…Now I have precisely the right instrument, at precisely the right moment of history and exactly the right place…
This will change too, very quickly. Like a planet spinning off into the universe. A moment like this won’t come again for a thousand years…
As I contemplate the dire state of our nation and the world, and the current presidential aspirations of one Donald J. Trump, this quote from the movie “Patton” struck me. Patton (that is, his character as portrayed by George C. Scott) was referring to his army’s lightning-like dash across France which, by the fall of ’44 had stalled in the Saar, at the Siegfried Line. Had he been given the men and materiel he needed, he reckoned he could have driven right into the heart of the Ruhr and end the war by Christmas. It was not to be.
I am not comparing Trump to Patton in any way other than to note the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity he has to perhaps alter the course of history. Like Patton’s drive, Donald Trump electrified the nation by boldly and bluntly pointing out an obvious truth about the state of our immigration problems, making it front and center in the election and catapulting him to a double digit lead in the polls; a lead he has managed to more or less maintain for the past three months.
Trump’s bluster and bravado have defied all attempts by the media, the Democrats and rival candidates to dent his appeal to his supporters. Since the GOP’s squandering of the Reagan legacy, the conservative message of individual liberty, personal responsibility and the miracle that is free market capitalism has been all but absent from the American landscape. In fact, since George W. Bush’s presidency it has been mercilessly blood-libeled as the cause of America’s and the world’s ills (the fact that Bernie Sanders is being cheered and in the lead on the Democrat side is both evidentiary as well as alarming). For the first time, Trump articulated what has been muzzled for far too long. As I have stated here and elsewhere, my support for Trump has thus far been limited to his presence in the campaign. Watching him cut the media as well as GOP-e candidates like Jeb Bush to ribbons while talking up America has been a pure delight, and early on, that has been all that has mattered to me – until now.
Here we are in late September. We’ve had two debates and although Trump has not necessarily lost any ground, he hasn’t really gained any, and his rivals Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina are starting to gain traction. Carson is following the Trump model by making bold statements about the issues and doubling down on them, while Fiorina seems to be getting a boost from the media, who perhaps see her as, despite her withering assaults on Planned Parenthood and Hilary Clinton, an establishment candidate that they can get behind as Bush sinks.
Whether we like it or not, Donald Trump by virtue of his statements and his celebrity status has captured the attention of the low-information voter crowd who, as Rush Limbaugh notes, gets most of their news either from TMZ or by watching comedian Jon Stewart’s erstwhile Daily Show. Aside from his promises to actually build a wall across the southern border, deport illegals and even curtail legal immigration – all things that I heartily approve – he has said precious little about many of the other issues bringing us down. In fact, in interviews even with seemingly friendly outlets, when asked specific questions he rattles off a boilerplate response, to the effect of “you’re going to be amazed at how incredible it’s going to be” (apologies as I cannot find specific interviews).
At this point, I think that that kind of response is wearing thin. To be fair, none of the other candidates to my knowledge have been specific either on how they will get things done, and if they have, it’s in the form of white papers that are thick, chewy and altogether too wonky for the average person to get through. Also, from what I understand, Trump will be releasing a fairly detailed economic plan, in the form of a book, next week that will hopefully shed some light on his plans to turn the disaster that has been the Obama economy around.
I suppose, what would really help is if he could put a cork in the personal attacks on people and his constant self-inflation (yeah, I know I know), and instead focus his guns and gums on the Democrats, Obama, Bernie Sanders and every policy that they and their movement have unleashed on the nation for the past 50 or more years that have led us to the brink of disaster, economically, politically and culturally. Trump has the power to focus the debate on any issue he chooses, as he has done with tremendous success on immigration. Imagine how a blustery indictment of say “The War on Poverty,” “The Great Society,” “Obamacare,” “Dodd-Frank,” the society-crushing $217 trillion dollar debt, or liberalism in general would rouse the very same people who cheered when he announced a border wall to be built by the Mexicans?
Beyond just the election in 2016, as crucial as that is, America is at a crossroads that one election or even elections in general are not going to help. Trump, like Patton is in exactly the right place at exactly the right moment in history to influence the broadest possible swathe of our society to think about WHY we are the way we are and perhaps alter the course of the nation for the better. The question is, does he realize this and if so, is he up to the challenge?
I see a slightly deeper resemblance between Patton and Trump, JJ: both men were/are batshit crazy to a sometimes-unpleasant degree but managed to get things done despite the — shall we say — intense dislike of some of their contemporaries.
(Obviously, I prefer GSP overall, but that doesn’t matter for purposes of discussion.)
In the end, Patton had to follow orders to some extent, which Trump doesn’t. The Donald doesn’t have an Ike who, by threatening to relieve Georgie when he was insubordinate and/or intemperate, could keep him in line. Somewhat.
Much as I admire Patton, I’m certainly glad he never tried to become President. I’m equally happy we didn’t have a General Trump in WWII. Talk about fishes out of water!
But both men appeared at times when the country has needed men who were, to some degree, self-energized, self-confident freebooters who would ignore convention to achieve victory for their country.
I wish we hadn’t needed either of them. But eventually we will all have cause to be grateful that they came to prominence when they did. And I, for one, hope Trump delivers a sharp slap to the face to all the whining cowards of D.C.
MRSCRIBBLER you so eloquently put into words what I have sensed about Mr. Trump these past few months. Do love your last sentence “. . . .hope Trump delivers a sharp slap to the face to all the whining cowards of D.C.”
” I, for one, hope Trump delivers a sharp slap to the face to all the whining cowards of D.C.”
He already has. Can anyone doubt that Boehner’s resignation is in some sense related to the Trump phenomenon?
I’m not a “yuge” Trump fan though I would certainly vote for him over any Democrat. But regardless of the destination of his campaign he has already had a massive effect. He has changed the way we look not only at the current crop of candidates but at politics in general. And that is all very much to the good. Not just the “whining cowards of DC” but the entire political and media establishment needed this slap in the face.
“But General, sometimes they don’t know when you’re acting and when you’re not.”
“It isn’t important that they know. It’s only important that I know.”
Yes, there are similarities.
Trump’s recent statement on his support for the Second Amendment was damned solid and right on point.
And his immigration platform is, by and large, excellent.
But he needs to keep churning them out so suspicious people (like me) will be able to look at clear, unambiguous policies and make our decisions based on them, rather than bluster and platitudes.
Like many this verbalizes my sentiment. I hope he isn’t just a flash but he need to pick his game up. 20% is all I ask as that is far more than any of the other candidates will deliver.
Cheesey reference of Rodney Dangerfield in Back to School.
“Thornton, what does the poem mean?”
“It means I don’t take shit from no one! I’m gonna pass this test.”
Last week he supposedly made a statement about government over regulation. Does any one have a link to that? If so, please advise. Thanks