Op-ed: The Hulk and The Donald

  • By Bob Franken
  • Tuesday, March 22, 2016 4:35pm
  • Opinion

Were you as amazed as I was that Hulk Hogan cried in public? We’re not talking about wimpy John Boehner, but that man among men, Hulk Hogan! Come to think of it, it’s not that remarkable.

The women’s liberation movement really exploded in the 1960s. It led us such a long way, baby — to the strong possibility of a female president in 2017. But it also liberated men. No longer are we bound by stereotypes of stoicism. In fact, faking sensitivity is a good way to get a date.

We don’t even need great news, like the jury verdict that awarded Terry Bollea (Hulk Hogan’s real name) $115 million, although admittedly that certainly would justify anyone’s tears of joy. He had just won his invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against Gawker, a website that published a videotape of him having sex with the wife of a friend. And no, I haven’t seen it. (OK, I tried, but it was difficult to find it, and it just wasn’t worth the effort.) Let’s just accept the stipulation that it shows him doing the deed.

Perhaps you’re wondering why I’d be writing about this. And you’re right, it’s a transparent attempt to light up the search engines. “Hulk Hogan Sex Tapes” should work. Now, however, I have to concoct a rationale. And here it is: Last September, Mr. Hogan, aka Mr. Bollea, told a TMZ interviewer that he would like to be Donald Trump’s vice-presidential running mate.

And why not? Hogan is also a showman, as the video attests — no “small hands” innuendos for him. Plus, he, too, has been recorded spouting the N-word, which will appeal to huge numbers of Trump’s supporters. Beyond that, discussion about the party establishment purloining the nomination from Trump at the convention, and his threat of riots if that happens, misses an important point: All that subterfuge by his opponents might not work. While, it’s a mistake to underestimate the lying, cheating and stealing abilities of political pros, they have underestimated Donald Trump from day one, and they may be stuck with him. So, who would be No. 2 on their dream ticket?

If not Hulk Hogan as the second part of his tag team, or Jesse Ventura, who also has expressed an interest (maybe it’s a wrestler thing), Trump may go more traditional: We’ve already speculated about Chris Christie and Sarah Palin, but both of them might be more of an embarrassment than The Hulk. Joe Arpaio also comes to mind. He’s been aggressively supporting Trump, and their views on immigration and police state tactics align.

Of course, one of the qualifications for being chosen is to have insisted that under no circumstances are you interested. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are far too busy insisting that they don’t want to be the presidential candidate if the power brokers break Trump’s hold. So they’re running a stealth campaign for the top job. There’s nothing even slightly stealthy about John Kasich. He’s still out there openly running for president, playing the Smiley Face role. No No. 2 for him, or so he says.

Let us not forget Ted Cruz, who is emerging as the choice of Republican Trumpaphobes. The problem is that they despise him, but he might be their Anybody But Trump alternative, sort of their ipecac selection.

Still, it’s hard to eliminate Hulk Hogan. He can share courtroom tips with The Donald, who faces that pesky Trump University fraud lawsuit. In addition, he can take over security and the manhandling of protesters, and free the campaign manager from roughing up those hated members of the media, particularly the women.

Donald Trump is a man who refuses to apologize for that or for anything, much less shed a tear. Maybe Hulk even can teach him how to cry. Wouldn’t that be a fun video?

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

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