Modified image via donkeyhotey and Lyric wikia
Ah, what a spectacle Donald Trump has created with Paul Ryan.
There's The Donald, wearing a rodeo shirt with pearl buttons and the sleeves torn off at the pits, playing his version of Chubby Checker's Limbo, as a herd of belly scratchers clap along wildly. And there's a red faced Paul Ryan, helplessly begging with his eyes for the The Donald to just stop.
But The Donald plays on and on:
First you spread your limbo feet
Then you move to limbo beat
Bend back like a limbo tree
Each week it's something different. A new humiliation that Paul Ryan must endure, by standing by the man who he entered into a political marriage with a little over a month ago when he endorsed the reality TV star turned politician.
Every week the bar moves a little lower and Paul Ryan moves himself into unbelievable contortions to keep playing The Donald's Limbo game. Everyone is wondering just how much longer Ryan, the GOP's highest elected official, will keep playing.
Back when Ryan met with The Donald to hash out the terms of their pre-nup, it was assumed by all that Ryan was setting some sort of basic boundaries for The Donald or, in this case, marking the Limbo bar and insisting that The Donald not go any lower than . . . suggesting a female journalist asked tough questions because she was having her period, calling Mexican immigrants rapists, calling for a travel ban on Muslims who want to visit the United States, and mocking a reporter’s disability.
But in the two weeks between that meeting and Ryan's endorsement of Trump on June 2, The Donald kept on playing his Limbo game. He went even lower, defending his beleaguered Trump University. Trump U. isn’t defending itself in court because it’s a transparent scam, but rather because the federal judge presiding in the case is "a hater of Donald Trump" because he was a "Mexican." (The judge was actually born and raised in Indiana.)
Paul Ryan called this "text book" racism. Then he reiterated his support for his party’s nominee. Wild horses couldn't tear him away from The Donald.
Ryan's latest acquiescence to Trump was the coup de grâce for conservative icon George Will. Will was so startled that Ryan would endorse Trump even after his "text book" racist comments that he officially left the party because of it:
“After Trump went after the Mexican judge from northern Indiana, then Paul Ryan endorsed him, I decided, then in fact, that this is not my party anymore. I changed my registration to unaffiliated twenty-three days ago.”
But even this public shaming by George Will didn't move Ryan.
Perhaps inspired by the book of Hitler speeches that he used to keep on his bedside table, The Donald thought it would be a good idea to send out a picture of Hillary next to a Star of David, laid on a background of dollar bills, proclaiming "Most Corrupt Candidate Ever."
Trump claimed he thought the Star of David was a sheriff’s badge, not an anti-Semitic reference to Jews and money. But former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke applauded Trump's use of the Star to criticize Clinton.
Pro-tip: If you're going to use dog-whistle bigotry, make sure your dog whistle isn't amplified on social media by notorious bigot David Duke.
What does Ryan say this time? That there is "no place in a presidential campaign" for anti-Semitism. But he is still standing by his man. Translation: There is, too, a place for anti-Semitism in a presidential campaign. Right next to Paul Ryan.
Don't move that limbo bar
You'll be a limbo star
How low can you go?
Jud Lounsbury is a political journalist based in Madison, Wisconsin and a frequent contributor to The Progressive.