Free Markets, Free People
I was going to append “as a candidate”, then “as President”, etc. But I realized that “as a candidate” he’d never reach the presidency . His mouth would never give him the opportunity. And should he somehow (hey, Obama did it) reach the presidency, it would be an unmitigated disaster. The fact that in some polls he is running a “strong second” among GOP supporters says more about the rest of the GOP presidential field than it does about the validity of a Trump candidacy.
Why would he be a disaster? Because, for the most part, he’s an ignorant loudmouth who doesn’t think his way through anything. He blurts half formed ideas. Here’s an example where he is talking about OPEC:
Trump: Look at what’s going on with your gasoline prices. They’re going to go to $5, $6, $7 and we don’t have anybody in Washington that calls OPEC and says, "Fellas, it’s time. It’s over. You’re not going to do it anymore." I don’t know if you saw yesterday, Saudi Arabia came out and said very strongly there’s plenty of oil. "We’re going to cut back." You know what cutting back means? They’re going to drive up the price even further.
Stephanopoulos: So, what would you do to back up that threat?
Trump: Oh, it’s so easy George. It’s so easy. It’s all about the messenger. They wouldn’t even be there if it wasn’t for us. If it weren’t for us, they wouldn’t be there. These 12 guys sit around a table and they say, "Let’s just screw the United States." And frankly, the rest of the world.
Stephanopoulos: And so finish this sentence. "If you don’t produce more oil…"
Trump: Look. I’m going to look ‘em in the eye and say, "Fellas, you’ve had your fun. Your fun is over."
Wow. That’ll have ‘em shivering in their boots. Of course the fact that we import the vast majority of our oil and still haven’t taken the steps necessary to exploit our own resources is the real reason we’re in that shape and at the mercy of cartels like OPEC. But he doesn’t address that. Instead his idea is to be confrontational and threatening.
I think everyone who reads this blog realizes that there’s plenty of oil and natural gas out there to keep using it as fuel for the foreseeable future. It’s about where it is, not how much there is anymore. And as long as the majority of that oil remains in the control of the OPEC cartel, we can “look ‘em in the eye” till doomsday and it won’t accomplish a thing. Not unless we’re willing to do the unthinkable and take over their oil fields.
Oh? Well that would be perfectly fine with President Trump:
Trump: George, let me explain something to you. We go into Iraq. We have spent thus far, $1.5 trillion. We could have rebuilt half of the United States. $1.5 trillion. And we’re going to then leave. So, in the old days, you know when you had a war, to the victor belong the spoils. You go in. You win the war and you take it.
Stephanopoulos: It would take hundreds of thousands of troops to secure the oil fields.
Trump: Excuse me. No, it wouldn’t at all.
Stephanopoulos: So, we steal an oil field?
Trump: Excuse me. You’re not stealing. Excuse me. You’re not stealing anything. You’re taking– we’re reimbursing ourselves– at least, at a minimum, and I say more. We’re taking back $1.5 trillion to reimburse ourselves.
We’re going to reimburse ourselves for doing something we chose to do? Hey, would the same thing apply to Libya? And how do we “reimburse” ourselves for Afghanistan – get in the opium trade?
This guy is entertaining as hell, and we all may appreciate and enjoy his willingness to say things out loud a lot of us think about certain issues and situations (like turning to the Ron Paul supporters at CPAC and saying, “you know your guy can’t win). But he’s serious about this nonsense above and you have to understand that and understand what that means. He’s as naïve about foreign affairs as is the present occupant in the White House. The problem with Trump is he’s not only naïve, he’s confrontational by nature. He’s the other side of the same coin as Obama when it comes to foreign affairs and we would find ourselves neck deep in conflict if the guy ever got within sniffing range of the Oval office.
The first day was spent sort of getting the lay of the land, meeting and greeting (new acquaintances and old friends), the Rumsfeld lunch and a few speeches.
Listened to Donald Trump talk – entertaining anyway – and heard him tell the Ron Paul crowd “your guy doesn’t have a chance”. The way he did it was a true laugh-out-loud moment. He’s right, but speaking of not having a chance, well I don’t think “the Donald” has much of one at all. But it was entertaining to see him stir up the Paul crowd.
Speaking of Paul’s, I listened to Rand Paul’s speech and was pretty pleased with what he had to say. He says the cuts the GOP is putting forward are insignificant and unacceptable. He mentioned that the amount is what government spends in 5 days. He also pointed out that both parties have budget projections that add more than three trillion to the debt. He said that must be cut and cut drastically. 100 billion of it, he claimed, could come from shutting down the Dept. of Education and returning schooling to where it belongs – with the states and local school boards.
That’s been a dream of the right for decades, in fact since the inception of the DoE. I have no idea if there’s the will or the stomach within Congress to address that, but Paul is right – cuts must be much more significant than those proposed. But given that after promising 100 billion they came up with 32 billion in cuts, I’m not that hopeful.
He also said, in so many words, that the GOP and Democrats are going to have to grow a pair and address entitlements, to include increasing the retirement age for both SS and Medicare. He was mostly greeted with enthusiastic applause from the crowd. How enthusiastic they’ll be when it comes time to cut spending and move the retirement age remains to be seen (in theory it’s all important and the “right thing to do”, but in reality, people have a tendency to back off – especially if it effects them).
Another bit of entertainment occurred during the award ceremony for former SecDef Rumsfeld. One of the surprise presenters was Dick Cheney who received a standing O from the audience as he came on the stage (and after a while finally took the mic and said “thank you, thank you, now sit down and shut up” – brought the house down). As things quieted down someone – exercising his right to free speech – shouted out, “you’re a war criminal”. The crowd then exercised its’ right to free speech and, chanting “USA, USA” essentially drown the fellow out as he was escorted from the floor. Cheney’ reaction was something along the lines of “I’m glad to see we’re still having spirited debate”. Some have claimed the shouter was a Ron Paul supporter – I have no idea who he was.
Last night I attended a Freedom Works function where The Atlas Society introduced the independent film production of “Atlas Shrugged”. We were privy to the first public viewing of scenes from the movie. I thought, “ok, indie film, mega challenging book, this might not end well”.
I was very impressed with the production values I saw in the clips we viewed. The acting was well done and while not name actors, are all people you’ve seen before in various supporting roles in movies and TV. And frankly, the word that kept coming to mind was “lush” as in a lush production – very pleasing to the eye and in the clips we saw, faithful to Rand’s book. Got to speak to both the executive director of the Atlas Society, David Kelly and Harmon Kaslow, the producer of the film. They were obviously interested in our reaction. You can find info about the movie here. It is actually a 2 part movie and this is part 1. It looks like an excellent attempt to bring Rand’s most famous book to life on the screen and will, I think, give a new generation – a video generation – a chance to experience the lessons taught by Rand in “Atlas”. And none too soon.
More to come from today. I’m staying in Arlington and commuting so I probably won’t show up there until around 10 but won’t miss much. Dressing for comfort today – hell, no one recognized me yesterday in a coat and tie. As Stephan Kruiser said last night, we’re not social people and usually we do what we do in the privacy of our basements in various stages of undress.