Tuesday, August 02, 2016

The Trump philosophy: Baffle ’em with bullshit

I don’t believe anyone has ever won an election by claiming to be able to run a business; government and business are not the same thing. Sure, leadership skills apply, but the two things are 180 degrees apart.

Trump is the latest guy to claim that he can run the country because he can run a business. Even if running a business made one successful in government, it is not clear how well Trump runs his businesses. Several of them have gone into bankruptcy, but is that because they performed poorly or a strategy to cheat creditors? To run a country one can not be just a boss and order people to perform tasks. It is a whole different skill set, which involves a lot of politics and compromise with other politicians, and I believe compromise is a four-letter word to Trump.

Trump has steered around the subject by coming up with outrageous things that a president should do, build a wall, keep a whole group of people out of America, and on and on. An article on Trump by Michael Kinsley in the November 2015 issue of Vanity Fair pointed out “Trump is just the latest among a series of business types who think they should run the counry because they ran a company. Remember Ross Perot? This year there are two, the other being Carly Fiorina, who ran Hewlett-Packard — ran it into the ground. Business people are an odd category of citizen to look to as a populist deus ex machina. True, they usually have some practical business sense and experience, which is not worthless. But their lives are different from those of people who are hurting, and increasingly so. Trump’s business experience has been in real estate, professional celebrity, gambling casinos, and creative bankruptcy — not the kind of experience that is useful as president.”

Barry Blitt from Vanity Fair

Note that I said Trump has steered around the subject. He also steers around whether he is a true conservative. He just makes outrageous statements, and conspiracy theories he avers are aimed against him. I would call that chaff, the stuff they dump out of jet fighters to fool enemy radar. If Trump keeps claiming the system is rigged, that does not explain what he will do with the budget deficit. If he deflects comments on his shady business dealings with paranoid stories about reporters and news organizations, then how does that answer any questions of dealings with hostile nations? It doesn’t, but for some reason his followers love this sort of stuff, about which W.C. Fields presciently said: “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, then baffle them with bullshit.”

Trump would not have been able to pull off his campaign so far had it not been for the absolute disarray of the Republican Party. They fielded the worst group of candidates I have seen since I started paying attention to such things in 1964, when the Republicans ran another group that failed to keep Barry Goldwater from the Republican disaster that year

Trump claims to be a conservative, or does he? I don’t remember if he has actually claimed that political philosophy. Frankly, since he can change opinions in the same speech, even within the same sentence, it is hard to know what his political philosophy is. In the article, “Trump Wrongs the Right” by Rich Lowry and Ramesh Ponnuru from the October 19, 2015 issue of the conservative National Review, they state: “Trump . . . makes a terrible champion for Republicans, and expecially for conservatives. By the standards we typically use to evaluate candidates — their records, their views, their popularity with the general public, their character — Trump should be dismissed out of hand. No . . . candidate [is] so obviously deficient in all of these respects.”

After more excoriating of Trump, his character and lack of conservative values, the authors unfortunately fail to read Trump’s future as a Republican candidate:

“Trump is unlikely to be the Republican nominee and will probably not be a serious threat to Republicans as a third-party candidate next year.” [Emphasis mine.]

In the same issue of National Review Rich Lowry showed up on Trump’s own radar and this was the result: