Dr. Donald and Mr. Trump
Like many (but by no means all) conservatives, ever since Donald Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee, I have been scanning the horizon for reasons to support him.
I have found a few. But candor requires that at the end of the day, when all is said and done, I acknowledge that the most compelling reason I've found so far is a familiar dactyl-trochee combination: Hillary Clinton. As I argued after the first day of the convention in Cleveland, The Wall Street Journal's Bill McGurn is right: the best case for Donald Trump is still this: that the alternative is the dowager empress of Chappaqua.
I've had flickers of hope that, post-primary, Trump would turn out to be something other than what he appeared to be throughout the primary season and what, by most accounts, he has been throughout his very public, very fraught business career.
So far, alas, I've found those hopes dashed, one after the next. After a tentative access of reasonable behavior on Trump's part, bang, he blows it all by (for example) telling us what a great guy Saddam Hussein was at killing terrorists.
As I said to a friend at the convention, there is something vertiginous about Donald Trump. One day he approaches reasonableness, the next he reverts to petulant incoherence. It's a sort of reprise of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. So one finds oneself -- at least, I find myself -- oscillating between tentative support and aghast horror.
The latest example, as most readers will know, was the discrepancy between Dr. Donald Thursday night in his acceptance speech and Mr. Trump Friday in his truly bizarre post-convention press conference. Donald Trump is not Cicero or Demosthenes, but as I wrote yesterday, his speech Thursday night presented a forceful, mature, almost circumspect character. That the mainstream media recoiled in disgust, almost universally labeling it "dark" and demagogic," just shows how effective it was.
But then came Friday morning, when Mr. Trump took over from Dr. Donald. It was supposed to be a casual, off-the-cuff, feel-good performance to thank various people for their hard work but it soon degenerated into a very strange assault on Ted Cruz for not endorsing Trump in his speech at the convention. Mr. Trump careened around that subject, first saying that Cruz would eventually come round to endorse him, then declaring that he, Trump, wouldn't accept it if he did.