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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

There’s this great scene from Law & Order where Detective Briscoe shows a victim’s picture to a prostitute. He asks whether she knew of anyone who had “dated” him.

“I didn’t, but he’s cute,” she says.

“You’ve been at this too long, honey.” Briscoe replies. “He’s dead.”

The political punditry seems unable to agree on whether Donald Trump’s candidacy will survive the billionaire’s latest barrage of rhetorical barbarities. We refer to his attacks on Fox News questioner Megyn Kelly and the infamous “blood” remark.

But all this presupposes that Trump is conducting a real, living candidacy rather than a mega-prank. By all appearances, he is using the Republican fringe’s high tolerance of — nay, appreciation for — off-the-wall comments to expand the Trump brand at no cost to Trump. The billionaire also seems to be whipping up the right wing’s hatred of establishments, including the Republican one, for fun and profit.

Face it. Some 24 million viewers didn’t tune in to the Fox News debate just to hear Trump say outrageous things. They wanted to see him make the other candidates suffer.

Trump’s performance led to his banishment from the subsequent RedState debate. Its organizer, Erick Erickson, explained, “I don’t want my daughter in the same room” as Trump.

Sounds chivalrous, but Erickson’s coat of armor is not without chinks. It was Erickson who attributed feminists’ anger to their “being too ugly to get a date.” And he called Michelle Obama a “Marxist harpy wife.”

That armor evidently needs repair, for Erickson now seems hurt by the pro-Trump blowback. “I have emails from people referring to Megyn Kelly as a ‘whore,'” he complained. “I have emails from people referring to me as ‘gay.’ I have emails referring to the president by the N-word and (saying) that Donald Trump is standing up to all of us.”

Imagine such sensitivity coming from the man who writes such blog posts as “Is Obama Shagging Hookers Behind the Media’s Back?” That’s when he’s not writing deep religious tracts.

This is the ballpark Republicans have been playing in. Trump may say things that are dumb and crude, but they’re no dumber or cruder than the musings of the right-wing spokesmen whom party leaders routinely court.

Erickson can portray himself as a bulwark against indecency, but he’s really been Trump’s warmup act. Without his and others’ normalization of lunatic statements, Trump would never have gotten as far as he has.

One feels for the respectable Republicans dragged into these environs. It was sad to see Ohio governor John Kasich pummeled at the Fox News debate for having humanely expanded Medicaid in his state. It was unfortunate but inevitable that someone (this time Rand Paul) would slam New Jersey governor Chris Christie for having publicly hugged President Obama. The context, some may remember, was the president’s visit and offer of federal help after the devastation of Superstorm Sandy.

On the other hand, Christie and other Republicans had no problem sharing the stage with the likes of Erickson.

The Huffington Post last month moved its Trump coverage to the entertainment section from politics. Jay Rosen, a well-known media analyst, praised the decision as “the work of fed-up and free-thinking adults.”

But the move has irked political writers at The Washington Post. Are they merely defending their turf? Or have they been at this too long?

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at [email protected] To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at

Photo: Republican presidential candidate and businessman Donald Trump listens to a question at the first official GOP presidential candidates’ debate of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign in Cleveland, Ohio, August 6, 2015. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

  • AlfredSonny

    As an Independent, my perception of the whole GOP snafu is being manipulated by a manipulative machine. Trump is exposing his opponents’ inability to be independent from the Koch cronies. Because of this, Fox News, under the direction of Roger Ailes, is trying to eliminate non-gullible Trump as early as possible. Otherwise, Ailes’ and Kochs’ plan to create oligarchy and plutocracy would be jeopardized.

    • Verne_J_Hostan

      Well said Alfred. The structural cynicism in the GOP is breathtaking – their contempt for the electorate is evidenced by their crude machinations. No need for subtleties – whip up the silly populace, get their votes and then do whatever you want. The GOP doesn’t provide us representatives, they have us anoint their four year kings.

    • Dominick Vila

      The fact that so many Republicans that consider themselves ultra-conservatives are supporting Donald Trump is perplexing to me, and make me think that his supporters are registered Republicans because that party is the closest to their narrow prejudices, than actual fiscal or social conservatism. It simply makes no sense whatsoever for people who refer to the ACA as evil socialism to support a man who favors Universal Healthcare, or for people who believe abortion should be banned because life starts at conception to support a man who a couple of years ago supported abortion and Planned Parenthood. I don’t think Trump’s supporters are dumb, I believe they see in Trump what they always hoped for: a man filled with hatred to match theirs, a man that is addressing the issues that are important to them, a man willing to challenge and fight the establishment, and an arrogant twit who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Donald Trump has the full support of a materialistic segment of our society consumed by fear, hatred, and ancient prejudices, who is convinced The Donald will deliver what all other elected officials – Republicans and Democrats – have failed to do.

      • John Murchison

        Logic was lost on Republicans some time ago i’m afraid. I still fiind their antics unfathomable but not as surprising. Many conservative voters work against their own best interest powered by half-truths and fear. It is like watching their party willingly driving off the edge of a cliff.

        • FireBaron

          This is why I keep saying that anyone who earns less than $200K per year and votes Republican is actually voting against his best interest.

      • Blueberry Hill

        Big problem is, that we cannot believe a word he says. He will do nothing to enhance the government, only himself. He’s just a self-grandizing slug.


      • Lelandjames

        Gee the truth really hurts you don’t it. LOL

    • dpaano

      Let’s hope……

  • The lucky one

    Choosing between Trump and a Koch-candidate is no choice at all.

    • idamag

      I would choose Trump over Walker or Bush.

      • The lucky one

        Choosing between them is like Russian roulette but yes Walker would be my last choice among all of them.

      • Dominick Vila

        Walker is, by far, the most dangerous of the bunch. Jeb already self-destructed. He has made so many faux pas, that he is spending more time clarifying the clarifications than articulating policy.

        • idamag

          There is something about Walker that feels like I should carry a cross to put between me, and him, should ever we meet. The Bushes are a little naive and not rocket scientists, but Walker feels evil.

          • stcroixcarp

            Good call, ida.

          • Looner

            Walker AND Cruz

      • stcroixcarp

        Picking the plumpest turd from the dung heap?

      • Looner

        Isn’t that like choosing between a vomit milkshake and a turd sandwich?

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    Trump has been ultra prevalent in the NY/NJ metro area for 30+ years. We are used to his bluster, bragging and showing off. So..when he saw the Koch boys spend $900 million for a dozen plus clowns, Trump figured, “What the hell….If the GOP is into clowns, I may as well get on board.”

    Birds of a feather always flock together. So too clowns.

    • whodatbob

      Trump is the biggest clown! What a horrible thought, 30 years of the Don.

      • Eleanore Whitaker

        People in the metro area know the path of destruction this spoiled little rich boy leaves. He uses big money influence in real estate in NY and NJ and when he can’t fight zoning, he just buys up the zoning boards. Works for him…just not the people who have lived in or near any Trump properties.

        For a guy with the Midas touch, instead of gold, he turns everything into a major slum.

        • whodatbob

          Been thinking of a reply to your post but have none. But the people who have put up with that buffoon for 30 years have my sympathy.

  • 1Zoe55

    Donald Trump is the monster created by the Republican/Teabag party known as Dr. Frankenstein in some circles. They have spawned this monster and now are themselves terrified of him. Trump will wreak damage on the Republican/Teabaggers because they are too afraid to criticize him. This is my fondest hope–that the Republican/Teabag party will implode.

  • Blueberry Hill

    They should get over the fear of him and kick him out of the Republican Party. His following isn’t as big as the Rs.


    • johninPCFL

      That would be like the KKK disavowing Dylann Roof. He IS the embodiment of the GOP trend.

  • idamag

    I wouldn’t want my daughter in the same room with Erickson.

    • stcroixcarp

      My daughter can take care of herself, but I wouldn’t want my son in the same room as either Erickson or Trump. They are examples of testosterone gone sour.

      • idamag

        I am trying to remember who said, “The most dangerous drug, known to man, is testosterone.”

        • stcroixcarp

          I can’t help you with the source, but testosterone causes guys to think with their beans and weinie rather than their brains and then put down women as being slaves to their hormones. All the GOPer guys (and Carlie) suffer from that kind of thinking.

    • dpaano

      Or with ANY of the GOP’s nominations for president!!! They’re all pretty scary!

  • nana4gj

    I’m happy the HP moved Trump coverage to the Entertainment section. I told them they should have put Sarah Palin there during her hayday.

    Hard to tell if Trump is doing all this as a “gag”, however. With a Narcissist Personality Disorder, he may believe himself. It isn’t hard to believe that so many of the “base”, or the “sect” of the Republican Party, believe in him and extol him, and find him legitimate. “He speaks for us”, is absolutely true. Their claim, however, that they never had a voice before Trump, is wrong as wrong can be.

    For the past almost 7 years, “they”….ordinary people, party leaders, politicians, Congressmen/women, candidates, right wing media….have been the loudest, most obnoxious, foul mouthed, mysogynist, ugliest voices in the big room that is called our society. Every population group in this country has been their target, every demographic, TNT list, as well as the President of the US and his family.

    It isn’t that they were not given a voice, or that their voice was not heard. We all heard them, read them, watched them, beginning with that first April 15, tax day, of the President’s first term, after he gave middle class tax cuts and they protested against his “policies”….or his election?….across the nation, putrifying the grounds of the Alamo, with the ugliest, most vile posters of him, the person of him, not the policies. It has continued ever since. They have had no difficulty making themselves heard.

    It is, rather, that their voices were rejected, declared illegitimate and offensive, and it demeaned them, dismissed them, as the extremists, racists, misogynists that they are, ill-informed, though proud of that ignorance, that they are, for which the greater society wants nothing of them. Their voices were rejected.

    Now, they seek to elevate themselves, legitimize themselves, with a candidate for the highest office in the country, who either really is one of them; is so sick he will get his strokes from anyone who will validate his delusions of self-grandeur; or who will exploit the “base”….in the truest sense of the word… feed his ego.

    Republicans really did “build this” unfortunate series of events, culminating into a situation wherein they are eating at their own, picking the bones of each other, and facing another lost election with complete and very public embarrassment. They have worked very hard over the years to create inferior “products”, this is the top of their line. It is marketable only to that same group of “voices” for whom not one in the Republican mainstream ever stood up to refute, condemn, deny, and express objection to the ugliness and incivil discourse that has polluted our society. Their silence was deafening, nurturing it, always allowing for the possibility of truth being told by that ugly discourse, if they said anything at all. They even joined in, depending on the targeted individual or group, with a few choice words of slander of their own, including Eric Erickson, for one.

    It was bound to happen, that it all boomeranged back at them. “What goes around, comes around”, but, usually, it doesn’t happen quickly enough. This time, it did. It isn’t so “cute” and “catchy”, when they do it to each other. It’s so offensive that they cannot have their wives and daughters in the same room with it, to hell with what all the rest of us were exposed to all these years from them.

    Trump isn’t “damaging the Republican Party”. Republicans have damaged the Republican Party. They threw out genuine statesmen/women. purging their Party of sensible and sane public servants who were educated, experienced, and intelligent enough to legislate effectively with others, to do a serious job of managing this country, who made it possible for some of us to vote split tickets, at times, or to seriously listen to what they might have to say on any given issue.

    While there may be so “poetic justice” in all of this, it is no cause for celebration in a sense of “pay back”. It’s sad and it’s troubling. Our country, for centuries, relied upon two, at least, strong and viable political parties with which to conduct our democracy, to address the best interests of all of us in a vast and diverse society, and it was effective, for the most part, through statesmanship, compromise, negotiation, resolution, and legislation. Somewhere along the way, Republicans decided that wasn’t good enough. They had to resort to character defamation, lies, slander, more mud slinging than usual, distortion, manipulation of voting rights, draconian policies that would keep people repressed instead of free, and most of it in the name of “religiosity”, or a brand of “Christianity”, as fanatic as any other religious zealot and extremist.

    There is a larger problem than is Trump. He simply personifies everything that is “Republican” today. Even the money component and the boasting of it as if it legitimizes and proves the worth of an individual because of the “power” it bestows; the concept of “corporations are people, too”, in which we see that corporations do not make for attractive or capable people when they run for public office, one reason being that one cannot run a nation of a diversity of people and issues as one runs a board room or a slew of employees who must keep quiet and accept whatever is decided for them, right or wrong, workable or not, fair or unjust, to promote the end result which benefits “the boss”.

    No matter how much negative feedback Trump, the candidate gets, it falls on deaf ears, the same as with Republicans. With him, it is pathology; with Republicans, it has been thought to be “political strategy”, though I believe we can justly conclude that it, too, has been pathology. If we ask, “Is our Republicans learning?” in this very teachable moment, we’d have to say, “Apparently, not”.

    They continue to placate, titillate, excuse, and cater to the “basest” of behaviors, goals, and aspirations, for the most “base” of reasons, that have nothing to do with the best interests of this country and her people.

    • CrankyToo

      Brilliant post, Nana. Thank you for that.

    • Karen Bille-Golden

      Your post says it all in plain English what so many of us feel. Thank you.

    • Independent1

      Nana, as others have said – Great post!! And just to add to your repetoire of information, here’s the link to an article that should bring a warm feeling to any progressives heart – someone has pulled together the fact that despite unparalleled obstructionism from the GOP – that President Obama has actually accomplished FAR MORE than even I had previously believed:

      308 certified accomplishments (courtesy of docb)

    • Jan123456

      Wow…I am in awe. Outstanding points.

    • Dominick Vila


    • John Murchison

      exactly. well put

    • dpaano

      The problem is that the GOP has basically turned its base into “haters.” It’s sad to see a political party go that route, but it is what they do best…using lies and scare tactics.

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  • idamag

    Beware of the Jackie Anders