Joseph Sabino Mistick: Democrats need real scrapper to take on Trump |
Joseph Sabino Mistick, Columnist

Joseph Sabino Mistick: Democrats need real scrapper to take on Trump

Joseph Sabino Mistick

Paddy Ryan, an Irish-American boxer and one-time Pittsburgher, was featured on a 1920s poster put out by his Bronx-based promoters in hopes of attracting opponents. Ryan, a former amateur world champion who had become a prizefighter, is posed in the classic boxer’s profile — chin down, gloveless hands extended, feet widely planted.

Ryan had fought over 40 times in two years as a professional, and many of his defeated opponents are listed by name, along with a challenge to fight “anyone in the world scaling between 142 and 147 pounds.” As the poster proclaims, fans “can bank on a real old-fashioned slugging bee” when Ryan fights.

“Action is the one thing Ryan doesn’t give nuthin’ else but” was the real clincher on the poster, since most folks love a spirited match-up in which both parties give as good as they get. That seems to hold true in politics as well as in sports.

And at least for a while last week, the gloves came off in the 2020 presidential race. For a moment, it was a bare-knuckled slugfest with a Baltimore Sun editorial that pulled no punches. Donald Trump had attacked Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings and his Baltimore district, and the Sun editorial showed the world how to respond.

In another of his now predictable tweets, Trump described Cummings’ district as a “rat and rodent infested mess” where “no human” would want to live, adding his typical litany of bully-boy insults aimed at Cummings and his neighborhood. As usual, these words were delivered with the presidential megaphone that always gets attention, and they were wrong but cutting.

“Better to have a few rats than to be one” was the headline of the Sun’s response to Trump. It was a strong right hook out of nowhere and it found its mark.

Then editorial writer Peter Jensen really let it rip, writing that the editorial board “would tell the most dishonest man to ever occupy the Oval Office, the mocker of war heroes, the gleeful grabber of women’s private parts, the serial bankrupter of businesses, the useful idiot of Vladimir Putin and the guy who insisted there are ‘good people’ among murderous neo-Nazis that he’s still not fooling most Americans into believing he’s even slightly competent in his current post.”

Contrast this with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s dispassionate testimony before Congress, which left Trump’s opponents wanting and discouraged. Mueller is a patriot, a war hero, a distinguished civil servant and a gentleman, but he fights by the Marquis of Queensberry Rules, “a code of fair play presumed to apply in any fight.”

Donald Trump fights like he is mud wrestling in a cage match. And this time, finally, when he stuck his chin out and dropped his hands, the Baltimore Sun tagged him good and followed-up with a flurry of brutal body shots.

Anyone hoping to beat Trump will have to challenge his suitability to be president, and dispute his policies and values and appointments — the stuff of position papers. But they will have to fight his bullying and schoolyard taunts, too, toe-to-toe.

And the Democrats have to find someone with a little Paddy Ryan inside for a scrap like this.

Joseph Sabino Mistick is a Pittsburgh lawyer. Reach him at [email protected].

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.