Finneran: Trump Beats Trump
Friday, August 05, 2016
This may go down as the week when Donald Trump was beaten by Donald Trump. At least “little Marco” did not have such a big uncontrollable mouth. Like it or not for the Donald, the campaign is no longer akin to a reality television show where the object of the game is to “entertain” with ever more outrageous antics.
We’re down to two candidates not ten and the fight is for the presidency. People get pretty darn serious about presidential elections and heaven knows, there’s an awful lot to be very serious about.
I give the Donald lots of political credit for his victorious march through the Republican primaries. He took on a fairly impressive group of candidates including current and former Governors and Senators and he beat them fair and square. He also took on a suffocating atmosphere of political correctness where even the slightest disagreement with elite opinion gets labelled as hate, racism, xenophobia, or homophobia. Good for him for kicking increasingly smug self-appointed “thought leaders” in the shins. Those leaders should know that silence is not assent. Rather, the silence is a warning, to be followed by a sucker punch in the voting booth.
But, after this week, the question must be asked---is Trump so intemperate, so impulsive that he cannot control his mouth? The triggering question comes of course from his verbal feud with Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the grieving parents of an American Muslim soldier killed in Iraq.
Is there a person alive, other than Donald Trump, who would not fall into a respectful silence when informed of the fact of their son’s service and sacrifice? Beyond silence, the particularly thoughtful citizen would express sorrow and sympathy for the Khans’ loss. The politically astute candidate would not only express such sympathy and sorrow but would turn the drama on its head by simply pointing out that Hillary Clinton voted for the Iraq war resolution and that Trump himself has severely criticized the Bush Administration’s decision to launch the war. Trump could very reasonably point out that if there had been no war there would be no casualties.
In addition, if Trump had any advisors who were not simply sycophantic fools, they could have tallied up the body count of Americans murdered in Boston, San Bernardino, Orlando, Fort Hood, and elsewhere as evidence of the need for heightened vetting of all applicants for immigration or asylum, without regard to religion or country of origin. Does anyone out there seriously think that the “documents” one receives from Syria or Libya are legitimate? Those two countries are so badly broken that the notion of a Syrian or Libyan bureau of vital statistics is a sick joke. Does anyone think for a moment that Isis, Al-Qaeda, or numerous Iranian terrorist proxies cannot forge realistic looking documents? There are multiple reasons to argue for a much more stringent vetting process, including the unassailable fact that our “intelligence” is not always reliable. Perhaps we might be lucky enough to bury fewer Americans in the months ahead rather than more.....................................
Back to Trump. I think that he suffers from the same weakness as President Obama, a weakness made evident in their need for yes-men as advisors. By all accounts, President Obama’s White House staff think that he walks on water, that he is brilliant in all matters, and that he has no equal in human history. Such thinking of course is utterly absurd. Similarly absurd is the reported behavior of Trump’s advisors urging him on, to simply “let Trump be Trump”. That’s a recipe for disaster as this past week has shown.
The very best leaders, in politics or business or any other calling or profession, surround themselves with strong smart tough independent thinkers who are not afraid to tell the Emperor that he has no clothes on. Such thinkers will argue forcefully among and between themselves and with the organizational leader in order to give that leader the benefit of rigorous and competing advice. No serious self-aware leader should seek a hallelujah chorus of yes-men around them.
The world tests leaders. Campaigns test aspiring leaders. Trump failed that test this past week. The exam period is not yet over and he has time to recover. But each week is crucial, each day presents its own quiz. With less than one hundred days left Trump has no time to waste. And every minute spent in front of the mirror is a minute lost forever.
Mirror, mirror, on the wall............who’s the dumbest of them all? This past week, the Donald won that dubious prize.
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