Monday, July 20, 2015
Has the Trumpster gone too far this time in besmirching the character of Senator John McCain? It remains to be seen, but Mackie is not a favorite among the Teabaggers, so I'm sure Donald's words resonated with his Iowa audience.
The Bush campaign similarly discredited McCain's and Kerry's war records in 2000 and 2004. For Rove, the mastermind behind these two campaigns, it was a desperate gesture to keep Mackie at bay in 2000, and undermine Kerry's Vietnam War record in 2004. For Trump it all seems to be part of a game he is playing, stirring unrest among the "crazies," as Mackie called a Phoenix audience that vociferously supported the Donald in one of his campaign speeches.
The Human Hair Piece has gone after McCain on numerous occasions. It seems part of a strategy to play off all the frustration and anger in the base of the GOP, which feels it has been shortchanged by its leaders. There was a failed attempt to "teabag" McCain in 2010 in his last Senate re-election bid. Apparently, it emboldened the 78-year-old Senator to run for yet another term. He's been in office since 1987.
While most Republicans are tired of Mackie, they don't doubt his military bonafides. Even Democrats stay clear of this subject, as we saw in 2008 when Gen. Wesley Clark, who had endorsed Obama, questioned McCain's military record. Obama subsequently dropped Clark. Veterans are usually given a free ride, especially those who were prisoners of war.
The Donald doesn't believe in free rides and wants to see McCain out of Washington, along with just about everyone else. He hasn't shown any respect for anyone on the campaign trail, dumping on his opponents every chance he gets, notably Rick Perry who he called "dumb" and a failed governor. In Donald's mind, he is the only one with the intelligence necessary to be the chief executive of this country and everyone else is just a stand-in for the failed policies in Washington. Little wonder his message resonates among the base of the GOP, who thinks pretty much the same.
But, attacking veterans of any stripe is considered taboo, especially when you have no military record of your own. This doesn't stop the Donald though, who feels he has done more for veterans than anyone else. He even had a military color guard at his third wedding.
In an odd way, Trump reminds me a little of a New Yorker from long ago, Aaron Burr, who openly defied the government and allegedly threatened to set up an independent government in the northern Mexican territories, which we later came to know as Texas, Arizona and New Mexico. The Burr Conspiracy haunted Thomas Jefferson. So much so, that the President ordered the arrest of his former Vice-President and made him face trial.
Trump similarly seems to be trying to get into the heads of his foes, drawing them out into the open where he hopes to expose them as frauds. When Bill Maher did the same to him four years ago, the Donald was none too happy being compared to an orangutan. Trump actually produced his short-form birth certificate to prove he was legitimately human and sued Maher for not giving $5 million to charity as he promised to do. Maher had a field day with this stunt, which took Donald a while to live down.
I would suggest to Trump's opponents to adopt similar tactics, as all they are doing right now is playing into his game. You can't take a guy like this seriously. You have to go after him Bill Maher style, as that is what truly ruffles his overgrown mop of hair perched all too carefully atop his head.