Politicians 12/4/22

Political Thoughts with Richard Bleil

Once again, Trump showed that he cannot change his stripes by having lunch with an outspoken white nationalist in his resort.  No, I’m not surprised.  If anything, I’m surprised that others are surprised, but once again, it feels as if another politician missed a golden opportunity to turn a negative around.

I guess the first time I really noticed this was when then vice-president Dan Quail (R) (famous for his gaffes) was disqualified from an elementary school spelling bee when he spelled the word “potato” with a superfluous “e”, which is how potatoes is spelled, but not singular potato.  Almost immediately his PR people started arguing that there ARE those that spell it with an “e” which struck me is absolutely ridiculous.  He actually made it to second place, but what I didn’t understand is why he didn’t just point out that, yes, of course he misspelled the word so that one of the students could win.  No doubt, that would have been a lie but he’s a politician.  Of course, he lies.  But what a golden opportunity it would have been for a silly mistake (which is all that it was) to turn into a few brownie points.

I don’t think I’ve heard Trump’s reply yet.  He seems to be trying to dodge the criticisms of him dining with these two guests (the other is also controversial as a very famous and very powerful antisemite).  To me, this, again, is a mistake that could be made into a powerful political statement to turn it around simply by stating something to the effect of saying that in this nation of free speech, you don’t have to agree with somebody’s politics to hear them out. 

A friend of mine is racist.  Of course, I never agreed with his arguments towards this end, and I’ll never get him to change his tune either, and yet he made a very powerful statement to me one day when he said that we have free speech as long as you agree with everybody.  It was an interesting statement.  The Supreme Court has already struck down hate speech and speech intended to incite violence (which is why those involved with the insurrection, in my opinion, broke the law even if they did not participate, including the president).  But to have somebody give a calm argument on why whites are superior (or Christians or men or any other such group) is actually protected speech, even though it sounds idiotic and uninformed.  Well, let’s be honest, it is idiotic and uninformed. 

It’s curious to me how presidential success works.  Carter (D) has always fascinated me.  He was president from 1977, when I was 14, to 1981, when I was just eighteen and probably helped to vote him out of office.  I was ignorant at the time and heavily influenced by my parent’s opinion (heavily Republican), but as I recall, he was not a very effective president.  This, of course, is based on my foggy memory from a time when I didn’t pay as much attention as, honestly, I should have.  But what impressed me immediately following his term as president and continues to impress me to this day are his actions as a former president.  I do believe he may be the best former president we’ve ever had working with Habitat for Humanity, and not just giving money and lending his name but by actually going out and modeling his nature by helping to build the houses. 

Some presidents have made real efforts after their terms.  Like him or loathe him (I like him), Bill Clinton worked to try to revitalize Harlem by opening an office and moving there to work.  Others have done precious little, like George W. Bush who seems to have retired to his ranch to become a terrible artist.  And then there’s Trump.  Enough said.

In some nations, political posts are rewards for being particularly intelligent.  I love Germany’s Angela Merkel, for example.  As Chancellor, I thought she did a fabulous job, especially in dealing with a hostile American president, but her training was not politics or law.  In fact, she has her doctorate in the same discipline, Statistical Thermodynamics, as mine.  So, if you happen to read this, Dr. Merkel, you are my inspiration.  Here in America, we have trouble finding politicians because everybody who is intelligent enough to be a great and successful president is also intelligent enough to just stay out of politics.  Although, let’s be fair.  Based on the presidents we’ve had of late, we have more than enough morons to fill the post.

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