Saturday, September 12, 2015


Disrespect is wonderfully entertaining. We revel when people are insulted, put down, offended and aggrieved. We think it’s fun. At some level it is fun… unless you are the one being demeaned.

It has become the Donald Trump signature rhetorical ploy. Michael van de Galien takes exception:

Donald Trump is at it again. He recently criticized Carly Fiorina — who’s rising in the polls in Iowa — because of her looks. He wondered out loud — when surrounded by yes-men — how anyone could ever vote for her. “Just look at that face,” he said, adding that she’s a woman and he’s not supposed to talk about it, but “come on.” He later pretended he was talking about her “demeanor,” but no sane person accepts that explanation.

No, Donald, you were criticizing yet another woman because you think she’s ugly. That’s all there is to it.

And that brings me to one of the biggest problems I have with Trump: his obvious lack of respect for every single one of his rivals and even for critical journalists, especially those who regularly have “blood coming out of their whatever.” It isn’t merely that it’s anything but presidential, but that it’s anything but civil. This is not how anyone should behave — be they politicians, plumbers, lawyers or construction workers.

Why is it wrong to disrespect people? Simply put, because you might need them some day. You might need their votes some day. You might need their support some day. If you claw your way to a nomination by stomping down your rivals, the chances are really, really good that they are not going to support your candidacy. Heck, their supporters might not come out to vote for you. And, if you are not the nominee, your het-up supporters might not vote for the eventual Republican candidate.

For the Democratic party, the Trump candidacy is win/win.

Ask yourself why Mitt Romney lost in 2012? You might not recall, but Romney trashed so many of his opponents that, one suspects, many of his opponents’ supporters were so offended that they simply did not vote. 

Next year, how many of those who support other candidates will vote for a Donald Trump who treated them like idiots and fools?

Ronald Reagan pronounced the eleventh commandment—thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican—because he knew that, come election day, he would need the votes of their supporters.

That means that the current Republican circus helps no one but the Democrats. And if you want to undo the calamities visited on the nation or the world by the imperious and imperial Barack Obama, you should wake up and figure out that putting another Democrat in the White House will not do the trick.

Anyone who thought that there was no point in voting in 2012 because Romney and Obama were the same thing was thinking the way the Democratic mind control media wanted him to think.

In the latest CNN poll, non-candidate Joe Biden is beating Trump by 10 points. If you want to know why Republicans and conservative are fuming about the Trump candidacy, that’s why. If I were a betting man—I’m not—I would say, as I’ve said before, that the Democratic ticket will be Biden-Warren. Against them, Trump will not have a prayer. Do you think he will get away with insulting a grieving father who just lost his eldest son?

Van de Galien takes Trump to task for being an ill-mannered boor. Everyone is happy to see someone stand up against political correctness, but Trump, for all his bluster, is not the most politically incorrect of candidates. Being the rudest does not make you the most politically incorrect:

His views are actually remarkably politically correct on a large array of issues (he criticized Pamela Geller for holding a Mohammed cartoon contuest, he says the U.S. should take in adventurers from Syria even though it’s widely believed that ISIS is smuggling jihadis into the West dressed as refugees, and on and on), but he combines those views with behavior that’s downright aggressive and insulting.

Presidents set a behavioral standard. They become the role models for the nation. It’s entertaining to see Trump bullying people, especially Republicans. And yet, our current president is also a bully, in his own way. Do you want yet another bully in the White House?

Van de Galien writes:

Presidents have impact; their moral values become part of America’s (and the wider West’s) culture. If the president can talk about women in an incredibly disparaging way, why can’t little Johnny? And if the president can call everybody who disagrees with him “losers,” why shouldn’t little Betty do likewise?

The president sets the standard. And yes, the same can be said for presidential candidates. If they’re respectful of others, it has an impact on the people, their culture and their moral values.

It’s time for Trump to understand that he’s no longer “just” a TV personality or businessman. He’s a presidential candidate — the current frontrunner no less. If he takes that role seriously, he has to clean up his act and start behaving like a statesman.

If you are more boor than statesman, you will find, when the time comes to govern, that you have no allies. When you look to a Congress filled with members you have offended and insulted and vilified you will find that your agenda is dead on arrival. And you will also find that world leaders, to a man or woman, will make it their mission in life to wipe that smug grin off of your face. 


Bizzy Brain said...

Trump provided my laugh of the day. Bobby Jindal devoted a whole speech to attacking Trump, saying things such as, “looks like he has a squirrel sitting on his head.” Trump’s response to Jindal’s sophomoric attack. “I only respond to people that register more than 1% in the polls.” So you see, Trump can be a gentleman and not always offensive. Lol!

Nick said...

To be fair to Trump, I thought the same thing about Fiorina before this kerfuffle. There is something weird about her face on television. Her make-up or something. Maybe I just find her ugly, but I would not want that face representing America, either. I believe it is fair to criticize someone's appearance who is running for president. People do it to Trump all the time. Althouse had a good post on this.

Ares Olympus said...

I have one idea, at least in regards to the debates and reducing animosity between candidates. First we have to show 1% weakings are not what we think it is.

What if instead of polling republican voters "Who would you vote for president if the election is today?" in deciding inclusion, but ask "Do you approve, disapprove, or neutral on candidate X for president?", asking for each candidate in sequence.

Then tally support as (apprival - disapproval), and any candidate with a net disapproval can be skipped from the next debate.

I know its a tricky problem. If voters played hardball, they might approve of their favorite and disapprove of all others, and everyone would be polling in the negatives. Perhaps pollers ought to require at least 3 approved candidates to be counted, and discount voters as well who are not interested in watching the debate.

But I mean if we assume voters actually want to hear a debate, thoughtful voters will actually express support for ANY candidate they want to hear more from, even if they think they'll generally disagree, because they have have some positions they do agree with, and want represented.

And under an approval-disapproval polling, you can imagine voters supporting a candidate who Trump has just trash-talked, they can say "I've heard enough of that!"

On the other hand, there's a reason for Jerry Springer and reality TV where the most disrespect the better. And maybe a majority really don't care about winning any more, and they just want to punish politicians for failing to get things done.

I don't know how to engineer a fix for arrogance, resentment, and contempt.

priss rules said...

What Trump said, most people do.

People do judge according to looks, heights, voice, and etc.

Maybe it's vulgar for Trump to point it out, but he's correct. Sadly.

Sam L. said...

From what little I've seen of Carly, she looks OK to me. I don't remember Mitt dissing his competitors for the nomination, but will accept what you say.

I am reminded of the saying, be good to the people you meet going up the ladder--you'll see them again on the way down. In a small town one is new to, don't put anyone down--there are large interconnected families, and word WILL get back to them. Be kind; you never know who can help you, or when, so don't start out giving them a reason to refuse.

Further, Trump would not be where he is if the GOP had not ignored their voters.

Anonymous said...

No Trump fights like a lefty

Ares Olympus said...

p.s. Someone has been reading this blog:
Before the battleship event, I walked up and down the long line of ticket holders— an estimated 800 supporters paid as much as $1,000 to behold the candidate in the flesh — and asked a simple question: What do you like most about Trump? Everybody gave me the same answer. Each person phrased it differently, but it all basically boiled down to one thing — the single characteristic, more than wealth, fame or narcissism, that best defines the Donald.


Trump disrespects politics. He disrespects the process. He disrespects the rhetoric. He disrespects his fellow candidates. And his fans love that, because they really, really disrespect politics, too.

“It’s his frankness,” said Mark Gutierrez, a Marine Corp veteran and retired L.A. Water and Power employee. “He’s not worried about being politically correct. He’s just going to tell it like it is. The things that people are feeling, he’s saying.”
All of which is serving Trump well enough for now. The problem is that there’s more to politics than process, rhetoric and candidates. In an angsty age like ours, you can disrespect all that stuff and thrive.

But politics is also about the voters. The minute you start to disrespect them — to patronize them, to condescend, to imply that they’re too dumb, or lazy, or prejudiced to care that you don’t know what you’re talking about — you’ve sealed your own fate.

And that’s what Trump began to do in his “major national security speech” Tuesday night aboard the USS Iowa.
And instead of explaining why he will be able to bend the rest of the world to his will and his opponents won’t, he simply announced that “they’re never going to be able to do it. It’s an instinct. It’s something special.”

“They don’t have it,” Trump concluded. “Believe me.”

At the moment, Trump’s supporters believe him — and that’s enough for them. I also understand that withholding detail is nothing new for Trump. But the summer is ending, and the primary season is beginning. What if, with each passing week, all of Trump’s “major speeches” turn out to be more of the same old applause lines? What if every debate performance, every interview, provides more evidence that Trump doesn’t care to learn about the world he aspires to lead? And what if his endless insults begin to look less like passionate, un-PC outbursts than like a stale strategy to stay in the news? What then? You can only say everyone else is stupid so many times before the voters start to realize that you think they’re stupid, too.