When it comes to defeating Democrats, I have only one guiding principle: defeat Democrats. In 2012, Team Obama accused Mitt Romney of murder and of not paying his taxes for ten years, and the DC Media let them. I do wish the world was a just and fair place, but it is not, and unless you want all the income you generate from being forced to bake gay-wedding cakes to fund late-term abortions, we must defeat Democrats.
Other than his promise to build a wall along our southern border, his zeal for killing terrorists, and a lifelong dedication to sticking up for a working class decimated by obscene trade deals and illegal immigration, Trump’s ability to control the media narrative, stay on offense, and dodge the trip-wires our corrupt media loves to lay out for Republicans, is why a large number of Republicans believe he can win a general election.
Any objective person has to marvel and admire Trump’s style. We’re used to him by now and that unfairly diminishes his accomplishment. A man who has never run for any kind of political office is currently on track to become the Republican nominee for the American presidency. And he did not do this among a weak field. There is a reason why Hollywood’s annual Everyday Guy Becomes President movies are not very good. They are so far-fetched. But here we are.
Trump’s political skills are undeniable, as is the case for his ability to defeat to Hillary Clinton. By successfully prosecuting Bill Clinton’s disgraceful past with women, Trump defied a media that has protected the Clintons for a quarter century. To his great credit, Trump has already proven he will do something the Republican Establishment never does: Hit Democrats as hard as he does Republicans. And in a world where the media allows Obama to accuse others of murder, this is the only way we can win.
With his masterfully-staged presidential-style press conference after Super Tuesday, Trump signaled, wisely, that he is preparing to pivot towards a general election, away from the no-holds-barred brawler that has gotten him this far, and present himself as a man worthy of assuming the leadership of one of America’s two leading political parties. Trump’s impeccable instincts correctly informed him that if he wants to be president, he must appear presidential. All the exhausting drama and hi-jinks and controversy must come to an end, or at least be turned down from an 11 to a 6.
What is disturbing is how easily Trump was knocked off his game plan Thursday. I’m not talking about Trump brawling at last night’s debate. When you have Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and Rubio’s super PAC at Fox News gang-tackling at you, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.
The problem is the vulgarity.
Mitt Romney’s disgraceful speech Thursday was nothing short of something slow and down the middle for Trump. And for the most part Trump’s rebuttal was superb, a master class in how to defend yourself without sounding defensive. Obviously angered by the attacks, though, for just a single moment Trump lost sight of his goal to look like a president and dropped this:
“I backed him,” Trump said, adding he made robo calls for Romney during his campaign. “He was begging for my endorsement.”
“He would have dropped to his knees,” Trump charged, if Trump had told Romney to drop to his knees.
Naturally, this decidedly un-presidential moment was the story coming out of an otherwise effective campaign rally.
Then, just a few hours later on a national debate stage, this happened:
I have to say this: he hit my hands. Nobody has ever hit my hands. I have never heard of this. Look at those hands. [Holds hands up] Are they small hands? [Laughter] And he referred to my hands — if they are small, something else must be small. I guarantee you, there is no problem. I guarantee you.
Here are this morning’s headlines.
Winning the presidency requires self-discipline, especially in a general election. From where I sit, Trump has exposed an Achille’s heel, one that shows he can be goaded into saying something potentially explosive and disqualifying that distracts from the rest of his message, and hands much-desired ammunition to his political and media enemies.
My wife, who has the best instincts of anyone I know, and who is nothing close to a Trump-hater, told me this morning: “What if he’s president and a foreign leader goads him this way? I’m not saying he will launch a nuke, but you have to have total self discipline as president. I’m worried about his temperament.”
Maybe with these petulant vulgarities Trump is working a bigger strategy, something so brilliant only dogs can hear it, but from here it looked like — if you’ll pardon the expression — when the pressure was on, The Donald choked.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC