Fright Night

The Republican Clown Car Parade returns to CNN!

To Boldly Go Where Trump Has Not Gone Before

Donald Trump is unique among the battalion of candidates for the Republican presidential nomination this season. He alone launches heretical concepts, which the media then explores at great length to the exclusion of ideas, or lack thereof, presented by other candidates.

Among the trips where the commander of the Republican Starship Free Enterprise has boldly gone where no man has gone before: the building of the Great Wall of Mexico, to make us safe from the rapists and criminals, our southern neighbors’ biggest contribution to American society, besides tacos; the banning of all Muslims, regardless of their previous citizenship; zero Syrian refugees; killing relatives of terrorists, including 4 year-olds; bombing the bleep out of them (ISIS), and the biggest concept of all, electing him because he is rich.

Much has been written deploring or hailing the ideas, which seem to be coming from deep inside his hair, the site of a command post established by a foreign power (rumored to be Manchuria) or the dirty tricks division of the Democratic Party.

But he has had one really good idea, an innovation that for some reason has not received the usual 24/7 attention from cable network news it deserves. I’m talking about Starship Commander Trump’s wild and crazy proposal that he should be paid to appear in the debates, like the one on CNN tonight at 8:30 PM.

The morning of Dec. 1, Trump startled the world of TV journalism, demanding CNN pay him five million dollars for the privilege of having him help their ratings by being in the next CNN-hosted debate. Holy Wolf Blitzer! And all the other reindeers, too.

A truly Trumpian initiative, the Pay I Don’t Play or Me plan deserves to be studied by all media scholars, like myself. I second the immodest proposal.

College football players want to get paid for weekend work on network shows. Interns want to get paid for going for coffee on TV shows. Why not the debaters?

I strongly support Donald, with one cavil.

Five million is bubkus, chicken feed, when you consider how much the networks are profiting by jacking up commercial fees from unanticipated audiences, if not Super Bowl-sized, at least bigger than the Emmy’s or Myth America contests back in the Bert Parks Era. Christmas has come early for the cable networks.

“Never sell yourself short,” as my father always told me.

What is Trump worth? “Priceless,” as they say in the commercials.

Trump has emerged as the star performer in a show that basically looks like a high school production of “Chorus Line” with a cast of the relatively unknowns and untalented auditioning for the role of president.

Ask yourself, what would the Republican debates be without Trump? I have one word for them: Booorrrrrrrrrrinng.

Staying away from the debate tonight unless he is being paid is not without personal sacrifice. He would be missing the opportunity of being ravaged, I say, brutalized by the most experienced of the Torquemadas, hosting these inquisitions. Teams of journalists have been whacking the soles of the candidates in the first three debates, inserting toothpicks in their nails. Now we come to the waterboarding stage with Wolf Blitzkrieg in command.

The face of CNN, Wolfman always reminded me of a U-Boat commander about to order, “torpedoes away.” The most experienced of the moderators, I’d vote for him as president. He always seemed to be the most knowledgeable on the debate stage, knowing both the questions and answers.

Every debate it’s Trump against some body. Carly Fiorina… Megyn Kelly… Tonight it’s supposed to be Trump vs. Cruz. “The maniac,” as Donald has already called him, in honor of his winning one poll in Iowa, a sure sign that fortune is smiling on God’s favorite candidate. Everybody wants to see what Trump really thinks of the only Canadian in the race for a job only native-born Americans need to apply, as Cruz reminded us while questioning Pres. Obama’s qualifications. Trump vs. Cruz could be as fascinating as watching two scorpions in a bottle.

Commander Trump has been accused of making a mockery of the debates. But how can you make a mockery of what already is a mockery? The debates, as I’ve been saying since 1972, are not real debates but glorified press conferences.

They aren’t very good educational tools, either, since viewers can’t compare what candidates are saying on the same issues, as the issues keep changing depending on the whim of interrogators. Not that comparative listening would be that helpful, since candidates have been known to change positions from state to state, as required.

A fraud, a mountebank, a man who claims to be such a genius financial whiz because he went to Wharton, yet has at least three bankruptcies to his good name, a man who uses so much hair spray he is a personal threat to the Ozone Layer, a self-made man, who is in love with his maker-- I have as much confidence in this man as commander-in-chief at the Trump White House as the doorman in the fancy field marshal uniform at one of his hotels.

But credit where credit is due. Trump deserves a Congressional medal of honor for making clear what the debates really are: a six- part Reality TV series. He has done the impossible, turning what was at most a public TV documentary series, into must-see appointment viewing.

If Donald were smart, he would follow through on his threat and actually stay away from one of the future debates. Claim he has a previous engagement, or some other urgent business. That would make his point about the ratings going in the terlet, as one angry white man (Archie Bunker) used to say, without his presence as the star. It will be the pits without him.

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Marvin Kitman
December 15, 2015

Marvin Kitman is the author of “The Making of the Preƒident 1789”, HarperCollins, and in paperback, Grove Press, available at Amazon and quality book-sellers.