Friday, January 1, 2016

The Thrumphole

I am so bothered by the initial success of Donald Trump in garnering high poll ratings.
Tough talk, bravado and a foul nasty mouth all a shell for an empty policy.
Well that is my short take on it. Unlike the Don, I don't claim to know it all.

Columnist George Will has some eloquent words;

If Trump wins the nomination, prepare for the end of the conservative party
If you look beyond Donald Trump’s comprehensive unpleasantness — is there a disagreeable human trait he does not have? — you might see this: He is a fundamentally sad figure. His compulsive boasting is evidence of insecurity. His unassuageable neediness suggests an aching hunger for others’ approval to ratify his self-admiration. His incessant announcements of his self-esteem indicate that he is not self-persuaded. Now, panting with a puppy’s insatiable eagerness to be petted, Trump has reveled in the approval of Vladimir Putin, murderer and war criminal.
Putin slyly stirred America’s politics by saying Trump is “very . . . talented,” adding that he welcomed Trump’s promise of “closer, deeper relations,” whatever that might mean, with Russia. Trump announced himself flattered to be “so nicely complimented” by a “highly respected” man: “When people call you brilliant, it’s always good.” When MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough said Putin “kills journalists, political opponents and invades countries,” Trump replied that “at least he’s a leader.” Besides, Trump breezily asserted, “I think our country does plenty of killing also.” Two days later, Trump, who rarely feigns judiciousness, said: “It has not been proven that he’s killed reporters.”

— Trump has forced conservatives to recognize their immediate priority.
Certainly conservatives consider it crucial to deny the Democratic Party a third consecutive term controlling the executive branch. Extending from eight to 12 years its use of unbridled executive power would further emancipate the administrative state from control by either a withering legislative branch or a supine judiciary. But first things first. Conservatives’ highest priority now must be to prevent Trump from winning the Republican nomination in this, the GOP’s third epochal intraparty struggle in 104 years.
In 1912, former president Theodore Roosevelt campaigned for the Republican nomination on an explicitly progressive platform. Having failed to win the nomination, he ran a third-party campaign against the Republican nominee, President William Howard Taft, and the Democratic nominee, New Jersey Gov. Woodrow Wilson, who that November would become the first person elected president who was deeply critical of the American founding.
TR shared Wilson’s impatience with the separation of powers, which both men considered an 18th-century relic incompatible with a properly energetic executive. Espousing unconstrained majoritarianism, TR favored a passive judiciary deferential to elected legislatures and executives; he also endorsed the powers of popular majorities to overturn judicial decisions and recall all public officials.

In 1964, Barry Goldwater mounted a successful conservative insurgency against a Republican establishment that was content to blur and dilute the Republican distinctiveness that had been preserved 52 years earlier. Goldwater defeated New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller for the nomination, just as Taft had defeated TR, a former New York governor. Like Taft, Goldwater was trounced (he carried six states). But the Republican Party won five of the next seven presidential elections. In two of them, Ronald Reagan secured the party’s continuity as the custodian of conservatism.
In 2016, a Trump nomination would not just mean another Democratic presidency. It would also mean the loss of what Taft and then Goldwater made possible — a conservative party as a constant presence in U.S. politics.