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How far is too far in politics?

March 25, 2016

At one time not so very long ago, that question was pretty easy to answer.

That was then, this is now.

It appears that nothing is off-limits today. From the size of your genitalia to the look of your face, it’s all good.

Or is it?

The latest scrum between GOP candidates Trump and Cruz may not break any standard of political morality, but it sure highlights  the candidate’s temperament.

Mr. Trump was well within his rights to be outraged over the sleazy motives behind publication of a 16-year old professional photo shoot picture of his current wife.  Not only was it done maliciously, but it was the second attack on his family.

Where he failed was in immediately attacking Mrs. Cruz.

First, he didn’t bother to find out who actually invaded his wife’s privacy. The not-so-super PAC that posted the photo has only the loosest connection to Senator Cruz, and the picture was posted more to get publicity for the PAC than to help Cruz.

Second, if he doesn’t want his family attacked, why would he think it’s OK to attack someone else’s?

Third, Trump’s hair trigger over-the-top response plays into everything the that both the left and right alike have been saying about his lack of fitness for the job he wants.

If he had confined his remarks to what he thought of Ted Cruz and his supporters, no one would have found that to be out of line.

While he did get a rise out of Senator Cruz, most people felt that any husband would and should come to his wife’s defense in this circumstance, and Cruz was smart and disciplined enough to say his piece and then make it about beating Trump in the voting booth.

This crudity or tastelessness or whatever you want to call it has always existed in politics. Lincoln’s wife was ridiculed, President Eisenhower’s wife was called Mamie Dowdy (a play on her maiden name) for her very plain personal style,  and even the late Nancy Reagan got her share of bad press, particularly in the tabloids.

What’s different about it now is the world of Twitter and Facebook.  Formerly, newspapers could be sued for slander and libel, a remedy not usually available to the users of social media.

Whether this most un-presidential display will hurt Trump when the voting starts again remains to be seen. The news cycle will have moved on by then, so maybe not.

Still, everyone has their own definition of what it takes to be the President of the United States.

The media notwithstanding, everyone is not lined up to vote for any candidate yet, and this latest Trump display sure didn’t add any credibility to his cause.

Maybe the best thing Dr. Carson could do to help Mr. Trump be more presidential is to cancel his Twitter account.

From → op-ed

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