National Commentary

The Trump Wreck In Perspective

nfbenton-mugMost refreshing about Northern Virginia’s freshman congressman, Democrat Donald S. Beyer, Jr., is how brainy, eloquent and cheerful a warrior for progressive causes that he is. He brought that to a rousing rally in his district across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. earlier this month that also included Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Beyer, a former Virginia lieutenant governor and U.S. ambassador, stands in such stark contrast to the bloviating horse’s ass Donald Trump, not because he represents an opposite political point of view, but because one, Beyer, is a sincerely enlightened civil servant dedicated to raising the level of the political discourse in America, and the other is a crude, foul mouthed bully and nothing more.

Granted, it is hard to deal with bullies like Donald Trump, except to know that beneath their rough exterior is often a fearful self-demeaning insomniac, whose outward persona is an imitation of the way some authority figure dealt brutally with him in his formative years. That doesn’t excuse his behavior, because we’re all supposed to grow out of such limitations and join the world of, despite its many problems, a modicum of civility.

Of course, there are those who think in the present situation that Trump is doing a service to the Democrats by wreaking havoc among the now 16 GOP presidential candidates, and the smart thing for Democrats is to just stay quiet and let the chaos continue. Maybe, some are saying, the GOP will force him out of its ranks and compel him to run as an independent, bringing enough GOP votes with him to help insure victory a for the Democrats.

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But seeing that he is temporarily ahead in all the polls among GOP candidates, it is hard to imagine the Republicans will allow that to happen, at least not until his poll numbers shrink.
So we are left with the notion that Trump is nothing more than the most visible quasi-out-of-control mouthpiece for all the radical free market policies that all the big monied interests are bankrolling for the next election. Yes, all you Republican candidates, you must own him, for he is one of you.

Even so, it is disgraceful that the GOP attitude, as confirmed to me recently by a relatively-moderate former head of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, is to recognize a Trump, or a Rush Limbaugh, simply as part of a wider marketing strategy to round up more rank-and-file votes. They don’t care how crude, how incredible, such people are, as long as they’re mobilizing voters for the GOP brand.

The first president of the modern Republican Party, Abraham Lincoln, would have shaken his head in bitter disappointment if he’d learned of this.

By wild contrast, Rep. Beyer drew a standing ovation of his own prior to Sanders’ rousing populist remarks at the recent Arlington, Virginia, event. “I agree with Bernie Sanders on many many issues,” he said, and called for more clarity on “what it means to be a progressive today.”

Claiming himself to be a child of the Enlightenment, the Enlightenment that produced the American revolution and the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Beyer couched his remarks in the manner, he said, of a Hegelian dialectic of thesis-antithesis-synthesis.

His “thesis” was that “we are winning” in the long view of history, with 88 percent of Americans, for example, having health insurance today compared to none prior to World War II, and so forth. The “antithesis” is that two million Americans are in prisons, 42 percent of Americans think that evolution is not real, and there is $1 trillion in student loan debt.

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The synthesis, or resolution, commands that “we are not allowed to despair,” that while no utopia is on the horizon, as Montaigne said, “The most certain sign of wisdom is cheerfulness.”

He called for activists to “work, hope, love and aspire” in the fight for providing every American who wants a job to have a job, to get those convicted of non-violent crimes out of the prisons and back to their homes, and for millions of small steps to continue the progress of humanity.

Trump is such a failure.

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