Ask Dr. Politics! You are fair, and we are unbalanced!
Dear Dr. Politics: Donald Trump has signed a loyalty pledge, and now he can't run as an independent in 2016, right? So now we can concentrate on serious stuff, such as all the global figures he has never heard of.
Answer: The pledge is a joke. That some people take it seriously is a testimony to how clever a deal-maker Trump really is.
First, the pledge is nonbinding. It says, "I ... affirm that if I do not win the 2016 Republican nomination for President of the United States I will endorse the 2016 Republican presidential nominee regardless of who it is."
That's pure baloney. Everyone who has ever dealt with Trump knows that the only pledge he will honor is the one that goes, "Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye."
The Republican pledge has no penalties. None. Not a noogie, not a wedgie, not even a wet willy. Trump laughs at it.
Dear Dr. Politics: So why did Trump go along with the pledge?
Answer: Because the pledge forces all the other Republicans to support Trump!
Jeb Bush will be forced to go before the cameras and say, "I support Donald Trump for president even though Mr. Trump says that I have less energy than a mollusk."
If Trump wins the nomination, the other Republican candidates will have to line up to lick his boots.
Trump has called Lindsey Graham, the senior senator from South Carolina, a "lightweight" and an "idiot."
So what happens if Trump gets the GOP nomination? Graham will be forced to say, "I support Donald Trump, which just shows how much of an idiot and lightweight I really am."
So the pledge is a joke that binds everybody except the one man who has no intention of honoring it: Donald Trump.
Ask Dr. Politics: So where did the pledge come from?
Answer: It was the brainchild of Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican Party. It's his job to sit around party headquarters and get watered twice a week.
Dear Dr. Politics: Hillary Clinton seems as if she is in real trouble. The polls show her losing New Hampshire, and her lead in Iowa continues to drop. What's happened to her campaign?
Answer: She started campaigning. Her political team was hoping to avoid this. The people running her campaign wanted to do the whole thing with TV ads. It is holy writ among political strategists that if you spend enough money on ads, your poll numbers will go up.
So what happens? Clinton spends more than $2.2 million on TV ads in Iowa and New Hampshire, and her poll numbers go down.
Dear Dr. Politics: What does that mean?
Answer: It means the more the public sees her the less people like her.
It might be better for Clinton if she took an extended trip to Fiji or the Azores until right before the Iowa caucuses and then returned and said: "I'm back. Please vote for me and I'll promise to go away again."
Dear Dr. Politics: Would that work?
Answer: She may have no choice. She went on MSNBC with Andrea Mitchell recently to put all the questions about her private email account to rest. So what happened? Clinton drove off a cliff.
Asked about her email account, Clinton refused to apologize for it. Instead, she said: "I now disagree with the choice that I made. ... At the end of the day, I am sorry that this has been confusing to people."
This has been confusing to people? You mean it's our fault? I thought it was her fault.
You can imagine a guy going before a judge for sticking up a gas station and using the Hillary Defense.
"I now disagree with the choice that I made," the guy tells the judge. "I am sorry that this has been confusing to people."
"It's not confusing," the judge would say. "You stuck up a damn gas station! Guilty as charged!"
On Tuesday, Clinton finally did apologize. "That was a mistake," she said in a TV interview. "I'm sorry about that. I take responsibility."
Dear Dr. Politics: What do you expect from the next debate?
Answer: The next Republican debate will be broadcast on CNN on Sept. 16. It will be moderated by Jake Tapper.
I am hoping that Tapper asks Trump to name the capital of Vermont and what the square root of four is. Then I hope Trump denounces these as "gotcha" questions and storms off the set.
Dear Dr. Politics: Could that really happen?
Answer: Probably not. But if it did, it would be yet another example of what presidential campaigning has become for 2016: entertainment.
Roger Simon is Politico's chief political columnist. His new e-book, "Reckoning: Campaign 2012 and the Fight for the Soul of America," can be found on Amazon.com, BN.com and iTunes. To find out more about Roger Simon and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at www.creators.com.