Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Ralph, I Was...Not Exactly Right



Yesterday, I hustled out of my office and got into the car a bit earlier than usual. The traffic on the Bayshore Freeway conspired to make me 15 minutes late anyways, but I still was able to catch most of the action.

Not the Monday Night Football game (I find American football somewhere between watching my wife use an emery board on her nails and the dog try to pick up a basketball in his teeth in terms of entertainment value), nor the latest collapse of the Blue Jays' bullpen (30 losses this year, and counting).

Last night was the much-ballyhooed debate between Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

I've had many things to say over the months regarding my opinion of the candidates and the choice we are left with, so I will only say I have no intention to vote for either. This is not even a Hobson's choice we have, but one of these two awful candidates is going to be sworn in in January.

Contrary to the clutching of pearls and threats to flee to Canada, our country will survive whichever of the two is tapped by the majority as being the less offensive of the choices.

In my opinion, Mrs Clinton overcame a terrible start, where her manifold shortcomings on ethics and economic judgment were plainly exposed. I find it incredibly difficult to see how any objective viewer can say that Mr Trump was the winner.

But the main thing I take away from the debate is just how strongly reified the meme that Donald Trump is simply so narcissistic that he simply is preternaturally incapable of admitting a mistake. 

In the above, humourous video from the old "Happy Days" television show, The Fonz, when confronted with incontravertible evidence that he is mistaken, struggles to say the simple words "I was wrong."  Hemming, hawing, and slurring over the word "wrong," he settles into saying "I was not exactly right."

It was, apparently, a big deal to the leather-clad lothario,

Last night, Donald Trump was not even capable of that.

The issue that, in my view, ultimately will sink Trump is not going to be his demonstrated lack of understanding of macroeconomics (i.e., the US government cannot just "negotiate" its sovereign debt down without destroying the world economy), nor his cartoonish approach to diplomacy (no; the US Navy is not going to sink Iranian ships because their sailors are taunting ours; the Navy is not the Little Rascals' He Man Woman Haters Club).

No - it was his repeated intrasigence to accept that his eructations about President Obama's birth certificate was a mistake.

Worse, Donald Trump tried to turn the issue to his advantage by declaring that he had solved the issue. His foolish insistence, over many years, despite all common sense that Barack Obama was somehow secretly born in Kenya 50+ years ago, and the records covered up or falsified in a conspiracy that could only involve the mind of Dan Brown.

Trump finally decided to swallow the red pill and admit that the whole thing was a big con.  Only, rather than just admit he was, well, in the words of the Fonz, not exactly right, apologize, and move on, Trump decided to frame the whole thing as a great triumph of his own will.

You see, HE was successful to force President Obama to release the birth certificate (oddly enough, in 2011, a full five years before Mr Trump went full Fonzie). HE put an end to the debate. Veni. Vidi. Trumpi.

Trump succeeded and Hillary failed. 

The whole thing was a surreal March of the Wooden Soldiers. 

The whole issue of President Obama's birth has exactly -zero- relevance to the 2016 election. President Obama is going to leave the White House in four months, hang up his loafers, put on a pair of golf spikes, and not be seen again save for the opening of his presidential "library."

No one cares about the birth certificate. But yet, there it was as an issue, front and centre.

In any other context, the display could only be called laughable and pathetic. Only, I believe that Donald Trump himself actually believes that this is a great personal triumph. Despite all logic, it's a feather in his cap rather than an egg on his face.

I do not agree generally with the Clinton campaign and its surrogates in the mainstream media that Donald Trump is crazy.  But I do believe that the display last night has to be down to one of two things.

  1. Donald Trump really believes that the series of events is a yuuuge success.
  2. Donald Trump deep down knows that he's not entirely right, but he thinks the rest of us are just too stupid to notice.
Neither one of these options really recommends the man for the presidency. In the first case, I do not want a president who is so blinded by his own sense of greatness that his view of the world is completely untethered to reality. In the latter, I don't want a president who holds the population in such low regard that he thinks we will just believe anything so long as it is said loudly enough and with sufficient "great greats" placed before it.

He should just admit that he was wrroooooonn....er, not entirely right.
 
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