In previous campaigns, at least in the last, say, 70 years, presidential candidates were expected to conduct themselves with decorum – at least until they got into office. Once in the White House, Bill Clinton got down on the carpet in the Oval Office with Monica Lewinsky.
This election cycle, Donald Trump has changed the Rules of Engagement. Once he took the stage, the Donald ROEs stated that no other candidate was permitted to attack him. If they did have the temerity to attack him – whether on a political issue, his past, or his character – the gloves would come off and he would transform in to Donald “Sewer Pipe” Trump and flush his opponents down the toilet.
What’s more, they dare not meet him on his level.
Trump’s supporters laughed as he tore apart the other candidates, slurring them with sexual double entendres, slashing them with insults, denying their accusations (even to threatening libel lawsuits), and telling them when to be silent, as though he were the moderator, not an equal candidate for office.
The Media – even Fox News – allowed his antics to pass. He was the charming, naughty first-born child they simply couldn’t (or didn’t dare to) scold. They played and replayed and replayed all his most obnoxious moments, to the delight of his audiences. He held town hall meetings and press conferences which Fox News and the other media dutifully attended.
More airtime for Donald, without having to pay for it. He claims that he doesn’t need donations; that he is spending his own money on his campaign. For what? He has a troupe of star-struck devotees who volunteer to cheer at his rallies and make phone calls on his behalf. Perhaps it’s to “donate” to evangelical charities? Community organizations? Congressmen and Senators?
He insults one candidate with a fairly profane insult and passes it off as confusion with another word, even as one reviews the video of the debate and he see him squinting his eyes slyly as his followers chuckle at the in-joke. The Media takes him at his word. The insulted candidate returns fire and the Media accuses him of lowering himself and reminding him that “he’s no Donald Trump. He doesn’t have the personality to carry it off.”
Our fighting forces right this minute are struggling under Rules of Engagement that prevent them from returning real fire even if the enemy has fired upon them first unless JAG (military lawyers) first approve the action. If any civilians – especially children – are present, if they’re hiding in a mosque, if they’re hiding in a private home, if they’re wearing civilian clothes, the soldiers must hold fire, even at the risk of their own lives.
It’s not only dangerous, but unfair to our fighting men and women. Yet those are the ROEs. Any soldier who defies the Rules of Engagement will face court-martial.
Parents also tend to employ Rules of Engagement with multiple children. The favorite child – usually, but not always the eldest or male, is given preference. Perhaps they assume it is because the older child knows better than to fight that the younger children are prevented even from fighting back. It’s not nice. It’s not polite. The older child is bigger than they are and can’t win anyway; the younger child will only get hurt.
That’s the way it was in my household growing up. My older brother could get away with any manner of teasing (he wasn’t allowed to use physical violence on me, though it was overlooked when he’d hit my younger brother. Boys will be boys, and all that). Being The Girl, they weren’t allowed to hit me and I wasn’t allowed to fight back, certainly not physically, but not even verbally.
One day, my feisty nature got the better of me. My older brother teased me once too often and I commenced swinging at him. Being larger, taller, and longer of arm, he easily planted one hand on my head to hold me off. Undeterred, I kept swinging fiercely, my brows knit and my little arms swatting at the space between me and his belly.
Finally, he appealed to my parents to put a stop to my bothersome mosquito attack, as he called it. They turned their attention to us and told me to stop. I kept swinging anyway. Finally, a second, louder order from my father put a stop to my attempts at vengeance.
In the same paternal manner, many Conservative and Media luminaries are calling for Marco Rubio to cease and desist in his return attacks on Donald Trump. They tell him that it’s beneath him. That this isn’t the way things are done. That he’s “no Donald Trump.” That it’s not going to work for him.
What is going to work for Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz? Standing like schoolboys with their hands folded on their podiums while the rougher Trump works them over? They have both tried to appeal to the better natures of American citizens, citing the U.S. Constitution, freedom, liberty and concern for the average American.
Well, it hasn’t worked, has it? Rubio should keep up the good work. Bullies don’t go away when you meet their violence with peace. That may work in the Bible. Actually, it didn’t work out so well for Jesus. He was crucified. He knew human nature. He knew was going to be crucified and said so.
Why should we have one set of rules for Donald Trump and another for the rest of the candidates? Why should we tie their hands? So Donald Trump can more easily batter them? Or do we let them loose and defend themselves in kind? That’s what is meant by the Laws of the Street. It isn’t nice. It isn’t civilized. It just is.
Some have blamed Rubio for the new grade-school level of the political debate in general. Back when I first started writing for the Public Relations Department of my former employer, I wrote an article and sent it on to the editor. He sent it back to me for a rewrite.
“What’s wrong with it?” I asked.
“You’re using too many big words,” he replied. I don’t recall the words now. But they would have been something like, oh, “jeopardy” or “perpetrate.”
“You’re kidding?” I said. “Those are just ordinary words. It’s not “arrogate” or “impecunious”.
“Well, those may be ordinary words to you; you’re a college graduate, an English major,” he said. “But our employees read at about the 4th Grade level.”
“Fourth grade!?” I exclaimed. “You want me to write like a 4th grader!?”
“Well, at least try for sixth grade.”
I’m fluent enough in the English language. I’m not professor. My vocabulary is, at best I think, adequate to communicate my intention. On the fly, I’m likely to reach for the lower hanging fruit. If it’s a piece I’ve contemplated for a while, my vocabulary can (occasionally) reach up to college level. The higher you go, the fewer people will understand you, though.
I’m decently well-read. I wasn’t when I entered college the first time. I preferred being out in the sunshine (which I desperately needed) to being inside reading. Eventually, I “evolved” and wanted to learn what other people thought, especially about history and politics.
I’ve nearly completed my “complete” study of literature. At the moment, I’m chewing on “War and Peace”. It’s long. But so were “Les Miserables” and “Don Quixote,” the latter of which I found more difficult to follow than W&P (so far).
Still, when it comes to Twitterfare, given the limited number of characters, I understand the need for brevity and short words. I’m a veteran of AOL’s War on Terror chatroom. The WOT was a far greater challenge than Twitter. You had to be quick and attentive to keep up and be able to respond instantly. I loved it.
Alas, eventually I could no longer afford the subscription to AOL. But Twitter is a suitable, if not as challenging substitute.
I would gladly advise Marco Rubio to keep on fighting the Donald; keep on fighting him until he yells “Uncle!” It won’t be easy; fighting Donald is rather like wrestling with an alligator, an old, thick-skinned gruff alligator. Being from Florida, I’m sure Marco can appreciate that analogy.
Don’t listen to people like David Limbaugh. They’re old maids in britches, as the saying goes. They nervously worry that the sky is falling, that the GOP is failing, that the Second Coming is coming. To the first, the sky has been falling since Henny Penny. To the second, if the GOP is failing, good riddance to it and all the Old Maid Moderates clucking under its tent.
As to the last, if the Second Coming is coming, and you’re a faithful Christian, what are you worried about? You ought to be glad. Only Jesus Himself could straighten out this rotten, corrupted mess we call our government and our world. Yuck. The Second Coming? The Rapture? Bring it on. Please!
On Drudge Report this morning, there was a news item about some 20,000 Massachusetts voters defecting from the Democrat Party to vote as Independents – some as Republicans – in order to vote for Donald Trump.
If Marco Rubio isn’t Donald Trump, Donald Trump is not Ronald Reagan. Massachusetts is the bluest state in the union. If these voters have scarcely a single Republican (let us not even talk about Conservatives) in their state legislature (I don’t know what the exact number is), why would they turn around and vote for a Republican president, whose ideology is unknown, at best.
They are crossover voters. We’ve seen them before. This wouldn’t be the first Republican presidential primary they’ve managed to upset. Ted Cruz was campaigning yesterday on the strong possibility of an upcoming New York Times article that will out The Donald as a Republican turncoat.
Last summer, the New York Times bragged about it. They said the article would not be released until after the GOP Convention. We don’t need a headline from the New York Times to tell us that; Donald himself warned us, in a smartphone video at a rally (which has since vanished) that “President Trump will not be Candidate Trump” and that he’ll be making deals.
“That’s what I do,” he said, at some point. “I make deals. I wrote a book about it.”
If I’d once considered Trump as a Plan B, in case things didn’t work out with Ted Cruz, that statement finished Trump off as far as I was concerned. Yet even my beloved Tea Party has not seemed to get the message, from Trump himself, who has stated that he’ll welcome Democrats, Independents, anyone to vote for him.
He’ll make deals (he won’t have much choice, at any rate, with the Congress that’s in place right now). Doesn’t anyone else remember the Tea Parties? Don’t they remember what they said, what we said? That we were fed up with a Country Club Congress that immediately went back on its campaign promises and shook hands across the aisle to pass TARP, to support Amnesty, to fail to repeal Obamacare, to raise the debt ceiling, which would allow the government to continue spending the nation into oblivion?
The Democrats wanted to raise that debt ceiling, but didn’t have the votes to succeed; they needed five Republicans on their side to put the bill into motion. The motion was to lower the vote threshold so the Democrats could get the bill through. The bill would pass, but with all the Senate Republicans voting “no.” In other words, the Republicans would enable the Democrats to pass the bill without, seemingly, having to take any of the political heat for it.
We were being cheated by our own party. Only Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee refused to go along and they were accused of “obstructionism” by Senators on both sides of the aisle and by the Media, even supposedly “Conservative” financial pundits.
Ted Cruz was branded a trouble-maker; someone Donald Trump mocks as a politician whom no one else likes. Donald? Why, he’ll get along with everyone. He bought and sold politicians as a businessman. He’ll just continue to buy and sell them – using political favors and nominations, perhaps, rather than money – just as he did as a businessman. He admitted it, right on the stage at the first debate.
Donald Trump’s followers mocked him as being a high school debater, that is, a nebbish, a nerdy sort of bookworm. Cruz is a graduate of Princeton and Harvard, not Trump University. He’s extremely well-versed on the Constitution and the books that back it up, The Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist papers. As a Harvard grad, he would have to be familiar with the U.S. Legal Code. Divided into sections called “Titles”, it deals with over 3,000 cited crimes. The Tax Code alone (Title 26) is twice the length of the King James Bible and Shakespeare’s entire portfolio combined. There are currently 52 titles, with three more proposed (Small Business, Wildlife, and Environment).
Words, words, words, you’re so sick of words? Well, those millions and millions of words regulate just about every phase of our lives, with millions more to come. Many of those words have been written not by Congress, but by regulatory agencies via the President and his cabinet.
Donald Trump has no problem with that. He’s like some ancient Roman emperor (just like Obama). He’s not going to read those words; he’ll just appoint someone to read them for him. He has a huge team of lawyers already to manage his vast empire of real estate and business holdings.
Ted Cruz, as president, would try to tame that beast we call “bureaucracy.” He’d have the power to do so. He would bring the government and the Code of Law of the United States more into line with the intent of the U.S. Constitution – limiting the size and scope of the costly government.
That makes many people in Washington, D.C., nervous. They like things the way they are. As Tea Party activists, we said we didn’t. Now that the rubber must meet the road, do we still mean what we said back then? Because it sure doesn’t sound like it.
Are we going back on our word, just the way the politicians we reviled did in 2009? Because a vote for Donald Trump, rather than a true Constitutionalist, Ted Cruz, is a sure sign that we are; that we’re going along to get along; that we’ve been chastened by Moderate Republicans and the Media; because a foul-mouthed, nasty bully of a television celebrity has browbeaten us into silence, even in the face of his own admitted (and supposedly about-to-be-revealed) perfidy.
The shame will be on us.
This post was at the 7th grade reading level. Since proofing and editing it, it’s gone down to the end of the 6th Grade. Is that low enough for all of you to understand?