Saturday, 2 April 2016

Why Donald Trump's utter lack of moral or political beliefs makes me hanker for real politicians - plus two very funny Andrew Klavan videos

I used to think that a political system which made it easier for non-politicians to run for office would be welcome. But "following" Donald Trump on Twitter has cured me of that notion:

Those are the words of a lying narcissist.
Those are the words of a petty, mean-minded, name-calling school-yard bully.
Those are the words of someone who's scared of women who are brighter than he is (in Trump's case, that would be about 90% of them). SAD.
I have no idea, Donnie - switchblade? Polonium dispenser? Miniature nuclear device? CAUC detector? As for why she's touching you (is she?), maybe she's trying to attract your attention, because that's what reporters do?
Again, old boy, she's a reporter, plying her trade in a democratic country which prides itself on the freedom of its press - and she's not grabbing you. And what charges would you press" Does a female reporter asking a politician running for office a question count as a felony assault? BAD. 

The most instructive moments of Trump's campaign so far, though, came when he was being interviewed by MSNBC's Chris Matthews (the left-wing fool who once said that Obama's campaign speeches gave him a "thrill up my leg") and the subject turned to abortion. The relevant bit is at 1'25":
Abortion isn't really a big issue over here, but in America it is Yuuuuge! Anyone running for office has to have worked out policies on the issue. And yet Trump gives every appearance on not having given it a moment's thought until the moment Christ Matthews brings it up. From his vague, hesitant answer, it's apparent that he's desperately trying to weigh up which Republican voters he can't afford to upset - and he decides (for good or ill) that the sort of angry lower-income men and the evangelical Christians who've supported him thus far need to be kept onside, even if it means severely pissing off female voters, who can't stand him anyway. Fine, up to a point, because every politician has to make these calculations when being interviewed.

The really troubling aspect of Trump's performance here is that his bloviating evidently isn't informed by a set of beliefs or values which might help him reach a conclusion (even if he has to nuance his reply in the light of electoral considerations). The man seems to possess no moral or political compass, which means that all his decisions will turn out to be knee-jerk responses to the needs of the moment - what's going to play well right here, right now. Maybe you can run a business like that (although that sort of ad hoc, morally rudderless approach might explain why he's managed to go bankrupt on four separate occasions), but you can't run a country that way - because you can't wriggle out from under the unholy mess your unprincipled, spur-of-the-moment decisions have created by filing for bankruptcy, and, especially in America, you have to convince the Senate and Congress to back your plans - and they have to be actual plans, not Twitter slogans.

Of course, having a politician with a very definite set of political beliefs in charge is no protection against bad government - any socialist president or prime minister is going to leave their country worse off than when they took over. And the temptation to ditch your political beliefs can prove too strong for many leaders (a blessing in Bill Clinton's case, but a disaster when it came to Ted Heath and Richard Nixon, both of whom eschewed their conservative principles in favour of a sclerotic, enervating brand of corporatism). But I wouldn't wish a puffed-up, inarticulate, narcissistic, unprincipled, thuggish, amoral oaf like Donald Trump on any country - especially when he or she doesn't appear to have any interest whatsoever in political ideas, and especially when the country in question is the greatest democracy in the world.

I'll leave you with another Andrew Klavan video, which will cause America-haters to foam at the mouth, but which made me laugh a lot (I'm pretty sure it would be classified as hate-speech in this country):

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