Going into the 2016 election, many of Trump’s fans touted him as a master negotiator, a successful businessman, and offered up similar accolades as to his talents and skills. Many of his detractors have since asked, not without merit, where that negotiating mastery got to, given that efforts at health care reform and other matters got nowhere. Thus, there’s legitimate debate as to his talents in that regard.

However, the recent quickie government shutdown and the associated sparring between him and Senator Chuck Schumer, the face and voice of the opposition party in this affair, have validated one talent which cannot be refuted: Trump’s mastery of the zing.

Try as they might, the Democrats could not hang Trump’s name on the government shutdown (which was, as they all are, mostly a yawn). Trump, on the other hand, quite successfully hung it on Schumer and the Dems. This was evinced by the rapidity with which the Dems backed down, to the caterwauling dismay of their rabid-lefty base (which prompted, through its no-compromise obstinacy) the ill-advised shutdown in the first place.

Schumer, outmaneuvered and desperate to save face with that rabid base, supposedly reneged on the offer to trade wall funding for DACA (which we all know will be the final outcome of this kabuki). Unfortunately for Schumer, the guy in the White House is indeed the king of zing. The Schumer Schutdown (my variation) has morphed into “Cryin’ Chuck,” a moniker that’s about as epic a schoolyard burn as you’re likely to see this year. Once again, Trump dragged the public discussion into the trash-talk gutter, and I’m guessing it’ll work out quite well for him.

In this reality-show, “oh no he did’t” culture of ours, he really is about as apt a President as one could imagine. His zingers are pure gold for his loyalists, who have been spiking the football so hard and so frequently of late that it’s a wonder they haven’t thrown a shoulder out (or been flagged by the No Fun League for excessive celebration), and whose sore winner-ism is rising to the level of Yankee and Patriots fans. But, lest we think that the Trumpists are the only ones rolling in the rhetorical gutter, all we need to counterweigh such an assertion is to look at the recent womens’ marches, with grotesquely vulgar placards (some held aloft by children, if you can believe it) to realize that crude obnoxiousness today is bipartisan.

There’s also the irony. The Left has routinely called Trump out (validly, to at least some degree) for being impulsive and allowing himself to be guided by loud voices. Schumer, however, is doing exactly that, first by being goaded by the caterwauling Left into the Schutdown, then allowing their howls at his “caving” to guide him into allegedly reneging on a wall-for-DACA tradeoff. So, he opened himself up for yet another Trump zinger, and I’m sure he’s itching to go public (old joke – the most dangerous place in DC is between Schumer and a camera) with an attempt at a counterpunch. Proving, of course, that there is no lesson so obvious that it cannot still be ignored. The lesson ignored here: you can’t out-zing Trump. It’s his real forte, and only a fool plays to someone else’s greatest strengths.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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