Former Trump Supporter

I would have thought that John Hawkins of Right Wing News would have had more sense than to ever be a fan of Donald Trump, but we are all subject of the delusions and follies of the popular mood and at least Hawkins was able to see through Trump and change his mind, as he writes in this column at Townhall.com.

I understand why people like Donald Trump because I was a big fan of his as well.

I loved the fact that he’s a charismatic, politically incorrect fighter and a successful businessman. I am also genuinely grateful to him for changing the debate on immigration and starting a conversation about Muslim immigration that we should have had a long time ago. I don’t believe a ban on Muslim immigrants would ever pass

Congress nor do I think it’s practical (How would you realistically implement it?), but I do think blocking future refugees and immigrants from countries where Al-Qaeda and ISIS hold sway is more doable because of Trump. That’s a little ironic because he was initially in favor of bringing in Syrian refugees, but it’s true. Additionally, after years of being ignored, scorned and poorly represented by Republican leaders in Congress, it’s nice to have a politician who actually goes overboard to pander to conservatives.

So far, I agree with what Hawkins has to say. I can understand the appeal of Trump too. He is saying all the right things, including a good deal that needs to be said. The problem is that when I look over Trump’s past history, I get the impression that he is willing to say anything his audience wants to hear. I don’t think Trump is for anybody but himself and if he is elected, a lot of his current supporters are going to be very disappointed in what he actually does.

And there is this.

When you have genuine affection for someone, it’s easy to block out his faults. In Trump’s case, this is being taken to such an extreme that it’s starting to feel like we’re in Jonestown a few days before the Kool-Aid is handed out. Tell me I’m wrong if you like, but even Trump made reference to that when he said,

“And you know what else they say about my people? The polls! They say I have the most loyal people. Did you ever see that? Where I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters. It’s incredible.”

Since when do conservatives engage in this type of blind loyalty towards ANY politician?

I did not like the creepy cult of personality that some of President Obama’s supporters seemed to be following. Trump’s supporters haven’t gone quite so far in hailing him as their messiah, but I don’t think that the sort of blind faith some of them seem to have in this man is a good idea.

But here is where I start to disagree with Hawkins.

Similarly, Donald Trump talks incessantly about polls that are favorable to him, but the polls have also nconsistently shown that he loses to Hillary Clinton. Worse yet, his favorable/unfavorable ratings are 33/58. That’s the same as Jimmy Carter in early 1980. It’s WORSE than Walter Mondale. Trump even has a higher unfavorable rating with the general public than Nixon AFTER Watergate. It would be easier to rehabilitate Enron’s image than to make Trump President with those poll numbers.

Saying that a candidate with those poll numbers couldn’t win an election without a miracle is something that anyone who knows something about elections would normally agree on.  Yet, with Trump, many people seem unfazed. Basically, they think he’s going to use some kind of “Trump magic” that will guarantee a victory.

I am not so sure this polling matters so much anymore. Trump is very good at getting what he wants and if he really wants to be president, I think that he will be president. He is not playing by the same rules as regular politicians and he has shown extraordinary skill in managing the media to promote himself. Most politicians are afraid to say or do anything that might lead to negative coverage. Trump seems to realize that it doesn’t matter what the reporters and pundits are saying about him, whether positive or negative, so long as they are talking about Trump. The outrageous things that he sometimes says do not hurt him because they keep him in the public eye.

Trump is not a fool. I am sure that he is aware of his high unfavorability in the polls and he is undoubtedly considering ways to win over the people who currently view him negatively. Whether he is successful or not is unknown, but it would be unwise to underestimate him.

The problem with that is that successful though Donald Trump may be, he fails all the time. He’s had four bankruptcies. Then there’s Trump steaks, Trump Vodka, Trump the Game, Trump Magazine, Trump Mortgage, Trump Airlines, Trump University, Trump Casinos, the New Jersey Generals and happily, he also lost a lawsuit and was unable to take a widow’s home via eminent domain so he could build a limo parking lot. Trump has been a successful businessman, but an awful lot of investors who put money into his ill-advised projects because they just assumed he’d find a way to win have gotten burned doing business deals with him.

Trump’s failures could actually be spun as a point in his favor. Notice that despite the many unsuccessful ventures he has been in, Trump is still one of the richest men in America. Trump has learned to manage his failures in a way that leads to greater success, at least for himself. We learn more from our failures than our successes and this ability to manage failure is more impressive than an unbroken string of successes.  The fact that Trump doesn’t give up but keeps on trying new things speaks well of his character  and determination.

I am still against a Trump presidency though, for much the same reasons as Hawkins.

Since Trump is first and foremost a dealmaker, what makes you think you’d like the deals someone who doesn’t share your principles would cut on your behalf any more than you liked the deals John Boehner made? What makes you think Trump would be any different than another celebrity like Arnold Schwarzenegger who talked a good game and then ended up governing from the left-of-center once he was in office?

Also, as entertaining and successful as Trump may be, he doesn’t have the right temperament to be President. It’s a serious, sober job and even if you like him, you have to admit that he’s crude, mean-spirited, narcissistic, unpredictable and conspiratorial. Would you consider any other candidate who trashed POWs, “I like people that weren’t captured,” made fun of the disabled (He’s done this more than once), said he never asked God for forgiveness and keeps making creepy comments about how he’d like to date his daughter, “(Ivanka) does have a very nice figure. I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her?”Even if you’re willing to overlook those comments because you love Trump so much, people who aren’t Trump fans will not give him a pass. That will be doubly true after the Democrats hammer him with a billion dollars’ worth of negative ads that he won’t be able to effectively respond to because even Trump admits that hedoesn’t know how he would finance his campaign in a general election.

If we nominate Trump, we’ll have our third straight lose/lose election where most conservatives will have a candidate who doesn’t truly represent their views as the GOP nominee. Of course, if Trump is our nominee, I will vote for him and I will try to do what I can to help him win, but it would be easier to ski uphill than to get a wildly unpopular Rockefeller Republican like Trump into the White House.

I will not vote for Trump. If he is the Republican nominee, I will either not vote for president at all, or vote for the Libertarian candidate, which amounts to the same thing.

 

 

 

Not Mitt Romney

John Hawkins at Right Wing News helped start a  blog called Not Mitt Romney, largely because he doesn’t like Mitt Romney.

I don’t like Mitt Romney.

I never have and I probably never will.

You see, politicians like Mitt Romney have a history of screwing over movement conservatives.

You know the type.

Lincoln Chafee. Arlen Specter. Charlie Crist.

You might say, “No way! Romney’s more conservative than those guys!”

Is he really? What gives you that impression? Is it because he’s telling you what you want to hear right now, when he needs your vote?

Well, if Romney gets elected, which Romney will be President?

Romney 1.0: The left-of-center Republican who was adamantly pro-choice and wasn’t a fan of Reagan or the Contract with America during his run at Ted Kennedy’s seat?

Romney 2.0: The moderate, center-right governor of Massachusetts who left after one term because he would have lost if he ran again in 2006?

Romney 3.0: The fire breathing “conservative alternative” to John McCain who pretended like he was the reincarnation of Reagan?

Romney 4.0: The guy who’s running now, who believes whatever you believe, no matter what you believe?

 

Well, I don’t much care for him either and for about the same reasons.

The thing that I am afraid of is that the 2012 election will be a repeat of the 1996 election. Going into that election, we had an unpopular Democratic President. The Democrats had received a shellacking in the mid-term elections and lost control of Congress for the first time in over 40 years. It seemed likely that Bill Clinton would be a one-term President. And then the Republicans nominated Bob Dole.

As soon as Bob Dole gained the nomination, I knew that Clinton would win. Dole simply didn’t inspire the Republican base. He had made too many compromises with the Democrats and didn’t really seem to believe in anything.

I know that the Republicans have some advantages they didn’t enjoy back in 1996. Back then, the Internet was still in its infancy and new media hardly existed at all. There was no equivalent to the Tea Party movement. Obama isn’t nearly as good a politician as Clinton was and unlike Clinton, he seems to have no interest in triangulating or trying to portray himself as a moderate. In fact, if his recent actions are any indication, it seems that Obama will try to win re-election by energizing his base rather than reach out to independents. Still, I think that if Mitt Romney is the nominee a lot of Republicans will vote for him, just to defeat Obama, but they won’t like it. They won’t like spending the next 4-8 years defending Romney as he tries to govern in the center and betrays Conservative principles.

And also, in these tough times, the last thing America needs is a president without any firm guiding principles, someone who wants to be all things to all people. We need someone who is willing to make the tough decisions and stick by them. I don’t think that is Romney.

I think we can do better than Mitt Romney. I don’t just want to vote against Obama. I want to vote for someone.

The Ring of Gyges

In Plato’s Republic, one of the characters of the dialog mentions the legend of the ring of Gyges. The ring of Gyges was found by a man named Gyges in the kingdom of Lydia. It had the power to make anyone who wore it completely invisible. Gyges used the ring to commit a series of crimes and ultimately murdered the king and usurped his throne. Socrates and the other characters then go on to discuss whether any man would behave justly if they could be absolutely certain of not being caught.

We don’t have a ring of Gyges. No one can become invisible. But, we do have something almost as good, the Internet. On the Internet one can act with complete anonymity. You can post opinions on forums and website commentaries and no one need know anything about you., So, what are the results?

In any Internet forum of any kind, there seems an almost irresistible temptation for some people to, well, be jerks. They post insults, stupid comments unrelated to the subject being discussed and generally act in a way they would be ashamed to act with people in the real world. As more and more of this sort of troll infests a forum, the decent people tend to leave, and above a certain threshold, the forum becomes a sewer of ad hominem attacks and personal invective.

Right Wing News is a blog I like to visit often. It’s owner, John Hawkins, and the other writers usually have something interesting to say. The comments section has, however, started to become a sewer. Recently one regular poster revealed the real world address and phone number of one of the more obnoxious trolls and practically invited people to harass him. He was immediately banned, and rightly so. Now, John Hawkins is belatedly putting moderators in charge of the comments.

I really don’t know what to do about this problem. It doesn’t say much for human nature that so many people act like jerks when no one knows who they are.