Thursday, August 06, 2015

Trumpism

Many Trump critics, most scornfully Kevin Williamson in National Review, find Donald Trump abhorrent because he is a Republican In Name Only (RINO). Mr. Trump seems to gravitate between the parties as circumstances dictate.

Mr. Williamson notes that Mr. Trump is “a tax-happy crony capitalist who is hostile to free trade but very enthusiastic about using state violence to homejack private citizens — he backed the Kelo decision '100 percent' and has tried to use eminent domain in the service of his own empire of vulgarity — and generally has about as much command of the issues as the average sophomore at a not especially good college, which is what he was (sorry, Fordham) until his family connections got him into Penn.”


A Williamson’s piece on The Donald titled “Witless Ape Rides Escalator,” opens brusquely: “Donald Trump may be the man America needs. Having been through four bankruptcies, the ridiculous buffoon with the worst taste since Caligula is uniquely positioned to lead the most indebted organization in the history of the human race.”

Self-valuation sometimes rises to over-valuation. Mr. Trump, who claims whenever he mounts the political stump to be fabulously rich, values Trump Inc. at $8 billion. Others value Mr. Trump’s assets, the most expensive of which is the Trump brand, at about $4 billion, certainly not chump change.

For someone who has been conspicuously in the public eye during his meteoric rise to wealth and power, Mr. Trump has a remarkably thin political skin. He has lately been promising to primary if his Republican presidential opponents are not nice to him on the campaign stump. Some politicians, more used than Mr. Trump to the heat of political kitchens, are inclined to be less accommodating than others. Is it really necessary to observe the Reagan rule – speak not ill of other Republicans – when it is possible that a political opponent marching under the Republican banner might be an interloper? Mr. Trump, of course, gives as good as he gets – some would say with interest attached.

And it is this – the unscripted quality of Mr. Trump’s remarks on God and Man in the political universe – that endear him to frustrated anti-establishmentarian Republicans, the sort of people who would be inclined to vote against John Boehner as Speaker of the U.S. House; there is just now a move to replace Mr. Boehner with someone more fearsomely conservative. Dave Bossie of Citizens United spoke for many conservatives when he said, “It was grassroots conservatives who put John Boehner in power, and we haven’t seen a positive conservative agenda for America as promised in the last several elections. Because of Boehner’s failure of leadership and a track record of broken promises, conservatives are ready for new leadership in the U.S. House now. Maybe newly empowered conservatives like Congressman Meadows will lead a revolt and finally take back the people’s House.” Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina prepared a measure that would have removed Mr. Boehner as Speaker. Mr. Boehner at first wanted the measure called immediately to embarrass Mr. Meadows. Mr. Boehner’s whips finding that support for their boss was shallow, the measure, which now will hang over Mr. Boehner’s head like a Damoclean Sword throughout the August recess, was not called for a vote.

Mr. Trump is the beneficiary of conservative frustration with Republican moderates in the Congress who will not move forward the conservative agenda. But that coin wears two faces. In 2016, the as yet unknown Republican nominee for president likely will be facing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The chatter just now is that Mrs. Clinton will have suffered by Election Day the death of a thousand cuts, mostly self-inflicted, but the memory of even recent times past is not very durable in the United States. Indeed, the Republican beef against Mr. Obama is that, a man of extraordinary rhetorical talents, he has been able to make the near past disappear before our eyes by conjuring up a bewitching but impossible future. Most Republicans feel that a win by Mrs. Clinton will result in an eight year continuation of President Barack Obama’s ruinous reign. At the same time, it is true that the Republican Field BT (Before Trump) is extraordinarily talented. To mention just one among many candidates, Carly Fiorina is, like Mr. Trump, a competent businesswoman and extraordinarily articulate. As a communicator, she has been compared favorably with Maggie Thatcher, a conservative revolutionist who, almost single handedly, changed Great Britain from a socialist dystopia to a successful economically competitive country. She did this by convincing the middle class in Britain that the socialists were bound sooner or later to run out of other people’s money. Mr. Trump, whose real talent lies in advertising (mostly himself), is an ideological chameleon, full of a Babbit-like boosterism that occasionally may be mistaken for authenticity, quite like Mrs. Clinton, whom Mr. Trump has praised in the past.


God, it has been said, does not play dice with the universe. Neither should Republicans.
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