Legend and comic books tell us that it is a precise and forceful strike, with delayed yet fatal result, sometimes taking days or weeks to do its work.
It is subtle, quick, almost unseen and usually delivered by a monk or some warrior priest with a topknot. Uma Thurman used it to great effect in “Kill Bill: Vol 2.” When she was done, she flashed a smirk of wistful sadness.
That’s what happened to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, which received the Touch of Death from Megyn Kelly, the warrior priestess of Fox News.
Kelly didn’t flash the smirk of sadness. She doesn’t wear a topknot. But at the Republican presidential debate in Cleveland last week, she asked questions Trump didn’t like. So angry was he that he began raging in public, and over the weekend, he did what had been considered impossible, even for him.
Trump gutted himself with his own vulgarity.
And he was immediately banned from the conservative RedState Gathering in Atlanta for his boorish comments about Kelly.
If it hasn’t happened already, it will happen soon: profound realization blossoming in Trump’s blue eyes. And thinking back, he must see Kelly in black on the set in Cleveland, how she touched him — eyes sparkling, defiant — with that line about how Trump wanted to see a woman on her knees.
Many Republicans missed it, perhaps blinded by legitimate disgust of their milquetoast party leaders, a disgust that Trump knows how to feed. And many liberal Democratic analysts missed it too, thinking Trump did passably well. Perhaps they were too busy thinking of issuing snarky tweets.
It happened so quickly. But it happened. I saw it. And I think you saw it, too.
Kelly: Your Twitter account has several disparaging comments about women’s looks. You once told a contestant on “Celebrity Apprentice” it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees. Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president, and how will you answer the charge from Hillary Clinton, who is likely to be the Democratic nominee, that you are part of the war on women?
Trump: I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. … I’ve been challenged by so many people, and I don’t frankly have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time either. This country is in big trouble. We don’t win anymore. We lose to China. We lose to Mexico, both in trade and at the border. We lose to everybody.
And you, The Donald, are the biggest loser. Republicans are finished with you because American women vote.
Women don’t like men saying privately — let alone on the set of “Celebrity Apprentice” — that a woman should get on her knees.
Later, raging at Kelly on rival CNN, Trump attacked her for being unfair and said: “There was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”
RedState turned its back on him and disinvited him.
“I’m not going to have a guy on stage with my wife and daughter in the crowd who thinks a tough question from a woman is because of hormones,” said RedState’s Erick Erickson, according to the Washington Post.
Such is the power of the Touch of Death.
But before some of you embarrass yourselves writing angry letters denouncing me as a liberal Democrat, consider this:
Ask women what they think about it. Don’t tell them Trump said it. Tell them a powerful man said it, a rich and arrogant man who gets what he wants.
You’ll get your answer. Their eyes will tell you. They’ll take those eyes with them to the polls.
Trump climbed in the polls by playing the establishment critic, even as he served the establishment’s interests by sucking up the media oxygen from true conservatives like Sens. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
He plays the tough guy. But he couldn’t handle it when Kelly asked him a straight and fair question, without any of that Uma Thurman attitude from the “Kill Bill” movies:
Bill: “Pai Mei taught you the five-point palm exploding heart technique?”
Thurman, as the Bride: “Of course he did.”
Bill: “Why didn’t you tell me?”
Why didn’t Kelly tell us?
Because she’s a journalist doing her job, asking the questions that Democrats would ask if Trump were the Republican nominee.
Let the Dim Mak do its work. You can see the effects already. We’re simply waiting for the Trump campaign to pick a soft, dry place to fall.
John Kass is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. His e-mail address is email@example.com, and his Twitter handle is @john_kass.