Milbank: Oy vey! Enough of Trump

Dana Milbank
On Twitter @Milbank
Dana Milbank

Zei Gezunt, Lindsey Graham.

The Republican senator from South Carolina had good reasons to quit the Republican presidential race, as he did this week. He had succeeded in his goal of making the rest of the field more hawkish. He avoided an embarrassing defeat in his home-state primary. And, in leaving, he is being a mensch.

Specifically, he is helping his Republican Party avoid getting shtupped by Donald Trump.

Or make that “schlonged.” Trump, in his latest bit of narishkeit, proclaimed that Hillary Clinton got “schlonged” by Barack Obama in their 2008 contest. Thus did Trump bastardize a Yiddish noun for penis (literally, serpent) by turning it into a verb in front of 7,500 people and millions more who would see it on TV.

Oy vey iz mir! What a putz!

No wonder half of U.S. voters would be embarrassed to have Trump as president, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll. In Monday’s “schlonged” speech, Trump also called it “disgusting” that Clinton, who would be the first woman to be president, took a too-long bathroom break during the Democratic debate.

My grandmother, were she alive, would have had a choice phrase for such a vulgarian: Shemen zich in dein veiten haldz. Literally, this translates as “you should be ashamed in your far neck,” but that doesn’t quite convey the deep contempt the speaker has for the schmuck who committed such a shandeh un a charpeh (shame and disgrace). Alternatively, my bubbe might have opted to give Trump some classic and colorful Yiddish advice: “Gai kaken oifen yam” — go defecate in the ocean.

Covering the insult-o-rama that is the Trump campaign is a soul-draining undertaking, calling to mind another Yiddishism: “Darf min gehn in kolledg?” (For this I went to college?)

But since Trump has started us on this tour of Yiddishkeit, it’s worth noting that Yiddish insults are custom-tailored for the overbearing and boorish gantseh macher that Trump has made of himself. He’s a shmegegi and a mamzer, a fabrecher and a nudnik with a lot of chutzpah (and a tuches un a halb). Sorry, you’ll have to look those up.

Graham, in quitting the race Monday, said he would back Trump over Clinton if the mogul wins the primaries. “I’m going to support the Republican nominee,” he said in his sole interview, with CNN. Bist meshugeh? Are you nuts?

But Graham also said Trump won’t beat Clinton “without some major adjustments.” Graham suggested that Trump might be able to “re-evaluate” and “adjust” his candidacy. Uh-huh. Az di bobe volt gehatn beytsim volt zi geven mayn zeyde: If my grandmother had testicles she would be my grandfather.

Though Graham didn’t cite this reason in withdrawing his candidacy, his departure furthers the urgent process of consolidating support behind a consensus Republican alternative to Trump (and Ted Cruz, whose drek and chazzerei are much like Trump’s).

Tuesday’s Quinnipiac poll finds Trump with 28 percent and Cruz at 24, with Marco Rubio, who polls best among mainstream candidates, way back at 12. But if, say, Rubio were to gain the support of those backing Chris Christie (6 percent), Jeb Bush (4 percent), Carly Fiorina (2 percent), John Kasich (1 percent) and the various candidates scoring bupkis in the poll, he’d be neck-and-neck with Trump.

Republican strategists I’ve talked with believe voters would flock to Rubio if he were to rise above 20 percent in the polls — a reasonable possibility, given that 58 percent of Republican voters who named a candidate in the Quinnipiac survey said they might change their minds. The sooner other Republican candidates follow Graham out of the race, the better the chances of them presenting voters with a unified alternative to Trump.

Graham hasn’t endorsed another candidate yet (he praised Rubio and Bush, saying they “get it”) but he seemed to appreciate the stakes. “This is not a reality show,” he said. “This is an election for the heart and soul of the Republican Party.”

Right. So why are so many other Republican leaders looking so farblondzhet (confused) and serving as Trump’s shnooks and shlubs while voters fall for Trump’s shvindel? Genug iz genug, Republicans: Enough is enough. End the shpilkes and tsores and settle on a responsible alternative who can cut Trump down to size with perhaps the greatest Yiddish aphorism of all: Du kannst nicht auf meinem rucken pishen unt mir sagen class es regen ist.

You can’t pee on my back and tell me that it’s raining.

Dana Milbank is a columnist for The Washington Post.