Friday, December 18, 2015

Donald Trump on Hillary Clinton Circa 2012

Of course, during his campaign he's called her the worst Secretary of Defense in our history and that she may not even make the general-she could be arrested at any time for her emails. Lately, he's been saying she lacks stamina.

Now, he did a great job of defining Jeb-as now everyone talks about Jeb's energy level. But after watching Hil's Benghazi testimony, this is not very plausible regarding her.

But here is what The Donald was saying about her back in 2012. Note that this was after he went Birther on President Obama. What's really notable is not just that he was highly complimentary of her but that he said she was gong to run in 2016 and seemed to think she would do well:

"Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said she won't be running for president againand will, in fact, make her current role in the administration her "last public position." Billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump apparently disagrees."

"I think, assuming she is healthy, which I hope she will be, I think she probably runs after the next four years, I would imagine," Trump predicted in an interview with Greta Van Susteren of Fox News on Wednesday.

"Hillary Clinton, I think, is a terrific woman. I mean I'm a little biased because I've known her for years. I live in New York, she lives in New York, I've known her and her husband for years and I really like them both a lot. And I think she really works hard," Trump said.

Despite all of Trump's praise, however, the surrogate for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and vocal critic of President Obama -- sometimes in birther fashion -- appeared hesitant to go against his recent trend of supporting Republican politics.

"I don't want to get into this because I'll get myself into trouble," said Trump, who left the GOP last year and registered as an independent. "I just like her. I like her and I like her husband."

It makes you think of Jeb raising the bloody shirt that Trump's run is part of a Clinton conspiracy.

There is a new good piece about Trump in Huffington Post that is much more thoughtful than most of what you've seen from Huff Po on Trump. Mostly it's been all the hand wringing, the denunciations of Trump, and the very pretentious confining him to the entertainment section. They have recently, rightly, reversed that bad decision.

I believe that the Trump phenom requires more than simply one dimensional hand wringing-what Phil Donahue used to dismiss as the 'Aint it awful' line. There is a lot going on with Trump and I maintain that we'll look back on his rise as an important turning point-for the better in American politics.

I know my favorite reader-lol-Tom Brown worries that Trump has been breaking important political norms. I agree with the caveat that most of these norms were so toothless and threadbare that they needed to be broken.

The real essence of the norms was media hypocrisy and GOP dog whistle politics. That is not a status quo that was sustainable-as it has morphed into Trumpism. Bot the MSM and the GOP Establishment are reaping the fruits of their hypocritical game they have played for many years.

That was not a status quo worth protecting and I'm glad to see it's collapse. Ok, so let's consider the Huff Po piece that actually says something interesting about Trump-rather than the obvious-we sure don't' want to ban Muslims or build a wall. I agree we don't but simply wrapping Trump's knuckles here as if this is about one individual, misses the much larger and much more important social context.

"Donald Trump knows his audience. He is astoundingly talented when it comes to this one thing."

"He knew his audience in the Manhattan business community when he rose to become an enormously successful real estate developer. He knew his audience when he gave NBC one of its biggest hits,The Apprentice, knowing exactly what people wanted, and delivering in droves. And now, in the Republican nomination race, he is the only candidate who has recognized, very honestly, the kind of audience he's dealing with. And the bigoted, xenophobic rhetoric he is giving them is exactly what they want."

"This deterioration of the GOP base is something the other candidates, and even media pundits, are still in denial about. That is why they're losing. Trump is the only one who has recognized it, and he's right. The proof is in the numbers. He has had a substantial lead in the polls for five straight months now, plus in every single state (although Cruz is now inching up in Iowa). Today, Trump's lead is higher than ever."

"But it isn't Trump that is the issue. It's his audience. And every time we or the media attack Trump, it emboldens and strengthens his schtick: "See? These clueless liberals and the mainstream media hate me! Are you with them? Or do you want to make America great again?" And inevitably, the crowd goes wild. This is his badge of honor."

"Watch him in debates versus his stump speeches -- he's remarkably less combative and much more restrained. It's the same when he's on Meet the Press, or anything else with a national, bipartisan audience. He retains his brand, but appears much more measured about it."

"Remember, this is a man who until recently was pro-choice, pro-single payer healthcare, and whose daughter is close friends with Hillary Clinton's daughter. Watch how he effusively praised -- praised -- Hillary Clinton as recently as 2012, here."

"Trump is an astute opportunist who is incredibly smart, recognizes his audiences, and plays to their ignorance -- capitalizing on their anger, fears, and sense of victimization to further his political stature. It's classic, dictionary-definition demagoguery. (There's no comparison, of course, but this is exactly the kind of thing leaders like Hitler were so good at.) His victimhood-peddling allows him to disguise hate and prejudice as hope and justice for poor, anxious Americans."

"What's more concerning is that I've come across several liberals in the last few weeks who don't like Trump, but support him because they feel the Democrats are in denial about Islamic terrorism, refusing to even name it. Sadly, this is true, and the Democratic leadership is largely to blame. The ex-radical Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz calls "The Voldemort Effect": failing to name the problem makes it harder to fight it, and worse -- this is key -- fails to differentiate peaceful American moderate Muslims from radical jihadists. This is dangerous. If liberals had taken on this problem honestly and channeled the anxiety of the post-Paris/San Bernardino public from a position of moral strength, Trump would've been less able to jump in and channel it from a position of xenophobic bigotry."

Ok, ok. The writer goes further than I would in that last paragraph. I sure wouldn't actually support him support him-I mean in the general. And I'm very skeptical still about the supposed Voldemort Effect. 

But I do think that when you realize Trump knows his audience, he also surely knows that a general election, mainstream audience is very different from a GOP primary audience. And some liberals have praised Trump. Even Greg made the point that he might be less susceptible to the kinds of lobbyist tricks most politicians are as he's a businessman. 

I don't like the whole false equivalence game but one thing that Bernie and Trump do have in common is the issue over campaign finance. Bernie is the one who preaches this message in fire and brimstone terms. 

But Trump had managed to get a big lead in the primary spending very little of his own money, no Super PAC, no ads. This may well have some real effects on how campaigns function in the future too. 

Bernie is a campaign finance prophet but Trump's colorful example may end up having as much resonance. 

One of the problems with me though is I don't like prophets like Bernie. His self-righteousness makes me nervous. What I hate are True Believers. Ok, the main problem with TBs in America has been on the Right. Whats' great is that Trump is the opposite. 

Trump makes Tom nervous because he's a an opportunistic egoist. That really worries him. I guess in my own experience following American politics for 35 years-my formative experience was the misery of Carter's landslide loss-the real threat in America has never been fascism as such but True Believers. 

What made George W and Dick Cheney so dangerous is that they were True Believers in everything they did. I don't think W had a hypocritical bone in his body-which makes my point, hypocrisy is not always the worst vice. 

The President's I hated the most were W and Reagan. Even Nixon never looked so bad to me. A TB can justify anything. Now Trump on the other hand, is someone you can do business with, His whole  philosophy is Let's make a  deal.

Now when you think about the GOP Congress during the Obama years, it's been the opposite. Let's not make a deal, making any deal is a compromise and compromise is evil, it''s a sell-out. The Party of No. 

As for ego, look, people with egos, people like Trump who are just totally vain, are the easiest people to deal with, to get along with. It's pretty basic-just stroke their vanity. Let them think that they are looking good and they're happy. 

I suggested yesterday that the smartest women-though maybe feminism is trying to give this a bad conscience-know that a guy with a big ego is in some ways the easiest in the world to get what they want from. Paradoxical as it sounds, a true egoist is an idealist-an altruist through and through who is trying to please you. So women often prefer that. 

Look, I don't want President Trump and don't think he will win the general for one moment-though I'd love him to win the primary. 

But faced with the choice of a President Trump on the one side and a President Jeb or a President Marco Rubio on the other-it's not even a hard choice. Trump any day of the week and twice on Sundays. 

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