Opinion | The ogre that gorges on America


If you can imagine the lobby bar of the Manchester Marriott as an Anglo-Saxon mead hall, I can tell you what it felt like to cover the New Hampshire primary.

I’ll need the help of the late Seamus Heaney, who described what it was like to be drinking in Heorot Hall while Grendel stalked and swooped across the frozen north.

In his lyrical translation of “Beowulf,” Heaney described Grendel as “the terror-monger,” the “captain of evil,” and “the dread of the earth.”

He wrote that the demon “ruled in defiance of law” and was “evil by nature, never showing remorse.”

The “mighty demon, prowling in the darkness, harbored a harsh grievance,” he said, adding: “Grendel waged his lonely war, inflicting constant cruelties on the people, atrocious harm,” pursuing “cruel raids and ravages.”

The New Hampshire primary seemed like a chapter in that Old English saga: Donald Trump, the ogre who returns again and again to terrorize us, stomped through that lovely little snow-covered state, devouring his enemies.

Unfortunately, Nikki Haley was no Beowulf. She wasn’t powerful or cunning enough to rescue us from the brute. Not a single mead bank was broken in the battle. Her sword made light cuts, but she was hesitant, hoping not to scare away Trump’s supporters. She was defensive, not offensive. She needed more of that adamantine quality that Nancy Pelosi displayed against Trump.

Haley didn’t say what needed to be said: Donald Trump shouldn’t be president because he tried to overthrow the government. We cannot have someone leading our democracy who is undemocratic and claims that every race he loses is rigged. We cannot have a president who encourages violence, spews disinformation, campaigns through humiliation and smears, and, lately, presents himself as divine.

Buoyed by his victories over Haley and Ron DeSanctimonious, the Mar-a-Lago Monster grew stronger.

Haley was able to upset him by taking a page out of his book on election night. He got his second place finish and boasted that he actually counted as some kind of victory. And that led Trump to launch into a terrifying “Caine Mutiny” monologue.

All he had to do Tuesday night in Nashua was be gracious about victory and say he was going to focus on the general election.

But he’s so afraid of being considered a loser that Haley completely unnerved him by bragging about winning the silver medal. He believes he is the only one allowed to alter the election results.

“I said, ‘Wow, she’s giving a speech, like she won,’” Trump said. “She didn’t win. She lost. “How far is he from his own reality to be able to say that seriously? That he doesn’t know he’s talking about himself?”

He was baffled by Haley’s nerve as she continued to challenge him. He couldn’t stop his Captain Queeg rant.

Ah, but the strawberries.

“We have won almost every poll in the last three months against corrupt Joe Biden, almost every poll. And she doesn’t win those polls. And she doesn’t win those. This isn’t your typical victory speech, but let’s not let someone take the win when she had a really bad night. She had a very bad night.” (Needless to say, Haley wins some polls.)

Ah, but the strawberries.

“I said I could go up and tell everyone, ‘Oh, thanks for the win.’ It is wonderful.’ Or I can go up and say, ‘Who the hell was the imposter that came on stage earlier and claimed a victory?’ Actually, he did it very badly.” And he added: “I don’t get too angry. “I will get even.”

Ah, but the strawberries.

“But I felt like I should do this because I discovered that in life you can’t let people get away with anything. You can not. You just can’t do that. And when I saw her in the costume that probably wasn’t that fancy, I was like, ‘What is she doing?’ We won.'”

What does that snide line about Haley’s pretty blue floral dress mean? It’s like she can’t even conjure up a sexist insult that makes sense. No wonder Haley called him “totally unhinged” on Friday.

He continued his insane rant on Truth Social two days later: “I heard BIRDBRAIN got totally ‘bombed’ last night in South Carolina. What a surprise, he just bombed Iowa and New Hampshire on a massive scale and lost both states.”

He has really lost track of how a democracy works. This was evident again in his scandalous approval of a plan to avoid the primaries and be crowned as the presumptive candidate by the Republican National Committee. After a violent reaction, he backed down and repudiated his own wish.

Trump continued to act erratically in a federal courtroom in Manhattan on Friday, wandering in and out. After the jury returned a verdict ordering him to pay $83.3 million to E. Jean Carroll for defaming her, he spouted some wild nonsense. teacher in Truth Social, which ends with “THIS IS NOT AMERICA!”

Fortunately, it is. But it won’t be if Grendel terrorizes his way back to the Oval Office.

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