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Billingsgate fish market, by Clancy Sigal

  My friends and I argue over the best way to take down Donald Trump so we can get back to “normal” Neanderthal politics.  I, raised in Chicago ward politics where groin kicking and smear jobs are part of the job description, urge going for nasty.  They, nicer people than me, prefer the Rachel Maddow smart-polite approach.  We agree only that Sen. Elizabeth Warren strikes the right note of relentless, fact-based aggression.  Warren can reduce lying CEOs to tears with her implacable grilling.
To my knowledge, none of the current media obsession with Trump results in seriously embarrassing  investigative journalism.  Have I missed something?
Meanwhile, I brood about our loss of anger and its language.
We Americans have a long, almost forgotten slimy tradition of "negative campaigns" probably going back to the Puritans' habit of accusing each other of heresy if not downright bestiality.
In 1800 John Adams and Jefferson tore each other apart in an election.  Adams's hacks called Jefferson "a mean spirited, low lived...son of a half breed Indian squaw sired by a Virginia mulatto father."  Jefferson slammed Adams as a "repulsive pedant" and "hideous hermaphroditical character."  Tom called John a warmonger, John called Tom a sex mad atheist and coward.
Later, John Quincy Adams was called a pimp, and Andrew Jackson's wife a slut and his mother a "negro loving prostitute".  (Race mattered then too.)
Davy Crockett accused Martin van Buren of wearing women's corsets.  And, naturally, slave-loving Democrats called Abe Lincoln the "gorilla tyrant" - and had stinky feet.
In the 1884 elections Republican accused nominee Grover Cleveland of fathering an illegitimate child.  (He did, and lied about it.)
Closer to our time Teddy Roosevelt called his rival fat Wm Howard Taft "a rat in a corner", and McKinley tagged William Jennings Bryan a crazy degenerate.
In modern days Pres Roosevelt was labeled a demented paralytic cripple (from syphilis) and probably Jewish ("Rosenfelt" a common slur).
What if we unleash our rhetorical beast to see what we come up with as good as degenerate psychopath who wears women's corsets, has smelly feet and is a hermaphrodite?  It's as American as cherry pie.
Or use our wit, as the 19th century English clergyman Sydney Smith who got into a heated argument with one of the tough, blustering women at Billingsgate fish market, and was running low on choice insults, when he finally summed up the fruits of his education, stared at his target, and called her "an isosceles triangle"! She broke down in tears!
Take that, Donald, you great big slobbering isosceles triangle!