Some blondes have all the fun.
As Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush get more testy, Donald Trump gets more chesty. And more blond.
It’s mind-boggling to contemplate a President Trump trying to make peace between North and South Korea, even as we watch the pugnacious Candidate Trump trolling poor Jeb on Twitter and predicting that poor Hillary would have to run the country from Leavenworth.
But, as Trump would say, deal with it.
The pol who refused to identify himself as a pol on his jury duty questionnaire has utterly scrambled American politics. And he has trademarked the phrase “Make America Great Again.”
“I was surprised it was available,” he told me.
Certainly, Trump could explode at any moment in a fiery orange ball. But meanwhile, he has exploded the hoary conventions, money-grubbing advisers and fundraising excesses of the presidential campaign, turning everything upside down, inside out, into sauerkraut.
It is a fable conjured up in several classic movies: A magnetic, libidinous visitor shows up and insinuates himself into the lives of a bourgeois family. The free spirit leaves, but only after transforming the hidebound family, so that none of them can see themselves the same way again.
That is the profound metamorphosis Trump has wrought on the race. The Don Rickles of reality shows is weirdly bringing some reality to the presidential patty-cake.
The Donald’s strange pompadour and Hillary’s strange server have eclipsed all the usual primary permutations.
Because Trump is so loud, omnipresent, multiplatform and cutting, he’s shaping the perception of the other candidates. Once he blurts out the obvious — Jeb is low-energy, Hillary is shifty, Mitt choked — some voters nod their heads and start to see his targets in that unflattering light as well.
Trump has trapped his Republican rivals into agreeing with his red-meat opinions on immigration or attacking him, neither of which are good options. Trump bluntness only works for Trump, and getting into a scrap with him is like being tossed into a bag of badgers.
Mike Murphy, the chief strategist of Jeb’s super PAC, went on the record in a Washington Post story with a veiled message to Jeb to stop taunting Trump.
“Trump is, frankly, other people’s problem,” Murphy said.
Jeb stooped to conquer Trump, echoing his use of the phrase “anchor baby,” only to have the news spilled that Jeb had co-chaired a group that advised politicians not to say “anchor baby.”
Real estate developer Trump has turned a fetish for the biggest and the best — in everything from dinner rolls to skyscrapers — into a presidential vision for “the silent majority.” He’s tapped into a hunger among those who want to believe that America is not a shrinking, stumbling power passed like a pepper mill between two entitled families.
Indeed, in interviews, voters who like Trump often use an anatomical variation on the word brass.
The shame spiral and money pit that followed the false Iraq narrative W. and Dick Cheney put into play to remove the strongman Saddam Hussein — the identity crisis that came with the knowledge that America can no longer whip or outfox anybody — has led many Americans to want a strongman.
“Trump is the proverbial strongman,” David Axelrod says. “There’s no one more opposite to Obama. Bush had been impulsive and reckless, so voters wanted someone who was thoughtful and deliberative. Now they’ve had enough of gray and they want to go back to black and white, and that’s Trump. He knows nothing else.”
It’s mesmerizing to watch Trump try to turn himself into a real candidate in real time.
He was mocked when he said that he got his national security advice from watching “the shows” on TV. But voters know that top diplomats, spooks and generals led presidents down the tragic paths to the Bay of Pigs, Vietnam and Iraq. Jeb Bush gets his advice from Paul Wolfowitz, who naively bollixed up Iraq and gave us ISIS. And Hillary and top Republicans say they get valued counsel from Henry Kissinger, who advised Nixon to prolong the Vietnam War for political reasons even though he thought it might be unwinnable.
The neophyte pol belatedly realized that he could not glide past the horror of two Boston thugs accused of laughingly beating a homeless Hispanic with a pole and peeing on him in Trump’s name.
He lives beyond parody. There’s very little difference between the old Darrell Hammond duck-lipped impersonation of the Trumpster and Trump, the presidential candidate.
Both dwell on how “huge” and “big” his projects are and how “great” his ratings are and how much square footage he has.
(Unlike the Hammond impersonation and Trump’s turn as “SNL” host, the presidential candidate shies away from boasting about hot women.)
There is nothing that excites Trump the candidate more than crowing that he has a great big crowd and Jeb has a teeny weeny crowd. He sounded orgasmic as he described to the New Hampshire town hall that his Alabama event this weekend had to be moved from a room that held 1,000 to a room that held 2,000 to a convention center to a stadium.
So Trump should appreciate the task ahead: It’s huge.
Maureen Dowd writes for The New York Times.