How to play Political Jeopardy

See also Trump just disrespected all captured soldiers and John McCain: wartime hero, peacetime coward

Donald Trump sat on the stage, confident, professionally coiffed, and dressed to the nines at the Family Leadership Summit.  His quick answers were right on point, met with applause, and correct for the country.  He could do no wrong. 

...until Mr. Trump was asked about his recent description of the 2008 Republican presidential nominee as "a dummy.”  Trump replied that John McCain graduated at the bottom of his class at the U.S. Naval Academy.  He was then interrupted by moderator, Republican pollster Frank Luntz.  Frank solemnly reminded Trump that McCain is a war hero.

Trump replied that McCain “is a war hero because he was captured.  I like people who weren't captured.”

Bzzzzt!  I’m sorry, Mr.  Trump, but that answer is incorrect.  The correct answer is “I like people who weren't captured, too.”

The Donald is flummoxed – isn’t it obvious what he meant?  Don’t the people know that he has championed veterans, would make their care and benefits a top priority if elected president?  Isn’t he the one who praises our military nonstop, who wants to rebuild the forces the Democrats have decimated?

Trump tried to explain that he doesn’t think being captured elevates one to the holy unimpeachable status that John McCain has attained.  He extrapolated his answer, that he likes people who weren’t captured, not just those who were.  That he respects all who served, not just those who hold their service out like a shield to block any personal criticism. 

No matter – you can’t unring the bell.  Just ask Dan Quayle.  He altered 12-year-old student William Figueroa's correct spelling of "potato" to "potatoe" at an elementary school spelling bee.  According to Quayle's memoirs, he was relying on cards provided by the school, which Quayle claims included the misspelling.  Quayle said he trusted the school's written materials.  But that didn’t matter; his answer was incorrect. 

Or ask Governor Perry, who knew the correct answer to which agencies he would eliminate but couldn’t quite get it out.  Whether from stage fright or pain meds, he drew a blank on the third agency.  Anything he said after that was ignored and dismissed as unimportant.  It was obvious that if he could forget this one thing, he wasn’t qualified to be president. 

The list goes on: Sarah Palin's point that debt is like slavery, Mitt Romney’s 47% comment, etc.  But notice one thing: these are all Republicans.  The left, including Democrats, establishment Republicans, and media, have perfected the art of shaping Republican primaries by jumping on any slip or phrase that can be misinterpreted, then broadcasting the hell out of it.  They’re masters at whittling the Republican field down to one of their own, then defeating that “victor” in the general (see Dole, McCain, Romney). 

Bottom line: there’s no way for Trump to walk back this comment, whether it’s what he meant or not.  The predictable headlines are already out there.  The “serious” candidates are shaking their heads, forced to condemn Trump for this unforgivable sin. 

So, Mr. Trump, step away from the podium, please.  You as well, Senator Cruz; Governors Walker, Perry, and Huckabee; Ms. Fiorina; and any other conservative candidate, because the game is fixed. 

But hey, we do have a winner!  A guy who got the answer right to the last letter.  A man of the people who loves all, including radical Muslims and illegal immigrants.  A true politician, who has already pledged not to do anything rash about the Iran treaty when he takes office.  A man who’s all in for Common Core and doesn’t badmouth Obamacare.  Yep, all the right words in all the right places. 

Congratulations, Mr.  Bush, you are the winner of Political Jeopardy, the next Republican nominee for president of the United States.  But then you already knew that, didn’t you?  Because you understand that it is a game, and you know how to play. 

So, America, step away from the podium, please.

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