Politics & Media
Mar 30, 2023, 06:29AM

It’s Curtains For Meatball Ronald

It’s Trump’s election unless Democrats ditch Biden and convince Michelle Obama to run.

Cunpsorwcaaneff.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

Given the opportunity, I’d support New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, a moderate and sensible conservative, for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. South Carolina’s Sen. Tim Scott would be an acceptable alternative. But as I’m reminded by my 30-year-old son Nicky, who follows politics fairly closely—at least when the streets are hot—and in 2015, predicted Donald Trump, even after the New York celebrity’s mocking of Sen. John McCain, would win the presidency, Americans now live in a post-traditional political world. That means someone like Sununu, in the now-unlikely event he runs, could follow Jimmy Carter’s mid-1970s example and travel throughout the country from now until next year’s primaries, and still never rise above four percent in the thousands of (mostly useless) polls that are published.

It's not that I lose sleep over this twisted, upside-down reality—like much of American life, politics is cyclical (I hope!) and a return to the norm may occur in four or eight years—since there’s not much anyone not in a public or clandestine position of power can do. Give credit to the committed volunteers (mostly young) for certain also-rans like Marianne Williamson, Scott, Vivek Ramaswamy and so on—and let’s be honest, that kind of door-to-door canvassing and organizing meet-ups with “ordinary” voters is a social activity—but electorally, it’s a losing cause. Ask the men and women who toiled for Maryland’s Martin O’Malley—usurped by the out-of-nowhere fan clubs bestowed upon Sen. Bernie Sanders, “The Bern”—how that worked out (although I’d bet more than a few of them got married and/or made valuable career contacts). I’ve seen enough presidential administrations in my lifetime to know that they come and go and the United States isn’t much changed by a single president, that now more than ever—to reprise Nixon’s slogan from 1972—the real power isn’t in the Oval Office but in quarters, near Washington, D.C., that pull the strings.

Nevertheless, at my age it’s difficult to throw out all the political history and a nugget or two of wisdom gained over the years. At the end of January, I spoke at length to Nicky about how Gov. Ron DeSantis, smartly not reacting to Trump’s insults—some work, like Meatball Ron; Ron DeSanctimonious falls flat—and like George W. Bush in 1999 raising so much money before even announcing a presidential bid to scare off competitors, would lap Trump. I rattled off the reasons: landslide win in Florida last November, in comparison to the GOP’s surprising stumbles in most of the country; age (44 compared to Trump’s 76 and Biden’s 111); an athlete and veteran who was a diligent student at Yale and Harvard Law; an intelligent and supportive wife; and a record of not going overboard on Covid lockdowns. He panders to social conservatives, has a vile stance on immigration, same as Trump, so that’s a wash.

Nicky, exasperated, just said, “Dad, none of that matters anymore. It’s not 1968 or even 2012. Trump’s nuts, but that’s why he’ll win… who does the worthless media still focus on?”

I thought about it, especially after Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s grandstanding on the very shaky Stormy Daniels hush money cover-up, which Trump has exploited for maximum publicity, and concluded that Meatball Ronald can’t compete with this once-in-a-century pop culture/political phenomenon. (As of this writing on Wednesday, no indictment has been issued.) Trump’s rally last weekend in Waco, on the 30th anniversary of the Branch Davidians shoot-out, was a success, not for anything the candidate said (same old me-me-me baloney) but the symbolism of Big Brother Governance.

The Democratic strategy in the no-longer nascent campaign is baffling. No one believes that Bragg acted alone in bragging about the possible indictment over the flimsy Stormy Daniels business-as-usual gray-area crime. The media’s a different story: as always, self-interest tops ideology, so it made sense that liberal outlets bashed DeSantis when he was polling well, and then pivoted back to Trump.

As I’ve written before, the media and Trump are unspoken allies; he wins the presidency, and “news” outlets reap the digital revenue and notoriety. But the Democratic National Committee? You’d think—and maybe I’m wrong—they’d like to win next year, but caretaker, barely-coherent Biden is still slated to run. Political pundits and analysts spend far too much time over-interpreting Biden’s win in 2020; it’s almost completely ignored that the Covid election was an anomaly, that if Biden had to speak in front of people every day, instead of waging an early-20th century style sit-at-home campaign, Trump would’ve won reelection handily.

Common sense says: offer the nomination to Michelle Obama—59, smart and extremely popular—on the pretext “your country needs you” and watch as she creams Trump. Maybe that’s the June surprise: but it’s probably too logical to occur. Why would Michelle—fabulously wealthy, living in fabulously ritzy homes and with the ability to snap her fingers and arrange a fabulous TV interview (or lucrative corporate speech at $1 million a pop, because everyone needs pocket change)—agree to take on a challenging, time-consuming job? Fair question, but the presidency is a narcotic, and making history as the first female Commander-In-Chief must be something she at least entertains while poolside in a fabulous Hawaiian resort. (This scenario isn’t one I favor, although Hillary Clinton’s head exploding would be a silver lining.)

—Follow Russ Smith on Twitter: @MUGGER2023

  • If republicans were smart, they would run a Tim Scott/Nikki Haley ticket. First black republican candidate with a woman vp would be easiest (most craven) way to pull votes from Biden/Harris. I personally can't stand the spineless Haley and don't know much about Scott, but media would love the ticket and with the help of a bad economy, it could be first election that republicans win both the popular and electoral vote. I agree with Nicky, Trump will easily take Desantis (AKA Little D) out of the running. That's if book banning Ron doesn't self-destruct from court and Disney losses, first. That said, unless the banks or markets crater, I'd bet on a low turnout Biden reelection.

  • They're both from South Carolina. If running mates are from same state, they forfeit some electoral votes. https://www.history.com/news/can-the-president-and-vice-president-be-from-the-same-state Something you do only if you're very confident.

  • Good point. Didn't realize they were both SC. So exchange Haley with another female republican.

    Responses to this comment
  • Or Haley could establish residency in Pa, Florida, or other swing state. Since she doesn't currently hold office, she could move.

    Responses to this comment
  • Texan, your reference to Gov. DeSantis as “book banning Ron” is a misnomer. There is a difference between a state regulating what sort of books are appropriate to have in a school library and the outright banning of books. If a parent feels the need to have their child read an illustrated book depicting graphic scenes of heterosexual sex, gay sex or masturbation then they are free to go buy those type of books from bookstores that carry that material...Why a parent would feel the need to have their child read books depicting graphic sex is another question altogether.

    Responses to this comment
  • Crestrider,I think you are confused. There are already plenty of laws on the books forbidding pornography to/for and by, children. And I agree with most of those laws. The laws Desantis passed go way beyond that and yes, he has "Banned" those books from school libraries. That fits the very definition of "book banning" Hope that clears things up for you.

  • Texan, State governments along with school administrators have always regulated which books they permit in school libraries. Some books are permitted and others are not which is as it should be since these libraries serve young children and minors. Disallowing some books that are deemed age inappropriate from school libraries is part of the regulatory process that happens in school libraries across the country so by your distorted definition "book banning" has always existed in school libraries. Some of the books that are deemed inappropriate for Florida school libraries deal with cartoon depictions of graphic sex scenes and explicit descriptions of sex acts. These books don't fall into the category of pornography per se. They do fall into the category of what the vast majority of Florida parents consider to be age inappropriate material that has no place in a school library. A Governors job is to serve the people oi his state. Gov. DeSantis listened to the concerns of Florida's parents and removed the controversial books from school libraries. These books are not banned from the state. If any parent wants one of these books for their child to read then they can purchase them from a book store or request them from their local public library...

    Responses to this comment
  • Crestrider, The law goes far beyond banning some cartoon porn. Books about families with two male parents are banned. Even when the two males are penguins from the New York zoo that are raising a chick. At the same time, the bible hasn't been banned and it has graphic rape, sodomy, and incest depictions along with cross-dressing and other uber-right-wing taboos. Yes, local school boards do decide what books are included in the school library. What is unusual, is for a governor to dictate to an entire legislature and therefore state, what books AND topics, should be banned from schools. Also, this law is not limited to 3rd grade and under. It now applies to all grades. One of the many problems with the law is that it bans topics that relate to "sexual orientation". Contrary to your examples, the law is not about banning books depicting sexual acts, despite that being an easier position to defend. Therefore, teachers should not discuss spouses etc. Of course, this will only apply to the gay folk. Hetero relations and orientation I doubt will be challenged. Another problem with this law is that it only requires one "challenge" from a citizen (not necessarily a parent or student) to have a book pulled. Then there is no clear process in place, that meets the Florida sunshine laws, to reinstate the book. I doubt this law will stand up to the legal challenges against it based on first amendment rights, but stranger things have happened in Florida. Crestrider, I agree with you that there should be age-appropriate books in lower school libraries. Where I disagree is in supporting poorly written law that does more harm than good while creating piles of bureaucracy, all just to stroke the ego and biases of a governor and his most vocal and extreme base.

  • Michelle isn't a politician and hates politics and being president. there's no way she's running.//Also Biden beat Trump twice! And Trump's polling numbers are dismlal, and tanked after the indictment. I think the doom and gloom is a little premature.

    Responses to this comment
  • I'd no idea you were on a first-name basis with the former First Lady, Noah! Or knew her thoughts about the presidency. Rarefied air.

    Responses to this comment
  • Texan, the law in question regarding the regulation of books and instructional material in Florida public schools and libraries which is HB 1467 does give a parent or resident the right to petition the school board to remove materials that are age inappropriate or objectionable as you suggest but then it is reviewed by a qualified hearing officer and a hearing is convened by the school board to determine if the objectionable materials in the petition should be removed from the school or library. This is a fair process that allows for parental input and school board review but it is not without flaws and I do agree with you that this does create extra layers of bureaucracy and it is incredibly subjective. If we had more fair minded and rational people running our schools most of these issues surrounding books and instructional material in public schools could be averted but unfortunately there are too many agenda driven ideologue’s in school districts across the country that push the envelope to the brink of absurdity to the point where your “two male penguins raising a chick” example is deemed objectionable or not allowing books with graphic depictions of sex scenes whether they be gay, straight or otherwise is seen as discriminatory.

    Responses to this comment

Register or Login to leave a comment