Trumpists = Clintonistas

The critics use terms such as “demagogic ideologue” with “no specific policy proposals”, while the cheerleaders say things like “savior of the country” and “America’s best hope”.

Name that candidate.

trump clinton

Yes, that’s right. As painful as it is to write, and maybe even more painful to read, I’ve come to the conclusion that all the rabid hysteria in support of Donald Trump reminds me of nothing so much as the same kind of rabid hysterical support Clinton gets from those on the Left.

In both cases, their supporters have to convince themselves that their candidate’s history is irrelevant. In Clinton’s case, a boatload of scandals, improprieties, and corruption. In Trump’s case a checkered past of being literally all over the map on the political issues, being a big monetary supporter of the “other” party, being a member of several parties other than the GOP, and always serving his own self-interest first and foremost, before any other consideration (in that respect being very Clintonian).

A couple of weeks ago I wrote my first essay on the Trump phenomenon, and I have to say that I was very surprised by the pushback I got from several fellow bloggers and web-friends whom I normally consider to be very reliable conservatives. In that essay, and the one I wrote on the night of the first GOP debate, I pointed out many of Trump’s flaws as a candidate, including his many character failings. Yet many of these people, whom I generally consider to be very level-headed, were willing to simply ignore all of this because they’d either fallen under his spell, or convinced themselves that his basic character – his nature – didn’t matter in this instance.

I remember the 1996 election cycle in which Bill Clinton ran for a second term, and how that was the first time in the modern political era that “character” became a notable issue. Since that time, it’s one the GOP and conservatives raise regularly in criticizing their opponents, but somehow, this time, in the case of Trump they’re more than willing to ignore that very same quality when the question is directed at Trump, while at the same time using it to disparage Hillary Clinton.

What is one to make of this… inconsistency?

Here’s my assessment of their characters: both are egotistical megalomaniacs with a strong sense of entitlement; both are populist ideologues – he allegedly on the Right, she clearly on the Left – who are long on populist rhetoric and short on policy specifics; both have histories of political expediency to advance their own self-interests; both have improperly exercised their personal power, at the clear expense of others and with utter disregard for the consequences to others, merely to further their personal positions and ambitions; both are cynical manipulators; both have flip-flopped on their professed positions on policy issues; and neither one is trustworthy.

According to reliable polling data (Quinnipiac) each of them enjoys broad support from their respective ends of the political spectrum, but that support is undermined by their low ratings for honesty, likeability, and trustworthiness. In other words, a mile wide and an inch deep.

Trump is the Right’s Hillary.

That’s my assessment of their characters; my opinion. Now, if you’re a Trump supporter, look deeply into your own heart of hearts, and ask yourself these questions: Am I wrong? Do you trust Trump? Is he someone you’d have over to your home for dinner? And if the answers to those questions are “No”, then how are you any different from a Clintonista?

If next November’s election night rolls around and we’re looking at a picture like the one at the top of this essay, this country is well and truly screwed.

©Brian Baker 2015

 

(Also published today at my local newspaper, The Signal: http://www.signalscv.com/section/33/article/141085/)

 

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“The Donald”: Reigning Clown Prince of Politics

I’ll preface by stating that I’m not a member of any political party; I’m a Constitutional conservative, and if I were to be a member of any party, I suppose it would be the Tea Party, though they don’t actually have a formal “party” per se.

In this very blog, I’ve mocked and satirized Crazy Uncle Joe Biden several times as being the Clown Prince of Politics, but I think he’s now been deposed, proving the Left doesn’t have a monopoly on political lunacy.

trump2

Not very “presidential”. Is this why he wears a hat all the time now?

Exhibit A: “The Donald”, the guy with the world-class comb-over, proving one can be tacky and tasteless in appearance while at the same time exhibiting absolutely no discernible decorum or political acumen.

As George Santayana famously noted, “Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it”, and we can see that play out right now as Trump repeats the bombastic campaign of another eccentric billionaire with delusions of grandeur, Ross Perot, the guy who’s single-handedly responsible for us ever having to say the words “President Clinton”… at least, so far.

There have been other hyperbolic populists in the last few years who have enjoyed their moment in the sun before fading out of the limelight, Chris Christie coming immediately to mind. What is it about these guys that gives them such popularity – Trump currently being the GOP candidate with the highest individual poll numbers – in spite of their political record? Christie is a Northeastern “moderate” with a very mixed record on traditional conservative principles, who famously lauded Obama. Trump’s record on political contributions actually favors Democrats, including Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton; he’s been registered as other than Republican several times over the last couple of decades, even running for President as a Reform Party candidate. He’s advocated restrictions on “assault weapons”, and increasing wait periods.

I think it’s pretty clear that Trump has virtually no chance at all of ever being elected President. In fact, if he were to somehow miraculously win, and if he tried to govern as he claims he would, he’d be either the most ineffective, or the worst, President in American history, as his “style” would be more suited to a dictator than the President of a republic.

I also think it’s instructive that many of the same people who have been criticizing Obama for years about his lack of experience before being elected President would actually support Trump, a man with even less… in fact, none at all.

So why all the hoopla? I think it’s because Trump – and Christie before him – personifies an approach to the arena that they wish was more prevalent in the legitimate candidates of their party: a willingness to be confrontational with a news media that largely and openly supports their opponents; aggressive advocacy on certain hot-button issues of the moment; and a perception of independence from vested party interests.

That last is a very key element, I believe. Sadly, the GOP of the post-Reagan era has become infamous for claiming to support traditional conservative principles, and then promptly abandoning them as working priorities as soon as they win the elections. There was a brief resurgence of conservatism during the Gingrich era, but it very quickly dissipated.

Instead, we’ve seen a constant parade of lackluster “moderate” candidates who can’t generate anyth[7] (4) enthusiasm among the conservative base of the party. In fact, on a personal note, the 2008 nomination of John McCain was the final straw that caused me to renounce my own membership in the GOP of almost 40 years.

Even at the congressional level, we’ve see that same problem as recently as last year’s election, during which the GOP candidates ran on a platform of directly confronting Obama’s policies and fiats only to promptly abandon taking any real action as soon as they took office and the majorities of both chambers of Congress.

I think Trump has been imbued with a kind of representational fantasy, just as John Wayne was perceived as a “hero” because of all his exploits in westerns and war movies, though he never served a day in uniform or heard a shot fired in anger. He represents what they want that party’s legitimate candidates to do, and be like, and support.

All of which leads me to the conclusion that the fault for Trump’s current popularity can be laid right at the doorstep of the Establishment GOP itself, for failing to comprehend the unrest among its own claimed “base”.

©Brian Baker 2015

 

UPDATE: Recently released polling data by Quinnipiac shows Trump being the worst performer of any of the current Republican candidates in a matchup in the General Election, being soundly beaten by Clinton, Biden and even self-avowed socialist Bernie Sanders. Not only beaten, but solidly thumped. To quote the poll: “Trump has the worst favorability rating of any Republican or Democrat”.

Read it all for yourself:  http://www.quinnipiac.edu/images/polling/us/us07302015_U645de.pdf

Second update: It looks like no less an intellectual illuminary than Thomas Sowell agrees with everything I said:  http://townhall.com/columnists/thomassowell/2015/08/04/the-trump-card-n2034124/page/full