By Irene F. Starkehaus -
Rumors are floating that a deal has been struck somewhere behind the scenes with regard to the Republican presidential debates. It's being said that the reason Carly Fiorina got placed on the A list for the CNN event is because she's a ringer who has been brought in to mow down Donald Trump. Apparently now that Donald Trump has called Carly ugly, she's just the person to kneecap him.
I heard of this possibility…that Carly is the evening's rented pit bull (talk about your affirmative action hire)… and paused to consider the reality of what this says about the debate process and about leading GOP contenders who are asphyxiating from the pure adrenalin of Donald Trump's poll numbers.
I don't know what the GOP is thinking by propagating such unattractive gossip, but bringing in a girl to beat up the so-called playground bully is not the narrative of political aptitude that I would be pushing on behalf any would-be nominee.
This is a multifaceted gem of a quandary to say the least. I don't know where to begin with everything that is wrong about the idea that Carly's only on the stage with the top GOP candidates to wound Trump. Should I be incredulous or amused by the possibilities? Let's break the problem down just to be sure.
Issue 1 – Trump called Carly ugly?
There are a thousand one-liners that trip off the tongue to rebut what Trump said about Carly Fiorina, but that's not the important take-away from Trump's catty insult. Venomous, rude, needlessly unkind, all accurate descriptions but none are relevant.
What is germane then? Right off the bat, Trump's observation forces us to confront what we don't like about Donald Trump. He's crass and he's kind of a jerk. Keeping in mind, of course, that if given the choice between of "kind of a jerk" and anyone from the Bush dynasty, I'll take Trump first. Frankly, I'll take the dead skunk that's stinking up 75th at Route 59 first. But that's a story for another day.
Regardless, these kinds of comments are beneath anyone seeking the presidency. Trump is now even more distant in the minds of potential voters from the conservative prototype of Ronald Reagan than he was before… Reagan, it would seem, will remain the standard bearer for conservative politics until someone figures out how to clone him.
Reagan was a tough SOB to be sure, and he never minced words about significant political matters. He told it like it was. He didn't care what people thought about it either. Many times I watched him come out from his corner swinging, but that didn't make him any less of a gentleman. Conservatives liked that about him. He was more likely to make fun of his own shortcomings than his opponents, and he never would have called a person ugly.
Right. Trump has since backtracked on his comment, but we're all clear his intentions. Don't even bother coming up with a justification. He knows what he meant. We know what he meant. Enough already. If nothing else, he deserves an "Oh, yeah? So's your mother."
The second thought that ought to come to mind when considering Trump's recent turrets affliction is that Carly Fiorina started as an AT&T management trainee and rose to the position of Hewlett Packard CEO. It would appear to the casual observer that Carly gained her position through hard work rather than applying the Hillary Clinton method of coattail riding. This reality gives us permission to openly wonder, "Do you suppose that this is the first time someone has ever called Carly ugly?"
I'm thinking not. I'm thinking that "ugly" is the least of what she's been called over the years. People in positions of authority get bits of smack and snark thrown at them now and again. It's what happens. She's used to it. I have no doubt.
Further, if Carly can't take a tacky hit from a jerk like Donald Trump then she ought not be running for President of the United States because I'm guessing that Vladimir Putin will have worse things to say about her than Trump ever could.
To date, Carly's taken Trump's Vinnie Barbarino impression like a man…and with the grace of a woman, I might add. She's done better than Barack Obama did during his first run for president actually. Obama couldn't take jokes about his ears if you'll remember. The press had to coach him to toughen up. Right?
Anyway, assuming that she is ugly… and I would suggest that she isn't…here's a good question to consider when voting for your favorite candidate in the primary. Is being beautiful required for being an effective president?
Are you kidding me? Required? For Republicans, I thought it was a genetic compensation that masks their chromosomal links to the knuckle-dragging troglodytes.
Help me out. Sarah Palin was criticized for being too pretty. Right? They had to tone down her good looks with the librarian eyewear to make her a more appealing candidate to the average voter. As far as the press was concerned, Palin's appearance automatically discredited her as the nominee for Vice President. It was unseemly. Her beauty was simply proof positive that she was too stupid to breathe, and any "I can see Russia from my backyard" comment was easily attributed to her because liberals needed her to be just that ridiculous.
Further, Margaret Thatcher…okay, she wasn't ugly, but no one suggested librarian glasses to tone her down either. The best adjective for Thatcher? She was solid. And it just so happens that she was the best British Prime Minister since Winston Churchill. Frankly, this country could use a little Thatcher blood flowing through the political system.
Ah. And then there's what passes for the beautiful people in politics…attractive like Nancy Pelosi is attractive. Nancy Pelosi – who has had so much Botox pumped into her brain that even her own kids have got to be like, "Mom. Seriously, it's time for an intervention." Nancy Pelosi who has had so many nips and tucks that when she sneezes, her nylons run…it doesn't matter. Eventually she opens her mouth and we instantly gain encyclopedic knowledge of what "ugly" truly is.
Ugly is as ugly does. Ugly tells Americans that we have to pass the bill to know what's in the bill. Ugly forces conscientious objectors to pay for abortions against their will. Ugly thinks it's a ruler when it's a representative of the people.
Issue 2 – Why exactly is Carly on stage with the big boys if it's not to take Trump down? (I know. Who do I think I am? John McLaughlin? WRONG! The answer is waffle cones!)
If it's not to hurt Trump's poll numbers, what else could it possibly be?
It's hard for me to believe that Fiorina views her time on the stage as conditional to her takedown of Donald Trump…although, nothing would make me happier than to see Trump speechless, and no one else in the GOP line up looks capable of making that happen.
Perhaps we have our answer. Perhaps that lack of energy, lack of conviction, lack of strength is a good indication of what makes Carly and Trump such dynamic options to the tried and true Republicans that the establishment keeps reheating and serving to us in spite of their past-due date.
The problem with the theory that Carly is just there to mess with Trump is that if she's capable of shutting him down then she's capable of shutting the rest of them down too. Why would she stop with one?
It's quite the Zen-like imagery though. Jeb Bush as the kingpin who masterminds the character assassination of his chief rival in order to take political advantage, but he needs to do so without getting his hands dirty? Maybe. That seems very film noire though. Shoot it in a grainy sepia, but make sure the vocal track is a fraction off…we might have a Sundance Festival winner on our hands.
Ultimately, I think I'm with Trump on this one. I doubt Bush has enough gumption to hatch such a plan. How would he have any time to work out his La Bamba duet with Los Lobos for his next Jimmy Fallon appearance if he got caught up in that kind of intrigue?
I kid. Los Lobos wouldn't be able to match Jeb's fluency and that would be awkward.
Bottom line is that if Carly Fiorina can demonstrate her political acumen at the expense of the establishment Republicans, she will rise in the polls. Nothing good happens for the other Republican candidates when Carly Fiorina shows up. I think that voters are looking for any excuse to knock some sense into the Republican Party after the generational fiascos brought upon this party and this nation by the red-tie progressives. That's why Carly and Trump continue to run circles around the other candidates. That's why Trump and Carly will inadvertently work together to spank the establishment. Together they make politics fun again.
Issue 3 - Do you really care what Carly looks like if she can do for America what Margaret Thatcher did for England? Do you care why she's on stage if she uses the opportunity to articulate conservatism properly for the first time in three decades?