Op-ed: The ABCs of campaigning

  • By Bob Franken
  • Tuesday, April 26, 2016 3:43pm
  • Opinion

If you want real betrayal and towering egos, forget the presidential campaign; look no further than the gripping intrigue swirling around Michael Strahan’s leaving his perch on the ABC “Live!” program that he’s co-hosted with Kelly Ripa for four years. He’ll move over full time to the network’s slipping morning show “Good Morning America.”

All of this was engineered by duplicitous upper management, pardon the redundancy, behind the back of Ms. Ripa. As Bart Simpson would say, she had a cow when she heard the news, which was about the time it was publicly announced. So she retaliated by simply not showing up for a few days while she had her conniption fit and the tabloids feasted.

Comes now the question about who replaces Strahan. It’s time for the executives to think really big. If they do, and things happen as they just might, there is one man who is a proven showman without compare. Yes, I’m talking about Donald Trump. Is that a brilliant idea or what? Actually, it was suggested by a friend of mine. I have weird friends.

Still, think of the possibilities. He and Kelly could share their experiences if he, too, got back-stabbed — in his case, by the Republican machine operators. After a while, we’d grow tired of hearing his righteous indignation, just as his bombastic routine is finally getting a little tedious now. But he’d need a new venue, need his daily TV fix, so he’d be available. Of course, Kelly would have to put up with his misogyny and other crude utterances, but hey, ratings are ratings.

Anyway, he can probably adapt. According to both Trump and his new handlers, he can be more appropriate when the time comes. His hateful spew is only an act, designed to attract his hordes of supporters who are angry and longing for the good old days when they could hate without guilt.

It’s always possible, however, that this discussion becomes moot, that he thwarts the GOP party rulers and actually leaves them no choice but to crown him king of the party. He might come into Cleveland with enough delegates to make all their desperate maneuverings futile. I say desperate, because they have to be if they’re embracing Ted Cruz, a man they despise.

If he actually gets the nomination, the question is not whether Donald Trump is picked to become Kelly Ripa’s new partner, but who is picked by Donald Trump to be his partner, his vice-presidential running mate. The name you hear often is Chris Christie, who famously endorsed Trump after pulling out of the race and has shown a willingness to grovel by appearing publicly with the Trumpster. But how many abrasive boys can America accept from the New York-New Jersey nasty access? I think we can forget about Christie.

Another one to ponder, if Donald Trump decides on a minority, is, of course, Ben Carson. Carson is also on board the Trump plane, but frankly, he’s not shown that he’s always the swiftest boat in the choppy political waters, so he might not make the cut. Put him down as more likely on the list for a cabinet position, qualified or not.

A woman would be a striking choice, but there might be a shortage of those who wouldn’t be embarrassed to be seen with him. Forget about Sarah Palin, though. She’s useful as a surrogate, but, well, what more can you say about her — is it impolite to say she’s a nutcase? Too nutty, even for Donald Trump.

Obviously, there are some serious possibilities out there who might be willing — Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, for instance, who’s been Trump’s idea man for his hateful immigration pronouncements. Let’s not forget, being Donald Trump’s VP may not be a full-time job. Maybe, they can work a deal where whoever it is also moonlights as Kelly’s co-host. Strange? No more so than the campaign has already been.


Bob Franken is a longtime broadcast journalist, including 20 years at CNN.

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