Peter Cavanaugh

Thanks, Donald

Iowa signaled the end.

Stick a fork in Donald Trump. He’s done.

A Monmouth University poll on the last day of August declared Trump suddenly tied for first place by Dr. Ben “who’s he?” Carson among Republican presidential contenders in The Hawkeye state.

This finding echoes similar ascension for Dr. Ben in other surveys - suddenly establishing him as a solid #2 to Trump and well ahead of the rest of the pack - a full field offering obvious quantity, if not overwhelming quality.

This strongly indicates a powerfully organic, unplanned, welcomed coalescence of traditional Republican voters loath to accept national leadership from an uncouth lout who is - in the final analysis - not much more than a common vulgarian.

By comparison, Dr. Carson is as nice as Trump is nasty. It also seems embarrassingly evident this prominent retired neurosurgeon from Detroit offers as limited an understanding of foreign and domestic issues as his credentials are unquestionably extensive in the field of medical science. But the majority of his competitors display kindred intellectual sophistication as deep as a frozen birdbath, particularly those seeking evangelical endorsement.

Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz practically tripped over each other lining up behind hillbilly heroine Kim Davis - the four times wed Kentucky County Clerk - in her refusal to accept the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on gay marriages, even just one.

Former Governor Mike Huckebee said he’d be visiting her in the slammer. But would he have done so if Davis were a radical Muslim - insisting that all license applicants first accept Allah as their personal Lord and Savior?

While Donald Trump has certainly provided exotic entertainment and naughty pleasure these last few months - it’s been like watching NASCAR. We profess to believe no one likes crashes, but when they happen - who would deny that wild, secret rush? But we should thank Mr. Trump for bringing us invaluable insight by exposing a heretofore-unimaginable degree of naked narcissism in which unthrottled self-interest at the expense of all others reigns supreme.

The confidence he exudes reflects passions best left in our shared primitive past, but Donald Trump remains correct in his blunt assessment of the way things are when he says: “Our system is broken. I give to many people. When they call, I give. And, you know what? When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them. They are there for me.”

What a revealing, extraordinarily candid analysis of the depth of corruption ubiquitously inherent in elected office as Trump presents himself mastering ”The Art of the Deal” to such an extent that he alone can be trusted to resist it. Or not.

It was English historian and moralist John Acton who wrote in 1887, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always ... bad men.”

While Hugh Hewitt and I share few opinions of a political nature, the fact remains that he is an accomplished conservative national talk show host on the Salem Radio Network with a recognized reputation for thorough preparation and an accomplished professional presentation.

Just as candidate Trump fussed and fumbled over familiarity with specific passages after describing The Bible as his “favorite book of all time” when interviewed by Bloomberg Media, he similarly assumed that “deer in the headlights” stance last Thursday when Hugh quizzed him about the identities of important Middle East personalities, including leaders of ISIS and Hezbollah.

After babbling incoherently and revealing himself as the buffoon he’s always been, the next day Donald blamed Hewitt for asking him “unfair questions,” dismissing Hugh as a “third rate radio announcer.”

Interestingly, this “third rate radio announcer” will be co-moderating the second GOP primary debate on CNN next Wednesday along with Jake Tapper.

As we know - paybacks - ummmmm - make you itch.