Sunday, July 19, 2015

Loose Lips Sink Presidential Campaigns

The Trump presidential campaign is taking on water. Whether it sinks sooner or later is still open to debate. Whether the celebrity billionaire decides to run as a third-party candidate, thus handing the election to Hillary Clinton remains to be seen.

Those of us who have been warning against the Trump candidacy have reason to feel slightly vindicated today.

By now you have heard the grossly offensive line over and over again. Speaking about John McCain, with whom he has been feuding, Trump said:

He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured. 

Spoken by someone who never served in the military it was appallingly offensive. It
 brought instant condemnation from all sentient Republicans. They understand that such remarks, like the Todd Akin remark about rape during the last presidential election campaign, resonate with the people and tend to define, not only a candidate, but his party.

Jonah Goldberg feels especially vindicated:

He reminds me a lot of Mitt Romney, at least in one respect. I always said that Romney “spoke conservatism as a second language” (a line some people ripped off, btw). That’s why Romney called himself a “severe conservative,” talked about how he “likes to fire people,” and anathematized the “47 percent.”

Trump is even less truly conservative, but he’s trying to speak in an even grubbier dialect of conservatism. And, having grown up in the tabloid politics of New York, he’s better at faking it. Eventually, I suspect, this will be the cause of his undoing. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know about conservatism, and at some point he will say something that even his biggest fans will recognize as a damning revelation about the real man beneath the schtick. The only question is whether he implodes before or after he does permanent damage to the GOP’s chances in 2016.

It’s the problem with unseasoned, untested candidates who have never worked in public service. He has not had the time to ponder all of the issues and to formulate appropriate responses. The best he can do, as a neophyte, is to shoot from the lips. Inexperience would have made it impossible for Donald Trump to function as president and inexperience will, with any luck, doom his candidacy… the sooner the better.

As I noted, Trump runs companies that have his name on the door. There, his word is law. To the extent that he is a celebrity his word has value when it provokes an emotional response and makes news.

The American presidency doesn’t work that way. 

Strangely enough, Trump did not say anything that falls under the category of political correctness. He insulted a war hero, a man who served his country honorably.

Being as the military and military families are a powerful Republican constituency, Trump has chosen to offend a group whose values of honor, duty, country are fundamental to the party. It looks like Trumps fifteen minutes of political fame are over. It remains to be seen whether he chooses to hand the presidency to Hillary Clinton.


Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Trump would also probably insult Bob Kerrey for having a leg blown off, rationalizing that he likes guys who were smart and savvy enough to keep both legs. Kerrey won the Medal of Honor for valor in Vietnam.

bubblegumption said...

This has to be seen in context.

McCain attacked Trump and his supporters first by calling them 'crazies'.

So, Trump shot back. Trump has a combative style.

Also, one can make a legit case that a soldier isn't a hero simply because he got captured. Using the logic of designating any POW as a hero, all enemy combatants captured by the US in the War on Terror would be heroes, especially if they were underwent torture.
All German and Japanese soldiers captured by the US would be heroes.

We can admire POWs who survived through hardship, but it is doubtful that someone is a hero simply because he got captured in war.

Now, if McCain underwent extensive torture but refused to comply with his captors, he could be called a hero of sorts.

But there have been doubts about his War Record, and for some reason, MSM hasn't done a thorough job of connecting all the dots.

I personally like Trump in this interview:

Stuart Schneiderman said...

I think it's well accepted that McCain was tortured extensively and refused to comply with his captives. Also, there is much more to his service record than the experience in an enemy prison. When you got draft deferments you should not impugn the service of others.I fear that Trump is simply a loose cannon, someone who will continue to make statements that turn off massive numbers of voters, not just to him but to the Republican party. The only person he is serving is Hillary Clinton.

Kaiser Derden (aka TDL) said...

actually Stuart McCain himself said he broke so your "well accepted"theory is BS ...

Kaiser Derden (aka TDL) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kaiser Derden (aka TDL) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kaiser Derden (aka TDL) said...

you may be thinking of Stockdale ...

Ares Olympus said...

Its good to have agreement. Trump isn't just bad for the GOP, he's bad for the country.

But for the time being, he's on track with Charlie Sheen's "Winning!" and "Tiger blood" attitude, apparently snorting abstract net-worth statements rather than cocaine.
“I’m certainly not pulling out; I’m leading, and I’m leading in many states,” he said.

But back to Trump and "bubblegumption"'s point was McCain
“It’s very bad,” McCain, who was eager to talk about Trump, told me on Monday when I stopped by his Senate office. The Senator is up for reĆ«lection in 2016, and he pays close attention to how the issue of immigration is playing in his state. He was particularly rankled by Trump’s rally. “This performance with our friend out in Phoenix is very hurtful to me,” McCain said. “Because what he did was he fired up the crazies.”

McCain, who has long supported comprehensive immigration reform and was a member of the so-called Gang of Eight that successfully pushed immigration legislation through the Senate in 2013, has been at war with the far right in Arizona for years. “We have a very extreme element within our Republican Party,” McCain said. He then noted that he was personally censured by Arizona Republicans in January of 2014 and has been fighting to push out the extremists in the state G.O.P. ever since. “We did to some degree regain control of the Party.”

But McCain fears that Trump may be reversing those gains. “Now he galvanized them,” McCain said. “He’s really got them activated.”
But McCain worried that Trump might have more staying power than many political analysts assume. And, even if he slips in the polls, Trump’s attacks on immigrants and his focus on the porous border will have a warping effect for Republicans.

“We’ll see how this plays out, but there is some anger in my state,” McCain said. He mentioned the continuing challenges of border security that were vividly highlighted when tens of thousands of Central American minors crossed into America last summer. “People who otherwise might be more centrist are angry about this border situation.”

So McCain's position is that immigration reform is a difficult political problem requiring long slow movements, and Trump is willing to throw away all possible reform by giving voice to people who have no interest in compromise.

You might imagine Trump would support immigrants, or getting more legalized ones who can work for low income to help make him richer. But now he's "found" a niche where he can gain popularity by racial stereotypes and projections, and once you follow that route, how do you ever backstep?

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

McCain self-admittedly broke, Stockdale did not. McCain was further crippled under extensive torture by his North Vietnamese captors, and paraded in media appearances because his father was a top admiral. He also refused to be allowed preferential treatment during his Vietnam service, ostensibly available because his father was an admiral. He flew combat missions over enemy territory, and got shot down. That is an occupational hazard for a combat pilot. He put himself in harm's way, while having an easy out... he could've been "deferred" for combat duty or honestly claimed "my number wasn't called" because of his connections, but he didn't.

I can't really come up with an equivalent risk in the business world because there's no comparison to what's at stake in war. The high consequence in business is to go bankrupt, and Trump's ventures or entities have many times. Bankruptcy is hardly a comparison to serving one's country, being shot down, being tortured, being freed, and then being told by a big mouth businessman that being captured isn't a desirable outcome from military service that same businessman somehow didn't take part in. Whether Trump had a deferment, was 4F, his draft number wasn't called, was a fortunate son, or dodged the draft is not the point... the point is that you don't publicly disparage those who honorably do what frontline military duty demands.

Suffice to say Trump's comments are beyond unseemly... they're questioning someone's sense of duty, and honor in carrying out that duty, while never having been on the firing line. That's about as low as it gets.

I'm sure John McCain is ashamed he broke, but so are all who give in to torture. The question is: how much can a man endure? That is an interesting question in this case, when looking at people like Bob Kerrey, Jim Webb and Oliver North, who have a similar birth year to Donald Trump. They made choices, Trump made his.

With that, Mr. Trump should keep his mouth shut and not be tempted to respond. He's making himself look like an idiot, jerk and coward all at once. He's a visible media figure, noted for his bombast and narcissism, which he is employing in his campaign... he's certainly "on brand" as The Donald. But what he doesn't seem to consider is what people are looking for in the role of President of the United States. People see him running as a Republican primary candidate for the Republican Party nomination, so now he's commingling with another brand... it's not just about him anymore. It's unclear whether Trump can fathom such a notion. All the while, people hear what he says, see the enthusiastic crowds, read the polls, and make a connection -- perhaps even a conclusion -- about what the Republican Party stands for. Not a good combo.

Sure, McCain runs at the mouth, and calling his fellow citizens "crazies" is bad form for a sitting senator -- especially in describing a part of his party's base -- but that's why the media types love him (except the time he ran for president, which should be instructive). McCain has the high ground. Perhaps Trump should learn he is unwise to attack an enemy's fixed position without superior numbers, especially if they hold the high ground.

Trump has placed himself on the political firing line, and if he can't dish it out and take the heat with some decorum, he's gonna torpedo his chances. I expect he will self-destruct, and hope he does. He can lead his companies, but it's clear he cannot lead a nation that includes veterans, immigrants, foreign relations with Mexico, and whomever else he chooses to attack next.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Thank goodness Ares is back. I was getting concerned...

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Anonymous @July 19, 2015 at 2:30 PM:

I understand what you are saying, and believe you are correct, and that the article's analysis is correct.

For a segment of the population. A small segment in the context of a U.S. election. Like it or not, this country was founded to ensure electoral stability l in service of national unity. This is a two-party country... in structural ways, not just cultural.

I share your amusement at watching the mainstream media agog and apoplectic about Donald Trump. Even Krauthammer and Goldberg, whom I enjoy immensely. But my smiling ends at being amused by their histrionics. I become pragmatic. I become concerned when I see people actually taking this windbag Trump seriously. For real.

Trump's "viability" is a mirage, a projected phantom savior, a elysian delusion. One can give voice to a part of the population, but to win the office of President of the United States, you just attract a large tent of people and interests so you can WIN. Think about it this way: consider Al Sharpton. Reverend Al may be a voice for the anger of millions, but he'll never be President Sharpton. For this, the vast majority of us are most grateful.

However, anger is not a winning strategy. You have to stand for something, not merely against something(s). You have to win. In order to win, the goal must not be to be repellant to vast swathes of the American electorate. Trump is becoming more repellant with each passing hour, and we have a great many yet to go.

The problem that the Trump constituency has is that it is an angry faction, and has not translated that anger into creative action. It's merely reacting. That is not a long-term solution, nor an electable one. Trump looks like a neo-Know Nothing, and looks like he knows less and less with each passing moment.

If the "conservative" outlets and media types don't like Trump, might that cause you to pause and reconsider? How are you going to build a movement to your ideas if they are bringing people together solely in opposition to something or someone? That's for the voters to do, not a political campaign or candidate. It's not attractive to the voters needed to win. Did you ever think that people voted Republicans into Congress to tell Obama "STOP!" than to tell Republicans "GO!"???

The only viable alternative the "Why people like Trump" crowd will have come November 2016 will be to stay home. And if the base stays home, the Republican candidate will lose. If Trump (or someone like him) runs third party, then the Republican candidate will lose. You'll get to be right that everyone is wrong and you're right, but you'll still be right... and alone. You'll be a loser. A "right loser," as if there's a consolation in that. And the Leftist steamroll of everything you hold dear will continue. And if you say "I'd prefer to go down on a principled stand than live under this tyranny!" then you're likely going down, living in a tyranny, all the while telling people how right you are about it. And even then, you'll still be right. But you won't have created anything. You'll still be right, and a loser.

The sad reality is the Republican base would still rather lose on principle than win on persuasion. Yet the "Republican establishment" isn't the reason you're a loser. You are.

Still like Trump?

Anonymous said...

Trump seemed to me one of the v v v few candidates un-beholden to our Gilded Age elites. A wealthy Progressive Nationalist in the mold of TR & FDR.

I was wrong. He is a megalomaniacal ignoramus.

About my age, he managed to evade the Draft. He isn't crippled & in constant pain from his service.

He insults a man who so suffers. I don't like McCain. For various reasons. But to belittle his sacrifices bespeaks idiocy. -- Rich Lara

Ares Olympus said...

Here's an interesting opinion. Can Trump's naive antics inspire GOP presidential candidates to become reasoned adults again?

I tend towards the opinion that national polls 16 months before an election is hopeless, and Fox's debate top-10 limits is hopeless.

What I don't understand is why Fox doesn't do an "approval poll"? Ask "Who do you want to see in the debate?" (Yes or no, on each candidates) Then at least we'd know if candidates are interesting to more than 15% of voters. (The only down-side of an approval poll is the "wingman effect", if one candidate wants to help another by being a lightning rod for extreme positions to make other ordinary extreme positions seem moderate by comparison.)
He may not have a shot at becoming president, but Donald Trump has already succeeded in uniting America — one nation, awash in snark. Pundits from the left and the right have declared open season on the Donald.
Trump’s message is a call to 1950s American greatness and a simmering, mad-as-hell populism that blames Chinese imports, freeloading Saudis and Mexican immigrants (and Mexico) for the nation’s ills. It appeals to a vein of the U.S. electorate that will remain a significant voting bloc for several election cycles to come: older whites.
Republicans especially need to stop laughing. Their upcoming debates should challenge, not ignore, the unfocused fears of immigration and national diversity raised by Trump and like-minded candidates, and instead present a more nuanced and realistic view of the future, in which the national economy will depend on investment in today’s children and racial minorities.

While they are not yet the force on Election Day that they will be in the foreseeable future, racial minorities will represent all of the growth in our labor force for the next 20 years, and their success will translate into economic prosperity and future contributions to Social Security and Medicare.

Trump happily appeals to older, more conservative white baby boomers and seniors, but he could do them a favor by showing them the role that our diverse younger generations — many with immigrant roots — will play in our future. Vilifying them cannot be a lasting political strategy for tomorrow. And it cannot be a working national philosophy today.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Allow me to simplify... Some say Donald Trump is appealing to people. Trump is an ass. Wanna know why he's leading? He's captured the "Newsroom"-style anger of a sizable segment of the population. The rest know him because he's on television. Both are pointing to something in our national character. There are a lot of people who are (a) pissed-off, or (b) checked out in front of the Glowing Box. That's Trump's appeal.