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

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


I never much liked Donald Trump. He is the classic egotist—a blowhard who is so impressed with himself that he believes he can do no wrong, that his opinions should be the definitive statement on any subject, that his wealth is somehow the sole criterion by which he should be judged, that his multiple trophy wives somehow make him a man among men, that "the art of the deal" somehow obviates the many people and small firms hurt by his multiple corporate bankruptcies (four to be exact). He is blessing to the Democrats, an embarrassment to the GOP, and a gift to a media that wants to tarnish all GOP candidates with Trump's extreme positions. He is also, according to Victor Davis Hansen, Barack Obama's doppelganger:
The two see the world in similarly materialist — though, again, opposite — terms: Trump wants net worth to be the litmus test of political preparation (“The point is that you can’t be too greedy”), even as Obama professes that big money is a Romney-like 1 percent disqualification. Obama’s infamous communalistic quotes to the effect that you didn’t build that, at some point you’ve made enough money, and this is no time to profit are just bookends to Trump’s money-is-everything ideas that he built everything, he’s never going to make enough money, and it is always time to profit.
Hansen goes on to make a long list of same-but-opposite comparisons of the two men. For example, Hansen writes:
The media rightly notice Trump’s first-person — I, me, my, mine — overload, but that too is Obama’s favorite kind of pronoun. The president often refers to his “team” in narcissistic terms, as if the West Wing were a sort of Trump Tower.
Trump, like Obama, tries to insert himself into local tragedies for political leverage:
Trump was blasted for editorializing on the tragedy of Kate Steinle’s murder at the hands of a seven-time felon and five-time-deported illegal alien. But that habit of seeking political resonance in individual tragedies bears the Obama imprimatur. Although the Steinle tragedy did not offer Obama the correct political calculus, he has sought to channel Ferguson, Baltimore, and mass school shootings as fuel for his own political agenda. So far Trump has not quite descended to the level of the president’s use of a racial affinity with Trayvon Martin, although his quip about prisoners of war like John McCain being less than heroic comes close.
In the business world, Trump is renowned for making promises he does not keep (think: his four bankruptcies) and exaggerating the truth (think: lying) when it suits his purposes. Hansen writes:
Talks with Iran were originally supposed to have been predicated on anywhere, anytime inspections, no enrichment within Iran, real-time snap-back sanctions, and tough protocols about weapon purchases and subsidies for terrorists — until they really were not. Red lines were game changers, only they weren’t — and they weren’t even Obama’s own red lines, but the U.N.’s. Chlorine gas did not count as a WMD: it wasn’t really a weaponized chemical agent at all. Trump’s inconsistencies and contradictions so far are no more dramatic.
Hansen goes on to make other salient same-but-opposite comparisons. Read the whole thing.

The money quote is the last sentence in Hansen's piece: "There is no need to elect Donald Trump; we’ve already had six years of him."