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Trump Is Woody Allen Without the Humor

Half his tweets show utter weakness.  They are plaintive, shrill little cries, usually just after dawn.
By Peggy Noonan
(Former speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan)
July 27, 2017 6:06 p.m. ET
This opinion piece originally appeared in:  The Wall Street Journal
The president’s primary problem as a leader is not that he is impetuous, brash or naive.  It’s not that he is inexperienced, crude, an outsider.  It is that he is weak and sniveling.  It is that he undermines himself almost daily by ignoring traditional norms and forms of American masculinity.
He’s not strong and self-controlled, not cool and tough, not low-key and determined; he’s whiny, weepy and self-pitying.  He throws himself, sobbing, on the body politic.  He’s a drama queen.  It was once said, sarcastically, of George H.W. Bush that he reminded everyone of her first husband.  Trump must remind people of their first wife.  Actually his wife, Melania, is tougher than he is with her stoicism and grace, her self-discipline and desire to show the world respect by presenting herself with dignity.
Half the president’s tweets show utter weakness.  They are plaintive, shrill little cries, usually just after dawn.  “It’s very sad that Republicans, even some that were carried over the line on my back, do very little to protect their president.”  The brutes.  Actually they’ve been laboring to be loyal to him since Inauguration Day.  “The Republicans never discuss how good their health care bill is.” True, but neither does Mr. Trump, who seems unsure of its content.  In just the past two weeks, of the press, he complained: “Every story/opinion, even if should be positive, is bad!”  Journalists produce “highly slanted & even fraudulent reporting.”  They are “DISTORTING DEMOCRACY.”  They “fabricate the facts.”
It’s all whimpering accusation and finger-pointing: Nobody’s nice to me.  Why don’t they appreciate me?
His public brutalizing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions isn’t strong, cool and deadly; it’s limp, lame and blubbery.  “Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes,” he tweeted this week.  Talk about projection.
He told the Journal’s Michael C. Bender he is disappointed in Mr. Sessions and doesn’t feel any particular loyalty toward him.  “He was a senator, he looks at 40,000 people and he probably says, ‘What do I have to lose?’  And he endorsed me.  So it’s not like a great loyal thing about the endorsement.”  Actually, Mr. Sessions supported him early and put his personal credibility on the line.  In Politico, John J. Pitney Jr. of Claremont McKenna College writes: “Loyalty is about strength.  It is about sticking with a person, a cause, an idea or a country even when it is costly, difficult or unpopular.”  A strong man does that.  A weak one would unleash his resentments and derive sadistic pleasure from their unleashing.
The way American men used to like seeing themselves, the template they most admired, was the strong silent type celebrated in classic mid-20th century films — Gary Cooper, John Wayne, Henry Fonda.  In time the style shifted, and we wound up with the nervous and chattery.  More than a decade ago the producer and writer David Chase had his Tony Soprano mourn the disappearance of the old style: “What they didn’t know is once they got Gary Cooper in touch with his feelings they wouldn’t be able to shut him up!”  The new style was more like that of Woody Allen.  His characters couldn’t stop talking about their emotions, their resentments and needs.  They were self-justifying as they acted out their cowardice and anger.
But he was a comic.  It was funny.  He wasn’t putting it out as a new template for maleness.  Donald Trump now is like an unfunny Woody Allen.
Who needs a template for how to be a man?  A lot of boys and young men, who’ve grown up in a culture confused about what men are and do.  Who teaches them the real dignity and meaning of being a man?  Mostly good fathers and teachers.  Luckily Mr. Trump this week addressed the Boy Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, where he represented to them masculinity and the moral life.
“Who the hell wants to speak about politics when I’m in front of the Boy Scouts, right?”  But he overcame his natural reticence.  We should change how we refer to Washington, he said: “We ought to change it from the word ‘swamp’ to perhaps ‘cesspool’ or perhaps to the word ‘sewer.’ ”  Washington is not nice to him and is full of bad people.  “As the Scout Law says, ‘A Scout is trustworthy, loyal — we could use some more loyalty, I will tell you that.”  He then told them the apparently tragic story of a man who was once successful.  “And in the end he failed, and he failed badly.”
Why should he inspire them, show personal height, weight and dignity, support our frail institutions?  He has needs and wants — he is angry! — which supersede pesky, long-term objectives.  Why put the amorphous hopes of the audience ahead of his own, more urgent needs?
His inability — not his refusal, but his inability — to embrace the public and rhetorical role of the presidency consistently and constructively is weak.
“It’s so easy to act presidential but that’s not gonna get it done,” Mr. Trump said the other night at a rally in Youngstown, Ohio.  That is the opposite of the truth.  The truth, six months in, is that he is not presidential and is not getting it done.  His mad, blubbery petulance isn’t working for him but against him.  If he were presidential he’d be getting it done — building momentum, gaining support.  He’d be over 50%, not under 40%.  He’d have health care, and more.
We close with the observation that it’s all nonstop drama and queen-for-a-day inside this hothouse of a White House.  Staffers speak in their common yet somehow colorful language of their wants, their complaints.  The new communications chief, Anthony Scaramucci, who in his debut came across as affable and in control of himself, went on CNN Thursday to show he’ll fit right in.  He’s surrounded by “nefarious, backstabbing” leakers.  “The fish stinks from the head down.  But I can tell you two fish that don’t stink, and that’s me and the president.”  He’s strong and well connected: “I’ve got buddies of mine in the FBI”; “Sean Hannity is one of my closest friends.”  He is constantly with the president, at dinner, on the phone, in the sauna snapping towels.  I made that up.  “The president and I would like to tell everybody we have a very, very good idea of who the leakers are.”  Chief of Staff Reince Priebus better watch it.  There are people in the White House who “think it is their job to save America from this president, okay?”  So they leak.  But we know who they are.
He seemed to think this diarrheic diatribe was professional, the kind of thing the big boys do with their media bros.  But he came across as just another drama queen for this warring, riven, incontinent White House.  As Scaramucci spoke, the historian Joshua Zeitz observed wonderingly, on Twitter: “It’s Team of Rivals but for morons.”
It is.  And it stinks from the top.
Meanwhile the whole world is watching, a world that contains predators.  How could they not be seeing this weakness, confusion and chaos and thinking it’s a good time to cause some trouble?
[I found this on her site at: http://www.peggynoonan.com/trump-is-woody-allen-without-the-humor/
I apologize to any who are offended by my posting this editorial without prior permission.  Hopefully my full attribution to both Ms. Noonan and the WSJ mollifies you somewhat…  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2016 Discontent
2015 Do You Know Me?
Appetite For Life Update
2014 Tough Journalism
2013 Things I’ve Learned
2012 Abstainer, n.
2011 Rain, Rain, Rain
Test Your Strength
2009 End the mistakes…

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Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., calling Trump’s judicial attacks “the most un-American thing from a politician since Joe McCarthy,” told The New York Times: “If anybody was looking for an off-ramp, this is probably it …  There’ll come a time when the love of country will trump hatred of Hillary.”
Speaking of Donald Trump…
“He and I have both been incredibly blessed to have our opportunities in this country, and if you ask me, after military service, the most patriotic thing you can do is pay your taxes,” Cuban said.  “I have gotten a lot from this country and feel like I owe back something.  That’s not his feeling, and that’s his choice.”
  —  Mark Cuban
[As an admitted life-long Democrat (social liberal / fiscal conservative), I’d have to ask Senator Graham: “What time does your conscience say it is, now?”
I’d like to ask Mr. Cuban: “What is your opinion of any ‘America loving’, self-anointed patriot who is actually a chicken-hawk (a person who speaks out in support of war, yet has avoided active military service) and who also doesn’t want to pay his taxes in peace time or in war time?”
And I’d like to ask Mr. Trump: “We know you dodged the draft (four student deferments and one medical deferment) when it was your opportunity to serve, so where are the tax returns?”  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2015 First Things First
2014 Without The Other
2013 Earn This
Seeking A View
2012 Stumblin’ Along My Way
We’re Proud Of You, Jr!
Union Card
Two Philosophies
2011 Simply Unpredictable

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In the end, I’m not at all certain that Clinton can beat Trump.  He is free-form and anarchic and silly and devastating.  She is rote.  The answer to Dr. Majmudar’s question may involve a simplicity that eludes her.  To Beat Trump, she is going to have to be patient, dignified, self-deprecating, utterly factual and brutally honest (about herself).  Poetry isn’t going to work this year.
   —  Joe Klein
From his opinion piece: “To take out Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton must first stop acting like a politician
From the March 28, 2016 edition of Time Magazine
[Dr. Majmudar’s question was: “Leaving aside the negative rhetoric and attack ads, none of which have worked so far, can you share with us three specific points of your anti-Trump game plan?”   Just in case you were wondering…  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2015 MA Fix
Getting Better
2014 Actually
2013 Unfortunate Evolutionary Accidents
2012 Tense (Past, Present And Future)
2011 What Is Your Preference?

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Let me see if I’ve got this straight:  Back in the 1990’s a Republican came up with an alternative to “Hillary Health Care” (aka: “Socialized Medicine“), which was promoted by a conservative think tank (the Heritage Foundation), and which was tested in the real world by a Republican Governor (Mitt Romney in Massachusetts).  This same health plan was adopted by a Democratic Presidential candidate, who was elected.  The health care law was passed by both houses of Congress in March of 2010 (over three and a half years ago), with a phased implementation so the market place (and States) would have time to set it up in an orderly fashion.  The law was signed by the President and later approved by the Supreme Court (as Constitutional).
In 2010, Republicans took advantage of an off-year election (that is, no President running for office) to use (normally) low turnout to take over some state houses, most governorships and the House of Representatives.  Locally, they ran the advertised message as “Jobs, jobs, jobs!” and Republicans know how to “put people back to work”; their real promise was to make “this” President a failure and defeat him in his re-election.
Since 2010, the House has made NO effort to introduce ANY jobs bills, but has voted over 40 times to repeal “Obamacare”.  The Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare” is the signature piece of legislation to come out of President Obama’s first term in office.
In 2012, the sitting President was re-elected specifically running a pro-health care campaign with a five million vote majority (5,000,000) against an opponent who pledged to introduce a bill to overturn Obamacare his first day in office.  The House was retained by the Republicans by virtue of controlling a majority of state houses and thereby “gerrymandering” their districts so traditionally Republican districts were even more biased, yet if you totaled all the votes for all seats for the House, they “lost” the popular vote by over five hundred thousand (500,000) votes.  The Republicans DID lose seats, just not enough to lose the majority.  The Democrats picked up seven (7) seats, but they needed twenty-five to turn over control of the House.  By the way, the Democrats also picked up two (2) seats in the Senate.  Statewide voting for Senators is not subject to gerrymandering by the state legislatures and governors because each state is only allowed two seats.
Please watch the following opinion piece on what is happening regarding the current government shutdown and what it means to be a “conservative” in today’s Republican party…
— The video is from YouTube, but originally appeared on: “The Cycle” on MSNBC with Krystral Ball, who is one of the four hosts.
Romney/Ryan ran on a budget proposal which would have “slashed” the budget to a level ($967 Billion) which the nation soundly rejected. “Soundly” here refers to the Electoral College landslide (332 vs 206), not the actual popular vote which was “only” 3% (five million votes) in favor of President Obama.
The column on the far left ($1203) is what the President’s budget asked for.  The column on the far right is the “Ryan Budget” proposal ($967).  The column next to it, second from the right, is the amount the Democratically controlled Senate is willing to pass as part of a “clean” Continuing Resolution (CR, $986).  Now, seriously, does this look like the Democrats are unwilling to negotiate?  Or, does it look like the Democrats have already capitulated and are willing to accept that even when you win an election, you still don’t get to run the country the way the people voted?
 — Image is from the MSNBC show: “Chris Hayes, All In
The next time you hear the “the American people” have spoken and we don’t want Obamacare or the Democrats don’t want to negotiate or that elections have consequences, understand the truth.  We The People have already decided in two Presidential elections and two of three House elections that we DO want the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and as far as the budget goes, there’s not much more to negotiate because we’ve already surrendered the whole pie to the Republicans.  Don’t look behind the curtain because the powers that be are getting what they want regardless of how We The People voted.
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On This Day In:
2012 What Are Your True Measurements
2011 What It Is All About
2010 The Magnificent Seven
Giants Fever!!

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