Category Archive 'Trump’s Pivot'

06 Aug 2016

Last Days of the “He Can Pivot!” Fantasy

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Jonah Goldberg looks on sadly as some Republicans continue to delude themselves with the fantasy that Trump can stop the insane, embarrassing, election-losing behavior and become presidential.

The battered-spouse establishment can’t come to grips with the fact that they’re being played for suckers or that they are actually enabling Trump. I half expect Reince to come out with a black eye and tell everyone that he walked into a door at Trump tower. “I shouldn’t have been so clumsy.”

And I get it. When something is too terrible to contemplate, there’s a natural human tendency to avoid contemplating it. But when a grizzly bear is eating your face, saying “He can change” is not the best response.

Not least because Trump can’t change. He can’t change any more than a one-armed southpaw can suddenly pitch right-handed. Within days of the supposed Pence-pivot, Trump got worse:

    In the time since he accepted the nomination Trump has, among other things: revived a crackpot theory on Ted Cruz’s father and the JFK assassination; suggested his adopted party is filled with people who don’t want to help others; invited Russia to influence the U.S. presidential election; smeared the parents of a fallen U.S. Army captain; trashed a retired four-star general; and appeared not to know that Russia had annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014.

And then, just this morning, Trump ate a live hamster on national TV.

Okay, I made that last one up, but you get the point. The Trump you see is the only Trump you’ll get.

I’d love to see a mash-up of Hannibal Lecter channeling Marcus Aurelius as he talked to Reince Priebus.

    Hannibal Lecter: First principles, Reince. Simplicity. Read Marcus Aurelius. Of each particular thing ask: What is it in itself? What is its nature? What does he do, this man you seek?

    Reince Priebus: He wins primaries? He controls the news cycle? He insults people?

    Hannibal Lecter​: No. That is incidental. What is the first and principal thing he does? What needs does he serve by doing these things?

    Reince Priebus​: Anger, um, social acceptance, and, huh, sexual frustrations, sir. . .

    Hannibal Lecter​: No! He covets. That is his nature. He covets attention and respect and he confuses one for the other .

. . .

It’s important to keep in mind that Trump knows he has to promise things he cannot deliver just to keep everyone on the hook. He’s a bit like a pimp in this regard (actually he’s like a pimp in a lot of ways: gaudy, loud, self-absorbed, fond of gold and red velvet — but we’ll stay on point). He tells those counting on him that he can be better.

On March 9, he told Sean Hannity:

    “At the right time, I will be so presidential that you’ll call me and you’ll say, ‘Donald, you have to stop that.’ (LAUGHTER) But you know what? It is true, and I think you understand: When they attack me, I have to attack back. I’m a counter-puncher. When they attack me, if I don’t attack back — You know, the press could say, ‘Oh, he should act more presidential.’ And then like a couple of days ago, I gave a speech, they said, ‘That was so presidential.’ I can be presidential. But when you’re being attacked and when you attack back, they say it’s not presidential.”

This is pimp talk. This notion that he can’t let any insult go un-answered is the lizard-brain logic of the streets and the prison yard. “Honey britches, I gotta save face. I can’t let no one trash-talk me or my name won’t mean sh*t out there.”

I want to put forward a challenge to everyone still clinging to the he-can-change, pie-in-the-sky, free-beer-tomorrow, Godot’s-bus-is-just-running-late, he-can-change fantasy. Pick a date. Any date between now and Election Day. I want you to commit to the idea that if he hasn’t changed by that day, he never will. And on that day, you need to accept that he is the same cheeto-dusted smatterer some of us saw from Day 1. Then, ask yourself: “What should we do now?”

Read the whole thing, it’s excellent.

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