Campaign Notes

So with the entry today of Gov. Chris Christie into the GOP presidential sweepstakes, the field is now complete from the diversity standpoint. Christie means we Hefto-Americans have a candidate, to go along with Cuban-Americans (Cruz, Rubio), Indian-Americans (Jindal), Uterine-Americans and Italian-Americans (Fiorina), Slavic-Americans (Kasich, eventually), Arko-Americans (Huckabee), folically-challenged Americans—or are we “Toupee-Americans?”—(Trump), Phamacolocigal-Americans (Paul), Cheesy-Americans (Walker), and the plain vanilla middle class—better known to academics as the “Bushoisie”—has a candidate, too.

If the polls are right, Trump is actually in the hunt. I think there’s a way to end that quickly, by using Trump’s own popular culture status against him. I recall a pivotal moment in the 1984 Democratic primaries, when Walter Mondale dispatched the pesky Gary Hart with a single question. Hart had been rolling with a vague theme of “new ideas,” though his only new ideas seemed to be his name and his age. So in one of the debates, Mondale wheeled on Hart and said, “You remind me of that hamburger commercial—‘Where’s the beef?’”  Mondale was referring to the famous Wendy’s commercial that was a huge sensation at the time.  Mondale had in fact never seen the commercial, but he was well briefed on how to use it, and reporters dutifully starting writing stories on how thin Hart’s “ideas” really were.

So here’s a suggestion for one of Trump’s GOP rivals (probably Christie) in the first debate. Just wheel around and say, “Trump—we don’t even need to say ‘You’re fired,’ because your skills don’t even rise to ‘apprentice’ level.” Then sit back and watch Trump lose his cool. What cool?, you say? Yes indeed.


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