Next on Deck The Apprentice II: Otherwise Known As the GOP Debates

It’s time to Break It Down!

Almost everyone I know well who purports to follow politics avers that they believe the Donald Trump phenomenon will eventually dissipate, evaporate, or in some form or fashion, just go away. I should amend that statement to note I have not had this conversation with persons who admit to being Republicans. Therefore, it is certainly not meant to be representative of how a typical Republican feels about the situation.

Nevertheless, if that affirmation proves to be an eventuality, it surely cannot come too soon for the GOP Establishment, nor for the other GOP Presidential candidates, regardless of whether they consider themselves to be a part of the Establishment. Three weeks ago I wrote a post discussing the conundrum that the Republican Party faces in dealing with Mr. Trump and the immigration issue (

The bigger story, undoubtedly, is that it is not just the Club Leader’s position on immigration that is troubling to the Party hierarchy. It’s his deep pockets money stream; his prickly, mercurial, unpredictable nature, it’s his penchant for “counterpunching” anyone with the temerity or effrontery to take him on in mano a mano terms.

The first 2015 GOP Presidential Debate was held six weeks ago tomorrow on August 6th at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. I wrote about the pending festivities on August 5th (

The abundance of contestants for the GOP Nomination, in concert with predetermined Party Rules, resulted in a split debate format for the first Debate. The schematic consisted of 7 candidates appearing in what amounted to the Early Show, and the remaining 10 candidates appearing at the Prime Time event later that evening.

This evening’s Debate will operate in a format slightly altered from the first contest. It will convene at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Semi Valley, California. At 6:00 p.m., 4 candidates, down from 7, will appear in the first session. Those individuals are George Pataki, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, and Lindsey Graham. CNN amended the Debate Criteria by adding this caveat:

“In the event that any candidate is polling in the top 10 in an average of approved national polls released between August 7th and September 10th, we will add those candidates to our top tier debate, even if those candidates did not poll in the top 10 in an average of approved national polls between July 16th and September 10th.”

This change opened the door for Carly Fiorina to be promoted to the main stage. Rick Perry suspended his campaign, and therefore dropped out of the field. Jim Gilmore failed to attain the necessary threshold for inclusion.

That means the Prime Time Show expanded from 10 to 11 participants. The post-debate polls, which were used to determine the participants, were also used to determine the order that the candidates would appear on stage. Trump will anchor the center of the stage for the 8:00 p.m. debate, flanked by Carson to his right and Bush to his left. Walker, Fiorina, Kasich and Christie, in that order, will stand to Bush’s left, while Cruz, Rubio, Huckabee and Paul will appear to Carson’s right.

Up to this moment in the campaign, which many experts continue to insist is still early, The Donald has been the straw that stirs the GOP Presidential Candidates’ Drink. There is a fair amount of speculation that a number of the candidates may actually try to gain traction by attacking Donald Trump. This has been a largely unsuccessful, and in some cases fatal flaw in strategy for those with the gumption to try it. See Rick Perry, who no longer lists himself among active candidates, and Lindsey Graham, whose campaign has appeared to limp along.

One of the next, certain to take up the gauntlet is Bobby Jindal. Governor Jindal wrote an Op-Ed that appeared on CNN’s website yesterday, in which he lambasted Donald Trump as, among other things, “a madman who must be stopped.”   Are you ready yet?

So in the Apprentice, Donald Trump ran the show. When a contestant didn’t live up to his lofty standards, Trump would, with great fanfare and bluster, utter the phrase, “You’re fired!” It will be interesting to see if Trump tweets some scathing message about/to Jindal between now and the Debate this evening, or whether he will take the opportunity to launch a broadside attack (he likes to say he only counter punches) during the Debate.

Here’s the opening salvo from Jindal’s CNN commentary:

“President Trump today announced that the first season of “The Apprentice: White House Edition” will air on CBS this fall. Contestants, including Gary Busey, Ted Cruz and Kanye West, will vie for Cabinet positions. The announcement came as the newly renamed “Hair Force One” touched down in South Dakota for the unveiling of President Trump’s face on Mount Rushmore. Meanwhile, first lady Melania had reason to celebrate as her White House-branded perfume, Trump, by Trump, hit Macy’s shelves …”

No, this is not a story from The Onion. It’s a vision of our future. The only people who would enjoy a Trump presidency are Trump, Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert. The jokes, as he said, will write themselves.

Jindal is clearly, desperately seeking a breakout moment. So much so that he did not limit his targets to Mr. Trump. What Right Wing/Tea Party diatribe would be complete without a nod to President Obama? Definitely this one, by Governor Jindal, will not be the first. To further shore up his macho Trump imitation bona fides, he said:

“The liberalism and incompetence of the Obama administration have pushed us to the edge of a socialist abyss.”  So much for creativity.

In analyzing The Donald, Jindal proclaims not only that he will never be President, but that his nomination would be tantamount to delivering the White House to Mrs. Clinton, at least in part because he is sure to self-destruct in a general election. Apparently, Trump is venom and he (Jindal) has, or is the antidote.

He insists that everyone knows Trump is not the answer, but…no one has the courage to say so…except him, of course. He noted that he said last week:

“Donald Trump is a shallow, unserious, substance-free, narcissistic egomaniac. It’s pointless arguing policy with someone not intellectually curious enough to care and who makes it up on the fly. According to him, his plans will be “fabulous” and “something terrific. His problem with Washington isn’t big government, it’s that he’s not running it. He’s not liberal, moderate or conservative. He’s not Republican or Democrat. Donald Trump is for Donald Trump. He believes only in himself.”

Jindal did eventually concede that Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, and the aforementioned “no longer a candidate,” Rick Perry called out Trump for lacking adherence to conservative values. Alas, it was a fruitless gambit because Trump is not a conservative.

He panned Ted Cruz for “clinging to Trump like a limpet to an oil tanker, hoping to suck up his votes when Trump eventually sinks.” Senator Cruz may be hoping to jet with Trump’s votes, should he falter, or he may be making space for a Trump-Cruz ticket, but it’s not likely he and Bobby will be making up anytime soon.

Showtime is 8:00 p.m. There may be more histrionics and fireworks when the lights come up. In fact, I’d say you could depend on it. Put the kids to bed early, get the beer and your popcorn. It’s about to be on and poppin’. “Next on Deck The Apprentice II: Otherwise Known As the GOP Debates!”

I’m done; holla back!

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