Campaign 2016: the Extremely Silly Season

I hang around on Twitter quite a lot these days, and one thing I’ve noticed in the intense battle among the right about Trump. People are really getting nasty to each other over this subject – and it is people on both sides of the divide (though the Trump people are probably 52% of the nastiness). Here we are, well-poised to actually win the 2016 campaign, and we’re tearing each other apart.

Trump is running for Obama’s position – which isn’t actually President of the United States, but of “American Strong Man”…the guy with the pen and the phone. Sick of Obama just doing whatever he wants? Then vote for Trump – he’ll do whatever he wants, as well, but you might like some of his actions. You won’t like others, of course – but some on the left don’t like some of Obama’s…but he does get some crucial leftwing things done and without any fussing about law and the Constitution. For the Trump people, what Obama illegally did on immigration can be undone by the stroke of a pen by President Trump, and that is good enough. For a lot of extremely frustrated people on the right, this is the only way to go. Think of it like this: suppose we elect President Cruz and he submits a bill to a Republican-controlled Congress to build a 50 foot high wall on the border. Ok – and then the Democrats will filibuster and McConnell will sadly inform us there’s nothing we can do…and, at any rate, the border wall polls badly with moderates and we have a mid-term coming up in 2018, so we’d better just let the matter be…and tack on an amnesty provision to a must-pass highway spending bill. That is the sort of nonsense the Trump people see coming down the line after they work their tails off to elect a regular Republican as President. Better to go with Trump, in their thinking: he’ll just send the Army to the border and seal it off. Legal? Doesn’t matter if it’s legal – legality is whatever the President can get away with, which is just about anything because it is almost impossible to get 67 Senators to vote to convict in an impeachment trial.

For myself, I prefer our Republic – but it is rather moribund right now. It has been frozen by a century of the government simply doing what it wants. Laws are passed which have no warrant in the Constitution. Some people get prosecuted and others don’t for the same crimes depending upon political calculation. Congress abdicates it’s authority. The Courts rule based upon the judge’s desire. Both major parties are primarily devoted to the interests of their donor class. This all needs to be fixed.

For me, Trump is not the man to fix things – to be sure, this is a biased source, but Bobby Jindal laid out some of the reasons why those backing Trump may wish to reconsider:

He does not believe in limited government and he has told us that over and over. From his belief in socialized medicine to his desire for tax increases, he’s told us over and over that he’s got no problem with big top-down style government. He’s only got one real problem with Washington – that he’s not running it.

Donald Trump is for Donald Trump. He believes in nothing other than himself. He’s not a liberal, he’s not a moderate, and he’s not a conservative. He’s not a Republican, Democrat, or Independent. He’s not for anything or against anything. Issues and policies and ideals are not important to him. He’s for Donald…

…if you are a conservative, it wouldn’t matter if he won. He believes in nothing, we have no idea what he would do.

Do read the whole thing. I am getting a little worried about this – both in the way the Trump supporters are so massively over-protective of their man Trump, and the way some on the right are having shrieking hissy-fits over the very concept of Trump running. Jindal goes to the heart of the matter – Trump is right about a lot of things, but he isn’t the man to bring us to a conservative America. Trump has done a great service to our nation and to our party by breaking the logjam of political correctness which has increasingly hemmed us in and forced to debate only on Progressive terms. But he won’t do what we want him to do, except perhaps by accident.

Bobby Jindal actually reduced the size of Louisiana’s government. Scott Walker gutted the basis of Progressive power by curbing the public sector unions and ending tenure in Wisconsin’s public universities. Ted Cruz has been fighting the battle for our Constitution. So has Rand Paul. Ben Carson has been articulating a fine vision for America – and he’s done very hard work to make life actually better for people in his career. In short, we have among our candidates people who will do what we want – or at least attempt to do what we want. Trump is an X Factor – we don’t know what whim will suddenly seize him once he’s in the White House…we don’t know which of his Progressive friends will convince him that some absurd, Progressive idea is great and get Trump behind it.

I’ll grant this much – if Trump wins the Republican nomination, he’ll get my vote. No matter how he does, he simply won’t do worse than Hillary – or Sanders, or Biden or whatever worn-out, has-been, Progressive political hack the Democrats dredge up for 2016. But Trump is not our best hope – we have a vast number of superbly qualified people running in our primary, and we should choose among them. Jindal has a bit more to say:

The Democrats have practically gift wrapped this election for us. It’s as if they know they’ve run the country into the ground, and they are running their worst possible candidate who is running the worst possible campaign…

That is true – and we should heed a few words of wisdom. Time to get serious about things.

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8 thoughts on “Campaign 2016: the Extremely Silly Season

  1. Marc Lee September 11, 2015 / 1:21 am

    First, I have to tell you, I almost didn’t vote for Ronald Reagan because I thought no one could be serious about electing an actor and a nice guy. I mean, for gosh sakes, what did he know about foreign policy or dealing with the Communist threat, the nuclear threat at that time? He was so often the butt of jokes on both sides of the aisle. Turned out even with his flaws and failures he was pretty sincere about America being great and strong. I thought Trump, not nearly as polished as Reagan mind you, would just be a mouthy flash in the pan. But the conservative base has figured out something important in all of the time, energy and money expended to fill so many seats with so-called real conservatives to their surprised despair. The game is rigged and their “good-guy” candidates “owe” people with big money and power.. Imagine that!? Time and again they held out hope but here we are still in the middle of a corrupt snake pit. I was a big Allen West supporter until he got into office and his voting record didn’t walk any where near his talk and he was more concerned about getting reelected than what his supporters had put him in office for. I think Trump may be the only one who can afford to be sincere, the only one who can’t be bought, bribed, extorted etc. and that he actually loves this country and will do what he says he’ll do. Maybe that’s more than we should expect or deserve. Someone who can’t be chewed up and spit out by this corrupted government, media and the left and is willing to fix a few things or repeal them at least. Frankly, I don’t think he (or any other potential president) will have the time before the economy collapses to do much of anything but try to pick up the pieces. I also don’t think one man or a couple of presidential terms is going to fix decades of damage. For those fearful of a Trump presidency I quote the late, great Johnny Carson who once said “I’ve heard the best way to make a man impotent is to elect him president”. Still, I’m hopeful.

    • Cluster September 11, 2015 / 8:07 am

      I think Fiorina, Cruz and Carson also fit that description, and of them I think Fiorina and Cruz could be more effective than Trump. There is a Gallup poll out today showing that Obama has been the most divisive President ever, and considering Trumps campaign thus far, Trump could easily fall into that category and I am not convinced that’s the best path forward coming off the heels of Obama. We truly do need a Reagan now, someone who is a principled conservative and someone who can articulate that message without being divisive. And that being said, I am also not convinced Trump is a principled conservative considering his past positions as Mark pointed out.

      I like Carson but have some reservations about his ability to inspire and rally people to the cause. My top three right now would be Cruz, Fiorina, and Rubio. I think they are principled conservatives who can articulate conservative positions in an adult like manner, can hold their own with the liberal media, and can inspire people to the cause. Also, please don’t think that I am advocating a compromise with progressives in wanting to end the divisiveness. I just don’t want to be like them. Because of their weakness, divisiveness, and vitriol, I consider progressives to be a real danger to this country and my hope is that our candidate will be the polar opposite.

    • M. Noonan September 11, 2015 / 10:59 am

      I do not doubt Trump’s patriotism, nor his desire to make things better for the United States…but I detect nothing in Trump that tells me what he is likely to do – or not do – once in office. He may do a great deal of good, but it is equally likely that he’d do a great deal of harm. We just don’t know. There is no consistent world view in Trump.

      • Amazona September 11, 2015 / 11:34 am

        Yeah. What he said. I think Trump may be the only one who can afford to be sincere, the only one who can’t be bought, bribed, extorted etc. and that he actually loves this country and will do what he says he’ll do.

      • Amazona September 11, 2015 / 11:38 am

        With all of the things Trump has in his favor, for me it comes down to: Do we really need another thin-skinned, petulant, vindictive manchild in the White House?

        Dr. Carson didn’t even ATTACK Trump and was denigrated as a doctor and as a person. What’s he going to do if bested by Putin—snarl that he has love handles and doesn’t ride a horse very well?

      • M. Noonan September 11, 2015 / 10:09 pm

        Preparation and careful thinking over what you want to do is vital to success in politics. I don’t think that Trump has that sort of ability.

        Winston Churchill was derided in both wars as an interfering, civilian amateur who continually messed up the works for the military professionals – but the reality is that he thought carefully about the situation and decided on a course of action which would bring success at the least cost. In both wars, however, his brilliant conceptions were messed up by experts who didn’t have the foggiest notion of what he was trying to accomplish. Gallipoli is more famous (or infamous) and Churchill got the blame for that action – but all he did was propose it and push the concept with his usual energy. Unfortunately, the military and naval experts charged with leading the effort made a hash out of it – had it been carried out in the field with drive and energy, it would have ended World War One as a decisive allied victory in 1916…no murderous slog until 1918, no Russian revolution, no massive dislocation of the European system, no rise of Hitler and World War Two. In World War Two he pressed for strong action in the southern Europe…his comment about it being the “soft underbelly” of Europe was met with much derisive comment given the rugged nature of the terrain to be fought through, but it was true…and an Anglo-American army arriving at the gates of Vienna in January of 1944 would have been checkmate, indeed – both to Hitler and Stalin. And it could have been done, but the commanders in charge of the fighting (and American fixation on landing in France) blew opportunity after opportunity to destroy the German armies in the area.

        That was all too bad – but it also shows what can happen when a man willing to really put in the work can do…and if MacArthur (or even someone like General Truscott or Devers) had been in charge of carrying out Churchill’s designs in Europe, things would have gone a lot better. Trump appears to lack the discipline to really think things through – and thus he is likely to be swayed by emotion or some grand but ill-conceived vision.

  2. Cluster September 11, 2015 / 8:38 am

    Democrats lack of responsibility and corruptive nature is on full display with the Freddie Gray settlement in Baltimore.

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