Archive for May, 2016

the donald

Last week I posted about Trump’s rhetoric, which as I mentioned, as awful as it is, it is not that different from the GOP’s standard spiel these days. However, I think there are boxes you need to be able to check off to be qualified to be President that go before even any consideration of political views and policy positions. In my view, not just anybody can be President (or maybe I should say, not just anybody SHOULD be President). I think to be considered for the office of the Presidency, you must have the ability to reason. You have to have good analytical skills (no one can know everything about everything, but as President, you do need to have the ability to understand what your team of experts is telling and make sound decisions based on that information). I also think a President needs to have an intelligent curiosity. They need to have a good grasp of history, economics, sociology, civics, etc., both on a domestic and global scale. A President needs to have empathy, as he/she has to remember that they represent 324 million people, who obviously have different backgrounds, needs, desires, etc. than the President himself/herself. I could go on and on, but you get the point.

I think there are a lot of people who are saying “anyone is better than Hillary Clinton”. The implication of that statement is that either everyone has the qualities required to be President or that amazingly Hillary literally possesses the least amount of qualifications of every single eligible adult in this country. Now I’m not a Hillary fan by any stretch. I disagree with many of her viewpoints (her penchant for military use comes to mind) and do have trust issues with her, not to mention that having the Clintons back in the White House just feels so oligarchical. Still, is she qualified to do the job? Personally I think that’s an easy yes. She has the capability of doing the job, even if I don’t think I’m going to like the way she does it.

So in my view, the “anyone is better than Hillary Clinton” statement just simply isn’t true. Some? Yes. Many? Possibly. All? Of course not. So I really think that comment can be better translated to “I’m voting for the Republican no matter what”. If Bernie Sanders was the nominee, it would be “anyone is better than Bernie Sanders”. It’s a rationalization for voting for somebody that’s not a strong candidate. It means that in your view, political affiliation is by far the most important thing, and without the proper affiliation, none of the other things matter.

The flip side of the argument is “anyone is better than Donald Trump”. Statistically speaking, it is also pretty much impossible that literally everyone is better than Trump. The question really should be is Trump qualified enough (or closely enough as qualified as his opponent) to be considered for the highest office of this country?  In my mind, the answer is a clear no. (At which point, you don’t even move on to comparing policy/political positions….you don’t have to.) Here are just a few things that has led me to this conclusion:

Now maybe this is my own bias and I am not thinking clearly. But I would like to think if somebody like Barbara Streisand or Alec Baldwin somehow was the Democratic nominee (or heck, Donald Trump himself as I think he could have easily decided to run as a Democrat…I don’t think he personally cares that much), I wouldn’t support them because “anybody is better than the “R” candidate”. All I know is I think Trump’s main “qualification” is that he is a celebrity who the press is obsessed with. Otherwise he is not qualified at all. On top of that, he is a very bad person. Not “anyone” would be better than him, but the list of people who are is large enough that it most certainly would include Hillary Clinton.

 

Advertisements
It's one louder.

It’s one louder.

Trump may say things that seem out there, but at least some of what he says isn’t much more than a natural conclusion of the standard GOP rhetoric. For example:

Abortion:

  • What the GOP says – The unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. Fourteenth Amendment rights apply to the unborn child.
  • What Trump said – There should be “some form of punishment” for women having abortions.

If the fetus has the same unalienable rights as everyone else, then it stands to reason that laws against the killing of others would apply. The woman purposely sought to have the procedure, so it wouldn’t be any different fundamentally than hiring a hit to take someone else out. It sounds outrageous to say, but the logic does follow.

Immigration:

  • What the GOP says – Illegal immigration undermines and affects American workers. In the age of terrorism, drug cartels, human trafficking, and criminal gangs, the presence of millions of unidentified persons in this country poses grave risks to the safety and the sovereignty of the United States.
  • What Trump said – “They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

Reading those two statements together, I have a hard time seeing much of a difference. Trump referenced Mexico in particular, but let’s be honest, in this country when we talk immigration, we aren’t talking about Norwegians. The GOP may be more vague. But they aren’t talking about jobs and/or depressed wages. They are talking risk to safety and the very sovereignty of the country. That can’t be true if we aren’t talking significant numbers of people with “lots of problems”.

Muslims:

  • What the GOP says – “Muslim group[s]” say “that Jesus Christ and all the people that follow him are a bunch of infidels who should be essentially obliterated.” and “a religion that promotes the most murderous mayhem on the planet in their so-called holiest days.”  – both from Mike Huckabee. “We are at war with radical Islam, with an interpretation of Islam by a significant number of people around the world, who they believe now justifies them in killing those who don’t agree with their ideology.” – Marco Rubio.
  • What Trump said – “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,”

If a primary goal of the Muslim religion itself was to “obliterate” all Christians and promote “murderous mayhem”, and if, as Rubio also added, this is a battle of civilizations, is a travel ban against those that call themselves followers of that religion not a reasonable response?

Personally I think Trump says the things he does partly because he doesn’t give anything much thought, so he tries to parrot what he hears from the right. But he also doesn’t give enough thought to realize some of the things said on the right is more rhetoric to capitalize on fears and prejudices than anything that is supposed to lead to an actual proposal for action. And make no mistake, while there is some opposition to him from the right for the same reasons as I oppose him, that as David Brooks put it, he’s epically unprepared to be President (and as such, what passes as “views” and “policy” from him is really irrelevant, because at his core, he’s just a dumb television celebrity), there is plenty of opposition more because they don’t trust him not to be really a liberal (because historically, he has sometimes parroted things that sound “liberal”), not that they are really against his “views” as he generally spouts out today.

In fact, I think that is a good bit of what some people find appealing about Trump. He’s taking the things the GOP has been talking about all along, but doesn’t sugar-coat it. He’s turned the dial to 11.