You Can’t Help a Man Who Can’t Help Himself
Between 3 and 5 a.m. this morning, the Republican nominee for president offered some thoughts on Twitter, urging those believing the tale of Miss Venezuela to “check out her sex tape and past.” He declared any stories about his staffers being dissatisfied with his debate performance must be false — “There are no sources, they are just made up lies!” He also misspelled “judgment.”
Hillary Clinton wanted to make this week about Alicia Machado; Donald Trump agreed. That’s on him.
Many good right-of-center friends are on the Trump bandwagon, and are working for his victory, and fervently hoping he can reach those 270 electoral votes. I think they are working harder, and smarter, and showing more judgment than the candidate himself.
From coverage of his preparation for the first debate:
He has paid only cursory attention to briefing materials. He has refused to use lecterns in mock debate sessions despite the urging of his advisers. He prefers spitballing ideas with his team rather than honing them into crisp, two-minute answers.
If you knew you were going to speak before 84 million Americans, wouldn’t you do everything humanly possible to maximize your chance of success?
Tuesday morning, he told Fox and Friends, “I really eased up because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.” Assuming that’s true, he didn’t maximize his chance of winning over voters . . . before an audience of 84 million people . . . because he didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
Now he gets sensitive?
This is the lamest excuse imaginable. “I could have done a lot better, but I chose not to do that.” Trump thinks he’s saying, “Look at what a nice guy I am.” What he’s really saying is, “look at what catastrophically egregious judgment I have.”
Why should anyone be emotionally invested in this man’s victory, if he refuses to learn, refuses to improve, and refuses to avoid making the same mistakes, over and over and over and over again? I’d love to see Hillary Clinton defeated. I just have no faith that Donald Trump is capable of doing that. Every now and then, he gains some traction, the polls get closer . . . and then he goes and does something stupid. And all of his supporters insist it doesn’t matter, and that we should all avert our eyes, and that we’re betraying something good and righteous by noticing what just happened right in front of us. And then they insist it’s not stupid, that there’s some brilliant nine-level chess going on that we can’t possibly understand from the outside, and if we just wait and see, Donald Trump will win in the end. Unless he doesn’t, because the election is rigged.
That’s not a campaign; that’s a cult.
Does the Republican Primary Electorate Want Conservative Solutions?
Over at Hot Air, Ed Morrissey chews over George Will’s column about the collapse of American appetite for “a constitutional regime whose institutional architecture would guarantee the limited government.”
I’m a little more optimistic than Will, in this sense: America has not forgotten its founding values. It has, however, lost its patience for a movement that has declined into unseriousness, isolation, and purity battles. When conservatives start working for actual solutions in the context of political diversity, rather than refusing to take part in the process and delivering nothing while demanding that voters give them total power, then perhaps voters will take them seriously as defenders of America’s founding values.
I’m afraid I have to concur with Will. A lot of Americans have forgotten our founding values, and a lot more believe in them only conditionally, for their side. Quite a few Americans believe in freedom of speech, so long as they agree with that speech. They accept, create, and enforce “free speech zones” on college campuses, seek to punish people for speech that is offensive, seek to get people fired for expressing views outside the workplace, want their own definition of “hate speech” to be prosecuted as a crime and agitate for the suspension of others from social media.
A lot of Americans’ belief in religious liberty is wavering at best, exhibiting an increasingly less-subtle hostility to people who believe differently from them.
A lot of Americans’ belief in the “rule of law” is highly conditional upon whether the accused is someone they like and agree with or not. If the target of an investigation is a partisan ally, the investigation is an illegitimate witch hunt that deserves obstruction at every turn. If the target is a partisan foe, they have it coming; the law needs to make an example in this case to send a message to everyone. The law may as well not apply to some of those who enter illegally; cities may declare they are “sanctuaries” who refuse to enforce a law they disagree with, or cooperate with other authorities. But a Texas governor who offended can be prosecuted under the contention that his use of a veto represented an abuse of power. Paramilitary raids of citizens’ homes are launched under the thin claim that they were “illegally coordinating issue advocacy.”
Secondly, there are plenty of conservatives who have worked for actual solutions in the context of political diversity, and actually achieved them. A bunch of them ran for president: Scott Walker, Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal. They were among the first effectively rejected by the Republican presidential selection process. That process does not really begin with the Iowa caucuses. It begins with donors both large and small, with media coverage, with conservative organizations, and with the interest of grassroots activists. All of these candidates had web sites. All of these candidates got at least some coverage; interviews and profiles and discussions of their records and ideas were just a Google search away. But most Republican primary voters didn’t really want to know that much.
A large chunk of the Republican party can’t be bothered to pay attention to “conservatives who work for actual solutions in the context of political diversity.” That’s boring. Scott Walker revolutionized the role of public-sector unions and state government? Yawn. Rick Perry governed over a statewide economic boom that created millions of jobs while the rest of the country was losing them. Snore. Bobby Jindal took a corrupt, despairing, economically wrecked post-Katrina state and turned it into the greatest state turnaround of the decade. Yawn. Give us the guy who’s upset about Starbucks cups.
ADDENDA: On this week’s edition of the pop-culture podcast, we ask whether NFL’s “Red Zone” channel of constant highlights makes watching a regular game less fun; Mickey falls in love with NBC’s drama, This Is Us; we shudder at Halloween costumes that are already deemed too scary and the evolution of FX’s American Horror Story, and the worst spoiler alerts of all time.
Tech issues delayed the posting of last week’s show, discussing Twitter’s brief suspension of Glenn Reynolds, a.k.a., Instapundit; post-Brangelina America, Survivor’s decision to pit the Millennials vs. Generation X, and some other fall television offerings like lawsuit-triggering Jon Benet documentaries and Minnie Driver’s Speechless.