Do John Miller And John Barron Wear Wigs Too?
Every time the media is talking about Trump's repulsive faux-reality world, they're ignoring the issues the presidential campaign should hinge on. And over the weekend two new characters, made-up John Miller and made-up John Barron were introduced into The Donald Show. Bad enough when it was just another example of the bloviating insecure old man with the wig perpetrating fraud in everything he touches. But it was even worse than that:
It turned out that "Mr. Barron" was Donald Trump's favorite alias. When this was revealed, Trump said, "What of it? Ernest Hemingway used a pen name, didn't he?Trump didn't just use the made-up characters to brag to the gossip columnists about his supposed sexual prowess and to manipulate the stock market, he used them when he was threatening his business adversaries as well. The National Memo reported yesterday that a long-surpressed Trump documentary, Trump: What's the Deal, "recounts a wide variety of Trump lies, exaggerations, and manipulations, but the misconduct of greatest interest to voters may be his threatening litigation in a scheme to deny payment to about 200 illegal Polish immigrants tearing down the old Bonwit Teller building on Fifth Avenue (an act of architectural vandalism). Many of the men lacked hardhats or face masks, used sledge hammers rather than power tools, had to pull out live electric wires with their bare hands, in a building laced with asbestos-- all in blatant violation of worker safety laws. A lawyer trying to get the workers paid the meager $4 to $6 per hour that Trump owed them received a bullying telephone call from one 'John Barron'."
Meanwhile Jim Fallows, writing for The Atlantic, says the Barron/Miller hoax and circus over the last few days could actually turn into something significant electorally. Acknowledging that "no previous stories have stopped Trump, or even slowed him down," Fallows the Barron/Miller silliness could be different because "they are about something everyone can understand."
Donald Trump’s positions about “policy” have in many cases been reckless (nuclear-rearmament for Japan), ignorant (anything involving taxes and budgets), destructive (a religious test for immigrants), or preposterous (“Mexico will pay for that wall”). And in a few cases they have been refreshing, for instance his anti-neocon international views.And a couple of months to keep the Democratic Party from committing suicide by nominating a candidate who many voters-- particularly crucial independent voters-- see as flawed and repulsive as Trump. There's still time to save the Republic, if not the Republican Party:
But I think everyone realizes that, good or bad, his policies aren’t really what matters. That is because they are not really policies. They’re just what Trump has happened to say most recently. He’ll say something else during the campaign, do something else if he became president. Maybe better, maybe worse, who knows. It would be a crap shoot.
The real problem with Trump involves not policies, which can change, but temperament, which does not. A 70-year-old man (as Trump would be on inauguration day) who doesn’t know what the “nuclear triad” is, or why Japan has a “self-defense force” but not a normal military, can learn those things. But his temperament is not going to change. We are already seeing the man he is going to be, the traits he would bring to office.
...Even if I agreed with Trump on every item of policy (and I do on some), I would find his temperament dangerously disqualifying for the job. His outbursts; his narcissism; his inability to rise above challenges to his dignity or, yes, his hand size-- these are essentially the opposite of what we want to see in a president.
For me these are additional reasons not to support Trump. What about people who are seriously considering him? There is the possibility that the tape, and the stories of the women, could have an effect that “policy” doesn’t. The reason is that they present situations that most people can “understand,” but cannot understand.
Anyone who listens to the tape can understand that Trump was bragging about his sexual and other greatness-- and that he’s faking to do so. Anyone who reads the NYT story (and this) can understand what it would mean to openly judge women over whom you have economic power, mainly by their looks, or talk in a similar way about your baby daughter. People might skip past details of budget policy or trade plans, but they can grasp what this about.
Faking your voice on the phone? Yeah, I might have done that in junior high school, on “is your refrigerator running?”-style late night phone pranks. But doing it in your forties, to a magazine reporter, flatout falsifying your identity in order to brag about yourself? And sizing up your own children in sexual terms? And they would recognize that these are things normal people wouldn’t do.
By definition people who run for president aren’t “normal.” They’re all narcissists, they’re all driven, they all have to be ruthless in ways most of us are spared. But even among that group, the man Trump is something different. Maybe people who don’t care about budgets or the nuclear triad will notice these stories and ask themselves: seriously, is something wrong with this guy?
Or maybe they won’t. We’ve got nearly six months still to go.