Politics can be a spectacle. I mean it’s not supposed to be entertainment since it’s pretty serious business, but at least during the campaign cycle, before any actual decisions are made that could wreak havoc, it can be fantastically enjoyable in the way a really campy movie can be enjoyable. In that respect, I actually enjoy most of the GOP candidates for office. Not the boring ones like Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, or John Kasich (whose campaign keeps emailing me), but the really outlandish antics of the long shot candidates like Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina and this year’s prima donnas; Donald Trump and Ben Carson.
The early fascination with candidates like the three non-politicians in the group serves to illustrate the cynicism and mistrust of government that most Americans who bother to watch politics are feeling. In these early stages, anyone who isn’t a politician looks remarkably appealing, while the rest look like a perpetuation of the status quo. It’s ironic that a career politician like Bernie Sanders gets the “unelectable” label, yet someone like Ben Carson, who has never even held an elected position on a local school board, is a frontrunning candidate for the Presidency. The best political theater is created by the self-immolation of these unschooled and undisciplined characters as they say some truly preposterous things, that they might possibly actually believe. Ben Carson has produced such whoppers that I feel as if at any moment, we will find out that his candidacy has been a satirical sociology experiment. But he seems to actually believe the things he has put forth, including rejecting and refuting some of the most established facts about the natural world we live in. But when he stated that he has a “personal theory” about one of the great wonders of the world: the Egyptian pyramids, and that they were built by a Biblical figure to store grain, I felt certain his campaign would come unhinged. Surprisingly, it hasn’t yet, and that seems to have caused his fellow front runner to come off the rails.
I’ve written about Trump before, but I want to express something I haven’t previously: I really like him a lot. That is to say, I really like him in the spotlight, running for the highest elected office, and getting to watch his brash self-promotion, and wisecracking, middle school bullying tactics, all while spouting off his opinions that are either wildly off the mark, or downright fictitious. Most recently, during a televised debate among the GOP hopefuls, he stated the following regarding Russian President Vladimir Putin:
“I got to know him very well because we were both on 60 Minutes, we were stablemates. We did well that night.” [referencing the ratings for 60 minutes that evening]
Here’s the crazy thing about that statement: Putin was interviewed for the 60 minutes episode in Russia, and Trump was interviewed in NYC. They weren’t on the same continent, let alone stablemates, and one might wonder how Donald got to know the Russian President “very well.”
His latest escapade though is what prompted me to write this before it’s too late to write anything but an obituary on his campaign. Donald Trump went in front of a microphone at a rally in Iowa and unleashed a 90+ minute torrent of seemingly unscripted attacks on his rivals, especially Ben Carson, journalists–calling them scum and garbage–and amazingly, even the people he was speaking to, asking them “How stupid are the people of Iowa?”
My favorite bit of outrage came when he defiantly stated that he’d bomb the shit out of the oil “camps” in Iraq and Syria that he alleges ISIS has control of, and uses to make millions of dollars. He clarified what he meant; just to be sure that no one was cheering bombing the actual people that make up ISIS. No, he’d bomb the pipes, the refineries, and every single inch of the oil fields until there was nothing left. Then he’d get Exxon to rebuild the suckers like brand new and dammit, he’ll take the oil. Now Trump has been out in left field before with his claims to be able to build a wall between Mexico and the US with ease because he’s built buildings, and that somehow, Mexico would pay for the wall. He’s been out on the warning track in left field when he stated he’d deport every illegal immigrant–possibly 12 million of them–using a Deportation Force. But this latest venture into the oil field stealing business has left the ballpark altogether, and is one part deranged dictator, one part delusional mobster.
Therefore, inasmuch as I’m relishing in the tortuous twisting of facts and figures from the neurosurgeon, and the relentless monosyllabic bragging and insults from the real estate mogul, things seem to be reaching a boil where they might become dangerous and it’s probably best for all concerned if the early primary voters stop giving these two unusual human beings such high marks when random pollsters call them on the phone. It’s going to take an abysmal plummet to single digits before Trump bows out, likely insulting the entire country on his way back to Trump Plaza, and a come to Jesus talk from his campaign manager before Dr. Carson gets the revelation and eases back into the Dr. Carson Admiration Society that serves as his home. While we may lament seeing the circus sideshow packing up its Big Top and leaving town, the country, and the world, need it to happen soon.