Friday, April 8, 2016

It All Counts: The American Electorate and Donald Trump©

Here is a small paragraph of wisdom for the consideration of the American electorate. It comes from a pretty savvy female veteran at the nation’s capital but via a no-where blog, so it will undoubtedly be ignored, perhaps  on both counts. Nevertheless, I would like to use her wisdom to voice my opinion about a man whom I consider to be one of the least prepared men to ever run for the office of President of the United States.

Who is she? Peggy Noonan, a speech writer for president Reagan, a former journalist for CBS, and now a columnist for the Wall Street Journal. In 2009 she was a fellow at the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She was asked by a professor there to speak on “The American Presidency.” She began by speaking about being a speech writer for the president. Rhetorically, she asked why the president needed speechwriters. Here is the part of her answer that is so wise, and which should be a huge red flag for voters in November:
... Because they cannot at the same time be president and write speeches.  They have to do one or the other, they can’t do both.(1)
Presidents often speak four, five or six times a a day–within the White House complex, in the Executive Office Building, in the Rose Garden, in an executive agency.  They speak in venues that are heavily covered and those that are covered by no press at all.
They speak a lot.  And everything they say counts. A president speaking sloppily and popping off about the economy can send the Dow Jones spiraling down a thousand points. Speaking offhandedly about foreign affairs, he can make an ally doubt the alliance.  So it all counts.(2)
Oh, does it all count! Donald Trump may get away with his inane mind-boggling nonsense with angry voters, even angry women voters whom he seems to offend with great regularity, and some angry Reagan democrats, maybe even a few angry African-Americans, but anger is an emotional state that is not conducive to cool, calm rational decision making.  

Who in his right mind thinks that Trump's rants will be given the same latitude by the thoughtful men and women–political leaders,economic and business leaders, military leaders, educators and scientists, and most of all millions of average citizens–in the European Union, Middle East, Africa, China, Russia, South America, the NATO Alliance, or even our neighbors in North America–Canada and Mexico? Good heavens! Wiser and cooler heads with experience such as Peggy Noonan, know this man would lead himself and the rest of us to disaster upon disaster. Predictably, if he is elected, we will be the people who for four years will play the role of the pooper-scoopers following the horses in the parade, because Donald Trump's shenanigans and bombast will not be brooked by the good people of the world.  Lets not foist him on them or ourselves.

I also love the wisdom of the old Navajo proverb which says, "If we don't turn around now, we may just get where we are going."

Let’s think together again, soon.


1. There was a day and a couple of men who did, but their like has not been seen sitting at the desk in the Oval Office very often–maybe three or four times, half a dozen at the most.  I speak of Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln.  If you want a great book about Lincoln’s mastery of the craft, see: Douglas L. Wilson, Lincoln’s Sword: The Presidency and the Power of Words, (New York: Knopf, 2006).

2. Peggy Noonan, “A Lecture,” in The Time of Our Lives, (New York: Twelve, 2015), 2, emphasis added. For some thoughts very similar to mine above by Ms. Noonan, which are expressed much more completely, eloquently and expertly, see her recent essay, "Trump's Mess has become His Message," online here:

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