This is not "Trump being Trump," ladies and gentlemen. This is Trump proving himself completely unable to deal with the fact that he is losing, and losing to an opponent that is immune to the "weaponry" and tactics that vaulted him to his former frontrunner position and kept him there for four months.
Then Dr. C took him on frontally over his phony, caricatured immigration hawk stance yesterday, and the emotional wheels came off the Trump express, mental lugnuts flying every which direction like shrapnel, in Iowa last night:
At first, the audience was quick to laugh at Trump’s sharp insults and applaud his calls to better care for veterans, replace the [Una]ffordable Care Act [with single-payer socialized medicine; that's the part he left out] and construct a wall along the Mexican border. But as the speech dragged on, the applause came less often and grew softer. As Trump attacked Carson using deeply personal language, the audience grew quiet, a few shaking their heads. A man sitting in the back of the auditorium loudly gasped. …
He scoffed at those who have accused him of not understanding foreign policy, saying he knows more about Islamic State terrorists “than the generals do.” He took credit for predicting the threat of Osama bin Laden and being right on the “anchor baby situation,” a position he says “these great geniuses from Harvard Law School” now back. He uttered the word “crap” at least three times, and promised to “bomb the shit” out of oil fields benefiting terrorists. He signed a book for a guy in the audience and then tossed it back at him with a flip: “Here you go, baby. I love you.”
Trump called Republican rival Carly Fiorina “Carly whatever-the-hell-her-name-is,” accused Democrat candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton of playing the “twat card” and said Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) is “weak like a baby.”
But he didn't take any ball-shots at Ted Cruz. Veeeeery interesting.
He then devoted more than ten minutes angrily attacking his chief rival, Ben Carson, saying the retired doctor has a “pathological disease” with no cure, similar to being a child molester.
“If I did the stuff he said he did, I wouldn’t be here right now. It would have been over. It would have been over. It would have been totally over,” Trump said. “And that’s who’s in second place. And I don’t get it.” [emphasis added]
No, Donnie, YOU'RE in second place, and that's what you can't handle. And what you did last night is what is in the process of making YOUR candidacy "over, over, totally over".
Behold for yourself and your viewing pleasure:
Trump has, even in this campaign of his, made no secret of the fact that he's an entertainer, not a politician. In this gutter culture in which we fetidly marinate, that's much of what has shot him into the stratosphere of the GOP primary firmament. But (1) there was nothing entertaining about that unhinged rant; it came across not like a Don Rickles comedy routine, but as the puerile temper tantrum it was. And (2) it wasn't aimed at the Republican "establishment," but at fellow outsiders and/or Tea Partiers, who happen to be his rivals and overtaking him precisely because of his earlier success against that "establishment". Carly Fiorina is immensely respected, and Trump had already taken lumps for calling her "ugly" back in September. And Ben Carson and Marco Rubio have the best favorables of and are liked more than anybody else in the GOP race, while Trump's are even lower than Jeb Bush's, and that was before he went verbally postal last night.
It's "yugely" ironic that Trump calls Gentle Ben "pathological" after that spittle-flecked, whiny-snarly display, coming mercurially after having been so subdued (for him) at the fourth debate and in its aftermath. But what it was above all else was unpresidential. Think about this, remaining Trumpsters, and think about it hard: Is this the man you want in charge of the nuclear launch codes? Negotiating with a master geopolitical chess player like Vladimir Putin, who could manipulate your hero with such embarrassing ease that he'd be jerking himself off in the middle of Red Square and bellowing that he was "showing that KGBnik who had the REAL 12-inch ruler!"? And taking over the Imperial Presidency with an "I always get my way" mentality in a job that is designed to prevent its holder from getting his way? Have we not learned what a horrible idea it is to entrust power to an arrogant, egotistical, strutting narcissist with delusions of godhood? And is not Donald J. Trump vetting himself for all to see but those who stubbornly and willfully remain blind to it?
Captain Ed unwittingly provides a wonderful segue:
Trump misses the entire point of Carson’s memoir. He admits to his violent temper as a way of explaining his redemption through faith in Jesus Christ. It intends to inspire young people by showing that they are not “incurable,” but can prevail over difficult circumstances and unhappy childhoods.
I'll take it a step further and assert that Trump doesn't believe a word he's saying (as is his SOP in this entire endeavor). Why? Because if he truly thought that Ben Carson was a Jekyll & Hyde-esque psychopath liable to go berserk at any moment, would he call him a child-molester to his public face? I'm going to hazard a guess and say "no".
The Doc, for his part, issued another soft answer, while also heaping more burning coals on The Donald's pompadour:
Republican presidential frontrunner Ben Carson recommended praying for rival Donald Trump after the real-estate mogul and television personality, in a ninety-five-minute rant in Iowa, likened him to a child molester, Carson's business manager said on Friday.
"When I spoke with Dr. Carson about this yesterday how we should respond, you know he was so sad about it. He said: "Pray for him." He feels sorry for him because he really likes Mr. Trump," Armstrong Williams, who often acts as Carson's surrogate in the media, told CNN.
"To see him just imploding before our very eyes - it's just sad to watch," Williams said.
Steven Deace, who has migrated from Trump to Ted Cruz, concurs with this final word:
This broke my heart. I like Donald....But this is embarrassing. Maybe the most embarrassing nine minutes I've ever seen from a GOP presidential candidate. And when your last two nominees are Romney and McCain, that's saying something.
There's no other way to describe this other than a complete meltdown, and if you watch the reaction of most of those sitting in the background it's clear they're not comfortable with it, either. This isn't "Trump being Trump" or "telling it like it is." This is conduct unbecoming of the highest office in the world. I highly doubt you build a multi-billion dollar, global conglomerate talking to people like this. If his goal was to hurt Ben Carson I suspect it will have the exact opposite impact.
What's happening here is a candidacy built on saying outrageous things is now like the proverbial dog who catches the car. Trump has come to the fork in the road - either become even more outrageous or evolve from provocateur to leader. If you truly want to be president you do the latter, but if you don't you do the former and act out all the more to self-eliminate (think Ross Perot 1992).
Precisely. Has even that option been endangered by this pathological outburst? We shall see.