Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘President Ronald Reagan’

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]
.
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…
Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Early on, I had an experience that, if you’re interested, made me aware that I ought to be a little careful about what I said or did.
We were invited down to James J. Kilpatrick’s – Jack Kilpatrick’s – home down in Virginia for the Sunday lunch.  And the helicopter took us off the lawn here and in about 35 minutes or soe, we were at his farm, landed.  And in walking to the house, Jack was telling me about how they’d been there for a few days, putting in the phones.
Well, this was a surprise to me.  And I said, “Wait – phones?”  And then he told me that I could reach anyone in the world from there.  And I said, “Well, you mean just to have lunch away from the White House, they have to put … Well, I guess it’s true, they do it for whatever might happen.”
But he was telling me that he didn’t believe them when they were putting in the phones, that they could reach anyone in the world.  And they said, “Well, name someone.”  Well, he had a son who was on guard in an embassy in the military in Africa.  And they got the son on the phone, and his mother got to talk to him and so forth.  So, he had another son that was an enlisted man and a quartermaster on the USS Pratt.
And he asked, “Well, okay, what about him?”  The Pratt was in the Mediterranean.  And they had to say to him no, they couldn’t get him because the fleet was on maneuvers.  And when the fleet was on maneuvers, only the White House could reach them.
When we got inside, I met the young man’s wife, the one that was on the destroyer – very lovely young lady and hadn’t seen her husband for months.
I went back out, said to these fellows, “Is this true, that I could reach someone on the USS Pratt?”  And they said, “Oh, yes, Sir.”  And I said, “Well, get him.”  And I went back in and got her.  And she got to talk to her husband.
I hadn’t really thought the thing through very much until I got a letter from him, the young man, and he told me what it was like when the fleet was on maneuvers.  I hadn’t even thought that the last part of the call has to go by air, and that the air is full of radio traffic – ships talking to ships, admirals talking to admirals.  And then a voice on the air said, “White House calling.”   And he said, “Someone said, ‘What code is that?’ ” And someone else says to him, “maybe it is the White House.”
And he said, “Even Hollywood couldn’t have silenced the air as quickly as it was silenced.”  And so the phone call went through.  And, of course, it must have been pretty public with the whole fleet listening in.
And in his letter, he then said this line, he said, “It was as if God had called the Vatican and asked for an altar boy by name.”
…  Suddenly – believe me, it sobered me a little bit to discover that I could just say this and then all of this could happen.  And I was almost scared to death of what I might have done to the fleet maneuvers.
   —  President Ronald Reagan
In a interview with Susan Watters of “M” magazine
.
On This Day In:
2016 Rising From The Ashes
2015 Honor
2014 Disappointment
2013 Seeing Heart
2012 On Success
2011 What This Place Needs Is Another Theory

Read Full Post »

Can anyone here say that if we can’t do it, someone down the road can do it?  And if no one does it, what happens to the country?  All of us here know the economy would face an eventual collapse.  I know it’s a hell of a challenge, but ask yourselves: If not us, who?  If not now, when?
  —  President Ronald Reagan
.
On This Day In:
2015 Change Process
2014 What Is Still Possible
2013 Strength Is There
2012 Beyond Reasonable Doubt
2011 Celebrating Values
2010 Is it just me, or is it suddenly dark around here?
Dance!

Read Full Post »

Peace is the highest aspiration of the American people.  We will negotiate for it, sacrifice for it; we will not surrender for it, now or ever.  Our forbearance should never be misunderstood.  Our reluctance for conflict should not be misjudged as a failure of will.  When action is required to preserve our national security, we will act.  We will maintain sufficient strength to prevail if need be, knowing that if we do so we have the best chance of never having to use that strength.  Above all, we must realize that no arsenal or no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.
   —  President Ronald Reagan
From his 1981 Inaugural Address
[Once again, I don’t have to agree with someone’s politics or administration to acknowledge his speechwriters could really string some words…  —  KMAB]
.
On This Day In:
2015 I Am Shocked, Sir, Shocked…
Lucy & FSND-2
2014 Less Difficult
2013 The Spirit Of Liberty
2012 The Essential Freedom Of Aloneness
2011 A Problem Of Scale
Fred Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
2010 Another Book, Another Jog…

Read Full Post »

The leaders of the [conservative] backlash may talk Christ, but they walk corporate.  Values may “matter most” to voters, but they always take a backseat to the needs of money once the elections are won.  This is a basic earmark of the phenomenon, absolutely consistent across its decades-long history.  Abortion is never halted.  Affirmative action is never abolished.  The culture industry is never forced to clean up its act.  Even the greatest culture warrior of them all was a notorious cop-out once it came time to deliver.  “Reagan made himself the champion of ‘traditional values,’ but there is no evidence he regarded their restoration as a high priority,” wrote Christopher Lasch, one of the most astute analysts of the backlash sensibility.  “What he really cared about was the revival of the unregulated capitalism of the twenties: the repeal of the New Deal.”
  —  Thomas Frank
from his book: “What’s The Matter With Kansas?
.

Read Full Post »

We are for a provision that destitution should not follow unemployment by reason of old age, and to that end we have accepted Social Security as a step toward meeting the problem.
  —  Ronald Reagan
October 27, 1964
[I guess these days, Republicans (Perry, Paul and others) running for President in 2012 feel they can kill Social Security because  poverty is not the same thing as destitution and retirement is not the same as unemployment by reason of old age…  —  KMAB]
.

Read Full Post »

The Republican Party, which had presided over America’s rise to manufacturing preeminence, has acquiesced in the deindustrialization of the nation to gratify transnational corporations whose oligarchs are the party financiers.  U.S. corporations are shutting factories here, opening them in China, “outsourcing” back-office work to India, importing Asians to take white-collar jobs from Americans, and hiring illegal aliens for their service jobs.  The Republican Party has signed off on economic treason.
  —  Patrick J. Buchanan
From his book: “Where The Right Went Wrong
[While I agree with Pat that the Republican party has committed the equivalent of economic treason, I must disagree with the statement Republicans “presided over America’s rise to manufacturing preeminence“.
America rose to manufacturing preeminence during and because of World War II while FDR was President and the Democrats controlled both houses in Congress.  The economy stalled under Eisenhower and was revived by the Kennedy / Johnson period.  We started to falter at the end of Johnson and began our descent under Nixon, mostly because of the gas crisis (72-73) and the long term effects of government spending from Vietnam (Johnson and Nixon).  Both Reagan and Bush (the first) had recessions and it was Clinton’s Administration which brought growth.  Reagan, a “true” conservative, proposed there was no damage to the economy by going into debt (mostly to increase government spending on big ticket military purchases “star-wars” and new aircraft carriers) and then signed off on the largest tax increases in history (actually mostly closing business loopholes) to reduce the debt he had sponsored – although he was NEVER able to come up with a balanced budget let alone get Congress to pass one.  Bush II practically drove the whole planet into bankruptcy and global depression with a combination of deregulation and unpaid for wars.  Granted not all of the deregulation was actually passed into law during “W’s” administration.  His administration merely encouraged the abuses inherent in an unregulated market.
No, Pat.  Sorry.  The Republican Party has not presided over an America’s rise to manufacturing preeminence since the Civil War, and again, the manufacturing increase was because a war effort stimulated the economy and government spending – not because Republican political or economic theories are correct.
It just so happens I DO believe in small government which stays out of the way of the people and in capitalism.  But government must be big enough to defend us from modern day threats: foreign and domestic, terrorist and corporate.  At the moment, the U.S. has more to fear from multinational and “too big to fail” domestic corporations than it does from 200 to 500 Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
It used to be said the two biggest threats to democracy are an overly efficient tax system and an overly efficient military.  It seems we should now recognize the BIGGEST threat to democracy is an unregulated capitalist economy.  And on this, at least, we can agree – the Republican Party are economic traitors!   —  KMAB]
.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: