While Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was outlining a plan to abolish labor unions, GOP presidential front runner, Donald Trump, spoke to mostly full American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas Monday night.
With the media’s undivided attention, Trump began by pointing out he was speaking sans-teleprompter and then waxed on about how much he admired owner of the Dallas Mavericks and fellow gazillionaire, Mark Cuban. The whole spectacle was bizarre. There was no big reveal, no plan to fix what ails America (unless you consider the repetition of “Make America Great Again” a plan), no encouragement of better days ahead. There was just… Trump.
Amidst his incessant verbal meandering, The Donald spent the entirety of an hour talking about himself. He talked about his greatness, his wealth, how he sacrificed $200 million a year by walking away from his TV show on NBC. He spoke of his great negotiating skills, his real hair, how he’ll be so good at everything, and America will have so many victories, “they’ll be coming out of our ears!”
Basically, this. On repeat:
A man gives an hour-long speech with innumerable references to ‘I’, ‘me’, and his greatness that will transform our country into the America we’ve always wanted… Gee, where have we seen this before?
Incongruence with conservative principles aside, perhaps the most concerning aspect of Trump’s polling ascendency is how much he sounds exactly like President Obama. The similarities are not in cadence or style, but in substance and focus.
Conservatives have often criticized, and rightly so, President Obama’s tendency towards narcissism. Forget leading the country, or that he is in the most literal sense, our employee, everything.is.about.him. It’s an annoyance that’s been well documented. Take for example the speech President Obama gave when shoving forth his executive amnesty. He used the first person singular on average of once every 22 seconds.
Terence P. Jeffrey of CNS News wrote at the time:
“The day I sign a comprehensive immigration bill into law, then the actions I take will no longer be necessary,” he said. “But in the meantime, I’m going to do what I can to make this system work better.”
Obama’s speech, according to the White House transcript, was approximately 4,200 words and lasted 33 minutes. That means that on average Obama used the first person singular every 46 words—or every 22 seconds.
President Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, in which he presented his understanding of the moral significance of the Civil War, was only 696 words long. In that speech, Lincoln used the first person singular once.
If only the similarities ended with braggadocio, alas…
Even on substance, the Trump/Obama parallels are eerily close. This same observation was turned into a super cut by Blake Seitz of the Washington Free Beacon Monday:
To be fair to Trump and Obama, they both elicit an emotional reaction from a group of supporters seemingly starved for leadership, desperately seeking hope where they see none.
To a certain extent, this is the fault of the Republican Party — their failure to find a spine and steadfast capitulatory stance has cost the GOP its credibility. Despite this reality, 2016 is uniquely chock full of anti-establishment candidates with varying political resumes. Paul, Rubio, Cruz, Walker, Jindal, and Perry before he dropped out, are all candidates far from the “establishment” norm. But that doesn’t seem to be enough. At least not for early primary goers.
What people want is an emotionally rousing showman, apparently.
Is this to be our destiny? Eight years of one demeaning president telling us to “get to the back of the bus” only to be followed by a man who liberally labels every perceived opponent a “loser” or worse?
Tuesday, Thomas Sowell discussed the purpose of elections and the ramifications of emotionally-driven voting ballot box decisions:
It is easy to understand why there would be pent-up resentments among Republican voters. But are elections held for the purpose of venting emotions?
No national leader ever aroused more fervent emotions than Adolf Hitler did in the 1930s. Watch some old newsreels of German crowds delirious with joy at the sight of him. The only things at all comparable in more recent times were the ecstatic crowds that greeted Barack Obama when he burst upon the political scene in 2008.
Elections, however, have far more lasting, and far more serious — or even grim — consequences than emotional venting. The actual track record of crowd-pleasers, whether Juan Peron in Argentina, Obama in America, or Hitler in Germany, is very sobering, if not painfully depressing.
The media seem to think that participation in elections is a big deal. But turnout often approaches 100 percent in countries so torn by bitter polarization that everyone is scared to death of what will happen if the other side wins. But times and places with low voter turnout are often times and places when there are no such fears aroused by having an opposing party win.
Despite many people who urge us all to vote, as a civic duty, the purpose of elections is not participation. The purpose is to select individuals for offices, including president of the United States. Whoever has that office has our lives, the lives of our loved ones and the fate of the entire nation in his or her hands.
An election is not a popularity contest, or an award for showmanship. If you want to fulfill your duty as a citizen, then you need to become an informed voter. And if you are not informed, then the most patriotic thing you can do on Election Day is stay home. Otherwise your vote, based on whims or emotions, is playing Russian roulette with the fate of this nation.
…After the disastrous nuclear deal with Iran, we are entering an era when people alive at this moment may live to see a day when American cities are left in radioactive ruins. We need all the wisdom, courage and dedication in the next president — and his or her successors — to save us and our children from such a catastrophe.
Rhetoric and showmanship will certainly not save us.
And this… this is my fear. The damage done by the Obama administration, particularly to America’s standing on the international stage is incalculably severe. All joking aside, is this what we really want? Trump looks out for one man — Trump. Trump is all Trump talks about. He is a man clearly more interested in his own personal gratification, bank account balance, and hair than anything else, particularly the fate of the free world.
Calling the Ayatollah a “loser” will not save us from nuclear demise.
In our frighteningly dangerous world, is Trump worth the risk?
No. He absolutely is not.
Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekaye