Monday, December 14, 2015

Who will be crowned king of the trolls?

        Charles Barkley calls Twitter "a place where fools go to feel important."

He's talking about you, Donald.

         You've built a fool's paradise, constructed in planks of 140 words or less. Like many who find that kind of fame salutary, your ambitions are destined to go no further than that.

It is somehow newsworthy that Donald Trump has stirred roughly 11 percent of our citizens into a frothy lather (support from 28 percent of Republicans polled, with Republicans representing about 40 percent of us).

The only way this is of any electoral significance is in the media's absurd horse-race fixation with polls. With what Trump has been saying, more likely that Charles Barkley will ascend to the White House, and I mean by a lot.

True: Trump has more people on his side nationwide than his Republican competitors. Ted Cruz? A whopping 7 percent of Americans in general. Ben Carson and Marco Rubio? Maybe 6 percent apiece. What dazzling phenomena they are.

With what they've been saying, all seem to have an equal chance of being president: zero.

These players are fighting with all their might to be the favorite of the right-most fringe of the political spectrum. Winning that battle won't make any of them president. But one can be crowned king of the trolls.

Let's face it, though. In the land of Twitter, a troll can live like a king.

We are left to wonder at this point if any of the above actually has the GOP nomination as his objective. Or is this simply about some traveling trophy for a one-upmanship fest in idiocy?

Trump says he'd block all Muslims from entrance.

Cruz says he'd carpet-bomb a whole region.

Carson rejects anything science says except his own.

Rubio will second that, except that he begs off because he's no scientist. But then, what do they know anyway?

Today's GOP field reminds one of the wall of one-liners on "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In." Americans tuned in weekly for the predictably lame and generally nonsensical banter. Let's just say we were bored then.

A trademark line about the festivities each week on that show came from Arte Johnson, wearing a German helmet: "Veeery interesting, but stoopid."

Stupid? Is that an unfair portrait of thoughtful discourse? Well, Charles Krauthammer calls Trump's racist screeds "strategically idiotic" and ruefully exclaims that whatever becomes of Trump politically, his claims are "indelibly affecting both this race and the Republican future."

By "affecting," Krauthammer means, "fitting the party with leg irons."

Meanwhile, we are told Cruz has surged in Iowa. That's a big deal. Iowa is where the victorious campaigns of Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann and Pat Robertson all took flight.

Cruz, a man reviled even by Republican counterparts in the Senate, is headed – behold, a shooting star -- for the pantheon inhabited by other hard-right flameouts.

We speak of a hall inhabited by presidential aspirants Pat Buchanan, George Wallace and Strom Thurmond.

But whereas these busts are recognized in this shrine with busts alone, a whole veranda is being reserved for Trump. He would have it no other way.

For all of his life, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been a man of measured words. So, too, with his new role as essayist for Time magazine. However, regarding Trump's candidacy, he is, um, blunt.

Trump, he writes, employs "a cynical strategy of using misinformation, half-truths and deception in order to gain access to a position that should only be held by those who would be repulsed by that strategy."

Electing Trump, he adds, "would be like asking the clown at a child's birthday party to start juggling chainsaws."

Very interesting. But stupid.

Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email:


brother Mike said...

Thanks John. It's easy to lose perspective, when we're bombarded with chatter about Trump and his kind.

John Young said...

Yes, unless it's snowing, the news has no news anymore except what it can find on the Twitter feed.