Am I fool number one, or am I fool number two?

The first entry is Carlos Lozada of the WaPo, who manfully waded through eight (8!) books “authored” by Trump.  This heroic effort apparently disabled his frontal cortex, since he overlooked some juicy political nuggets in plain sight.

As I’ve mentioned, Trump is a coxcomb, and a particularly vile one at that.  While this certainly does not disqualify him from the Presidency, it’s something that many of his followers would find very disturbing.  He brags about how the women contestants on his reality show lusted for his manly touch.  He was a prodigious adulterer, and the list of the married women he has bedded is one of his proudest achievements.  He assures of this, and while being coy about the identities of all the married women who have succumbed to his charms, he guarantees that, if we did know who they are, his book would be a huge best seller.  He wants us to know that his libido still runs strong, so much so that his own daughter is so attractive to him that he would date her if they weren’t related.

Though he tells us he’s a Christian (with a family Bible to prove it, by gosh!) he has never sought forgiveness, for he has never felt the need.  Seducing other men’s wives is just sport, really.  Maybe you have to be from Manhattan to understand.

Lozada fails to mention any of this in his eight book review.

The second entry is a surprise, to me.  In the early 90’s R. Emmett “Bob” Tyrrell Jr.’s American Spectator magazine was hot.  David Brock’s piece on Billy Jeff and the Bimbos led to the Paula Jones lawsuit, which in turn led to Monica Lewinsky.  I had him on my radio show in Anchorage.  He started the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, and I wanted to join.  So I read his capitulation to the Trump Cult with dismay.

Emmett the Apostate begins by calling into question the political savvy of the Gang of 22 at NRO.  He admits they’re some fine writers, and thinkers, and good people.  They just don’t understand how politics really works.  Not like he does.  They don’t have his “credential.”  What he has that they don’t isn’t entirely clear.

He’s grateful for Trump accomplishing what he has been attempting in vain for 23 years  — getting the media to at long last have a discussion about not only B.J.’s sexual predations, but Hillary’s enabling.  I am grateful as well, but can’t quite make out why this qualifies the Donald for the Presidency.  If you’ve been beating a silent drum for a quarter century I guess you go a little overboard on the gratitude.

I think there’s an analogy to be drawn between investing and political forecasting.  A hot stock can get bid up to a price that can’t be justified, rationally.  But it will keep going up, as long as there is a greater fool than the last.  Trump’s a hot stock right now, and Tyrrell may have bought at the absolute top of the market.  We’ll find out Monday night.  But a Trump win would do more than give him the Big Mo.  It could also start the serious business of actually putting him down, which hasn’t really gotten started.  For a variety of reasons the media have been soft on Trump.  If he wins Iowa he’s going to start getting hit, and hard.  The Donald doesn’t handle criticism well.  He’s going to get a chance to work on those skills.

Bush 3 showed some signs of life at the debate, and has now endorsed the BBA through Article V.  Task Force Co-founder Dave Biddulph has been lobbying for this for months and it’s paid off.  Way to go, Dave.

Another Co-founder, Dave Guldenschuh, will soon be coming out with what he calls his AVC Legislative Progress Report, about which more later.  It may be delayed, since we’ve just learned that Dave’s daughter Carmen is back in the hospital.  This girl has endured more in her young life than many of us in all of our long ones.  There is no justice on this earth, it awaits us in heaven.  A brave and lovely girl, please mention little Carmen Guldenschuh in your prayers.

Ann Selzer gives Trump a five point edge, and I’m not going to argue with her.  One thing she points out, right away, is that the Republican caucus attendees she polled were 47% evangelical, as opposed to the 57% of evangelicals who turned out four years ago.  This won’t move her to tweak her numbers, as other pollsters might.  But she wants to point it out in case she’s off.  She will have pre-identified the flaw in her sample.  It’s something of an anomaly, perhaps a random sampling error.  If so, Trump’s up by just one.

I’m not shocked if Trump wins, at all.  Surprised, yes. He’s a lot smarter than I gave him credit for.  But I still think he’s got a glass jaw, is incredibly insecure, and volatile.  That said, I’ve got to give the man his due.

And yes, just like Bob Tyrrell, I’m grateful to him.  And if he actually wins the nomination?

It looks like I’m the biggest fool of all.



Keep the faith

Donald Trump is a coxcomb, a man who likes to brag about his sexual prowess, his desirability to women, and his extramarital conquests.  I’ve met a few like that, and because I was never was forced to associate with them, I never did.  Men don’t like  coxcombs, and avoid them if possible.  Sexual adventurers like Jack Kennedy are not coxcombs, because they never talk about their sex life, much less brag about it.  A man who likes to show off by talking about sex is a man who is deeply insecure.

In the past Americans only wanted someone of high moral character in the White House.  Nelson Rockefeller lost the California primary, and the 1964 nomination, in large part because of his recent divorce.  When Clinton won it was clear voters were willing to overlook such behavior.  If Trump wins the nomination it means we’ll not only tolerate it, but admire and reward it.

We’re not there.  Yet.  Because very few people know anything about Donald Trump.  Of those 140,000 or so Republican caucus goers on Monday, how many know that Trump likes to crow about his sexual conquest of a large number of married women?  Very, very few.  I have a feeling that’s going to change.

In a long campaign the voters get to know a lot about the candidates, and they use all of that information as they decide how to vote.  They’re interested in everything.  They’re selecting someone they’ll be seeing on TV for the next four or eight years, and they want someone they’re comfortable with.  I think the more people get to know Donald Trump, the man, the less they’ll like.

There’s a saying, you can’t reason a man out of a position if he didn’t reason himself into it.  That’s the way it is with Trump’s cult.  They love the guy.  But some of them, at least, the more they get to know him, are going to be repelled.

His boycott looked rash and impulsive, even if it wasn’t.  And those are two words we really don’t like associated with President of the United States.  But then, Donald Trump is the most “unpresidential” candidate of my lifetime.  It’s one of the reasons he’s unacceptable to a large majority of the Republican electorate.  And that majority is determined to deny him the nomination.  And it has the power to do it.

I was part of the last great Republican revolution in 1964.  My man, Barry Goldwater, an insurgent and a hard core, no holds barred conservative took the party away from the elites.  That’s not what’s happening with Trump, at all.

I remember that June evening of 1964 when Goldwater won California.  I was 18, and this was the first campaign I’d ever worked on.  I was all in for Barry.  Walter Cronkite announced the results coming in with obvious horror.  He could not believe what he was seeing, and he was flustered.  I loved it.  And I’ve loved politics ever since.  It’s like sports for smart people.

He can dish it out, but he can’t take it

So a snarky little Ailes press release, poking fun at him for his discomfort with Megyn Kelly, has caused Trump to lose it, maybe literally.  He admitted to O’Reilly that this little poke in the ribs is what sent him over the top.  The alpha man, who, with juvenile abandon, insults and mocks any who challenge him, can’t take being needled by a TV executive.

Actually, it may not be his blushing nature that’s at the bottom of this.  It’s his New York values.  One of those is tit for tat.  You push, you get pushed back.  Mocking Donald Trump will cost you.  A lesson for anyone who might be tempted to try in the future.  Another New York value: money is the measure of a man.  Trump’s always talking about the huge ad revenue these debates are getting for the networks.  It’s all because of him, and he doesn’t even get a cut.   This rankles.  He’s being taken advantage of.

Boycotting the debate may cost Fox millions of dollars and viewers, so Trump will have won.  Mess with Trump, and you’re going to suffer.  Message received.

But Trump shouldn’t be thinking about Mammon, but momentum.  This hissy fit will cost him votes in Iowa.  If it costs him a victory he will have popped his own balloon, and will limp into New Hampshire as a loser.  Just another slippery politician who sold out to Big Corn because of the Iowa caucuses.

In The Big Lebowski the sycophant who’s introducing the Dude to the big man shows off some of his accomplishments, including a picture with Nancy Reagan, “…when she was First Lady, of course.”  I was reminded of this reading the press release Trump put out announcing his boycott.  If you have any lingering doubts about how Donald Trump likes to think about himself, you should read it.  It’s absolutely hilarious.  If he’s an alpha male, he’s the most insecure one I’ve ever seen.

I read where Limbaugh’s defending this.  Pandering to the Trump cult, afraid to offend his audience.  Weak.  It makes you think the Donald may have talked to him privately.  But he may have a point.  Trump’s got a big lead in Iowa, over six points in the RCP average.  He’s beaten Cruz down to the point where he thinks he can afford to miss the one debate to be held in Iowa.  He doesn’t need it, he can win without it.  Why take a chance at being ambushed?

But Iowans are famous for last minute decisions in their caucuses, and things can turn on a dime in a matter of days.  This is the only debate to be held in Iowa, and people are disappointed.  They wanted one last chance to look these people over, in a local venue.  Trump is denying them something they’ve been anticipating.  And his excuse is ridiculous.  A hard question, a tough tweet, and he bails?

How many Trump voters are soft, how many undecideds may be bothered?  Ann Selzer is probably in the field with her poll soon, and it’s to soon to know how all this plays.  If Cruz climbs back to within a few points, his ground operation could allow him to sneak through with a win.

I almost didn’t write this, since Trump can always change his mind.  Skipping debates is not smart politics.  If you’re treated unfairly you use the debate forum to make that point.  But we’re assured his word is his bond.

It’s funny how a candidacy can come apart so quickly.  Muskie crying outside the Union-Leader’s office, George Romney complaining of being brainwashed, Gerald Ford insisting Poland was free.  If Trump loses Iowa it could be one of those moments.

Donald Trump, Master of the Universe

Where is Tom Wolfe when we really need him.  Bonfire of the Vanities is over 30 years old, but the inside look it gave to the Manhattan upper crust is as revealing as ever.  In the mind of Donald Trump, he’s the alpha Manhattan male, the king of the hill, at the top of the heap.  You don’t mess with the Donald.  Ailes tried, and is paying the price.

I’ve had a lot of time on my hands since we moved to California, and I’ve read extensively about almost every President.  The only one who bears comparison to Trump is Andrew Jackson.  But there’s a big difference between them.  Jackson was absolutely devoted to the Constitution.  His veto of the Bank of the United States charter was very controversial, and may well have led to the Panic of 1837.  He didn’t care.  To him, the bank was unconstitutional.

What is Donald Trump devoted to?  His country, I’ll give him that.  But beyond that no one really knows.  And yet here he is leading in Iowa with five days to go.  It’s unsettling.

I get angry when I think about it, but I’m not mad at Trump or his tribe.  Trump’s a demagogue.  That’s just who he is and what he does.  He sees an opportunity and he takes it.  It’s like getting mad at a dog for rolling around in an old moose kill.  He’s just being a dog.

And the people who believe in Trump are good Americans.  They’re my people.  When I was a kid growing up, they were our neighbors.  I like these people.  I’m still one of them, really.

These people have been betrayed, they know it, and they are very angry.  It started with Bush 1 and his desire to be kinder and gentler than the inflexible Reagan.  As a matter of fact, since Reagan the Republican Party has not had one principled conservative in its leadership.  Not one, in 28 years.  That’s what makes me angry.  A political party led by the likes of Bush 1, Dole, Bush 2, McCain and Romney deserves the fate it suffered.  Thanks largely to the Bushes, the Republican Party, the Republican brand, is practically worthless.

Hence, Donald Trump.

If Trump doesn’t show up tomorrow night Cruz should speak directly to the Trump voters.  Tell them he understands who they are, and why they’re frustrated and angry.  The Washington cartel, the mass of politicians from both parties, has, indeed, sold them down the river.  And that cartel is what the people of Texas elected him to fight, not to join.  And he has fought that cartel from the day he has sworn in, and they hate him for it.  He poses a threat to them.  Their fear is so strong that at least some of them would rather nominate Trump, and face certain defeat, than having to face Ted Cruz as President.

Because if he is elected that Washington cartel knows exactly what he’ll do.  He’ll do just as he says he would, and they would be in the fight of their lives.

Trump’s voters need to understand that the Washington cartel is like the Terminator.  You don’t reason with it.  You don’t do a deal with it.  You don’t negotiate with it.  You fight it, tooth and nail, and you defeat it.

And you have to know what you’re doing.  To take on the cartel will require someone with special skills and knowledge.  There is a very good reason we’ve never elected a political novice, other than a general, to the Presidency.  We want to have some idea of what we’re getting, not a pig in a poke.

This is why not showing up tomorrow is such a huge mistake.  People are just getting to know him.  They’re trying to figure out what kind of guy he really is.  By walking out of the debate he’s revealing a rash, impetuous streak that people don’t want in a President.

I’ve developed a strange new respect for Fox’s Brett Baier.  The questions he asked Trump, and the way he asked them, makes me take him seriously.  If he doesn’t bore in on ethanol tomorrow night I will be sorely disappointed.

The darkest days are behind us, and every day is longer than the last.  The greening of the land has begun, the first signs of spring appear.

This is going to be the best year ever.

Impulsive, imperial and empty headed

Here’s the link to my piece on Trump and his deal making.

Byron York of the Washington Examiner is one guy I’ve learned to pay attention to.  He’s on the ground with Cruz in Iowa, and says Trump skipping the debate fuels doubts about his stability.  He is without doubt an erratic man, and it gives reasonable people pause.  He’s like the kid who picks up his ball and goes home when everyone else won’t play by his rules.

Actually, this may not be impulsive.  Apparently he’s been trying for four days to get Megyn Kelly booted off the panel.  He tried bullying Roger Ailes and it didn’t work.  His absence will, in fact, cost Fox advertising money, and the networks hosting the next five debates don’t want to suffer the same fate.  Perhaps Trump is showing his muscle so that his demands for the next debate, on ABC, will be accommodated.

My wife Babbie has developed a strong emotional bond with her cats.  She often wonders aloud what they’re thinking.  I refuse to speculate.

Same thing with Trump.