WASHINGTON — Politicians said the darndest things this past year. I know Art Linkletter said that about children, but honestly, these days, the pols are goofier than the kids.
“Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-a. My, oh my, what a wonderful day.”
That’s how Republican John Boehner, exasperated by tea party roadblocks to compromise, announced he quit as House speaker. Freed from party fissures, Boehner finally got a budget deal.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a GOP candidate for president, swore, “When I stand across from King Hussein of Jordan, and I say to him, ‘You have a friend again, sir, who will stand with you to fight this fight,’ he’ll change his mind.” Hussein died Feb. 7, 1999.
Donald Trump deserves an entire book devoted to Trumpisms (weird, nonsensical and totally baffling statements). But we particularly enjoyed his response to a question at the latest GOP debate. Asked for his views on delivering a nuclear attack, by air, sea or land, since the president alone has access to the nuclear code, Trump said, “I think, I think for me, nuclear is just the power, the devastation is very important to me.”
Before we leave the real estate mogul, let’s reflect on his response to the observation that keeping people such as Muslims out of the country, as he advocates, is unconstitutional. The man who wants to take the oath on Jan. 20, 2017, to defend and protect the Constitution said, “I don’t care.” He also said the U.S. gross domestic product had fallen below zero. Really? The nation’s entire economic activity is “below zero”?
When Ben Carson temporarily outshone Trump in the Iowa polls, Trump tweeted, “Too much Monsanto in the corn creates issues in the brain.” That’s right. Insult the voters.
Jeb Bush, who’d like to join his brother and father in the ex-presidents fraternity, sent out an email to all his friends asking them to send him a dollar so he would “know that you’re out there cheering me on.” Wallets may have stayed closed, but whose eyes did not well in pity?
Trying to resuscitate his campaign, Bush called for regulating paid fantasy football leagues even though he boasted in October he had a 7-0 record and does not regard it as gambling.
After 11 hours of testifying on Benghazi before the House select committee on, you guessed it, Benghazi, Hillary Clinton explained her fortitude: “Yoga always helps.” She insisted the 17-month investigation into Benghazi is the longest in congressional history. Not even close. Many ran on for years.
Asked during a debate if she changes her political views based on her audience, Hillary replied, “No. I think like most people that I know, I have a range of views, but they are rooted in my values and my experience.” Opponents gleefully noted her “range of views” seems to mean she changes her opinion regularly on issues she once favored such as the Keystone XL pipeline (now against it) and President Barack Obama’s trade pact (now opposed).
Courting immigrants, she said that all her grandparents “came over here.” Only one of the four was an immigrant.
Her opponent for the Democratic nomination for president, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, crankily declared he was sick and tired of hearing about Clinton’s “damn” emails. He thus gave up his best ammunition against her.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, an ordained Southern Baptist minister running for president, suggested that legal abortions are the equivalent of the Holocaust. If elected, he promised to use the National Guard to prevent women from getting abortions.
Huckabee also suggested the Kentucky clerk jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples showed that the Supreme Court, which declared such a refusal unconstitutional, should be ignored.
Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon, said he firmly believes the pyramids were not built by Egyptians for the burial of pharaohs but were granaries built by the biblical Joseph. The pyramids, though, aren’t hollow, and Carson’s statement therefore showed a mind-blowing disregard for science and history.
We may mock pols for saying silly things, but sometimes, dear fellow voters, we get what we deserve. A mid-December poll by Public Policy Polling out of Raleigh, N.C., asked primary voters if they support bombing Agrabah. Thirty percent said yes. Agrabah is a fictional place in the Disney movie “Aladdin.”
Ann McFeatters is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may send her email at [email protected] This column was previously published in the Logan Banner, a Civitas Media publication.