Spy magazine's Graydon Carter in the 1980s began referring to Donald Trump as a "short-fingered vulgarian." It routinely drove Trump insane. The reality show celebrity and presidential candidate (shudder) occasionally responds to Carter's teasing by sending photos of himself to the writer with his fingers circled in gold Sharpie with notes like, "See? Not so short!" Back in June, just after Trump announced his candidacy, it happened again, prompting Carter to fire back a note saying, "Actually, quite short."
While skimming through photos of Trump, it's easy to be distracted by his puffy face and ludicrous hair and miss his small stubby hands. A recent Vanity Fair pictorial gave us a more focused look at Trump's, shall we say, shortcomings and, yep, he definitely has Oompa Loompa fingers to match his Oompa Loompa hair and face. By the way, how tragic is it that we've reached a point at which the political discourse on the Republican side has devolved into Oompa Loompa analogies? Trump only has Trump to blame.
Not surprisingly, given the unprecedented horrendousness of the GOP clownscape, Trump's poorly-endowed fingers have emerged as a talking point as the remaining Republican hopefuls enter the week of Super Tuesday by desperately attempting to out-Trump Trump.
During a rally in Salem, Virginia, Rubio tossed aside all pretense of decorum:
"You know what they say about men with small hands?"
Not to be too forward about it, but yeah. It's a small penis joke. Rubio absolutely implied that Trump's got a little penis to match his little hands. Following an appropriately brief pause, Rubio grinned and finished, "You can't trust them."
Sure. Um. That, too, I guess.
Trump responded on Sunday's Face the Nation:
"They have this lightweight Senator Marco Rubio saying terrible things, just personal, terrible things. And I don’t think it’s fair, the way that the establishment is treating Donald Trump. I will be honest with you."
Of course very little will prevent Trump from becoming the presumptive nominee sometime within the next several weeks, save for the so-called "short-fingered vulgarian" dropping out of the race for whatever insane reason pops into his bewigged melon. But perhaps that's why Marco Rubio, with nothing to lose, is swinging for the fences and hitting Trump where it hurts: directly in his teeny-tiny orange penis.
This is surely the first time in modern history that a top-shelf candidate has targeted another candidate's penis for ridicule. In fact, we'd have to go back to the 1800 election to find another obvious example of a presidential fracas over masculinity. Via his surrogates in the press, Thomas Jefferson famously hit incumbent John Adams as "a blind, bald, crippled, toothless man who is a hideous hermaphroditic character with neither the force and fitness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman." In today's PC culture, it'd be counterattacked as "deeply problematic," but there it was.
As fun as it might be -- and, yes, I'll admit it, Rubio's line made me laugh -- there's something soul-crushingly problematic about the idea that we're discussing Trump's small hands/penis at a time when the next president will be confronted by some of the most harrowing crises of our time. We're careening headlong toward self-extinction due to the climate crisis, while it seems that everywhere we look, toxic chemicals are being ejaculated into either the air we breathe or the water we drink.
And yet the carnies and showfolk in the GOP are busily debating the size of Trump's fingers or how much of a "basket case" Ted Cruz might be.
Worse, the news drones on CNN and MSNBC continue to behave as if both parties are generally the same, and that the Cuckoo's Nest ridiculousness on the GOP side is just politics as usual. It's not, and treating it this way is hurting America. At this point, Trump's Blurting Disease has infected Rubio who, if he doesn't succeed this year, will be a presidential or vice presidential frontrunner at some point in the not-too-distant future. Rubio's decided that it's smart politics to play at Trump's level, hitting back using the notorious Twitter troll's signature ad-hominem zingers. And it only gets more white-trashy from here.
Now, sit back for a moment and imagine what the GOP race will look like four or eight years from now after Trump's tactics are reinforced as successful -- at least insofar as winning the nomination. 2020 and 2024 are going to be far, far worse, and dick jokes are only the beginning.