Heritage is hosting its Republican Presidential Primary Forum today, in the critically important primary state of South Carolina; and they have a goodly number of Republican primary candidates attending. However, one of those candidates – Donald Trump – cancelled today at pretty much the last second, citing a ‘significant business transaction‘ that is taking longer than expected, thus requiring his immediate attention. Which is… interesting. And possibly even true.

Not that Official Washington buys it for a second, of course: “Donald Trump is cancelling his appearance Friday evening at a major campaign stop for the GOP’s presidential field in South Carolina as he faces criticism from Republican and Democratic presidential candidates over his failure to address claims that President Obama [i]s a Muslim and “not even an American.”” This particular situation cooked off yesterday evening, and let me just preface this by saying that Donald Trump was more sinned against than a sinner, here. As I understand it, an over-enthusiastic Trump supporter with recto-cranial inversion started babbling in Donald Trump’s presence about Barack Obama being a super-secret Muslim foreigner, yadda yadda – and then an equally dunderheaded Trump enthusiast followed up with praise for the first idiot. And Donald Trump proceeded then to make the tactical blunder of not telling either person that they were spouting off nonsense.

If my not-really-intemperate language just hit a too little to close to home there, great: I want those people paying attention to what I’m saying next. If you believe any of this, you will do your favorite candidate or candidates no favors by talking to them about it.  The best you will do with that is to create an uncomfortable silence. The absolute best. And the worst that you can do is to cause your favorite candidate to shove his own foot firmly in his mouth as he tries to extricate himself from the situation. Which is pretty much happened with Donald Trump, here. Now, to be fair to the birthers/Secret Muslim believers in their turn, when a candidate tells you that he wants your “vicious, violent, terrible questions” you can be forgiven for believing him.  But at the same time… there was no upside to this situation for Donald Trump or his supporters. So now Trump is involuntarily skipping a kind of important campaign stop in South Carolina. Well done!

So, lessons to be learned, here? If you’re Donald Trump: dude, there’s a reason why politicians don’t invite questions like that unless they are exceptionally good at thinking fast on their feet. And if you’re a Donald Trump supporter: …dude, there’s a reason why politicians don’t invite questions like that unless they are exceptionally good at thinking fast on their feet. There’s a really good rule that physicians have: first, do no harm. It can apply to political activism as well.

Moe Lane

PS: No, I don’t particularly believe in secret conspiracies and sleeper agents. Frankly, after more than ten years of observing American politics I’m stunned that any of us in This Thing Of Ours have mastered the difficult skill of consistently getting out of bed in the morning. I will note this, though: arguing for a black op here takes away all responsibility from Trump supporters to not say stupid, wrong things – and puts all of the responsibility on Donald Trump himself. You’d think that a Trump supporter would want to avoid that, yes-no?