SAN DIEGO, Aug. 31, 2015 — OK. The unavoidable has arrived. Time for this columnist to finally write something about Donald Trump’s 2016 ambitions.
Bottom line: The guy gets a mixed review. Obviously he’s refreshing. He doesn’t sound like a politician.
On the other hand: Just because he doesn’t sound like a politician, that doesn’t mean he isn’t one. It’s not simply a question of bragging that you have never held public office. There are other ways to define a politician, such as “one who possesses character traits that are political in nature.”
No, Trump never held public office but he’s running for public office. This lofty ambition is often accomplished by strategic maneuvering, cold calculations of what one may or may not get away with, and an assessment of the times we live in, a society ripe for something different or at least something that appears different.
So who are we kidding? Trump IS a politician. It’s just that his political strategy is smart enough to make his opponents look more political than he is.
On the other hand: Unlike most politicians, he speaks his mind.
On the other hand: He keeps changing his mind, so nobody knows his mind and at times he sounds out of his mind.
On the other hand: It’s still nice to see somebody who has his own money and is therefore not dependent upon donors or lobbyists, who isn’t surrounded — not yet, anyway — by people telling him what to say and what not to say. It’s nice to see somebody off script.
On the other hand: When you listen to some of the stuff Trump says, you realize he could stand to be more scripted.
On the other hand: He’s a conservative who fights back and takes no guff from the main stream media.
On the other hand: Megyn Kelly of Fox News was not the mainstream media. His comment to her and the stuff he has Tweeted about her were inexcusable.
On the other hand: That Fox News “debate” was not a real debate. In a real debate, candidates confront each other. They draw up their own questions for opponents. The Fox “debate” only became a real debate for a few minutes by accident when Christie and Paul got into the mud.
It’s a joke that news pundits drive these television spectacles. A true moderator keeps the time and does not set the agenda. Trump showed up to debate his opposing candidates, not to debate Kelly, Chris Wallace and Bret Baier.
On the other hand: Considering that this flimsy process passes for a debate these days, we can stipulate the title. Whatever these political television gatherings truly are, Fox does them better than any other network. Compared to previous forums, Fox offered a more probing, balanced, fair and even-handed discussion than we have seen in the recent past. All of the candidates were asked tough questions regarding the areas where they were most vulnerable. And when Trump complains that he’s not being treated fairly, he displays a very thin skin for somebody who is somewhat less than shy about offering his own colorful comments. The man thrives on confrontation. If he dishes it out, he should also be able to take it.
On the other hand: How fun to see a conservative that isn’t mealy mouthed!
On the other hand: Trump has only been a conservative for about 15 and a half minutes.
On the other hand: Who cares if he’s changed his positions? The only thing that matters is what he will do when he gets into office.
On the other hand: Nobody knows what he’ll do when he gets into office. After all, his changing positions are not merely in the past, but also in the present. He has already switched gears right in the middle of this current campaign. He walked back his comments about Planned Parenthood the moment they came under criticism.
On the other hand: He at least held on to his stand about not funding abortion.
On the other hand: He once accepted abortion.
On the other hand: So what! He says he learned and grew.
On the other hand: He was not merely pro-choice, he even accepted partial birth abortion. That procedure cannot truly be called an abortion. It is infanticide. A man who can accept infanticide can accept anything.
On the other hand: Maybe he didn’t understand what a partial birth abortion was.
On the other hand: If he didn’t understand, then he is not the sharpest tool in the shed.
On the other hand: Maybe he’s just not sharp on that particular issue. He’s certainly smart and accomplished in the world of business.
On the other hand: When he talks about taxing the rich and giving a tax break to the middle class, his business sense starts to elude us. Instead he sounds very much like Hillary and Obama.
On the other hand: His policy on illegal immigration is refreshing and has all the fragrance of truly getting something done this time.
On the other hand: Is it fair to send home people who were actually born in the United States even if their parents sneaked across to border to give birth to these so-called “anchor babies?”
On the other hand: It can be well argued that such babies were made citizens due to a false interpretation of the 14th Amendment, which was not part of the original intent as expressed by the authors of the amendment.
On the other hand: If our politicians and judges were stupid enough to come up with such an insane application of the law, it’s not the fault of some baby who was born here and grew up here. Whatever the reason, we gave them citizenship. That should not be taken away.
On the other hand: That doesn’t mean we can’t change the law now and stop the bleeding. Just grandfather-clause those who are already here and don’t allow the “anchor” process to continue.
On the other hand: I’m the one suggesting that, not Trump.
On the other hand: He’ll think of it sooner or later. He thinks of everything sooner or later.
On the other hand: Maybe we’d do better with somebody who powers his mind before activating his mouth.
On the other hand: We have already had plenty of Republican candidates who spoke carefully and articulated well thought through, consistent positions. Many such GOP statesmen either lose elections or win and then go back on promises after their love affair with Washington commences.
On the other hand: A man like Trump who changes his mind before getting elected will find it just as easy to change is mind after he’s elected. All he has to do by way of explanation is offer that same tired drivel about learning and growing. So there’s no telling what he might do.
On the other hand: We always know what the Democrats will do because they tell us and unlike the Republicans, they KEEP their campaign promises.
On the other hand: They promise stupid things and do horrible things.
With all this in mind: Trump is not my first choice out of the Republican bullpen. Neither is he my second, third, or fourth. But if he gets the nomination, I would still roll the dice for him before voting for a Democrat. Voting is often the lessor of two evils. The alternative is the greater of two evils.
Yes, I would vote for Donald Trump before Hillary Clinton. But don’t read too much into that. I would also vote for Donald DUCK before voting for Hillary Clinton.
So those of you who like Trump: Go ahead! Like him! Enjoy listening to his speeches. Be entertained as he tears into those poor (previously arrogant) reporters who never knew what hit them.
But in the midst of your Trump euphoria, please do the rest of us just one favor: Stop calling him “The Donald.”
That sounds an awful lot like 2008 when people called Obama “The Obama,” which sounded like “The Messiah.”
Neither of these two men is The Messiah.
On the other hand: ……
No! ( in the words of Tevya from Fiddler on the Roof) There is no other hand!
This is Bob Siegel, making the obvious, obvious.
Bob Siegel is a weekend radio talk show host on KCBQ and a columnist. Details of his show can be found at www.bobsiegel.net