Op-ed: The Teflon Donald

  • By Bob Franken
  • Monday, November 30, 2015 4:42pm
  • Opinion

If you’re among those who watch the news channels, good for you. But perhaps you’ve stopped. There are a lot of good reasons for not bothering, but one of them certainly could be the repetition. I mean, how many times do people want to hear some commentator discuss Donald Trump?

The question is always the same: This time, did he go too far? Donnie has become the shock jock of the presidential campaign, routinely ignoring any rules of good taste with his crude and ridiculous comments about, well, you name it — or more accurately, you name them. Hispanics? Yep. Muslims? You betcha, time and time again. Minorities? He wants to rough them up. Women? Sure. Even his own daughter? He could be fairly called Mr. Misogynist. And now we can add the disabled, as he’s cruelly made fun of the physical limitations of New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski, who has a chronic condition that limits the movements of his hands and arms.

Kovaleski also is a distinguished, longtime reporter who dared to question Trump’s lie that he personally had watched New Jersey Muslims celebrate the 9/11 attacks. When the Times, and many luminaries in journalism, reacted to his malignant comments with outrage, The Donald reacted as he so often does, and it was not by apologizing; he learned a long time ago that “I’m sorry” is for suckers.

What he does instead is pathetic: He goes passive-aggressive. He’ll contend that his critics are too sensitive, or that he had no intention to be offensive with his offensiveness. Perish the thought that he was deriding the disabled when he attacked Kovaleski, he insisted: “I have no idea who this reporter, Serge Kovalski (sic), is, what he looks like or his level of intelligence,” using one of the classic passive-aggressive tricks of mispronouncing an adversary’s name. Then he added to the garbage heap: Kovaleski “should stop using his disability to grandstand.” Again, more stereotypical passive-aggressive behavior, blaming the victim for his toxic attacks. By the way, still another term for this behavior is emotional cowardice. To put it in Donaldlike terms, Trump is “chicken(expletive).”

Still to borrow an old Southern expression, each time he falls into his own (expletive), he comes out smelling like a rose. His poll numbers stay mired in concrete at between 25 and 30 percent. The Trump faithful adore him. Setting aside the reality that some of them are outright bigots, many of his devout supporters insist that they appreciate that he “tells it like it is,” even when, with his blatant lies and exaggerations, he’s really telling it like it isn’t.

He’s speaking to the seething anger of millions in this nation who just want to strike back at all the more polite politicians and establishment elites who have handed a raw deal to average Americans and sent our country dangerously close to the toilet.

They have a good point. Day after day we hear about how the superwealthy and their government puppets game the game. They see their leaders pass laws legalizing what should be financial crimes. They hear of so-called experts who concoct studies about pharmaceuticals, sponsored by drug companies who want to peddle unsafe medications at astronomical prices. Perhaps they read the latest expose of Coca-Cola making the major financial contribution to a supposed anti-obesity organization to churn out papers that claim to belittle the huge role that sugary soft drinks play in this public health menace.

So the Trump supporters have every right to be furious. We all do. Throughout history, even recent history, someone comes along who wants to fill the trust vacuum with hatred. We all know how that’s gone before. But Donald Trump shows that many of us haven’t learned the right lesson.

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

More in Opinion

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Opinion: The foolish men claiming self-defense

It’s not just misguided teenagers carrying guns who find themselves in trouble with the law.

Opinion: State defends its right to cut nonexistent taxes

This from a state that has no property tax on homes or businesses, only on the oil industry.

Dr. Jay Butler, former chief medical officer for the State of Alaska, is seen in this undated photo. (Courtesy photo)
Alaska Voices: Feeling grateful this Thanksgiving for the COVID vaccines

The COVID vaccines remain our strongest tool in combating the pandemic and helping us return to our lives and the things we love and cherish.

A resident casts their vote in the regular municipal election Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Voices of the Peninsula: All votes matter

In the beginning, only property-holding white men could vote.

Cristen San Roman. (Photo provided)
Point of View: Is management of Cook Inlet catered to special interest groups?

If these fish are so at risk, why is BOEM able to move forward with lease sale 258?

Homer Foundation
Point of View: Grateful for the hidden ‘good’

Gratitude: Noun The state of being grateful; thankfulness. The state or quality… Continue reading

Homer High School Principal Douglas Waclawski. (Photo provided)
Point of View: What is Homer High School about?

What I consider Homer High’s strength is that we are a place for learning.

UAA Chancellor Sean Parnell. (courtesy photo)
Alaska Voices: Invent your future at UAA

At UAA we’re providing the tools to help students of all ages and skills chart a new course forward.

A registered nurse prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at the pop-up clinic on the Spit on May 27. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Alaska Voices: Vaccination is the still best protection from COVID-19

The Alaska State Medical Association encourages you to protect yourselves and your community from preventable illness by getting recommended vaccines.

(Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
The sad diminishment of Rep. Don Young

Young seems afraid to demand his party leader defend the dignity of the institution he loves.

A “Vote Here” sign is seen at the City of Kenai building on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Clarion file)
Alaska Voices: Restore our strong campaign donation limits

Without campaign spending limits, the ideal of one person, one vote is no longer really true.

The Final Redistricting Map approved for the Anchorage and Matanuska-Susitna area is seen on Nov. 9, 2021. (Map via akredistrict.org)
Alaska Voices: The Alaska Redistricting Board’s last-minute gerrymandering failed Alaska

Our Constitution outlines rules for a redistricting process designed to uphold public trust.