July 29, 2015

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Time for a Trump day. The existence and persistence of his candidacy puts the current state of our political life in its proper context. It has become a cruel joke. Perhaps it takes a friendly foreigner, Rex Murphy of Canada’s National Post, to put things in perspective.

Mature Americans are appalled by what it means for their country, and how the rest of the world must be looking on — awed and horrified — at how deep American politics has sunk. But all those who deplore it, and all those sobbing in public, might want to ask how the Trump inflammation came to be. Why he is getting the response he is. Post columnist Graeme Hamilton gave some answers a few days ago. I’d like to add a few more. 

I agree Trump is ridiculous — but he is an illustration of a problem and not its cause. Trump is not the swamp: he is the creature emerging from it. For however ridiculous and appalling his candidacy may be, it is no worse and no more ridiculous and appalling than the whole pattern of American politics at this time. …

… Is he more manipulative than President “you can keep you doctor, you can keep you plan” Obama? Is he less venal or arrogant than Hillary “it’s my server and it’s my State Department” Clinton? …

… My own view on Trump is fairly plain — he is a boor and a hyper-egotist, a shallow and avaricious blowhard, whose candidacy can almost stand as a rebuke to the idea of a democracy. But it is not Trump who should bear the responsibility for his success. It is the practice of politics itself and the political class (which includes, more and more, the news media) that has for so long abandoned honest representation of ideas, facing difficult issues with real language, which has so professionalized campaigns and elections that the sound of a human voice saying something it actually means is so rare.

It is the toxic atmosphere of political correctness that suffocates so many voices that enables a Trump, when he rants with full stream-of-consciousness abandon, to be seen as a plain speaker, authentic and different.

How sad a world it is when what even those of us outside America see the campaign for what should be regarded as the sublime office of the presidency of the greatest democracy in the world brought down to a spectacle not much more dignified than the Housewives of  Beverly Hills, and of less class than the clammy gropings of The Bachelorette.



John Fund says Trump will be happy to be a spoiler.

… Now Trump is roiling political waters as a GOP candidate for president. He is set to speak on Saturday at Freedom Fest, a gathering of 2,000 free-market enthusiasts meeting in Las Vegas. Not everyone is happy with his presence. Brian Doherty of the libertarian magazine Reason says his “bona fides vis a vis freedom include loving (and practicing) eminent domain, hating free immigration, being pro-tariff and pro-war and believing Social Security and Medicare are secure and should be inviolate. (He has been good on the drug war in the past.)”

Several other attendees also worry that Trump is egging on the GOP establishment to treat him so badly that he will have an excuse to run against it again in 2016. “The base is mad at the GOP leadership in Congress, worried conservative issues are getting ignored in the campaign, and fed up with political correctness,” Floyd Brown, president of the conservative Western Center for Journalism, told me. “If he moved to a third-party candidacy, many of his followers would be there with him.”

That, of course, is what happened in 1992. Then another eccentric billionaire, Ross Perot, who like Trump had issues with the Bush family and the GOP establishment, stayed in the race as a self-financed third-party candidate and was included in the presidential debates. …


Roger Simon has Trump thoughts.

… Not only does he suck all the oxygen out of the room, he sucks it out of the galaxy.  He makes all the other candidates vanish. Only Walker and Bush are registering in the latest polls and they’re double-digits behind Donald.   Did you know John Kasich declared today?  (Who? What? Zzzz….) The real news of the day was Trump giving out Lindsey Graham’s personal cell phone number after Graham called him an idiot — or was it the other way around? With The Donald it doesn’t matter.  Hold on a moment and the opposite will happen.

What do I think of him now, at this very moment, typing this, subject to change as that is in the next thirty-eight seconds?  I say — bring it on!  Why not Donald?  We could do worse. Indeed, we have much worse. To say I’d prefer Donald to Madam Rodham doesn’t mean much (I’d prefer anyone in the phone book), but just imagining a Hillary-Trump head-to-head makes me giggle.  Has there ever been a spectacle like that in American politics?  Not during the television era.  My dream mano-a-mano (or should I say mana-a-mana?) would have been Hillary-Carly, but if I’m not going to get that, Hillary-Donald will more than suffice.  Indeed, it may prove to be the greatest reality show ever made and I wouldn’t bet against Donald winning. And I wouldn’t bet against him running as a third party candidate either should he not get the Republican nomination. …



Victor Davis Hanson sees similarities between Trump and current occupant.

.. But again, is Obama so different a spirit? He feels that his own winning charm and community-organizing skills can succeed with revolutionary leaders, in a way the political skills of a George W. Bush never could. Relations with Turkey hinged on a “special friendship” with Erdogan. Apparently, Obama felt that neo-Ottomanism, anti-Israel rhetoric, and increasing Islamization were mere proof of inevitable revolutionary turmoil, a good thing, but one that could be capitalized on only by someone like himself, who long ago was properly ideologically prepped. Ditto Obama’s mythography of the Cairo speech before an audience that, on the White House’s insistence, included members of the Muslim Brotherhood, or his outreach to Cuba and Iran (note his past silence about the 2009 green demonstrations in Iran). So if Obama has won over the world’s one-time pariahs, maybe Trump can try the same first-person methodologies to coax the more business-minded prime ministers to our side. The self-absorbed idea of Trump outfoxing a Chinese kleptocrat is similar to that of Obama hypnotizing an Iranian theocrat.

Donald Trump believes he can oversell America abroad in the manner of Chamber of Commerce boosterism; isn’t that the twin to Obama underselling the country in the fashion of a wrinkled-browed academic? Both are stern moralists: America is too often shorted, and so Trump is angry over the sins of omission. For Obama, past genocide, racism, and imperialism vie as sins of U.S. commission.

Would a Trump bragging tour be all that much different from an Obama apology tour? If, in politically incorrect style, it is implied that all immigrants are likely to be criminals, is that any sloppier or more politically motivated than the politically correct assumption that all are dreamers? Threatening to charge Mexico per illegal immigrant seems about as sensible as leaving the border wide open and nullifying existing immigration law.

There is no need to elect Donald Trump; we’ve already had six years of him.



Jennifer Rubin says serious candidates can use him to their advantage.

… The most sober-minded and mature of the likely debate participants — former Florida governor Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and former Texas governor Rick Perry (if he makes the debate), Ohio Gov. John Kasich (if he makes the debate) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (if he makes the debate) — have shown a willingness to call out Trump.

If Christie decides to do his “sit down and shut up” routine, it will not only be must-see TV but a chance for Christie to stand up to a bully rather than be labeled as one. Jeb Bush, taller than people imagine, and capable of showing some righteous anger might also take advantage of the moment to show that Trump’s no conservative (Trump has given generously to Democrats, supported government-operated universal healthcare and sounds like the AFL-CIO on trade) and thereby bolster his own conservative credentials. Perry has been the most cutting and most eloquent in indicting “Trumpism,” and in fact may be angling for a fight so as to show off his leadership chops. Rubio, who looks younger than he actually is and hasn’t shown he can throw a punch, likewise might have an opportunity to demonstrate grit and exude some presidential presence. And Kasich, who does not suffer fools gladly and is as likely to take on serious candidates as he is Trump, might well make a splash by invoking his conservative values (empathy, being one) and directly challenging Trump’s character. In short, Trump might actually provide a much-needed iconic moment for one or more candidates to break out of the pack. …



Putting the lie to his boasts, Yahoo Finance lists twelve Trump business failures.

Donald Trump catapulted himself into the spotlight with his gilded real estate ventures and vibrant personality. The latter is what has made his show “The Apprentice” such a huge success.

And over the years, he’s had an opinion or two about the business world.

“In the end, you’re measured not by how much you undertake but by what you finally accomplish,” Trump once said.

But like any successful business person, Trump has had his share of setbacks. Here, we present to you 12 Trump businesses that went belly up or no longer exist. …


News Max reports the gnomes at Bloomberg Billionaires Index put the lie to another Trump boast. 

The latest math on Donald Trump: $2.9 billion.

An analysis by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, based in part on a 92-page personal financial disclosure form made public last week, revealed a portfolio dominated by skyscrapers and golf courses. The celebrity presidential candidate says he’s worth more than $10 billion. …


We’ll let Kevin Williamson have the last word in his piece titled “15 elephants and a clown.”

… That Trump and Perry are received roughly as equals on the national stage is absurd, but politics thrives on absurdity. Perry has, to put it plainly, the best record of any modern American governor. Trump has celebrity and a knack for getting out in front of a parade, in this case ghoulishly grandstanding upon the corpse of Kathryn Steinle, a telegenic young white woman who was murdered by Francisco Sanchez, a Mexican illegal who had been deported five times and who apparently used a gun belonging to a federal agent in the killing. Trump has not offered even the outline of a serious program for stanching the flow of illegal immigrants, but he makes authoritative grunting sounds in the general direction of the southern border, which apparently is sufficient for one in five Republican voters. While the border crisis is indeed a national emergency, Trump makes it less likely rather than more likely that the federal power will be roused to do its duty, a fact to which Trump’s camp apparently is indifferent. It has fallen to the newly professorial Perry to instruct these idiot children, while the other candidate from Texas, Senator Ted Cruz, has mainly engaged in a sad me-too appeal to the Trump element. The contrast is telling, and is a reminder that Senator Cruz, for all his many attractive qualities, is a tyro. …


… Donald Trump, who inherited a real-estate empire worth hundreds of millions of dollars from his father, has had every opportunity to involve himself in the consequential questions of his time. He has been a very public figure for decades, with a great deal of time, money, celebrity, business connections, and other resources to put in the service of something that matters. Seventy years in, and his curriculum vitae is remarkably light on public issues for a man who would be president. One would think that a life spent in public might inspire at least a smidgen of concern about the wide world. He might have had any sort of life he chose, and Trump chose a clown’s life. …


The cartoonists do a great job on the donald.