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FOR RELEASE FRIDAY, MARCH 25, 2016
WIVES AND OTHER CANDIDATE VICTIMS
BY BOB FRANKEN
What a presidential-election choice we have, America! That is if you enjoy political tactics that are so low, they would be better suited for a limbo contest than a campaign. We are choosing many candidates who, instead of representing our aspirations, are demonstrating our asinine worst.
For once, the latest example wasn’t started by Donald Trump. In fact, this one is from an anti-Trump PAC, “Make America Awesome.” It’s not officially connected to the Ted Cruz organization, but that’s a distinction without a difference. Who among us believes there’s truly no coordination just because it’s illegal? Judge for yourself with this social-media ad that features the now-famous, very revealing photo of Melania Trump posing for GQ magazine back in her days as a model. It’s accompanied by text that reads “Meet Melania Trump. Your next first lady. Or, you could support Ted Cruz on Tuesday.” That was the Utah primary, a state dominated by Mormons, of course, with their strict rules of modesty.
That ad is a cheesy cheap shot. Cruz ritualistically denied any connection to the group that put it out, but he’s no stranger to sewage politics. So the Trumpster ignored the claims of innocence to throw some Twitter trash right back: “Be careful, Lyin’ Ted, or I will spill the beans on your wife!” He may or may not have been referring to a 2005 incident where Heidi Cruz was taken into custody by the side of a road during an episode of depression. Trump didn’t let up, so Cruz, seeking any campaign advantage he could, worked up some outrage: “Donald, you’re a sniveling coward,” he thundered for the cameras, “Leave Heidi the hell alone.” Whoa! And those opportunistic histrionics even came before the accusation in that journalistic paragon, the National Enquirer, that Cruz has had at least five mistresses.
Pitiful, right? But it didn’t compare to the ugliness of those same candidates' responses
to the deadly terrorist attack in Brussels. In this case, they demonstrated how both dangerously play to our worst instincts. Trump, as he has before, advocated torture, telling CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that the newly captured mastermind of the Paris attacks might have been persuaded to “talk a lot faster with the torture.”
Cruz had his own brutality in mind, with his statement that law enforcement should single out, “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.” A spokesperson later elaborated that police “all have divisions that target threats like drugs, gangs, human trafficking and organized crime.” Apparently Cruz has decided that Islamic worshipping is the equivalent of “drugs, gangs, human trafficking and organized crime.”
Many argue that something must be done to protect us, but maybe the Trump and Cruz remedies are too wimpy. If we really want protection without regard to the cost to our values, why not use fences to surround areas in Michigan and elsewhere that have large Muslim populations, or maybe we could practice building a Trump wall. Or, to save money, we can just erect blockades to every mosque and/or arrest anyone who enters. That, combined with refusing entry to anyone from Syria or Iraq to the United States — except Christians, of course — should do the trick. That should protect the U.S., and our way of life.
Of course, our way of life was supposed to include freedom of religion, but hey, let’s not quibble. If the United States must become a police state, so be it. Or should I say Soviet?
The point is that the two leading candidates for the Republican nomination are shamelessly pandering to our harsh, simple-minded anger by panicking the voters they aim to impress. They are not just demagogues, but dangerous ones, because they stoke the fears that can lead to violent vigilante action against fellow countrymen and -women who simply want to practice their faith.
Perhaps all this spousal playground bullying is useful because it’s relatively harmless. In this case, their wives are the collateral damage. If their husbands ever get the chance to implement their terrorism policies, millions would be. Ultimately, we’d all be.
© 2016 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.