Tuesday, March 1, 2016

A narcissist, a liar, and a robot, all in search of power

Donald Trump /
His response is always denial and attack.
A narcissist, a liar, and a robot walk into a Houston debate hall last Thursday night. They are joined by a couple of wallflowers who can barely get in a word edgewise. The evening turns messy and muddled. There's little restraint. Definitely, there's no civility, and no issue is ever really settled.
"When we think of a debate about public policy, we assume facts, arguments, and logic," Robert Reich, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the Univerisity of California, Berkeley, and former U.S. Labor Secretary, wrote on his Facebook page the morning after the latest Republican debate. "But Donald Trump uses none. ... Trump demonstrated once again that he has a handful of slogans and potted remarks on every subject, which he repeats time and again, interspersed with blather about how wonderful he is. When questioned about anything personal – his tax returns or a civil lawsuit against him or whatever – his response is always denial and attack."
I agree with Dr. Reich's common-sense thoughts and support his opinion. Trump has become the antipolitician, a misogynist whose racist, bigoted, and xenophobic campaign has appealed to his party's base. Trump would think nothing of governing by clobbering everyone who disagrees with him. 
In "A Governing Cancer of Our Time," published Friday, New York Times op-ed columnist David Brooks wrote: "Over the past generation we have seen the rise of a group of people who are against politics. These groups – best exemplified by the Tea Party but not exclusive to the right – want to elect people who have no political experience. They want 'outsiders.' They delegitimize compromise and deal-making. They're willing to trample the customs and rules that give legitimacy to legislative decision-making if it helps them gain power."
Brooks continues: "Ultimately, they don't recognize other people. They suffer from a form of political narcissism, in which they don't accept the legitimacy of other interests and opinions. They don't recognize restraints. They want total victories for themselves and their doctrine."
And so you have it, thanks to Messrs. Trump, Cruz, and Rubio, Republican politicians have, in the words of Dr. Reich, "descended into the muck of bigotry, hatefulness, and lies. They're splitting America by race, ethnicity and religion." Further, they are making soaring promises and raising ridiculous expectations. They are all power hungry, yet each wants to deconstruct the U.S. government and isolate us from the outside world at large. Collectively, they love the sound of their own voices – mind you, each is void of any empathy – and those three voices are filled so full of hate and cynicism. To hear each of them during a debate or on the stump, the U.S. has gone to hell and been one big failure over the past seven-plus years under the Obama stewardship of the presidency. They are preaching fear instead of hope to the masses. Their bashing-style rhetoric makes coherent conversation impossible. During Thursday's Republican debate in Houston, candidates Kasich and Carson might as well not even shown up. Their voices were drowned out by the louder and more boisterous voices belonging to Trump, Cruz, and Rubio. Very soon, I wouldn't be surprised if Kasich and Carson become the latest to "suspend" their presidential campaigns.
Survival of the fittest? More like, it's survival of the loudest. All that's missing is Trump's boisterous "You're fired!" that he made famous on his own reality TV series "The Apprentice." Memo to Mr. Trump: This is not reality TV, this is real life. Thanks to demagogues like you, in the words of Dr. Reich, "the moral authority that America once had as a beacon of democracy and common sense is in jeopardy."
"Trump's style is bashing and pummeling," writes Brooks. "Everyone who opposes or disagrees with him is an idiot, a moron or a loser. The implied promise of his campaign is that he will come to Washington and bully his way through." 
Donald Trump /
Do we really want an authoritarian for president?
So, we should ask ourselves: Do we really want an authoritarian for president – a fascist in bespoke suits with a hairstyle that Vanity Fair once described as an "inanimate object that straddles his scalp like a dead, furry lobster" – who would think nothing of insulting world leaders by calling them idiots, morons or losers, and who loves to quote another fascist, Mussolini, because he loves to associate himself with great quotes? Or, for that matter, can either Cruz or Rubio – both very ineffective and unpopular legislators in the U.S. Senate, who lately have been notably absent from their Capitol Hill duties – be worthy of our vote or trusted to carry the "nuclear football" as commander in chief? I truly would be very scared – not to mention very, very much disappointed in my country – if any of the three leading Republican contenders is elected as our next president. It's important to remember that with opportunity comes responsibility.
Thank goodness, on the Democratic side Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, despite their perceived flaws, are discussing issues of substance and importance that really matter in our lives – health care and climate change, among them. Neither of them is an idiot, a moron or a loser – and I would be very comfortable, not to mention very much relieved, with either Hillary or Bernie as our next president. Both of them would be a worthy successor to Barack Obama.
Today's Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses will further define the Republican field. Or will it? God help us all.

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