Comment Of The Day: “Ethical Quote Of The Week: Donald Trump”

Just as Barack Obama’s despicable quote came to my attention shortly after a post directly relevant to it, James Hodgson’s comment on that post was perfectly timed as further exploration of my follow-up post, which I put up seconds before reading what James had written. It’s fate! Kismet! I couldn’t resist making his fortuitous observations relevant to two posts, one of which he hadn’t read yet, a Comment of the Day.

***

“his admirers…regard his exaggerations, careless misstatements, and counter-factual pronouncements as trivial compared to his willingness to say out loud what other politicians and elected officials will not.”

Certainly the Leftist media will never give Trump credit even for just saying what everybody already knows about polls and how they are used.

Like many conservatives who ultimately supported Trump in 2016 (and again in 2020), I did so not because he was my first (or even second) initial choice but because he was the only candidate who seemed to grasp the degree of popular discontent with the Left, its consistent march toward socialism, and their impatience with the GOP’s tepid response to these efforts.

He was the only candidate who, although not a hard-core conservative himself, understood conservatives’ continuing (and expanding) dissatisfaction with the establishment GOP for hijacking the “Tea Party” movement and quietly smothering it to death, and the rise of the neocons, who like the country-club RINOs aren’t trying to conserve anything. Conservatives were (and are) well and truly pissed about widespread federal misfeasance and overreach, and Trump assured conservatives that they were right to be pissed. Then he told them what he intended to do about it. He was as successful as could be expected after being opposed and vilified 24/7 for his entire term by the united forces of the Left.

Trump forced the Left to reveal their true nature, and drew their most extreme elements out of the shadows. The collapse of the vilification campaign against him revealed the corruption of the “deep state” in the DOJ, the Pentagon and the intelligence community. His presidency has set the stage for the GOP retaking Congress in 2022 and, hopefully, the White House in 2024. This should also result in a thorough housecleaning at the senior levels of federal civil service, but that remains to be seen.

Whether Trump’s “conservative populism” can translate into a larger resurgence of constitutional conservatism is also an unknown. It will depend to a great extent on (1) governors and state legislators getting their acts together and ensuring fair elections and resisting federal encroachment into their business, and (2) the current Senate holding off the Democrats’ efforts to (again) unconstitutionally usurp state authority to nationalize our election processes. Federal and state legislators as well as the governors, lieutenant governors and state attorneys general need to hear our opinions and positions on a regular basis. I know mine do.

I hear some Republicans quietly boosting a strategy of “Trump-ism without Trump,” but I currently see a dearth of alternative contenders who have established their “willingness to say out loud what other politicians and elected officials will not” with Trump’s effective flair and charisma. A candidate who could do that while avoiding Trump’s “exaggerations, careless misstatements, and counter-factual pronouncements,” with the skills to choose able and ethical advisors and Cabinet members would be their “dream ticket” in 2024. I’m waiting to see who that might be.

15 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: “Ethical Quote Of The Week: Donald Trump”

  1. If I had to make a prediction now, I would predict the next three years as follows (this assumes there are no game changing sudden events):

    – Very little will change this year, as former police captain Eric Adams wins without breaking a sweat in New York City and Phil Murphy becomes the first Democratic governor in New Jersey since Brendan Byrne in the 1970s to be elected to a second term due to lackluster opposition and having the cities firmly in his pocket.

    – A lot will change next year as continued lackluster performance from the White House and failure to move any major legislation leads to Congress flipping and several new GOP governors being elected. Andrew Cuomo is ousted as governor of New York.

    House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and majority leader Mitch McConnell wisely do not attempt to impeach Biden, contenting themselves with stopping his legislative agenda and holding multiple hearings into his administration and his son’s activities, forcing him to work looking over his shoulder.

    Justice Breyer leaves the bench. As with Harris, Biden only nominates black women for the slot. Depending on the timing, the first nominee is ultimately confirmed, he goes through a few until the GOP finds one they can live with, or, if he leaves the bench in the final year of this term, the spot stays open.

    In 2024 there is a tough primary, but ultimately Trump is convinced not to be Teddy Roosevelt in 1912. He throws his weight behind Ron Desantis as president with Nikki Haley as VP. Desantis wisely stands back and lets Biden stumble and bumble through the debates, while Nikki makes short work of Kamala. Ron Desantis is elected as the first Italian American president.

    • Ron Desantis law background would serve him well if he winds up as the Republican nominee. He also previously served in Seal Team One in the judge advocates office and was awarded a Bronze Star. A foe of Critical Race Theory, he outmaneuvered the Florida Teachers Association who were all for it.

    • Interesting prognosis. I’d like to chime in on Nikki Haley. I think her poor performance in early 2021, throwing Trump under the bus, and then trying make good with him have essentially made her persona non grata for Trump supporters. If DeSantis were to pick her VP, it would make people question his judgement and political acumen. The Trump base will not accept such wishy-washiness. I would put Kristi Noem in the same penalty box as well.

  2. Beyond the ““exaggerations, careless misstatements, and counter-factual pronouncements,” Trumps still fails to understand that once he calls someone a derogatory name or belittles those who disagree with him, THAT becomes the headline…not what he supports and why, not what he opposes and why, but the name-calling. He gives lazy journalists an excuse to avoid covering real issues and zaps any inclination among others to engage in real debate.
    I long for a rational, logically-thinking adult in the role of president. Four more years of Trump’s inability to succinctly make his case would be too exhausting.

  3. I don’t disagree with anything in this post… But I think that it highlights why the recent statement that was highlighted as ethical…. really wasn’t.

    I’m fully on board with the idea that when faced with the choices America was in 2016 and 2020, that someone could with good conscience hold their nose and vote Trump. They might even feel a little bit of a guilty pleasure;

    “That Trump fellow, take him seriously, but not literally. He hits the people that we think deserve to be hit. He speaks truth to power!”

    All of which is true, but none of which is really… good.

    You couldn’t take Trump literally, because he really was, at heart, a bloviating windbag… You had to parse what he was saying through the proxies of his inner circle, or wait until you saw what he did. And yes! Sometimes Trump really did hit people who deserved to be hit… Sometimes he swung that hammer and rang the bells of people who had gone far…. far… too long without a wakeup call… But sometimes he hit a baby, because when all you have are hammers, everything ends up a nail. And sure… he might speak truth to power, but he also exaggerated, lied, and well…. see my point on “literally”.

    None of which should be controversial… it was acknowledged on this CoTD:

    “I currently see a dearth of alternative contenders who have established their “willingness to say out loud what other politicians and elected officials will not” with Trump’s effective flair and charisma. A candidate who could do that while avoiding Trump’s “exaggerations, careless misstatements, and counter-factual pronouncements,” with the skills to choose able and ethical advisors and Cabinet members would be their “dream ticket” in 2024.”

    To paraphrase: “If we could only separate the idiot smasher from the baby smasher, we’d have a winner!”

    Well… Sure. I guess. The problem is that Trump is actually Trump, and you can’t chemically separate the parts of him you like from the things that made his administration the flaming dumpsterfire it was. And understanding the truth of that, there is a tragic cohort of American conservatism that believes that the good parts of Trump were inseparable from the bad, and so the bad has become good if through no other measure than cognitive dissonance.

    And I think that’s in play here:

    “If it’s bad, I say it’s fake. If it’s good, I say, that’s the most accurate poll perhaps ever.”

    Sure, that’s true. Sure, that’s not unique to him. But let’s all take a step back and look at what he said: “I’m going to lie about the bad things, and pump the everloving hell out of the good things.”

    That’s…. Not ethical. Even if it’s honest.

    • If it’s not ethical, then is the reverse statement more ethical? “Just because it’s bad, I would never say it’s fake. And just because it’s good,I don’t assume that’s the most accurate poll perhaps ever”…when the first is true, and the second is not?

      In The Hunt for the Red October, Jeffrey Pelt (Richard Jordan) says: “Listen, I’m a politician which means I’m a cheat and a liar, and when I’m not kissing babies I’m stealing their lollipops. But it also means I keep my options open.” Isn’t that an ethical quote?

      • I mean, it’s nonsensical, and horrible grammar… But sure, in Trump’s case, it would also be a lie, and lying is almost never ethical. But I don’t understand the point you’re trying to make… Trump didn’t have a binary choice between those two statements, and we don’t identify the ethical nature of something by how ethical the opposite statement is. In reality we have an amazing amount of ability to say or do things, including not saying or doing anything.

        I suspect this is the soft bigotry of low expectations at play here… It’s like you’re trying to give Trump credit for admitting that he’s a lying liar who’s signaling that he’s going to continue to lie.

        Let’s say a man is stealing your bike, as he’s pedaling away, you yell at him: “Hey! That’s my bike!” And the thief yells back at you, “Sure is!” Is that an ethical statement? I mean, what’s the opposite? “No it’s not!”? Lying has to be worse than telling the truth. But… You know… He could not steal the bike.

        • This is like Godel’s puzzle about the village where truth-tellers always tell the truth and liar always lie. If a liar says, truthfully, yes, I’m a liar, breaking the pattern, that’s an ethical statement, because it’s honest. How could it be anything else? Confessions are ethical. Admissions of bad conduct are ethical. How can Trump’s admission not be ethical? it’s the conduct he’s copping to that is unethical, and he’s undermining that by flagging it!

          • But is he confessing, or is he bragging?

            Functionally, they might look the same, but the intent behind them is very different. I know this gets into mind-reader territory, but frankly, I think Trump is fundamentally incapable of being ethically self-depreciating. There’s also the way that Trump’s supporters will interpret this: As a blueprint, as opposed to a signal that Trump should be taken with a grain of salt.

            • 1. He SHOULD be taken with a grain of salt. Many grains. Thenews media won’t do that, because then they can pretend he’s “lying” when he’s trolling, riffing, or talking off the top of his head.

              2. In Trump’s case, there’s no distinction between bragging and confessing.It’s like Jack Nicholson’s “You’re damn right I did!” answer in “A Few Good Men.”

  4. HT said:
    “The problem is that Trump is actually Trump, and you can’t chemically separate the parts of him you like from the things that made his administration the flaming dumpsterfire it was. And understanding the truth of that, there is a tragic cohort of American conservatism that believes that the good parts of Trump were inseparable from the bad, and so the bad has become good if through no other measure than cognitive dissonance.”
    Obviously I wasn’t at all implying that “good Trump” could be extracted from “bad Trump,” but rather that unless a candidate meeting those criteria can be found and promoted effectively, Trump will likely be the last man standing in the primary. I hope that Steve O’s prediction is accurate and that Trump will step aside and endorse a less flawed, less controversial candidate who can take up the mantle of conservatism and take on the Left and the establishment GOP with equal or greater fervor than Trump. Like most conservatives that I know, I still recognize Trump’s fault’s and shortcomings, cognitive dissonance notwithstanding. For most conservatives I know, the bad hasn’t become good, but the bad certainly became less critical than the good. The ABILITY to (figuratively) head-butt Leftist ideas and policies is not a narrowly distributed skill, but the WILLINGNESS to do so apparently is.
    CBP said:
    “I long for a rational, logically-thinking adult in the role of president. Four more years of Trump’s inability to succinctly make his case would be too exhausting.”
    I agree with this statement except for the word “too.” Exhausting, no doubt. But more exhausting than another socialist Democrat? Hardly! Like the meme says, “I sure would appreciate a mean tweet and $1.79 gas right now.” I have even heard few regretful Biden voters express this sentiment.
    One thing I wonder about, given the mainstream media’s own proven track record of “exaggerations, careless misstatements, and counter-factual pronouncements,” not to mention outright lies and omissions, in covering his candidacy and presidency: If Donald Trump had not been so adversarial, and not so prone to ““exaggerations, careless misstatements, and counter-factual pronouncements,” how much of ANYTHING he said or did would we have heard about through the media during the past five years?
    Two years ago we elected a sheriff in my county to replace a charlatan and narcissist who had lied his way into the office in 2014, and served his term amid chaos and controversy of his own making. His replacement, for years a colleague prior to my retirement, has avoided controversy and adverse publicity to a fault, but he has also failed to provide high-profile leadership that the agency needs. I recently told him,” You have to do more than just stay out of the headlines to be a good sheriff.” Thus it is for anyone in an executive position, and certainly for the President of the United States.
    Over the years, I have worked with several people, mainly local politicians, who had many of the same characteristics as Trump in their overblown, self-aggrandizing and often careless rhetoric, and their sometimes flexible interpretation of facts, who nonetheless managed to be effective in their jobs and elected offices, despite rather than because of those traits of course. So I was not totally unprepared for Trump and knew to take a lot of what he said with a few pounds of salt. For me his most vexing flaw was his failure to actually choose “the best people'” as he put it, for critically important posts. (A topic for another day: How Trump compares with U.S. Grant in this regard.) Of course, many of the truly “best people” took themselves out of contention for appointment, rather than invoke the wrath of the forces arrayed against Trump from the moment he announced his candidacy. Others in the GOP tried to fly below the radar, not actively opposing Trump but certainly doing nothing to defend him or advance his agenda. A few, of course, fell directly into step with the Left so as not to be disinvited from all the best cocktail parties and the Sunday news shows. Conservatives across the nation took note, and many of those folks will face more conservative opponents in the years ahead.
    Ron DeSantis (so far) checks the right boxes as a conservative candidate. (He needs to work with a voice coach to lose the somewhat whiny speaking tone he falls into at times.) He will definitely be a contender.
    I agree with Aleksi on Nikki Haley and Kristi Noem. Haley has proven herself to be an unreliable conservative, a “squish” in the popular vernacular, still far too enamored of the establishment GOP. From people I know in South Carolina, she couldn’t get elected as governor there again should she run. Noem similarly shot herself in the foot with conservatives by backing down from a confrontation with the NCAA over transgender athletics legislation in her state. She then waffled and backpedaled very ineffectively in the aftermath. There are definitely several in Congress and maybe a few governors who would better please conservatives as VP picks.
    Conservatives expect that an effective opponent to the continued managed decline of this nation will have to be somewhat of a maverick and a firebrand. An amiable and affable “traditional” president who adheres to the “conventional norms” is also likely to be too quick to compromise on issues where no compromise is acceptable. Unfortunately, finding a purely ethical choice is sometimes impossible, and one is left with choosing the “least bad” option available. It is critically important to remember that even the least bad of them is still bad and should be replaced when a more ethical alternative is available.

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