Monday, April 18, 2016

A View From Mt. McEnroe

Joe Visconti, who styles himself these days “Donald Trump without the billions,” ran in a Republican primary for Governor a few years back but bowed out of the race when the primary finish line was in sight. Mr. Visconti this year is considering running against U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal, the state’s first consumer protection Congressman and a formidable political presence in Connecticut.

Mr. Visconti is a voluble supporter of Donald “Make American Great Again” Trump, who visited Hartford, last week. At the Trump rally, Mr. Visconti bumped into Colin McEnroe, host of The Colin McEnroe Show on WNPR and a Hartford Courant columnist. A picture, slightly out of focus, crackling with humor, was taken. Mr. Visconti – who, it may be imagined, has had a great deal of experience smiling for the camera – is beaming as usual, but Mr. McEnroe appears to have stepped in a bucket of… well, the sort of stuff President Franklin Roosevelt’s first Vice President had in mind when he said the Vice Presidency wasn’t worth “a warm bucket of (DELETED).” And yes, VP John Garner did not say “SPIT.” His reference was to a below-the-belt bodily fluid.


Mr. McEnroe’s eyeglasses are askew, his eyes wide in alarmed surprise, his right eyebrow arched like Odysseus’ bow, and his grimace suggests mild discomfort mixed with barely endurable annoyance.

The take-away from the Trump revel was printed on Mr. McEnroe’s blog in a piece titled “Among the Trumpians.” At the rally, Mr. McEnroe had hoped to learn “to listen less patronizingly to Trump supporters.  Many of them have poured their hopes and resentments into a badly cracked jug. The shoddy condition of that amphora is not necessarily a comment on the people and what they feel.”

Immediately, his hopes gave way to a jarring patronizing note:

“You know the guy doing work on your house?  The two guys installing a new garage door? The owner of the small business who resurfaced your driveway or worked on the stone wall next door?  Nice people, right?  You always smile and wave at them, and they wave back. They’re Trump guys.”

Mr. Visconti is one of these. He has no Yale ivy hanging off himself.

Among Republican primary contenders, Mr. McEnroe prefers Ohio Governor John Kasich to Mr. Trump

 “Kasich is also the type of candidate who tends to be overvalued by the press because he has so obviously thought about his positions as opposed to having them jabbed into his head via coaxial cable (Ted Cruz) or made up on the spur of the moment based on some feral understanding about what would garner the most applause (Trump).”

Mr. Trump, it hardly needs to be said, does not properly value members of the thoughtful fourth estate:

“From his place on the Hartford stage, Trump pointed to all of us in the press pen and shouted, ‘These are the most dishonest people in the world!’… Immediately, several thousand heads swiveled toward us and several thousand throats opened up with lusty boos.”

The shepherd knows his sheep, and the sheep know him:

“I think Trump's support is strongest among people who didn't pay attention in high school and who spent most of those years carving cuneiform obscenities into the soft wood of their desktops with ballpoint pens.
 “A solid high school education would teach somebody the difference between emptiness and substance, between vanity and honor, between masquerade and truthfulness, between vulgarity and frankness…”
 
On the Republican side of the political barricades, Mr. McEnroe has aligned himself with the Courant, which has endorsed Mr. Kasich, who has a very slim chance of being nominated by Republicans at their convention. That convention would have to be VERY brokered to choose Mr. Kasish, who thus far has accumulated only 143 delegates.

It's the Courant way to choose relatively moderate Republicans who cannot win a race. Hillary is the darling of northeast editorial writers -- all that experience, you know. Some people, among them Mr. McEnroe's friend Bill Curry, have a not-so-secret crush on Bernie Sanders, the socialist. It may be Mr. McEnroe feels from time to time a tickling in his leg at the prospect of a populist/socialist President.



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