Trump is unravelling before our eyes -- or so says the Washington post
LOL. Jennifer Rubin, who wrote the article below, sounds like a rich and spoilt Jewish girl from NYC, maybe even a JAP, who has never spoken to a working class person in her life. And she probably has never spent much time with the elderly either.
Mr Trump sounds a lot like an older working class person. He grew up in Queens, a demographically mixed suburb, so would have heard a lot of working class speech during his growing up. And he spent a lot of time talking to the workers on his building projects during his real estate development career. So he is familiar with working class speech and finds it congenial. His mother was Scottish so goodness knows what speech in the family home was like. It would however have legitimated different accents and idioms to him.
But as the child of a rich family most of his growing up was probably in the hands of employees -- nannies and the like. So the earliest speech he heard much of would have been theirs, most probably working class speech. So he may even be reverting to a pattern that was most familiar to him in his growing up. People tend to do that as they get old. In short, he does something that no NYC snob would do: He has adopted a lot of working class speech patterns.
And working class speech is very different from university speech. It tends to be disorganized, disconnected, rambling, poorly contextualized and use few long words. It sounds most unlike a book.
A working class manner enables Trump to speak in a relaxed, disorganized way. He is not a Leftist intellectual or a policy wonk and he doesn't speak like one or want to be one.
We had a political leader much like that in my home State of Queensland, Premier Joh Bjelke Petersen. He was a small farmer and spoke like one. Media figures thought his rambling, disconnected speech made no sense at all. But it made plenty of sense to his voters. They kept him in office for nearly 20 years. So 8 years of Trump would seem eminently feasible.
And Trump's muddled speech that Jennifer Rubin hears as neurologically impaired could also be another type of impairment -- elder speech. Old people do tend to forget their words and use generic substitutes. For instance, the lady in my life and I are both of Mr Trump's vintage and we both listen to a lot of early classical music. But one day she wanted to say something to me about a harpsichord, an instrument very familiar to us both. But words failed her. So she referred to it as "that piano thing". Mr Trump's speech could well lack precision because of that. He is 72. He could, for instance say "father" when he meant "grandfather". But rule by the elderly is very common, almost the norm, so such minor failings are of no concern
And some of the things that Rubin pillories are not so silly. The health effects of wind turbines are very much a matter of dispute and a bit of paranoia about vote counting could indeed be revelatory. And the things he said about Obamacare are not necessarily contradictory. At this juncture, who knows what paths to abolishing it may be needed. Many different options and procedures should surely be discussed and explored and that is happening.
And closing the border does not mean what she apparently thinks it means. It means closing all authorized crossing points. Illegal "leakage" will continue until the wall is built.
In the past 24 hours, Trump - who will be 74 in November 2020 and is "tired," according to aides - has:
* Falsely declared multiple times that his father was born in Germany. (Fred Trump was born in New York.)
* Declared that wind turbines cause cancer.
* Confused "origins" and "oranges" in asking reporters to look into the "oranges of the Mueller report."
* Told Republicans to be more "paranoid" about vote-counting.
He is increasingly incoherent. The Washington Post quotes him at a Republican event on Tuesday: "We're going into the war with some socialist. It looks like the only non, sort of, heavy socialist is being taken care of pretty well by the socialists, they got to him, our former vice president. I was going to call him, I don't know him well, I was going to say 'Welcome to the world Joe, you having a good time?'"
Even when attempting to defend himself, he emits spurts of disconnected thoughts.
"Now you look at that [presidential announcement] speech and you see what's happening and that speech was so tame compared to what is happening now, that trek up is one of the great treacherous treks anywhere, and Mexico has now, because they don't want the border closed."
I don't presume to diagnose him or to render judgment on his health. All of us, however, should evaluate his words and actions.
If you had a relative who spoke this way, you would urge him to get checked out or advise him to slow down (although Trump's schedule, with its hours of "executive time," is already lighter than the schedules of many retirees). Remember that this guy is the commander in chief, holder of the nuclear codes.
Even Republicans realise that his decisions are more erratic and illogical than ever. He doubled down on his intention to invalidate the Affordable Care Act in the courts, then insisted he had a terrific replacement, next said he would assign others to figure out the plan and take a vote before the 2020 election, and finally declared that they would vote on such a (nonexistent) bill after the 2020 election.
Senator Mitch McConnell was compelled to stage an intervention and tell him there would be no vote before 2020. (I suppose if the court strikes down Obamacare before that, McConnell would tell 20 million people covered by Obamacare to fend for themselves.)
Trump, even after declaring an "emergency" and robbing the Pentagon budget to pay for a border wall, declares we are at a "breaking point" and wants to close the border. That comes as news to his aides, who know you can't close a 3057km border, and in saying so risk causing a panic flight to get across before such an order.
Even Trump staffers know that if you could pull it off, closing the border would crash the economy.
As to the latter, Trump says he doesn't care because security is more important than trade. (We'd have neither with his scheme.)
Collectively, we need to stop treating his conduct as normal. Politicians should start saying aloud what we all intuitively understand: Trump is unravelling before our eyes.
There is reason to be concerned about how he'll make it through the rest of his term. Giving him another four years is unimaginable.