Sep 30, 2016

September 30, 2016: ‘The Donald’ at the Bat, The ‘Babe Ruth’ Of Debating, Madame Secretary I Presume.

“But McCain preceded the Donald, as did also our man Mitt,
And the former was a hoodoo, while the later was a twit;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of ‘The Donald’ getting to the bat.

But McCain let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Mitt, the much despised, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and men saw what had occurred,
There was Romney safe at second and Johnny a-hugging third.

From five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
it pounded on the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
for 'The Donald', 'The Mighty Donald', was advancing to the bat"
On Sunday, 25 September, the outlook was beginning to look very grim indeed for the Democratic nine.  According to Nate Silver, the most trusted name in polling and electoral predictions, the Donald had narrowed Clinton’s lead to the point that he now had a 45.2% chance of winning the election, the best numbers his campaign had been able to post since just before the party conventions.  Moreover, he was closing fast.  Emails were being sent out by various progressive and Democratic (not the same thing) organizations in full panic mode.  Florida was going Rescumlican, Ohio is lost, what’s next: Pennsylvania? Michigan?

Word came from the Trump campaign that the Donald, being the ‘Babe Ruth of debating’, would summarily dispatch the woman, citing how he had easily dominated the primary debates.  Accordingly, it was thought, Clinton having to walk the high wire between being forceful and being a scold, would be hamstrung, defensive, seen as aloof, condescending, judgmental, a nerd and a bore cast in the lot with Mike Dukkakis and Al Gore.  Indeed one wag postulated that the challenge for Hillary was to square quantum physics with the theory of relativity while the Donald simply had to show up and not vomit all over the stage.  Apparently, the Donald believed it as well, swallowing whole his own press releases as he pranced about the country telling adoring audiences that Clinton didn’t have a chance. 

“There was ease in ’The Donald’s’ manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in ‘The Donald’s’ bearing and a smile lit the ‘The Donald’s’ face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt ‘The Babe Ruth of Debating’ ‘twas at the bat.

Two hundred million eyes were upon him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Ten million tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt;
Then while the smiling Hillary ground the ball into her hip,
Defiance flashed in the ‘The Donald’s’ eye, a sneer curled the ’The Donald’s’ lip.”

Smiling, she led off by questioning his business acumen given his half dozen or more bankruptcies, chided him for stiffing contractors and employees that worked for him, suggested that the reason he isn’t releasing his tax returns is that perhaps he isn’t as wealthy or charitable as he claims, and that perhaps he owes money to foreign banks and governments creating huge conflicts of interest. 

“And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And ‘The Donald’ stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped-
“That ain’t my style,” said ‘The Donald’, “Strike One!” the moderator said.

“From back-benches, filled with teabags, came up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves upon a stern and distant shore;
“Kill him, Kill the umpire!” shouted someone in the stands;
And it’s likely they’d have killed him had not ‘The Donald’ raised his hand.”

“Madame Secretary, May I call you Secretary?” he then asked condescendingly, at which time he pivoted to a rambling critique of her performance as Secretary of State.  Clinton, composed as an old schoolmarm dealing with a recalcitrant delinquent, simply rattled off her experience questioning in the end ‘The Donald’s” knowledge of the world about us, and his fitness for command.

“With a sneer of heathen charity the great “Donald’s” visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the lady, and once more the dun sphere flew;
But ‘The Donald’ still ignored it and the moderator called “strike two”.

“Fraud!” cried the maddened teabaggers, and echo answered “Fraud!”
But one scornful look from ‘The Donald” and the great unwashed were awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that ‘The Donald’ wouldn’t let that ball go by again.”

And then, turning and facing him, Hillary reminded ‘The Donald’ of his treatment and remarks to a former Miss Universe when he owned and ran the pageant widening the criticism by reminding the audience of his disparaging remarks about women and, in particular, his treatment of comedian Rosie O’Donnell. 

“The sneer is gone from ‘The Donald’s” lip, his teeth are clenched in hate,
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate;
An now the lady holds the ball, and now she lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of ‘The Donald’s’ blow”

“Well, she deserved it” replied “The Donald” in a tone of righteous indignation. 

Strike three.

“Oh, somewhere in this promised land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout,
But there is no joy in Mudville—‘The Donald’ has struck out.” (1)

(1). My thanks to Ernest Lawrence Thayer for one of the favorite poems of my youth and the inspiration it has given me here.