Don’t kid yourselves, they are not giving him all this free campaign advertising because he’s the front-runner — we can all stop pretending that’s the reason because it isn’t. It’s because of the ratings he generates as the entertainer he undoubtedly is. Entertainers might be fine for governors, although I think if you ask “Kahl-eee-for-knee-ins”, most all would say Schwarzenegger was better at playing a cyborg than being a governor.
My sincere belief is that the moment will come. It usually has at this level. At least it has in recent political lives of big-personality, more-show-than-know political candidates at the “major-league” level. It comes when they step across the line and go from being a legitimate candidate for high office, to a symbol of all that’s wrong with modern day American politics, even for broadcast media addicted to the high ratings that these “in real life” buffoons provide.
Take for instance the queen-bee of media-made candidates–Sarah Palin. This half-term governor of Alaska and full-time dim bulb stuffed her entire clown-sized foot squarely into her mouth during her own now-famous, gaffe-laden, unrecoverable “gotcha” moment—her Katie Couric interview in 2008. That soccer-mom-has-no-clothes, pig-has-no-lipstick moment that revealed her as a complete fraud from which she, and the John McCain campaign, never recovered.
Herman Caine had it with his “President Of Ubeki-beki-beki-stan-stan” moment.
And despite the denials from Trump supporters (I still cannot believe there really are some) Trumps moment may have finally happened as well; and it wasn’t when, during the second Republican debate when Carly Fiorina carved him up like an Easter ham with her withering “I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said” jab to his solar plexus. That one hurt but it wasn’t a fatal blow. No, I think the beginning of the end of the Trump show will be his New Hampshire moment last week.
Taking questions at a town hall event in Rochester, Trump stood stunned as an audience member declared that President Obama is a Muslim, “not even an American.” Suddenly the blunt-talking, self-aggrandizing “speaker-of-truths” was caught in the headlights of an oncoming Freightliner.
There are few things as definitive in damning a candidate to the kids’ table as a refusal to acknowledge simple reality — especially a candidate who says he’ll be “tough with our enemies” but refuses to even stand up to one of his own bigoted, idiot supporters. By Trump’s refusal to acknowledge that Obama was born in this country Trump might just as well have said that the Earth is the center of the universe.
Even Trump’s own supporters were embarrassed. Mark Cuban, on Real Time with Bill Maher last Friday had to sit embarrassed and with a stupid grin on his face as Maher devastated Cuban until he categorically stated that the candidate he’s supporting for president “is not gonna win. He’s got no chance… none.”
Just as Sarah Palin established, even the ratings-crazed media are capable of back-tracking on a ratings maker when they step in a cow pie big enough to sink up to their knees. With Trump, you can already see it happening. The cracks are beginning to show. And when the media walks away it’s not a leisurely gait…it’s an all-out gallop.
Crack! Chuck Todd, on NBC Nightly News just hours after Trump’s New Hampshire town hall:
It means a slow fall. … over time, I think this is the week we’re going to look back on and say, “maybe this was the beginning of the end of Trump ’16.” We’ll find out.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So for the record, was President Obama born in the United States?
TRUMP: Well, you know, I don’t get into it, George. I think about jobs. I’m talking about the military. I don’t get into it. I mean they ask that question and I just want to talk about the things, because frankly, it’s of no longer interest to me. We’re beyond that. And it’s just something I don’t talk about.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, the way to get beyond it is to answer yes or no.
Do you believe this…
TRUMP: Well, that’s — that’s possible, but I don’t get into it and I just don’t talk about it.
Ouch! It was like watching a slow-moving train wreck.
Trump’s supposed strength is that he’s a straight talker, willing to say what everyone else is thinking but no one dares to say. But what his New Hampshire moment reveals is just the opposite. He could have simply answered yes or no to Stephanopoulos, just as he could’ve answered the idiot in New Hampshire.
He could have just this once admitted that he had a back-bone — anything to show that he did not indirectly agree with the notion that President Obama is a foreign-born Muslim and that all Muslims are, as the idiot in New Hampshire said, “a problem” to be gotten rid of. But no, Trump just sits there and assumes he can rope-a-dope everyone…I mean he IS smarter and tougher than anyone else….just ask him.
His failure to set the record straight at one of his own campaign events isn’t a matter of opinion; it’s a matter of leadership. And anytime the media refuse to call out and hold a candidate accountable for such fundamental and undeniable untruths, that’s irresponsible.
Trump certainly provides fertile ground with which to work: According to Politifact, he has made exactly zero “true” statements. So maybe the New Hampshire moment will also mark the moment the media was forced to do their job. So far Trump has been able to play by his own rules — using the same standards for a presidential campaign as he brought to his career as an entertainer and reality show star — and the media have given him a pass for their own selfish reasons. He’s been treated as an exception — even allowed to phone in to the Sunday morning shows whenever he wants to spew nothing more than the same old same old ridiculous spiel.
Yep, cracks are spreading in Trump’s clown-show candidacy — because this one never actually had a foundation. The only real surprise is that Trump’s undoing, from the candidate who can’t stop talking, might have come not from something he said, but glory hallelujah, from something he didn’t say.
Now that would be poetic justice.
Harvey A. Gold