January 27th, 2016

The art of the insult, and power: “Why can’t Trump handle Megyn Kelly?”…

…is the wrong question to be asking, I think.

But Ashe Schow was asking it (or at least, whoever wrote the headline was asking it), shortly before the news that Trump had decided to go through with his threat to boycott the debate on Thursday:

Republican front-runner and businessman Donald Trump is now threatening to boycott the upcoming GOP debate if host Fox News doesn’t remove Megyn Kelly as a moderator….

…his ongoing comments and actions toward Kelly are troubling.

How will Trump handle a hostile press if he is president?…[W]ill he just shut them out?…

As I wrote yesterday, I think Trump’s move makes him look weak, but I am well aware that his supporters think it makes him look strong. I wonder how many of the former there are and how many of the latter—and whether, even if more numerous, the votes of the former will remain split in the primaries among the many candidates.

However, those are separate issues. The question here is how Trump would handle a hostile press if president.

The answer to Schow’s question is actually rather obvious, I think. Although there are a lot of unknowns about what Trump would do (and/or be able to do) as president, as well as how he would go about trying—on the issue of Trump’s handling of adversity and criticism there is an embarrassment of riches in terms of evidence from the past. And unless Trump had some sort of personality transplant after an election, we could predict his reaction based on past experience, which is that he would insult whoever criticizes him, and he would do it without shame or apology, and he would do it in the most personal terms he believed he could get away with. And he knows from past experience that he can get away with a great deal of it, so the more pointed, personal, and below-the-belt the better.

Even as president, I don’t see him as dependent on the press. He would go directly to the people—via Twitter or other social platforms—and he would ridicule and/or try to hurt the reputation and career of anyone whose comments about him he didn’t like. I don’t see this as any sort of mystery. Obama has done something like this, but Trump would make Obama look like Emily Post.

I don’t see it as strength, but it is about power (they are not synonymous), and certainly it is for Trump. And Trump—who is almost entirely about power (money and success just being a way to get it)—plays the game Trump’s way:

For many years I’ve said that if someone screws you, screw them back. When somebody hurts you, just go after them as viciously and as violently as you can.”

There is a decades-long history of Trump acting out this credo. I’m not going to waste a lot of time listing the number of people he’s insulted and the ways in which he’s done it. It’s all out there. There’s a certain repetitiousness to it: his favorite words, historically speaking (for both men and women, by the way), have been “dummy,” “moron,” and “loser.”

But sometimes he’s a lot more creative, as with this charmer about Ariana Huffington:

Ariana Huffington is unattractive both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man- he made a good decision.

Trump doesn’t just shoot from the hip, either. He has purposefully adopted the insult as a way to intimidate people who question or criticize him, and he knows it unnerves them. He counts on their own more polite values to protect him from their returning the insult in kind, but he is also confident that they will never win that game against him, because he will hit them back twice as hard, and his insults have no bottom—he will go as low as he needs to.

This: “When somebody hurts you, just go after them as viciously and as violently as you can” is a clue to which we need to pay attention, and not just in terms of insults. So far in his life, Trump has had power, but it’s been the power of the purse and of celebrity in addition to his brash mouth. If he were to become president, though—now, that would be power. He would not hesitate to use it—to insult anyone he wishes, or to shut out the press if he deems that best in a particular circumstance, or to otherwise destroy anyone who gets in his way. I don’t know what limits he would place on that; whether it would be agencies like the NSA or the IRS he would use against enemies, or whether it would be more. I’ve not heard much from him about protecting liberty or the importance of the rule of law, with the exception of Second Amendment rights. If his attitude towards Kelo is any indication, he’s all for using the government to muscle people into doing what he wants.

And if you think he’ll only use his power to do what you’d like him to do, so that makes it okay, then I think you’re very dangerously naive.

96 Responses to “The art of the insult, and power: “Why can’t Trump handle Megyn Kelly?”…”

  1. Ymarsakar Says:

    Trump can’t even deal with a Fox News woman, but thinks he and his backers are better than Hussein Obola.

    A lot of the Alternative Right thinks of American Republicans and conservatives as weak, because you’re part of the “old generation” and the “old paradigm”. They are of the new.

    But I always knew, new doesn’t better. It just means different. They do not see what I have seen. They have never seen what I have seen, no matter how “new” they think they are. The old ways and power of Death still exists, irregardless of how much time passes. Psychological warfare isn’t new or old, it just is. They are not superior at it than the Left, and the Left isn’t necessarily superior at it than anyone else either.

  2. Ymarsakar Says:

    Trump doesn’t just shoot from the hip, either. He has purposefully adopted the insult as a way to intimidate people who question or criticize him, and he knows it unnerves them. He counts on their own more polite values to protect him from their returning the insult in kind, but he is also confident that they will never win that game against him, because he will hit them back twice as hard, and his insults have no bottom—he will go as low as he needs to.

    A laughable weakness, overall.

    The Left’s victories were also obtained because one side was waging war and the other side was out buying ice cream. But this is not the era of that any more.

    Trump, like other aggressive expansionist businessmen, sharks, and people of the “Deal”, believe in being aggressive. In having a better offense than defense, in that one only needs a good offense, no defense required.

    For warriors, soldiers, and students of the Art of War, they can always tell you that it is not so simple. It never is.

  3. T Says:

    [Trump] has purposefully adopted the insult as a way to intimidate people who question or criticize him, and he knows it unnerves them. He counts on their own more polite values to protect him from their returning the insult in kind, . . . [Neo]

    Sounds just like a description of the mainstream media complex tactics for the past several decades. I think you are correct in describing this as a Trump power play. What I admire is that he’s clearly giving the media and the establishment a dose of their own medicine. One might argue that he seems, at times, adolescent. I agree, but then again he’s dealing with a media know for a notoriously adolescent mindset. Fire with fire and all that.

    Can this be used in ways I don’t like? You betcha, will it if he becomes president? probably more than I would like, but who else other than Cruz is willing to do this at all?

    It will be an interesting primary season.

  4. Cornhead Says:

    Constant drama if we get Trump for four years.

    This is all WWE and a reality show.

    I don’t want it.

    And don’t dismiss unilateral military action against some country for some petty slight. He’s unstable. He can’t have his finger on our nukes.

    Expect third place in Iowa. Ted wins going away. Rubio or Carly second.

  5. Roy Lofquist Says:

    Cornhead, I think you nailed it. I was thinking Jerry Springer.

  6. Cornhead Says:

    Jerry Springer was a pioneer and he borrowed much from WWE and WWF.

    He used to be the mayor of Cincy.

  7. DNW Says:

    “Trump … counts on their own more polite values to protect him from their returning the insult in kind, but he is also confident that they will never win that game against him, because he will hit them back twice as hard, and his insults have no bottom—he will go as low as he needs to.

    I’m glad you wrote that. It reminds me of an observation others have made that is worth marking.

    Without my own attempt to peg Trump as either a sincere conservative or a Democrat stalking horse, others have mentioned that his manner seems to have been forged in the predominantly progressive sensibility and no-holds barred environment of New Yawk. The tone was set before he got there. It’s a program and tone relished by the left, except that after striking unprovoked and from ambush, they add the novelty of feigning weakness as well as victimhood when faced with the prospect of retaliation.

    Thus they set the stage themselves. Insofar as Trump expresses contempt for persons, he is merely acting precisely as liberals do habitually, while themselves counting on the fact that their targets will refrain from doing the same; trusting that the internalized inhibitions which the progressive neither shares nor respects … just sees as a convenient weakness in an adversary, will always allow them to spar with a handicapped opponent.

    Trump is what you get when even “conservatives” behave like will to power progressives.

    Those like me, will greatly resent it when for the sake of personal advancement he maligns men who share the principles he ostensibly endorses.

    Others may be forgiven for laughing however when the progressive will-to-power values, the-personal-is-the-political meme, and the “morality”-is-what-you-can-get-away-with cultural chickens finally come home to roost in the hair of the establishment.

    Thomas More’s (actually Robert Bolt’s) devil has already been released. And we will note that Catholicism was virtually illegal for some many decades in England despite More acting the lamb and being the King’s good servant but God’s first.

  8. Cornhead Says:

    The question Megyn Kelly asked was completely fair and legit. He had said such thing. She didn’t ask him who the President of Kafiristan is. And then his whining.

    The guy is an unstable crybaby and bully.

  9. Oldflyer Says:

    Trump is scary. What is even more scary is that there are a lot of people who react as does “T” to Trump.

    Too many people just let their emotions govern their political choices. I, too, am frequently frustrated and disgusted with government and politicans. I also recognize that it could be a lot worse; a whole lot worse.

    Please do not give Trump any power over my life.

  10. ArtfldgrsGhost Says:

    Its a form of i dare you… (to do this cause i want you to do this so that the bad i think that will come from it visits you and i am entertained)… what are you chicken?

    and to those that say comments about insults..
    im sorry, but seeing the left call jews nazis is beyond pale and leagues farther than anything trump has ever said… EVER… what do you want a fake world where the public view hides the crappy truth underneath?

    you think that his speech should be curtailed till he self censors? i am glad i am hearing someone who isnt on the left speak their mind whether i agree or not..

    whatever happened to the concept that i may disagree with what you say but would defend your right to say it, regardless of who said the concept?

    The communists are so cruel, because they impose one taste on everybody, on everything, and who doesn’t comply with their teachings and with their ideology, is very soon labeled pervert, you know, or whatever they want you call it, or counterrevolutionary or whatever.

    And then the censorship itself, that’s not the worst evil.

    The worst evil is — and that’s the product of censorship — is the self-censorship, because that twists spines, that destroys my character because I have to think something else and say something else, I have to always control myself.

    I am stopping to being honest, I am becoming hypocrite — and that’s what they wanted, they wanted everybody to feel guilty, they were, you know…

    And also they were absolutely brilliant in one way, you know: they knew how effective is not to punish somebody who is guilty; what Communist Party members could afford to do was mind-boggling: they could do practically anything they wanted — steal, you know, lie, whatever.

    What was important — that they punished if you’re innocent, because that puts everybody, you know, puts fear in everybody.

    Miloš Forman

    maybe this is why i bristle at such normal thoughts and actions even if for the good, common or individual.

    welcome to the new soviet… just the people dont know that they are and have accepted these ideas to the point that someone who isnt that way, is nasty evil etc…

    You know, you have to really decide where you want to live: if you want to live in the jungle or in the zoo. Because if you want the beauty, if you want freedom, the jungle is… that’s your world…… You want to be safe, you have to live in the zoo….. And you will be surprised how many people prefer to live in the zoo; they are not ready to pay for the freedom; they think that freedom should be, you know, for free, even for granted, which never is, never is. Miloš Forman

    too much here:

    I prefer the jungle. i prefer the majesty of the plains horses vs those kept in stalls… at least in the jungle losers through collusion could not stop my fire, clip my wings, etc…

    Guns N’ Roses – Welcome To The Jungle

  11. ArtfldgrsGhost Says:

    i give up, even when trying to be short, long winded greats i cant quote kill me… sorry i give up…

  12. ConceptJunkie Says:

    Cornhead, I hope you’re right about Iowa. My gut has been saying the same thing, but you are a lot more deeply informed than my gut.

    We need someone to stand up to the media and not take their crap, but we don’t need someone who does it like Trump is doing. We already have Obama to be petulant and petty and insult everyone except the people who might actually deserve it.

    Support for Trump is about payback. We shouldn’t want payback (even if it’s deserved, and it is). We should want to start making things right.

  13. Janetoo Says:

    “Expect third place in Iowa. Ted wins going away. Rubio or Carly second” Cornhead

    I sure hope this is right!

  14. expat Says:

    I remember very clearly the crap that was shovelled out against Bush by the foreign media and its American enablers. How would Trump react when he got some criticism from Der Spiegel, the Guardian, or even Paris Match? And is he capable of understanding that his response could turn whole populations against their leaders who are trying to work with us? Foreign affairs is a bit more complicated than building a golf course in Scotland, and unfortunately, we would be the ones who would pay the bill when he fails.
    He is more than a crybaby and a bully. He is also an ignoramus.

  15. Cornhead Says:


    Nebraska and Iowa are different but both have a Midwestern sensibility. Not New York values, for sure.

    As an Omaha Catholic (Jesuit educated) I find the influence of Christian pastors foreign to me. No priest – Jesuit or not – would ever get involved in politics. That being said, generally speaking Christians don’t like the nasty and mean style of Trump; especially against women. Expect Carly to go off on Trump.

    There are 1,600 caucus sites in Iowa. I would hope
    Carly could get 10 per site.

  16. ArtfldgrsGhost Says:

    Do note that since dems have had a much dirtier history in terms of support, action, turnarounds, dirty dealings, collusion, murder, mutilations, etc… they dont want to allow free unsults and such… when they were allowed, they often lost because of them…when they decided to equte truth that is negative with insults, they ended up in control of 90% of the time in the modern era


    Jackson vs. Adams, 1828 / When Andrew Jackson ran against incumbant John Quincy Adams in 1828, it was not pretty

    He and his handlers said Jackson had the personality of a dictator, was too uneducated to be president (they claimed he spelled Europe ‘Urope’), and hurled all sorts of horrible insults at his wife, Rachel. Rachel had been in an abusive marriage with a man who finally divorced her, but divorce was still quite the scandal at the time. The Federalists called her a “dirty black wench”, a “convicted adulteress” and said she was prone to “open and notorious lewdness”.


    Lincoln vs. Douglas, 1860

    Lincoln and his supporters took note of the fact that it took him over a month to get there and even put out a “Lost Child” handbill that said he “Left Washington, D.C. some time in July, to go home to his mother… who is very anxious about him. Seen in Philadelphia, New York City, Hartford, Conn., and at a clambake in Rhode Island. Answers to the name Little Giant. [ ‘Little Giant’ was a potshot at Douglas’ height – he was only 5’4”.]

    Douglas took aim at Lincoln, too, saying he was a “horrid-looking wretch, sooty and scoundrelly in aspect, a cross between the nutmeg dealer, the horse-swapper and the nightman.”


    “Lincoln is the leanest, lankest, most ungainly mass of legs and arms and hatchet face ever strung on a single frame.”


    Cleveland vs. Blaine, 1884

    Cleveland, while still a bachelor, had fathered a child with a widow named Maria Halpin. He fully supported the child. So really, by today’s standards, it probably wouldn’t be that much of a scandal. the Republican party, who supported candidate James Blaine, took this and ran with it. They made up the chant, “Ma! Ma! Where’s my pa?” and used it to taunt Cleveland

  17. Kyndyll G Says:

    I just think the Trump supporters are underestimating the mortal perils of allowing a petty, vicious, immature and self-centered child near superpower weapons, alphabet institutions that can ruin individual people’s lives and international politics, the latter of which is not best served by dispensing offensive personal insults on the slightest whim or disagreement.

    I’m also entirely unconvinced that Trump would use his powers for good. At best, he will wreck the system for his own benefit … and that’s a best-case scenario. That might at least benefit some other people and it would make him marginally better than a President Sanders (who I read as being sufficiently deluded to wreck the system for everybody). As days go by, I become less certain which rules-only-apply-to-little-people, government-overreach administration would be worse – his or Hillary’s. There’s nothing about him that’s conservative – his only bona fide is “IMMIGRATION!!!” and he’s so inconsistent and fickle about every other thing he’s said in public (that didn’t have to do with enriching or empowering himself) why would anyone count on that being something he actually has any intention of acting on after he gets the votes he wants?

  18. K-E Says:

    Now we are worried about how Trump would treat a biased and unrepentant press? What a joke. The press have been in the tank for liberals for years. I would love it if Trump would treat them badly. They deserve it. They left behind any notion of ‘neutrality’ decades ago and chose sides. That is not the press that I am interested in hearing from.

    What is so terrible about someone refusing to answer stupid, biased questions?

    What I am starting to see this election cycle is that the pundits and the press are starting to lose their influence over candidates and elections, and it’s driving them nuts. If this is because of Trump, I say, more please.

  19. Dennis Says:

    I was hoping that Rush Limbaugh would moderate his adoration for Trump, but no such luck. Rush claims he is being neutral but he just shouts and shouts about how wonderful Trump is and how grand he is and how the usual rules don’t apply to Trump, and how Trump is greater than Fox News etc.

    After years of enjoying Rush, I’m so repulsed by his unabashed support for Trump all the while claiming that he is neutral and that he is not promoting him that I have turned Rush off. I tried to listen to Rush at the beginning of his show today and he spent the first segment of the show bragging about how many great people he, Rush knows personally, so that we would know what a great man Rush is and how his opinion of Trump is absolute truth. Rush is always bragging about himself, but now that he has Trump as his buddy, Rush has escalated his braggadocio as if he and Trump are dueling egos seeming who can brag about themselves the most. My wife is still listening to Rush but I refuse to be in the same room while Rush is on.

  20. Cornhead Says:


    At some point Trump will be exposed as to how he has PERSONALLY BENEFITED from illegal immigration.

    A person cannot build a real estate, hotel and golf course empire without hiring illegal aliens.

    This is so, so obvious to me. Only surprised it hasn’t already been done. October surprise by the Dems if he wins.

    You read it here first.

  21. Cornhead Says:


    Agree. All about how Trump is above the media. Just answer the questions and quit whining.

  22. Papa Dan Says:

    I will not vote for Trump, but can accept that he may become president.

    If he does succeed, it presents us with an opportunity to return constitutional power back to congress. The democrats, republicans, and the press will fight against a strong executive in Donald Trump.

    It’s a thin hope, but it’s all I got . . .

  23. neo-neocon Says:


    No, we are not “worried” about how he would treat the press. We are describing how he would treat the press, how he treats all other human beings who cross him, and how he would treat YOU if you were to get in his way, and we are more than “worried” about that.

  24. neo-neocon Says:

    Papa Dan:

    You write “democrats, republicans, and the press will fight against a strong executive in Donald Trump.”

    I have no idea why you say that. I see people as weak, for the most part, and do not want to fight back against a bully and thug in power. I see people already starting to suck up to him and fail to challenge him. They are afraid of what he will do to them if he wins, and they want to get on his good side.

    That’s how it operates. Most people in those positions are not heroes. They may dislike Trump, but they want access to power and they want to stay in favor with power.

    That’s why the Founders tried to put brakes in the system to prevent that sort of power. The people could stop it if they wanted to, by the power of the vote, but the people seem to want it now, too. Many on the left want a dictator of the left, and many on the right want a dictator of the right.

  25. Cornhead Says:

    What about all the citizens Trump doesn’t like or he thinks have been unfair to him? IRS FBI EPA OSHA ATF SS DOJ.

  26. Glen H Says:

    Ashe Schow is a she, and not incidentally one of the best reporters out there.

  27. neo-neocon Says:

    Kyndyll G:

    You write, ” As days go by, I become less certain which rules-only-apply-to-little-people, government-overreach administration would be worse – his or Hillary’s.”

    You have described my situation. It’s not a pretty prospect, is it?

  28. sdferr Says:

    If he does succeed, it presents us with an opportunity to return constitutional power back to congress. The democrats, republicans, and the press will fight against a strong executive in Donald Trump.

    Forgive my doubts Papa Dan, but I honestly believe that Trump is a statist no different than the widest run of both Democrats and Republicans in office today — though I acknowledge there are a few exceptions, such as Sen. Cruz, Sen. Sasse, Sen. Paul, Sen. Rubio (to some extent), and a few others. Trump’s just a man of his times, our times, and the run of the mill political philosophical opinion is decidedly statist: hence the overwhelming status quo ante we fight to escape.

  29. Lurch Says:

    I must admit that I did flirt with Trump, thinking that such a disruptive force could possibly be the only hope we have. I have sobered up, however, and there must be many, many such as myself out there. (When will Dilbert come to his senses?)

    (Note, Neo. It is still OK to use commas…)

  30. PatD Says:

    Scott Adams wrote:

    Donald Trump says he won’t appear at the upcoming debate on FOX if Megyn Kelly is a moderator, and as of this writing, it appears she will be. Some of you asked me how this move by Trump could possibly be a smart thing.

    On the 2D playing field, Trump appears petulant and whiney. Maybe narcissistic, fascist, and a little bit of Hitler too. And as FOX cleverly pointed out, negotiating with foreign leaders won’t be easier than Megyn Kelly’s questions.

    So Trump loses badly in the second dimension.

    Let’s shift to the third dimension and see if the view is different. For starters, tell me what you learned about all the other candidates today.


    Trump sucked the oxygen out of the room. Again. And the issue – as always – is something we can jabber about forever. It is jabber-ready by design, so the media and the public will have no time and no brain cycles left to consider his competition.

    Admit it – you already think the competition on the Republican side has narrowed to Trump versus Trump. If he stumbles, he loses. If he doesn’t, he wins. But the other candidates and all of their money will not change anything. The presidency is 100% in Trump’s hands to win or lose.

    And he hasn’t stumbled (in the 3rd dimension of persuasion) in six months of continuous media attention.

    Now keep in mind that one of Trump’s signature moves involves creating situations in which he has two or more paths to win, and no paths to lose. He wins AT THE START by picking his battles.

    For example, when Trump warned Iran to return the American prisoners, he won no matter what happened. If Iran released the prisoners, Trump would say he influenced it. They did, and he did. If Iran had delayed, Trump would have used it as yet another reason you need a tough guy to deal with them. He had two paths to winning and no path to losing.

    And it is intentional. I have a similar (but far worse) skill set, and I would have made that play as well.

    Adam’s analysis is deeper than Schow’s and he has been tracking Trump for a while. He doesn’t support Trump per se,

    People keep asking me to demonstrate my lack of bias by pointing out some of Trump’s mistakes. The problem is that Trump has a skill set that absorbs mistakes and turns them into whatever he wants them to be. That’s his system.

    At the outset of this brouhaha, Trump would have set up his strategy so he wins no matter what. If Fox buckled, and removed Kelly, Trump wins. If Fox stands firm, Trump can renege on his threat, and do the debate, but the moderators will avoid their planned attacks on him. If Fox attacks him, he say “Bye-bye”, turning the debate into a low-rating Kiddy Table 2. He rubs salt into the wound by staging a fund raising rally for Wounded Warriors that will be covered by other networks. Fox did not prepare for the possibility that Trump would walk away from the debate. Moreover, as Adams notes:

    Now let’s say you are Donald Trump, the scariest Republican that any Democrat has seen in ages. What is the one best thing he can do to separate himself from the Republican machine and show that he can be a deal-maker for everyone? Answer: Punch FOX News in the mouth. Right in front of you.

    Democrats are watching. Trump is framing himself as an enemy of their enemy. (Democrats hate FOX News.)

    What does this say about Trump as President? He will figure out a way to get his agenda implemented. It won’t be by insulting people, though he would likely let loose some zingers. It is because he will use his complete skill set, what Adam’s calls his Talent Stack:

    This brings me to Donald Trump, of course. What I saw in him back in August – aside from his persuasion skills – is a talent stack that is optimized for exactly what he is doing right now.

    Individually, most of his skills are average or a bit above. But viewed as a whole…holy shit. Let’s take a look at Trump’s talent stack.

    1. Raw intelligence (opinions vary, but smart enough)

    2. Business skills (plenty of failures, but better at business than most of us)

    3. Public speaking skills (He’s no Martin Luther King, but very good)

    4. Vocabulary and speaking (4th-grade vocabulary but still effective)

    5. Ability to withstand criticism (Thin-skinned at times, but very good)

    6. Sense of humor (Good, but not Seinfeld)

    7. Negotiating technique (Great, but lots of people are great negotiators.)

    8. Strategy (Great lately, but not always great in the past)

    I could go on, but you see my point that Trump is a collection of good-but-not-special skills that sum up to something powerful.

    Neo-neocon seems to think that because Trump comes across as a nasty piece of work, he will use anything and everything for self-aggrandisement while destroying anyone who stands in his path. Sort of like Obama.

    I see the braggart who told New York city that he would build their skating rink for free, and get it done on time and under budget, which he did. He’s already outlined some of the biggest things he will tackle, such as building a wall, sending illegals home, halting Muslim immigration, and tackling our enormous trade and debt problems. He gets his kicks from his achievements.

    I won’t be watching the GOP debate; I’ll be at the Met enjoying Cav/Pag. Even if I was at home, I’d be watching CNN.

  31. DirtyJobsGuy Says:

    I’m thinking that a lot of this is related to his TV show and it’s impact on the public. If you look at every show with a CEO angle in movies are TV they are all shady, unattractive characters who behave much like Trump. To Trump’s supporters they see him as a tool to work in that world.

    BUT (the eternal big but), most of the world’s business is not like that. CEO’s live in a tough world but most of that involves what product to develop, how to reduce costs and comply with new government rules. Engaging in high stakes no holds barred negotiations is and exception. People (unlike Trump evidently) have to work with their business partners in the future. Trust is a very high part of the package. The US and other Western companies work well because we are high trust societies. Middle eastern and other businesses rely on family and crony connections because they are in low trust societies.

    Trump is a true anomaly in the business world. As Barry Diller said on Bloomberg recently, he would have walked across the street to avoid Donald many years ago just as today.

  32. neo-neocon Says:

    Glen H:

    Thanks for the correction. I will fix the post to reflect that.

  33. Sharon W Says:

    Kyndall G “As days go by, I become less certain which rules-only-apply-to-little-people, government-overreach administration would be worse – his or Hillary’s.”
    Really?? You can only come to this conclusion based on your prior sentence, “I’m also entirely unconvinced that Trump would use his powers for good.”
    If the last 7 years of this administration haven’t proven to you the destructiveness possible under the Democrat party, then I believe you haven’t been paying attention. I’m not going to go down the list. But I will say, listening to my conservative, adult kids, gives me a different perspective than the perspective of those of us in the generation that has a role in handing-off this bag of rocks to our kids. My sons, (one on his way out of the military that he says has been entirely dismantled from its historical framework) will take a chance with Trump rather than the path of destruction that is Hillary, any day of the week. I assure you that if there ever is a President Trump, we will see our Congress and Supreme Court once again discover their role, even being able to come up with the means to challenge Executive Orders.

  34. neo-neocon Says:


    I’ve read a lot of Scott Adams’ writing on Trump. It doesn’t add much for me, although I know a lot of people think highly of what Adams has written.

    What I do is look at Trump’s record, both of his successes and his failures. I look at his personality, and his actions in the past. That’s how I judge what he is likely to do with more power in the future—political power, which he’s never had before.

    Prior to this, he has had plenty of power: over his money, his celebrity status, and his ability to praise or insult, embarrass or reward, help his financial holdings or hinder them, and that sort of thing. If president, he will hold the most powerful office in the world, and what’s more it will be a difference in kind rather than just quantity from the power he has had before. Every indication is that he will press the envelope and will not hold back to use power against those he deems his enemies. And his enemies are anyone who thwarts him or criticizes him.

    I cannot say for sure I am correct, of course. But this is my judgment, based on a lot of facts and study of his words and deeds. I don’t find that Scott Adams has ever added anything to my understanding of Trump. He describes a powerful person and how he operates in the world, and how some people react to him, and why and how he wins the support of a lot of people, and why those people continue to feel that way.

    I don’t think those things are so mysterious, knowing how power tends to work.

  35. DNW Says:

    “No priest – Jesuit or not – would ever get involved in politics. ”

    Was that facetious?

    If someone doesn’t beat me to the punch: Drinan.

    And what’s with Neo and her Jesuit flock? Upper South and Midwest Jesuit and Ivy League types.

    What an unusual demo.

  36. neo-neocon Says:

    Sharon W:

    The choice at the moment is not between Hillary and Trump. It is between Trump and the other Republicans. Trump is the very worst and riskiest choice among them, IMHO, and that’s saying quite a bit because I really think very little of a few (like Bush, for example).

    As for the rest, and your “assurances” about what Congress and SCOTUS would do–

    The following is an excerpt from Milton Mayer’s They Thought They Were Free. The book, first published in 1955, is an exploration of Germans’ attitudes in the period leading up to WWII and including the war and its immediate aftermath. It features interviews with ten “typical” Germans, conducted a couple of years after the war’s end, and offers extraordinary and often relevant insights into how it was that Hitler came to power and stayed there so long.

    Here is my general discussion of the book and its author, who was a man of the left. To understand the following excerpt, it is helpful to know that for the purposes of the book, Mayer refers to the ten interviewees as his “friends”:

    National Socialism was a repulsion of my friends against parliamentary politics, parliamentary debate, parliamentary government—against all the higgling and the haggling of the parties and the splinter parties, their coalitions, their confusions, and their conniving. It was the final fruit of the common man’s repudiation of “the rascals.” Its motif was “throw them all out.” My friends, in the 1920’s, were like spectators at a wrestling match who suspect that beneath all the grunts and groans, the struggle and the sweat, the match is “fixed,” that the performers are only pretending to put on a fight. The scandals that rocked the country, as one party or cabal “exposed” another, dismayed and then disgusted my friends…

    While the ship of the German State was being shivered, the officers, who alone had life preservers, disputed their prerogatives on the bridge. My friends observed that none of the non-Communist, non-Nazi leaders objected to the 35,000 Reichsmark salaries of the cabinet ministers, only the Communists and the Nazis objected. And the bitterest single disappointment of Nazism…was the fact that Hitler had promised that no official would get more than 1,000 Reichsmarks a month and did not keep his promise.

    My friends wanted Germany purified. They wanted it purified of the politicians, of all the politicians. They wanted a representative leader in place of unrepresentative representatives. And Hitler, the pure man, the antipolitician, was the man, untainted by “politics,” which was only a cloak for corruption…Against “the whole pack,” “the whole kaboodle,” “the whole business,” against all the parliamentary parties, my friends evoked Hitlerism, and Hitlerism overthrew them all…

    This was the Bewegung, the movement, that restored my friends and bewitched them. Those Germans who saw it all at the beginning—there were not very many; there never are, I suppose, anywhere—called Hitler the Rattenfänger, the “ratcatcher.” Every American child has read The Pied-Piper of Hamlin. Every German child has read it, too. In German its title is Der Rattenfänger von Hameln

    And no, Trump is not Hitler, nor was Obama, nor is Hillary.

  37. Cornhead Says:


    Fr. Drinan was a long, long time ago. The Pope stopped the practice. Jesuits today are generally liberal but not directly involved in elections. I have never heard a political endorsement once in an Omaha church.

    When I went to DM to see Ted, there must have been 100 pastors in the audience. I was shocked. No priests. And it was a rally for religious freedom.

  38. DNW Says:

    neo-neocon Says:
    January 27th, 2016 at 2:42 pm


    No, we are not “worried” about how he would treat the press. We are describing how he would treat the press, how he treats all other human beings who cross him, and how he would treat YOU if you were to get in his way, and we are more than “worried” about that.”

    As much as I enjoy seeing Trump grind the faces of the obnoxious, the problem is that he does not seek allies among his ostensible ideological kindred, but followers.

    We need – to repeat an earlier theme – men with the sense of honor of a Washington, not an Agamemnon.

  39. K-E Says:

    Okay, so I would like to know from the commenters on here…what if Trump wins the nomination? That is why I cannot exclude Trump completely, nor call him names, nor try to tear him down. Reason 1: He could win. Reason 2: I think a lot of the criticism is fueled by fear/dislike for his character rather than facts.

    If he wins, are you all going to sit out? Vote for the Democrat? Even Hillary? Is Trump so awful, so terrible, that you are willing to let someone else take over at the White House?

    I am not in that boat I am not afraid of a Trump presidency. I can find things in him to like. I can also decide to believe him when he says “Make America Great Again.” I may not like verything he talks about, but the big stuff is good.

    So I just want to know. What is the purpose of tearing him to shreds? Hoping more people will vote for your guy? Well, guess what? That has not happened. In the months and months of campaigning, complaining, finger pointing, etc. Trump is still ahead. So I am ready to be supportive. Are you?

    The majority of voters, right now, seem to want Trump.

    If it were any other candidate with the percentages Trump has, we’d be declaring the primary practically over and looking to the convention and talking about squashing the Democrat. Instead, we have all of this (blogs, news, etc.) going on.

    Anyway, just had to get it out.

  40. Eric Says:

    “the Left isn’t necessarily superior at it than anyone else either.”

    The Left’s activism is necessarily superior to anyone who concedes the activist game and meekly allows the Left an open field to run up the score.

    Unfortunately, that’s usually the case with mainstream conservatives of the Right (who instead of self-correcting by adopting the necessary activism to compete sufficiently, chronically blame the GOP for the harm caused by conservatives’ own negligence).

    The alt-Right, as competitors, is merely echoing the Left’s proven method in order to exploit the same blatantly obvious weakness that mainstream conservatives consciously, stubbornly refuse to fix.

    Otherwise, you’re correct.

    The activist game is not the Left’s game. It just seems like that due to the self-defeating negligence of the Right. It’s the people’s game, and it’s effective for anyone for any cause, whether contra the Left, the Right (as repeatedly proved), or the alt-Right.

    For example, see this 2016-oriented advice from a March 2013 comment here at Neo’s, in the immediate wake of the 2012 election. Mainstream conservatives obviously did not follow it. I didn’t expect they would based on my frustrating experience as a counter-Left activist who was compelled to pull against the drag of conservatives. We would not have won if not for the anti-left liberals on our team. Except for a few valuable exceptions, the conservatives on our team complained a lot about the Left but were poorly effective in the arena.

    Incredibly, even this late faced with the clear consequences of their long negligence, mainstream conservatives are still self-handicapping in the only social cultural/political game there is.

    You’re right that the Left isn’t necessarily superior at activism than anyone else. The Left is beatable, more so because (at least in my experience) they’ve not been compelled to evolve versus competent competition. It’s easy to be superior at a game, and win it, when your opponent consciously chooses to lose by not playing as needed to win.

    As soon as the mainstream conservatives of the Right choose – truly commit – to playing the activist game to win, they can. Otherwise, they’ll constantly invite obsolescence so that even a fringe challenge from the Trump-front alt-Right can make out-sized progress against the Right’s open, self-inflicted weakness.

  41. sdferr Says:

    Phrases like “Trump is still ahead” and “seem to want Trump” are more or less vapor, at least from the point of view of the decided opinion which primary vote casting in N.H. or Iowa caucusing will reveal.

    The questions yet to be determined about Mr. Trump are rather wider: what are his substantial views of the Constitution; or of politics in the widest possible sense, that is not in the sense of mere partisan campaigning, but in the sense of the acknowledgment of power; whether power fundamentally belongs to the governed and is merely loaned to the governors as temporary stewards, or on the contrary belongs on the most fundamental level to those who wield power in action and not to those upon whom it acts. We sometimes formulate that question in the terms “government of laws and not men”, but we see there the distinct possibility of government of men (Kings, Lords, etc.) rather than procedures (Laws).

  42. DNW Says:

    Cornhead Says:
    January 27th, 2016 at 3:18 pm


    Fr. Drinan was a long, long time ago. The Pope stopped the practice. Jesuits today are generally liberal but not directly involved in elections. I have never heard a political endorsement once in an Omaha church.

    When I went to DM to see Ted, there must have been 100 pastors in the audience. I was shocked. No priests. And it was a rally for religious freedom.”

    I’ll pass on commenting on the present day American Catholic Church, or perhaps, “establishment”.

    On a (A-T informed moderate realism) philosophy blog I occasionally visited, an anti-Aristotelian/anti-virtue ethics poster lobbed what he thought was a rhetorical bomb, by sarcastically linking to a “Real Catholic” Internet personality. “You want real Catholic? Look in this mirror. How do you like this bigotry?”, was implied.

    The name of the site or Youtube videos has changed, but anyone wanting to look at the current state of internal political affairs in the RC Church may find this of some interest.

  43. raf Says:

    … I don’t know what limits he would place on that; whether it would be agencies like the NSA or the IRA he would use against enemies, or whether it would be more….

    Trump is of Dutch ancestry, right? If he can get the Irish Republican Army to do his dirty work, does that make him a great international diplomat?

    IRS? Oh. Never mind.

  44. T Says:


    and specifically what did I write in my 1:39 post that you find “scary”?

  45. DNW Says:

    K-E Says:
    January 27th, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    Okay, so I would like to know from the commenters on here…what if Trump wins the nomination? That is why I cannot exclude Trump completely, nor call him names, nor try to tear him down. Reason 1: He could win. Reason 2: I think a lot of the criticism is fueled by fear/dislike for his character rather than facts. “

    Well. you have summed the crux of the matter up pretty well K-E; because what is in contention is whether it is Trump’s superficial personality traits that have people alarmed, or his moral and ethical character.

    (I figure you probably actually meant to say “personality” or something like it)

    What has people worried is that they think that his braggadocio and egotism are not just showmanship, or spme less than substantive personality quirk, but deeply defining character traits.

    One would think that after having “arrived” he would begin to audit himself, assess his approach, and behave in a somewhat more statesman-like if not especially respectful manner at least as regards his “fellow” Republicans.

    Ok it’s ok to mock Jeb and Pataki but really …

  46. neo-neocon Says:


    Oops! Will fix.

  47. Janetoo Says:

    I can’t vote for Hilary or Sanders. I just can’t.

  48. neo-neocon Says:

    K-E; DNW:

    It is all of the above, and more—it is his character (which used to be something conservatives and most American cared about in a president, because it was considered inextricably linked with how the person would function as president, but no more), and it is also based on the facts of what he has done to people in the past.

    For example, I offered part of the transcript of a Megyn Kelly show, where she talks about something his lawyer is supposed to have done (see this) in terms of threats to a reporter who had reported a story about Trump that insulted him. This lawyer apparently did do this; at any rate, he seems to have apologized for it. You might say “lawyers are lawyers,” but this is what the lawyer is supposed to have done to the reporter:

    He said, quote, “I will make sure that you and I meet one day.” This is if you publish it. While we’re in the courthouse. “And then I will take you for every penny you still don’t have and I will come after your “Daily Beast” and everyone else that you possibly know. So, I’m warning you, tread very f-ing lightly because what I’m going to do to you is going to be f-ing disgusting. You understand me?” And went on to say, “I’m going to mess your life up as long as you’re on this f-ing planet,” and on it went on from there.

    Now, you might say that’s business as usual. Perhaps it is; I don’t think it’s quite standard, although lawyers of powerful men certainly often threaten to sue. That is what citizen Trump does to people who criticize or thwart him (and of course, there’s his documented behavior in Scotland to the people who wouldn’t sell to him, which I wrote about in a previous post).

    There are legions of stories like this about Trump. He tells some of them himself. He admits that he takes revenge on people who get on his bad side; he glories in it and brags about it.

    That isn’t a simple case of not liking his language or his taste in decor. It’s much more.

    Hey, let’s make a power-mad thug president! Especially when we have other choices right now on the Republican side.

  49. Cindy Says:

    Pretty much what I was thinking. Not only will the press and his political opposition be bombarded constantly with irrelevant insults, but can you imagine what he might say about Putin or some other foreign dignitary when he isn’t pleased with things? Wars have been fought over a lot of strange things, but I think the next one America gets dragged into might be the very first to start over one man’s comment about another’s pectoral muscles. That sounds like a joke, and I’m laughing, but it’s really very scary to contemplate.

  50. ArtfldgrsGhost Says:

    Let me know if you guys find the saint your looking for, and if they get on the bill to run for election… nice to want something that isnt there, but silly… you have to select from what you have, not what you wish you have…

    maybe its not being dumb or such, maybe its knowing that trump likes to thumb his nose at the incompetenece of government… think the rink

    but more interesting… the dems dont hold the high idiotic standards and meaningless arguments the perinial losers that are the republicans since the end of WWII..

    Obama said that if they bring a knife he brings a gun, and you guys are complaining that a person benefited from something that they dont support in a society that offers it and you have no choice to have it. like illegal immigrants…

    its asinine… really…
    its throwing meaningless emotional and spurious arguments at the wall to see what sticks…

    why? because your asking him to fail in the reality he lives in for a moral point you want him to meet before he ever knew he would run for president!!!!

    yeah, pot smoking didnt hurt obama, but what if trump admitted to it from college?

    you live in a very liberal city where the dems have contrelled things for 100 years and you ask him to fail to succeed today.. and if he did that, what would he do to be part of the game today? you would never know him..

    so many levels of stupid in this kind of argument
    not to mention that most of the descriptions your getting and seeing are created by the media who hates him (though will cash in on him if they can as he did on them), and more.

    i met the man personally a few times, and out of the billionaires i met, he was the most personable, and the most accessible… he was polite and was at least nice enough to pretend he met me before the second time.. the only others that ever did that in the milieu i was in was the hilton famly and nikki their daughter… the owner of the daily news was an ass, bloomberg saw through everyone.. the hearsts were ok to hang out with, and the clintons (not the presidential family) were greedy malcontents who wanted everything for free just cause they were related.
    [edited for length by n-n]

  51. DirtyJobsGuy Says:

    I would like every trump supporter to make one clarification in their comment.

    Do they:

    1) Think Trumps public actions and language are the real trump

    2) Think Trump’s public actions are for show only. The real private man is much different.

    For me, the idea that a candidate would behave like Trump yet be totally different in private is virtually impossible. In general, Political candidates like to appear more in control, refined, considerate, thoughtful in the campaign than they may actually be. After all the voters are usually looking for these characteristics.

  52. Sharon W Says:

    Neo, in our household we are firmly in the Cruz camp, but we live in Democrat-occupied California, so our votes will not matter. My comment was responding to the Hillary-Trump comparison that Kyndall G made. I just returned from a 4 mile drive to the bank and passed 12 self-styled homeless camps, 3 mattresses thrown out on the parkway, and numerous abandoned store carts–all in a neighborhood where our kids rode bikes and played their sports. Between the ignoring of the laws regarding immigration and the CRA utilization of eminent domain to utterly transform the area where we live and work, we are well-aware of how the government can destroy the fabric of our environment. I understand where you are going with the Mayer quote, but for me personally, while I promised my youngest I would hold my nose and vote for JEB! if he got the nomination, just to keep a Sanders or Hillary from the post, I would personally prefer the crap-shoot of a Trump, rather than keep simmering in this pot that the perpetual Republican-Democrat elites have brewed. For me, the temperature is approaching boiling.

  53. neo-neocon Says:


    You write “the majority of voters right now seem to want Trump.”

    What on earth are you talking about?

    He gets about a third of people who say they are likely to vote in the Republican primaries. His opponents get the other two-thirds.

    In polls, Trump does worse than the other Republicans against Clinton, Sanders, or Biden. Usually, he loses to them, whereas many and even sometimes most of the others win against them.

    I repeat: what on earth are you talking about?

    Oh, and in addition, during many past campaigns, someone with 1/3 of the votes before the primaries even began is not considered a sure thing at all, particularly if there are many other candidates, some of whom will drop out and could easily lend their votes to the opponents of the leader. The winners of Iowa, and of NH in recent years, often don’t win. Remember presidents Huckabee and Santorum, and President Clinton in 2008 (she won NH and many other states, and that was in what was basically a 2-way race).

  54. sdferr Says:

    I haven’t heard anything today said or written as to whether Trump (or his campaign) has responded to Ted Cruz’s challenge to a one on one 90 min debate between now and the Iowa caucuses next Monday. Have any of you others heard of a response? Not that I’d expect anything of the sort, but rather complete silence until after the time has passed, on account that Trump’s nobody’s fool. Still, I wonder whether I’ve missed anything about that.

  55. ArtfldgrsGhost Says:

    I repeat: what on earth are you talking about?

    perception trumps reality cause people think perception IS reality.. its not, its an interretation of reality.. reality is the common thing, our views and such are the perception.. heck, you live at least a partial second in the past and dont even know it. among lots of other things that would blow your mind away between perception and reality.. if perception was the same, there would be no visual illusions that would work

    So the game is to play with perception to ignore reality.. cool? this is why you cant tell whats going on in a society in which the news, media and so on collude to create perception.

    like nash, one has to figure out what is real or not real and so operate on that.. but unlike nash, most of us never have a problem serious enough to even question our perception!!!!

    Roshomon is a live and well and is in your mind…
    [apologies to Kurasawa]

  56. neo-neocon Says:


    I don’t know what your response has to do with what I was saying to K-E, which was simply that the available numbers don’t back up his claim.

    K-E is free to believe most people prefer Trump, but there’s no evidence of it. K-E stated it as though it were a known fact.

  57. neo-neocon Says:


    Cruz has started a website for the challenge, referring to Trump as “Ducking Donald.”

    My guess is that Trump will ignore him and it will blow over. Or, that Trump will mock him in some way. Or say he’s got better things to do. Or some such.

    It won’t matter to Trump’s supporters. It will be a another sign of his superior power and strength and the weakness of all who challenge him.

  58. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Fears of an abusive Pres. Trump require the assumption that Congress would not, eagerly embrace the opportunity to impeach Trump for his abuse of power. What basis is there for the assertion that the required votes to impeach could not be easily obtained?

  59. neo-neocon Says:

    Geoffrey Britain:

    Impeachment is one thing. But as Clinton proved, it’s conviction that matters.

    That’s a high bar. A President Trump could threaten or bribe enough members of the Senate that it wouldn’t happen. It is something he would have no hesitation whatsoever to do.

    Almost unlimited money, almost unlimited power, and a personality to match. What could go wrong?

  60. OlderandWheezier Says:

    A Trump victory over the other GOP contenders could be seen as a sign of the mounting frustration of conservative voters in this country, a strike against tainted media, or the rejection of “business as usual.” But given the reported and substantiated accounts of Trump’s behavior, and the despotic wielding of his wealth and celebrity over the past decade or so, it just might be a sign that enough conservatives and Republicans have finally managed to slink to the level of Democrats.

  61. sdferr Says:

    Thanks neo-neocon. Good info.

  62. sdferr Says:

    For thems that loves ’em polls, here’s another (from a WaPo report I found via Brad Thor tweets). Anecdotally, some Trump supporters harshly denounce these findings.

  63. JuliB Says:

    ““No priest – Jesuit or not – would ever get involved in politics. ” I got your Fr. Pfleger right here. He stays local, but if he ever decided to go national, God help us all.

    Otherwise, most priests do stay out of politics. Conservatives can get in trouble for actively supporting pro-life activities, but the liberals are free to intervene via the USCCB. Sigh…

    Rally for religious freedom? Doubt that any would go. I support a couple of non-Catholic Christian social issues orgs because I hear NOTHING from the Church. We’re too busy worrying about global warming and recycling. Besides, only extreme right-wingers would rally for religious freedom (thinks my bishop).

  64. JuliB Says:

    Hey Neo – does the recent news that HRC would like Obama on the Supreme Court change your point of view about the possibility of skipping the Pres vote?

  65. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    It was conviction in the Senate to which I reffered, as being impeached without conviction would embolden a man like Trump.

    I think it unlikely that Trump could find enough Senators susceptible to bribes or threats to be an effective strategy. And all it would take is one Senator recording the bribe or threat and turning it over to the FBI… for it to seal Trump’s fate.

    Trump could and probably would be disastrous as a President but, if true to his current assertions, given the certain ‘bipartisan’ opposition, abuse of power even on the level of Obama is IMO, unlikely to succeed. Trump, for a variety of reasons, simply could not get away with what Obama has managed.

  66. Jim Says:

    What I dont get is how everyone missed Trump dumping on the evangelical that endorsed Cruz, Van der Plaats. His tweets were some real nasty stuff about an evangelical leader iin Iowa. Does not matter whether all evangelicals agree with the endorsement or not, but they darn sure are going to take offense to what Trump did. This is going to set a fire under those who might have not bothered to go caucus. Not making the debate may have blown that out of awareness nationally but i doubt it did in IOWA. Think my original prediction stands, Cruz wins Iowa, Trump and Rubio in a dead heat for 2nd and 3rd.

    Then we just see if Cruz fights for NH or chucks it and heads south. I know a lot of folks think the South is where Trump is strongest, but I have my doubts. The whole NY values thing was not intended for Iowa or NH.

  67. Ripple Says:

    Ashe Schow is a woman.

  68. Cornhead Says:


    Chicago. ‘Nuff said.

    One thing the Jesuits taught me was to separate the core of the Gospel from the stuff on the side. Yes, there is a liberal political element active in the Catholic Church. And, yes, many profs at Creighton have bought into the global warming scam. And that includes the theology department.

    But I ignore that stuff because it isn’t important and not the core. My mentor, Fr. John Schlegel, always said, “We teach you how to think; not what to think.”

    The above being said, the Jesuit Pope got duped on AGW and that’s because he got outside his area of expertise and is not fully experienced in the ways of the world like a cynic such as me. Groupthink is a powerful thing.

    Cornhead opposes the Pope on AGW. That’s a headline.

    On AGW, Gore predicted the end of the world this month. Wrong.
    The Greens never put a date on the End of the World or it is 2099; after the Pope and Cornhead are dead. That’s the scam.

  69. PatD Says:


    I have not met Trump. I hear he’s reasonable and polite in private. I read that he is always the best prepared when he goes into a meeting.

    The persona that comes across at his rallies is different from the debate persona, at least from the first debate. He had a beef with Kelly for reasons I’ve explained and lashed out at her. She didn’t help herself by being so blatant about gunning for him. I suspect Ailes and Murdoch are not happy now.

    At his rallies he’s warm, humorous and interacts with the crowds, who seem to respond positively. Mark Steyn wrote about his impressions of a Trump rally.


  70. Oldflyer Says:

    T, I took your comments as representing the cohort who continue to support Trump regardless of how outrageous his behavior may be. That there is such a cohort, and that it is measurable proportions, is scary to me. So was the fact that there were enough “true believers” among the American electorate to re-elect BHO in 2012.

    K-E, as Neo has observed, you are creating a straw man. Hopefully, the choice will never only be between Trump and Hillary. At the very worst, I would expect Trump, Hillary and Bloomberg. Bad as that may be, it would be better than your proposition.

  71. neo-neocon Says:


    Trump, like a lot of people—politicians, celebrities, preachers, teachers, what-have-you—has many sides and personae for different situations. Some tyrants of history have been very nice to their employees, to dogs, to their families; some have been horrific to them. A person such as Trump can certainly be charming in a speech—he can even be charming in real life, to employees, to children, whatever.

    It has nothing to do with the subject matter of this post, or how he would act as a president and how he might abuse his power and throw his weight around. For most people who do that sort of thing, it’s done in private. Trump has a history of doing it sometimes in private AND sometimes in public.

  72. neo-neocon Says:


    Thanks; I’ve corrected it. I meant to correct it a while back, but got sidetracked for a bit.

  73. neo-neocon Says:

    Geoffrey Britain:

    It wouldn’t necessarily be a straight money transaction for a bribe. There are many ways to bribe people in politics, and many ways to threaten them. And I don’t have much faith in the FBI any more.

    No president has ever been impeached and convicted. Trump could certainly be the first, but I don’t want to take the risk, and I don’t think it would be likely to happen no matter what he did.

    It’s likelier than Obama or Hillary being impeached/convicted, however, I will grant you that.

  74. OldTexan Says:

    This is an interesting risk that Trump has taken by pulling out of the debate. The upside is that he has dominated the news and will continue to have his name at the top for the rest of this week, no dollars spent and lots of exposure. The person who is leading has the most to lose in a debate if he has the wrong answers to the loaded questions, solution, don’t show up to get chewed on by anyone.

    Who cares if Trump deals himself out, those who have the most to lose if he wins, folks who are leaning his way kind of enjoy this and the ones who don’t like FOX love it, especially if Kelly has about half the viewers of last time and the whole debate becomes a Trump roast in his absence .

    I don’t much care for Trump but his calcualted risk might turn out to gain him a whole lot more points with all the people who are tired of the current state of the union. I see them saying let’s take a chance on this asshole because they like him better than the rest of the choices they have been given.

    In the next few days we will know if Trump turned the final debate into a non-event and if that is a case the rest of the field is toast and the winner is, the guy who was not there.

    All of the comments above, no matter how valid and most of them are, will have no meaning if the voters turn out and support the man who risked not playing by the rules. I have no idea how this will play out in the next few months but I do know we are in for an interesting ride and nothing is like it was. P. T. Barnum rides again.

  75. Irene Says:

    “I have never heard a political endorsement once in an Omaha church.”

    And you never will because they would immediately lose their tax-free status, see, e.g., http://www.christian-attorney.net/church_political_campaign_activity.html

    “Partisan Campaign Support or Opposition Prohibited:

    A church, as a tax-exempt organization under Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) § 501(c)(3), is absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating or intervening in any political campaign in support or opposition to any candidate for elective public office. See Treasury Regulation §1.501(c)(3)—1(c)(3)(iii).

    This prohibition applies to all national (federal), state, or local elective public office campaigns.

    See IRS Revenue Ruling 2007-41 (provides concise summary of law, factors, and 21 situational factual examples covering a wide range of issues within this topic).

    Note: A church pastor or minister may mention a candidate or a near future election but may not speak in favor of (or encourage the congregation to vote for or against) a particular candidate.

    Consequences or Penalty for Violations of Campaign Advocacy Silencing Laws:

    Even a single violation of this law could result in an expensive IRS challenge to (and possible loss of) the church’s tax exemption status.

    But, rarely does a violation result in losing tax exempt status. But it can happen. More frequently, certain tax and other penalties are imposed (example 10% excise tax on the improper expenditure jumping to 100% for failing to correct the violation. Individuals can be penalized as well (See IRC §4955).”

  76. PatD Says:

    @neo-neocon: I was attempting to respond to DirtyJobsGuy .

  77. Rachelle Says:

    After the pathetically weak campaign by Romney and the utterly disgusting lack of effort by first the House and the Senate when handed to the Republicans, I am ready for a wrecking ball to go after the establishment–both parties.

    I am not going to compare Trump to Hitler, but I will compare our degraded, ineffective political class to that of the Weimar Republic that lost the will to protect itself. Finally I understand why the people went to extremes for Communists and Fascists. They were desperate. And the spineless, self-serving, corrupt political class was not an alternative to anything…much like our own political class.

  78. parker Says:

    I am back home after knocking on farm house doors along gravel roads in Delaware and Jones counties. Did not find a single trumpster at the 100+ doors where I could actually talk with a voter. I did find a 23 Carson supporters who indicated they would probably vote for Cruz on caucus night, and 56 who will vote for Cruz.

    trump does not have a ground game in Iowa, that makes me doubt he will come in second, let alone first. His poll support is largely with voters who vote in the general, but rarely (or never) on caucus night.

  79. expat Says:

    While Trump is tweeting the nights away with Megan Kelly and fighting with Ailes, this describes what he is not doing.


    I wouldn’t normally completely trust a Politico piece, but Trump has shown nothing to contradict it. And it’s not as if I would want any one person to be his advisor, but he should be listening to quite a few to learn what his job will entail. Trump is really scary.

  80. blert Says:

    I don’t see Donald as being a horrific president.

    I see him getting utterly destroyed by the MSM — as he is their favorite target to punch — AFTER he’s the GOPe nominee.

    We saw this in 2008 with McCain.

    The Press LOVED McCain. They STILL DO.

    Because his is their TOOL.

    Trump is the opponent that Hillary wants, too.

    She didn’t have a worry in the world — until Sanders and Cruz popped up on her radar.

    What does that tell you?

    Trump is going to pull strongly in those states that are hopelessly lost to the GOP, like my California.

    He is CERTAIN to turn off classic GOP voters in all of the critical swing states. They’ll just stay at home.

    That bloc — alone — is enough to assure a Democrat successor to Soetoro.

    Scott Adams is in the tank for Trump. There’s some grandiosity sloshing through his noggin.

    I don’t agree with JEB! on much — but I do agree with his ad spot: a Trump nomination is a gift to the Democrats.


    The economy is entering another severe downturn — in this Greatest Depression.

    With a viable candidate ( Cruz or Rubio ) the GOP should have a clean path to the White House.

    Trump has been on so many sides of so many issues — that no-one has to force words into his gullet.

    A mere jump-to-video-replay will be sufficient to have Trump self-impeaching — pretty much without end.

    He’s a fundamentally WEAK candidate.

    For me, that’s a deal breaker.

    Dole … and the rest of the GOPe … hates Cruz — and financial sanity — more than a Rodham-Clinton presidency.

    As a ‘chair’ for Bush, he’s not in Rubio’s camp, either… and figures to have done much behind the scenes to keep the GOPe away from Rubio.


    In the meantime, we’re treated to endless smears of Ted Cruz all over the blogs.

    These usually take the form of totally absurd notions contrary to the man — such as being a tool of Silicon Valley, etc.

    The Washington Cartel has activated its Orcs.

  81. neo-neocon Says:


    I strongly agree that if nominated, Trump would not win an election.

    In this post, though, I was looking at the hypothetical of if he did win.

  82. Frog Says:

    The anti-Trump vehemence here has passed the point of reasoned analysis by the large majority of commenters.

    Playing nice has gotten us exactly where? Following the rules, tugging at one’s forelock before the almighty media, has yielded what? We talk about Gramsci, but refuse to do anything but complain.

    Now comes Trump.

    Trump paints with a broad brush. Mexicans and Muslims, for example. Who has a fundamental problem with his remarks on those issues? I said, fundamental.

    We have been so repeatedly and so severely disappointed: Why wasn’t Romney tougher on Obama? And McCain before him? Why is Ryan so valuable? Now someone appears who is tough, and we fear and quibble, find fault in every jot and tittle?

    The anti-Trumps write in the WSJ about the “ignorami” who respond warmly to Trump.

    I much prefer Cruz, but I am not going to join the anti-Trump rock-throwing throng.

  83. parker Says:


    You ‘misunderestimate’ those who oppose trump. Personally, I think the real the donald is the donald that is for gun control, abortion even after the water breaks, remains a crony capitalist, has absolutely no principles when it comes to the rule of law, has zero understanding of geopolitics, and is not serious about illegal aliens simply because his various business interests are now and have in the past hired hundreds if not thousands of illegals.

    trump is not a Saul who had an epiphany and became Paul. I trust the donald as far as I can throw one of his security guards… about 3 to 6 feet, depending upon how much energy they give me.

  84. neo-neocon Says:


    I haven’t seen a single person here speak out against Trump for his stance on immigration–au contraire.

    Nor do I see rocks thrown. I don’t read every comment though, so perhaps I missed something.

    I’ve been describing what I see him do—his actions and words—and imagining him doing the same thing, only from the powerful position of president.

    It is very possible to be a strong president without insulting everyone who crosses you and/or lying about them. I don’t see those latter traits as strength. There is quite a bit of space between being a pushover and being a thug.

    In this case, Trump lied about someone who didn’t endorse him. Do you not think he should be criticized for that without it constituting “anti-Trump rock-throwing”? Trump has earned his critics. And pointing out a person’s actions and words, and what’s wrong with them, is not “rock-throwing.”

  85. Yankee Says:

    Just a few observations, since I sometimes wonder if communication is becoming more difficult:

    1. The Fox News executives should have taken the high road, just said something like, “we have plenty of other reporters, it’s about the voters, not one person,” put in a substitute for Megyn Kelly, and left it at that, making sure to say and do nothing else.

    2. Obama has already routinely insulted his political opponents and other world leaders; and he has used the IRS to go after people; and he has rewritten laws and used executive authority to get what he wants. The same for Hillary, with Benghazi and the e-mail server (plus all her lies and corruption). And so far, no consequences. (Not to mention the mess Obama, Hillary, and Kerry have made of foreign policy.)

    3. We wouldn’t be in half the mess we are now if there had been some firm demands for civility, accountability, and truth-telling in the recent past, from both politicians and the media. Bush 43 tried to make a point of that, after the Clinton years (and look how he was treated). And remember Rep. Joe Wilson of SC yelling, “You lie!” at Obama in 2009 (ironically, with the health care issue and illegal immigration–and look where we are now)?

    4. We discuss things here from the POV of the right, but let’s not lose sight of what the other guys think. Those on the left believe that they are good people, with good motivations, and that the Republicans are just out to get people like the Clintons and Obama.

    5. It’s still early, and all this will be sorted out better in the primaries. Not that long ago, there were few primaries, and the party most often controlled who the nominee was. Consider the 1968 Democratic nomination process for how things can go wrong.

  86. John Keegan Says:

    Trump insults those who criticize him because he lacks the verbal facility to construct two or three cogent sentences.

  87. parker Says:


    Civility is difficult under the continual uncivil assault of the left. I agree the fox news response was low ball, their decision to descend to the donald’s level of discourse was not necessary. The response should have been something like “We have the right to choose who will be the moderators, Mr. trump has the right to choose to not participate in the debate.”

    I think we all understand “what the other guys think”.

  88. T Says:

    “. . . I took your comments as representing the cohort who continue to support Trump regardless of how outrageous his behavior may be. [Oldflyer @ 6:02]

    That is a serious error of interpretation on your part.

    Saying something not negative about a person is not the same as supporting their agenda lock-stock-and barrel. Nor does it infer that one is supporting their agenda at all. That is precisely the tactic that the left and the MSM uses when they criticize any non-Progressives (Against gay marriage? Clearly one is a homophobe). My point was that Trump returns that tactic in spades and I certainly have no sympathy for the MSM when someone turns those tables on them.

    Trump has single-handedly obliterated the Overton window in this election cycle. That is a good thing and has nothing to do with recommending him as a president.

  89. Baklava Says:

    Neo, you have tremendous stamina dealing with these people.

    Trump I hope committed the Howard Dean scream.

    I don’t put my faith in a man.

    I put my faith in conservative ideas and I’ll vote for the candidate that will elevate the discussion and make conservatism attractive.

    Trump can’t do that.

  90. Beverly Says:

    The moral of this story is, “GET BEHIND TED CRUZ AND PUSH!”

  91. blert Says:

    T Says:
    January 27th, 2016 at 11:21 pm

    Trump has single-handedly obliterated the Overton window in this election cycle. That is a good thing and has nothing to do with recommending him as a president.


    You can’t destroy an opening. It can only expand or contract.

    The Overton window is dialated — and a political birth is to hand.

    Trump has made viable Cruz’s extreme positions — such as observing the rule of law WRT illegal immigrants.

    I’m more towards Heartiste.

    sixty year (i.e., three generations) immigration moratorium

    deportation of all illegals

    end of birthright citizenship

    end of H-1B program (and similar wage-gutting loopholes)

    favored immigrant status extended to NW Europeans when immigration flow is re-opened

    South and East Europeans receive second favored status
    immigrants from all other groups admitted based on

    education/skill and only in trivial numbers


    America is not empty anymore.

    Our modern welfare state can’t possibly absorb the billions that lust for our standard of living.

    Indeed, we can’t even make a DENT in the suffering of general humanity by importing ANYBODY.

    1) The ONLY folks that can make the leap from the 3rd World hell holes are exactly the folks that must NOT leave the 3rd World.

    For they are exactly those talents that can effect change.

    Permitting them to flee their brothers — is to screw… everybody.

    2) The numbers are so staggering that the are warping our society so perversely that it can no longer function as the economic engine for the world.

    THIS is what’s triggering this — the Greatest Depression.

  92. blert Says:

    I must digress to elucidate what’s going on — at the global economic level.

    1) The hyper deflation that is underway is centered upon AMERICA — not Red China.

    2) The locus of the hyper deflation is Obama-care.

    No matter how detailed my exposition — it flies straight over the heads of the majority.

    Forgive me.

    Just accept it.

    The Ming dynasty permitted bimetalism to destroy their economy.

    The American dynasty is permitting Obamacare to destroy the GLOBAL economy.

    Yes, it’s impact is not limited to America.

    America is the economic Atlas that is holding the ENTIRE planet on its shoulders.


    In business — in trade goods — there are two critical metrics


    The dull are impressed with volume.

    These folks are natural Communists — Socialists.

    The ONLY thing that makes the economic engine really go is profit.


    America is the Atlas of the world because — across ALL SECTORS — America is where EVERYONE makes their profits.

    There are virtually no profits to be had trading // doing business in Red China — in Japan — in Korea — in Europe.


    Those are LOW productivity societies. Only a trivial fraction of those populations have the $$$$ to spend FREELY.

    Everyone else is pinching pennies — like mad.


    What does that mean?

    It means that NEW products can’t get launched off the pad.

    Try selling Rolex watches in North Korea.

    Get it?


    Red China was selling everywhere — and in volume.


    It was making all of its profits in North America.

    Even Germany and elsewhere make their PROFITS in America.

    That reality is suppressed… universally.

    Did you know that Daimler-Benz (Mercedes) made 50% gross profit margins on its cars during the 1970s — but ONLY in the USA ?

    That astounding reality only came out when Daimler wanted to merge with Dodge.

    It was allowed to merge with Dodge — which was the better company — by every metric. Sales, profits, etc. etc.

    Daimler LOOTED Dodge to save Germany.

    That’s why Daimler is even able to stay in business — with a labor content per auto that is in ORBIT compared to its peers.


    While Trump gets most of “it” — he’s carrion for the MSM vultures.

    They LOVE Trump.

    He’s devil sent.

    He has so MANY negatives — Hillary could just kiss him — if he weren’t a man.

  93. Orson Says:

    As ArtfldgrsGhost says:
    “Its a form of i dare you… (to do this cause i want you to do this so that the bad i think that will come from it visits you and i am entertained)… what are you chicken?”

    It is a form of bullying and intimidation – even if containing an acute and observant truth of some kind, even if provoked somehow.

    Which is why I’ve long thought a comparison with the Italian business magnate turned PM, Silvio Berlusconi is called for.

    To start with:

    A review of major media reports from that 1994 campaign shows the Italian media mogul’s approach during his first campaign has a striking resemblance to Trump’s own controversial — and, so far, highly effective — star turn on the political stage. It sheds a light on how a charismatic, successful and shrewd business tycoon can translate his resume, the frustrations of his fellow citizens and a shrewd campaign into a political movement.

    Numerous U.S. pundits, publications and politicians have sounded a similar tone about Trump as did The Economist about Berlusconi’s ideological core — or lack thereof….


    The parallels continue. However, drawing broad implications about governance – as the Roll Call piece does – strikes me as far too simplistic and easy. And therefore misleading.

  94. Richard Saunders Says:

    Let’s try to keep in mind Bill Buckley’s admonition –“pick the most conservative ELECTABLE candidate.” Trump is — at least as far as we can tell prior to an actual vote — electable but not conservative. Cruz is conservative but not electable.

    I’d vote for any of them, including the Donald, as against Hillary or Bernie (except for Rand Paul), and I think most of us would — but I certainly don’t think Trump is the best candidate.

    While I think Trump will do well against H or B, I think he’ll do terribly against Good Old Uncle Joe(TM), whom I’m betting ends up as the Dem candidate. Bullying a guy who seems as harmless as a footstool and has the sympathy vote is not a winning strategy.

  95. Ymarsakar Says:

    Like I told people before, they had better hope their support of Trump causes him to be patriotic and loyal to whatever in America. Because if Trump even looks like he is helping the Left, 4th generational warfare won’t take Revenge out on the upper management, the cattle herders like Trump. They’ll take it out on the individual voters and supporters, as per doctrine and SOP.

    The supporters of T-yrant, better hope they can maintain Trump’s populism. Because if they fail to do so… the consequences will be obvious. It won’t matter what international Ultras and Mil Rightists say. It won’t matter what VoxDay says. The bullet is going to do the voting.

  96. PatD Says:

    I said I’d do the math on whether Trump’s absence increased or decreased the audience for the last Fox debate. The base data is here.

    If we take the audience change between the two debates on each channel, we can derive the rate of audience loss per week. The rates are:

    Fox News : 461K/week
    CNN : 384K/week
    Fox Bus. : 300K/week

    If Fox’s audience had declined at the same rate as CNN’s, it would have had 15 million viewers instead of 13 million. If it had declined at the rate of Fox Business News, it would have been 17.2 million viewers.

    Based on the comparison I did, Fox lost at least 2 million viewers and maybe as many as 4.2 million viewers.

    The impact of Trump’s withdrawal is probably something only Fox and its advertisers know. Certainly, Trump’s absence did not cost Fox News 12 million viewers, but it did have a significant impact.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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