This is the fatal problem with narcissists and their fawning personality cults: They all, and always, think that every word that comes out of their particular Dear Leader's mouth is graven on a stone tablet and carries overpowering weight and clout and influence both at home and around the planet. As we've seen with Barack Obama the past seven years, that just is not so.
And Donald Trump is no different.
Yesterday, in what I suppose qualifies as an attempted (and vastly premature) general election pivot, he Tweeted out the following:
Now, supposedly, "Crooked Hillary" is the magic insult that will pave the way to Trump Nirvana or something, like "low energy" purportedly kneecapped Jeb Bush (there was a lot more to Bush III's fizzling than that) and "Lyin' Ted" was going to take out Senator Cruz (It hasn't). As to "I am the one person she doesn't want to run against".....
|Poll||Date||Sample||MoE||Clinton (D)||Trump (R)||Spread|
|RCP Average||3/16 - 4/13||--||--||49.0||39.1||Clinton +9.9|
|FOX News||4/11 - 4/13||1021 RV||3.0||48||41||Clinton +7|
|CBS News||4/8 - 4/12||1098 RV||3.0||50||40||Clinton +10|
|McClatchy/Marist||3/29 - 3/31||1066 RV||3.0||50||41||Clinton +9|
|IBD/TIPP||3/28 - 4/2||819 RV||3.5||47||35||Clinton +12|
|PPP (D)||3/24 - 3/26||1083 RV||3.0||48||41||Clinton +7|
|Bloomberg||3/19 - 3/22||815 LV||3.4||54||36||Clinton +18|
|Quinnipiac||3/16 - 3/21||1451 RV||2.6||46||40||Clinton +6|
....I'm thinking not.
Now the point can be credibly made that the varying success levels of these demeaning monikers are attributable to their degree of accuracy. How "low energy" Jeb! was is debatable - I interpreted that as, "he's not the jackass jerk that Trump is" - but that would have been true of his brother and father as well. For whatever we can criticize House Bush over the years - and the list isn't a short one - they were all civil, well-mannered, mature, adult Christian gentlemen who were not - outwardly, at least - consumed with greed and fame and power for their own sakes. I didn't support Jeb Bush, for reasons that used to be obvious before Il Douche came along - remember, I was a Scott Walker guy - but I have always been of the opinion that what our country most needs after the tumultuous past eight years is a large infusion of "low energy" into the White House.
"Lyin' Ted" flopped because of its garish hypocrisy. Ditto the attempt to paint Mr. Tea Party Warrior himself as an "establishment/K Street lapdog poodle whatever" and a Clintonoid lothario. If the slam has not the slightest grounding in reality, it isn't going to gain any traction. The kernel of truth at the center of every joke is what makes it funny. Lampooning Ted Cruz as a dishonest RINO wick-dipper was and is simply delusional.
Is Hillary Clinton corrupt? Absolutely she is. Is that already priced into her political stock? Absolutely it is. So will it have a significant impact on her general election standing? Not really. The other reason for which is that same hypocrisy, as Donald Trump is every bit as corrupt as is the Empress. Never has the adage, "pot, kettle, black" been quite this resoundingly applicable. Ditto "before pointing out the speck in your brother's eye, remove the log from your own".
I actually believe Mrs. Clinton when she laughs off the label....
....not because she isn't a congenital, egomaniacal liar, but because La Clinton Nostra is not stupid when it comes to winning elections - their core "business" - and they cannot possibly have missed Trump's biggest weaknesses: His titanic ego, his arrogant incuriosity, indiscipline, and laziness, and his utter and complete lack of policy knowledge. They saw how Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio humiliated him in the last three GOP debates, after which Trump refused to do any more once Rubio dropped out and he'd have been going head to head with what might be the greatest debater in the country today, The Ugly Dutchess knows - presumably, and given all her other innumerable faults as a candidate, stupidity isn't one of them - she doesn't have to brawl with The Donald, but simply swamp him with policy substance and point out his own corruption - which she will equate with his being a "rich white guy," of course, a factor that still flabbergasts me that Trumplicans ignore after the hostility they harbored towards Mitt Romney - to say nothing of capitalizing on that twenty-plus-point gender gap that the pompadoured prince has handed her, gift-wrapped, on a platinum platter. Or, in other words, all the factors that have her up by double-digits in the polls against him.
Donald Trump, in short, is the only candidate in contrast with whom Hillary Clinton could possibly come off looking competent. And he is, currently anyway, the GOP "front-runner". Way to go, Trumplicans.
Overseas, our enemies are less than bowled over with the millionaire slumlord's belligerent, bombastic bluster either.
We've been covering how the Mexicans are sounding less than amenable to being strong-armed into paying for TrumpWall. Over the weekend the ChiComms sounded equal parts bemused and contemptuously dismissive of Trump's trade war threats as well:
GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump is an "irrational type" and the United States "wouldn't be entitled to world leadership" with him at the helm, said [Red] Chinese Minister of Finance Lou Jiwei, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Trump has been vocal about his plans for dealing with [Red] China if he becomes president. He said [Red] China is in "total violation" of World Trade Organization policies and he would impose up to 45% tariffs to "force" [Red] China to change its trade policies.
Something that, if it were possible at all, would require military force that, thanks to Barack Obama, we no longer have. And the ChiComms know it, just as Trump does not.
And his ignorance of trade policy is already boomeranging back on him:
[Red] China must "deal fairly and justly or we will not deal at all," said Trump, according to the Journal.
Trade economist Jeffrey Schott of the Peterson Institute for International Economics said "almost any across-the-board tariff increase would violate U.S. obligations" to the World Trade Organization. [emphasis added]
Oops. So once Trump slapped on that tariff - and that would require congressional legislation from Democrat majorities unlikely to "play ball" with him - Beijing could and would call him out on that hypocrisy and retaliate, the trade war would be on, and, evoking how U.S. economic warfare against Imperial Japan blundered us into Pearl Harbor, the shooting war as well.
To employ the famous Islamic metaphor, you don't pick fights if you're not the "strong horse".
The NoKos belligerently bluff and bluster almost as much as Trump does, so their reaction to his neoisolationist call for U.S. withdrawal from the western Pacific and crazy urgings of Japan and South Korea to construct and deploy nuclear arsenals doesn't particularly interest me. But you have to admit, there's even some tiny kernel of logic in the Hermit Kingdom's comments, although you do have to dig a bit to find it:
Donald Trump's suggestions for South Korea and Japan to arm themselves with nuclear weapons and for the United States military to withdraw from those countries are "absurd and illogical," a North Korean official says.
Sounds counterintuitive, doesn't it? You'd think the NoKos would welcome a U.S. withdrawal, including of its protective nuclear umbrella, from their two nearest targets as the long-awaited opportunity to invade and conquer or destroy them, since it would take some time for Seoul and Tokyo to build that nuclear weapons infrastructure.
But Deputy Director Ri was zeroing in on that ubiquitous Trump hypocrisy:
"The U.S. tells us to give up our nuclear program, is preparing a nuclear attack against us, and on the other hand would tell its allies to have nuclear weapons? Isn't this a double standard?" the official, Ri Jong Ryul, deputy-director general of the Institute of International Studies in Pyongyang, told CNN in a rare interview.
Well, no, in the sense that it would be a counter to Pyongyang's nukes and neither the SoKos nor Japanese would be likely to attack first; but strictly speaking....yes. It completely undermines and destroys U.S. credibility on nuclear non-proliferation and would destabilize a Pacific Rim that is perfectly stable under U.S. military protection and has been for seventy years by removing that protection and benign U.S. influence from that region. If the last eight years, to say nothing of the last century, have taught us anything, it is that when America withdraws into itself, the world goes to flaming hell, and we cannot avoid being drawn into it. An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of radioactive "cure".
The NoKos will never be "negotiated" out of their nukes. But pushing a pro-nuclear proliferation policy will cause a lot of countries we can influence to wonder why they shouldn't join the "nuclear club" as well.
All of which underscores why "alpha male" bullying is not leadership, because it's essestially a one-off: If a President Trump issued his angry threat and the other side sniffed or guffawed and called his bluff, what then? Pop off even more angrily? It's thinly disguised impotence unbacked by any ideological conviction, especially given the dilapidated economic and military ruins in which Barack Obama will be leaving the country, assuming he ever does leave. "Stupid Power!" would be little different from the roaring follies of "Smart Power!" only without the media cover, cheer-leading, and reality-bending history revisionism. It would make our country and Trump a global laughingstock.
No, Trumplicans, your hero really isn't "all that". He's an ignorant, blowhard buffoon, and he's too addle-minded with stratospheric, puerile, conceit to ever be capable of realizing it. Which makes him dangerous to us.
Frankly, as Minister Lou said above, if the American electorate were foolish enough to elect him, the U.S. truly wouldn't be entitled to world leadership, a rarified stratum reserved for serious statespeople, not the guttertrash products of "reality" television.
The equivalent, of course, is true of Mrs. Clinton. But that's already priced into her political "stock".
There is, however, still a vastly superior alternative to both....