DEBATE REPORT CARD: Trump Disrespects the Process! Rubio Backs Entitlement Reform! Cruz Triggers My Ear Flare-Up!

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Next Tuesday, John Kasich and Marco Rubio will be tested in their must-win home states of Ohio and Florida. With such a do-or-die moment for these underdog campaigns looming, it’s no surprise the fireworks flew here in Miami as the candidates jostled to score high grades on the all-important Dig Report Card.

Gentlemen, let’s the spinning begin:

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Triggering Rally Survivor PTSD

Respect For Journalist Bodily Integrity

Violent Repression Of Beltway Veterans

Running Over People With Tanks Advocacy

Gaslighting The Blind

Parade Leadership

FINAL GRADE

F

F

F

F

Shameful

A

F

Donald Trump tried to burnish his image as Commander-in-Chief by leaning on his experience as the Honorary King of New York’s Israel Parade and ceremonial bearer of the Goyim Yarmulke. But any good will Trump may have earned evaporated when he bragged about commanding his rabid followers to commit acts of violence against innocent journalists at his rallies.

Two months ago I went to a Trump rally in Iowa to cover the viral moments and wacky hats. On stage, Mr. Trump called me out by name in front of thousands of his loyal fans. He viciously attacked me, he denigrated my career, and he forced me to name names and inform on my friends, all while I was being showered with boos and spittle. The abuse I suffered was so painful it triggered my Hellenic Inner Ear Syndrome, forcing me to use inhibition-lowering canine dramamine, which sent me into a drug-induced tailspin of gonzo journalism.

I survived being a POW. I survived being assaulted in a den of misogynist Bernie Bro harassers. I survived serving hard time in family court jail for “contempt” of court. And I survived attending a Trump rally. But I still suffer night terrors, anxiety sweats, and osmotic urination fits when I think about the way I was treated by Mr. Trump simply for doing my job.

Donald Trump is a gangster. His campaign workers are thugs. They have zero respect for the process or for respected Beltway insiders. Trump has even gaslighted the frail blind religious prophet Ben Carson, tricking the good Doctor with flashlights and tape recorders into endorsing him. Have you no shame, sir? At long last, Mr. Trump, have you no shame?

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Fear Of Own Mortality

Shaking

Terminal Illness of Volunteers

Entitlement Reform Courage

Incineration of Palestinians

Flinching

FINAL GRADE

B+

A

A

A++++++

B

B-

A

His cards were down. Everyone was calling him childish names. Even his biggest supporters were turning their backs on him. Yet he rose to shine. Am I talking about Marco Rubio, or Carl Diggler?

In the first ten minutes, Marco knew what time it was. In previous debates he was stiff and wooden as he tried to conceal his fear. But this go around, his naked terror was plainly visible as he stuttered through his answers and flinched whenever Donald Trump moved. It reminded me of a young boxer, fighting several weight classes above where he should be. With this, Rubio locked up the large coward vote.

The telegenic Floridian built on his lead with an electrifying dialogue on entitlement reform that the entire nation has been waiting on. I was on the edge of my seat and soaked in sweat as Rubio bit the bullet and said that we ought to raise the retirement age by one year, every year, forever. This was a scene straight out of West Wing, Studio 60 On Sunset Strip, or any number of electrifying Sorkin drama, where the young hero takes his lumps and swings back at his doubters. I found myself shadowboxing and screaming as Rubio talked about Social Security reform. Pay attention Digheads: this is how legends are born.

Rubio closed on two strong notes. One was his firm pledge to light Palestinians on fire. The next was when he brought up the reason he wouldn’t quit his campaign; he told of a sick, elderly man who hobbles to early voting centers in Florida to register people for the cause of Marcomentum. This was a beautiful visual metaphor for Marco’s campaign. Yes, it may be at the verge of death, infirm, bothering everyone around it, and continuing against the advice of all the people that love it. But it never quits.

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Probably Said Stuff He Rehearsed?

Hand Motions

Whatever

Filibuster

Liberty

Guh

FINAL GRADE

C

C

C

C

C

C

C

I didn’t actually watch the Ted Cruz parts of the debate tonight, as my doctor has advised me that his Ukrainian Mr Potatoman appearance could trigger a Hellenic Inner Ear Syndrome flare-up and cause another blackout episode, but I’m sure it was the usual.

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I Earned This Uniform

You Have To Give Me This Discount, Ok

It’s The Law, You’re Violating My Rights

I Bled Over There, For You

I Was In The 101st Marine Green Berets, OK?

Don’t Touch Me. You’re Not The Boss Of Me

FINAL GRADE

A-

B+

A

A

B-

A+

A-

With the contest coming down to the wire and a brokered convention seeming increasingly likely, the derelict governor knew he had to impress potential delegates tonight. Rarely clean but always savvy, Kasich rolled the dice big by boldly stealing valor before our very eyes. I would be remiss to say that as a former POW, it offended me a tad. But politics is politics, and Kasich played to win tonight. By insinuating his membership to the Armed Services Committee was “basically the same” as a military career and breathlessly demanding that chain restaurants recognize this as such, Kasich showed convention brokers that he is a hard bargainer and won’t hesitate to play hardball. As Ohio looms, Kasich must know that his home state is home to approximately 500,000 valor thieves, and they vote.

With his lead over Trump in the Buckeye State growing, Kasich may very well get away with it this time, unlike the numerous times he has been ejected from bars for the same behavior.

Carl “The Dig” Diggler has covered national politics for 30 years, and is the author of “Think-ocracy: The Rise Of The Brainy Congressman”. Got a question for the Dig? E-mail him at carl@cafe.com or Tweet to @carl_diggler.

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