The GOP Debate & the Ox-Frog Fable

Trump and Bush go at it in last night's GOP debate

Trump and Bush go at it in last night’s GOP debate


Last night’s GOP debate reminded me a lot of the Aesop and La Fontaine fable of the frog and the ox, with many of the contestants candidates vying to see who could be as big as the ox in the room—which is to say, as big as current frontrunner Donald Trump. Apparently Republicans these days feel they have to convince us that they’ll be the toughest of the tough on any issue that comes up, whether it be the Iran Deal, Planned Parenthood, immigration, ISIS, same sex marriage, unions, you name it. As Steve Schmidt, John McCain’s 2008 campaign advisor, recently said on the Rachel Maddow show,

The test of conservatism is increasingly rhetorical. It’s an emotional sentiment. Who is a conservative now is the person who has the hottest rhetoric.

Come to think of it, maybe the ox is really Barack Obama, who stands calmly chewing his cud (No Drama Obama) as the candidates, led by blowhard Trump (“bloviator”, blow themselves up around him. But that’s just how it looks from my political vantage point and you are free to substitute your own political figures.

Let’s say that each attempt by the frog to make himself bigger represents one hour of the debate’s interminable three hours. Here’s my father’s version of the fable:

F Is the Fable of the Frog and the Ox
(after La Fontaine)

By Scott Bates

A Frog saw an Ox
and was impressed

He thought he was a creature of stature
worthy of emulation

He turned on

He got so excited in fact that he swelled up
and puffed up
and turgesced
in an attempt to approximate the dimensions of the beast


Hey look at this Charlie just
feast your eyes on Big Fred
Is this big enough
Have I made it yet


How about this

Not at all!

NOW I’ve made it I bet

You haven’t even made it to first

The little flop
Blew up so big he burst

The world is full of people who are just about as dumb
Every used-car salesman thinks he should run General Motors
Every two-bit politician wants 100% of the voters
Every two-bit general wants the Bomb

From An ABC of Radical Ecology (New Market, TN: Highlander Research and Education Center, 1982).

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