Two months before joining the government in an entry level position, President-elect Donald Trump has been learning the ropes and is busier than a bartender ten minutes before midnight at a Times Square Applebee’s on New Year’s Eve.
A large amount of time was spent selecting a cabinet of deplorables from his basket of deplorables and making sure the two sons from his first marriage, Uday and Qusay had the proper security clearances and their safari trophies were expedited though customs.
He cleverly kept America’s enemies on their toes by refusing to commit to moving into the White House. Replacing a black family living in public housing would cause him to break out in hives and nobody wants an itchy beloved leader. Besides, Melania is reluctant to downsize.
Trump then advised people calling for a 3 state recount to “get over it.” Reminded it had taken him 7 ½ years to acknowledge Barack Obama was born in America, he invoked the classic, “do as I say, not as I do” doctrine, demonstrating a firm grip on the hypocritical handle necessary to wield a leadership baton.
He honed his diplomatic skills getting into a fight with both a Broadway musical and Saturday Night Live, leading folks to wonder how soon a Twitter war with Lady Gaga will break out.
But the majority of the future 45th President’s time was spent reneging on a slew of campaign promises. Who would have thought a New York City developer would welsh on a deal? Oh yeah. Everybody.
• He settled the lawsuit he “would never settle” against Trump University because nobody wants the presidency plagued by frivolous distractions. And there will be plenty of other lawsuits to be frivolously distracted by.
• Trump now looks forward to getting advice from President Obama. Probably expects some problems with his Kenyan immigration policies.
• One of his major refrains was locking up Crooked Hillary. Now he’s thanking her for her service to the country. Lock her up with hugs and kisses is what he meant.
• He will retain parts of Obama Care instead of getting rid of it on Day One like previously promised. It is thought his major complaint is Obama’s name on the bill and as soon as the country starts referring to it as Trump Care, he’ll be fine with it.
• That whole imposing a Muslim ban thing? No. No. No. He’s imposing a muslin ban. No more imported loosely woven cotton fabric. In addition we’re going to keep out those nasty Vicuna coats from Peru as well.
• An end to sanctuary cities? Yes. Definitely. Bird sanctuary cities.
• Going to impose tariffs on Chinese gods not goods. The Eight Immortals can remain eternal but they’re going to have to do it on Chinese shores.
• Bomb ISIS. What he meant to say is the Egyptian goddess Isis is the bomb.
• Getting rid of NAFTA? No, he’s going to get rid of naphtha and switch to the much more economical liquid gas to heat all his resort swimming pools.
• And building a wall- a simple misunderstanding. He’s going to build a mall. And get Ross Dress for Less to pay for it.
• Huge tax cuts for the rich because god knows the rich need more money. Yeah. That one he’s going to keep.
The New York Times says Emmy-nominated comedian and writer Will Durst “is quite possibly the best political satirist working in the country today.” Check out his website: willdurst.com, to find out about upcoming stand-up performances or to buy his book, "The All-American Sport of Bipartisan Bashing."
And now a public service announcement for all you prodigal sons and daughters making the pilgrimage back home for the annual Turkey Day reunion. Prepare for some ultra ugliness out there, people. Expect extra enmity. You are entering enemy territory and should anticipate the landing area will be mined.
We’re not talking about the normal stomach spasms associated with tryptophan poisoning by over sampling the turducken or Aunt Hoogalah’s dupamouche. Beware the bubbling casserole dish nowhere near any apparent heat source.
This is more about the turmoil that could result from intermingling with family members who went down a different presidential preference path. It is said that people felt sort of passionate about this past election. It is also rumored that the Pacific Ocean is moist.
So, chances that supporters of either winning or losing candidate are prepared to let this one slide are about the same as a case of 16 pound sledge hammers thrown through a greenhouse in the dead of winter in Duluth, Minnesota is good for the broccoli rabe.
First things first- lock up all the liquor. Intoxicants and politics go together like lug nuts and garbage disposals. Same with the sharp objects. Remember- a stabbed aunt is no longer a cookie-making aunt. Collect smart phones at the door. Keep a tire jack handy in a prominent position for the particularly recalcitrant.
Declare the television off-limits, specifically the news. No CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, PBS, HBO, QVC or even HGTV allowed. Commandeer the remotes. If withdrawal symptoms persist, three NFL games are scheduled. This time around, football is your friend, even the Dallas Cowboys. But only this time.
Instead of turkey or ham, choose a menu that requires a mite more than the standard concentration. Alaskan King Crab legs, artichokes, jumbo prawns with the heads on, whole coconuts, poisonous puffer fish, pistachios, pomegranates. Engage the whole clan in a game of “Mushroom. Mushroom. Who’s Got the Bad Mushroom?”
If these precautions prove inadequate and your philosophical bent is called into question, consider these helpful responses to keeping altercations to a minimum.
SKIRTING MESSY ELECTION QUESTIONS AT THANKSGIVING DINNER.
The New York Times says Emmy-nominated comedian and writer Will Durst “is quite possibly the best political satirist working in the country today.” Check out his website: willdurst.com, to find out about upcoming stand-up performances or to buy his book, "The All-American Sport of Bipartisan Bashing."
THE BRIGHTSIDES OF A DONALD J. TRUMP PRESIDENCY
Well. That happened. Donald J. Trump didn’t just perplex the pundits, pollsters and his own progeny with a stunning electoral pummeling of Hillary Clinton, he pelted them with showbiz shock and awe. It was a wake-up call that surely rolled Beethoven, who was deaf, and is now dead. The new shot heard round the world.
Planet-wide, liberals are slashing wrists and bashing brains and gnashing teeth and curled in a fetal position begging for their blue banky. The city of San Francisco is working through the five stages of grief but it’s going to take a while, because right now they’re stuck on denial.
The streets of Hollywood are flooded with the salty tears of distraught baby movie stars who don’t know whether to follow through on their threat to move to Canada or pay someone to do it for them. It’s mourning in America.
MSNBC’s anchors reacted like they were told their children had been burned beyond recognition in a meth lab explosion. But it wasn’t all doom and gloom. Over at Fox News they were bouncing up and down in their chairs like 3rd graders on Santa’s lap. Most of the chairs appeared to have been soiled.
The President-elect received congratulatory calls from Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, David Duke, Jean Marie Le Pen, Nigel Farage and the ghost of Caligula. While Democratic Congressmen clung to the faint hope that he’ll be better than the rest of the world fears. “No way he’s going to be another Hitler. Mussolini, maybe.”
But in American we are famous for making lemonade out of lemons and totally overlooking the possible positives of Donald J. Trump becoming our 45th president. Here’s a few to buck up your spirits.
The Top Brightsides of a Donald J. Trump Presidency.
The New York Times says Emmy-nominated comedian and writer Will Durst “is quite possibly the best political satirist working in the country today.” Check out his website: willdurst.com, to find out about upcoming stand-up performances or to buy his book, "The All-American Sport of Bipartisan Bashing."
Some of the great eternal questions are “What is the sound of one hand clapping.” “If a tree falls in a forest, and no one hears it, does it make a sound?” “Is the Pope Catholic?” “Do these pants make my butt look big?” “Who drank all the orange juice then put the empty carton back in the refrigerator again?” And now we can add, “What kind of flippo-unit is still undecided in the 2016 presidential contest?
You’d understand a couple of hermits, or people recently emerged from comas, or unlucky spelunkers who spent the last 18 months in a mine-shaft, cave-in; but what’s that, eleven people? Maybe twelve, tops? Enough to field a starting offense that could beat the Niners, sure, but that’s about it.
Some experts claimed 11% of America had yet to make up their minds the weekend before the election, approximately the same amount who believe Elvis is still alive and playing liar’s dice with Santa’s Elves. Elvis and the Elves, a children’s book waiting to be written.
Who are these so-called Undecideds we keep hearing about? Do they actually exist? Or are they fictional characters created out of whole cloth by pollsters eager to keep the checks rolling in until Election Day? Or passive-aggressive, warm-blooded carbon based life forms with basic trust issues?
The hell is the problem with these people? Is it faulty information or a lack of information or too much information: paralysis by analysis? Sounds more like a cry for a urinalysis and/or psychoanalysis.
Who could not know which candidate they’re going to vote for President? Unless bewilderment is their natural state. Maybe they’re also confused about which receptacle to use in the bathroom. Need Post-It notes to remind them that its socks first, then shoes. Struggle with the intricate manipulation required to use those new fangled-toothbrushes.
Really? No idea. Now. In November. They must be waiting for snow. To be awakened by a bright light piercing their bedroom ceiling and a booming voice advising them to vote for the Big Orange Guy. A flock of pelicans to form the word “Clinton” on a migratory flight south to Mexico. For the Donald to grow bigger hands. Hillary to grow… a y chromosome.
What’s the plan man; will they flip a coin? Vote for the person whose ad they see last? Throw the I-Ching? Sacrifice a virgin goat outside the polling place? Eenie-meenie-miney-mo? Go into the booth with their smart phone and check out the electoral preferences of their favorite boy band on Snapchat?
Obviously, the race comes down to who is less hated. She’s the only Democrat who could possibly lose to him and he’s the only Republican who could possibly lose to her. We’re in the middle of the worst O’Henry story ever written. If it qualified for the ballot, None of the Above would win in a landslide.
Anybody who can’t figure out who they’re voting for by now should really sit this one out or bide their time until the ghost of Uncle Ron or Calvin Coolidge or Alexander Hamilton telepathically nudges them. The wait could stretch for years and all in all, you know what, that might not be such a bad thing.
The Creepy Clown Apocalypse
One of the first things we discover as kids is the difference between scary and SCARY!!!. Commercial frightful versus downright ghoulish. The gap between a broken-toothed Halloween pumpkin on a porch railing illuminated by a flickering candle and a holographic beheaded ghost peering out of your bathroom mirror dripping blood onto the faucet handle of the sink.
Your brother sneaking up and yelling “Boo,” or the grisly “scrape, scrape, scrape” of a wind-blown, fir limb outside your bedroom window. Or could it be the scratching of a dismembered skeletal hand? The laughing cackle of a cartoon witch compared to the sound of a flashing scythe whistling past your ear in deep dark. Goosebumps down your arm scary and pants-changing scary.
This election season definitely belongs in the second category and it is only our bad luck that Voting Day is the latest possible-on November 8th, the first Tuesday after the first Monday of the month. Prompting folks to ask why not the first Tuesday? The only result of that odd predicate is the election can’t be held on November 1st. We may accuse the dead of voting but we can never vote on the Day of the Dead.
Why? Probably because our Founding Fathers were focused on the well-being of their future descendants and worried should Halloween and Election Day be contiguous we might all suffer heart attacks after being scared spitless two days in a row. Even way back then, they were aware that a dead electorate is not a consumer goods purchasing electorate.
Although the distance between these twin spooky events may be stretched the furthest this year, the eerie connection between the two has been magnified with a worldwide epidemic of creepy clown sightings. And no, we’re not talking about the onslaught of election campaign commercials but you’re getting the idea.
Creepy clowns have been reported in small towns, on the side of freeways, memed on social media, and even spread across the Atlantic to the UK. Where the tradition of bloated red noses has long been embraced by both the clergy and Members of Parliament.
The situation has become so dire that a Mississippi county passed a law, making it illegal for anyone to appear in clown make-up until after Halloween. Precipitating drastic unintended side-effects such as forcing the Kardashians to cancel any and all appearances scheduled for Kemper County.
Nationally, Ronald McDonald went on enforced hiatus so as not to be confused with his even creepier brethren. Although to many of us, the term “creepy clown” is very redundant. Seriously, how much more scary is a clown with a chainsaw than a clown with a balloon animal hat or a hand-puppet hamburglar?
Another connection is the creepiest of all the clowns, that orange malignant one currently running for President as a Republican. And speaking of Halloween, why is Donald Trump like a pumpkin? Both are orange on the outside, hollow on the inside and destined to be discarded in early November.
And if you’re looking for future frights: why does the Electoral College meet the First Monday after the Second Wednesday of December? Nobody knows. And if that doesn’t scare the bejesus out of you, you should really see about having your central nervous system reconnected to your brain stem.
Stand Up 101
Comedy is a delicate business and should be left to the trained professionals. So the next time Donald Trump announces his intention to be purposefully amusing in a public setting, we need to respond properly, and that proper response is: “God. No. Please. In the Name of all that is holy, stop. Don’t do it. Think of the children.”
The day after the final presidential debate, at the Al Smith Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria, the two major party candidates were invited to tell some jokes, and to say the results were underwhelming is like inferring that gravel dusted with uranium flakes makes a non-nutritious breakfast cereal even swimming in milk.
Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were good at this sort of thing. It’s called a routine for a reason. And when George W Bush and Mitt Romney are held up as comedic geniuses, you know something has gone horribly awry.
Hillary Clinton couldn’t tell a joke if the life of a small Haitian child depended on it, but gamely persevered and got off a couple of decent zingers. A few at her own expense. But once again, Donald Trump seemed intent on disrupting another grand old tradition: the one that involves attaching punch lines to the end of jokes.
You’d think a clown would have better timing. And make-up. Especially Mr. Hometown Boy whose big claim is being able to read a room. This campaign apparently has blinded him so badly he needs Lasik surgery.
Also he failed to demonstrate the faintest notion of how to deal with a heckler. So, perhaps a few classic lines can be offered up should the occasion arise again. Which could possibly happen in another four years.
Oh yeah, well if you’re so smart, how come I’m President?
If experts are correct in saying that Donald Trump needs women voters to win the presidency, the last two weeks have been the worst for any political candidate since the summer of 1984 when Michael Dukakis climbed into a tank and tried on a helmet.
This election has escalated way past PG 13, quickly hurdling both R and NC 17, and leaping into “Hands Over Your Ears Singing the La-La-La-La-La-La-La, I Can’t Hear You” song. Concerned parents are encouraging their kids to play violent video games rather than watch the news. “Smoke more dope.”
Every time we think this election has sunk to a new low, the aerodynamically coiffed real estate mogul manages to dig another sub-basement. Think he’s trying to tunnel his way to JI-NA. Someone needs to warn them, their sworn enemy is conniving a sneak attack from below.
The spike that punctured the most recent bag of sleaze spewing down on us was an 11 year-old videotape from Access Hollywood in which the Don with the blonde frond bragged to the unfortunately named Billy Bush about sexual conquest in terms as seamy as a stepping barefoot onto a used condom.
The King of White Males relentlessly intones that nobody respects women more than he, but many members of the female population question whether being grabbed by their private parts is really the best way of proving it. Many members.
Before the video surfaced, expectations for Trump in the second presidential debate were so low he could have been declared the winner simply by refraining from throwing his own feces at Anderson Cooper.
But during the face-to-face fracas, Trump shrugged off his profane slurs as mere locker room banter, saying he was guilty of words not actions, then over-elaborating until he seemed to imply the reason he brags about grabbing women by the crotch is because of ISIS. Wow, they really are bad guys.
Trump invited four Bill Clinton accusers to join him in a pre-debate press conference, prompting the Clinton campaign to discover four women who charged Trump with unsolicited advances, egregious groping and all round creepiness. The obvious option was to have the women of Team Trump face off against the women of Team Clinton in a pay-per-view steel cage match. And the winner got Ohio.
Unfortunately the numbers started growing as women come forward daily with further sordid Trumpian escapades. Fifteen separate allegations have been chronicled thus far. Which is a lot of allegators. It’s gotten to where you can almost hear Bill Cosby turn to Camille and say, “Well hell, they can’t all be lying.”
One woman who got bumped up to first class then groped by Trump voluntarily went back to coach. As any traveler can tell you, that’s nuclear disgust. Hopefully she ate first. Trump’s defense against a couple of the accusations is that the women were too ugly for him to molest, a classic case of defeating your purpose.
One major takeaway from this two-way, slime-slinging fest is that America is destined to place a serial groper and chronic sexual assaulter in the White House. Just depends on where you want him: upstairs puttering around the private residences or behind the desk in the Oval Office.
An estimated 84,000,000 Americans tuned into the 1st Presidential Debate at New York’s Hofstra University, but Donald Trump did not seem to be among them. Mentally he had checked out, maybe to seek admission to Dr. Snuffleupagus’s clinic to score some surplus Claritin.
A consensus of post debate polls revealed 54% of respondents thought Hillary Clinton won, 24% considered Trump the winner while the other 22% either had no opinion or looked at the questioner like they were crazy for even asking.
The month of September witnessed a Trump surge that thrust the real estate mogul into a dead heat, so these numbers indicate half his supporters thought he lost. His own spin-doctors were ecstatic he pronounced his name correctly. And for that they should thank grandpa for changing it from Drumpf. Many people said that whoever watched that debacle and still plans to vote for Donald Trump, hates America.
Trump embarked on a post-debate oblivion tour to tell whoever would listen (Fox News) how everybody was telling him he had totally won the debate by a wide margin. Presumably these are the same delusionals who so often remark on his terrific temperament.
Not just a great temperament, the best temperament in the history of presidential politics. Its amazing, his temperament. Ask anybody. Ask Sean Hannity. Trump gets so worked up talking about his tremendous temperament, the only explanation is he’s confused about the definition of the word.
“My temperament is much better than perfect. I have a note from Sean Hannity and Doctor Oz about my incredibly beautiful temperament. Both have seen recent calculations by my gastroenterologist that measure my temperament as 98.7 degrees.”
The major debate knock against Hillary Clinton is that she was too scripted and resembled an escaped animatron from Disney’s Hall of Presidents whose face had frozen halfway between amazement and condescension. That’s how low we’ve come; accusations are flying that someone was too well prepared.
But that’s more Team Trump sniping, jealous that the former Secretary of State was able to string words together into actual sentences with subjects and predicates and points and stuff. You know. In a presidential sort of manner.
Trump predicted he would mop the floor with her and came prepared wearing one on his head. The thrice married reality tv star started strong, but soon wound down like a cheap watch, which has to be especially galling for a guy who claims his opponent is not qualified because of her lack of STAM-IN-A. WRONG!
Apparently the real estate mogul thought he could earn extra credit based on time of possession, because he interrupted and rambled and muttered, finding time to malign Rosie O’Donnell and sputtering something about how the DNC was hacked by some 400 pound guy on a bed. Then the tax-avoiding tycoon complained there was a problem with his microphone. And he’s right. It was turned on.
The orange developer compounded the disaster by engaging in a Twitter fight with a former Miss Universe who says he called her disgusting names. He claimed to be using sarcasm as a motivational tool after she bloated up like a poisoned toad. And that news held serve for three days. But don’t despair: two more debates to come. If you don’t count the Vice Presidential debate. Which nobody does.
Something craven infects political candidates as the days dwindle down to a precious few, especially when prospects for victory appear slimmer than an emaciated giraffe in a fun house mirror. It may be darkest before the dawn, but for those scheduled to be executed at first light, the darkness triggers a kind of dastardly creativity that those made of lesser stuff might characterize as desperation.
The late hour slandering of an opponent has come to be called the October Surprise and considering the volatile history of this year’s campaign we should be prepared for copious disclosures of gargantuan proportions. Not mere October Surprises, but October Lightning Bolts Tossed by Odin Himself, October 80 Megaton Hydrogen Bombshells and October Exposes That Will Make Your Mouth Hang Open Long Enough To Attract Bottle Flies.
And with one week of November in the mix this time around, even more delicious salacious wickedness awaits. Here’s a sample of the advertent and inadvertent we can expect in the final five weeks of this- The Most Important Election of Your Lifetime. Yes. Again.
We, the American People, should pat ourselves on the back for having survived a multitude of presidential battles this year. So far we’ve ducked mud thrown during the Little Hands Wars, the Naked Wives Wars, the Bigotry Wars, the Qualification Wars, the Crazier than a Wombat in a Centrifuge Wars, and now a brand new phase: the Health Wars. Open those umbrellas folks, because the partisan splooey is starting to pour.
These new attacks concern which candidate is sick, sicker, sickest and question whether the opponent can summon the required stamina to act as president. Obviously, an integral consideration but not the only one or the fight for Chief Executive would be raging between Ashton Eaton, the Olympic Decathlon champion, and mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey. Which could be a double upgrade.
Listen to 70 year-old codger Donald Trump and you’d think that 68 year-old geezer Hillary Clinton is not just too sick to serve but already dead and only ambulatory due to a dark sorcery achieved by making a deal with the devil himself. A charge which the press is dutifully investigating, but has yet support or debunk.
Hillary did spend three days off the campaign trail recovering from what she claims was a slight touch of walking pneumonia, but anonymous tweets suggest was really a severe case of projectile Ebola. The truth, undoubtedly, lies somewhere in between.
To herald his health, the New York developer handed the press a single paragraph from his gastroenterologist that said if elected, Trump would be the healthiest person ever to assume the presidency in the history of the United States. Reading like a six-year old forging a note signed by “my parents.”
To great fanfare, Hillary returned to the campaign trail accompanied by James Brown’s “I Feel Good,” crowing that she was happy her pneumonia finally got Republicans interested in women’s health. And if indeed she augmented her rehabilitation with a humor implant- that could only help.
Then Trump went on Dr. Oz’s television show, handing him a completely different single sheet of paper claiming he was fitter than a pig in spit. The problem is Dr. Oz is a doctor the same way that Donald Trump is a statesman, with both reminding associates of the sound made by a duck. Kindred businessmen that specialize in peddling bottles of oil milked from imaginary snakes.
In order to further validate his phantom diagnosis, the next step for the campaign is to receive televised house calls from either Dr. Kildare, Dr. Kimble, Dr. Lechter, Dr. Zhivago, Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard, Dr. Frank-N-Furter, Dr. Strange, Dr. Strangelove, Hawkeye Pierce, Dr. No or Doc Savage.
Trump vows to release “an extremely beautiful, tremendously detailed report”… later. It’s always “later” with this guy. He’ll release his taxes, later. He’ll reveal his budget cuts, later. He’ll explain his plan to defeat ISIS, later. People should promise to vote for him… later.
But when two people aim to rule as septuagenarians, it is vital for their prospective subjects to know the accurate state of their health. For instance: what sort of twisting of the vocal cords makes Hillary’s voice etch lines into lead crystal and exactly what bizarre medical condition does Trump suffer from that causes him to be so orange
Crash & Burn & Repeat
We might as well be watching a 30-car pile-up the way Americans are holding hands over their eyes trying to avoid the grisly bits of the most grotesque presidential race we have witnessed in this, the second decade of the 21st Century. Of course, it’s only the 2nd election during that time, but still.
That is not to say 2012 wasn’t genuinely gruesome with more than its share of cataclysmic collisions and demolition derby debacles but this time they’re headed downhill faster than an 18-wheeler with burned out brakes carrying a load of nitroglycerine on the western slope of the Andes.
This is a race to rock bottom to see which team ends up least wrecked and right now they’re both jostling for pole position. Everybody is losing paint riding into each other while running over rocky roads gouged by their own staffs.
Must be why they call them pit crews.
You’ve heard the term “Accidents waiting to happen?” Well the opposite is “accidents waiting for a break in the action.” The 2 most polarizing drivers in the history of American politics have veered into so many walls, both their nicknames could be Crash.
Recently the Donald and the Hillary pulled into the paddock to attack their opponent’s foreign policies. Which has come as a shock to the majority of spectators who were unaware either had a foreign policy that didn’t consist on calling in air strikes on the other’s campaign. And tire irons swung at their fuel lines.
Now we’re getting to the point in this short track race where driver fatigue kicks in, and the unforced errors have begun to accumulate. Hillary Clinton said she was wrong to call half of Trump’s supporters a basket of deplorables. And she was wrong. It’s more like 63%.
Donald Trump used the Mexican president as a prop, then gave an immigration speech that spurred most of his Hispanic advisory board to resign. Although to be honest, Trump Hispanic Advisory Board sounds like Democratic Leadership Council. Trump also praised Vladimir Putin for being a strong leader with an 84% approval rating. Would be higher, but the KGB hasn’t been able to track down the other 16%. Yet.
Even the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson, got in trouble for not know what Aleppo was. Presumably he was thinking a small leopard or someone suffering from the initial stages of Hansen’s Disease.
Time is running out for all the major candidates to grab some clean air. Hillary needs to prove she’s not a robotic automaton who will do or say anything to get elected. And she intends to do that as soon as she installs a larger hard drive & updates her operating system. Pneumonia, right.
Trump knows he needs to assure the electorate he’s more than some spoiled rich guy whose diplomatic horsepower is measured in arrogant smirks; he’s even gone so far as to hire a female campaign manager to smirk for him.
The good news is the finish line is only two months away. The bad news is one of these lug nuts is going to take the checkered flag. The upside being, on November 8th, our long national nightmare will be over. Until November 9th, when the funny car race for 2020 begins. Gentlemen and ladies, prepare to start your engines.
The Laborist of Days
Poor Labor Day- the most underrated and unheralded of American holidays. It slides by almost as an afterthought in a distracted mix of resignation and dread, without a single aisle at Walgreen’s dedicated to its approach.
No explosions in the sky or specialized fowl roasting, pastel egg hunting, leprechaun poking or elaborately festooned shrubbery act as its escort. Sometimes there are organized parades, maybe a wistful swing into a swimming hole or a last ride with the top down to a disorganized picnic.
One final chance to finish off that package of cheddar Polish dogs that fell behind the crisper bin to languish at the bottom of the frig since June. Time to put the screens in storage, throw some antifreeze in your radiator and choose a hole to store your nuts, you squirrel.
Looked upon with disdain by all the big time fancy holidays, Labor Day has had to fight for respect since 1894. Too often confused with its near namesake Arbor Day, and locked in mortal combat for September Celebratory Supremacy with Talk Like a Pirate Day. (two weeks later on the 19th) Just a well-worn pair of denims in a closet full of red, white and blue sequined satin. A khaki knapsack on a shelf of Louis Vuitton toiletry kits.
One strike against Labor Day is its bookend status with Memorial Day as reversed signposts of summer; one shakes hands hello, the other waves bye-bye. As they say in Game of Thrones, “Winter is Coming” and this time they mean it. It is the harbinger of autumn and along with it, the increasing darkness. Like rooting against light.
But it’s a necessary seasonal marker without which schools wouldn’t know when to start, baseball would go on for even more forever and football refs would blow whistles but no helmeted behemoths would jog onto the gridiron. And kids would be forced to carve heirloom tomatoes for Halloween, which is just plain wrong.
As is a world where pumpkin spice does not replace lemon zest in the storerooms of coffee shops. Labor Day is the holiday spacer, without which there would be an extended blank spot and absolutely no reason to buy supermarket potato salad from the 4th of July to Halloween.
To be fair, another part of the problem is the name. Labor Day just sounds so… laborious. Like it’s going to require exertion, which no one wants to hear from a holiday; and all women who have given birth certainly cast it a dubious glance.
Perhaps we should hold a contest to rename it: Laborless Day. Labor Free Day. Freedom From Work Day. Indolence Day. Screw the Bosses Day. One Less Day of Living Day to Day Day.
We mustn’t forget the meaning of the holiday. On the First Monday of September we get to take a whole day off to honor that tiny segment of society that actually works for a living. So it’s not for everyone. Obviously those poor unfortunates employed in the world of politics are exempt.
Labor Day is a testament to all those who sweated before us fighting for our rights, and to those who will sweat after us fighting for their children’s rights. And each and every one of us in between. So, long live Labor Day, and long live the American worker. Enjoy your day.
TRUMPEAN DREAM TEAM
Any politician angling to be President of the United States has to appear believable while wearing many hats. The electorate needs to imagine him/her in a pith helmet to lead us through the jungle. A hard hat to connect to blue collar voters. A top hat to conduct formal diplomatic negotiations. A deerstalker to sift through the intrigue. And a toque to cook up some fun.
Even a branded baseball cap to protect his hair from whipping to the heavens like a sentient shrubbery signaling a secret society of Navajo fringe talkers has a certain appeal. Apparently.
Of course Donald Trump is no ordinary candidate. As can be verified by recent attempts to appear statesmanlike, which are so all over the map, his staff should be CCing Rand McNally with daily briefings from the expanding duchy of Trumpistan.
First he refuses to back down from anything he’s ever said or done, then issues a blanket apology to whomever for whatever, whenever. Following that he jettisoned a campaign manager he never paid attention to, before hiring an entirely different ministry of folks to totally ignore.
Now the GOP nominee’s position on undocumented immigrants either has changed or hasn’t and in the space of a week, he described it as both a softening and a hardening. So he’s got his rigidity spectrum pretty well covered.
The new management team seems to be turning their crabby coif almost, kind of, sort of, semi-reasonable. But even the creamiest, fluffiest, down-filled Donald Trump could still poke huge holes in democracy without swinging his elbows extra wide.
The Commander-in-Chief commands. Chiefly. Plotting not just the direction of the Ship of State but also wielding responsibility for staffing all positions including the helm, the hold and who gets to clean out the head. Chris Christie.
With victory comes the spoils and that includes choosing a cabinet, judges and over 300 other appointments that don’t require Senate approval, including commission directors, council members, national park eagle wranglers, roller coaster rail grease inspectors, swan boat concession sommeliers and shoeshine kiosk employees at the New York Port Authority. Chris Christie.
And without any experience in the public sector for us to ascertain previous proclivities, we’re forced to make educated guesses as to whom a President Trump might or might not pick for certain positions based solely on evidence observed thus far. So, let’s give it a go, shall we?
THE TRUMPEAN DREAM TEAM
Attorney General. Gary Busey.
BIZARRE SIMILARITIES BETWEEN TRUMP AND CLINTON
Our quadrennial presidential sweepstakes regularly provides textbook studies in contrast. And 2016 raises the bar in disparity. Red and blue. Left and right. Hot and cold. Up and down. Good and bad. Boy and girl. Pro and con. Loud and soft. Rain or shine. Fish and fowl. Dumb and dumber.
Perhaps the only fact that supporters of both major party candidates can agree is that differences between the two do exist. Donald Trump is a Gemini and Hillary Clinton a Scorpio. He’s 70 years old while she doesn’t turn 69 until October. And that relative youth obviously goes a long way in explaining why Millennials overwhelmingly favor her.
One is a democrat and the other a demagogue. One is a woman who has big hands and the other isn’t and doesn’t. And as Michael Bloomberg put it, one of them is not insane.
But this is America, damn it, where yeah, sure, we acknowledge our differences. After all, each and every one of us is special and unique like a baby snowflake. But this is a country that also embraces that which binds us together, and the number of bizarre similarities the Donald and the Hillary share is uncanny.
Well, they’re not quite mirror images, but considering one is a 5’ 6” career politician and one is a 6’ 2” reality TV star, there are enough peas-in-a-pod resemblances to call out the doppelganger police. Although best you ring the business office, not the emergency number.
For instance: both are Americans who live in New York, are right-handed and sport bullet-proof hair. Both treat the truth with a disdain normally reserved for Zika-infested mosquito ponds and have spouses that are beloved enablers of the tabloids. Each has five fingers on their left and right hands and should you have occasion to shake hands with either, you would be well advised to count your fingers before walking away.
Both have running mates that were they to assume the Presidency, the nation would nod off within a week. Each has the same connection to regular humans as a Lear Jet has in common with Comet kitchen cleanser. Neither can believe they are not leading the other by at least 25 points in the polls and collectively they exhibit the grace of 40-grit sandpaper with neither having the faintest notion of when to put a sock in it.
Both have unfavorable ratings higher than guard geese downwind of a marijuana field on fire. Each is fond of mangling the English language while wearing a name-brand suit. Neither is a billionaire and both are still picking the splintered bones of vanquished primary opponents from between their toes.
Both have been a pointy mote in the public eye for decades and are prone to making themselves incredibly easy targets of late night comedians. And each has problems with the new technology; one is stymied by emails, the other- addicted to tweets.
And finally, each candidate is adamant that if the other is elected on November 8th it will be a disaster not just for the nation, but the hemisphere, the planet, the solar system and the universe. And the two have united millions who believe that on this issue they both may be right.
THE AMERICAN PEOPLE
So the conventions are over and we’ve entered the penultimate stage of this presidential demolition derby and your muted murmurs of “yippee” and “hooray” have been duly noted. That’s enough, put the horns away, this is not an overly large celebration.
It took a year and a half, but the presidential field has winnowed down to the major political parties’ two anointed nominees: the Donald and the Hillary. Let us pray. And more polarizing figures could not be found with the superconducting magnet at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva.
Thus far the process has been everything but pretty or boring: vicious, petty, puerile, perverse, depraved, savage, a slapstick parody, a travesty of two mockeries of a sham with a little surrealistic burlesque thrown in for good measure.
The next three months promise more of the same on a larger scale with a smaller cast of characters. Like a daytime soap turned into a feature film. With plot twists and special effects and surprise cameos and reverse camera angles and pretty much everything but car chases. Although, with Bill Clinton involved, you can’t rule it out.
Expect multi-directional, laser-focused, cluster bomb attacks on two people whose outsized personalities make them targets the size of your proverbial side of the barn. And they will be hit. From 3 feet away. With pointy rocks.
The hardest part is figuring out which is scarier: that one of these two is going to become the next president of the United States or the American people get to decide.
Politicians echo that refrain like hyperactive crickets in the summer dusk: “It’s what the American people want.” And “Let’s see what the American people want.” Nooooo. Let’s not see what the American people want. Have we learned nothing at all from segregation and civil war and The Real Housewives of Orange County? You want to know what the American people want? We’ll tell you what the American people want.
The American People want drive-thru nickel beer night.
Striding onto the Philadelphia stage resplendent in a white pants suit like a heavenly sent business bride walking down the aisle to tie the knot with America, Chelsea’s mom jettisoned the “presumptive” and accepted the Democratic Party’s invitation to become their nominee in the 2016 race for the Presidency of the United States. And contrary to prior dire warnings, the gates of hell did not open up.
While red, white and blue balloons bounced off their heads, the crowd at the Wells Fargo Center cheered the former First Lady, former US Senator from the state of New York, former Secretary of State, former female, former human… Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton, for finally breaking the glass ceiling. Beware of falling shards.
Unfortunately, in order to accomplish this monumental achievement, the person President Obama called the most qualified to ever run for the office was forced to morph into a political cyborg, with not a organic, carbon-based bone left in her body. She’s Robo-Candidate with gears grinding so hard when she speaks, aides carry WD-40 in their backpacks.
The festivities got off to a rocky start with Bernie Sanders’ legion of supporters booing every speaker that dared mention the name of his evil vanquisher. The Bernie or Bust contingent was so harsh, when the Vermont Senator endorsed the nominee they booed HIM. That’s strict. Apparently there was a competition to see which of Bernie Sanders’ supporters was the Berniest and alas, Senator Sanders was disqualified in an early round.
The miscreants were so adamant they forced Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the DNC to step down before the convention began. She couldn’t finish speaking in front of a Florida state breakfast meeting, and when you’re booed off the stage by your own delegation, that’s not good. No, I looked it up. That’s not good.
But Michele Obama was wonderful and in case you missed her speech, wait for Melania Trump’s spin on it. Then Bill Clinton announced that Elvis had reentered the building, Joe Biden rallied the masses by using the word “malarkey” and billionaire Michael Bloomberg provided the most cogent contention of the convention, “Vote for Hillary because she’s sane.” A powerful argument that during a normal year might be convincing, “Not Insane.”
Eventually most of the rabble rousers came to the realization that sometimes you just have to go with the lying thieving cretinous toad, because it’s your lying thieving cretinous toad, as opposed to your enemies’ lying thieving cretinous toad who is teeming with scabies. And yes, both candidates might make you sick, but one will give you intestinal cramps while the other-Ebola.
So now both conventions are over and it’s time the parties get down to the important business of… raising money for the general election. And they better raise a huuuge amount because people are going to start paying attention to these electoral shenanigans real soon.
Not right away. First there’s the Olympics, and then of course, getting the kids back to school and Labor Day, then football starts and you have the baseball playoffs, but probably sometime not too long after Halloween, all of America will turn its attention to this, the most important election of our lifetime. Yes. Again.
The Republicans wrapped their four-day, multi-network infomercial with a speech from nominee Donald John Trump that ripped the wallpaper off Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena. Life in America today is dark, dangerous, dismal, dystopian, full of doom and the only light on the horizon is coming from the blinding white teeth of the Blue Collar Billionaire.
The best way to describe what went down last week is… Trumpapalooza. It was all Trump all the time. Usually, a party’s nominee is the blushing bride, only getting glimpsed at the big closing ceremony, but this bride appeared live or by video all four days and did not blush once.
He needed to fill the void of a large group of Heavy Duty Republicans who stayed home, worried about being painted by the Trump Crazy Brush, which like his hair has an exceptionally wide swath. Sen. Jeff Flake from Arizona said he didn’t go because he “had to mow the lawn.” Which is just above sorting your sock drawer in terms of sad.
Hence, organizers were forced to flood the stage with Trumps. Or is it Trumpses? The whole affair was downright Trumpalicious. When it wasn’t about Hillary, that is. Which was often. To say she wasn’t getting hit with the happy stick is like intimating that Phoenix in August might creep up past balmy.
Chris Christie was ready to persecute, prosecute, execute, play a flute and electrocute Mrs. Clinton until she, reduced to ashes, could be safely sprinkled in the Cuyahoga River. And why is it that even when addressing supporters, the New Jersey Governor sounds like he’s reading them their Miranda Rights?
Ben Carsonogenic accused Hillary of being a disciple of Lucifer. Wow. Where do you go from there? Not a lot of wiggle room left. Should she subsequently kick a puppy, does that make her even more eviler than Lucifer?
The VP pick, Mike Pence, claimed he’s not the most exciting politician and proved himself right. Next to this guy, vanilla seems exotic. And French vanilla-downright psychedelic. But he’s exactly what Trump needs. A yin for the yang. A conservative to balance the renegade. A soft green mold to muffle the spiky shards. 2% milk for the hydrochloric acid.
And there were plenty of Trumpses to go around. The first night, the third wife gave a speech, lifting large portions from Obama’s only wife. On Tuesday night the daughter of the second wife spoke along with the son of the first wife. On Wednesday the other son of the first wife waxed poetic and on the closing night the daughter of the first wife introduced the fertile and fickle man himself.
The show ended with the whole Trump clan crowding the stage including the son of the third wife, and who knows, maybe wives #1 & #2 and a couple of assorted mistresses snuck up there. The funny thing is, they’re all blonde. Even the ones that aren’t blonde are blonde if you catch my drift. It was Trumptastic. Or Trumpatrocious, depending on your point of view.
But the real star was Ted Cruz who ripped a page straight out of the Trump playbook because even though the Texas Senator got booed for not endorsing his rival, we’re still talking about him, making him the presumptive front-runner for 2020 GOP nomination. And yes, you’re right. Thinking about 2020 is dark and dismal.
Packing List for Cleveland
The national political conventions are a lot like professional wrestling. Sure, we know what's going to happen, but every four years, it's fun to see who’s throwing around chairs and getting slammed into the turnbuckle.
Each gathering offers up unique opportunities for mocking and scoffing and taunting purposes. And this Republican meeting on the banks of an eerie lake promises wacky zany antics o’plenty; like a Ringling Bros. Circus tent with all the poles chewed through by termites in the middle of a Nor’easter.
Yours truly has made arrangements to travel to both the land of Cleve and the delphia of Phil and looks forward to being embedded in the upper Midwest just in time for the Humidity Festival the way a crustacean awaits boiling water. And to clarify what we can expect, let him now share a list of indispensible items he’s taking to the first part of this summer sojourn.
PACKING LIST FOR THE 41st GOP NATIONAL CONVENTION IN CLEVELAND, OHIO.
White shoes and belt to blend in with the fashion style known as the Full Cleveland.
VEEPSTAKES 16 - Clinton EDITION
A Vice Presidential pick is a defining moment in a campaign, motivating nominees to utilize unique strategies. Some try to accentuate their heavyweight status by partnering up with less vibrant versions of themselves in what might be called the “Bad Xerox Without Any Toner” maneuver. Think… Dan Quayle.
Some pick opponents who put up distinguished fights on the primary trail even though the two get along like hot fudge sundaes and gravel rakes in the “One Plus One Equals Three” scenario. Lyndon Johnson and Al Gore fit this template.
Others look for anything semi-vertical and warm blooded, in the “Please, Somebody, Anybody, Say Yes” approach which led George McGovern to pick Sargent Shriver after his first choice was revealed to suffer from depression. Before being picked, as opposed to Shriver who was afflicted afterwards.
You have the “Game Changer” blueprint that gave us Sarah Palin and Admiral Stockdale. Who? Exactly. Then there’s the ever popular “Toughen the Kid Up by Giving Him a Taste of Satan” move, leading to Dick Cheney.
Looking Presidential is not a problem for Hillary Clinton, as she has been involved in enough high profile intrigue, chicanery and deceit to give three or four late 19th Century administrations a run for their money. After eight years as First Lady and four as Secretary of State, she could plot her way to the Oval Office from the Lincoln Bedroom blindfolded. Of course, so could some of Bill’s dates.
Hillary’s requirements are more esoteric, so let’s check out the short list of possible candidates designed to provide the former New York Senator with an edge this November.
Bernie Sanders because otherwise his legion of supporters will evaporate like pixie dust in a hard rain.
VEEPSTAKES 16 - TRUMP EDITION
Now that the presumptive nominees are set, the presidential campaign has officially entered its “begging for money like we’re raising bail for our little sister who’s being held in a Turkish prison” stage. And a pre-convention lull has descended upon the proceedings like a moist blanket of sulk. Not to be confused with the post-convention lull which will be similar but ratcheted up by a desperation factor of 4.
Both campaigns have stalled like interstate highways under construction during rush hour on a holiday weekend Friday and stumbling on any actual new news is similar to finding football cleats in the Ballet Russe dressing room.
The big discussion right now is a little something called the Veepstakes with all of Washington debating who the candidates should pick to make them more electable. You got your “top tier” list, your “short” list, and the “we’re only floating their names because they endorsed us and we need their mailing list” list.
So it’s time to play the only game in town, guessing who goes on the bottom of the bumper sticker, this week focusing on the Donald, which is tricky, because he’s insulted at least half the field of prospective suitors.
First off, old friend, Sarah Palin, because the two make such an adorable couple.
The Donzi Scheme
Donald Trump likes to brag he’s not a politician. And he’s not; he’s a hustler, a scam artist, a grifter, a modern day PT Barnum who deserves congratulations for running the ultimate con on the American people. He’s a carnie with a glob of inedible cotton candy on his head.
Financial reports filed with the Federal Election Commission reveal someone focused on the best interests of Trump Inc. rather than the country. To him, we are the designated losers in this year’s rigged edition of “Presidential Apprentice.”
In 2000 Trump told Fortune Magazine, “It’s very possible I could be the first presidential candidate to run and make money off of it.” And that’s obviously the goal. He’s got four and a half months to make as much money as possible and is full speed ahead pursuing his windfall like a kid on Halloween a half hour before curfew.
For the New York businessman, it is now, has been and always shall be, all about the Benjamins. His wife and kids are on the payroll. So is an ex-wife and a couple of contestants from “The Apprentice.” And probably John Miller, the name he used when masquerading as his own publicist
Almost a fifth of the money he spent in the month of May went to his companies, subsidiaries and properties. He billed his campaign over 400 grand for an event at the Florida resort, Mar-A-Lago. Where Trump lives. His home. Undoubtedly did that thing hospitals do by charging a hundred bucks for each ply of toilet paper. Trump branded toilet paper of course. Got to get me some of that.
Another half million went to Trump Tower, the other place he lives. He’s charging himself to sleep in his own bed. Wonder if Melania charges as well. Trump even paid himself 3 grand. Which works out to 750 bucks a week. An attempt to find out how the other 99% lives? Not likely.
Paid out four and a half million to TAG Air for private jets. And guess who the CEO of TAG Air is? That’s right. Don the Con. Some other products the campaign purchased are Trump Wine, Trump Steaks, Trump Water and we shouldn’t be surprised to discover an itemized expense for Trump luggage to carry around the Trump ego.
All that talk about self-funding was just more snake oil sold to us rubes. Another bogus plea from the Nigerian Prince of politics. He didn’t give money to his campaign, he lent it $37 million and expects to be paid back by the Republican National Committee. The man is the Florence of malfeasance.
He loans money to the Trump Campaign which spends money on his properties, then solicits contributions from wealthy donors to pay himself back the money he loaned his campaign to buy stuff from himself.
This has to be straight out of a course at Trump University. Double Dipping 101. His scampaign is nothing but a circle jerk of a shell game with the GOP as the mark. Paul Ryan has a big old X on his back that can only be seen under infrared light.
It’s the classic vulture capitalist scenario. Swoop in, grab the money, then leave everyone else to clean up the mess. A Presidential Ponzi Scheme. Or in this case… a Donzi Scheme. Bernie Madoff would be proud.
If the goal is to cause both sides of the political spectrum to quiver and twitch and shiver and shake like a raccoon clinging to the outside of a cement mixer speeding through a railroad yard, just casually throw out the term, “gun control,” and step back. The left considers all guns the reprehensible tool of warriors, criminals and primitives, while in most of red state America, the definition of gun control is using two hands and hitting the target.
Then some addled-brained, flippo-unit actually uses those techniques to take out a bunch of innocent people, and the blowback starts with a debate about how big our guns should be, further restrictions on who can purchase them and whether we need to know the identity and shoe size of the purchasers.
Yes. Indeed. You bet. We do. For crum’s sakes, you need to present identification to apply for a card to take a book out of a library. Admittedly, in the right hands, a book can be more dangerous than a gun, but they hardly ever put holes in people’s bodies that the blood leaks out of way too quick.
With increasing frequency, these body counts shoot north into double digits, which triggers a discussion of banning these high-powered, personal weapons of destruction. For a minute. Then the Republicans kowtow to the perverted wishes of their cruel masters, the NRA, which thinks the best way to avoid school shootings is to ban schools.
This same NRA commanded their lapdogs to prevent research into gun-related deaths. That’s right, Republicans have refused to allow the funding of government-related, gun-death research. Which is a shame, since America has a surplus of raw data. You could say we are dead solid center of the gun-related death universe. It’s like talking about sandwiches in Philadelphia but prohibiting any mention of the cheesesteak. As Holland is to tulips, the USA is to gun deaths.
In the wake of these horrific tragedies, conservatives then predictably go straight to the handbook of NRA generated talking points to say the same things over and over. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.” “None of this would have happened if the gay Hispanic dancers were armed.” “Assault weapons can be used as legitimate hunting rifles.”
Really? That’s your argument? Because, okay, it makes a sort of sense. You can also use a chainsaw to cut butter. Might get a little messy around muffin time. Come to think of it, a hand grenade will signal the end of recess. Doorbells can be rung with 12-pound sledgehammers. Once.
They’re called “assault weapons” for a reason. They’re not “tucking kiddies into bed” rifles. They’re for assaults. Yes, the Second Amendment guarantees a well-regulated militia the right to bear arms, but at the time our Founding Fathers were talking about citizen-soldiers wielding one-shot muskets, not terrorist-wannabees brandishing HK MG4s capable of shooting 800 .45 caliber bullets in under a minute with a range of a half a mile.
Hunting weapons? Seriously? What are you hunting? Tanks? A herd of triceratops? Can you imagine someone putting a full clip into a deer at 30 yards? You’d end up with venison jerky. In noun and verb forms. Jerky being the operative word here.
Every four years our nation’s electoral eccentricities escalate exponentially and people throw up their hands and shout, “you know, every election cycle is wacky, but especially this one.” But Especially This One! With this one, the narrative changes faster than the score of a Wiffle Ball game played with aluminum bats. It’s an election with the attention span of high-speed lint. An 18 month-long Squirrel Scamper.
First, everyone is talking about New York Values. Then, low-energy debaters. Violent rallies. Domestic terrorists. KKK endorsements. Rigged rules. Palace coups. Naked wives. Tiny hands. Pope bashing. Lucifer comparing. Internecine warfare between orange people.
And the phrase bubbling out of everyone’s lips around the political circus this week is… “get me the hell out of here.” No. No. It’s… “third party candidate.” Dark words of terror striking fear in the hearts of major party leaders, owing to a couple of dodgy characters named Ross Perot and Ralph Nader. Or as Donald Trump would call them, “losers.” Third party candidates responsible for the downfall of Al Gore and George Herbert Walker Bush; making them not just losers, but loser enablers. Losers squared.
A legitimate third party candidacy hasn’t afflicted a US election since 2000, but this time around, faced with two candidates less popular than acid rain at a paper mache sculpture garden, the fear is the populace could easily slide over to vote for less polarizing figures. And right now, an eighteen-foot alligator with irritable bowel syndrome would be less polarizing than the Donald or the Hillary.
It’s too late to get on the Texas ballot for independent runs, and other state deadlines are approaching fast, so prospective 2016 aspirants need to get their proverbial poop together. The blueprint for chaos is waiting to be writ.
The Libertarian Party is close to being on the ballot in all 50 states and has already chosen their candidate– former Republican New Mexico governor Gary Johnson. The big challenge will be to bump his poll numbers north of 15% to qualify for the October debates. Although they might be better off buying canyon acreage in Utah and waiting for it to become oceanfront property. Probably happen faster.
Neocon Bill Kristol has floated a staff writer on his National Review magazine as the true conservative alternative to Trump. Nobody knows anything about this man, David French, except he doesn’t have the chance of a toothpick in a bonfire. Of course, that’s what they said about Trump this time last year. The difference is, Trump didn’t wear a beard. But he did threaten a third party run.
The Green Party, also a guaranteed player in about 35 states, is expected to choose Dr. Jill Stein at their Convention in August, expanding the slate of possible semi-legitimate contenders to 5. Which doesn’t even bring us a tenth of the way to rolling like Venezuela, which has over 50 political parties. There’s 350 in India and many folks maintain Israel has more political parties than voters.
What the American People desire is a real choice. Not more candidates, but a ballot option that reads “None of the Above.” Of course, should that position garner the most votes, we might have to survive a vacated Oval Office. Which to many, considering the alternative, doesn’t altogether sound like that bad of an idea.
Hearty congratulations to the conservatives for a seamless transition from party-wide disgust to near unanimous endorsement of a gorilla as their presidential nominee. Considering the tortuous undulations required, this metamorphosis seems to have occurred with shockingly few chiropractic adjustments.
Having indulged in the kind of convoluted contortions that would make a carnival sideshow barker fall madly in love, the convention platform committee might want to propose a change in mascots from the elephant to an eel. One can only hope that our US Women’s Gymnastics team shows up in Rio half this limber.
It was the manner in which they accomplished their harmonious synchronicity that was inspiring. From abhorrent cringing to thoroughly immersed in about a week. Shifting straight out of “Got nothing for you,” into “Color us all-in.” Such severe 180-degree turns were executed, higher-ups would be well advised to check for whiplash.
To see how naturally the conversion to inter-species inclusion was achieved, let’s review a few quotes from those involved: “Yes, we are aware that the choice of a gorilla as a presidential candidate signals a departure from our traditional direction of trudging forward without haste, but our constituents believe this is a game changer. And if they’re game, so are we.
Like many others, we too were initially inclined to speak out against the gorilla but now recognize that a modern electorate demands new perspectives, and have come to the conclusion that there is no reason why our big tent strategy can’t include a striped circus tent.
We’re confident we have a mammal that embodies the values of our party and those he doesn’t, can be easily taught or beaten into him. Although the gorilla’s hygiene habits are problematic, along with speaking through a series of guttural grunts and chest thumping howls, it has become increasingly apparent that his anti-intellectualism reflects the mood of the country today and besides, an 800 pound gorilla sleeps wherever he wants. And he has plenty of bananas.
Frankly we were won over by his cogent arguments and ability to knock dinner plate-sized holes in walls with his fists. And yes, we party leaders may have called it a dangerous precedent when he tore the limbs off primary competitors. But in light of his streak of victories, we look forward to him doing the same to the opposition party candidate.
Though still prone to throw feces at both the media and other conservatives, he has indicated through a series of gestures interpreted by top wildlife experts as a willingness to change and we believe the sense of strength he projects and interest in his mating rituals more than make up for a little mayhem.
Notwithstanding the differences we’ve had in the past, the gorilla is our nominee, and it’s high time this party comes together to support this large primate. It is also encouraging that our excellent slate of down-ticket candidates have shown an enthusiasm for sharing a stage with the nominee and grooming each other.
We’ve had plenty of statesmen in our illustrious past, now it’s time to try an ape. And should this contest not proceed in our favor, for 2020 we’re keeping our eye on a very attractive group of potential aspirants that include 3 rattlesnakes, a rabid musk ox and a whole herd of poisonous bump-nosed lizards.”
Arrrggh! Grrrrr! The sound of many teeth gnashing. Foot stamping. Fist pounding. Heavens shouting. The soundtrack of modern life. Folks are just plain angry. Furious. Indignant. Incensed. Irate. Enraged. Outraged. In a constant state of road rage, with or without the roads. Or ‘roids.
Almost gotten to where if you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention. We’re all riled up. Infuriated on a daily basis. Everyone in this country is so darn ticked off, it’s a shock our foreheads aren’t perpetually moist from the little flecks of spittle flying out of our mouths whenever we speak.
People are angry because everybody they see around them is angry. The homeless are angry. People with lousy jobs are angry. People with four jobs are angry. Stockholders are angry. Middle class managers doing the work of four people are angry. Those other three people whose work he is doing are angry.
People paying $10 for a stadium beer are angry. Vendors are angry. Millionaire sports heroes are angry. Fans who can’t afford to watch the millionaire sports heroes or buy the $10 beers are angry. We’re all mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. Even if we’re not quite sure what “it” is.
Television is stuffed with reality shows that offer no plot other than people getting angry at each other. Professional angriers. They scream and fight and yell inappropriate things for no apparent reason. Either over nothing or something absolutely inane. All those “Housewives of …” shows should be subtitled: “Bitches Be Fighting and Shit.”
That’s why the electorate is so angry. Politicians are angry. Coal miners are angry. Oompaloompas are angry. Women are angry. Men are angry because that’s one of their defining values, but they’re also angry because women are angry. Kids are angry because their parents and grandparents and teachers are angry. Blacks and whites and greys and greens are all angry. Apparently, even the birds have gotten angry.
Ordinary people are angry because the nature of their lives is different. America’s manufacturing base has disappeared. Rich people and corporations don’t pay taxes. Employee hours and positions are cut so nobody qualifies for benefits anymore. Turns out Tom Brady is a jerk.
A few folks are angry because they feel they’ve been forgotten. Some folks have been angry for so long, they’ve forgotten why they’re angry. Some are angry about everybody else being angry. Others are angry because they think not everybody is. Although, deep down, they are.
Donald Trump is angry. Bernie Sanders is angry. John Kasich- not so much. Mitch McConnell is angry because that is his way. Hillary Clinton is angry that she still has to work for the nomination. Bill Clinton is angry because as long as everyone else is doing it, he’s determined to out angry everybody.
Jeb Bush is angry because he was the smart one. Chris Christie is hungry, which makes him angry. Ted Cruz is really angry so his supporters are really, really angry and he’s not even running anymore. Which makes them angrier.
Our elected representatives promise pie in the sky, but we end up with nothing but turd muffins. Anger is the new black. It’s like there’s a competition to see who’s the angriest. And we’re all coming in second. Which, of course, fuels the anger.
WE, WHO ARE ABOUT TO BE BEATEN
WITH THE UGLY STICK, SALUTE YOU
Oh dear. Not pretty. Yes. Already. The upcoming presidential campaign is ugly now and destined to ratchet up to epic uglier as soon as Bernie Sanders decides to bow out. Which is imminent. Not soon enough for Hillary Clinton, but not long.
The Vermont Senator has turned into that drunken cousin who hasn’t noticed he’s been the last guest for over an hour, cracking open another beer threatening to put his cigarette out in the kids’ wading pool. Starting to channel Hotel California. “You can check in any time you like, but you can never leave.”
How ugly will the race get? Think randomly-shaved, rat-terrier with a fourth premolar infection, mange and a lazy eye… ugly. Naked Sumo mud-wrestling ugly. If this campaign were a baby, you’d have to tie pork chops to its ears to get the dog to play with it. Even the rat-terrier of which earlier we spoke.
The hard part is the timing. On both sides. Has the public had its fill of Hillary bashing? She’s been taking the hits and shaking them off since first becoming a mote in the national public eye back in 1991.
You remember what Republicans said when she was First Lady. “She’s a liar, a thief, a lesbian. She cheated widows and orphans and murdered Vince Foster. With her bare hands. And then ate him.” That’s when she was First Lady.
Now, as opposition nominee, the kid gloves are coming off. “Alien Space Queen Vampire: here to suck dry our precious bodily fluids. Originally the Clintons had 3 children but sold two to a Bangkok brothel. To which Bill makes twice yearly visits.”
On the other side, if you don’t think the Clinton Machine has had at least a dozen investigators devoted to opposition research for months, you are probably extremely confused by the dampness on days when it rains. They undoubtedly have dug so deep, they know which way Trump’s small intestine turns, 30 feet in.
In his patented gracious style, Trump christened his upcoming opponent, “Crooked Hillary,” and that’s the tame end of the ugly stick. He calls it counter punching, but flick him with a fly swatter and he’ll drop your with an elephant gun. Ask any elephant.
The Aerodynamic Coif responded to accusations of his own randy behavior by calling Hillary an enabler of Bill’s infidelities. But he needs to tread carefully or risk sharing a crying towel with her 2000 US Senate opponent, Rick Lazio. Who? Exactly.
There’s two ways of looking at it. Either Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton has more baggage than the first United flight out of O’Hare after a freak spring blizzard, or there’s no meat left on her scandal bone. Like a single sardine tossed over a stone-wall into a cat sanctuary.
And conversely, it should be fairly easy to uncover evidence of the Donald’s extra-marital shenanigans and voluminous shady deals and suspicious deaths of folks who opposed him. Oh, come on. We’ve all seen Law & Order: there’s a New York developer knocking off enemies and depositing them in the foundations of soon-to-be-erected condominiums every other episode. The only difference is, with Trump’s supporters, that’s not necessarily a negative. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
LUCIFER IN THE HOUSE
One of the oddest moments in a presidential campaign filled brim-spillingly with them, is the sight of the Republican Party struggling to rally around its presumptive nominee, Donald J. Trump. Perhaps “rally” is too strong of a word. More of a depressed dawdle. A lackluster loiter. Melancholy mosey. Crematory crawl.
The party is exhibiting all the enthusiasm of a condemned man walking barefoot to the gallows up 13 steps of broken glass. Like an eight-year old forced to rip a switch off a birch tree prior to a paternal spanking. A film critic trudging through the lobby of a multiplex for a preview of the next Transformers movie.
A shame that Elizabeth Kubler-Ross died a decade ago, and can’t witness all five of her Stages of Grief being spun out at the same time. Depending on where you look, the GOP can be seen going through denial, anger, bargaining, depression and a reluctant acceptance. She could even update her classic with new stages: dejection, mortification, suicidal gloom, self-immolation and eye gouging panic.
Politicos traditionally resist change, but the way party regulars are dragging their feet on the path to partner with Trump you’d swear they were wearing cement galoshes. Encased in lead. Dragging super-gravity anvils. There’s no jumping onto this bleak bandwagon. More like slithering on surreptitiously from the shadows praying that friends and family aren’t paying attention.
A large faction of Republicans still cling to the desperate hope the New York businessman can be denied the nomination at the convention but in order to do so, different factions need to combine forces and the problem is; they don’t get along. Classic example of the hyena and lion planning to take down the elephant but becoming way too occupied trying to eat each other. From Aesop.
Ted Cruz and John Kasich’s campaigns reached a tentative agreement to clear their prospective lanes in Indiana and Oregon, but that non-aggression pact had a shorter life than a box of cupcakes in a pre-school, day-care center after a five-mile hike. Snowflakes in hell last longer. Which have now evaporated.
To double down on the fires of perdition analogy, former Speaker of the House, John Boehner, called Cruz “Lucifer in the flesh.” Which led another Republican Congressman, Peter King of New York, to argue the comparison was unfair to Lucifer. “Wave your hands in the air like you just don’t care. Lucifer in the house.” Or rather, the Senate.
Ignoring the insults, Ted Cruz attempted to shake things up by presumptively choosing a running mate, similar to a sophomore journalism student picking Adele to sing the theme song of his future prime-time, network television interview show.
The move seemed designed to match Trump’s failed businessman card and raise him a failed woman card. But alas, to say that Carly Fiorina’s slot on the ticket didn’t create a lot of buzz is like saying there weren’t a lot of sequined combat boots at the Washington Correspondents Dinner. Ms. Fiorina did to the Cruz campaign the same thing she did to Hewlett Packard. Only quicker.
To their credit though, you have to admit that both Ted Cruz and Donald Trump incite passion. Then again, so does flesh eating bacteria. With Trump, people either love him or hate him. Whereas with Cruz, the differences narrow to either hate or an intense dislike.
MAN FOR ALL REASONS
As evidenced by his hair, Donald J. Trump is pretty much wrong all the time. Every time. About everything. Except when he isn’t. One example is, should he become president, Mexico indeed will build a wall. To control our immigration. “Get me the hell out of here. Por favor?” Hell, Canada might have to build one as well. “Hey, let me in dere, ya hoser. S’il vous plait, eh?”
Donnie John is also right about America becoming more religious under his reign, because upon his election, people are going to start praying, “like you wouldn’t believe.” All over the world. The seismic shock caused by millions dropping to their knees on January 21st might crack open a chasm in the planet deep enough to swallow a few of the Seven Seas.
After being aced out by Ted Cruz for all the Colorado and Wyoming delegates, Trump flailed like a boat-bound goose trying to fly south with its feet nailed to the deck; screaming all the while about the system being rigged, and you know what, he’s right about that one too.
It’s finally sinking in, this isn’t about democracy. This is much more important: this is party politics. In an effort to keep their voices preeminent, the bigwigs have rigged and rerigged the system like a 30-year old trailer park sound system. And on the other side of the aisle, Bernie is hearing similar ugly distortions.
He’s finding the Dems have rules more shady, murky and malleable than a catfish trap in the Mississippi Delta made out of cellophane. Perhaps helps to explain why Senator Sanders eschewed becoming a Democrat until recently.
The Donald also occasionally stumbles into the lobby of the Correctomundo Hotel by embracing such a variety of stances that it wouldn’t be surprising to find Trump University offers a course that teaches the Art of the Blind Squirrel/ Nut Finding Deal.
First he supported an assault weapons ban and background checks, then turned against them. Told Larry King he was a fan of universal health care, now, not so much. The man has adopted more positions than a ballet dancer on a cruise ship. Sometimes during the same interview.
He calls his 180-degree head snapping turns “evolving.” Ever since Ronald Reagan characterized his conversion from Hollywood liberal as an “evolution,” that’s the go-to, buzz-word for politicos. People don’t change their minds anymore. They evolve. Over time. Even people who don’t believe in evolution, evolve.
Since 1999 Trump has gone from Republican to Independent to Democrat to Independent to Republican again. He’s the centrifugal candidate. Started out pro-choice, became anti-choice and now seems to be multiple-choice. And why do his supporters love him? Because he tells it like it is.
No matter what side of an issue you’re on, Trump has been there, done that. Less of a Man for all Seasons than a Man for all Reasons. A businessman too comfortable with the lesions of treasons. Whoa. Too much?
And now Paul Manafort, the shiny new senior advisor, told GOP insiders Trump is simply playing a role and will tone it down for the general election. Praying that we the voters will totally forget to play our roles of people who can’t stand him.
21ST ANNUAL POLITICAL ANIMAL AWARDS
A major silver lining in this cruelest month of April is a lull between show business awards galas: the lack of gold plated statuettes being flung about, mercifully allowing many Americans to stand upright for the first time in months. Won’t be long, however, before we once again are forced to wrap ourselves in industrial strength Saran Wrap to avoid drowning in the leakage of enough weepy insincerity to fill Olympic sized swimming pools with an unending torrent of ego-splooey.
Alas, the political realm remains bereft of a similar love fest, except the ultimate extravaganza scheduled for January 21st on the grounds of the US Capitol. So let’s give our hard working politicians the credit they so richly do or don’t deserve with some made up silliness also known as Will Durst’s 21st annual Political Animal Awards.
BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE: Hillary Clinton for her convincing portrayal of a 69 year-old grandma befuddled by her email. “Where do I put the stamp?”
Bunnies Grow Fangs
And - once again America reaches for the Tylenol after wrenching its collective back recoiling from the wacky ugliness monopolizing the presidential election primary process, but this time, it’s… the Democrats. Surprise. Surprise. Surprise.
The Mommy Party has strapped on pastel boxing gloves and started to trade blows. The punches aren’t landing and even if they did, probably wouldn’t hurt much, but it is fun to watch.
We’ve become inured to seeing Republicans tear into each other like crazed cannibalistic piranhas in a crowded aquarium laced with liquid meth, while Democrats hop around like baby rabbits playing tag in a shaded glen. With animated bluebirds whistling happy tunes circling their fluffy bunny heads.
In an effort not to muddy the general election waters too badly for whoever is the eventual nominee, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have thus far treated each other with the courtesy and respect normally practiced by librarians in schools for children with severe sound sensitivities. You’d be forgiven for thinking they’ve spent the entire campaign in slippers.
Up till now, the most heated argument between the two was who thought the GOP race more unseemly. Words might possibly have been exchanged over which NPR station played the better mandolin music. It’s an ideological battle between starry-eyed idealists and steely-eyed realists.
Bernie has gone out of his way to avoid conflict, “I’m tired of hearing about your damn emails.” Although some suspect that was because he doesn’t know what they are. To him a pager is dark sorcery. While the most frequent knock on the former First Lady is she needs to lose the “Just give me the nomination and get the hell out of my way” look.
Sanders’ youthful supporters feel the Bern because the Vermont Senator is like Santy Claus without the beard: promising universal health care, free tuition and… ponies. Everybody gets a pony. He even displayed the fire hose with which he plans to soak the rich to pay for it all. And the nozzle is huuuuuuge.
The establishment backs Hillary because she not only knows where all the bodies are buried, but how deep the knife wounds are, who put them there and in which wilderness communities US Marshals have stashed reluctant witnesses.
But now we’re approaching crunch time with the electoral circus moving to New York, and the bunnies are putting on hobnailed boots and growing fangs. The good people of Wisconsin, the Dairy State, give extra credit to candidates who hold hands and play nice. The Empire State, not so much. They demand to know you’re willing to fight for their vote and need to see evidential bruising. “You want souvenirs?” “Yes.”
Thus the brawling begins. The woman who now lives in New York says “I’m not even sure he’s a Democrat” and the man who was born there comes back with “she’s not qualified to be president.” Won’t be long before the two start posting unflattering pictures of each other’s spouses. Then talk about the size of their… hands.
The problem is, going negative holds a larger downside for the former Senator than the current Senator. For one thing, the frontrunner can’t afford to alienate Sanders’ delicate-as-a-snowflake followers, and two, if she isn’t careful, she runs the risk of being charged with elder abuse.
Go ahead, exhale a deep sigh of relief because our long national nightmare could very well be over. Yes, dear friends, Donald Trump might have bitten off more than he can chew and we may be mere moments away from combing him out of our hair for good. Then throw away the comb.
And indeed, we’ve heard this refrain a couple of hundred times already, but finally the aerodynamically coiffed real estate developer may actually have gone too far. Even for him. Which apparently is… light years far. A galaxy far far away far. Go to eternity and take a left, far.
Up to now, Trump has doubled down on his outrageous statement no matter who he insulted: Mexicans, women, Congressional Medal of Honor winners, people who prefer vinegar-based coleslaw, and it always worked out. He even got in a fight with the Pope. This Pope; the good Pope. Not the former Nazi Pope.
In January Trump even bragged he “could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot someone and I wouldn’t lose voters.” But the conceit of that remark involved the shooting of other people, and he’s since spent the time shooting himself. In the foot. And the mouth. With his small hands.
These missteps could be described as jumping the shark. Over-sprayed his tan. The follicle that broke the camel’s back. Forced to wear the wrong hat. Inadvertently fired his daughter. Whatever is a bad thing for him, he did it. Repeatedly.
In response to a Chris Mathews question about abortion at a Wisconsin Town Hall, Trump said that women who had the procedure should be punished. And immediately both the Pro-Choice and Anti-Choice movements landed on him faster than greased beach balls filled with sand slide down a ski jump. See, he does bring people together. He is a uniter, not a divider or a multiplier.
It is uncanny how consistently Mister Trump manages to annoy women. Someone on his staff needs to remind him they can vote too now. And that person should probably be somebody other than campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
Trump’s approval rating amongst America’s y-chromosome challenged citizenry is right below hot coals on your genitals and slightly above knitting needles in your ears. Suddenly, he reminds every woman in America of her first husband. Who was biologically incapable of apologizing.
His competition for the GOP nomination also attacked his make-it-up as he goes along, public-policy theories, but they’re treading a fine line here, because Republicans have been responsible for consistently carving away the edges of women’s health care. And prosecution is a logical extension of their legislation creep. Until they reach their ultimate goal of a 9 month waiting period.
Wail all they want, Trump isn’t damaging the GOP as much as he’s lifting the rocks they’ve been hiding under. Everything he says is a megaphone version of the whisper they’ve spent decades perfecting. He’s taken the dog out of dog whistle.
The question is: will this major gaffe precipitate the meltdown we’ve all been waiting for, or is The Donald truly a political cockroach able to survive anything, including a nuclear war on women? It would certainly explain the hard protective shell on the top of his head masquerading as hair. Very Kafkaesque.
TRUMP’S MAMA IS SO FAT
How low can a presidential campaign go? In 2016, the answer to that question is find a snake belly and dig. Lower than the vertical zinc mines of Atlantis. This particular crew of candidates dived so deep in their race to the bottom, the plastic iPhone cases of staffers are melting due to the heat emanating from the core of the earth.
Obviously MSNBC and Fox News are doing the Stephen Curry shimmy, luxuriating in ratings heaven, but this is a primary that even TMZ and the National Enquirer could love. Not to mention the Syfy Network, Hustler Magazine and various porn websites.
So far this election cycle has witnessed vulgar personal insults, obscene epithets, dirty tricks, the questioning of the size of a candidate’s… hands, Chris Christie and now disparaging remarks about each other’s wives. Won’t be long till we progress to booger eating and ugly children.
The recent bout of tawdriness was jump-started by an Anti-Trump super PAC ad that featured a naked Melania Trump and asked if that’s what Utah voters wanted to see in a First Lady. Presumably this question was not aimed at 13 year-old boys or the answer would have been a resounding “YEAH!”
How far we’ve come. Eleanor Roosevelt had her picture hung on library walls all over America. Melania Trump would be the first First Lady to have her picture viewed under a blanket with a flashlight. Not so much a daytime First Lady; more of a First Lady of the evening.
Donald Trump blamed Ted Cruz for the ad and warned Lying Ted he’d better be careful or the beans on Cruz’s wife would be spilled. And no, he never mentioned the exact nature of the legumes to be poured out, but presumably we’re not talking garbanzos, here.
Trump subsequently shared an image on Twitter that compared an unflattering photo of Cruz’s wife, Heidi to one of an angelic Melania. Not really fair to that small segment of society that doesn’t happen to be super models. Although Heidi Cruz is an attractive woman, she joins most of us in the category of not regularly asked to do naked photo shoots for GQ.
You’d think that would be Smear-City enough, but then all hell broke loose. The National Enquirer printed an article alleging Ted Cruz had 5 separate extra-marital affairs since coming to DC. Probably saving the bondage and STD accusations for a future issue.
What makes the story suspect is it means 5 different people were willing to be in a room alone with Ted Cruz. Which, as any colleague in the Senate could tell you- highly unlikely. Cruz responded by calling Trump a “sniveling coward” and referring to him as Sleazy Donald. So now everybody’s got a nickname.
The seamy mess promises to escalate unless participants call an immediate truce. That or the next debate might include a 10-minute segment devoted to Yo Mama jokes. “Your mama is so fat, when she wears a Polo shirt, it has a real horse on it.” “Oh yeah, well, your mama is so fat, when she lies on the beach, Greenpeace tries to push her back into the ocean.” And then, dressed as a ninja, Mitch McConnell does the only decent thing and shoots everyone. Including himself.
PLUMP GRUMPS HUMPING TO DUMP TRUMP
A single Stop Donald Trump movement first developed into a trickle but now the number of GOP groups intent on preventing the New York real estate developer from becoming their presidential nominee is about to exceed broken March Madness brackets. Thanks, Michigan State.
There’s the Never Trump Movement, the Anybody But Trump Group, Death Before Trump, Plump Grumps Humping to Dump Trump, the I’d Rather Chew Leeches Crew, People for Responsible Hair and a group opposed to anybody with UMP in their name.
Rumor has it a group of Hollywood conservatives tried to recruit Tom Hanks to team with Sally Field and create a Super Pac called Forrest Trump, whose motto would be “Don’t run, Donald, don’t run.”
As excited as Trump’s supporters are over his unorthodox candidacy, his detractors are equally if not more passionate about its necessary demise. And with incumbent Senators, other down-ticket candidates and people who just enjoy a party, the Anti-Trump Express has gotten as crowded as the last free beer bus to the game.
Chances are folks would flock onboard faster if the welcoming committee wasn’t hosted by Ted Cruz. To many Republicans, Trump versus Cruz is way beyond rock and a hard place; closer to rampaging rhinoceros and train wreck on fire.
Each rival group has separate concerns. The establishment elites are naturally wary of any candidate not beholden to their help and influence. Especially since when discussing their raison d’etre-tax cuts, Trump has been all over the map. All over a lot of maps. Not necessarily English-speaking maps.
Some worry he could permanently damage the party brand. Others disparage him as a bloated, bigoted, misogynistic, narcissistic oaf, but emphasize they are not opposed to other bloated, bigoted, misogynistic, narcissistic oafs from holding public office. Mostly a one-time thing.
What we are witnessing is no less than a fight for the soul of the Republican Party, which, is like a jurisdictional dispute over the Poetry Wing of the Federal Reserve. Wrestling for the fur of an eel.
Marco Rubio, speaking of Trump’s refusal to denounce David Duke, said, “There’s no room in the Republican Party for racists.” Wow. Knew there were a lot of them; who would of thought all the slots were full? Must be an affirmative action program. Go to Mitch McConnell’s office, take a number, wait your turn.
All sorts of strategies have been floated: manipulating the rules at a contested convention. Organizing a third party. Staging a write-in campaign. Exhuming the body of Ronald Reagan. Kidnapping the Donald then substituting Paul Ryan, John Kasich or Carol Channing. And something darkly referred to as “The Kennedy Solution.”
Activity intensified after an earlier strategy of the Anti-Trumpers backfired. Mitt Romney gave some silly sanctimonious speech patiently explaining to legions of insurrectionists why they should fall in line and take their marching orders from a loser like him. Wolves have given more charitable speeches to sheep.
What these desperate party regulars fail to realize is getting Trumpeteers to toe the establishment line is beyond futile. You’d have a better shot of herding drunken cats on ice in a hurricane. Best to think of these renegades like venomous ticks. The harder you pull, the more tenaciously they dig in.
Kind of OKAY Tuesday
It’s become painfully obvious that the term “Super Tuesday” was coined for the quantity of elections contested, not the quality of participants involved. Otherwise, we’d be forced to change the name to Kind of Okay Tuesday. Or Is It Really Necessary to be This Loud Tuesday. The Not Overtly Horrible But Don’t Be Surprised if You Get Some Pushback on That Tuesday.
It was definitely a fine night for frontrunners Donald Trump & Hillary Clinton thrusting them further out in fronter of the pack. But listening to the speeches of the also-rans, the evening also was a huge success for anyone who suited up and played the game. The overriding theme was: “It’s all going according to plan.”
No matter where a candidate finished, supporters were reassured the campaign was right on schedule. Ben Carson finished last and was totally fine with that. Seeing “no political path forward” he picked the perfect time to ditch Dodge and skip the Detroit debate two days later, which should have been rated PG-13 and might have given the honorable man a heart attack. Or two. Or more.
Marco Rubio was so excited about coming in third everywhere, it is a blessing he was fast asleep when it was announced he’d won the Minnesota caucus or he would have piddled on the podium like a Shih Tzu at the sound of the front-door-key turning.
Ted Cruz couldn’t be happier because now he’s won more than one state and is convinced that he would be anointed the logical nominee if everyone else would just get out of the way. So much easier to score once you eliminate that pesky defense.
Bernie Sanders has a plan to win the rest of the primaries. Which sounds suspiciously like a plan he should have embarked upon earlier. And Hillary finds herself almost precisely where Barack Obama was 8 years ago. The irony must be killing her. Déjà vu all over again.
Donald Trump was so content with his placement, he waved his tiny little hands at a pretend presidential press conference in front of about 100 American flags and a wall of pastel Miami Vice curtains. And Chris Christie looks thrilled to be working as Trump’s security. All he needs is a jaunty chauffer’s cap.
The only adult left in the room, Ohio Governor John Kasich proclaimed himself ecstatic he’s finished with the preliminaries and that much closer to winning the primary of his home state of Ohio. Too bad he only has one home state or he could run the table.
Because the GOP, now renamed the ABT, Anybody But Trump, needs more favorite sons before the Winner Take All primaries kick in and The Donald shoots past the 1237 delegate count needed to win the nomination on the first ballot. Signaling the end of civilization as we know it.
Even Mitt Romney is positioned to reluctantly accept a draft should Trump show up at the Cleveland Convention with less than a majority. Although probably won’t be on his knees.
It seems as if every single contender is echoing Hannibal Smith’s refrain: “I love it when a plan comes together.” Although you’d be hard pressed to convince anybody on either side of the aisle that this is the A Team.
Virgin Repair Kit
This huge brouhaha between the FBI and Apple Inc. has escalated into a Battle Royale between the righteous and the wicked. And, as often happens, both sides are claiming to be on the side of the angels. With so many good guys in attendance, it’s amazing that world-wide badness is still so pervasive. But you can’t blame television for everything.
The Feds want Apple to create specialized software in order to bypass the auto-erase feature of the San Bernardino terrorists’ iPhone. They don’t just want access to a backdoor, they want Apple to design a backdoor, construct it then hand them the only key. And snacks. They want snacks too.
It’s the age-old battle between security and privacy, safety and confidentiality, minty freshness and chocolaty richness. But once breached, there’s no going back. It’s a slope more slippery than a caffeinated eel in a bathtub full of bacon grease. No such thing as a virgin repair kit, you know.
The FBI says they only need to do this once. Yeah, right. Federal investigators in 11 other jurisdictions have already filed motions seeking access to suspects’ iPhone data. A Manhattan DA has 175 phones he wants to crack. Get ready to open a Pandora’s Box of 4th amendment violations, full of venomous snakes ready to spring out and bite us in the butt. Repeatedly.
The problem is, you let one government into your back door and every other government is going to break land-speed records to stand in line to do the same and not all of them are familiar with the concept of lubricant, if you catch my drift. Besides, no global company, not even one located in Cupertino, California, can say yes to Obama and nyet to Putin. China? North Korea? Seriously?
The FBI says we need to trust them. Isn’t this the same FBI that vowed for years they weren’t conducting illegal surveillance on Americans until it was revealed they were? And the same FBI that offered flawed testimony in thousands of court cases resulting in prosecutions, some of which led to executions? You mean that FBI? I wouldn’t trust that FBI as far as I could throw two handfuls of glue.
And the fallacy of the backdoor code remaining secure is so laughable it should be green-lighted its own sit-com on Comedy Central. The claim that nobody else would be able to get their hands on this technology is either woefully ignorant or further demonstration of an ineptitude approaching that of a Sherman tank in the upper branches of an elm tree.
The only way to guarantee security in this, the 7th year of the 2nd decade of the 21st century, is through a self-imposed sentence of solitary confinement. The term “internet privacy” is like saying “transparent cement” or “blazing snow.” Last October a 16 year old kid hacked CIA Director John Brennan’s personal email. Why doesn’t the FBI hire him?
Sides are being chosen. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg supports Apple while Bill Gates has come down on the side of the FBI. He would. And finally, supporting the FBI’s position, the walking contradiction known as Donald Trump called for a patriotic boycott of Apple in a tweet. That he sent out on his iPhone. You can't make stuff up like this.
FAQ: SCALIA’S REPLACEMENT
Q. Has the issue of Justice Antonin Scalia’s replacement on the Supreme Court turned a mite political?
Q. How long after the first Italian US Supreme Court Justice’s death did it take to get ugly?
Q. Is he alone?
Q. What about the Democrats?
Q. So we're playing Hardball here.
Q. What is the make-up of the remaining court?
Q. What was McConnell’s rationale?
Q. Didn’t the people already decide when they voted for Obama the last 2 elections?
Q. Does this mean a presidential term lasts only 3 years?
Q. Can the court function with only 8 members?
Q. Isn’t Antonin Scalia the guy who said, “The only good Constitution is a dead Constitution?”
Q. I’ll ask the questions. If Republicans stymie another Obama nominee, will it be viewed as more obstructionism?
Q. Could Obama nominate himself?
Q. Might this lead to a further breakdown in bipartisan relations?
NEW HAMPSHIRE IS FOR LOSERS
Once again New Hampshire has demonstrated it is as different from the rest of the country as the Himalayan Mountains are from Jack in the Box seasoned curly fries. Like green sand and aluminum crockpots. As Dorothy almost said after being whisked away by a tornado, “we’re not in Iowa anymore, Toto.”
While the Hawkeye State focused on winners, just eight short days later, the New Hampshire Primary was all about the losing. They don’t call it the elephant graveyard of presidential aspirations for nothing. Where marginal, delusional and occasional candidates go to die. And to infer there was plenty of political demise this time around is like insinuating that New Orleans on Mardi Gras… bustles.
In fact, the Granite State was strewn with loser debris so deep, on the way to the airport, the media had to put on galoshes to keep from stepping in the gooey remains of the various presidential campaign meltdowns. Some of which still steamed.
More losers than the Carolina Panthers’ rooting section at the Caesars Palace sports bar. Full of the same quiet sobbing as a “Divorced Husbands of Supermodels Support Group” smoking section.
Carly Fiorina was such a huge loser, she up and quit. You could say she aborted her own campaign. And has video of it kicking and screaming and this time knows where you can find a copy.
Chris Christie disproved that whole “too big to fail” theory by also waddling down the walk of shame. Because as Vince Lombardi famously told us, “quitters never win and winners never quit.” And waddlers never fly and flies never waddle. And headcheese is much better when broken into its component parts than taken as a whole.
But Governor Christie did complete his self-appointed task of riding Marco Rubio into the walls so hard it made both their heads spin. And let us dispense with this fiction that Marco Rubio was not a huge loser. Or to put it another way, let us dispense with this fiction that Marco Rubio was not a huge loser. Or to put it another way, let us dispense with this fiction that Marco Rubio was not, ah, you get the idea.
Some experts surmise that Rubio’s debate glitch was due to being so close to magnetic north and his programming should be back to normal once safely ensconced in bowels of the South. And Donald Trump must be counted as a loser, because he has to stare into the mirror 90 minutes every morning to construct that hair.
Ben Carson lost, because he came in eighth or twelfth yet continues to stump and nobody cares, but neither do they have the heart to tell him, making him… loser squared. John Kasich came in second, still making him a medium-sized loser because now he is required to slog down to South Carolina.
Even next-door neighbor Bernie Sanders lost. Not quite a Favorite Son, more like a Favorite Cranky Uncle, he reserved a place on the loserdom bandwagon by crushing Hillary Clinton by 22 points, only to discover she ends up with the same number of NH delegates when the superdelegates are factored in. They don’t call it the establishment for nothing, Senator Sanders. Who’s feeling the burn now, baby?
The great state of Iowa has a history of cultivating its topsoil for a harvest of winners the rest of the country may enjoy. Glenn Miller. Buffalo Bill Cody. George Reeves. Herbert Hoover. James Tiberius Kirk. As a side note, this may be the first time in history the word “enjoy” has been linked to Herbert Hoover.
The recent raucous caucus process is a perfect example of the Hawkeye State’s peculiar propensity for propagating the propitious. It is the Special Olympics of politics. “Thanks for playing our game. Here’s a bunch of trophies. We think everybody’s a winner.”
After the smoke cleared, small, medium and large sized winners littered the ground like mushroom spores on cowpies after a spring rain. Just eating at a Pizza Ranch was a qualification to be presented with a medal.
Of course the foremost winners were Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton because they won and that’s what winners do. But Marco Rubio was also a winner because he exceeded expectations, which in politics is considered a win. Then after the results were announced, he gave a victory speech even though he came in third, also indicative of a winner.
Donald Trump was a winner because, as he informs us over and over, Donald Trump is a winner, but he was also a loser because, he didn’t win. Hillary Clinton too was a loser because she didn’t win by enough, making Bernie Sanders a winner, even though he lost. Still with me?
Chris Christie didn’t try to win, and didn’t, so he’s a big winner, with an emphasis on the adjective. Jim Gilmore was the slimmest of winners because he got twelve, count em, twelve votes; only twelve more than either you or I got and we didn’t even go to Iowa. Making us winners for not spending the month of January wandering around coffee shops drinking de-caf.
Cubans won. Canadians won. Cuban-Canadians won. Corinthians won. Ethanol, pork tenderloins, the New York Daily News and Chris Matthews won. “Your thoughts.” Glenn Beck was a winner for hanging out with the guy who really did win. Sarah Palin, no, sorry, still not a winner, but she’s got her one winning attitude, you betcha.
Caucus-goers won by exercising their electoral muscles. John Kasich, Jeb Bush and Ben Carson won by being participants in a grand American tradition. Carly Fiorina claimed to have come in a strong seventh, which makes her a winner for even imagining such a concept.
Martin O’Malley, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum are all huge winners because they can go home and don’t have to do this anymore. But the biggest winners may be the people of Iowa since the political ads have disappeared from their radios and they can find out what their pork futures are again. And the people of New Hampshire are winners-in-waiting as the circus camps out in their yard.
One big problem: in order to spread that much winning around, sometimes its strength is diluted. Like a single scoop of peanut butter for an entire loaf of bread. Meaning that Ted Cruz should take the momentum of his win and run fast and hard, because the last 2 Republican caucus winners came in 9th & 11th this time around. Winners still, but what you call very thin wins.
HAWKEYES AND GRANITOIDS
And now the question that’s been dancing on the lips of politically concerned citizens for decades. Who’s the genius that chose Iowa and New Hampshire to be the first and most influential states in determining who becomes the next president? Probably the same guy who figured out how to bundle subprime mortgages. Or related to the brewer who invented Cold Turkey Breakfast Beer. The idiot behind pay-toilets on airplanes.
The premier production, the Iowa Caucuses, is a wild and wacky adventure that takes up an entire evening. First you find where your designated precinct gathering is being held in a school, church, library or neighbor’s house; one of more than 1680 in the state’s 99 counties on a dark February night. Which means motivating supporters to attend is an integral part of the campaign, making the promise of snacks incredibly influential.
Because the Hawkeye State is fiercely independent, the Republicans and Democrats have different rules. This will be the first year the GOP will announce a delegate count, which will be binding. Before, it was more of a “Santorum did well. Gingrich didn’t,” sort of thing.
All hell broke out last year, when Mitt Romney was declared the winner, but two weeks later it was revealed Rick Santorum had won, even though Ron Paul got the most delegates. This year, they promise more transparency. Stay tuned.
The Democrats huddle together with people who share a candidate preference. But supporters whose candidates don’t cross a viability threshold (15% or so) can either try to convince other people to join their group, or disband and hook up with a different favorite.
It’s the Tinder of electoral politics and places an emphasis on the art of hygienic schmoozing. A pleasantly odiferous group of followers holds a distinct advantage. People still talk about the delicious cookie smell that emanated from John Edwards’ supporters back in 2004.
The following week, the action moves north and east to New Hampshire. In the Granite State they are fiercely independent and proud of traditionally being the first primary since 1920. They actually have a state law that mandates they remain first in the nation, even if they have to move it to the previous year and compete with July 4th fireworks to do it.
While the Iowa Caucuses are a game of musical chairs without the music, and no chairs, the New Hampshire Primary is more straightforward. You just up and vote. The problem is who is doing the voting. Iowa is 87% white but New Hampshire is 91%. The two are as representative of the country as sushi is of Southwestern Cuisine.
Both have tiny populations and are so damn white the blue veins running down their outer thighs could be interstate roads on the map of prejudice. These guys make the Pillsbury Doughboy look like a Central American coal miner after a double-shift. We’re talking about people who need SPF 50 to protect them from moonburn. If they were any more Caucasian, they’d be translucent.
Besides, in February, climate change notwithstanding, both the Hawkeyes and the Granitoids tend to experience a little thing we call winter. Needless to say, if it were up to the journalists, the first 2 primaries would be held in Hawaii and Guam.
New Yorkie Values
To taunt his rival and sow seeds of evangelical doubt, Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz informed Donald Trump that the rest of the country was concerned about his alarming New York Values. Totally ignoring the greater danger of the real estate developer’s aerodynamic coif toppling over and knocking innocent supporters unconscious with its hard candy shell.
The jibe was designed as a sly, wink-wink, nudge-nudge attack resurrecting deeply buried stereotypes about urban areas that also managed to carry a faint whiff of racism and anti-Semitism. A dog-whistle the size of the Louisiana Purchase on steroids.
This geographic schism has been celebrated in literature for centuries and elevated to a hoary trope by politicians in order to highlight their imagined connection to real rural folk. But if Cruz is the country mouse and Trump the city mouse, a lot of people are rooting for large herds of feral cats to make a speedy entrance.
It’s an age-old rivalry. The difference between paths and sidewalks. Simplicity and glamor. Open spaces or 24-hour supermarkets. Porches versus high-rises. Red and blue. Mosquitoes and muggers. Meadows and low-fat caramel macchiatos.
But is it fair to make sweeping generalizations solely based on longitude and latitude? Well, yes, it is. So, besides New York, what other clichés and prejudices do our little minds instantly make when presented with specific locales? Glad you asked.
New Yorkie Values involve a lot of yipping and the sound of toenails scratching on linoleum.
The Real State of the Union
In his last State of the Union Address, that renowned weaver of uplifting platitudes, President Barack Obama, crocheted his constituents one final quilt of bittersweet melancholy to remember him by. Not a victory lap so much, as someone pulling his arms inside the chains preparing to dismount a swing over a crocodile pit.
According to the outgoing 44th POTUS, the state of the union is pretty much what we thought he’d think it. Good, but could be better. Moving forward with some ways to go. Could use a little paint around the edges, but otherwise in halfway decent shape. Couple of dents, but damn it, we’re the country that invented Bondo.
We remain full of promise and hope but need a concerted effort to overcome badness. We’re a country where evil IS NOT WELCOME, thank you very much. Sure, we have plenty of righteous people but unless we maintain a constant vigil, nefarious elements will overtake our agenda of goodness. And then old people will die. Which is wrong.
The things we stand for are families, jobs and health. Conditions we can do without are crime, crib death and grumpy New York developers with the cheery optimism of that grey green slime you find clinging to sunken cave ceilings. But the president is forced to speak in soaring rhetoric while the rest of us long for specific proposals. We here at Durstco are here to help. Here’s a couple of tiny tweaks guaranteed to raise our quality of life.
Our union’s state would rise significantly if we could convince TV weather forecasters to just tell us what tomorrow’s temperature will be and stop teasing us with upcoming storm factor numbers and wind chill warnings at every break.
Politicians vowing to make English America’s official language should first sign a pledge to sell themselves exclusively to domestic lobbyists.
Can we stop the obsession with unicorns already; until these Silicon Valley companies show at least one quarter of profit? Not every crayon refrigerator drawing is a Picasso, and neither is every stupid app the next Instagram.
It would really be helpful if this country’s bloated billionaires would stop blaming all our problems on the poor. Ditto with sons of immigrants complaining about immigration.
From now on, in restaurants, any diner is allowed to chastise misbehaving children.
Here’s a tip: before trying to crowd onto an elevator, let people get off the elevator.
Never serve flavored coffee to a real coffee drinker, unless you want your shirt to smell like Hazlenut.
The quality of life in the US and around the world will be strengthened immeasurably once Selfie Sticks are outlawed.
Turn signals are the “please,” “thank you,” and “you’re welcome” of the road.
How bout a 2 month embargo on “Frozen?”
America needs to rebuild our jobs base before we end up with an economy based on people delivering virtual pizzas to one another.
We may be a little depressed right now, but hey, it’s January and nothing we can’t bounce back from now that “Downton Abbey” has returned and “The X Files” is only a couple weeks away.
And finally, the real state of the union will be fine if people would just leave it alone. As our mothers used to say, “Don’t pick at it.”
At the beginning of a new year, cultures all over the world traditionally perform peculiar ceremonies meant to wipe the slate clean and start afresh. The Chinese hide knives to ward off danger. In Denmark, old dishes are thrown at front doors to symbolize the collection of new friends. Spanish residents eat 12 grapes, one at each stroke of the clock to promote good fortune. And in the Durst household, we percolate sardonically cynical predictions for the upcoming 12 months.
This is to symbolize the perpetuation of a career predicated on mocking and scoffing and taunting. But with taste. So here are Durstco’s predictions for the year 2016. In the spirit of recycling and promoting a zero-waste policy, please cherry-pick your favorites and dump the rest into the laps of worthy acquaintances.
After dropping out of the Presidential race, Chris Christie hits the talk show circuit to publicize his celebrity diet book but is turned down by everyone except a podcast in Calabasas.
In an attempt to expand its popularity, ISIS will merge with Alcoholics Anonymous, the American Automobile Association and the American Association of Retired Persons to form ISISAAAAAAARP and then facilitate senior citizens driving soberly to suicide bombings.
Exxon will develop a way to block out the sun and then make a big move into solar energy.
Disney enters negotiations to purchase Tibetan Buddhism with the aim of starring a rambunctious Little Buddha in his own Saturday morning cartoon.
At the next GOP debate, Carly Fiorina smiles so hard, all the other participants on the dais recoil at the sound of her enamel cracking. Her face will then freeze like that.
In Dallas, Texas, a benefit held to establish the Ethan Couch Affluenza Support Group raises one dollar.
After a heckler at the Masters Tournament shouts from the edge of the 12th green, “Give it up Grandpa,” Tiger Woods chases him with a putter, trips and falls into Rae’s Creek.
Taking his personal quest for wholeness to the next level, Vladimir Putin enters Jungian analysis and releases an award winning series of children’s books. He also takes up pipe-smoking.
Rents in San Francisco climb so high, members of the middle class are forced to inhabit tree houses in Golden Gate Park.
No matter who wins the Presidency, Bill Clinton actively campaigns to get appointed Ambassador to Sweden.
Air travel will devolve to the point that certain discount tickets require pedaling.
During a stump speech in Concord, New Hampshire, Donald Trump’s hat will fly off and his hair will be wind-whipped into the shape of a sail whisking him airborne into the parking lot of a Montpelier, Vermont public library.
Congress fixes Social Security by raising the retirement age to 83.
New York Senator Chuck Schumer becomes the go-to guy in the Democratic Caucus after it is revealed that Harry Reid died months ago.
The NFL will lobby the Catholic Church to celebrate mass on Monday mornings in order not to interfere with football ratings.
Minnesota Department of Game officials call off the hunt for whoever shot the lion-killing dentist, Walter Palmer, with a bow and arrow.
The Chicago Cubs lose game 7 of the World Series when a lightning bolt strikes Ben Zobrist ten feet from home as he attempts to score the tying run.
The New York Times says Emmy-nominated comedian and writer Will Durst “is quite possibly the best political satirist working in the country today.” Check out his website: willdurst.com, to find out about upcoming stand-up performances.