After the years of gaudy glitz and glamor, after the over-the-top grand-standing about the President’s birth certificate, after the profanity-laden Las Vegas speech calling out everyone from President Obama to China, and after the even more controversial decision to “fire” Gary Busey, one might imagine it would be hard for Donald Trump to outdo himself. Indeed, given the deep scowl chiseled into Trump’s face during his shellacking by both President Obama and SNL head writer Seth Meyers during the White House Press Correspondents Dinner this weekend, one might even wonder if the apparent effortlessness with which he can be lampooned would get Mr. Trump thinking about dialing it all back a bit.
But let’s be real. Trump’s appeal, at least as a media object, is his proven ability to, well, Trump himself in terms of his alternately outrageous, vapid, and outrageously vapid claims. And mere hours after a grilling much more thorough than Trump’s actual roast on Comedy Central earlier this year, Trump decided to up the ante again.
During a lengthy Sunday interview with the New York Times, Trump attempted to explain his opposition to the legalization of same-sex marriage with one of the most refreshingly original arguments on the subject I’ve ever encountered. Instead of dragging out the tired moralistic, religious, or natural law law arguments, Trump came out swinging with a bizarre analogy about over-long golf putters and the value of tradition. From the interview, and via the Huffington Post:
“It’s like in golf,” he said. “A lot of people — I don’t want this to sound trivial — but a lot of people are switching to these really long putters, very unattractive,” said Mr. Trump, a Republican. “It’s weird. You see these great players with these really long putters, because they can’t sink three-footers anymore. And, I hate it. I am a traditionalist. I have so many fabulous friends who happen to be gay, but I am a traditionalist.”
First off, let me just say how much I admire the gilded golf balls of anyone who would try to make an aesthetic argument based on a sport in which it is considered perfectly acceptable to walk around looking like this:
Never mind the fact that Trump’s analogy is so obtuse that I can’t tell if the golf putters are supposed to represent gay people, the institution of marriage, or God knows what else. And never mind the fact that the ‘tradition’ argument has been used to resist improvements in the lots of pretty much every marginalized group in the history of history. These lines of critique all assume that Trump’s arguments rely on things like “facts” and “reason” in his attack on same-sex marriage, when in reality the Donald’s argument isn’t intended to be in reality. Previous articles from The Religious Left have repeatedly debunked the moral, theological, and empirical arguments against same-sex marriage. But by circumventing the persnickety constraints of logic, Donald Trump’s golf analogy has managed to circumvent most of those arguments as well.
In the battle for the 2012 GOP nomination, Trump has unleashed a weapon even greater than the mainstays of the Republican arsenal, like thinly veiled racism and not-veiled-at-all racism. Trump has deployed the Absolute Non Sequitur, a weapon feared for its deadly accuracy, despite the inability of rhetorical experts to explain precisely how it reaches its target.
Well, I do not aim to be left behind in the emerging rhetorical arms race. And I don’t want to sound trivial, but I am a traditionalist. As such, I believe that the NBA tattoo situation is totally out of control, and Tom Brady’s hair has gotten entirely too long. Very unattractive. It’s weird, but when you get right down to it, the only appropriate response is to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. And probably allow the Bush tax cuts to expire too.
I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the best responses to Trump’s bizarre analogy, which came from the Wonk Room’s punny Zach Ford:
“Trump can only see things in the world as attractive or unattractive, and he has no time for anything he finds “very unattractive.” Just ask the many girls he objectifies and humiliates when they enter the Miss USA pageant. His taste is a minefield of sexism bunkers and LGBT sand traps that have little to do with improving other people’s lives. Trump’s campaign hasn’t even teed off yet, but he’s already shanking his approach.”
And yet despite the fact that Donald Trump remains Donald Trump, Donald Trump still tops most of the polls for potential 2012 GOP presidential hopefuls. Very serious.