I am not a schizophrenic (not yet anyway). But… I cannot tell a lie… I am a Trumpophrenic.
Some of the time I really like the guy — especially when he mocks the asinine political correctness that has infected every inch of our nation from the mountaintops to the ships at sea. I’m also with him in a big way when he talks about reviving America and making her great again.
Other times, when he acts like a kindergartner throwing mud pies at classmates, I want to bang my forehead on the desk until he goes away or at least retires permanently to one of his golf clubs.
An example of the latter is Trump’s dissing Marco Rubio for excessive “sweating.” What next? Fart jokes?
Just as childish is his swipe at Ben Carson, taken this weekend as Carson began to pass him in some polls, as being “low energy.” Trump told Jake Tapper: “I think Ben Carson is lower energy than Jeb, if you want to know the truth.”
That’s the truth? No one, repeat no one, is more high energy — mentally and physically — than topflight surgeons, especially brain surgeons, who often do six or seven life-threatening operations in one day. Most of us would fall over backwards after twenty minutes.
Carson is soft-spoken, sure. Low-energy? Gimme a break. He’s all over the country right now, campaigning and promoting his book. Buy, hey, Carson is a difficult person to criticize and The Donald knows it. We all do. The liberal/Democratic/media attacks on the doctor have almost all been based on, usually deliberate, misconstruals of what he has to say.
What’s interesting about Trump and Carson is that, although both are non-politicians, in many ways they are polar opposites. Carson never talks in sound bites. Trump never talks in anything but sound bites. Neither way is entirely satisfactory, but if I had to choose, I would choose Carson’s approach. This is especially true once the person actually is president and gets to talk in longer bursts, so we can truly understand what he means.
In the Tapper interview, Trump billed himself as a “uniter” of our famously divided society. In one sense, he might be because Trump does not appear to have profound convictions other than on immigration. And even that feels recent. He has taken a situational businessman’s approach to life, which (and here you see my positive Trumpophrenia) allows for flexibility in an ever-changing world. He brags about his skills as a negotiator — and that’s a good thing, at least up to a point. Every negotiator needs a bottom line and we need to know Trump’s, particularly on foreign affairs.
Speaking of negotiations, bottom lines and the realities of what presidents actually contend with after the campaigns, I have been reading Morton Kondracke and Fred Barnes’ just released Jack Kemp: The Bleeding-Heart Conservative Who Changed America. The book contains eye-opening details of the conflicts — often more like full-fledged battles — within the Reagan Administration and Reagan’s ultimate ability to (finally) steer the right course, often (though not always) with the advice of Cong. Jack Kemp. Though perhaps the prime motivator of Reaganomics, Kemp failed at his own attempt at the presidency, to be the next Reagan. Neither will Trump, Carson, Rubio, Cruz, Fiorina or anybody else be the next Ronald R. They will be who they are. But the book makes riveting and instructional reading in this electoral season. The candidates might take note. (On Tuesday evening Oct. 27, I will be moderating a discussion with the authors at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, CA, if you are in the area.)
As for whether there is a cure for Trumpophrenia, I suspect not. The Donald is The Donald. WYSIWYG, as they say. If he becomes president, we Trumpophrenics — and I wouldn’t doubt there are many of us and that most of us will have voted for him in the end — are likely to be alternatively waving flags in the air for joy and banging our foreheads on the desk in despair for the next four to eight years.