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April 29, 2011

Trump Drops F-Bombs In Full-Out Populist Tirade

I don't know what to do about this. The problem with populism is that it divides people emotionally. You hear this crowd? They're loving it.

And an equal number of people are turned off by the vulgarity of it. And I don't mean the vulgarity of the vulgarities. I mean the vulgar tenor of it. Easy answers, resentment masquerading as policy.

There is no point in arguing over that; it is what it is.

I'm not fully anti-populist because Hey, it works. To an extent, anyway.

Although Trump's being knocked by the liberal media for offering up "Easy answers," especially easy answers premised on the idea that only Trump knows how to talk with foreign regimes and get results -- I can't help but notice that that was the sum and entirety of Barack Hussein Obama's entire foreign-policy brief for himself, that he knew how to talk to foreign powers, that the very force of his personality would make all the persistent old problems suddenly solvable.

Back then, the media didn't call this an easy answer or a fantasy. Not at all. They embraced this idea and reinforced Obama's claims that "Things will change just because I say they will" by postulating a series of reasons that all hostile/rival foreign powers would just fall in line.

Chief among them: Because of Barack Obama's strong Muslim heritage. (But oh, by the way, if anyone notes this outside of the context of praising him for it, you're a racist.)

So now Trump is similarly promising he's going to change countries' basic behavior simply by saying the right Magic Words. Whereas Obama would appeal to Reason and use his Personal Magnetism, Trump is going to employ his Business Savvy and Toughness to back them down.

I think both men are silly and vain to imagine such power to just order people about.

But the media cannot join me in criticizing Trump for that -- as they expressly and enthusiastically endorsed the idea of President as Speaker of Magic Words in the case of Barack Hussein Obama.

My worry with Trump is twofold: First, by making such a ferociously populist pitch, he's going to find himself dividing the party, maybe too much to be patched back together when it needs to be. Too many people see populism as a cheap whipping-up of emotion and so don't respect it.

Second: Let's say he wins the presidency.

What the hell does he say to China and Saudi Arabia?

If you think they're just going to be a-scared of him, well, I guess it's all to the good.

If you think they're going to be unimpressed by demagogic theater at their expense, and inclined towards payback, that's something else.

I don't even object to Trump's populist appeal to tariffs. I've never been fully sold on the idea that free trade benefits us whether our partners reciprocate or not.

But calling out the "face"-obsessed Chinese leadership as "motherf***ers" to be bossed around? Doesn't he know, at least, the conventional wisdom read on the Chinese mentality that if you back them into a corner with no face-saving escape route, they dig in their heels and will pushback as hard as they're being pushed?

Maybe he doesn't believe that. But I'm not sure if he's really even aware of it. It's one thing to Know the Rule but decide the Rule Is Wrong. It's another thing to just violate the rule because you didn't even know the rule.

Oh --one last thing. Despite the worries I have here, I have to admit, I like it.

The power of populism. It's appealing on a gut level.

Here's My Bigger Problem: A populist is well-placed to run as an independent, because populism is a high crossover voter strategy.

The country is in a more populist mood than it's been since the 30s.

If Trump wins the Republican primary -- which he just might; this is canny politics -- then we become a populist party, not a conservative one. He's already rejected the Ryan plan. (I assume he'll use "common sense" on our budget and entitlement woes, whatever that means.)

But a populist can't cross "the people." That means, if Trump wins, another eight years of simply allowing our financial situation to deteriorate into nothing.

And I wouldn't put much stock in his "Look, I said it" position on social issues, either.

And if he doesn't win, he's plausibly positioned to run as an independent, which can only hurt us. There's a 5% chance he pulls about equally from both parties, and a 95% chance he pulls mostly from Republicans.

That means, with 95%+ confidence, a second term for Obama should he run as an independent.

Longer clip, without real video, here:

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posted by Ace at 12:24 PM

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