GROUND RULES FOR DONALD TRUMP COMMENTARY

Aquarian Weekly
1/25/17

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

GROUND RULES FOR DONALD TRUMP COMMENTARY
A Template for “Covering” a Weird Presidency

You can’t argue with crazy.
– Doc Slater

As one can imagine, I have been getting a bevy of advice on what I should be writing or how I should be dealing with the emergence of this thing called Donald Trump. And I do not use “thing” pejoratively, although it can be taken as such, because no one knows what the hell to expect from the 45th president of the United States. Funny thing is this edict also applies to those who voted for him, and, quite frankly, Donald Trump himself. He is a complete unknown. He has never spent ten seconds in the service known as civil. He has cast nary a vote, dealt in any way with a civic budget, certainly has not commandeered an army or run a state or a county or district. There is no track record beyond his infamously obligatory, “Believe me…” or “Trust me…” Even Trump’s spotty and controversial business ventures are a complete mystery.

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This ambiguity also has a daily spin to it, as Trump tends to not only contradict his own comments day-to-day, but sometimes within the same sentence. If someone can figure out if he is pitching universal health care or not through several interviews over just this past week you win a prize.

But there will be plenty of time to dissect our bizarre journey into darkness. What we are going to deal with first is how this space will conduct itself for the foreseeable future.

Here is what I will not do here: There will be no “What the hell is he doing?” or “You can’t do that!” or certainly any “It’s completely insane and no one has ever…” editorializing here. The assumption will always be that – judging from everything Trump has said and done for the entirety of his public life all the way through his campaign – what you are seeing and about to see is going to be, or appear to be insane, stupid and completely outlandish compared to any and all examples of the past, regardless of your support or opposition to him.

Trump has no idea what the fuck he is doing and this is precisely why Trump was elected: He is not like everything else. Talk to any Trump voter, even those who held their noses because they despised Hillary Clinton, and they will tell you this: “We are tired of politicians and we don’t care if Trump appears nuts or childish or boorish or misogynist or racist, we want someone who is not affiliated with any ideology to blow the whole friggin’ thing to smithereens!”

Now this should be taken with a caveat: What people don’t know about how government works you could barely shoe-horn into the Grand Canyon. So there is an excellent chance these Trump supporters will be surprised at how this whole thing can go sideways. This may not change the bulk of his core support, for they will merely defend anything he does or says to not look like they voted for a moron. This is how these things go; supporters make excuses for their choice and those who are against him will accuse him of everything from bad weather to bad hair days. Not even the presence of a Reality TV guy is going to change that.

So there will be no pointing out “crazy”. Crazy is what people wanted. Let’s see where crazy gets them. Or at least gets the people in the Rust Belt, who ultimately made Donald Trump president.

As stated in our quick post-election “analysis”, which went from “What the…?” to “Okay…sure”, we pointed out that if not for Hillary Clinton coughing up Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio, she and not “the crazy” would be running things. And what that tells us is that this will be the aim of this space going forward. Forget “The Wall” (although for fun I might be inclined, if a member of the White House press corps, to ask the president every day when that promised check from Mexico is forthcoming) and the other unconstitutional Wizard of Ozian nonsense Trump garbled to the gullible, this is what he needs to do as president to be successful: Bring back the millions of jobs this country has seen go the way of technology and progress since the 1980s and especially the advent of the Internet and our fancy global economy.

If Trump does that, if he can shoe-horn a 18th century time machine edict into our 21st century series of events, then those who put him in office will deal with “the crazy”.

Trump has no idea what the fuck he is doing and this is precisely why Trump was elected…

Now, assuming Trump doesn’t embroil the nation in an apocalyptic war, which is always possible no matter who’s in charge and that whatever his overlords in Russia deem necessary, the amount of damage he can do to this colossus of a republic is fairly minimal.

Unless you allow it.

For instance; unless you were suckered into volunteering for Bush’s horrid Middle East rebuilding project, what did the Iraq or Afghanistan wars really do to harm you? If anything, the disaster of the banking crisis in 2008 was far worse, and we not only fully recovered from that, we are the strongest economy in the world.

Sure, Trump’s proposed trade-penalty taxes and his failure to get another nation to pay for a border wall could be groundbreaking madness, but really, is your wife going to leave you because of it? Will your car break down? You children suddenly hate you? Beer taste bad? Hair fall out?

Nah.

So there will also be none of this, “Donald Trump is destroying the very fabric or American…fill in the blank “around here. There is no fabric of America. That is a myth sold to you like mouthwash by people who need to justify outrage or a gig. There is also zero chance that anyone who is president “represents” you. I have lived through nine of them and not one represented me. I represent me. Always have and always will. The words I put in this space and how I choose to express myself in my daily life and my work is what “represents” me. This is what represents you. Politics is bullshit. Obama was bullshit and now Trump is indeed bullshit. Changing bullshit does not make it less bullshit or not bullshit, just different bullshit.

And so we will apply Doc Slater’s axiom about “the crazy” and comment on the fall-out.

Business as usual around here.

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JOE COOL…OUT!

Aquarian Weekly
1/18/17

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

JOE COOL…OUT!
Our Journey From Hope To Change To Trump

Barack Obama is the only major party candidate for president I have ever voted for with gusto. And he shall be the last. That is my gift to him on his way out. The man I dubbed Joe Cool was historic for many reasons, but that is the only one that counts around here. Of course this only applies to 2008, for I went back to my independent ways four years later. Nevertheless it was a monumental vote for me, and one that I shall ultimately remember him by.

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True, I voted for G.W. Bush in 2000, but that’s because I despised Al Gore. I never forgave him for the whole PMRC shenanigans in the 1980s. Still haven’t. And I would do it again, even though I blame Bush for 9/11, which is now all the rage but was considered some kind of treason in 2001. Fuck him and fuck Al Gore.

All of these votes are a matter of record in this space, but it doesn’t do much beyond explaining that since 1980 I have never and will never again vote for a major party candidate beyond the 2008 Barack Obama model. That idea was, is and will always be a completely bullshit either/or decision that is needlessly heaped upon the citizenry, which came to an ugly head this past year when I have now personally spoken to two dozen people who voted for one of the two candidates they were purportedly “forced” to vote for with a measure of growing apathy to outright disdain.

I gladly voted for what would be the 44th president of the United States in 2008 for one main reason, well, two; the first is that damned whiz-bang, hootenanny king-hell mutha of an Iowa Caucus victory speech he delivered on January 3 of that year. It remains the finest political oratory that I have had the pleasure to digest in real-time. I must have played that thing twenty times in a sixteen hour period, like the first time I heard Exile on Main St. or Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” or that part in “Three Babies” when Sinead O’Connor hits the high note. That speech is far better than most any that I have studied and it may be the last time I would actually believe in anything to do with politics again.

For those who dig Obama, I suggest you watch it. It’s on YouTube and it will make you throw up when you consider what transpired from that day forward; how much of the soul of that guy at that time was sucked out by our politics, even upon winning the presidency. That night the bar was set too high for the likes of us or him. But man, that Democratic primary was, along with the Republican one this year, the most fun I had covering this game to power we roll out every four years. I was never concerned by what transpired afterwards, as I’m not now. It reminded me why people who care about such things love politics, think it matters or actually believe it has any true effect on their lives. Listening to that speech transformed me, for the shortest but most enjoyable of weeks, maybe months, but then I went right back to being a cynical jack ass and proud of it.

It is important to point out that what makes the human condition at once so mesmerizingly horrific and beatific is what can be framed in a moment of true sweeping progress and is then easily sullied by the stark light of reality. This is what happens to those who see the utter lack of purity in things and understand fully how fucked the whole concept is and how those who don’t see it and think politics is some kind of elixir to the gaping hole in their faith-centers come to the same rude awakening eventually.

But political speeches come and go; what really matters to me in retrospect is that first run between 2009 and Obama’s re-election in 2012, when there absolutely had to be a shift in viewpoint of the presidency, and not a racial or ideological one, per se, and Lord knows it certainly will never be a political for me. It was ultimately a brief but dramatic generational shift; the second reason I voted for Barack Obama. He is from my generation; the butt-end of the Boomer (but not quite), and too old for X – that “between generation” that was born with the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Kennedy Assassination and weaned on Viet Nam and Watergate and was far too young to get high at Woodstock. We did not fight the battle of Civil Rights but watched the potential for an Equal Rights Amendment be crushed by the forever-maddening puritan ethics bullshit which I think now that a playboy TV thug is president we can stop pretending we care a lick about.

Be that as it may, I am proud of that 2008 vote, even though the first Obama term was somewhere between stabilizing and shit. I hated the parade of Clinton cast-offs he dragged in. I wanted everyone in the cabinet to be from my generation as well, not pathetic hold-overs from the ego-addled lunacy of the 1960s through the 1980s. We had just endured two Boomers on both sides of the aisle, both of whom ended final terms in ignominy. But remember, this is a man who took office under by far the worst economic collapse of the Western hemisphere that anyone under 100 years-old could recall. The Dow was somewhere in the six-thousands and soon gasoline would spike to nearly five bucks. Hundreds of thousands of jobs were disappearing.

Historians will rightly or wrongly credit Obama’s presidency with halting this hemorrhage, but that will be the last thing his first term slam-dunked, unless you work in the American automotive industry. But there will always be the Affordable Care Act, which was a half-assed boondoggle that never worked because it cannot function in the human condition explained briefly above. It would be known as Obamacare, a term I did not use, like calling people not from India, Indians. But the president embraced it from good to bad to worse. I, for one, never bought it and neither did the country, as within two years the dismantling of the Democratic Party began.

that Democratic primary was, along with the Republican one this year, the most fun I had covering this game to power we roll out every four years.

That will also be the legacy of Obama; beyond the transformative nature of electing an African American in a mostly racist, back-water, religiously fanatic intellectual sinkhole of a nation. His party was abandoned by him. And this is where the generational thing comes in. Obama didn’t give a shit. He also didn’t give a shit about explaining anything he did well, like finally killing the man who committed the greatest crime against America that didn’t include bankers. He probably should have killed some bankers.

But doubtless and without argument, Obama’s second term, one I did not endorse because up to that point second terms were always a disaster – Viet Nam, Watergate, Iran/Contra/Monika Lewinsky/a hundred things Bush screwed up – was the finest of my lifetime. Granted, the bar was low, but the economy that was in a historic shambles continued to recover, albeit slowly, yet with a record number of months of job growth, because Obama was, and historians will record this too, the first truly “progressive” president; the one that did not fall under the anachronistic tag of liberalism. One that worked in the pragmatic, grown-up-in-the-70s mentality that was ingrained in us.

Be that as it may, the most important event that happened during Obama’s second term is the rightful, legal ratification of marriage equality and he had absolutely nothing to do with it. Trust me, the refusal of a black leader to acknowledge an obvious civil rights abomination against a community of tax-paying citizens is one of the things that made me cringe in 2008, and almost had me run back to the independent candidates, but remember, despite being in my enlightened generation, marriage equality always seemed like a pipe dream, like women voting once was. The very idea that this country could actually twice vote for a progressive black man as president is a nod to that generation and the next; you know, the one that did not buy into another Clinton – but that is another column for another day – certainly kick-started a groundswell for civil rights the likes of which we had not seen in two generations. I am glad to have been alive and be an American for that and then embarrassed for all those who continue to oppose it, because it is sad and bigoted, but entirely understandable. This is the change we were supposed to believe in, but you know what? The president was an innocent bystander. We, the law, the United States Constitution made that happen.

You see, beyond the Iran Deal, which I supported heartily and believe if the Republicans take their collective heads out of their 19th century asses will finally begin to transform the horror-show Middle East through secular economic concerns, and not third-century, voodoo religious nonsense. This is what progress and my generation should believe; at least the free thinking among us. And if the election of Obama’s successor is any indication, the religious right is still very much on life support, and that is the best we can cite for progress.

The rest for Barack Obama is window dressing. But failing a spate of impeachment hearings or ramped up phony wars or secret unconstitutional weapons deals with enemies or Nixonian abuses of power, this was one no-drama-Obama presidential run.

Thanks for allowing my generation a crack at this shit-sandwich.

Now it’s back to a bloviating, narcissistic, media-whorish Boomer again.

Good luck.

Joe Cool…out!

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NEXT UP – OUST CHRISTIE

Aquarian Weekly
12/14/16

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

NEXT UP – OUST CHRISTIE
Freeing the Garden State of Assholes since November, 2016

Feeling good.

Still high on our rousing victory over the scum that is Scott Garrett. That’s right, Garrett, you’ve got a few more weeks to bring the full force of the United States Congress down on me, then it’s off to the funny farm to protest stuff you’re afraid of or make a boatload lobbying for economic national socialism.

So we now turn our attention to our governor, Mista Christie, who has been more or less a political dead man now for months. We began to smell the familiar stank of decay on him around February when he dropped his charade of becoming president and became Citizen Trump’s bellhop. Turns out standing behind a candidate trying to appear relevant during campaign rallies netted him a whole lot of nothing, as he was summarily dropped from the fancy transition team minutes after the president-elect’s stunning upset victory on November 8, and has now been tossed from the shortlist of boot-lickers the new administration has lined up to duly ignore or explain or no-doubt apologize for what is sure to be high and wild times on Pennsylvania Avenue over the next four years.

I just want to point out that this is the Trump Administration that Chrisitie cannot get a sniff in. “Apes Tossing Feces at Each Other” is the employable motto over there. Pretty much anyone who supported Trump and can suck air for five minutes without keeling over and can kind of put two sentences together with verbs and stuff is being given prime gigs. Shit, Trump’s Atlantic City pit-boss will be heading the Department of the Interior. Pretty soon Sarah Palin, whose IQ is a tick north of 70, will probably be running something important. The guy in charge of National Security thinks the religion of Islam is a front for terrorism while a rabid anti-Zionist is pulling the strings. And I’m sure I have the wording wrong, but I think Dr. Ben Carson is in charge of the Department of Jesus or something or other. But Chris Christie? He’s out.

This is akin to having Motley Crue kick you off the tour for being “a little drug-happy”.

It’s bad is what I am saying.

This is not surprising, since the governor of New Jersey has now set a record-low in approval ratings. We’re now at 19 percent, folks; the most pathetic in two decades around here. If this was a normal state run with a history of somewhat competent civil servants you’d likely have to reach back a century or so for that kind of futility. But this is New Jersey. Usually, if you can spell cat after being spotted the “C” and the “T” and stay out of jail, you can get 40 percent. Our bar is low and we expect lunacy. Of course, Christie can always say he’s no worse off than Sam Brownback, who has turned Kansas into the Hunger Games without the attractive young people.

Bad is my point here.

The latest Quinnipiac poll, which is mostly a Republican bitch, stated in its summation that “Everyone hates Chris Christie.” This is a direct quote. That is not opinion; it is what the data tells them. Water boils at 212 degrees, a whale is a mammal, and Chris Christie sucks ass. According to a parsing of the raw statistics, every possible group despises the man.

In a strangely Darwinian way, Mista Christie has managed to become the most non-partisan of concepts. He has brought the state together like nothing else could. He is indeed a “uniter”. We all think he is very, very bad.

This, however, in political parlance, makes him toast.

Now we begin to see if we can get him to quit. This is our goal here.

Then we can get around to legalizing pot, reverse this onerous gas tax, and stop bear hunts. Get this state rolling, jack.

Water boils at 212 degrees, a whale is a mammal, and Chris Christie sucks ass.

I am appalled that only 4,200 or so people have signed Petition 3908 thus far. It is a memo to congress to send Christie out on a rail. I have mostly ignored it, because petitions to congress are stupid, but also because the Tar & Feathering rider has been summarily removed. Hell, I figure with Trump in charge we can bring back some of the things that truly made this country great. Like rolling fat useless government slags in scolding tar and heave large pillows of feathers over them while children sing “God Bless America” and we fire cannons at the Irish.

But I digress.

Chris Christie is a horror show and he must go and he will go, it is merely a matter of time, but humiliation must also be part of the procedure. This is why despite my repeated calls to Trump Tower to beg the Human Grenade to give Christie some kind of job just to get him out of here; valet, new pit boss in Atlantic City, or throw him a spade and have him break ground on the already paid-for Mexican wall; I have decided the best thing is threat of incarceration. I have it on good authority that he cannot merely be shamed from office. Although, to be fair, I did not need iron-clad sources on this; have you seen what this guy looks like? He goes out looking like that and actually appears on TV. What could you possibly do that would shame the man?

For this project I will employ my new buddy, Congressman Josh Gottheimer. He owes me big time. It is not every century a Democrat runs my district, and it isn’t every political season that a loon like yours truly gets to lean on a congressman for pay-backs.

First Garrett, now Christie.

Last chance to drag New Jersey in the twenty-first century.

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THE BALLAD OF DISTRICT FIVE

Aquarian Weekly
12/7/16

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

THE BALLAD OF DISTRICT FIVE
How Acting Like a Total Jack Ass Helps Flip the Tide of Politics

Victory is mine.

At least that is how I choose to frame it. When you get a column someday, then can you crow. This is my moment and I’m taking it.

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Sure Democrat Josh Gottheimer now represents New Jersey’s Fifth Congressional District, my district, after what was a highly contentious and some say patently ugly battle over the past months. But that is merely a sidelight around here. What really happened is I got involved. For the first time. And I kicked ass.

I’m not entirely sure what the hell Gottmeier’s got going, but I know he is not his opponent and our current Congressman Scott Garrett. This was an opposition front from the get-go. Topple the horrid and deal with the terrible. Old time politics. Gory. Brutal. Music for the masses and sweet demolishment for the wicked.

Fuck Donald Trump. I’m a bigger asshole and I can prove it. My victory is even more unlikely.

2016! Assholes are in!

Let me just point out that my throwing this thing into turmoil helped to flip a district that has not elected a Democrat in 85 years. That’s right, long before my parents were on the planet. Eight decades plus. Nearly a century. Not one Democrat.

Then I got pissed.

And I wish to be clear; I was not necessarily politically pissed. It matters little that Garrett was a Republican. He is scum. And he had to be sent packing.

At first I was merely inconvenienced, then mildly annoying, then increasingly angered. It was around flat-out pissed that I got involved in the race.

If you think about it, the entire history of civilization is summed up in the above sentence.

American Revolution is Inconvenience – Annoyance – Pissed.

It all began for me with simply researching what the hell my representative was about. I suggest you do so, as soon as you are done reading this. I don’t care what you stand for, but when everything the person representing you in congress stands for makes you want to violently retch, it is time to get warmed up.

As soon as Scott Garrett’s record revealed itself to be a tsunami of bigotry, spite and overall dumbness, taking this thing into the realm of the asinine suddenly appeared worthy of my angst-in-motion.

Okay, let’s recap; A few weeks ago I became embroiled…okay, I embroiled directly…in a very public tete-a-tete with Garrett, whom I openly challenged to a fist fight in print. I felt, and rightfully so, that everyone needs a beating once in awhile in their life. I took them. Many times. They are good for the soul. They teach you that ideologies and debate are all well and good, but a direct hit to the temple can wake a man, give him needed perspective. Garret was way overdue for this, and I took up my patriotic duty to administer it, with extreme prejudice.

This was not my initial plan. I was having the time of my life covering what was the most absurd of presidential campaigns run by two giant assholes and generally making glib of all-things as usual here. Then I started getting inundated with robo-calls from the Garrett campaign. One or two a week became five or six and then it was every evening, right around eight or so. Sometimes, as I shared with my readers, it interrupted key dancing time with my eight year-old daughter. We dig punk and we dig it loud and the incessant phone ringing and then some automated falderal being read in a sub-mental drone could not be obliged.

To be frank, I was already at a boiling point with Garrett’s bi-annual digital town halls that would call my home and then for close to twenty minutes, if I dared answered or my machine picked up, would not allow me to remove it from my line. My phone connection was literally hijacked by this nonsense.

And so I began badgering Garrett’s campaign to cut the shit. They did not comply. I could have reported the whole operation to the FCC or some such, but I despise “proper channels”. I like to get ugly. Not to mention, I have this nifty forum and it seemed right to use it in the most vicious way.

American Revolution is Inconvenience – Annoyance – Pissed.

As you might have read in the now infamous series of Garrett bashing (“Scott Garrett Needs an Ass Kicking” and “Scott Garret’s Intimidation Machine Versus Me”), which resulted in the aforementioned challenge to brawl, I could not have been more blatantly satirical. Yet, I thought it my journalistic duty to gather a comment from him. Several professionally placed calls to his campaign came up empty. The campaign then decided this would be a good time to accuse me of harassment (ironically what started all this was their harassment of my home phone) and got local police involved.

All of this back-and-forth, of course, was published here and on the fancy Internet and that is when things got interesting.

It started with calls from the Gottheimer Campaign. They had been spending way too much time trying to answer for me, and the seriousness of first my challenge and then the cops being brought into the fray. They asked if it was okay to send newspapers and online blogs my way and even requested I address a rally for their candidate, for which I answered the same way I have for nearly twenty years of this; “I don’t do rallies.”

It wasn’t until Politico contacted me that I realized this had gone national and it was directly affecting the race. Some off-the-record comments, which I can now reveal, since Gottheimer is the congressman-elect, from his people were telling me the negative feedback from voters to the petty and feckless over-reaction from Garrett was putting a strain on his campaign. They were actually answering questions on whether they understood the concept of satire and whether Garrett was afraid of a 54 year-old writer who is a little over five foot and 125 pounds soaking wet with a bag of nickels in his pocket. Even the cops who were calling me laughed at the whole thing.

And then I found out there were tapes of my calls to the Garrett Campaign, not only archived, but sent to the authorities. I was able to obtain them through a journalist whose name shall not be revealed, because I wouldn’t want mine revealed, not so much to protect sources.

I cherish those tapes now- every syllable dripping with sarcasm and rage. They will be my legacy here.

For all the crap I have stirred up over the past nineteen years of this cannot compare to acting like a complete idiot and having it result in a victory.

Now I know how Donald Trump feels.

Fuck him. I’m a bigger asshole.

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PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP – AN EXPLANATION IN TWO PARTS

Aquarian Weekly
11/16/16

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP – AN EXPLANATION IN TWO PARTS

Editor’s Note: The following are two brief explanations on how a reality TV star is now president of the United States by first jc and then his old colleague, former Conservatively Speaking columnist, Bill Roberts.

I have to be honest; I’ve got nothing.

Really, what right do I have to pontificate when I was spectacularly wrong about this entire thing? And not only the results of the election, but long dissertations on demographics and gender gaps and the shifting generational pull away from the kind of throw-back populist falderal pitched by the new president elect, Citizen Donald J. Trump.

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First off, data took a big nosedive here – in fact, everything in the realm of modernity was cast aside for at least one election cycle; global trade, progressive socials issues, the realities of a 21st century cyber-based economic model, international diplomacy and geo-political military intervention. And really, that is the nut here; in the end Hillary Rodham Clinton would have been president if she held fast to the reliable Rust Belt. She did not. Big league. As her opponent may put it. Pennsylvania (not Republican since 1988), Michigan and Wisconsin (not Republican since 1984) and even Minnesota, as of the time of this writing still being counted, which was the only state the Democrats won in ’84.

What all this tells me is this result had less to do with corruption and emails and untrustworthiness and the FBI than it did with raw, blue-collar economics, which used to be solidly Democratic, or at least when Ronald Reagan wasn’t on the ballot. This was about a changing world that scares the shit out of the low-educated white man, the overwhelming support of which shifted these states into Trump’s column and turned him from punch line TV clown into the president of the United States. But it is also about anger. Anger sometimes wins the day. This time it surely did.

Turns out, Trump was wiped out by Hispanic/Latino vote, skimmed a little off of the Obama African American vote, lost out on the college-educated white vote (somehow he was not sunk by women), but not by the margins that could stem the tidal wave of lower middle-class people expecting a messiah to bring the 1950s back.

Good luck with that.

We know less about Donald Trump than any human who has achieved this station. He is vaguely erratic, sometimes unhinged and always recalcitrant. I have no idea what he stands for or what he will do. But now being on the other side of the Trump phenomenon, since I was one of the few journalists who seemed to grasp his significance in the primaries but whiffed on the general, it must be stated that this is the greatest political upset in our nation’s history. Period. Trump was an eight-to-one underdog and he swept the table he needed to sweep. American history was written on November 8, 2016, for good or ill.

So maybe he can deport 11 million people and build a multi-trillion dollar wall on the Mexican border and most importantly force American companies back from abroad. I highly doubt it. But then again, I highly doubted this.

jc

**************

Okay, here is my morning after “Inside Baseball” explanation over why I was so sure Trump would win despite being told otherwise by so many other people. This is a bit long and may be boring, unless you are a political geek, so buyer be warned.

This wasn’t difficult to see if you knew what you were looking for. First off, this was a repudiation of the GOP and the NeverTrump crowd. The base didn’t believe the Establishment any longer and if you opened your ears and eyes you would have felt the outrage building. The ascension of Trump is of the GOP’s making and it was clear to see. The NeverTrumpers sadly have to make a choice. The party is no longer yours. The door is still open to you and you can come home. We welcome you home ,but just know the people now own the GOP.

Trump had a populist message that was resonating with folks who watched their factories close and their jobs move away in the name of progress. Those folks were in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and they truly wanted change, yet after the politicians spoke, change was all they had left when their jobs and paychecks left town in the name of NAFTA. The shattering of the Blue Wall was astounding to see in real time.

to sum it up, prognosticating Trump’s win was not hope or faith. It was looking at real numbers and listening to real Americans.

As for the hidden, shy Trump voter, this was an easy one to see. If you had listened back in the primaries, instead of just screaming about who was a real conservative, you would have seen the GOP set a record for new voter registrations. They weren’t there for McCain and they weren’t there for Romney…they showed up for Trump, so it wasn’t a stretch or a leap to believe they were coming out for Trump. Now, the polls would never capture them because they hadn’t voted in 2012, so they were never going to show up on a pollsters call list, but they were there. I studied the polls and saw they sampled Democrats too high and didn’t adjust to what I felt to be a correct sampling number, which was about a GOP plus-five. This formula held true in PA, MI, OH and WI. What was shocking was how well the Panhandle in Florida performed in blunting Broward, Dade and Palm Beach’s Democratic onslaught. I admit, I always believed Trump would win in Florida, but the way it occurred even shocked me.

So to sum it up, prognosticating Trump’s win was not hope or faith. It was looking at real numbers and listening to real Americans. Had the media done that as I did, they wouldn’t be sitting there with egg on their face looking all stupid this morning.

Speaking of the media, you guys are done. You are through, you cast your lot as an active combatant and now you will pay the price. People will no longer place any value in your reporting and the ridicule you will receive is well-earned and you must endure it as it is a self inflicted wound.

Finally, here is why Trump will be one of the greatest President’s in our nation’s history. He knows we voted for his message and his ideas not necessarily him the man. He knows if he lets us down, we will fire his ass in four years. He is the right man for the job and I am proud to call him “My President”.

Bill Roberts
Conservatively Speaking

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FINAL THOUGHTS ON ELECTION 2016

Aquarian Weekly
11/9/16

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

FINAL THOUGHTS ON ELECTION 2016
Rogues, Insults, Sexual Assault, FBI Investigations & Treason

There are a lot of people on both sides of the political aisle who are celebrating the end to this tumultuously outrageous bedlam that has been the 2016 presidential campaign. I am not one of them. In fact, I am bummed. Truly and completely.

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For a political junkie, and someone who has either obsessed over and/or covered these things for decades, the past 19 months have been a glorious ride. The very core of our nation’s grand experiment has been revealed and it is all the things it should be – ugly, petty, furious, passionate, covered in bullshit and innuendo and propped up by shameless greed and the kind of illusions and denial that make this nation the finest example of the human condition known to civilization.

No matter what you say about or think of Citizen Donald J. Trump, he has revealed us. Since the first horde of European land-grabbers stormed the Eastern shores of what would come to be known as North America under the flimsy guise of religious freedom, no one, at least in my lifetime, has embodied our spirit more. What beats inside us is the essence of horror. Its black, soulless innards transformed a minor colonial invasion into a world power, and it bubbles inside the very foundation of a Trump candidacy. He is our Columbus, our John Smith, our genocide and our Manifest Destiny. He is confederacy and Oklahoma City.

And no matter where you fall on the side of Hillary Rodham Clinton, she has revealed our system as a gorging monolith of corruption and hubris. She has shown us, well, Wikileaks, the Russian government and the NY Times has shown us that there are indeed two Americas, and a great many of us are not privy to the more affluent, powerful and sustainable one. The one we inhabit has never known a candidate. This candidate does not exist on this side of the tracks. We are led to believe it does, but it is a fantasy and we live in that fantasy as any J.R. Tolkien character.

It is this ghastly kind of pure, honest beauty that I will miss when everything more or less settles back in and the money takes over and the machine of government grinds again undeterred by what transpired here.

But this has been some ride, huh?

Right now we choose the leader of the free world from a sexual predator with a shadowy business past and the most incoherent ideology possible and a lifer politician with more secrets and shenanigans up her sleeve than even the most rancid of her kind. There have been worse candidates, only, I dare say, no more blatantly flawed ones on Election Day.

It is hard to believe that Madam Shoo-In has survived two FBI probes, possible treasonous secret servers that could well have compromised national security and a weird conflict of interest between her state department and a private multi-million dollar foundation in her name. Then again, her opponent has bragged about and been accused of sexual assault over a dozen times, has treasonous ties to the Russian government that has hacked into our political system, not to mention openly questioning the structural integrity of our democracy while simultaneously undermining a crucial strategic battle conducted in Iraq led by U.S. troops by erroneously pointing out the country he hopes to lead is losing and stupid and wrong.

All the while the Democratic National Committee systemically swayed the primary vote away from what they deemed an unelectable elderly socialist Jew, leading to the firing of its chairman and formidable accusations of rigging. The Trump campaign has fired two of its managers, one for assaulting a woman reporter and the other for his ties to the aforementioned hostile Russian despot that the candidate not only heralds but repeatedly denies national security findings of wrongdoing in influencing the election in his favor.

Trump says Clinton is being secretive, but, despite telling us how much of an economic wizard he is, refuses to release his tax returns. Clinton accuses Trump of being unfit for the presidency, when she could easily be impeached within her first 100 days. Trump calls Clinton corrupt, while he is being sued for two wildly fraudulent “foundations” and some sham university that have all been run like a racketeering mob front. Meanwhile Clinton, whose cash-rich machine hammers her opponent relentlessly in a phalanx of TV ads painting Trump as a negative hate monger. Trump calls Clinton a liar, when nearly everything he says is at best an unintelligible falsehood and worse still, blatant lies.

It is this ghastly kind of pure, honest beauty that I will miss when everything more or less settles back in and the money takes over and the machine of government grinds again undeterred by what transpired here.

Former Democratic Bill Clinton has called his party’s Affordable Care Act “the craziest thing” and one-third of the Republican Party, including many of its most powerful players, has called Trump everything from a con artist to a mentally unstable megalomaniac.

The press had gone off the rails. Cable news networks have turned into de facto fronts for both campaigns – MSNBC airs stories on whatever Clinton needs to win, as in lately the barrage of anti-African American concerns about voter suppression and the dismissal of Black Lives Matters by Trump, and FOX News continues to be an absolute joke with one of its night-time hosts directly advising the Trump behind the scenes while transforming an hour of news time every evening into infomercials. CNN has gone complete nuts hiring former aides to both campaigns and putting half-mad debris you’ve never heard of to literally scream at each other about jailing opponents and having the others deported.

How am I not going to miss this?

I’ll trade this in for threats to shut down the government over some nonsense you can barely pinpoint and veiled attempts to curry the favor of the Latino vote with bad plans on overhauling immigration?

Could we just let both of these lunatics lead us into the 21st century?

Please.

We promise to eat our vegetables, burn our books, salute some cloth and continue to believe we have a damn say in any of it.

But please don’t let this end.

Please.

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SCOTT GARRETT’S INTIMIDATION MACHINE VERSUS ME

Aquarian Weekly
11/2/16

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

SCOTT GARRETT’S INTIMIDATION MACHINE VERSUS ME
Humorless NJ Congressman Sics Local Police on Lil’ Ol’ Journalist

After last week’s column, the Scott Garrett campaign has waged war on the Reality Check News & Information Desk.

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Its candidate, a humorless shit-heel, has not only ducked my challenge to a fair fight, he has stooped to having his surrogates contact the poor, overworked Newton Police Department, so they can take valuable protect-and-serve time leaning on me. To be fair, the cops were only doing their due-diligence and I do not blame them. In fact, I know they would never say it, in order to appear objective, but I got the distinct feeling from the conversation that they thought the entire ordeal shear madness.

And so, for the record, since this pussy is shaking in his booties and considers my good work “harassment’, I hereby humbly rescind my challenge.

I am sorry Little Scotty. I promise to no longer “harass” you in print or on the phone or in emails or any other place journalism is practiced. You get a free ride to ply your bigotry unhindered.

However, this space shall not now or ever be intimidated by the likes of you or anyone in this government.

As stated last week, pal; you are messing with the wrong scribe.

First off, it would seem the congressman of New Jersey’s Fifth District, my district, is not only a shameless bigot, but he is unfamiliar with satire, which seems odd for someone so rich in characteristics to satirize. He also displays a complete misunderstanding of the concept of the First Amendment. I would venture to say from his actions this week that he is a vehement opponent of this nation’s most sacred rights granted to us by the creator God and the United States Constitution.

To wit: After my selfless volunteering in print last week to administer Mr. Garrett’s long-overdue ass kicking, I took it upon myself to follow up with several emails to his campaign office in Newton, New Jersey. Since the challenge was done with tongue firmly set in cheek – as if I have to make mention of that after nearly two decades of this – I thought it incumbent on me to seek comment from the candidate.

Journalism 101.

Come on.

Alas, there was no comment forthcoming, so I let it go until the piece hit the streets and speak for itself.

If you have not read SCOTT GARRETT NEEDS AN ASS KICKING, I suggest you do so, and unless your brain is made of guacamole, under five years-old, unfamiliar with the English language as a form of communication, or Scott Garrett, then maybe it offends or even shocks you. For the rest of us, it is business as usual here at The Desk; where our souls are hearty and voices lift us higher against the injustices of blah-blah-blah, bullshit-bullshit-bullshit.

Listen, whatever nonsense was in that column, it was written about a public figure, a political public figure who by the way is MY congressman and I presume wants MY vote. And, for that matter, one who has been in this arena for many years. How he has gotten this far with this thin a skin is anybody’s guess, but I think I might be right to question his ability to handle the rigors of this gig or really any gig in the public arena if he cannot take some ribbing from an alt-weekly columnist.

This is especially galling when said columnist not only reached out to confront his subject of derision – unlike most gutless swine who display their rage at rallies by shouting out horrible shit or making signs with horrible shit to lift in crowds or whip off tweets and blogs under assumed names. I am indeed willing to face the music any time any place. Not to mention my putting all of my vitriol under my byline, posted forthwith with pride as a member in good standing of the Fourth Estate. And, to be fair, I do print here monthly the most heinous attacks on my personage in Reader Responses without fail.

Consistency and guts, Mr. Garrett, this is how we do things here in the Fifth District.

Whiners need not apply.

And even if any of what I wrote last week was remotely serious, I was challenging to fight this idiot, not break into his house and beat him senseless. All he had to do is decline. To me. Directly. Like a man. Hiding behind “harassment” and wasting the police’s time trying to frighten me is as petty a response as possible.

How he has gotten this far with this thin a skin is anybody’s guess…

At least in the late ‘90s when I went toe-to-toe with Rage Against the Machine those bastards had the guts to hit me straight on. It would be an honor to go another ten rounds with them right now.

To be certain Garrett understood my aim here, I called his campaign offices, a public establishment, mind you, in Newton, NJ this week to formally make my plea. NOT a private residence, like my home, which the Garrett Campaign calls incessantly without retribution. Until last week, of course. During said phone call, I cordially offered to have the congressman pick the arena – a school gymnasium, open field or a back alley – for our controlled and officiated donnybrook. I also offered to have Channel 12 televise it and sell tickets to give the proceeds to Gay Rights or Planned Parenthood.

But Garrett chose to call the cops and threatened to press charges for “harassment”.

One phone call to make a simple request of my representative is harassment now?

May I offer; this is what is wrong with this country and its congress, with its 12 percent approval ratings. Can’t one man challenge the other to bare-knuckled justice anymore? What manner of man not only ducks this, but then sics the police on another?

Come on, man. Grow a pair and get a joke.

Maybe it’s time to get back into the reality of the private sector, sir.

Yeah, I think that’s it.

Hope these sinking poll numbers are correct.

Time to go, Scott Garrett.

You can’t handle this.

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SCOTT GARRETT NEEDS AN ASS KICKING

Aquarian Weekly .
10/26/16

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

SCOTT GARRETT NEEDS AN ASS KICKING
I Volunteer

I normally do not write about local politics in this space, despite the fact that this publication is printed in New Jersey and is sold around the tri-state area. Ironically, the few times I have delved into the Garden State weeds it has been picked up nationally. My rocky but ongoing association with the Huffington Post is a prime example. It began many years ago after I basically framed the entire state a quagmire of Mob corruption. They loved this and begged me to blog and then kicked me out after my now infamous Ted Kennedy eulogy. Then asked me back when I berated them for ignoring the Trump campaign as “entertainment”. But, to say the very least, the whole “Mob corruption” meme did not go over well at the Jon Corzine offices, where I routinely received death threats, and subsequently had some knuckle-dragger who drives fat-ass Chris Christie around throw the butt-end of an Italian bread at my head.

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So, to spend a thousand or so words on my local congressman is something of its own story.

Okay, full disclosure; I want to find Scott Garrett, Republican from the 5th District, my district, and beat him senseless with my phone; the same phone robo-called three times a week by his boil-wretched offices to either invite me to listen to some insipid digital town hall or to come out and vote for his pitiful ass. I would not care at this point if Garrett supported every single bizarre, radical, far outside the bounds of human decency issue I hold dear. He dares to call my house, in the evening, when I am hanging with my daughter and blasting the Ramones. Thus, he needs a beating and I need to give him one.

Then, for reasons only known to my caffeine abuse, I really fucked up and Googled this cretin.

Now, I do not believe most of the articles I’ve found on Garrett in the “lame-stream media”, but to be brutally honest, I find myself just southwest of horrified that this bald turd has represented anything to do with me, even if it is ancillary political nonsense.

First off, Garrett, it turns out, is a friggin’ world-class, Grade-A bigot. He is proudly anti-gay, steeped in religious falderal. He reeks of hatred. It steams from his pores like cat piss in the sun and it has apparently gotten so bad the boatload of Wall St. money that has kept this parasite sucking on the public teat since 2003 has run for cover. Most notably, the powerful PNC and UBS banks have sacked him with extreme prejudice.

In the wake of this moolah exodus, Garrett received $145,000 of campaign cash from some shadow fascist organization called The Campaign for American Principles or The Ass-Face Butt Plugs For Jesus, which have been running ads in support of Garrett. According to NJ.com, the group’s founder and head Ass-Face, the pride of Princeton University, Robert George (never trust a man with two first names) has allegedly said he hoped the super PAC would pressure candidates to “come down on the side of religious liberty, of the sanctity of human life, of marriage as the conjugal union of husband.”

My wife is always telling me we are a stone’s throw from Bum-Fuck, but this is ridiculous.

What year is this and where do I live?

I did not set up camp less than 35 miles from Manhattan to have William Jennings Bryan conducting Scopes Trials under my nose.

All this research on Garrett further revealed a Politico report I missed last year where he told fellow Republicans in a closed-door meeting that he wouldn’t pay his dues to the National Republican Congressional Committee because the organization supported gay candidates.

He reeks of hatred. It steams from his pores like cat piss in the sun…

Processing this, I decided the best recourse to my bubbling hate and rage was to drive up to the end of the main Compound here at the Clemens Estate and publicly urinate on his campaign signs, before kicking them onto Route 23. Sipping Hendricks and drawing on a fine Cuban, I watched as pick-up trucks driven likely by his toothless constituency ran over them. It was a good day. And I plan on doing it again, if any of his zombie-eyed goose-steppers set foot near our Free Thinking country hamlet again.

But, if that wasn’t alarming enough, I made the mistake of driving past a giant billboard on Route 17 near Mahwah last week, which heralds in ten-foot letters that this brainless shit-stain is the only NJ representative to vote against banning federal spending for national cemeteries flying the confederate flag.

I Googled that.

Guess what?

Bald Turd strikes again.

Why would Garrett do that? He claims free speech. And no more sympathetic ear can he find for that, but I ask again, why would he do it? And why would anyone in this state not named Goober, Bookie or Weenie vote for this creep?

Is there a groundswell for treasonous fans of slavery in NJ? And if so, why wasn’t I notified?

Not since the Hitler Youth Camps were kicked out of Sussex County in the early-1940s has a more embarrassing level of misbegotten bottom-feeders been better represented in Washington D.C.

I have no idea who Garrett’s Democratic opponent is, or what he stands for, and it is very possible I disagree with most of if not all of it, but Josh Gottheimer is human, which is more than can be said of my new sworn enemy.

And as far as I can tell, he does not need an ass-kicking. Scott Garrett does.

I would like to administer it.

Fists at dawn, Garrett. You and me. No NRA. No Wall St. geeks. No RNC slugs.

You and me.

**Warning to all future candidates of District 5; you had better be careful whom you interrupt at home whilst they are hanging with their daughter and listening to the Ramones.

I thank you for your support.

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AFTER TRUMP

Aquarian Weekly
10/19/16

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

AFTER TRUMP
What Will Be Left of the Republican Party When Trump Loses?

Despite winning the second debate in a landslide (every poll), it is hard to do well when Paul Ryan and others give zero support!

Disloyal R’s are far more difficult than Crooked Hillary. They come at you from all sides. They don’t know how to win – I will teach them!

Series of Donald Trump Tweets – 10/11/16

The end game for Citizen Donald J. Trump has begun in earnest, and it is ugly, spiteful and completely nuts, but do not be fooled; it is not without method.

As covered nearly two months ago here (LAST GASP FOR CITIZEN TRUMP), the hiring of Breitbart CEO Stephen Bannon meant that soon there would be blood. And after a short dip in the polls for Hillary Clinton in September, followed swiftly by inarguably the worst debate performance ever, its gory aftermath, and now the subsequent complete and total implosion of his supposed campaign, the time has come.

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Trump has, in his words, “taken off the shackles”, going nuclear on every corner of the American body politic, from its standing institutions, its constitutional structure, the national press, of course the Democratic Party, the Clintons, and now even fellow Republicans, specifically Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

After the historic mass exodus of prominent Republicans fighting for their down-ballot lives on October 7 (the day of the “grab her pussy” video release) Trump, egged on by Bannon, whose entire alt-right operation has had a hard-on to destroy the current GOP establishment since 2010, has unleashed the exit strategy – blame, pillory and deflect. There will be no losing; only victimization from the elites who have stolen his prize.

Of course, this is all well and good for the Breitbart brand, the Drudge Report, Rush Limbaugh’s drug dealers, and Jerry Falwell jr’s hooker habit, but where do Republicans go once the insurgency of the Citizen Trump movement shifts from a cult of personality to the core of its ideology?

It needs to be pointed out that for all its blessed wackiness (thank you, Donald, from the bottom of this mostly bored political junky’s heart for stumbling in and entertaining the hell out of all of us), this is indeed a movement. It is real and it is relatively strong, about 33 to 40 percent, and maybe a little more had the candidate not been a stark, raving, crazy man, who is likely a sexual predator.

Still, there is a groundswell for what Trump represents. And as pointed out in this space since September of 2015, the candidate was only part of the story; a story the press rightfully leapt on as ratings gold and Trump exploited in his most media savvy machinations, but one that was merely a sidelight. The other, more lasting story is the fact that the system is fucked and rigged and skewered away from the ordinary citizen and run by lifers who could not give half a shit about what your needs are. People with money and influence make things move, while you get all riled up every four years and cast your little vote and bitch and moan. But it is a charade. The real shifts in the body politic come from time and culture exploited by those who make a living doing this shit.

And while Trump has further exploited issues that aren’t really monumental – illegal immigration, law and order, and some weird things about Muslims, there are real, pressing issues with trade deals and the death of manufacturing, ignoring the failures of 9/11, the Iraq War, and even the Benghazi affair, which the alt-right blew by failing to ask the key question, distracted as they were by trying to bring President Obama in 2012 and then Clinton down before the 2016 election season: Why was there a secret CIA operation being conducted in a U.S. Embassy situated in a war zone and was that mission to arm potential enemies of the United States?

The other aspect of the Trump fallout will be how the party deals with the obligatory accusing of its establishment – the aforementioned Ryan, RNC chairman Reince Priebus, and the host of gratuitous and hypocritical hacks that only jumped ship once the candidate began sinking in the polls – for the defeat. That’s coming. Believe it.

..but where do Republicans go once the insurgency of the Citizen Trump movement shifts from a cult of personality to the core of its ideology?

Well, if the somewhat lukewarm to outright revolt from establishment/elite Republicans and their media outlets after the Access Hollywood tape that put the Trump campaign on life support is any indication, it will be away from a base-oriented struggle to a more of a centrist/electable national party. This means a revision of the post-mortem conducted by the RNC after its 2012 defeat; a renewed outreach to minorities, a serious contemplation to engage in a comprehensive immigration plan, a rejection of science-deniers and a more flexible embrace of environmental issues, most notably the existence of climate change and how decades of pollution has altered it, and a kibosh on religious cultural nonsense like an attack on Planned Parenthood and marriage equality.

But what of the 35 to 40 percent who wants closed borders, no international free trade, extreme vetting, zero environmental regulations, the eradication of Planned Parenthood, and a modern police state? Who “deals” with them?

Speaker Paul Ryan’s feckless teeter-totter “support” of the party’s ticket is a grand example of the difficulty in walking this tightrope. It ended up the following Monday teetering out of the Trump business, thus abandoning a third of his party, which has given Bannon the hammer he needs in Trump to make it personal and thus blood sport. Trump has already added to these diatribes dressed up as stump speeches that there is a “sinister deal between the Democrats and Ryan” to demolish the movement. The collateral damage of which will be on VP Mike Pence, the heretofore “values candidate”, whom I assume has designs on remaining a viable cog in the party machine once this doomed run is over. Where does he end up in all this?

No matter the size and scope of Trump’s defeat in a few weeks, the party will have to “deal” with his constituency, which is real and unflinching and now really, really pissed that it has been set adrift by the keepers of the GOP keys; and if the Breitbart conspiracy model is any hint, it is going to believe it was duped and ripped off and ready to make mincemeat out of anything that reflects a non-Trump world view.

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THE JOKE’S OVER

Aquarian Weekly
10/5/16

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

THE JOKE’S OVER
Donald J. Trump – Myth Buster Busted

The concept of the Donald J. Trump run for presidency remains the same today as it did the day before his epic fail during the first of the scheduled three presidential debates this past week: He is still the political grenade that has been celebrated in this space since last September when it became almost certain that he would have an impact on the 2016 race. His candidacy is still very much needed to shake the foundation of an irritatingly stagnant, systemically biased, and mostly broken political landscape that allows for creatures like Trump to emerge. But after what I witnessed for over 90 minutes on September 26, the idea that somehow this outsider business mogul cum reality TV star could actually be a viable chief executive of the largest economy and most powerful military on planet earth is kaput.

I am writing this for my well-informed, educated, and politically savvy friends, family and colleagues, who are Trump supporters, who have made salient arguments for his candidacy for months now. Those who are not the deplorable; you know, racist goobers, who think the Chinese, Mexicans and Muslims are stealing their jobs and their country is ruined by darkies and think pinching women’s asses and calling someone a Negro is their God-given right and that gays are going to hell and that the gun is a proper substitute for their penises can stop reading now – if, in fact, you do read.

Those 90 minutes in front of a record 84 million viewers has eradicated any and all plausible reasons why Trump could govern anything at any time with even the remotest efficiency, never mind be president. And this does not mean he is disqualified. Not as long as our list of presidents include Andrew Jackson or James Buchanan or Richard Nixon, but as debates will do, and should do, the veil as been lifted on this particular canard.

This was the political equivalent of Milli Vanilli.

Anyone under 40 please Google that.

The emperor was stark naked.

There was no beef.

Al Capone’s vault was empty.

Remember when Trump said he had proof Barack Obama was not an American citizen, and then he didn’t have anything? This was that. Remember when Trump said his casino would change the economic landscape of Atlantic City, and it didn’t, and then he closed it? This was that. Remember when Trump said the USFL would be the prominent professional football sports league in America and it was soooo not? This was…you get it.

Trump not only shat all over that stage that night, he illustrated in every possible way everything the well-informed and politically savvy opponents of his candidacy have argued against him. He could not have been more ill-prepared, unhinged and clueless. Worst still, he showed no signs of being able to defend himself or launch a cogent or even coherent argument against a vulnerable opponent. To wit: When accused of not paying taxes, he agreed with this sentiment, and then said he was smart to do so, pretty much mocking the rest of the tax-paying nation and in turn dismissing the most fundamental aspect of our democracy; you know, the taxation/representation bit.

But perhaps his greatest crime, besides being woefully unaware of the activity and assignment that he was presented months ago, he failed to broach many of his most ardent points for his being there in the first place; building a wall at the southern border of the nation, for one glaring example.

There were moments when Trump looked and sounded like he was either drugged or had just woken from a grandpa nap. And although there were reports for weeks that he was arrogantly unmotivated to prepare for the thing (his campaign said he was “the Babe Ruth of debaters”, that is if it is the ten hot dogs and sixteen beers before the first inning Ruth we’re talking about) and had never actually debated anyone (fourteen people speaking for two minutes and standing around for fifteen minutes while other people talk is a showcase, not a debate), this was as if he was shocked to be there and asked questions.

Sure, everyone expected Trump to blurt out the most blatant misinformation possible, like ISIS being in 30 countries, and the crime rate in NYC being up, or not admitting to his own quotes about climate change or supporting the war in Iraq. And, of course, he would insult women, misunderstand the plight of inner city black youth, break records for non sequiturs, do the pout thing, and exhale “Wrong!” at every turn. But his repeated defense of unconstitutional laws, excusing Russia (AGAIN, what’s the deal with that?) against evidence that the country has been hacking into his opponent’s servers, and an alarming confusion on how the nation’s nuclear triad works is beyond inexcusable.

The great negotiator and winner of all mano-a-mano tests got schooled. Badly.

But none of that really matters for those of us who see Trump as a symbol and not a legitimate candidate. Who didn’t think Hillary Clinton wasn’t going to beat him in a debate; a woman who over prepares for everything and has the minutest detail of every morsel of minutia that passes her desk? However, with her penchant for condescension and unable to connect to non-politicos and the usual creepy Clintonian stuff that gets in the way, this observer was sure it would be a beating, but not the annihilation we witnessed.

Here is where the joke is truly over for Donald Trump; your candidate is supposed to be tough (he was steamrolled) excellent at one-and-one negations wherein he dominates and makes people pay for walls and restructure trade deals and cower from his mighty presence (he lost every tussle that night save for four minutes on trades deals and that was a layup). Trump was so utterly subjugated by his opponent there were times I felt sorry for him. Then he got angry and started referencing Rosie O’Donnell, his 10 year-old kid, and a 400 pound hacker. The great negotiator and winner of all mano-a-mano tests got schooled. Badly.

The entire “Believe me” and “I got this” and “I’m the only one who can fix this” shtick was turned into a gooey mess of nonsense.

This was the most important chance yet in this election season for your candidate to at least display the very tenets of his purpose for running as “a movement” – he “wins”, “all the time”, and “big league”. He lost, severely and embarrassingly; looking petty, and stupid and overwhelmed. He became the caricature of his worst personality traits and proved the fears people who do not like him and are afraid of him have; a guy who woke up six days ago – not fourteen months ago – and decided he’ll try this president thing.

It would be as if Clinton showed up that night with a phone in her hand told people to give her a minute while she checks her private server for classified info she can send to her friends, who helped her cover-up the Benghazi attacks and then shifted their money over to a secret slush fund through the Clinton Foundation.

Trump may be an effective tool to mock the system, show Obama and Clinton and the progressive left that this country is not changing for the worse, and he may say things you think and appear like he could be an entirely new and effective president in an age when trust in politicians and their institutions are at a new low, but Donald J. Trump as a serious candidate for president is a joke and that particular joke is over.

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