I do not, for a moment, imagine that you, gentle readers, hang on my every word. I do not think that anyone waits, breathlessly, to read my opinions before forming their own. I do believe that you, like me, read the writings of others because they contain worthwhile insights, well expressed. For that reason, I have, until now, reserved my opinions of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich. I have been watching and listening to gather more information. I am, however, for whatever it is worth to you, ready to discourse a bit on Donald Trump. No doubt, there will be more…
Jim Geraghty at National Review notes the opinions of Ann Coulter as interviewed by Milo Yiannopoulos:
COULTER: Our candidate is mental! Do you realize our candidate is mental? It’s like constantly having to bail out your sixteen-year-old son from prison. Let’s move past last night’s tweet — you know perfectly well what tweet I’m talking about.
This is the worst thing he’s done. I mean the McCain thing– I would say there are only really two, liberals would say “oh, every day”, no, everything else I could probably defend. I could. I think. Most of that is them overreacting… But the McCain thing, that was a dumb joke, it didn’t work. Oh, well. Didn’t kill him. But that tweet last night…
YIANNOPOULOS: And he’s retweeting these images that are, like, ‘I don’t need to make implications, you know, the pictures speak for themselves.’ And a picture of Cruz’s wife and a picture of Melania!
COULTER: That’s exactly the tweet I’m talking about! No, you can’t defend it! This is when we’re bailing out sixteen-year-old out of jail!
And Newt Gingrich on the Hannity Show:
GINGRICH: Tweeting about, or repeating a tweet about Mrs. Cruz is just utterly stupid. It has frankly, weakened everything that Trump ought to be strengthening. It sent a signal to women that is negative, at a time when his numbers with women are already bad. It sent a signal to instability to people who may be beginning to say, ‘maybe I’ve got to get used to it, maybe I’ve got to rely on him, maybe he could be presidential.’ And frankly, it energized Cruz. The interview you just did is as good as I have ever seen Ted Cruz. He was clear, he was vigorous, he was prepared to be combative but at the same time he was getting into big issues and big ideas. My guess is he’s going to do well in Wisconsin. This ought to be a wake-up call for Trump that he had better rethink what seem to be the underlying patterns of his campaign.
And Stephanie Cegielski, who is the former communications director of the Make America Great Again Super PAC:
He doesn’t want the White House. He just wants to be able to say that he could have run the White House. He’s achieved that already and then some. If there is any question, take it from someone who was recruited to help the candidate succeed, and initially very much wanted him to do so.
The hard truth is: Trump only cares about Trump.
And if you are one of the disaffected voters — one of the silent majority like me — who wanted a candidate who could be your voice, I want to speak directly to you as one of his biggest advocates and supporters.
He is not that voice. He is not your voice. He is only Trump’s voice.
Trump is about Trump. Not one of his many wives. Not one of his many ‘pieces of ass.’ He is, at heart, a self-preservationist.
Donald Trump didn’t suddenly change in the past few days, weeks or months. He’s the same guy he always was, the same guy that most of us in the conservative movement and GOP have been staunchly opposing for the past year. He didn’t abruptly become reckless, obnoxious, ill-informed, erratic, hot-tempered, pathologically dishonest, narcissistic, crude and catastrophically unqualified for the presidency overnight. He’s always been that guy, and you denied it and ignored it and hand-waved it away and made excuses every step of the way because you were convinced that you were so much smarter than the rest of us.
Americans are a bit schizophrenic about the wealthy. We often regard the hereditary rich with faint suspicion, and shake our heads at their snobbishness, usually with some justification. We tend to be more accepting of the self-made rich–that’s the American, Horatio Alger story, after all–and Trump is, to at least some degree, self-made, or perhaps more accurately, self-promoted.
We would, however, like the very rich to be virtuous. To whom much is given, much is expected. We would like them to be wise and kind people with unique insights, a kind of wonderful grandfather that would gladly sit down with one of the little people, really listen to them, and give them invaluable advice that could change their fortunes and lives. We want them to think of those, as Dickens wrote, as fellow travelers on the road to the grave. Where Donald Trump is involved, we have Trump University. For genuine human virtue, we’re thinking much more of Sam Walton who chose to drive a favorite old pickup truck, or perhaps the Koch Brothers. The fact that progressives hate them with an insane, vein-popping, drooling intensity speaks directly to the Koch’s virtue, and the relatively few honest media accounts seem to suggest they are truly kind and wise people, which surely helps to account for their success.
Then there is Donald Trump. In at least one respect, Trump very much resembles Bill Clinton. For a time, an excessively long and destructive time, Americans tended to think of Clinton as a “loveable rogue,” a guy scoring with innumerable women, flaunting power and relative wealth, spitting in the face of authority, and getting away with it. He was shade-wearing, cigar smoking (and other things), saxophone-playing Bubba, the slightly shady but more or less likeable guy everyone knew in high school.
Eventually, most Americans came to see Clinton for the horribly flawed narcissist he is, and no longer see such things as his many rides on the “Lolita Express” as charming. Bill Clinton badly damaged our national security, our faith in government, our self-image, and the rule of law. Stealing many of the furnishings of the White House on the way out the door, and the wreckage of the American people’s property left behind by his adolescent staffers, began the process of understanding just who and what Bill Clinton is.
Perhaps, with his unprovoked, boorish and ugly attacks on Ted Cruz’s wife, that process has begun for our understanding of Donald Trump.
After eight long, enervating years of Barack Obama, America desperately needs the kind of man about which the Founders wrote. We need a moral man, an honorable man who believes in America, and foremost, in the framework of limited government established by far wiser men than virtually all in politics in 2016. We need a man who by philosophy and disposition is capable of saying “No. We can’t do that. It doesn’t matter how nice it would be; the Constitution doesn’t allow it. We just don’t have that power.” We need a man who understands the decorum and dignity required of the occupant of the Oval Office. We need a man who is wise in historical understanding, who has read the Constitution—repeatedly—and who is willing to fight—and politically die if necessary—for any and every part of it, because he has read the Constitution, and because he understands that without it, America is, as Barack Obama believes, nothing special.
We need an honest man, a humble man, a strong but self-effacing man. We need a courageous man, and a man willing to be wrong, and willing to accept blame when he is.
We need a man capable of cleaning out the racist, statist thugs populating the DOJ, IRS, EPA and innumerable other federal agencies, and forcing the federal bureaucracy within the limits of its legitimate—and small—authority.
We need a man capable of recognizing and dealing ruthlessly with our enemies, and of fully supporting our allies. The nations of the world, particularly our allies, know that under Barack Obama, America is far less trustworthy and more dangerous—to them—than their worst enemies. Our allies mistrust and fear us, and our enemies laugh at, ignore, even threaten us. Our next President must embody the Marine ethic: Every nation must know, without any room for doubt, that there is no better friend than America, and no worse enemy.
We need a President that will protect, above all else, American sovereignty and lives, who understands that American citizenship is a pearl of great price.
We need a President that understands that without the rule of law, America is nothing more than a tin-pot banana republic with a high standard of living—for now.
Donald Trump is none of these things. He is easily as narcissistic as Barack Obama, though he is not a confirmed communist or Islamist. Trump is very much a crony, corrupt, capitalist, which requires the very opposite of what we so desperately need: he cares little or nothing for the rule of law. For men like Trump, the rule of law is whatever, at the moment, enriches them.
Trump can be, certainly, crude, nasty, vulgar, abusive, thuggish, all of the least lovely qualities of Barack Obama. Many are dismayed that Mr. Obama, upon taking office, began to vacation and party with the wild abandon of those suddenly wealthy on the money of others without having worked a day to earn it. The money wasted on the lavish, kingly vacations taken by Obama and his family will surely run into the tens, perhaps hundreds, of millions, perhaps more, if a full accounting is ever made. This is the existence Trump expects; it’s his lifestyle.
Trump doesn’t say what he means and mean what he says. His rhetoric is the fast-paced patter of the hustler, operative for only as long as it distracts or dazzles his marks. He has no fundamental principles, just whatever works for him at the moment. He can’t be said to be a flip-flopper; his positions aren’t sufficiently firm to survive the flip.
Trump is like Obama too in that he knows so little about so much, and like Obama, his ego will keep him from learning what is necessary. Obama infamously bragged that he is much smarter and more capable than his advisors. Trump has done the same. Both are drastically, dangerously wrong.
The most recent, and telling example occurred at a Town Hall where Chris Matthews cornered Trump by asking if he believed, if abortion were illegal, there should be punishment for women? That is an unimaginative question that any competent politician, anyone that has spent any real time thinking about the issue, could have easily fielded, but Trump foolishly said that women–women getting abortions–would have to be punished. Where abortion is concerned, even most of the pro-life movement agrees with abortion advocates, if little else, that women should face no criminal penalties. It was an egregious unforced error, made all the more damaging by polls that show upward of 70% of women against Trump.
Trump is no racist, but under a Trump presidency, there would be little or no work toward repairing the racist damage done by Barack Obama. Trump simply wouldn’t see it as a priority.
Most distressing is that Trump has shown no evidence of knowing anything about the Constitution. He’s one of those folks answering questions about our government on the street for a variety show segment, the kind of person about whose cluelessness we laugh. He has not thought deeply about the issues of government, of life, about what is necessary for Americans not to thrive, but after the history-free era of Barack Obama, to survive. He has no solid philosophical grounding, no foundation in America’s common, secular faith, hence, no belief in it.
Technically we’re supposed to welcome previous Trump fans-turned-foes with open arms. But barring some miraculous comeback by Ted Cruz, the Trump campaign will have cost the Republican Party the presidency after eight years of Obama, and perhaps the Senate and even the House – and Scalia’s replacement on the Court as well. Years of effort spent attempting to dispel the accusations of inherent Republican misogyny, xenophobia, hypocrisy, ignorance and blind rage have been undone by Trump’s campaign. And every Trump advocate in front of a camera had a hand in this.
We’re not just gonna hug it out.
America desperately needs not just an adult, but an American, dedicated to the Constitution and to the rule of law as President. It is by no means a certainty that even such a person can undo the damage done by Obama in a mere eight years. America stands on the edge of the abyss, looking in. Financial disaster, unending racial strife, civil war, unrestrained terrorism, and worse are staring back.
Rather than working to restore America and all that entails, Donald Trump will almost certainly work to game and manage the continuing destruction, making
deals, playing the media, and stroking his own ego.
Trump is the wrong man at the wrong time, seeking the wrong job.