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'Who made you Pope?': Donald Trump, Jeb Bush and the Caddyshack connection

Donald Trump began the final full day of campaigning before the New Hampshire primary with a round of gratuitous attacks on Jeb Bush on MSNBC's Morning Joe program.

"Here is the story on Jeb," he said, sounding for all the world like Al Czervik. "He is a stiff you wouldn't hire in private enterprise. This is a guy that, if he came looking for a job, you'd say, 'No thank you.' That's the way it is. The guy's a total stiff and he's not going to win."

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This is going to take some explanation.

Al Czervik, for those of you who don't immediately get the reference, was the vulgarian real estate magnate played by Rodney Dangerfield in the 1980 film Caddyshack, set in the fictional Bushwood Country Club.

Donald Trump bounced back to win the Republican New Hampshire primary easily.
Donald Trump bounced back to win the Republican New Hampshire primary easily. Photo: AP

Czervik, a man old enough to retire but endowed with boundless energy, a great big white nautical cap and an orange face, spends his time throughout the film tormenting one of the club's patrician founders, Judge Elihu Smails.

Smails is reduced to a constant feckless sputtering rage in the face of Czervik's endless insults.

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Viewers are never told what the source of Czervik's animosity to Smails is, though it is abundantly clear.

Czervik knows that as rich as he is, he will never truly fit into the country club. He is reduced to raising his middle finger at it instead.

Has money, will offend: Rodney Dangerfield as Al Czervik in <em>Caddyshack</em>.
Has money, will offend: Rodney Dangerfield as Al Czervik in CaddyshackPhoto: Supplied

And this is one of the theories behind Trump's relentless hectoring of Jeb Bush.

Trump, a natural and enthusiastic bully, has always had an awkward relationship with the stiffs who run the Republican Party.

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush speaks at the Republican debate.
Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush speaks at the Republican debate. Photo: Bloomberg

"Since the gilded 1980s, when Trump and George H.W. Bush rose as forces in their respective spheres, the relationship between Trump and the Bushes has been a melodrama – veering between displays of public affection and acerbic insults," the Washington Post reported last August.

"At the core, there are clashes of style, manner and class between the Bushes – a patrician clan of presidents, governors and financiers who have pulled the levers of power for generations – and Trump, a hustling New York City dealmaker who turned his father's outer-borough real estate portfolio into a gold-plated empire."

Proud outsider: Donald Trump is booed at the New Hampshire debate after attacking Jeb Bush.
Proud outsider: Donald Trump is booed at the New Hampshire debate after attacking Jeb Bush. Photo: Bloomberg

An unnamed Trump confidant told the Post that "The Donald" has two goals in the current campaign: "One, to be elected president, and two, to have Jeb not be president."

And so even while leading Jeb Bush by an unassailable 20 percentage points in New Hampshire, Trump couldn't help but land a few more blows rather than turn his attention to the candidates currently enjoying some momentum, like the (comparatively) moderate Republican John Kasich.

And Trump is right in his presumption that the GOP's establishment loathes him.

Trump is transparently an opportunist and a populist, a candidate with no history of Republican conviction. Worse, he embarrassed the party's establishment with his preposterous campaign casting doubt on Barack Obama's American citizenship.

The GOP is still living with the stain of "birtherism".

And Trump humiliated another patrician Republican stiff, Mitt Romney, during the last election, forcing him to fly to Las Vegas for a meeting with him before he dispensed his endorsement.

Romney dared not risk offending Trump, given his unpredictable nature and the mind-boggling depth of his pockets.

And this brings us back to Caddyshack.

"You have worn out your welcome, sir!" Smails froths at Czervik at one point.

"Is that so? Who made you pope of this dump?" Czervik responds, adding a moment later, "The only reason I'm here is maybe I'll buy it!"

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