Trump wouldn’t be the first fool, psycho or moron
Since Trump won the primaries, the press and representatives on both sides of the aisle in America have stepped up their level of panic to at least DEFCON2. Nearly everyone who’s anyone is pulling on the handbrake as hard as they can to prevent the ever-more imminent disaster of a President Trump. At this point, the entirety of the press has nearly forgotten that Hillary and Sanders are even running in the other party’s primary because Trump is doing such a good job making Trumpzilla/the Trumpdozer/the Trump Train seem utterly inevitable.
Svengalis and Persuaders
Why does it seem so inevitable? Why are people panicked? Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) has been writing a bit on this topic. Adams is a trained hypnotist and business consultant who’s training allows him to pick up cues and tricks used by others similarly trained. He calls Trump the “Master Persuader”.
In the post, Republican Debate (March 3) Scorecard (Master Persuader Series), Adams recounts the results of Trump’s first “bad” debate, the first one in which even FOX News went at him much harder on his policies. This is obviously where Trump is weakest. While he’s a master persuader, he doesn’t really have any concrete plans or coherent ideas. That’s not the point of his campaign. His campaign is all about winning for himself. As I mentioned in my previous article (The Winning Ticket in 2016), I don’t this he has the first clue about what he’d do once he gets to the Oval Office.
That doesn’t matter, though, as Adams points out.
“The FOX News debate moderators annihilated Donald Trump last night. They highlighted huge problems with his budget plan, showed inconsistencies in his policies, and hammered him for his Trump University “scam” as some would call it. It was Trump’s first bad debate night.
“And when I say FOX annihilated Trump, I mean they guaranteed a Trump landslide. People don’t like the establishment, in case you haven’t heard.
“We’re past the question of whether our politicians are lying to us. That’s a given. The system forces them to lie to get elected. I’m not sure the voters care at this point. (Emphasis added.)”
The voters do not care about lying of the kind Trump is accused of. Trump’s lies are just the kind of lies that Americans have been taught are the “good” kind of lie, the lie told to get ahead, to do better than those suckers who aren’t willing to lie a little bit to make America better. Or “great again”.
Trump’s been caught in one lie after another, about pretty much anything under the sun—and it hasn’t mattered a bit. Everything he does only seems to make him stronger, shocking everyone who matters in politics and the media.
The reason they’re so panicked now is that they are no longer in control of the narrative. They might get it back at some point—the history of the last seventy years says that they will—but there will be damage to their reputations and they will lose some previously unquestioning adherents to the American Way. Every incident like Trump’s candidacy causes waves whose ripples are unpredictable in their reach and longevity.
From the post, The Persuasion Reading List by Scott Adams
“When I listen to Donald Trump, I detect all of his influences back to Erickson. If you make it through this reading list, you might hear it too. I don’t know if Donald Trump would make a good president, but he is the best persuader I have ever seen. On a scale from 1 to 10, if Steve Jobs was a 10, Trump is a 15.
“You know how the media has made fun of Trump’s 4th-grade-level speech patterns?
“The joke’s on them.
“He does it intentionally.
“Because it works. (Emphasis added.)”
Wildly out of touch
Trump seems to know what he’s doing, even if he probably couldn’t tell you exactly why he’s doing it. The Republicans, on the other hand, don’t seem to have their hand on the tiller anymore. They might get control back—they have before—but it’s not going to be by parading Mitt Romney ferchristssake in front of the American public. Whose idea was that? America could barely stomach him four years ago when the gargantuan force of the Republican party was 100% at his back. They bring him back now? When no-one’s heard a word from him for four straight years? Why on Earth would anyone care what Mitt Romney thinks about anything?
It’s just another reason why it feels like they might have lost their touch. It’s almost as tone-deaf as Hillary’s unwavering support of Kissinger. Though it’s clear that, in her circles, at least, he’s a fucking hero, she pays a lot of people a lot of money to keep her apprised of how the other 99% thinks—and the rest of us have wanted to convict him as a war criminal for decades. She’s too deep into her bubble, though, just like the rest of them.
There is no such thing as “too ignorant”
The media, at least on the left, have tried to poke holes in the blustering bloviation of Trump before, but it only seems to strengthen him. They don’t understand what’s going on. Shouldn’t it be obvious that a moron can’t win? As the article Revenge of the Simple: How George W. Bush Gave Rise to Trump by Matt Taibbi (Rolling Stone) points out, the exact opposite is obvious to anyone who’s been paying attention, who’s picked up the lessons not only of the last dozen years but the last forty.
“But Trump isn’t the beginning of the end. George W. Bush was. The amazing anti-miracle of the Bush presidency is what makes today’s nightmare possible.
“People forget what an extraordinary thing it was that Bush was president. Dubya wasn’t merely ignorant when compared with other politicians or other famous people. No, he would have stood out as dumb in just about any setting.”
Not only was he dumb, but he was proud of it. He didn’t have to be smart about anything because things just kind of always worked out for him.
Dubya was also quite high on the “Master Persuader” scale outlined by Scott Adams: there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that, when you actually met him, you were very quickly on his side and wanted to be friends with him. This is witnessed by the fact that people supported him fervently despite the obvious disastrousness of his policies in almost every way. You could chalk up some of this ignorance to the sway that American propaganda holds over its people, the degree to which this propaganda gets them to vote against their own interests—but Dubya’s reality-bending charisma clearly also had something to do with it.
Taibbi goes on to describe just how dumb Dubya was/is:
“If you could somehow run simulations where Bush was repeatedly shipwrecked on a desert island with 20 other adults chosen at random, he would be the last person listened to by the group every single time. He knew absolutely nothing about anything. He wouldn’t have been able to make fire, find water, build shelter or raise morale. It would have taken him days to get over the shock of no room service.”
Is he really that dumb and entitled? Bush stands out as a modern president who hasn’t done anything with his legacy of having been president other than cashed in on a book deal. His claim to fame is that he’s taken up painting. Unlike Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton, he’s utterly disappeared from public life. Bush has no charities, no organizations or benefits to which he could draw money with his star power. I don’t think he’d even know where to start. As Taibbi writes, “Bush went to the best schools but was totally ignorant of history, philosophy, science, geography, languages and the arts.”
How does this compare to the impending and unheralded disaster that would be a president Trump?
“The Roves of the world used Bush’s simplicity to win the White House. […] But the plan was never to make ignorance a political principle. It was just a ruse to win office.
“Now the situation is the opposite. Now GOP insiders are frantic at the prospect of an uncultured ignoramus winning the presidency.”
Really? Now? They seem to have literally forgotten about Bush. And even Taibbi forgets to mention Reagan, who was the original idiot/hand-puppet president of the modern era. They both had mean streaks that we thought belied a sort of angry intelligence, but they were really just lashing out when they thought people were laughing at them for being stupid, as has nearly every bully since time immemorial.
Reagan…Bush…both intellectually unqualified to be president of the U.S. by any reasonable measure. Only a few years ago, the Republican party was yelling at everyone who would listen that we weren’t allowed to consider Sarah Palin’s obvious ignorance when discussing her qualifications for higher office. And now Trump’s too stupid to lead? You know what? I think we should just ignore everything these fools have to say and decide for ourselves.
“Compared to Bush, Donald Trump is a Rutherford or an Einstein. In the same shipwreck scenario [from above], Trump would have all sorts of ideas — all wrong, but at least he’d think of something, instead of staring at the sand waiting for a hotel phone to rise out of it.”
Sowing Mistrust will Backfire
And, as Adams pointed out, America no longer cares what the media says about Trump. Anything they say against him is interpreted as the panicked babblings of an effete press corps who fear they’re losing control of the message to the masses. And the masses taste blood in the water. And Trump knows how to chum those waters to his advantage. And it’s all the fault of the press and the ruling elites who spent decades teaching Americans to act this way, to support a candidate despite his stupidity. Even the more ignorant Americans are possessed of a craftiness and vindictiveness that would allow to vote for someone who might destroy their country as they know it just to show those snooty bastards who think they’re in charge.
“And all of the Beltway’s hooting and hollering about how “embarrassing” and “dangerous” Trump is will fall on deaf ears, because as gullible as Americans can be, they’re smart enough to remember being told that it was OK to vote for George Bush, a man capable of losing at tic-tac-toe.”
Campaigns are about lying
On top of that, who knows what we would get with any of the candidates? Hillary is probably the most-known quantity: she would rule pretty much as she has to-date as Secretary of State and Senator. Voting for Hillary is a vote for changing nothing in America. If you’re in the privileged few, then you vote for Hillary to keep things rolling along as they are. America keeps its class system, it’s racism, its inequality, its lack of jobs, it’s abhorrent foreign policy. She’d stretch things in some places—she’s a real warmonger—and shrink things in others, but the essential shape would remain overall the same.
With Sanders, we know what wants to do, but it’s hard to imagine even a single plank in his platform being executed in America.
Trump? There are some constant threads: jobs, fairness, etc. But what he says he wants kinda varies from day to day. But isn’t that just being honest about every President? People thought they knew what they were getting in Obama and they got pretty much the same policies as Bush, but from an ostensibly much smarter guy. Those who didn’t want Obama thought they would get a Caliphate and didn’t get that either.
Intelligence really doesn’t seem to matter a good Goddamn. Policy-wise, nothing has changed in America for 16 years—hell, 40 years. Even Bush: people voted for him as a small-government Republican. He expanded the Federal government almost more than any other president ever with the Department of Homeland Security and his two ill-adviced wars. Ditto for Reagan, who was elected to kill deficits and instead grew the deficit and national debt like no other president before him.
Does it even matter that we don’t know what Trump would do as president? Would it matter if we thought we did? Whatever we think the president will do, he or she pretty much does what the previous president did, Nobel prize or no, intelligent or stupid, well-read or ignorant.
Although he’s settled in a more staid and professional style of late, Taibbi unpacks a lot of of his former snark in this post, with gems like:
↩“Guiding Bush the younger through eight years of public appearances was surely the greatest coaching job in history. It was like teaching a donkey to play the Waldstein Sonata. It’s breathtaking to think about now.”