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

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Time Will Tell

Over the past few months, Donald Trump has done nothing to make me change my mind about him. For example, in March I wrote:
I had and have considerable reservations about Donald Trump. Yet deep down, there is something refreshing about the way he blows up politically correct wisdom on the left and dismisses some of the tenuous and deeply held ideologies of the right. As much as I don't like his style; as much as I continue to believe that he does not have a deep grasp of the issues; as much as his shoot-from-the-hip approach could be problematic, his neo-centrist approach is worth another look. Trump upsets political and media elitists (on both the left and the right), and they're working very hard to demonize him.
My position and general feelings about Trump remain the same. Shrill accusations characterizing Trump as a fascist, a racist, or a bigot are nothing more than the usual Leftist rants — ad hominem attacks to defend their narrative when it is challenged. But more thoughtful criticism of Trump— his lack of campaign discipline, his thin skin when criticized, his seeming inability to grasp and enunciate key policy points, his lack of focus, and his overall bullying demeanor—is worth considering as we move forward.

Let's take one instance of his behavior to illustrate. In a recent press conference (by the way, when was the last time HRC gave a press conference?), Donald Trump correctly accused the main stream media of bias. He castigated a few reporters, calling one a "sleaze," but providing no evidence of that bias, even though it abounds.

The press conference focused Trump's delayed donations to veterans and on Trump University, a for-profit real estate school that some attendees claim bilked them out of hard earned money and provided little useful benefit to them.

Here is what a different, more intelligent, more informed Trump might have said to the assembled media:
Trump: "You have every right to question the workings and sales tactics of Trump university. We contend that we've done nothing wrong, but the matter is in the courts and will be adjudicated there, not in the media. By the way, I'm surprised that all of you [points to the media audience] haven't shown equal concern about the travesty that is college loans. Hundreds of thousands of young people go into debt for hundred of millions of dollars to pay for university educations that often provide them with few, if any, marketable skills. That means they can't get a good job and can't pay back their loans. Why don't I see more concern about this from all of you hypocrites [after all, this is Donald Trump] who seem oh-so concerned about our small real entrepreneurship estate training program? Do your job!

"And about your accusations that we delayed a $5.6 million donation to the Vets until this week. There are reasons for the delay that I've already explained. Again, I find it interesting that all of you [points to the media audience] haven't shown equal concern about the travesty that is the so-called charity—The Clinton Foundation. Why haven't you asked Hillary Clinton these questions:

[Ticks them off on his fingers]
  • "First. What percent of the hundred of millions that Clinton received have gone to the people who are deserving of charity? Some say that number is less than 10 percent of all dollars collected? Where's the rest of the money?
  • "Second. Who is donating the money? Are there foreign governments and corporations giving money? Were any of them granted favors by Clinton's State Department?
  • "Third. What salaries and other perqs do the Clintons get from this "charity?"  Given that have have no other businesses, how did they attain a net worth of over $100 million after Hillary claimed they were "broke" just 16 years ago?
  • "Fourth. Why did The Clinton Foundation have to revise five years of tax returns after Hillary announced for the presidency?
  • "Fifth. Did any of the so-called personal emails that Hillary herself says she deleted refer to Clinton Foundation business? And if she claims that none did, how credible is that claim?
"All of you [again points at the assembled press corps] should be asking those question ... but you don't. Why is that?

"Do you not think it's important or at least as important as my delayed contributions to the Vets?

"You're a bunch of hypocrites. Biased. Unprofessional. So please spare me the "just doing our jobs" routine. It appears to me that you only do your job when a Republican is the target. Marco Rubio was right when he referred to you as a Democratic SuperPac. You should be ashamed of yourselves, but that would require integity."
That's a Trump that just might win the election. But it takes depth, thoughtfulness, and intelligence to be that Trump. Is he hiding in there someplace, or is he just going to implode?

Time will tell.

UPDATE (6/7/16):

As the week progresses, it appears that Trump has taken the implosion route. This comment from Investor's Business Daily:
Election 2016: What exactly does Donald Trump hope to achieve by suggesting that a Mexican-American judge is biased against him solely because of Trump’s push for tough immigration policies? It’s not clear, but we don’t like dividing Americans by race — no matter who does it.

Trump suggested last week that Mexican-American U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel couldn’t be trusted to be impartial in a lawsuit involving Trump’s now-defunct school because he was “Mexican,” though Curiel was in fact born in Indiana. (His parents were born in Mexico.)

What’s more, Trump doubled down on that statement. When asked on CBS’ “Face The Nation” if a Muslim judge would be biased against him, too, because Trump called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country, Trump responded: “It’s possible, yes.”

Already, Republicans ranging from Newt Gingrich and Paul Ryan to Mitch McConnell and Jeff Flake of Arizona have expressed concerns about a noisy campaign based on race. Gingrich, who has been talked up as a possible Trump running mate, called it “one of the worst mistakes Trump has made” and said it was “inexcusable.”
Trump's comments aren't just inexcusable—they're monumentally stupid. They indicate a complete lack of discipline, focusing on issues that affect Trump and not the nation. By attacking a sitting Federal judge as opposed to his opponent—Hillary Clinton is nothing if not a target-rich environment, Trump is sure to alienate thoughtful Independents and many Republicans. If Trump can't pivot to: (1) address real issues of national importance at a level that requires more than a tweet; (2) effectively attack the dishonesty, corruption, and incompetence that exemplify Hillary Clinton; (3) demonstrates that he knows when to pick a fight and when to walk away, he will lose, and lose big. That wouldn't be so bad ... except that the country will also lose big if a third Obama term is in the offing.