Here is a real thing that is happening right now: Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are taking turns threatening each other on Twitter. Wives are their weapon of choice. American politics is a tire fire on a garbage barge that has been baking in the sun for several weeks.
This started earlier this week, when Cruz supporters – but, because the Supreme Court is staffed with mendacious schemers who insist that they themselves cannot imagine a scenario in which political coordination could possibly occur, people that are not technically Cruz’s – decided it would be an overwhelmingly good idea to drag Trump’s wife Melania into this Tuesday’s primaries, especially in prudish Utah. The thinking is that repressed Mormons would be so horrified at the idea of Trump’s wife having once been naked somewhere that they would flee his candidacy and sprint headlong into Cruz’s waiting arms. This then was the chosen attack:
Anyway, in case you were worried that there had been some sort of coordination between Cruz and whomever it was that authorized this advertisement, rest assure that there was absolutely none, which we know because it is printed in tiny letters there at the bottom of the poster. It reads, “Paid for by Make America Awesome. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee.” So banish that any thought of coordination from your mind forthwith.*
But to Trump – and, really, anybody capable of breathing – this was at best an attack upon him using his wife as a weapon, and because Donald Trump is absolutely incapable of anything less than going straight to eleven, he responded this evening with this:
The mind boggles at many aspects of this, including Cruz (or, ahem, Cruz’s supporters who absolutely are not coordinating with Cruz because they said so on their poster) voluntarily sprinting into a trap that should have been familiar to him. After all, several months ago at a debate, Cruz tried to idiotically score points by insisting that Trump represented New York values, which was all the opening Trump needed to defend New York values as the ones that endured the horrors of 9/11. Here, we have Cruz (or, ahem, Cruz’s supporters) going after Trump’s wife, as if Trump would simply take the attack lying down, and as if Trump’s supporters would be more horrified by Trump’s response if he chose to give one. Because if Trump’s supporters have been anything, it is that they have been constantly undone by their fearless leader’s bombastic trolling.
Incidentally, one theory about Trump’s “beans” is that they have something to do with a manic-depressive episode that Cruz’s wife Heidi had in the mid-2000’s. Or, maybe it’s something else. Maybe Heidi kills hobos for sport. Who knows. But rather than do the obvious thing – decry the posters as out of bounds per the alleged rules of political warfare, rules which he himself insisted upon when his own family was allegedly criticized via a political cartoon – Cruz decided that another approach made more sense:
Recognize that there are so many things that Cruz could have done here. He could have written, “I was outraged about the poster, I denounce it, and I look forward to defeating you without us bringing our wives into it” for example. He could have written, “I have long argued that families should be out of bounds, except for Michelle Obama, because I hate her, so let’s keep it clean!” Instead, he decided simply to imply that there exists some sort of distance between himself and the poster without denouncing it, that similar attacks upon his own wife were simply beyond the pale, and then called Trump a coward while simultaneously refusing to criticize an attack on Trump’s wife because he was not (allegedly) directly responsible for it. Because that is going to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back: calling the other man a coward for doing the exact same thing that he is doing. He might as well have said, “I am a great big hypocrite in every imaginable way.”
These are truly profiles in courage.
Earlier, I wrote that American politics was a tire fire on a garbage barge that has spent several weeks baking in the sun. This was a tragic mistake. I left out the part about the tires being filled with rotting meat, and that beneath the tires, there is a pile of wet gym socks, and that beneath those socks is a pair of even wetter gym socks.
*For the record, Make America Awesome was a general anti-Trump PAC before it got into the specific business of backing Ted Cruz, so perhaps there exists the scantest bit of plausible deniability between the PAC and Cruz’s campaign. Except that I don’t believe for a minute that these political organizations aren’t routinely talking to one another. So, maybe, but no.