Thursday, May 5, 2016

Trump and Palin

Okay, I lied.  I just can't seem to resist circling back to Trump.  (I am becoming so obsessed with Donald Trump I may need to make him a label).

Trump has sometimes been compared to Sarah Palin.  They resemble each other in the sense that both are manifestly unqualified for the office they are running for and both try conceal their ignorance of the most basic issues by giving completely incoherent answers.

But there are differences.

Palin, after all, was running for Vice President.  Trump is running for President.  If McCain won there was a risk of Palin become President, but it was not all that great.  If Trump wins, he will be President.

Palin, before running for Vice President, was Governor of Alaska.  She did not know enough about national and international issues to be qualified to be President, but she knew the issues facing Alaska and knew the basics of how government works.  Trump has never held any office whatever and shows no sign of having any interest in any political issue in any meaningful sense; he just says whatever is the best applause line.

Palin was experientially unqualified to be President, but this was a remediable defect.  If Palin had been so inclined, she could have studied hard, worked hard, apprenticed to the job, and become qualified.  That she chose not to and instead preferred to mock to whole idea of knowledge being essential to holding office and proclaim her ignorance as proof of virtue proved to me that she was temperamentally unqualified for the office as well.

Trump, on the other hand -- well, what can I say?  Trump has made it abundantly clear that he knows nothing about the issues, that he cares nothing about the issues, that he sees no need to have knowledge about the subject to make the decisions, and no need to have advisers who know what they are talking about.  And there is his utter contempt for any source of guidance other than his own instinct.  So, yeah, I would say this makes Trump temperamentally unfit to be President.

Palin has been accused of being vindictive as Governor.  I have no idea whether the accusation is true or not.  The trouble with that sort of accusations is that they are very much interpretation after the fact, in the light of later opinions.  To convince me that Palin was vindictive as Governor, you would have to present me with significant contemporary evidence for it.  Trump's vindictiveness is obvious.

Palin has been accused of being thin-skinned.  Quite simply, if you want to run for President, or any office on the national stage, you have to have a very thick hide indeed.  I don't think Palin was ready for it.  What was simply the way things happen when you run for Presidency she took as a personal feud by the liberal media.  The experience has left her resentful and embittered, and it is hard to blame her altogether.  A lot of what she was mocked for really was just not being ready for the national stage and not understanding the in's and out's of Washington culture, which is hard to see as a failing.  But that still does not excuse the career she chose afterward, of being sort of a caricature of her old self.  But at least that caricature isn't running for President.

Trump is a classic case of the bully who can dish it out but he can't take it.  Given his calculated obnoxiousness and desire to offend, you would think he has a hide like Superman.  But much as he goes well beyond the normal rough and tumble of politics, he can't handle it when that rough and tumble is directed toward him.  He refuses to speak to Megan Kelly when she asks a too-pointed question.  He talks of changing libel laws to shut down people who criticize him.  He goes on the warpath and assumes that he has not choice but to make a public issue when Marco Rubio says he has small hands (with the implication that he has a small something else).

And then, too, Sarah Palin, as a woman, can't get away with being as vulgar and deliberately offensive and Trump does.  Of course, it isn't just women; no one can get away with being as vulgar and deliberately offensive as Trump is; if you doubt me, just ask Marco Rubio.

My employer nailed it perfectly, I think, when he called Trump a know-nothing know-it-all.  He is the guy at the table who has all the answers without having the least idea what he is talking about.  Around the table, people like that are just annoying.  As President, they are disastrous.  At least Palin was just a know-nothing and proud of it.

Or, to take a baseball metaphor, Sarah Palin was a promising player in the minor leagues, but far from a star, trying to make it to the top of the big league without the time, training and practice needed to make the transition.  Trump is the guy who watches a lot of baseball but has never played in his life, criticizes what various players do, and now thinks he is qualified to pitch in the World Series.  There are people like that.  But most of them don't actually, you know, get the chance to pitch in the World Series.

And Trump isn't just pitching in the World Series; he has a very real chance of becoming President.

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