Politix Update: Special Smug "I Told You So" Trump, Clinton & Sanders Edition
by Shaun Mullen
The big question in Philadelphia is who threw a beer bottle at Ryan Howard after the fading Phillies superstar grounded out to end a game.
But beyond the sports-crazed City of Brotherly Loathing, the big question is who hit Donald Trump, who is well ahead of schedule in alienating voters who aren't card-carrying members of his pitchfork posse with an unpresidential temper tantrum over the blowback from his latest racist outbursts, and whether Bernie Sanders should be a candidate for a bop on the bean because of his own unpresidential boorishness in contrast to a certain woman who accepted the outcome of the 2008 primary race with dignity after she was beaten by a relatively unknown senator with a peculiar middle name.
The po-lice, as Muhammad Ali liked to call them, are reviewing videotape to determine who tried to hit Ryan, while it doesn't require forensic skill to suss out what's going on with The Donald and The Bern'. Both, in their own distinctive ways, are sore losers, and Sanders has become a sniveling crank, to boot, all of which makes Howard even more of a class act in this his unlucky 13th season with the Phils.
What is so delicious about Trump - in this instance his hole digging over a series of racist excretions regarding Mexican and Muslim judges in the wake of the outting of his Trump University in all its flaming fraudulence - is that he has done exactly what Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and other so-called Republican leaders feared he would do after he clinched the GOP presidential nomination: Make even more difficult their own gravity-defying tightrope walking. Do they allow Trump to run roughshod, which he was going to do anyway, or condemn him because of his negative impact on down-ticket races the party must win if the Ryans and McConnells are going to keep their jobs?
For the most part, the trapeze-walking crowd has treated Trump's latest nappy soiling as another excess of an uncontrollable child who once again wrecked the family Mercedes, never mind that he ran over a few people. After all, they were only undocumented day laborers and Syrian civil war refugees.
Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, typifies those trying desperately not to fall off the high wire.
Priebus (come to think of it, isn't that some kind of ethnic name?) spoke to Trump after the uncontrollable child lashed out at the ethnicity of Federal Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel, the Indiana-born son of Mexican immigrants who is overseeing two of the suits against Trump University. But Priebus didn't have the nerve to try to ground Trump, let alone take away the keys to the Merc, and is concluding, along with many other party worthies, that it isn't worth approaching Trump, let alone approaching his aides about doing an intervention.
Trump's aides would seem to be the last people on the planet to intervene after he dug his hole deeper in an extraordinary conference call with them (that was immediately leaked by two pissed-off aides) in which they were excoriated for ordering their surrogates to not talk about the Trump University case.
"Take that order and throw it the hell out," Trump told them, adding, "That's why I want to have this call, because you guys are getting sometimes stupid information from people that aren't so smart."
(Meanwhile, the ancillary damage to Republicans from Trump U continues to mount. A Texas investigation into the university was quashed by that state's knuckle-dragging governor, who is a Trump confederate, while the Florida attorney general spiked a similar investigation after getting a $25,000 campaign contribution laundered through a Trump family foundation.)
Trump's latest outburst, which he of course is now trying to walk back in an unconvincing and grammatically suspect statement that doubles down while revisiting old grudges, also is significant.
This is because it has drawn condemnation from across the political spectrum and not just the usual bleatings from the usual liberal suspects. Trump's belief that the Rule of Law should be viewed through a prism of race and ethnicity alarms traditional conservatives, among them legal longhairs, because of what this would mean should Trump become president.
Their alarm turned to horror when Trump was reminded by a Sunday talk show moderator that the U.S. has a tradition of not judging people based on their heritage, and he responded by digging his hole deeper still, expaining that "I'm not talk about tradition, I'm talking about common sense."
Trump's natterings drowned out House Majority Leader Ryan's announcement yesterday of a new Republican anti-poverty initiative (a rehash of old attempts to further shred the government safety net) in an overwhelmingly black Washington neighborhood. Considering the audience, Ryan was all but compelled to call those natterings "the textbook definition of a racist comment," but reiterated his support for the natterer.
Senator Lindsey Graham, a former primary rival who has tepidly endorsed Trump, urged Republicans who have done likewise to rescind their endorsements. "This is the most un-American thing from a politician since Joe McCarthy," he fumed. "If anybody was looking for an off-ramp, this is probably it. There'll come a time when the love of country will trump hatred of Hillary."
Oh, I almost forgot. Hillary Somebody Or Other became the first woman to capture the presidential nomination of a major political party, and in so doing shattered the most enduring glass ceiling in America nearly a century after women won the right to vote. Oh, she also won a few primaries somewhere or other.
POLITIX UPDATE IS WRITTEN BY SHAUN MULLEN, A VETERAN JOURNALIST AND BLOGGER FOR WHOM THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN IS HIS 12th SINCE 1968. This is cross posted from his blog Kiko's House. CLICK HERE FOR AN INDEX OF PREVIOUS COLUMNS.
© 2015-2016 SHAUN D. MULLEN.