Photo Credit: Oscar Keys
In the early Autumn of 2008, the presidential election was vying for attention with the onset of financial panic—the latter aggravated by the unwise policies of Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who repeatedly spooked the markets and drove investors to the sidelines. At that time I published a blog post about the Democrats’ nominee for president, Barack Obama, “Of Con Artists and Presidential Candidates”. I refer to that not because I take pleasure in being right about the calamities that followed, but because we are faced yet again with the potential election of a con artist as President of the United States. I am not sure that we can stand in the White House a consecutive fomenter of calamities, though I hold to my great confidence in the resilience of our Great Republic. As with ancient Rome, it will take a lot for the barbarians to overrun civilization, but the process is terrible. In the end, it was repeatedly bad government that gave the Goths, Huns, and Vandals the victory.
I need not catalog the list of Goths, Huns, and Vandals that civilization faces today, but it starts with radical Islam, and mullahs of Iran, the mentally-disturbed dictator in North Korea, and the current would-be czar of Russia. Not a one of these should pose a serious threat to the survival of the United States, and not a one of them would have achieved the level of danger that it poses today, were it not for the bad leadership of our nation (little relieved by any appreciably better leadership among most of our allies).
Which returns me to con artists. At least three of the prominent presidential candidates have built their campaigns on the effort to con the American voters. For the most part, our popular media are buying and supporting it all, either for its good copy or for its entertainment value, hard to tell. I refer to Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump. The greatest, or worst, of these is Donald Trump. Hillary wears so many masks, one wonders whether she even knows who she is. Bernie is the foremost in promising trillions of dollars in government freebies that could never be delivered, since trying to do so would collapse the economy—you have to pay for that stuff somehow, and the dollars will not come from economic decline. Donald Trump, like our current president, is a classic demagogue—the bane of democratic government—saying whatever he may to stimulate and feed upon the failures, fears, and frustrations of significant segments of voters.
Donald Trump offers no discernible philosophy of government beyond bluster and hubris. From his personal history one can find that he thrives—when he thrives—by networking cronies, including government officials whose favor he courts to support his “business” plans. Pretending to be an outsider, he has lived by being a consumate courtier, a classic insider.
Is he a conservative? Then why do his ideas so often turn to big-government solutions? Does he believe in the Constitution? Constitutional constraints would get in his way. The unifying theme of his shoot-from-the-hip ideas is an action platform of presidential dictatorship, with anyone who opposes them or him labeled as enemies, losers, or idiots. He surely feels like the kind of person our Constitution was written to protect us from.
While Donald Trump does not often mouth the word “change,” (perhaps because that would make his likeness to Obama too apparent) he is clearly offering the same “change” formula as candidate Obama served up in 2008. Obama’s “change” in 2008 was really more of the same of the tried and failed tax-and-spend programs of government control over our lives. Donald Trump pretends to something new, to change government, when in fact his plan is all government, and government controlled of, by, and for his cronies. That was the same way he ran his businesses. He offers you his business model as a model for government. Do not take the deal. We will all be losers.