Aisle Of Wit

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Herschel Walker Is Still A F–king Idiot

Yes, you read the headlight right.  Still.

I first uttered those words when I saw a 1983 commercial he filmed shortly after he won the Heisman Trophy as a junior star running back at the University of Georgia, where he sported an Adidas T-Shirt and shilled for McDonald’s Big Macs.  He had also made history as the first undergraduate to win that award to move directly to pro football, when he signed with the fledgling New Jersey Generals of the upstart United States Football League, catapulting him into the #1 media market.

Walker had a great rookie season, but the Generals did not, winning only a third of their games and, while the TV-centric league (the first foray for pro football for the then-still nascent ESPN) was succeeding, the lack of a strong New York franchise was perceived as hindering the league’s upside.

Enter Donald Trump, who purchased the team in the fall of ’83 and immediately forged a kinship with Walker.  Clearly, they already shared a common bond with their favorite fast food.  And Walker, who had reportedly received a $4 million deal that overrode the league’s salary cap with a personal services deal that Trump took over when he purchased the team, was exactly what Trump needed at the time in his quixotic quest to own a significant team in his home state.  It’s important to remember the context of when and how their symbiotic relationship began.

In choosing an upstart league and a New York-area team to begin his career, Walker was being compared to Joe Namath, who is generally credited with bringing the American Football League into parity with the NFL.  “Broadway Joe” was handsome, charismatic, a media darling and credited with jumpstarting the NFL’s decision to eventually accept the AFL as an equal partner and, ultimately, absorbing it.  The Jets won the Super Bowl in Namath’s fourth season, Namath was a de facto sex symbol, and everybody associated with him profited handsomely.

Flash forward to 1984. The New York pro football scene was in turmoil.  After brief flirtations with competitiveness that saw both the Giants and Jets reach the playoffs for the first time in the same season in 1981, and the Jets making it to the AFC conference championship game the next year in a strike-shortened season before seeing their dream of a return Super Bowl washed out on the same (muddy) Orange Bowl turf where they had won with Namtah, both teams had finished last in their respective divisions in ’83, and the Jets were leaving Shea Stadium, and a very frustrated Long Island-centric fan base, to New Jersey to share the Giants’ home.  The Generals played there in the spring, ahead of this pending joint tenancy.

The Trump-Walker double play was irresistable to a hungry fan base and a Page Six-obsessed tabloid culture.  Walker was frequently seen out at clubs, usually in the company of attractive women, much like Namath had been in his days.  Trump reveled at the coverage.  The Generals won 14 of 18 regular season games and were actually relevant.  And Trump had achieved some measure of respect as a pro sports team owner who turned a speculative investment into something promising.

So for those too young to have remembered this, bear this in mind when one considers how and why Trump endorses his candidacy for the crucial senate seat in Georgia, and why so much attention is being paid to the ironic revelations that Walker, who has campaigned on a hard-MAGA platform of banning abortion, had allegedly paid for one with a one-time mistress.  Who has displayed receipts, and a crudely signed, tactless get well card as evidence.

Walker, as expected, has denied these charges completely.  And, yes, even as his own son corroborates this news, and his female accuser has doubled down on this by asserting that Walker impregnated her not once, but twice, on Friday his campaign had its most successful fund-raising day yet, adding over $500,000 to his hill in 24 hours.

Now, I don’t live in Georgia, so I have no oars in this water.  And while it’s maddening to me that someone whose chief claim to fame is playing football is considered the ideal candidate for public office, this is hardly unprecedented.  J.C. Watts and Steve Largent have both represented Oklahoma in the House.  Former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville is not only an Alabama senator, he is also an ardent Trump backer.  Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan all played college football, too.

But all of them, even Tuberville, clearly are smarter, more articulate, and far less puppeted than is Walker, who has shown a remarkable inability to grasp context for even the simplest of issues, literally spewing lines that have been written for him by Trump toadies.  It is no secret that Trump is patently obsessed with flipping control of the Senate in the state that he believes denied him his rightful victory in the 202o election, and the governor who made that call, Brian Kemp, seems to be on track to retain his job, despite the valiant effort of Stacey Abrams.  And, to the Republican campiagn’s credit, they are keenly aware that, right up there with Jesus and Trump, college football is a religion in Georgia, and Walker, to a frustrating plurailty, is still revered.

So the news cycle is now dominated by an equally impassioned media constituency who is using the pitchfork of disingenuousness to try and take Walker down the way defensive linemen tried to in 1982.  How could someone actually stand against abortion when he himself has paid for them, they have exclaimed.  And they are whining even louder, and in far more shrill tones, at the fact that it seems that not enough people who should care do.

Honestly, I’m neither surprised nor aghast at this indifference.  In fact, in a way, I think I share a deep jealousy of Walker with many of his supporters.  Regardless of whether or not he actually paid for an abortion, it’s pretty clear he had sex with the woman who’s making those accusations.  Along with plenty of others, including a few who have been in Playboy.  Not to mention countless others along the way,  After all, anyone with money and a friend like Trump in 1980s New York, and the body he had at the time, undoubtedly got more action than did most average schmucks.   I strongly suspect at a deep-rooted level, men who wish they were him, and women who wish they were one of his conquests, are exactly the profile of those who are now contributing blindly at grass roots levels to elect him to public office.

And I can’t even be frustrated by people like that who would vote for them, as I can’t help but admit that, at some level, my feelings are somewhat similar.  No, I don’t act upon them; never did, never could.  But I do still marvel at otherwise intelligent, attractive women who would somehow rather allow themselves to be intimate with someone as morally and intellectually challenged as someone like Walker than, perhaps, a more worthy and respectful person.

Since i’ve seen this happen in front of me my entire life, I’m no longer surprised.  But when it does happen, I’m demoralized and shaken.  And that’s kind of how I feel about the fact that, a month out from critical midterms, the news cycle is being dominated by this topic.

Yes, Herschel Walker Is Still A F–king Idiot.  But that’s not an opinion.  It’s a statement of fact.  He is an idiot.  And he’s f–king.  If I can deal with that, so should you.

That said, G-d help us all if he somehow winds up as a reason an agenda-mad Republican party gains control of our government.

So I do hope that his opponents will focus on, and exploit, his other significant shortcomings, rather than try and control the narrative based on accusations and, yes, even tangible proof, from a woman whose real tragedy was to allow him inside her in the first place.\

And I really hope whoever this woman is with now he (or she?) is treating her better than Walker did.   And has better taste in cards.

Until next time…