Seamanship Quotation

“In political activity, then, men sail a boundless and bottomless sea; there is neither harbour for shelter nor floor for anchorage, neither starting-place nor appointed destination.”
— from Michael Oakeshott's
Political Education” (1951)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

After Trump’s done: who’ll be America’s dealmaker?

The only phenomenon this week as overblown and insincere as Donald Trump is the flagellation over Donald Trump: specifically, his weed-like persistence as the front-runner for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination. Frank Bruni and David Brooks of the New York Times intellectualize about how the terrible power of the communications industry has turned the awe of a race for the presidency into therapeutic entertainment, multi-channel dope for shallow voters angry that America isn’t working properly for them and their tawdry interests anymore.

Trump, of course, is too crude and too hedonistic to lead America’s vast, thin-skinned power structure. Nevertheless, he is sufficiently shameless, and carries a resume and bank credit sufficient to cast a harsh light on the true presidential front-runners.

The allure of power politics has cheapened the Manhattan entertainer brand of Jon Stewart. In return, Manhattan wheeler-dealer Donald Trump—not entertainer Donald Trump—is setting Washington on its heels.

Trump has a popular, not a populist, proposition: I don’t let things fester; I deal with them.

He appeals to the millions who’ve come to believe that Washington is run by a mellow, idle class of actors and scriptwriters who worry more about reviews than results. And the smooth, carefully considered, and thoroughly researched speeches and asides of the Clintons and the Bushes only stretch out the hurt of Donald Trump.

As a reluctant betting blogger, I suspect the moderates in the Republican Party already have the candidates and so credible a prospect of retaking the White House that they’ll survive Trump by holding their delicate noses.

Trump, however, must force the Democrats to think fast.

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi was the dealmaker who delivered Obama’s only historically significant domestic fix. The Democrat slate to replace Obama today is led by a calculator without domestic accomplishment, a smoothie who obviously won’t be beaten by her present challenger, an old pol who thinks he’s more sincere.

Don’t be disheartened, though, dear Democrats: thinking could be worthwhile. Read the New York Review of Books profile of Governor Andrew Cuomo by Jim Dwyer. Here’s an executive son of a bitch who makes only necessary enemies and knows more about how to be effective in politics, in this decade, than Hillary Clinton and any other candidate in either party now promising to end "gridlock" and make Washington a more businesslike American capital.

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