Friday, March 4, 2016

John Craig evaluates Trump and, I think, gets it just right

Those of us who try to be discerning are aware that liking a politician and supporting a politician can be entirely different things. True, if you dislike a given guy, chances are you dislike him at least partially because of his policies and/or qualifications, so that makes it unlikely that you'd support him by voting for him. And it works the other way — your approval of a given person's policies and abilities makes you at least tend to like him.

But not always. There are exceptions. A good example is Ben Carson. He's very hard not to like, because he seems like such a nice, decent, polite guy, and that's very likely true. But you could very easily dislike his intentions and attitudes towards issues, and would never vote for him. There have been politicians that I like, and would probably like very much if I knew them personally, but for whom I'd never vote, because I disagree with so much of what they believe. I'd put Hubert Humphrey and Harry Truman in that category.

And, finally, there are politicians I can't stand, but would rush to vote for, because I expect them to do what I want done when they hold office. For example, there's something that rubs me the wrong way about Newt Gingrich, but if he was nominated for President, I'd certainly vote for him, because I'm sure his performance in office would please me a lot more than anybody the Democrats would ever nominate.

And now Ive worked by way up to Donald Trump. I don't quite dislike him, but a couple more "Down on your knees, Mitt," shenanigans out of him, and I'll get there, I'm sure. I actually like a little bit of vulgarity as a relief from all the smug self-righteousness, but that was a double-entendre a bit too far. I wish he's said "Jump through a hoop, Mitt," instead. That would have been a measured response to Romney's attack. But will I vote for Trump? Of course. I'd probably like John Kasich more than Trump on the personal level, but Kasich is dead wrong on immigration, and Trump is right, at least rhetorically.

It's kind of like the old military cliché. Lieutenant Smith is a nice guy, but he's incompetent and will get you killed in battle for no reason. Lieutenant Jones is a total jerk, but he knows what he's doing and you'll gladly follow him into battle because he's more likely to win and you're more likely to survive.

So take it to the extreme. Let's say Trump is an obnoxious jerk and you hate being anywhere near him, but you know that he'll do something about illegal immigrants and our bad trade policies, and will also avoid unnecessary wars. And let's say you find Marco Rubio to be a great guy to hang out with and a good pal, but he will just continue our open borders and bad trade policies, and is itching to intervene in the Middle East for the umpteenth time. So if you're a rational person you invite Rubio over for dinner, but vote for Trump.

And here's how John Craig makes much the same point, on his blog Just Not Said [link]:

Trump as bully

Steve Sailer nailed it, as usual, in his post this morning. While writing about how Trump is remapping the political dividing lines, he said:

{Speaking] as a laidback Southern Californian, Trump reminds me of the late George Steinbrenner, the extremely obstreperous owner of the New York Yankees, whom my Los Angeles Dodgers battled in the 1977, 1978, and 1981 World Series.

That's the best comparison I've heard yet. Steinbrenner made his fortune in shipping, a business requiring elbows as sharp as NYC real estate does. He owned the New York Yankees from 1973 until his death in 2010, and during his prime was a man many loved to hate.

Steinbrenner was known for regularly mocking his own players. He famously said about his star Dave Winfield, "Where is Reggie Jackson? We need a Mr. October or a Mr. September. Winfield is Mr. May." 

(Of course, while Jackson was a Yankee, Steinbrenner feuded with him as well.)

Steinbrenner hired and fired his hapless, alcoholic manager Bill Martin five separate times. 

So, as with Trump, feuds were a constant theme in his life.

Meanwhile, a friend sent this clip from Trump's guest appearanceon Jimmy Kimmel's show. At the beginning, Trump is asked about a recent headline about New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. 

Trump replies, "Well I tell you what, I guess he had a news conference, he's a very good friend of mine, he's a great guy, by the way this is a great guy, and a winner, a champion, fantastic. Now if I were in New England and said that, the place would go crazy, here not so much, they're tired of getting beaten. But no, Tom's a great guy, and I guess there was something where everybody was saying what about Donald Trump, what about Donald Trump, what about this, what about that, and they had to end the news conference. But I want to tell you, Tom Brady is a winner." 

This is typical Trump. He said that Brady was "a great guy" three times, and also that he was "a winner" twice and "a champion" once. It's hard escape the impression that Trump feels that Brady is a great guy because he is a winner (and also a friend of Trump's). 

I knew guys like Trump on Wall Street. All of their friendships were essentially business relationships, built on mutual benefit, usually in a fairly transparent way. If one person ranked below the other in the business hierarchy, he was expected to act correspondingly obsequious. Strangely, both parties would seem to be perfectly comfortable with this. The guys who were used to being kowtowed to would get angry if people did not do so. 

With Trump and Brady, there is no business relationship, merely a mutual stroking of egos, and the opportunity to name drop. Brady probably enjoys the cachet that being associated with a Presidential candidate brings, and Trump enjoys being buddies with a glamorous athletic icon.

But you can't help but get the feeling that if Brady's career goes up in smoke, and he's no longer quite such a "winner," the "friendship" might suffer. 

Sometimes, it take an ill-mannered guy to tell an ugly truth about, for instance, whether importing a million Muslims is a good idea. Trump is that guy. I'm going to vote for him because he's more honest than the other politicians, and none of our problems will ever be solved as long as everybody feels obliged to lie about them. 

But I'm going to hold my nose when I do, the same as I would if I were voting for George Steinbrenner. 
Quibcag: Illustrated by Mouri Kogoro of Detective Conan, AKA Meitantei Conan (名探偵コナン), who is being an obnoxious jerk in front of an innocent girl.


  1. Baloo --
    Thank you very much, as always.

  2. It occurs to me that Herman Wouk made a similar point in "Caine Mutiny".