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Today, Donald Trump signed a baby's hand with his sharpie. The kid was so surprised he nearly lost his pacifier.

Goofy Republican Candidates

With Republican Candidates, Even When It Seems Serious, It's Plenty Goofy Out There—Larry Wines

That was shortly before Trump, harkening to his daily pre-politician persona, threatened to file a lawsuit. This one against opponent Ted Cruz. For "not being a natural-born citizen." Which some legal experts have already said "constitutes sufficient standing" to get into court.

Cruz. Who arranged for his new video to air on "Saturday Night Live" tomorrow night. It depicts a Hillary Clinton lookalike taking a baseball bat to a large desktop computer tower processor that's meant to represent an email server. As for SNL's interest, it's gotta be because the soundtrack is several male voices rapping. Sounding like a crew of very white suburban guys trying to emulate an ethnic urban rap. Oy, vey.

There's plenty more. Take one of Friday's interviews done by Chris Jansing on MSNBC.

The set-up: Ted Cruz had just pulled his other newly released ad, one that cost his campaign $75,000 to produce. The reason? One of the actresses in the ad is a former porn actress. Keep that in mind as you read the characterization from Jansing's interview guest.

Hogan Gidley, GOP strategist, told her, "I don't mean to sound crass, but D.C. is a strip club. The wealthy donors dole out the cash for the politicians who do the dance. That's why candidates like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump do well. They are tapping into an incredible amount of anger that's out there."

Hmm. A poll dance or a pole dance. You may fire when ready, Gidley. As far as his analogy goes, it's rather good, no?

Jansing then asked Gidley if Gov. Kasich, who has pledged to run "a positive campaign with positive messages," can score with GOP primary voters in South Carolina, if that approach can work in a state where politics are traditionally nasty? Gidley replied, "It hasn't worked so far. Unfortunately. And there's no reason to believe it will, for anybody this cycle."

This morning, S.E. Cupps gave her lucid characterization of the Democratic debate and indeed, the Democratic primary race, saying concisely, "Bernie is a cause. Hillary is a corporation."

Before you jump on your email to enumerate for us all the remarks the "positive" Kasich has made that were anything but positive, events have outpaced you.

At about the same moment Kasich was being portrayed as "the positive alternative" by Jansing, he was being questioned about the day's particularly nasty fray amongst the gaggle of Republican candidates. And, realist that he is, Kasich was finding the air brakes on the go-positive express. He was telling reporters, "I like to stay sunny. Now, I can't predict where this is going to go tomorrow, but today my focus is on the sun coming up. I hope I can keep doing that. We'll see."

Meanwhile, Marco Rubio, the one chiefly attacked in that promptly-pulled Cruz ad that featured the porn actress? Questioned about Cruz's attack and skedaddling retreat, Rubio went for his own imagery, saying, "Look, they're actors... it's part of a bigger [authenticity] problem that Ted has."

Marco oughta know about authenticity. He's had to compete with Cruz to out-Huckabee Ben Carson for support of religious fundamentalists. Marco Rubio is the Roman Catholic ex-Mormon who violates Catholic dictates by regularly attending evangelical, non-denominational, proselytizing fundamentalism churches — where he goes to pray and to actively campaign. That's after Marco flirted with being a Southern Baptist and wrote about his religious convictions in his 2012 book, “An American Son: A Memoir.” Yep, Marco oughta know about authenticity, all right (emphasis on the "right.")

Especially since Marco began courting religious zealots and Koch Brothers money, he actively denies both climate-change science and evolution. That gets tangled in bizarre directions. One of the Koch Brothers funds "Nova," the PBS science show, yet any politician wanting Koch money must voice very strong anti-science positions.

Marco Rubio, the born-again Catholic. Even though the Pope says no Catholic should deny either the scientific fact of human-caused climate-change or biological evolution. That, after the Pope, who has a graduate degree in chemistry and worked as a scientific researcher, issued a Papal Encyclical on humanity's responsibility to embrace science and reverse climate change.

We're not finished with Ted Cruz and his entry in the whooshing rush of the GOP's religious soapbox derby. Let's get to the authenticity of Ted's oft-proclaimed centrally-important religious convictions.

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A story yesterday made the papers about Ted's wife Heidi Cruz, and how she "Bizarrely rants about how Ted will show America 'The Face of God.'"

Heidi Cruz said, as president, her husband Ted will deliver "A combination of the law and religion."

Meanwhile, Rafael Cruz, Ted Cruz's pastor father, warns that a "New Religion" is "Capturing, Degrading America."

Evangelicals do enjoy apocalyptic visions with plenty of fear, fire, and brimstone. But Ted Cruz doesn't seem to fear the first person ever elected president with evangelical credentials.

Cruz sought the tv cameras to capitalize on what he described as "Jimmy Carter endorsing Donald Trump today. He was over there in London and when asked, he said, 'Between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, I would have to take Donald Trump.' That's Jimmy Carter. Let that tell you what you need to know about Donald Trump."

Cruz went on, launching into an invocation of "Our Lord and Savior" amidst his latest rant about Trump not being a "real conservative" like he is.

All this is happening the day after an especially spirited debate between the two Democratic candidates. In which Bernie Sanders bested Hillary at least as well as she beat him last week in their previous debate. Of course, that happened just before he decisively clobbered her at the polls in New Hampshire. Implying that all the reporting about New Hampshire voters making up their minds at the literal last minute probably wasn't true. But we didn't see any media post mortem like the Republicans famously did, then ignored, after they got things wrong in 2012.

Of course, a lot of conventional wisdom needs to be set out at the curb, and the quest for understanding expanded.

Take the analysis of last night's debate by S.E. Cupp, the dyed-in-the-wool Republican who gets put on all those panels of journalists. This morning, she gave her lucid characterization of the Democratic debate and indeed, the Democratic primary race, saying concisely, "Bernie is a cause. Hillary is a corporation."

Except she didn't acknowledge that every Republican candidate is a corporation, or a registered trademark for one, who comes with the standard equipment of a wallet full of corporate ATM cards. There are no exceptions among the Republican candidates. Even the one who stayed in with no chance because it boosted his book sales. Or the billionaire who claims to be self-funded. Or all those who, as radio commentator Thom Hartman observed weeks ago, stayed or continue to stay in — with no chance — because their super-PACS can amass money that assures their cushy retirements.

But it all does keep America's attention from the landmark speech this week by President Obama that could change a lot of hearts and minds and the ditection of America, had it gotten prominent airplay. And the additional 50,000 new civilian refugees who just fled the Syrian city of Aleppo, because the Russians keep bombing them. And the cease-fire just negotiated by John Kerry with Russia and ten other nations, but that Syrian dictator Bashir al Assad vows not to observe. And the devastation of the major earthquake in Taiwan. And the eyeball-to-eyeball tensions between the two Koreas, complete with its sideshow of the North's fat little dictator who just murdered another of his top advisors while his people starve. And the mosquito-borne virus that's coming north from Brazil, where the world's Olympic athletes soon will be exposed to it.

Never mind any of that. Trump called Cruz a pussy and Cruz hired a porn actress. And Rubio and Cruz are competing for an endorsement from Jesus, and maybe John the Baptist as headliner at a rally.

Of course, if either of them gets booked, Trump will sue. Or go for eminent domain on the rally venue.


Even when it seems serious, it's plenty goofy out there.

Larry Wines