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Wednesday, August 17, 2016
The Jurassic ParkCandidate
The first Jurassic Park movie was a memorable effort. Great on-screen effects, a compelling and thought-provoking plot that worked on several levels, interesting characters and a tense climactic scene with a satisfyingly concrete resolution.
One of the best sequences in the movie was when the park's security system breaks down and the Tyrannosaurus Rex gets loose for the first time. He comes stomping menacingly down the road on that stormy, rainy night, intent on eating the two kids in one of the Ford Explorer park tour vehicles.
Dr. Ian Malcolm -- played so perfectly by Jeff Goldblum -- waves his arms frantically from the second Explorer in an attempt to get the Rex's attention and distract it away from attacking the children.
Goldblum's ploy works. Although the Rex is about to successfully complete his attack and get his prey, it is easily lured away from the task at hand and it misses its opportunity completely. The Goldblum character speeds way with everyone safely aboard, leaving the Rex vainly running after them, falling further and further behind.
It's tough to come up with a more perfect movie metaphor to this year's election campaign. It's so perfect, it's almost a cliché.
Despite her famous name, nearly unlimited funding and over-the-top biased media support, Hillary Clinton could be one of the most flawed, unappealing and weakest candidates in modern political times. Other than being a Democratic female at a time when the country is supposedly and impatiently "ready for a woman president," there is astonishingly little to recommend her as a candidate. No significant accomplishments as either Secretary of State or NY senator, with markedly worse conditions and relationships in every area in which she was involved during her S of S tenure and nary a meaningful "Clinton" bill to her name after eight very visible, high-profile years in the Senate.
Instead, she's shown herself to be an incredibly cold and ineffective retail campaigner, shrill, forced, disingenuous, unapproachable, entitled. She is the polar opposite of a "likeable" candidate. She completely flunks the "Would you like to have her over to your house for dinner" test. Her husband's most ardent detractors would admit that Bill has a certain agreeable "loveable rogue" demeanor to his personality. Yet even Hillary's most fervent supporters are reduced to making weak excuses like, "She's really a bit nicer in private."
Then there's her decades-long, never-ending record of lying, deception, skirting the law, double standards, and appearance of outright corruption. The Clintons have raised the practice of remaining both legally and morally unaccountable -- by the very slimmest of margins -- to an exquisite art form. From her days at the Rose Law Firm, the cattle futures incident, the covering for Bill's dalliances while simultaneously positioning herself as a "champion for woman's rights," the dodging of sniper fire in Bosnia, the abject failure of her Senate campaign promise to bring "200 thousand jobs to upstate NY," to her role in Benghazi, to her recent private e-mail server boondoggle and the plausible accusations of the Clinton Foundation's money laundering and influence pedalling activities, all of this -- combined with her simply outright personal unlikability -- has led to an "untrustworthy and dishonest" rating among the public approaching 60%. For a well-established political figure -- on the scene for over 25 years and with the backing of the major media at every turn -- this is without precedent in American political history.
Highly beatable, whether the country is "ready for a woman president" or not.
Yet against her, with the Republicans knowing full well that the demographic pendulum is swinging inexorably and permanently against them, the Republicans have managed to select as their champion the Jurassic candidate.
For the purposes of this article, we're putting aside completely Trump's actual policy positions. He's just recently put forth an economic plan that is extremely attractive to fiscal conservatives, a plan that features reduced corporate tax, simplified personal tax categories and a streamlining of the current scattershot, random approach to Federal regulations. All of Trump's proposals would promote economic growth since they do the one critical thing that Obama-type economic policies do not do: Trump's policies will greatly increase the confidence that businesses have in the certainty and predictability of the business playing field, which in turn, gives business the confidence to expand and hire. It's the uncertainty of what's about to come down the pike -- whether in the form of ObamaCare's unintended consequences, a newly-minted-out-of-thin-air punitive EPA regulation or the threat some new wealth-redistribution business tax -- that prevents businesses from having the assurances they need to hire and expand aggressively. Currently, they hire and expand as little as they can get away with. The bare minimum.
However, let's not consider Trumps economic proposals, his foreign policy strategy, his immigration plans or anything else. Let's just look at his personality traits and the way the Democrats have identified how he'll likely respond in a given situation.
Jeff Goldblum was at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia, cleverly disguised as Gold Star father Khirz Kahn. Kahn was enlisted by the Democrats to bait Trump, to say he had "sacrificed nothing" for this country, to question his knowledge of the Constitution, to create a distraction for Trump and get him off any thoughts Trump may have had about attacking Hillary's questionable liberal economic policies or her supremely flawed personal character.
It worked perfectly. Trump reacted exactly like the Tyrannosaurus Rex did in Jurassic Park, dropping his original target and falling for the deception. The liberal media -- CNN, the NY Times, NPR, MSNBC, the morning TV shows, the buzz on social media -- all fanned the flames for several days, keeping the "story" alive and casting Trump in a particularly bad light. The Democrats have learned that Trump's extremely egotistical nature makes him unusually susceptible to emotional/personal distractions, so independent of the stark policy differences between Clinton and Trump, the Democrats and their liberal media allies will continue to wave their arms frantically at Trump in an attempt to prevent him from seizing his prey.
It's highly unlikely that a more politically experienced, disciplined, "conventional" Republican candidate like a Kasich or Rubio would be vulnerable in this manner. Their perceived reasonableness and composure would eliminate the technique of Rex-distraction as a Democratic campaign strategy and instead would have enabled the Republicans to shine the light on all of Hillary's many personal, political, and moral shortcomings. Democratic sycophants will no doubt say that Trump's susceptibility to such emotional distraction is proof positive of his temperamental inadequacy for the presidency.
Others will say that his vastly superior actual policy proposals vs. Clinton's are what matter, and surrounded by experienced advisors and a majority-required House and 60-vote Senate, Trump's "personality" will not be a negative to effective governing.
One thing is fairly certain, however: It's highly unlikely that Trump will become emotionally disciplined and unreactive in the time remaining before the election. His volatility could strike a damaging mortal blow to Clinton -- especially during one of the debates -- or it may merely serve to feed and reinforce the liberal media narrative of his dangerous unpredictability as a candidate.