The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, April 01, 2016


Donald Trump has a number of endearing qualities along with a bushel full of less attractive ones. Despite his demonization as a right-wing extremist by the activist left, Donald Trump is generally moderate in his political views. He is about as far from being a right-wing extremist as Hillary Clinton, but unlike Clinton, he doesn't modify his views based on the latest polling numbers. Moderate, principled positions are what this country needs, but when they come with Trump's packaging, his moderation begins to lose its allure.

First, the good news.

Trump's outright rejection of political correctness is refreshing, allowing him to state some truths that make progressives gasp. His assessment of many of our current economic ills is on target—our national debt is dangerous and unacceptable; we have, unquestionably, gotten the short end of the stick in our dealing with many of our trading partners. His view of our alliances (e.g., NATO or Japan) indicates the basic truth that we aren't getting our (taxpayer) money's worth. His view of our foreign adversaries is simplistic, but largely accurate. His attitude toward Islamic terror is honest, albeit harsh. His position on immigration and open borders, although rough around the edges, is consistent with the views of a vast majority of Americans. His position of Muslim immigration, although massively un-PC, is on target, is largely correct, albeit that further refinement of his basic position is required.

But each of those positions are nothing more than a broad-based generalization of the problems we face, not detailed policy statements that might define a path toward remedying those problems. His "Make America Great Again" slogan has no more substance that Barack Obama's "Hope and Change" mantra of 2008. Trump's narcissism rivals that of Obama, but with less polish.

Now, the bad news is:
  • Trump does not have an in-depth grasp of any of the problems he correctly enunciates. 
  • Even worse, he has significant trouble discussing those problems without making errors, sliding into confrontation rhetoric, or simply changing the subject. 
  • Early on in the GOP campaign, I stated that Trump is one question deep. I continue to believe that to be true. 
  • He is a bully who uses bombast to cover for a lack of depth. 
  • He reacts poorly to criticism, attacking ("counter-punching") in ways that are less than attractive
  • Even worse, he doesn't think before he speaks. He has no mental filter, meaning that he continues to make bizarre and sometime offensive statements that his supporters have to walk back.
  • Despite his claim of building "one of America's great companies" and being a master negotiator, his management and financial record is questionable and some of his business dealing are suspect.
In my view the bad news trumps (sorry for the pun) the good news. Donald Trump should not be President of the United States. But that begs two question: (1) if he gets the nomination, would I vote for him, and (2) if he does not get the nomination, who should?

More on that in subsequent posts.