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Trump the cartoon tough guy

The smartest and most incisive writing about Donald Trump is being produced by conservatives who have the sense to be horrified by him and his sycophants.

And so I recommend this article by Kevin Williamson of The National Review in which he explains how Trump’s tough-guy persona is an utter sham. He suggests that Trump is a wannabe Blake (Alec Baldwin) from the movie version of Glengarry Glen Ross who can’t quite pull it off. In fact he’s really more like the hapless salesman Shelley Levene (Jack Lemmon).

Despite his railing and threatening, Trump can’t get a Republican majority in Congress to kill the dreaded Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). His attorney general blithely ignores Trump’s clumsy efforts to get him to quit. Overwhelming majorities of Republicans in Congress defy him by voting to tie his hands regarding sanctions against Russian officials and so Putin announces he is booting out 755 American diplomats.

Williamson writes of Trump:

He wants to be John Wayne, but what he is is “Woody Allen without the humor.” Peggy Noonan, to whom we owe that observation, has his number: He is soft, weak, whimpering, and petulant. He isn’t smart enough to do the job and isn’t man enough to own up to the fact. For all his gold-plated toilets, he is at heart that middling junior salesman watching Glengarry Glen Ross and thinking to himself: “That’s the man I want to be.” How many times do you imagine he has stood in front of a mirror trying to project like Alec Baldwin? Unfortunately for the president, it’s Baldwin who does the good imitation of Trump, not the other way around.

Hence the cartoon tough-guy act. [White House communications director Anthony] Scaramucci’s star didn’t fade when he gave that batty and profane interview in which he reimagined Steve Bannon as a kind of autoerotic yogi. That’s Scaramucci’s best impersonation of the sort of man the president of these United States, God help us, aspires to be.

But he isn’t that guy. He isn’t Blake. He’s poor sad old Shelley Levene, who cannot close the deal, who spends his nights whining about the unfairness of it all.