Tuesday, August 18, 2015

High Plateau Drifter on the Republican Presidential Primary

As I watched that first Republican presidential debate the obviously opinionated interrogators from Fox spent far too much time talking and appeared to be attacking all the Republican candidates if not equally, nevertheless significantly. I wondered if Fox, which I never watch, must have switched sides and want Hillary to win. But realistically it seemed like a price Fox was willing to pay for thin cover over the hatched job they were doing on Trump. Also Mehgan Kelly set a new high in arrogance and obnoxiousness which I guess Roger Ailes thought she could get away with because of her looks.

But the message that resounded loudest with me was the effort that all candidates other than Trump expended to avoid giving any offense to anybody and the lengths to which they went to convince the audience they were nice guys. It was a stunning portrait of all that is wrong with American politics. Politicians want to avoid giving offense, primarily to actual and potential political contributors and secondarily to blocks of potential voters.

The candidates behavior at the debate screamed that our ruling oligarchs do not like controversial candidates. They love bland and boring. And of course political candidates hand out political favors, oligopoly legislative benefits and lots of government cash and profits to all comers. Why make enemies? And that is why the federal budget and federal debt is expanding at exponential rates. Its everyone gets a trophy day every day in DC and that is why the debt balloon, which can never be repaid, is expanding at an exponential rate.

And next behind bland and boring in order of preference is mediocre and stupid. Heaven forefend that someone might get elected who can visualize the secondary effects and collateral consequences of legislation they are passing and also have a conscience and strength of character and get elected. That would be a nightmare for our ruling oligarchs.

I have been opining to CP in our private conversations that we will never get meaningful change until the oligarchs realize there is not enough skim left to keep them all happy and begin fighting among themselves.

And therein lies the good news. We have billionaire oligarchs breaking ranks. Trump out front, with billionaire Mark Cuban wanting to be VP and Carl Icahn wanting to be his secretary of Treasury. Something is brewing beneath the surface here. Likewise the political advisor and campaign management industry is caught with its pants down, completely clueless about the anger of the Republican base out here in the Red States, and also clueless about the anxieties building among the oligarch class that knows the party will end at some point and want to control the process.

Personally I have a hard time believing that Trump could put up with the BS that a modern President must put up with for more than 8 or 9 months, but then that is not the point. The marker is down and the oligarchs are beginning to think about their plan B options, now that they may not have a safe field of nice guys fearful of offending any of them.

Stay tuned.


sailerian collapse said...

Candidates who aren’t entertaining enough to get themselves free airtime are beholden to wealthy donors. And one of the strongest forces in the world in recent decades has also been one of the least discussed: class solidarity among billionaires.

Now, you might think that having a billion dollars would free you to indulge in a Trump-like blast of a good time telling unwelcome truths. But in reality, we largely have a highly disciplined class of the extremely rich, who gather frequently in Davos and Aspen to be informed of the latest talking points about why any resistance to them is racist.


High Plateau Drifter said...


Exactamondo!! Which is what makes this situation so interesting.

bjdubbs said...

Ace of Ace of Spades made a good point about how obvious the Trump movement was to anyone who was paying attention. Any reader of conservative sites and blogs could have put together a better version of the Trump platform (such as it is) and without doing any research or paying any consultants. But what are the chances Walker or Perry or Bush read conservative commentary? Romney couldn't even identify Bret Stephens, and he writes for WSJ. Trump obviously tuned into that anger, maybe by reading Coulter, and here we are. Another win for random internet commenters versus the experts.

CP said...

Time for Jeb to concede:

At Mr. Bush’s forum, roughly 150 voters gathered to hear him speak, politely applauding when he entered. Mr. Trump’s crowd, by contrast, chanted for him and was — at least by Mr. Trump’s estimation — about 2,500 strong. That was an exaggeration — as Mr. Trump later noted, “I’m sort of a bragger” — but not a huge one; there were still several hundred people lined up outside, hoping to get seats, just before the event was set to begin.

In an apt sign of the enthusiasm imbalance, Fox News at one point cut away from Mr. Bush, midsentence — to focus on an empty lectern awaiting Mr. Trump.


CP said...

Isolated elites. Paging Charles Murray!

I think Trump is more “in touch” because much of his wealth is based on real estate, hotels, casinos and such. This means he’s on the ground a lot. He’s a glad-hander. I’m sure he walks around his properties, shakes hands with the doorman, chats with the staff, and so on. He deals with construction people, decorators, etc. He can talk with ease to “regular” people. Even his “Apprentice” show put him into contact with regular types. And Trump wasn’t an insulated rich kid, like a Paris Hilton.

This sort of wealth is very different from, say, owning a big chunk of Google, Facebook, Microsoft, etc. where you only ever deal with people in your own industry, or with top executives of major corporations/banks. Same thing if you’re a hedge fund manager. You NEVER have to hobnob with regular people.

And he’s just not a snob. He’s not the type. I’m betting Trump knows the names and some of the life stories of the guys that pilot his private jet. And I bet Zuckerberg, Brin, Gates, etc. don’t.


ADL said...

This comment strikes me as smart people in an echo chamber complaining about other smart people in an echo chamber.

Anonymous said...

Trump the nominee!