Yearnings for a wiser ruler
March 01, 2016

I Want a President Who is My Kind of Con-man

by Christopher Chantrill Follow chrischantrill on Twitter

Many conservative pundits and principled Republicans are recoiling from Donald Trump on the grounds that he is a con-man, a confidence trickster. To which my retort is: So?

Is not all politics a confidence trick? Is not Bernie Sanders a confidence trickster for conning the Millennials with the fantasy of free college? Free for whom? Students? Parents? Taxpayers?

When Democrats of all stripes hammer away on equal pay for women, are they not conning the worthy women of America? Studies show that young women in their twenties are outearning men, but many women, like humans everywhere, are attracted to politicians that treat them like victims.

When Barack Obama promised $2,500 savings in health insurance premiums and people keeping their doctor, who was he kidding? What comprehensive and mandatory government program ever cost the nation less and delivered more than a market-driven system?

And what about the Republican chestnut, that tax cuts create more revenue? It has some basis in economics, but who are we kidding? If we want to cut big government, it means cutting spending.

The novelty of Donald Trump is that he is opening a new front in the Darwinian evolution of the political confidence trick. He will build a wall; he will teach the Chinese a lesson. He will make America great again. What is not to like if you are a white working class man who has seen bupkis in the way of wage gains in the last two decades?

The truth is that we all believe in the fantasies of politicians. It’s just that different people believe in different fantasies.

I have my fantasies, and I’d vote in a heartbeat for a politician that was offering my particular brand of unicorns and moonbeams. Like most people, I like to paint my fantasy as a fight against injustice.

For instance, I think that the current education system is an injustice worse than child labor. I’d vote in a heartbeat for a politician that reintroduced child labor, because I think most children, excepting only the children of the educated and the wealthy, would do better if they quit school at twelve and went to work as an apprentice. I think the current system of mandatory child incarceration in government child-custodial facilities, where children are expected to work long hours for no pay, is monstrous.

I also think that the current Social Security and Medicare programs are simple generational injustice, and I’d swoon at the feet of any politician that promised to abolish them. On my idea, a just system of pensions would require people to save their own money and retire once they had enough money to afford it. This is simple justice. Young people have no money, and so their jobs and their mortgages depend on the savings of older people. With the older generation’s savings the young produce the products and services that old people can pay for with the income from their savings. Nobody gets to retire until they have saved enough to create some jobs for the kids. Because justice.

I think there is a special hell reserved for the twisted people for who fighting racism means appealing for votes on the basis of race and creating programs that favor people on the basis of race and top it off by accusing other people of racism, and I’d fall at the feet of a politician that said so.

But there are many Americans who would recoil in horror at a politician offering my kind of unicorn, and they would probably communicate their horror to the world by lurid reference to his parentage, his hairstyle, and his mating habits.

It is a revolting spectacle to see other people getting conned by some political confidence trickster, just as it is revolting to see a woman seduced by another man. It is revolting for conservatives to have to witness liberals being seduced by Obama’s Hope and Change, or Bernie’s Feel the Bern. And for all kinds of people it is revolting to watch mainstream America getting seduced by the born-on-third-base thrice-married, four-times-bankrupt, thin-skinned, bullying Donald Trump.

There is another way, as Groundhog Day showed us 20 years ago.

While stuck in a time-warp Bill Murray’s weatherman character grows: from denial, to cunning, to despair, to final surrender of the ego as he becomes a decent human being and goes around helping other people, and thus worthy of the love of Andie MacDowell’s character.

Politics is stuck in the cunning stage. Voters and politicians manipulate each other endlessly in a time-warp demanding and offering free stuff. In that time warp nobody ever learns that the meaning of life, the universe, and everything begins when you decide that you can’t go for a coffee at the diner with the sweetest girl in the world because you have some errands to run.

January 03, 2017

I Want a President Who Loves America: Pre-Inaugural Edition

Two years ago in this space I wrote that “I Want a President Who Loves America.” I started out by telling how I fell in love with America 51 years ago on my first trip to the US over Christmas 1965.  MORE...

December 06, 2016

I Want a President Who Tells Us His Sense of the World

Why is the US in Syria? Why is the US in Yemen? What was the point of dumping Khadafi in Libya? Do you have a clue what is going on? I don’t have a clue about any of that either.  MORE...

November 01, 2016

I Want a President that Loves America, Part Trois

Back in January of 2015 I wrote my first piece in the “I Want a President” series and the title was simply “I Want a President Who Loves America.” I wrote simply about my love for America and how, in the Obama years, I longed for a president that loved America like I did. And now I see that an African American, “Gloria,” agrees with me.  MORE...

October 04, 2016

I Want a President Who Will End Victimism

Great news! The Obama administration is proposing a new race category. It’s for people of Middle Eastern and North African descent — MENA for those in the know. Why? It’s obvious when you go to USA Today and read the blather about how the new race category could solve all kinds of problems with community identity and private-sector discrimination. In other words, liberals are going full-speed ahead to square up Muslims as another victim group for their victim politics.  MORE...

September 06, 2016

I Want a President to Lift Government Off the Brow of Labor

Back in the 19th century William Jennings Bryan spoke for working men everywhere when he declared:  MORE...

August 02, 2016

I Want a President That Won’t Stiff the Opposition

So Hillary Clinton has been nominated as the candidate for President of the United States, the first woman ever so nominated by a major party.  MORE...

July 05, 2016

I Want a President Born on the Fourth of July. Really

Eighteen months ago I started this I Want a President series with “I Want a President Who Loves America.” I wrote of my love for America and how I’d like a president that loved America as much as I did.  MORE...

June 07, 2016

I Want a President Who Can Tame America’s Lefty Rioters

There they go again. In San Jose last week, lefty demonstrators rioted against typical Americans leaving a Donald Trump rally, and the mayor of San Jose blamed Donald Trump for the violence. In the 21st century, in a democratic republic where “the people rule,” what is going on?  MORE...

May 03, 2016

I Want a President Who Can Teach Us to Accept Capitalism

In last week’s foreign policy speech Donald Trump had this to say about jobs:  MORE...

April 05, 2016

I Want a President to Teach Liberals a Lesson

The eternal frustration of every conservative is the way the public square is skewed in favor of liberals. “Right-wing extremism” is said to be a problem, but left-wing street riots are nothing but “peaceful protest.” We are to understand that anything less than a flat-out denunciation of loser David Duke and the pathetic remnants of the Ku Klux Klan is disqualifying while the accomplished racist agitator, Reverend Al Sharpton, gets White House invitations and fawning profiles in Vanity Fair.  MORE...

February 02, 2016

I Want a President for Americans that Follow the Rules, Go to Work, and Obey the Law

It’s true! The pundits have just discovered that Republicans and Democrats really are different, after all. First, there’s the Kaiser Family Foundation poll that shows that Democrats want specifics from politicians and Republicans want principles. Then there’s the MSNBC campaign switch, reported by young Ezra Klein. He quotes Benjy Sarlin:  MORE...

January 05, 2016

I Want a President That Loves America. Again

It was just a year ago that I floated my dearest political wish upon the waters: “I Want a President Who Loves America.” It really wasn’t asking much. Since then, I’ve written again and again about what I want in a president.  MORE...

December 08, 2015

I Want a President Who Understands the Value of the Nation State

President Obama’s Oval Office address on Sunday night was par for the course: steady as she goes, and don’t let’s be beastly to the Muslims.  MORE...

November 03, 2015

I Want a President That Demonstrates Strategic Vision

Now that President Obama has sent boots on the ground into Syria, the question is: What’s the strategy? We know the president’s strategy on domestic policy; he wants to expand government-by-experts to the utter limit. And he wants to keep today’s hyphenated Americans by dividing them from “typical Americans” using Frankfurt School and Alinsky techniques to keep them hived off in identity silos. But what is the famed Lightworker’s strategy for the Middle East?  MORE...

October 06, 2015

I Want a President Who's "Unteachable." But Not Like Obama

Back in the glorious days of the Reagan administration Democratic wise man Clark Clifford opined that Reagan was an “amiable dunce.” That is Eighties-speak for today’s complaint that President Obama is “unteachable.”  MORE...

September 08, 2015

I Want a President That is a "Strong Leader." Not!

Last week, as I was practicing my French with DuoLingo, I heard Rush Limbaugh making a penetrating point about the 2016 election. It’s like 2008, he said, only this time it is conservatives that are investing all their hopes in an untried candidate and assuming he agrees with them.  MORE...

August 06, 2015

I Want a President Who Will Encourage the Millennials

If there’s one group in America that’s hurting worse than the African Americans in Prince George’s County looking at $300,000 mortgages on their $150,000 homes, it’s got to be the Millennials.  MORE...

July 07, 2015

I Want a President Born on the Fourth of July

Just in time for the fireworks, Gallup reports that the share of Americans that are “extremely proud” of America is down to 54%. It was 58% when America elected its First Black President (H/T PJMedia).  MORE...

June 02, 2015

I Want a President Who Cares About People Like Me

It is, I think, scandalous that Barack Obama won the “cares about people like me” sweepstakes over Mitt Romney by 81%-18% in 2012. The New York Post reported that it wasn’t an accident:  MORE...

May 05, 2015

I Want a President That "Gets" the Economy

Oh well, another day, another dollar, as the Obama economy continues to disappoint with a 0.2 percent growth rate for GDP in the first quarter for 2015.  MORE...

March 31, 2015

I Want a President Who Plays by the Rules

If you are a politician, why bother to play by the rules? Or if you are a citizen, why should you care whether the political leaders on your team play by the rules? (It goes without saying that we all care when the Other Guys break the rules.)  MORE...

March 03, 2015

I Want a President Who'll Dump the Stupid FCC

It was the Progressive Era that invented independent regulatory agencies. We needed an Interstate Commerce Commission to regulate those railroads. The noble idea was that we needed independent experts to protect the helpless farmer from the greed of the railroad barons. We needed a watchdog that was free of both of partisan taint and political patronage and also free from influence by corporate power.  MORE...

December 30, 2014

I Want a President That Loves America

I first fell in love with America 49 years ago. I flew from the UK to Denver visit my parents in Christmas 1965, and it was love at first sight. I fell in love with America, the land; I fell in love with America, the people. And I fell in love with the American way of life, the unconsciously optimistic approach to life and work and the future.  MORE...