Archive for the Donald Trump Category

De-Bunked Theories on President Obama and Writers who are Past Their Day

Posted in Donald Trump, Peggy Noonan, President Barack Obama with tags , , on October 17, 2015 by Rich Wilkins


I’m always amused when I see Reagan era figures brought on television or into print as “expert pundits” in Washington. I mean, I get that they made it to the White House, so they deserve some respect, but it was a different era than today. Today’s GOP doesn’t agree with them on a lot of core issues. Today’s Democratic Party isn’t Tip O’Neill’s. National elections are a lot different than they were in the 1980s, in no small part because they are a lot less white. Things have changed a lot since they were in the White House.

So of course, I was amused by Peggy Noonan’s piece yesterday about Joe Biden and Donald Trump, mostly because it told me more about her view of President Obama. She nailed some of her analysis of the Democratic contest, but still bombed some parts of it. She bombed her analysis of the Trump candidacy. Then she wrote this:

The only thing I feel certain of is how we got here. There are many reasons we’re at this moment, but the essential political one is this: Mr. Obama lowered the bar. He was a literal unknown, an obscure former state legislator who hadn’t completed his single term as U.S. senator, but he was charismatic, canny, compelling. He came from nowhere and won it all twice. All previously prevailing standards, all usual expectations, were thrown out the window.

This is her explanation for how Donald Trump became an acceptable candidate. It’s wrong for several reasons:

  1. Yes, Barack Obama was young for a President, and perhaps had less lines on his resume than many others, but we haven’t been electing Lyndon Johnson for a while in America. From Jimmy Carter forward, the only two Presidents we’ve elected with experience in Congress were President Obama and President George H.W. Bush. President George W. Bush came into office with six years experience as Governor of Texas. President Reagan had only served as Governor of California and President Clinton as Governor and Attorney General of Arkansas. Yes, Senator Obama had served only a couple of terms in the Illinois Senate, and four years in the U.S. Senate, but he’s not really an outlier in that sense.
  2. The rise of Donald Trump has less to do with President Obama than it does with the waves of freshman Republicans in Congress in 2010 and 2014. The best way to explain this came to me from a Republican hack who told me that the difference between 2010 and 1994 was that the 1994 wave was a bunch of Mayors and State Legislators coming to Congress, and 2010 was a bunch of outsiders that were true-believers. In this group weren’t people with government resumes, which is driving why they are more confrontational and less interested in governing. They are the exact mold by which the Trump candidacy has grown from.

Noonan’s “Obama came out of nowhere” notion is not grounded in reality, but it’s widespread in DC. “But he doesn’t follow our norms here” is like the rallying cry of Washington since 2009, but it’s really just code for that he called BS on most of it. Yes, President Obama has introduced some radical concepts to people from the Reagan era- like talking to Cuba and Iran. This is less because he “came from nowhere,” and more because he rejected the tired Washington group-think that dictated foreign policy. Yes, President Obama basically rejected Reagan-era terms that dictated the economic debate, but this is less because he “came from nowhere” too, and more because he realized they were tired talking points that were really just code the status quo. None of this is because President Obama was inexperienced or unprepared, or any other Noonan-esque talking point, and more so because President Obama came to the Presidency as a response to the last thirty years of American politics that preceded him. He had as much or more experience before taking the job as most of his recent peers, in so much as that experience matters at all. No one is prepared to be President before they are.

This gets back to the whole idea though that these Reagan era pundits should have remained fixtures in our political media after 2008. They shouldn’t have. They offered little insight into a changing political world, a world where the Republican coalition of voters is increasingly militant, and the Democratic coalition is increasingly less white and male, and is younger. These pundits just don’t understand what they’re watching, partially because it’s so different than their experience, and partially because they just don’t want to try to. If you’re understanding Trump’s candidacy through President Obama, you are definitely doing it wrong.


Oh Donald Trump and Your Immigration Speeches….

Posted in 2016 Presidential Election, Donald Trump with tags , on August 21, 2015 by Rich Wilkins

H/t to Vox for these.

Don’t Blame Donald Trump for the GOP Base

Posted in 2016 Presidential Election, Donald Trump with tags , on July 20, 2015 by Rich Wilkins


Donald Trump is a reprehensible person. You have to be to attack Mexicans as a group, John McCain as a war hero, or Barack Obama’s citizenship. Regardless of how you want to view what is happening in the GOP Primary, Trump is a waste of space that says horrible things about people just because he can. He’s famous because the media is willing to cover his stupidity, and adds little to nothing to the national dialogue. I really couldn’t care less what he says or thinks.

With that said, I do not think Trump is an idiot at all. In fact, I think he’s fairly intelligent, and just is incredibly cynical. Trump has no moral compass, and so all the idiotic things coming out of his mouth, be they about China, diplomacy, or immigrants, are thought out before he says them. This isn’t just ramblings from an old nut-job. These are the words of an awful human being that knows that a lot of awful, much more ignorant people than himself want to hear them.

Donald Trump leads a new Washington Post/ABC News poll by double digits. This means that his ignorant, angry hate speech is working. He knew it would though. That’s why he said it. Donald Trump, more than all the political consultants working for Republicans running for President, understood what the GOP base wants- fire and brimstone. They want to hear why immigration is bad, not just “illegal” immigrants. They want to hear why Obama is bad, not just his policies. They want to hear why we should fight other countries, why we should hate other countries, and why we shouldn’t lift a finger to improve the world.

The problem isn’t Donald Trump, regardless of how much you want to hate him. You should be angered by what he says, but you should also realize that he’s doing it because he knows he has an audience. This is why Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum did well in 2012 too for a while, and it’s why the GOP has had trouble with President Obama. Since the 2008 election, the response of the GOP base is venom, anger, and fire at “all enemies.” That is what they are saying themselves, and it’s why they are responding to Trump. This is not to say that all Republicans agree- Trump is only at 24% in this poll- it’s to say that the hardest core, most active, most vocal wing of the party is looking for their new Palin, a fire-breathing conservative who will feed their appetite for anger at multi-culturalism, the educated, and the end of “traditional” America. They want someone to tell them it’s okay to be ignorant. They want someone to say it’s okay to hate LGBT people, fly the confederate flag, and hate feminists. Trump doesn’t have to address all these issues. By taking the tone he has, this crowd is getting the point. just don’t blame a cynic like him for taking the bait of these folks.

Sincerely GC

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