February 27, 2016
First the positive–yes, there is more than a little of that, believe it or not! Here’s what I like:
- He says the war in Iraq was a huge mistake, and George Bush failed the American people. No other Republican dares to admit that.
- He acknowledges the good work Planned Parenthood has done for women, objecting only to their small segment of abortion work.
- While he does oppose Obamacare, he (sometimes) acknowledges the value of the individual mandate.
- He says the government should not leave the underprivileged without health care.
- He may be less hawkish than most of his Republican Presidential competitors–probably would not be inclined to interfere in new conflicts abroad.
- He feels we should talk with our “enemies,” rather than stonewall them–e.g., Putin.
- He is a “dealmaker.” This means he’s likely to be more willing to compromise and get things done. Cruz and Rubio clearly are both extremist in dogma and probably would not concede any of their extremist principles.
- He is not beholden to big money (other than his own).
- He says he will remove the tax advantage given to hedge fund managers.
- He is not slavishly dedicated to Israel, seems to also respect the Palestinian side of the conflict, which open mindedness would be more likely to yield a solution there.
- He is not excessively dedicated to a document written in 1789. The Constitution needs to be updated for our times. Certainly Cruz would not and Rubio says he only wants a balanced budget amendment (with which I do not agree–too limiting of our fiscal tools in an emergency) and term limits for congressmen. There is much more which should be updated–e.g., the right to bear guns. Slavish adherence to the Constitution as if it is sacred is ridiculous. Many successful nations have updated their constitutions.
Essentially, Trump refuses to be controlled by Republican party rhetoric or agenda. He calls himself Conservative, but he doesn’t worry about whatever the litany is for the Republicans or the Tea Party. In a word, this is what is most appealing to me about Donald Trump. What difference does it make whether one adheres to principles developed by someone else–let’s have a President who will think for herself/himself.
Is that enough to make Donald Trump a good Presidential candidate? No. Not even close. He’d be a HUGE risk to our nation if he should get the job. Why?
- His positions (see his website) reveal very little in the way of substance, and very few positions are even attempted.
- Some of his stances are absolutely crazy–e.g., believing his “wall” will solve all the illegal immigration problems, that Mexico will pay for it, not to mention the abhorrent brutality of deporting millions of parents and children.
- We don’t know who he would choose to advise him, whether he even listens to anyone, and it appears he is extremely vulnerable to those who fawn over him.
- He has no government experience and relatively little management experience, when examined. He knows little of foreign actors, world history, or foreign policy.
- He does not understand economics.
- He is quick to make a decision, and if he’s angry at the time, we don’t know how he would respond as Commander in Chief. If he is insulted or feels the US is insulted, he might pull the trigger.
- Joining all his Republican competitors, he feels he can raise GDP growth and solve all our problems. Growth alone doesn’t do that, and 6% is unachievable in a mature economy in these times.
The tragedy of our times is that the anger of the American people ends up vested in this bombastic business guy, whose accomplishments when examined carefully are not very great, even in business, littered with bankruptcies and questionable hiring practices, starting with a large inheritance–hardly a “self made” success story. Let’s see the tax returns–there’s probably food for concern there as well.
Trump is appealing to a lot of Americans because he channels their anger and he simply disregards political dogma of all sorts. But along with that goes the reality that we can’t discern where his basic principles rest, and that’s frightening. But while we cannot know how he would respond as Commander in Chief, neither is it more comforting that we know how Rubio and Cruz would respond.
The anger Americans have is first around wages and jobs. Republicans cannot point to much they have done about all that. Causes are globalization, technology, financialization, but exacerbated by right wing extremist policies focused on downsizing government and more freedom to the private sector. It’s gone to an extreme. See my previous post briefly summarizing points in Robert Reich’s new book. While both parties have blame in the failure to properly address these problems, Republicans deserve the greatest blame, by far.
Yet, with rhetoric drawing in evangelical values, gun rights, nationalism, blaming immigrants, etc., Republican have pulled the wool over many Americans’ eyes.
The reality Republicans have forced upon our government is that they have frozen the legislative function, denying any fiscal tools to help deal with economic growth (See Mohammed El-Arian’s new book). Now that the Federal Reserve is almost exhausted of monetary tools, the Executive arm and the Supreme Court are the only avenues to deal with controversial issues that arise as time passes in a dynamic time and a complex nation.
Where does this leave us? It looks like John Kasich, the only remaining Republican candidate who makes sense, will not make it to the nomination. So, unless Michael Bloomberg decides to run as an Independent, I’ll only have the choice of Bernie or Hilary.
Republicans, you opened the door to a Donald Trump with your stubborn extremist positions. Now, let’s see how you’re going to deal with it. And if he makes it, do you really think you can once again blame the problems on the Democrats?