When I was in eighth grade, a school administrator punished me for some transgression by handing me a putty knife and ordering me to scrape gum off the undersides of the lunchroom tables after school. That probably wouldn’t happen today for fear of injury, disease transmission or lawsuits.
There were many tables in the lunchroom, so I asked my tormenter if she expected me to scrape the gum off every one of them or a set number. She considered that for a moment and then asked me to bring 30 separate blobs of gum to her in a bag, at which point she’d consider my sentence completed.
I approached last night’s Republican town hall in the same spirit in which I tackled the gum-scraping job so many years ago. And just as the dean of girls counted each blob of gum before setting me free, I’ve considered each nugget that fell from the lips of the three candidates last night before identifying the choicest for your consideration. Don’t thank me; it’s just something I do.
Anyhoo, the thing that seems to be getting the most play in the post-town hall media analysis is that all three candidates walked back their earlier pledges to support the eventual nominee. I found that neither surprising nor remarkable. But Trump’s flailing on a simple question from an audience member was revealing:
If you can’t watch the video, there’s a transcript of this particular exchange at the wingnut Free Bacon rag. To summarize, Trump is asked to name the top three functions of the US government, and he says “security, security, security” and then adds healthcare, education and housing to round it out, which of course flies in the face of wingnut orthodoxy about the proper role of government.
Anderson Cooper does feebly attempt to pin Trump down on how the federal government comes into play on these issues, but Trump just sprays pre-chewed talking points (“Obamacare is a disaster,” etc.) and mostly gets away with that. He bullshits his way through his ill-considered initial response mostly successfully, I guess, because his heresy hasn’t made many headlines.
Well, not so far, anyway: Maybe Trump’s opponents will yet make an issue of this if they recognize Trump’s ramblings as a metaphorical putty knife they can use to scrape a particularly stubborn and obnoxious orange gum blob off the Table of Conservatism.
But what in the actual fuck was Trump trying to say? I don’t think even he knows. He has no clue how the federal government operates, but he wants the personal validation of being elected as its head. And if Trump has set his sights on Lady Liberty as his next trophy wife,* who are you losers to deny him his prize? It’s really that simple.
*Metaphor borrowed from Colbert, I think.