By Lynn R. Mitchell
Trump fatigue has set in. I’m not the only one who has noted the over-saturation of Donald Trump in the news, and it is getting old. However, an editorial in the conservative Washington Examiner caught my attention because the title said what is so puzzling to many about his groundswell of support (see Donald Trump is just like President Obama where it counts). The Examiner noted:
We would try to explain how Trump reached his high-water mark, but this would imply that there is a logic behind his rise to explain. The debate, and Trump’s shocking, boorish and sexist behavior in its aftermath, show why that is a mistaken assumption.
The editorial pointedly noted Trump’s short-fallings:
On Trump’s “blunt” talk and railing against political correctness:
When Trump is praised, it is usually for his blunt talk. “What I say,” as he put it in the debate, “is what I say.” He rails against political correctness, which people naturally find refreshing in an era of “microaggressions” and “trigger words.” But if you carefully study the substance of what he says, Trump is anything but blunt. On actual issues and policy questions — including even immigration — he deliberately keeps things vague to smooth over his own flip-flops.
On Trump’s name-calling of anyone he disagrees with or doesn’t like:
The only time Trump is blunt is when he is personally insulting someone, which is quite often. As a rule, Trump responds to all criticism and even tough questioning with personal insults. He identifies enemies, then calls them “dummies,” “losers,” “pathetic,” “desperate” or any number of other childish epithets. Or he declares his lack of respect for them, or he even makes up rumors about them.
What has been interesting is to read the news reports that transcribe word-for-word what Trump says. It’s that mishmash of words and confused thought that leave some scratching their heads while his supporters are cheering and urging him on. Here is a good example of what-did-he-say?
It’s fair game to criticize public figures, but it’s actually unusual for Trump to criticize anyone based upon their record. This is apparently because he hasn’t studied anyone else’s record very closely. Consider his insightful critique of Scott Walker from June:
“He has got a lot of problems in Wisconsin. Wisconsin has got tremendous problems. The debt and the difficult problems that they have going on in Wisconsin that a lot of people don’t understand and know about. Tremendous borrowings.”
If that word-salad has you doubting whether Trump can find Wisconsin on a map, consider also that he donated $10,000 to Walker’s 2014 re-election.
So ask his supporters, “What was that?” They don’t care that he didn’t actually say anything … it’s that he spoke his mind and said it with conviction with that I-don’t-care-what-anyone-thinks bluster.
Trump is too busy traveling the world, attending golf tournaments, entertaining, and leading large entourages around the country to take seriously the business of running for President of the United States of America. After all, he can pay someone to do just about anything he needs … except that. He can pay consultants to come up with the policies but only he can actually study them. He can pay campaign wonks to read the news and keep up with the candidates but that does not put the knowledge inside his own head.
So what is Trump doing? At the age of almost 70, he has neither the temperament nor the disposition nor the discipline to sit down for a crash course in Politics: 101. As the Examiner notes, he can’t be bothered to learn. And so he resorts to taunts, name-calling, and theatrics.
During the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama’s followers swooned over him, packed his speech arenas, and grasped onto the dream of who they wanted him to be even as they ignored the realities. They were looking for “Hope and Change,” so they bought into the package. The years since have not turned out so well.
In 2015, Donald Trump’s supporters have defended him even through his blunders, his mockery of a former Vietnam prisoner of war, his taunting of reporter Megyn Kelly, and his name-calling of everyone. They are looking for an opportunity to “make America great again,” so they are buying into the package. The similarities are there:
Trump doesn’t fit neatly into the categories of established politicians — and again, some people take this as some sort of selling point. But the most important similarity he bears to anyone in politics today is to President Obama. Trump frequently invokes his personal negotiating skills as the solution to problems the nation faces.
Obama did something similar when he was running for president. He claimed that his personal charm, his even temperament, his willingness to talk and even his religious heritage (being the son of a Muslim) were special ingredients that could solve longstanding world problems where generations of lawmakers and diplomats had failed.
It was an amazingly arrogant attitude, and the results have been disastrous. Now just imagine America with an older, less knowledgeable, rude and charmless version of Obama as its president, and you get some idea of what Trump is all about.
If Trump can’t be bothered with facts, others can, as we see from FactCheck.org, and this is just for starters (see Trump tramples facts):
- Trump claimed that economic growth has “never” been below zero until last quarter’s drop, which is far from true. It has been below zero 42 times since 1946.
- He said “there are no jobs” to be had. In fact, there were 5.4 million job openings recorded at the end of April, the most in 15 years.
- He said the “real” unemployment rate is “anywhere from 18 to 20 percent” and “maybe even 21 percent.” We see no factual basis for this opinion.
- He boasted he would have blocked new Ford plants in Mexico by threatening to impose a 35 percent tax on vehicles and parts made in Mexico and shipped to the U.S. But only Congress can impose taxes and such a tax would violate the North American Free Trade Agreement.
- Trump claimed the five Taliban leaders exchanged for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl “are now back on the battlefield trying to kill us.” But all five remain in Qatar, where they continue to be monitored and are subject to a travel ban, according to the State Department.
- He also made the misleading claim that health care premium costs are going “up 29, 39, 49 and even 55 percent.” He’s talking about some proposed rate increases on the individual market that still need regulatory approval. There are also proposed rate decreases or single-digit increases that did not have to be submitted for review.
Trump fatigue is setting in. Eventually someone besides fact checking organizations will pin him down. If he still has no answers to hard questions about issues, it will be time for someone to say, “You’re fired!”