Friday, May 20, 2016

The Unqualified vs. the Incompetent

Yesterday, Hillary Clinton brought out the big guns. She accused Donald Trump of being unqualified to be president. From another candidate the charge might have resonated. From Hillary, it fell flat. While touted as the most qualified candidate in modern times—a lie so flagrant that only Hillary's lovers believe it—Hillary herself has shown herself to be so manifestly incompetent that she is poorly placed to call anyone unqualified.

So, we have the Unqualifed facing off against the Incompetent. You pay your money; take your choice.

You probably noticed that the New York Times published a hit piece on Donald Trump last Sunday. If you did not notice, you did not miss very much. Of course, the paper was trying to shame Trump, to accuse him of having behaved in an ungentlemanly fashion toward women.

The piece failed because the alternative to Trump is Bill Clinton’s primary enabler, Hillary herself. Since the Clintons have for years been living shamelessly, they are in no position to criticize anyone for being vulgar, oversexed and meretricious. Name me another former president who has so flagrantly cashed in on the American presidency, as Bill Clinton.

Someone might accuse Trump of having flown on convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s Lolita Express and of having potentially been sexually involved with underaged girls. And yet, whatever we do or do not know about Trump and Epstein, we now know that Bill Clinton flew down to the Epstein private island on numerous occasions.

Nothing sticks to the Donald because Hillary and Bill have made the world safe for shamelessness. And, lest we forget, the mainstream media, the same that is horrified at the prospect of a Republican of any stripe in the White House, has been more than complicit in the oversharing and overexposure.

Some less-than-astute commentators are firing back on the Times for its Trump hit piece by saying that the paper should do as much for the Clintons. And yet, in a strange way, it already has. If people could raise their eyes from the world’s genitalia they would have noticed that the Times piece about Hillary’s leadership in the Libya campaign completely undermines her claim to be competent. It portrays Hillary as a blustering phony, someone who pretends to be macho because she is looking to establish her credibility as a strong leader.

One can say that Trump, beyond the bluster, has never really shown political toughness, but, compared to Hillary Clinton…

And, if Trump gets facts wrong and seems to be making it up as he goes along, we now have, available to all on Youtube, a video of Hillary Clinton lying and lying and lying.

When she read the Times hit piece on Trump Camille Paglia was thrilled. In her own inimitable way she seized on why the piece fell flat. We recall that Paglia believed at one time that people were drawn to Trump because of an atavistic yearning for a more pagan life, a life where people could freely worship Aphrodite and Eros. Now, she believes that the Times Trump story is the best thing that had happened to American sexuality since Sharon Stone uncrossed her legs in Basic Instinct.

But I digress. Paglia appreciates the Trump phenomena, in Paglian terms. But, she remains skeptical of his ability to lead the nation or to conduct the presidency. She wrote in Salon:

If momentum were a surge of electromagnetic energy, Donald Trump against all odds has it now. The appalled GOP voters he is losing seem overwhelmed in number by independents and crossover Democrats increasingly attracted by his bumptious, raucous, smash-the-cucumber-frames style. While it’s both riveting and exhilarating to watch a fossilized American political party being blown up and remade, it’s also highly worrisome that a man with no prior political experience and little perceptible patience for serious study seems on a fast track to the White House. In a powder-keg world, erratic impulsiveness is far down the list of optimal presidential traits.

Next to Hillary, Trump appears to at least have a certain vitality, perhaps not a true manliness, but a reasonable facsimile thereof. By contrast, Hillary Clinton has long since turned in her woman card in order to embrace her inner tough guy. Yet, her attempts at manly toughness inevitably fall flat.

Paglia continues:

Hillary is a stodgily predictable product of the voluminous briefing books handed to her by a vast palace staff of researchers and pollsters—a staggeringly expensive luxury not enjoyed by her frugal, unmaterialistic opponent, Bernie Sanders (my candidate). Trump, in contrast, is his own publicist, a quick-draw scrapper and go-for-the-jugular brawler. He is a master of the unexpected (as the Egyptian commander Achillas calls Julius Caesar in the Liz Taylor Cleopatra). The massive size of Hillary’s imperialist operation makes her seem slow and heavy. Trump is like a raffish buccaneer, leaping about the rigging like the breezy Douglas Fairbanks or Errol Flynn, while Hillary is the stiff, sequestered admiral of a bullion-laden armada of Spanish galleons, a low-in-the-water easy mark as they creak and sway amid the rolling swells.

As for the New York Times hit piece on Trump, Paglia thought that the paper was hoist on its own petard:

Can there be any finer demonstration of the insularity and mediocrity of today’s Manhattan prestige media? Wow, millionaire workaholic Donald Trump chased young, beautiful, willing women and liked to boast about it. Jail him now! Meanwhile, the New York Times remains mute about Bill Clinton’s long record of crude groping and grosser assaults—not one example of which could be found to taint Trump.

What went wrong? Paglia has a thoroughly reasonable explanation:

Blame for this fiasco falls squarely upon the New York Times editors who delegated to two far too young journalists, Michael Barbaro and Megan Twohey, the complex task of probing the glitzy, exhibitionistic world of late-twentieth-century beauty pageants, gambling casinos, strip clubs, and luxury resorts.

Here, she is entirely right. Newspapers, among other American institutions, have so little respect for experience and wisdom that they often enlist people who are nearly children to navigate the complex waters of a difficult story. It’s called a cult to youth. The younger you are the less experience you have and the more you see the world through ideological lenses. This time the Times got burned for its dereliction. Good.

Naturally, Camille was anything but offended by the picture of Trump with his girlfriend:

The supreme irony of the Times’ vacuous coverage is that the early 1990s banquet-hall photograph of the unmarried Rowanne Brewer and Donald Trump illustrating it is the sexiest picture published in the mainstream media in years. Not since Melissa Forde’s brilliant 2012 Instagram portraits of a pensive Rihanna smoking a cigarillo as she lounged half-nude in a fur-trimmed parka next to a fireplace have I seen anything so charismatically sensual.

Small and blurry in the print edition, the Brewer-Trump photo in online digital format positively pops with you-are-there luminosity. Her midnight-blue evening dress opulently cradling her bare shoulders, Rowanne is all flowing, glossy hair, ample, cascading bosom, and radiant, lushly crimson Rita Hayworth smile. The hovering Trump, bedecked with the phallic tongue of a violet Celtic floral tie, is in Viking mode, looking like a triumphant dragon on the thrusting prow of a long boat. “To the victor belong the spoils!” I said to myself in admiration, as seductive images from Babylon to Paris flashed through my mind. Yes, here is all the sizzling glory of hormonal sex differentiation, which the grim commissars of campus gender studies will never wipe out!

This ought not, Paglia hastens to add, qualify a man to be the president. For what it’s worth, I agree. And yet, Paglia makes a more important point. The academic intellectuals and media barons who have been trying to obliterate sexual difference are facing an election where the boys are competing against the girl… except that while Trump might be a bit over-the-top on the manliness scale Hillary barely registers on the womanliness scale. In fact, she turns off young women.

In Paglia’s words:

But I applaud this accidental contribution by the blundering New York Times to the visual archive of modern sex. We’ve been in a long, dry-gulch period of dully politicized sex, which is now sputtering out into round-the-clock crusades for transgender bathrooms—knuckle-rapping morality repackaged as hygiene.

For having tried to repress masculinity and femininity, the culture is facing the return of the repressed, in caricatured form. Call it the death of subtlety. In the currently repressive atmosphere you might have to be outrageous to be heard.


Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dennis said...

I have to admit that I wish there was a "NONE OF THE ABOVE" on the ballot. If "NONE OF THE ABOVE" received more than 50 percent of the votes the the present candidates would be barred from running for a time certain. That way the electorate would be able, maybe, to get better candidates. Of course I know this would be costly, but not as costly as the choices we have before us.
Yes, I know its a dream, but I would like to at least once in my life vote for someone vice agains't someone. Is this the best we can do or have we fallen so far that this is the best we can do?

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Heavens, IAC-- I said that Trump had been accused of being unqualified, which, by all traditional standards he and that Hillary is obviously incompetent. Read a little more carefully...

Marsh said...

Trump has never shown political toughness? Compared to whom? Mitt? McCain? Dole? This is the first time I've seen a guy on our side, who could not only take a punch, but throw one too... w/o batting an eye.

Trump, a first time candidate, literally stole the presidential nomination of a major party away from sixteen experienced politicians, an incredibly hostile and powerful political establishment and media complex. W/ a staff of THREE people. Out-thinking them, out-maneuvering them and out-fighting them the whole way.

Does anyone still doubt Trump isn't going to slaughter Hillary?

"It's also worrisome that a man w/ no political experience and little perceptible patience for serious study"

^^^^^^^^ That coming from a woman, who gushed over Obama. He never ran anything except his mouth. GMAB. Trump is going to be such an improvement over that POS, that even Debbie Wasserman will agree.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Dennis @May 20, 2016 at 5:51 AM:

I can appreciate how you feel, but the truth is we've never really liked anyone on the ballot. We almost always hold our nose.

The reason we don't have "better candidates" is that said candidates don't run. I'm not sure they really exist. If they don't have the courage to put themselves out there, then are they "better"? I don't think so. And there are other circumstances. For example, Mitch Daniels by all accounts would be a great candidate, but his wife suffers from mental illness.

The refreshing thing about Trump has been his talking back to the media. To that end, he has performed a public service. We talk regularly about the media bias, which surely exists. That said, the main problem is the media focus on explosive, edgy and sideshow political "issues" like transgender bathrooms. There's very little substance.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Stuart Schneiderin @May 20, 2016 at 6:14 AM:

Noted. Unlike Ares, I do feel shame when I misread and misinterpret. Therefore, I deleted the comment.

With that out of the way, I do have one complaint with a lot of the opposition to Trump: diminishing his experience. I think it foolish to disqualify a man purely because he does not have government or political experience. Politics is a game, not a profession. When a politician runs around diminishing the value of assets (infrastructure) and instead promising everyone more entitlements (transfer payments), that's a game. Trump has been successful because he's built things: assets. The idea that Mr. Trump cannot operate in the corridors of power because there are intricacies he cannot possibly understand, or sharks about, or issues so complex that it is beyond his own personal abilities, is poppycock. You think the head of a multinational corporate conglomerate doesn't involve politics? You think Trump goes home at 5:00 PM when his big boss man work is done? HA! That guy works his ass off. Obama and Boehner play golf or have a beer summit... wow, problem solved, eh?

Most of the people who use this form of criticism have never worked in business. Operating a profitable business is incredibly complex and intricate, and demands human faculties our political "betters" do not possess. In short, it's different. The profit motive is a goal that disciplines businesspeople and requires them to utilize resources in the most efficient way in order to survive. And to survive for a long time with a corporate conglomerate is no easy task. It involves taking calculated risks and pressing advantages and managing weaknesses. What risks do politicians carry? Financial ruin? HA!

Politics today isn't about sound policy, it's theater... it's publicity. Most people cannot understand this is the world of news as SportsCenter. What do I mean by this? In today's news media culture, it's not about reportage, investigation and informing the public about issues. Instead, it's about who's up, who's down, who's winning, who's losing. The media sees how profitable and entertaining ESPN is, and have made the news into a Michigan-Ohio State atmosphere, with Cosmopolitan sideshows that titillate the emotions. Even to that end, Mr. Trump has used the media and their gross vanity and incompetence, to his own advantage. That's shrewd.

In Vietnam, we thought the Viet Cong were a bunch of little peasants who couldn't take on our firepower. They couldn't. So they avoided engaging on our terms, and used their advantages to devastating effect. There were lives on the line, and still our politicians couldn't learn... they were still playing set piece battles from a World War II mindset. Hillary looks like she's playing with sticks and stones, and I have grave doubts it will work, even with the media's Lefty slant. Whether Obama indicts her will be the indicator of how much confidence he has about whether people are ready for Hillary.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Trump built his success in an enormously complex real estate market. He has diversified, and part of the nonsense they'll throw at him are quotes where he says the Clintons are "terrific people." What do you expect a businessman to say when Bill is President of the United States and Hillary is the Senator from his state?

The ideology of the Washington conservative intellectual class is a fixed position. Trump recognizes that fixed positions get mowed over in the modern media environment, and will lead to him constantly reacting to the drama du jour around nonsensical "hot issues" like transgenderism. He sees the risks of a sycophant media class with a donkey fetish, and the setup questions that try to pin him down and give him no room to maneuver and prevent him from building a broad coalition so he can win. This requires flexibility, which is something Bill Kristol, George Will, et al, could not possibly understand because they are intellectuals. They have the luxury of standing on principle and never making deals. Isn't that the reason for this oft-lamented "gridlock" in Washington? Our side has had its ass handed to it for 7 straight years, no matter what we do... Leftism nudges incrementally further, unchecked. Businesspeople are not intellectuals, and the business of America is business. Krauthammer doesn't like Trump one bit, but I do think Charles is starting to see Trump's advantages over Hillary, and is changing his tune.

We all have concerns about specific issues. I happen to be a Second Amendment guy with a fervent absolutism that would probably make Kristol or Will blush. Trump and his "New York values" scares me on my issue. But I am more afraid for my country if we don't get someone who loves the good ol' U S of A back in charge. I'd take Hillary over Obama any day of the week -- because she actually has the bearing of an American -- but Obama ain't running, so I'm seeing it's going to be Hillary vs. Trump. I'm with Trump, and I recommend all the elitist writers get off their high horse and see what's at stake.

Was Trump a philanderer and a gross guy? Sounds like it. Is he married, and seem devoted to his current wife? Seems like it. Contrast that with a serial misogynist and philanderer who Hillary says will be in charge of the American economy during her administration. They're not devoted to each other one bit, and they're not even pretending they'll put America first. They've put themselves first every step of the way, including the sham marriage they have. Let's not lecture Trump about morals and a lustful desire for power while he's up against the Clintons. There's no white knight coming... the deadline to get on the Texas ballot hath passed. Hold your nose and cast a vote for Trump. Obama has been a vicious Chicago thug about everything he's wanted, let's at least be a bit pragmatic about our interests in the upcoming election.

Marsh said...

IAC, if you need reassurance about Trump and the 2nd Ammendment, check out this piece, "Why Sportsmen should vote for Donald Trump."

Baloo said...

Paglia's quote on Hillary, or the best part of it, in jazzed-up graphic form here:
Camille Paglia on the Trumpening

Ares Olympus said...

Dennis said... I have to admit that I wish there was a "NONE OF THE ABOVE" on the ballot. If "NONE OF THE ABOVE" received more than 50 percent of the votes the present candidates would be barred from running for a time certain.

I was interested in a NOTA option back around 2000. I just didn't like the idea of candidates like Jesse Ventura winning on a 36% plurality protest vote that no one expected him to win.

On a Presidential election, it would work a bit different since we vote by state, so perhaps a NOTA win on a state vote would block any party from controlling the Electors, but I'm not sure what should be done after that.

Anyway, it sounds like the Libertarian Party or Green Party represent the Right and Left protest votes for President, and they should be on most state ballots.

Even so, I admit Trump's unqualified status scares me more then Hillary's incompetence status, so given those two, I'll vote proudly for the lesser of two evils.

On the amazing side, if Libertarian Gary Johnson is included, Hillary still loses on one poll to Trump. (You'd think a libertarian would take more from Trump) If Sanders can win the California primary in June, he's got a strong argument to the Superdelegates that Hillary is in serious trouble.
The poll finds Johnson garners 10 percent in this hypothetical three-way matchup. But that wouldn’t change the race, as Trump still holds the edge over Clinton: 42-39 percent.

Dennis said...

The NOTA was just a disgust with the choices available. The ramifications, if one thinks about it for a little bit, are much like democracy in action that leads ultimately to tyranny with little to be gained. Smart politicians are smart because they recognize how to use any system to their advantage, so I expect them to adapt quickly.
NO one is unqualified who is running for the presidency by the requirements of the Constitution. Incompetent may be another thing, though would one call Hillary's penchant for corruption or Bernie's penchant for a constantly disproved philosophy be actually incompetence?
Trump is neither incompetent or unqualified. He is, for the most part, a political neophyte who appears to be a quick learner and innovator at the same time. If one wants to be conversant with any field of endeavor one first has to learn the language of that endeavor. If one takes the time to understand that language then one is more than half way to being able to function in that environment. This I consider one of Trump's great ability to adapt to changing conditions and understanding that language.
This cannot be said for Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. They are so wedded to the "play book" of the past that I fear neither one could handle asymmetrical warfare or the other exigencies of the modern world. Bring in Bill to handle the economy demonstrates old ideas that may not work in a dynamic world with different requirements. Obama's big failure as a president is to get pass the past and to make decision on a flawed interpretation of that past.
Hillary would, given the chance to nominate 2 or 3 Supreme Court Justices, eviscerate the Constitution and have a much greater affect on the future than Trump. Sanders would just destroy the economy and everything that flows from that.
Trump, I suspect, is far smarter and wily than he puts on as a good negotiator needs to be. I may not like some of his ideas, but he is far better than the alternatives. Trump's penchant to adapt may, in the long run, be far better for the country than many think.

Larry Sheldon said...

Well, Dr. Schneiderman, you have finally crossed the line far enough that I can not ignore it anymore.

It is hard to have to realize that a person I had great respect for actually has the ability to be unfair and short-sighted, shamelessly.

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