist, irresponsible, and an opportunist, but he is not dumb. He knows how to control the media, remain on the spot light, and energize his base.


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