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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Trump as bully

Steve Sailer nailed it, as usual, in his post this morning. While writing about how Trump is remapping the political dividing lines, he said:

{Speaking] as a laidback Southern Californian, Trump reminds me of the late George Steinbrenner, the extremely obstreperous owner of the New York Yankees, whom my Los Angeles Dodgers battled in the 1977, 1978, and 1981 World Series.

That's the best comparison I've heard yet. Steinbrenner made his fortune in shipping, a business requiring elbows as sharp as NYC real estate does. He owned the New York Yankees from 1973 until his death in 2010, and during his prime was a man many loved to hate.

Steinbrenner was known for regularly mocking his own players. He famously said about his star Dave Winfield, "Where is Reggie Jackson? We need a Mr. October or a Mr. September. Winfield is Mr. May." 

(Of course, while Jackson was a Yankee, Steinbrenner feuded with him as well.)

Steinbrenner hired and fired his hapless, alcoholic manager Bill Martin five separate times. 

So, as with Trump, feuds were a constant theme in his life.

Meanwhile, a friend sent this clip from Trump's guest appearance on Jimmy Kimmel's show. At the beginning, Trump is asked about a recent headline about New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. 

Trump replies, "Well I tell you what, I guess he had a news conference, he's a very good friend of mine, he's a great guy, by the way this is a great guy, and a winner, a champion, fantastic. Now if I were in New England and said that, the place would go crazy, here not so much, they're tired of getting beaten. But no, Tom's a great guy, and I guess there was something where everybody was saying what about Donald Trump, what about Donald Trump, what about this, what about that, and they had to end the news conference. But I want to tell you, Tom Brady is a winner." 

This is typical Trump. He said that Brady was "a great guy" three times, and also that he was "a winner" twice and "a champion" once. It's hard escape the impression that Trump feels that Brady is a great guy because he is a winner (and also a friend of Trump's). 

I knew guys like Trump on Wall Street. All of their friendships were essentially business relationships, built on mutual benefit, usually in a fairly transparent way. If one person ranked below the other in the business hierarchy, he was expected to act correspondingly obsequious. Strangely, both parties would seem to be perfectly comfortable with this. The guys who were used to being kowtowed to would get angry if people did not do so. 

With Trump and Brady, there is no business relationship, merely a mutual stroking of egos, and the opportunity to name drop. Brady probably enjoys the cachet that being associated with a Presidential candidate brings, and Trump enjoys being buddies with a glamorous athletic icon.

But you can't help but get the feeling that if Brady's career goes up in smoke, and he's no longer quite such a "winner," the "friendship" might suffer. 

Sometimes, it take an ill-mannered guy to tell an ugly truth about, for instance, whether importing a million Muslims is a good idea. Trump is that guy. I'm going to vote for him because he's more honest than the other politicians, and none of our problems will ever be solved as long as everybody feels obliged to lie about them. 

But I'm going to hold my nose when I do, the same as I would if I were voting for George Steinbrenner. 


Steven said...

That kind of lavish praise is a theme I've noticed when Trump speaks. He constantly does it. It makes him seem very positive and gracious but he can be equally disparaging, of course. He seems to be totally for or totally against people.

John Craig said...

Steven --
And 90% of it seems to be based on what their attitude towards him is….I sure seem to be saying a lot of negative stuff about a guy I intend to vote for. Unfortunately, it's all true, though.

Steven said...

btw this nomination process, the primaries or whatever it is called, is receiving far more prominent attention in the British media than any other I recall. It was the lead story on the newspaper sites I go on. I think they were live blogging it. It was featured on the BBC website too. Its the Trump effect.

John Craig said...

Steven --
Yes, it is largely the Trump effect, and I think it's resonating in the UK because the immigration which he's brought to the fore is now looming so prominently in all of Europe, including the UK. Plus the last election was a little dull, what with the incumbent Obama going up against a candidate nobody was really crazy about, Mitt Romney.

Steven said...

yeah but everyone is against him, across the political spectrum. Even the spectator (house publication of the British right & incidentally the oldest continuously published magazine in the English language- since 1828) likened coming to terms with Trump to an early stage cancer diagnosis. At least nobody is admitting being pro Trump. They are all grappling with his appeal.

I enjoy his defiance of political correctness but he seems like the sort of person who could become increasingly authoritarian and hard line, so that's a bit worrying. Hopefully he would improve relations with Russian though.

John Craig said...

Steven --
The media is against him here, too. Not just the usual left wing publications like the NY TImes and the Washington Post but even some of the conservative publications, too, like the National Review. It's only the voters who seem to like him. It's gratifying to see the gap between the media and the electorate yawn so widely.

Steven said...

A strange but accurate predictor of whether someone supports Donald Trump.

John Craig said...

Steven --
Thank you but I don't buy that. I took that quiz before knowing what it was about and picked the left hand item on every set, and I'm a Trump supporter. That article is just typical Washington Post propaganda.

Steven said...

It said 1 in 6 who pick the left hand items are Trump supporters, but 1 in 2 who pick the right hand items are Trump supporters. But you know far more about the WP than I do since that's the first time I've read it.

John Craig said...

Steven --
It's a typical left wing US newspaper.

Lucian Lafayette said...

My continuing position on Donald Trump's popularity, and to some extent Bernie Sanders' as well, is that it says more about the American voting population than the candidate. Though smeared by his detractors as some sort of uber Nazi, most of Trump's positions are relatively moderate to even slightly left of center. Only in a very few positions has he adopted a moderately nationalistic and populist position. Yet even this mild digression from the normal pap Fed to the voters has resulted in a tremendous following.

Now, I am not discounting his obvious "alpha" characteristics and while those features would be appealing to some demographics it can't account for his overall popularity.

Intentionally or unintentionally, Trump has tapped into the discontent of working class middle America. On one hand the "Gibbs" of the Democrat party have done nothing to help even relatively low-income workers. The Republican party has been equally useless except when it comes to helping their multi-national corporate donors. Both parties have championed excessive immigration which has only helped the politically connected and has contributed to the flat status of wages and most salaries for decades now.

Lately, all elections are called "a watershed" but we may finally be seeing one that really is such a landmark.

John Craig said...

Luke --
Well put. The Republican National Committee has alternated between trying to brandTrump as some sort of Nazi because of his stance on immigration and saying that he's not a "true conservative" -- i.e., not conservative enough -- because of his moderate stances on issues like abortion and health care.

They can't make up their minds which angle to attack him from, and it makes them look quite panicky.

Baloo said...

Reblogged and quibcagged!
John Craig evaluates Trump and, I think, gets it just right

Anonymous said...

I agree with what you say in your post. George Steinbrenner was from Ohio, the state where I was born and raised.