Campaigns

Political campaigns give candidates the chance to force the media to talk about things they’d really rather not.  The Kate Steinle story is something big media would have but a passing interest in.  An illegal immigrant randomly killing an American isn’t really the kind of thing they want to talk about.  It’s unhelpful.  It’s tragic, of course, but no more newsworthy than any other homicide.  A local story, at most.

Enter the Donald and it’s a national story.  His language was inartful, even inflammatory.  But the point he is making is, of course, true.  Criminal Mexicans come north to prey on Americans because we’re a rich and a lenient country.  Doing time in this country beats the hell out of jail time in Mexico.  Maybe we ought to do something about all this.

And campaigns can keep a story alive when big media wants it to die.  Trump knows all this.  If I’m the Donald I bring it up at the first debate.  I’d ask Bush if he thinks the killer of Kate Steinle came to this country in an act of love.

Trump is smart enough to know he’ll never win the nomination.  But that doesn’t mean he can’t enjoy himself.  A natural born showman, he’s having a ball.  And he’ll do what Gingrich did four years ago:  challenge the media.  Push back, hard. He’ll have fun doing it and the Republican base will eat it up.

In the end he’ll go up in flames because that’s just who he is:  a shit disturber, a trouble maker.  The eventual nominee won’t suffer because Trump pissed off Latinos.  But Trump will have performed a service.  He already has.  The story of Kate Steinle needed to be told.  Trump did it.

People who live in San Francisco are an odd lot.  I grew up in the East Bay, and I’m familiar with them.  They are completely full of themselves.  They live in “The City”.  They’re so sophisticated they might as well be Europeans.  And they’re hip, and with it, and smart.

I guess they are smart, in some ways.  Actually, there are a whole lot of really smart people  — by almost any definition  — who are complete idiots when it comes to politics.  I’ve seen it again and again over the course of my life.  Einstein was probably the smartest guy in the 20th century, yet when it came to politics he was like a ten year old child.  Herbert Hoover was a brilliant engineer who was one of the dumbest Presidents ever, right up there with his fellow engineer Jimmy Carter. Without exception, scientists and engineers are completely incompetent in politics.  Because they’re smart as hell at what they do, they think they should be smart at politics as well.

Bullshit.  Science and engineering are black and white, straight lines, right and wrong.  Politics is an art.

There are a lot of Kate Steinle stories out there, stories the media won’t touch.  Trump can be relied upon to bring them to our attention.  Good for him.

I got carried away a couple days ago and compared the 2016 election to 1932.  Over the top.  Sorry about that.

A better comparison would be 1828  — now that was an election that mattered.  Campaigning against Washington corruption and a return to Constitutional principles, Old Hickory rallied the forebears of the Tea Party to a new political era: The Age of Jackson.

But no one like Andrew Jackson will ever be elected President again, unless this country fears for its very existence.  He was a radical man, almost a savage.  But if you know your history you know that the Louisiana Purchase was ratified at the Battle of New Orleans, and that Texas and the spoils of the Mexican War can be laid at his feet.  Next to Washington he was the most consequential President we’ve ever had.

Next time you have a twenty dollar bill in your hand look at the portrait of the man who finished the job that Washington started.

Making a nation.

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