Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Charlie Pierce wants to have a word with the Republican field:
Everyone Should Treat Thin-Skinned Donald Trump Like He Treats Them

The other day, Adam Gopnik wrote about that memorable evening in which the president made Trump look like a jackass in front of all of official Washington while none of them knew that, shortly before taking the podium, the president had given the go order for American special forces to kill Osama bin Laden. Gopnik recalls, correctly, that Trump's reaction to the president's jiving him about Trump's ugly birtherism was to sit there with cartoon steam coming out of both ears.

... Trump is so thin-skinned that, if he swallowed a flashlight, he'd glow like a Japanese lantern. It is past time now for somebody else in the field, or some other influential Republicans who are not running for president, assuming there are any, to begin a campaign of relentless mockery. Laugh at his hair, his serial marriages, his three bankruptcies, the ludicrous tastelessness of his properties, his skeevy remarks about his own daughter, and the subatomic level of seriousness with which he has approached his entire public life, let alone his campaign for president....

After all, the man has only two comebacks: 1) "You're stupid," and 2) "Look at my poll numbers." ...

The problem, of course, is that the current Republican presidential field is as humorless as it is incompetent. Let's face facts. It's too late for Jeb! to grow a sense of humor, and "Bobby" Jindal's campaign is far funnier than he is. Chris Christie is basically Trump with sitting grand juries, so he's out. Ben Carson is too low-key in his craziness to take on the job, and Scott Walker's idea of a joke is to do away with the NLRB.
I suppose you'd need a sense of humor to do this, but you wouldn't have to be a comedian -- a Kennedy wit would do the job, along with Kennedy cool and Kennedy self-confidence. That's why Obama could take Trump on. Bill Clinton could. In his own absurdist way, I think Joe Biden could take him on, because he'd laugh dismissively at Trump's bombast and he'd mean it -- he wouldn't project a sense that, deep down, what Trump said about him really stung. He'd treat Trump as if he's pathetic. Certainly Clinton and Obama would. They wouldn't flinch at a Trump insult. Simply through body language, they'd convey the message "That's all you got?"

Bush and Jindal just too desperate to please, to desperate to be liked, miserable because they know they aren't really liked. (Clinton often seems overeager in his pursuit of approval, but he doesn't sweat and strain in search of it the way Bush and Jindal do.) Rubio seems desperate to please as well, the grade grubber who wears a suit and tie to high school every day. Christie? On the surface, he seems as if he'd be the brawler to take Trump on -- but remember, his best-known moments as an alleged tough guy took place when he had control of both the microphone and the security detail. Challenge him from the audience at a press conference and he'll insult you, then have you escorted out of the building. But Christie can't stand the heat when the insulter is on equal footing. And when he's dealing with someone he regards as a Master of the Universe, Christie changes from brawler into fawning toady:

This Republican field is huge and supposedly awe-inspiring -- but Mitt Romney had more charisma and stage presence than all of these supposed superstars. I'd give him better odds against Trump than any of the current crop of second-raters.


Nzone said...

God, that picture.

John Taylor said...

They're all pretty dispicable. Trump just trumpets what they all think. What a sorry lot.

M. Bouffant said...

You're right, Mittens is more ... well, he has more stage presence than any of the 16 who I can actually remember.