Thursday, April 14, 2011

Manny and the Donald ... send in the clowns

By Bob Gaydos
It’s silly season in America, time for the clowns. As evidence, I offer these current news stories:
  • A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released this week has Donald Trump tied with Mike (Foot-in-Mouth) Huckabee for the lead in the dismal field of potential Republican presidential candidates. And you wonder why Barack Obama always manages to look so cool.
According to the poll, Trump and Huckabee both were favored by 19 percent of likely GOP voters. Yeah, not exactly a landslide. Fox’s favorite daughter, Sarah (Half-term) Palin is second, with 12 percent, with Mitt (What health-care plan?) Romney and Newt (I’m a slave to love) Gingrich tied for third with 11 percent each. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll last week had Trump tied with Huckabee for second place.
Is there no unqualified, hypocritical, snake oil salesman the right wing of the GOP won’t support if he tells them what they want to hear? Apparently not. The Donald, as you’ve probably heard, has based his presidential hopes on his “suspicions” about Obama’s place of birth. Trump’s sending investigators to Hawaii to check it out. Even Palin had to call the birth certificate “issue” a distraction, which is her way of saying it ain’t true, folks. Trump also has made the obligatory anti-Muslim pitch to Birther Nation. In referring to a “Muslim problem,” he said on the Christian Broadcasting Network: “There's a lot of hatred there. Now I don't know if that's from the Koran, I don't know if that's from someplace else. But there's tremendous hatred out there that I've never seen anything like it."
Well, if Donald doesn’t know, I surely don’t. But I do know pandering when I hear it. And there’s none of that hatred stuff on his cutthroat reality TV show, right?
Trump’s primary credential for running for president apparently is that he is a good businessman. Remember how far that got Ross Perot? What Trump is is what he shows on his TV show -- a bully who likes bossing people around. That is not a desirable trait in a president. You can’t fire Congress. Not only doesn’t he play well with other kids, he would be a disaster at diplomatic relations. And business? His namesake hotel and casino both declared bankruptcy. How do you manage to fail to make a killing at gambling? And for those evangelicals who apparently love him for his anti-gay, pro-life comments, in addition to his efforts to get rich on gambling, there’s the inconvenient matter of his two divorces. Just saying.
  • After failing a second test for banned substances, Tampa Bay outfielder Manny Ramirez announced he was retiring from baseball rather than accept a 100-game suspension.
There were two guys known as the Clown Prince of Baseball -- Al Schacht and Max Patkin. Schacht wore a top hat and oversized glove. Patkin featured a funny face and baggy clothes. Both engaged in wacky antics, as they say.
Manny Ramirez was just a clown. There was never anything remotely princelike about him, except maybe that he always acted as though he should be treated like royalty.
Manny could hit with the best of them and loaf with the worst of them. A lousy teammate, he would refuse to play in games, show up late for games, fail to run to first base, jog after fly balls, demand to be traded and, when that didn’t happen, play poorly enough that his team had to trade him, if just to silence the boos from the fans. He’s a guy who had all the talent to be remembered as one of the game’s alltime great hitters and none of the moral fiber to be just an average decent Joe.
And he seemingly never cared. That may be because he’s made more than $200 million playing his brand of baseball. Manny being Manny they called it and he laughed all the way to the bank. His act finally got stale in Boston, Los Angeles and Tampa Bay. Even clowns with dreadlocks can become wearisome.
What makes these two stories even more annoying is that neither Manny nor the Donald seems to care what the rest of us think of him. Each man got his and that’s all that matters. We bought Manny’s shtick until he got caught trying to get by on the sly yet again. As usual, he took the easy way out. The Donald, however, is still peddling his wares, with seemingly enough willing buyers to keep him in orange hair dye for a few more years.
Now, I think I have a pretty good sense of humor, but hey, guys, I’m not laughing here. Seriously, there’s really no room -- in the Hall of Fame or the White House -- for either bozo.

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