Trump Rules

He can’t win and he shouldn’t…

But it’s mindblowing to watch the pundits and players react to his statements.

I’ve got no love for John McCain, but he’s an untouchable. You can’t question the man because of his war hero status. But what if you questioned that itself? What if you refused to play by the rules?

Then the political class would call foul and ask for your ouster.

But there are no ejections in politics, never mind yellow cards.

I’m utterly fascinated by Donald Trump’s inability to apologize, his willingness to double-down on his controversial comments.

But I’m also laughing as I watch those who perceive themselves to be in power utterly flummoxed by him.

You see America is all about authenticity and identity, and those are sorely missing in the twenty first century. As soon as you gain traction, as soon as you gain personal power, you’re supposed to make friends with everybody else who’s a rung up the ladder and play nice. You can’t criticize your brethren. You must stay above the fray. You’re a member of a club, akin to a country club, and you’ve got to wear the appropriate clothing or else you get kicked out.

It’s even worse on college campuses, those theoretical bastions of debate. Comedians won’t play there for fear of being ostracized. You see young ‘uns can’t take a joke. But the truth is a few can’t take a joke and the rest are afraid of them.

So everybody goes to rehab, a kind of Free Parking for faux pas.

And everybody’s chummy.

And the rest of us sit on the sidelines wondering what happened to our country, how we got here. While you’re all yapping it up at the Correspondents’ Dinner, we’re worried about putting food on the table now that our unemployment benefits have run out.

And tech is not immune. Never forget that Steve Jobs famously hatched an illegal anti-poaching scheme. The rich and powerful want to stay that way, and they do it via collusion.

So you’ve got a blowhard real estate developer who’s neither as rich nor as powerful as he says, but believes his own b.s. and is running for President.

That’s right, Trump lives in a bubble. He’s not the only one. Grow up in Manhattan and attend an Ivy League school and chances are you too know nothing about how the disadvantaged truly live, despite doing charity work so you could beef up your college application.

But Trump is famous as a result of self-promotion and a TV show and he’s leveraging that fame to run for President. Sound delusional? Never forget that Minnesota elected a wrestler to be governor and California elected a body-builder. And I’d like to tell you that they both achieved great success, but the truth is running a government is a skill, akin to an athletic competition. Jerry Brown could never win in the ring, but he’s accomplished more than Schwarzenegger ever could, because not only does he know the players, he understands the game.

Which is why it’s a mistake to believe Trump could rule effectively.

Then again, a President is just CEO of the country, why do we elect one on a popularity/beauty contest basis?

And it’s great the entertainment/media complex put Trump in the penalty box for his immigration comments. You’ve got to hit him where they live, in this case on TV and at the bank.

But this McCain thing…

Trump spoke and every news outlet said he was toast.

There you go again Donald, you hit one outside the line, you touched the third rail. Your consolation prize is continued fame and a great story, take your parting gift and go.

But the truth is the proletariat, those who actually vote, don’t employ these same rules. Judith Miller gets in bed with Bush and his cronies and convinces “New York Times” readers war is a good thing. But where is the trusted source for those supporting Trump? Furthermore, the well-educated know that seemingly everybody is serving somebody, and maybe the media is not to be trusted.

I’d tell you to pivot, to admit your mistakes, because we’re all human, we’re all capable of being wrong, we’re all able to learn new things.

But I’d also tell you we need heroes. People to look up to and believe in.

And I certainly don’t believe in Donald Trump. But a lot of people do, the same way we believed in the Beatles.

That’s right… You’re smoking in interviews? Saying you’re more popular than Jesus? Breaking the code?

Trump is playing by rock star rules. Which is I’m so rich I can do whatever I want, the rules don’t apply to me.

And this antagonizes those who’ve spent their whole lives sucking up, playing the game. Because if the rules don’t apply their efforts have been worthless.

That’s America, where everybody’s mealy-mouthed and can’t speak their personal truth. Hell, you read about it all the time in the business pages, people writing in for advice about their bad bosses, their duplicitous coworkers. They want to tell them off, say take this job and shove it, but they’re afraid.

Donald Trump is not afraid.

And that’s why he’s resonating with his constituency.

We used to look up to artists. They played this role.

But once we decided that money was the definitive arbiter and artists didn’t make enough we shifted our attention to businessmen.

And most businessmen are about breaking rules as opposed to obeying them. Hell, no Napster without rule-breaking, and then no Apple iPod, never mind iTunes and the resulting iPhone.

Everything great has come out of people who say they just don’t like what’s going on.

So I’d say hate the player, but love the game. The one Trump is playing. Where he’s confounding the pussyfooting political cabal.

How is it Donald Trump knows it’s all about the voters and everybody inside the Beltway thinks it’s all about them?

Maybe he’s on to something.



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What's been said:

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  1. ilsm commented on Jul 20

    Why is career pilot, scion of the family business, last place in class at Annapolis McCain a hero while the Vietnam war protesting Ivy League NROTC Lt was swift boated? The same indignant people defending McCain swift boated John Kerry!

    Calling McCain a “war hero” lowers the bar on “hero” to a ridiculous level. In another war Vietnam POW officers would have been court martialed for the confessions, signatures, and photo ops.

    The indignant people are defending the corruption of the pentagon and the unworthy esteem that warmongers enjoy in the US.

    • RW commented on Jul 20

      Here, here! After Republicans systematically defamed decorated veterans such as Max Cleland their protestations of loyalty to veterans had no more value than a fart and even less than that now.

  2. Rich in NJ commented on Jul 20

    Trump’s (probably evanescent) popularity is largely a function of the weakness of the Republican field, starting with Dubya’s brother, who promotes bubble-onomics, and before his answer was repackaged multiple times, was willing to assert that the Iraqi War debacle was worth repeating, even in hindsight.

    • VennData commented on Jul 21

      The weakness of Republican voters minds you mean.

    • willid3 commented on Jul 21

      they have one?.

  3. Jojo commented on Jul 21

    @ilsm – Agreed!
    You Are Not A Hero.
    by Nicholas Clairmont

    “The nicest veterans… the kindest and funniest ones, the ones who hated war the most, were the ones who’d really fought.”
    – Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five, Chapter 1

    “I don’t feel like I did something spectacular; I just saw someone who needed help.” -Wesley Autry, “Subway Hero”

    All of the debate recently about whether or not Edward Snowden is a hero has gotten me thinking about that word.

    We overuse the word “hero” to such an extent that it doesn’t really mean anything anymore. According to common parlance, almost nobody isn’t a hero. It mirrors the classic injunction that “saying that everyone is special is another way of saying that no one is.”

    But, it’s a big word, hero. It used to be historic, epic, legendary.

    Who is a hero?

    • milbank commented on Jul 21

      “A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ but a Sandwich”

  4. PrahaPartizan commented on Jul 21

    I detest McCain but do believe he warrants the title “Hero” for the manner in which he bore captivity, enduring the torture and suffering and remaining faithful to the oath he swore when entering the service while refusing to accept early release when the North Vietnamese sought a cheap “win.” I also despise the Republican field for the manner in which they attacked all veterans when they mocked Kerry’s injuries suffered in Vietnam and attacked Cleland’s patriotism for political gain. No Republican has any authority of any stripe – ethical, political, or moral – to speak about or for veterans after those shameful episodes in the elections of one of the lowest decades this nation has seen. Their puling and whining now just demonstrates that the Republican Party cannot even recognize what true “heroism” is.

  5. huxrules commented on Jul 21

    I always believed that Trump is just running interference so that Jeb can build his super-pac war chest. I don’t think Trump resonates with anyone besides my angry IT friends.

  6. DeDude commented on Jul 21

    I just hope he doesn’t manage to X himself out of the race to soon. He is damaging the GOP so spectacularly and providing great material for the comedy channel at the same time. I hope I am not dreaming?

    • milbank commented on Jul 21

      Actually, I’m thinking, in comparison, he’s making the other GOP candidates look more reasonable than they would otherwise.

  7. milbank commented on Jul 21

    Reality check:

    Only nine percent of the 655 Republicans and independents polled by Bloomberg Politics would seriously consider voting for Trump. 62 percent said they would “never consider” voting for him.

    Eventually, the circus will pack up it’s tent and leave town. Only the dung of the rest of the elephants will remain.

  8. VennData commented on Jul 21

    Ben Carson defends Trump.


    Ted Cruz defends Trump

    ​Trump soars to ‘uge lead.​


    The WSJ editorial page, Fox News, Rush and the rest of the GOP Media Machine have created this GOP-Base monster that is now eating them alive.

  9. theexpertisin commented on Jul 21

    If Big Media journalists (sic) walked the Trump audacity walk, especially in forceful push-back of the messenger as in days of yore our country would be much better informed.

    Of course, reporters practicing this mode of operation would never secure a political or academic position afterwards, and would be blackballed in McCarthy fashion from leadership roles within their place of employment.

    I wonder on what terms is Major Garrett going to be allowed to ask another prominent question?

  10. GoBigRed commented on Jul 21

    After what John McCain did to his first wife – the one that stuck by him for all those years he was in Vietnam, he’s no hero to me.

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