by Brad Nelson 8/13/15
If Trump continues to do well in the polls, it will be interesting to see if he works the Obama phenomenon. And that’s not a put-down of Trump. Establishment Republicans are useless. If I put down Trump, it is not to defend those boobs.
But although Trump has made some broad pro-American statements regarding illegal aliens and the economy, he seems to me to be working well as the blank slate upon which we can project what we want to believe about him. And that’s, to a large extent, how Obama got elected. Trump’s website, for instance, is devoid of specific policy statements.
Reading a book on the emergence of Nazi Germany, the Nazis were also non-specific. And, no, I’m not saying Trump is Hitler. It’s just that in times of general outrage where you’ve had the technocrats trying to forever tweak and fix things — and generally only making things worse — what is often forgotten is the broad vision, the overall moral picture of a country. We need that. And right now the Republicans (perhaps with an exception or two) can’t give that vision. They are mere technocrats. And when they do talk in terms of the big picture, it tends to turn into broad banalities, a mere cover to show they have nothing more than a technocratic approach. We know it. They know it. But we play this game pretending it is otherwise.
I think one of Trump’s weaknesses is that, from what I can see, he doesn’t have an overall philosophical approach. Reagan was very good at the “vision-thing,” but it was also anchored in a very fine-tuned and specific political philosophy. That meant he could be consistent. He could compare and contrast. And, more importantly, he could tell you why the Left was wrong and why he was right, and do it without ranting or badgering.
It’s unclear yet if Trump’s broad, positive “vision-thing” appeal — which I agree is working for him now, especially in contrast to these dull GOP technocrats — will be enough. Can he in his own way say that he’s going to “heal the planet and lower the oceans,” even if the nouns and verbs are different? It worked for the America-hating Marxist, Obama, to hide behind nice-sounding generalities. Can it work for Trump?
The difference is, of course, Trump does not hate America and he has actually lived a dynamic American life compared to the affirmative-action, schooled-in-community-agitating, president we now have who rarely saw the outside of Leftist agitating circles.
But specific policy issues are probably over-rated, particularly in presidential politics. After having had this academic, Leftist, America-hating weenie in office for two terms, it may be enough that Americans take the measure of a man. Will Trump stand up to the bad guys or make endless excuses for them as Obama has done? A little moral clarity in regards to such things can go a long way. Who know what issues will turn up that a president must face? We just need to know that he’s not another weenie.
Of course, the Wizards of Smart, who are able to run policy through there levels of brainy grids, don’t like things such as “broad appeal” or “visions.” Such things are considered the domain of the low — especially those easily moved by demagogues. And Trump (as with all politicians) is going to be part that. But will he offer an overall vision of America that a majority can sign onto, to heck with the details? Can he stand up to the usual bullies and politically correct rent-a-mobs?
The Establishment Republicans version of “playing nice” means playing by their rules where you genuflect to their obvious and profound intellectual superiority. But these Wizards of Smart did not like Reagan. And I wouldn’t compare Trump to Reagan any more than I would to Hitler. Trump is Trump. And might that be enough in this age of corrupt parties who have congealed into a smothering and down-talking elitism?
Well, all I can say is, the more National Review and such types panic, the more I see the The Donald as a firm possibility. Against wobbly mush a fuzzy strength is appealing.
Brad is editor and chief disorganizer of StubbornThings.
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