By Lynn R. Mitchell
Former Reagan speech writer Peggy Noonan nailed the Donald Trump issue with Republicans in her latest (see Donald Trump’s Appeal — and it’s limits in the Wall Street Journal):
Mr. Trump’s loquacity will be a challenge in the debates. How will anyone get a word in edgewise? Candidates will rely on the moderator. The moderator may amuse himself by stepping back and watching the fun. None of the candidates will want to take Mr. Trump head-on because he doesn’t play within the margins of traditional political comportment. He’s a squid: poke him and get ink all over you. [emphasis added]
The dilemma is how to wrestle the pig without ending up in the mud with him. Trump reminds of the unfiltered trash-talking bully on the playground, and many are weary of the spectacle and ready for his fifteen minutes of fame to be over. There is no decorum with him which is exactly his appeal with some.
He has called his fellow candidates “dopes.” He tweeted that Senator John McCain, who spent months in a POW prison camp during the Vietnam War while Trump was safely home in America, graduated last in his Naval Academy class — actually it was fifth from the bottom — and called him a “dummy.” Others have been labeled as clowns.
He belittled respected columnist Charles Krauthammer as “a loser” who “just sits there.” Krauthammer has been paralyzed since a swimming accident at 22 and is wheelchair-bound. Trump threw another respected columnist and political pundit, George Will, into the loser category and referred to both Will and Krauthammer as jerks (see Krauthammer responds to Trump: “He’s repeating himself,” “I’m done”).
Like a highway flare, he will eventually flame out. A curiosity and entertaining to watch at first, he is wearing out his welcome as he becomes more emboldened with the publicity, polls, and sense of self-worth (see Donald Trump Is No Conservative).
An example of that was Friday’s notice that was published in the Huffington Post (see A note about our coverage of Donald Trump’s ‘campaign’):
“After watching and listening to Donald Trump since he announced his candidacy for president, we have decided we won’t report on Trump’s campaign as part of The Huffington Post’s political coverage. Instead, we will cover his campaign as part of our Entertainment section. Our reason is simple: Trump’s campaign is a sideshow. We won’t take the bait. If you are interested in what The Donald has to say, you’ll find it next to our stories on the Kardashians and The Bachelorette.”
Even the conservative stalwart Red State reeled it in on Friday with a post from Leon H. Wolf (see Trump and the Abdication of Responsibility):
It goes without saying that Donald Trump is, as a result, an absolute embarrassment to the entire GOP electorate, in that he gains popularity even as plays twitter troll with all the talent and finesse of an adolescent prep school boy.
… the same people who in the past have burned conservative candidates like Rick Perry at the stake for the slightest deviation in orthodoxy now find absolutely no problem with the fact that Donald Trump is pro-choice, pro-gun control, bad on taxes, and a repeat Hillary donor. I won’t mention the fact that he also has the personality and qualifications of a clown or that his main business achievements consist of emerging from bankruptcies spot free while leaving a bunch of creditors in the lurch …
As Peggy Noon concluded in her Wall Street Journal piece, it would be nice if Trump “could take tough stands without maligning people. That’s his weakness. Blowhards don’t wear well.”