My friend and PJTV colleague James Poulos has written a thought-provoking piece over at Ricochet, with which I have little argument. Here’s his open:
- Donald Trump is today’s best self-promoter and professional opportunist.
- The Republican field of presumptive candidates for president is lame.
Swap Barack Obama in the first point, switch the party to Democrat in the second, and you have the debacle of 2008. Donald Trump, whatever one thinks about him, at least has a resume that includes things besides self-promition (and also obviously includes 16 metric tons of self-promotion). Trump has built things, made deals, succeeded in more than one field, and done stuff. Agree with him or not, when Trump talks he’s actually interesting, mainly because he doesn’t seem to give a rip what anyone thinks of him so he says what he thinks. With Trump, there is a there, there.
But Barack Obama circa 2008? He had no meaningful experience leading anything, building anything or managing anything. Even he admitted, in an unusual moment of candor in 2007, that he hadn’t actually done anything. During the campaign he spoke in cliches and half truths, and many of his own allies were counting on him not meaning much of what he said. He was nothing but hype. A cool logo. An empty slogan — Hope and Change. A big smile. A well-oiled advertising campaign worthy of Don Draper. And he cruised to the most powerful office in the world.
If Trump is proof of anything, he’s proof that the political class failed in the last go-round. Not the next one.