Machine Gun Bacon and the Trump Reflection
Texas Senator and GOP Presidential candidate, Ted Cruz has a unique way of gaining political traction and by doing so amply demonstrates the reality T. V. aspect of American politics. In a recently released campaign video Senator Cruz wrapped a slice of bacon around the barrel of an M 16 automatic military assault rifle and gleefully fired the weapon until the barrel got hot enough to fry pork. He then looked into the camera and uttered the line, “machine gun bacon”.
We understand the desire of some to escape the Trump whirlwind. But is still difficult to understand why a grown man, much less a sitting Senator and Presidential aspirate would engage in such juvenility.
The expenses related to cooking meat on the barrel of a gun including but not limited to the purchase/rental of an expensive military assault weapon, costly bullets, fees for a gun range and transportation cost when a simple skillet or micro-wave oven would do, belies the notion of fiscal conservatism.
The gimmick also damages the Senator’s 2nd Amendment bona fides. An M-16 is not a machine gun, something a 2nd Amendment champion should know. Firearms are not kitchen utensils and the constitution contains no reference to bacon. Guns are instead dangerous weapons to be used as constitutionally intended, i.e., hunting, self protection and to guard against the dangers of a tyrannical government.
Moreover, the trick trivializes the growing social problem of mass shootings and gun fatalities. It further encourages others to ape the stunt with potentially tragic consequences.
And Cruz is not the only one given to sophomoric political tactics. Many are willing to set their hair on fire just to get some attention. Senators Rand Paul and Lindsey Graham also released videos; Paul taking a chain saw to a stack of papers and Graham practicing his golf swing on a cell phone. New Jersey Governor Chris Christi, a Catholic, confessed to using birth control and said the teachers union deserves a punch in the face. And former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee compared the Iranian nuclear deal to leading Jews to the Holocaust ovens.
But as trite as these antics are, “the Donald” reveals the darker, more vulgar side of American politics. We specifically reference the Republican presidential debate and the Megan Kelly question.
Designed to assist the nation determine who should lead it, presidential debates are important occasions. They should not be cake walks where softball questions are tossed over the plate to be hit out of the park. Rather, the questions asked of each candidate should be hard but fair, relevant to the issues at hand, and probative of the candidate’s attitudes and perspectives.
It is more than reasonable to question a candidate about any possible bias for or against a particular group, especially where the basis for the inquiry is a matter of public record. Trump has made disparaging comments about women as revealed by his own Twitter account. And on Celebrity Apprentice, he once told a contestant “it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees”. Given this reality, Megan Kelly properly asked Mr. Trump if “he has the temperament of a man we should elect as president and how he would answer the charge from Hilary Clinton … that he is part of the war on women?
Always the victim, Trump’s initially deny the truth of the matter. He then offered the curious yet untrue defense that if he did make such comments they were directed only at Rosie O’Donnell. He followed up with a veiled threat that if he so desired, he could be equally mean to the moderator.
Immediately after the debate he complained of being asked more difficult questions than the other candidates. And for two hours the next morning, between 2:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m., he posted 30 angry tweets lambasting the moderator and Republican pollster Frank Lutz for treating him so poorly.
His latest outrage is to suggest that Moderator Kelly was menstruating when she asked the question. He told CNN “there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her where ever”. And this is from a man who would be President. Talk about petulance.
Some have argued that this time, Trump has gone too far. A longtime aid Roger Stone has broken with “the Donald” and he has been disinvited from an important conservative event, the RedState Gathering.
According to Eric Erickson, RedState editor in chief and event host, “I have emails from people referring to Megan Kelly as a whore, me as gay, the president by the n-word and saying that Donald Trump is standing up to all of us. We need to understand the type of people who have been drawn to Donald Trump like moths to a flame – they will burn all of us if we don’t say it’s unacceptable. http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/the-beginning-the-end-inside-trumps-redstate-meltdown.
Trump immediately retaliated by noting that “Erickson also has a long history of inflammatory comments, including a tweet in which he called Supreme Court Justice David Souter a goat f***ing child molester.” http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/donald-trump-disinvited-conservative-gathering-over-megyn-kelly-comments.
But contrary to conventional wisdom, the Trump phenomenon is not about Donald Trump. He is but a mirror that reflects back upon us, revealing the mean, ugly and vulgar side of American politics; the exclusion, racism, sexism, xenophobia, self-absorption and sense of entitlement that feeds an irrational, blinding hatred that cannot be satisfied and knows no end.
Rather than unite Trump and those like him divide. Having no desire to solve, they acerbate. And instead of healing they would rather rend and tear. They firmly believe that in order to battle the “boogy-man” of political correctness, nothing is out of bounds. Trump is therefore entitled to say anything he pleases about anything or anyone, all without consequence, that doing so makes him a “straight shooter” and that holding him accountable for his own words and deeds somehow makes him the victim. For many, Trump is incapable of going too far.
He may not win the Presidency, but sadly, what he represents will be with us for the foreseeable future. This is the machine gun bacon that Trump serves to the GOP and by extension the nation.
Leo Barron Hicks, Founder and CEO
Blackacre Policy Forum