Monday, May 09, 2016

He Rises, Weicker on Trump

Former Governor Lowell Weicker has been dragged out of mothballs by Neil Vigdor in The Connecticut Post to offer comment on the lamentable and Weicker-like Donald Trump.

“’Out of 350 million people, we’re left with Donald Trump? You’ve got to be kidding me,’ said former Gov. Lowell Weicker Jr., an estranged Republican who has butted heads with Trump. ‘I think it’s the last act in what has been a long string of Republicans destroying themselves. I suspect after this election there will be a total reformation of the party.’”

“Estranged Republican” is a delicate touch. During his last year in the U.S. Senate, Mr. Weicker managed to compile an Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) rating twenty points higher than that of U.S. Senator Chris Dodd. The abrasive Republican continually abused his own party as a foil to ingratiate himself with Democrats, who outnumber Republicans in his state by a two to one ratio, a case of mathematics determining political orientation.  After multiple batterings, the Connecticut GOP at long last ditched Mr. Weicker in favor of then Attorney General Joe Lieberman.

Considering the many similarities between M. Weicker and Mr. Trump, one is tempted to put down Mr. Weicker’s fume to professional jealousy.

1) Both are mavericks, sometime Republicans who publically disdain the party to which they are accidentally connected.

2) Both are much married, Mr. Weicker three times, Mr. Trump three times – not that there’s anything wrong with that. Here in Connecticut both Senators Chris Dodd and Joe Lieberman have been twice married. Politics takes a toll on domestic bliss.

3) Both are sons who have acquired wealth as an inheritance from rich relatives: Mr. Trump from his father, a real estate magnate who set his son’s feet on the road to prosperity, and Mr. Weicker from his grandfather, Theodore Weicker, who co-founded the E.R. Squibb Corporation, and his father, a president and director of the company. As reported by the New York Times in 1983, Mr. Weicker was the wealthiest Senator in Congress, with holdings listed at more than $7 million. Trump’s assets vary according to his mood, and he is very moody. Forbes places his net worth at about $4.5 billion.

4) Both are draped in ivy: Mr. Weicker graduated from Yale, Trump from Princeton, and yet both have adopted the speech patterns of New York dock workers. In a brilliant skewering of Trump, comedian John Oliver quoted Mr. Trump on his ivy league education – “I graduated from Princeton. I know words” – and then noted that “the longest word in that sentence was the word ‘words.’”

5) Both are irascible, possibly megalomaniacal, world saviors. A review of Mr. Weicker’s ghost-written autobiography “Maverick” by Managing Editor of the Journal Inquirer Chris Powell is titled “Mr. Bluster Saves The World.

These and other commonalities are too striking to ignore. Is it possible that Mr. Weicker’s critical thunderclap is the result of professional envy?

Mr. Trump now appears poised to do to the national Republican Party what Mr. Weicker attempted, for twenty years and more, to do to Connecticut’s State GOP – push conservatives from the heights, take over the party and refashion it as a minor annex of the Democratic Party. Mr. Trump’s violent slashes at conservative figures within the GOP have been unremitting. His supporters hope that in a general election Mr. Trump may rain similar fire on the head of the prospective nominee of the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton.

The trick for Mr. Trump will be to hold on to his aces -- his anti-establishment, establishment forces, powerful supporting voices such as Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michael Savage and Sean Hannity, and Trumpites prepared to follow their leaders into the chambers of Hell – while, at the same time, making overtures to eccentric Democrats who regard Mrs. Clinton as a deeply flawed Presidential candidate.

Bernie Sanders, the Vermont socialist, is all but finished. Ted Cruz and John Kasich have discontinued their primaries. It is altogether possible that Mr. Trump may arrive at the Republican nominating convention with sufficient delegates to cinch the nomination on a first ballot, marking a first in GOP history. Mr. Trump is, like Mr. Weicker, a sunshine Republican, and he most certainly is not a conservative. There is some reason to believe that he is already in motion to cut his ideological jib, such as it is, to appeal to Democrats who cannot stomach another Clinton presidency.

Mr. Trump, everyone may agree, is an able campaigner. The answer to the question “What kind of a President will he be?” is blowing in the wind. 

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