Friday, September 04, 2015


In today's column, Peggy Noonan, tries to imagine how Donald Trump thinks, without much success:
This week’s thought on Mr. Trump: The shrewdest words on him from another candidate were Chris Christie’s observation a month ago that Mr. Trump will be as good a candidate as he wants to be, which implied that others would not bring him down, but he could bring himself down. My thought, which is really a question, is that candidates for president, while natural competitors, sometimes get to the point where they think they are going to win, and it messes with their heads. Maybe they fear, deep down, that they’re not quite up to the office -- their skills don’t match its demands, their psychological makeup can’t withstand its burdens. They start to think: A guy like me shouldn’t be president! At that point they begin to undermine themselves with poor decisions and statements. I’ve wondered about what Mr. Trumps’s inner workings might tell him in this area. Sooner or later we’ll find out if he has any taste for self-sabotage.
As the kids used to say a decade ago: BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

It's true that a lot of high-status people, no matter how well they've done in life, really do "fear, deep down, that they’re not quite up to" whatever it is they're trying to accomplish, at least occasionally. Do you think there's even the slightest possibility that Donald Trump is one of those people? Do you think he's thought, even for a second, that a guy like him shouldn't be president? No. He thinks only guys like him should be president. He's a winner. Losers shouldn't be president.

Noonan goes on to write:
That of course would only happen if in his mind the White House, the office of the presidency, holds a certain mystique, certain historic vibrations: “Lincoln walked here.” “FDR found out about Pearl Harbor in this room.” I’m not sure everyone has those feelings anymore. They used to. Poor Nixon wouldn’t put his shoes up on a hassock unless he covered it with a towel, because it was White House furniture.
Nixon also got blind drunk in the White House and plotted multiple felonies. But to Noonan I guess none of that is relevant to respect for the presidency and the White House.

In an odd way, Noonan and Trump are approaching this question the same way. Notice what kinds of thoughts are supposed to inspire awe in presidential wannabes, according to Noonan: “Lincoln walked here.” “FDR found out about Pearl Harbor in this room.” In other words, thoughts of Great Men. In my opinion, what ought to inspire awe in presidential aspirants are thoughts along the lines of: The decisions made here affects the lives of hundreds of millions of people. To Noonan, do such thoughts matter at all?

Noonan's focus is individual greatness. Great Men roamed the halls of the White House -- that's what's important. Well, Trump is already 100% certain that he's a Great Man. So why would anything about running for president -- or being president --give him the slightest pause?


Victor said...

And if somehow he gets elected POTUS as a Republican, Steve, how long will it be before she writes "An Ode to Donald's Foot," like she did for her imaginary lover, Ronald Reagan?

You remember it, don't you?

"I first saw President Reagan as a foot, highly polished brown cordovan wagging merrily on a hassock. I spied it through the door. It was a beautiful foot, sleek. Such casual elegance and clean lines! But not a big foot, not formidable, maybe a little ...frail. I imagined cradling it in my arms, protecting it from unsmooth roads."

That's so beyond the "ICK!!!" factor level, that she should never been allowed to keep her job as a columnist!

But if he's elected, we can be sure that she'll start trumpeting about Donald Trump being the new GOP savior!

Yastreblyansky said...

Cool how she uses "hassock" for both. I expect she has no suspicion how famous and famously revealing that Peggy-'n'Ronny story is.

Nixon really had a serious and even disabling impostor complex, even though he really was an impostor. That more successful con man Reagan, like Trump, did not.

Aunt Snow said...

Foot festishism for The Donald's golfing shoes will no doubt come next.

mlbxxxxxx said...

You do wonder if Donald has really thought about what it means to be President of the United States for, at least, 4 years. My guess is he avoids long term thinking. He has people for that.

I've read a quote of his where he said he likes the chase more than the quarry. He loves the thrill of the hunt but not so much the reality of his prize. The presidency, as I'm sure Obama can tell you, can be kind of a booby prize and I'm sure has moments when everyone in the seat wonders what they were thinking asking for such a job. It seems incredible that someone could be as clueless as Trump seems to be about the challenges he'd face as president.

I do think it is important to remind ourselves that no votes have been cast yet. It's all based on polling and it has seemed lately that accurate polling may be a thing of the past. It occurs to me, too, that the polls may be distorted by his celebrity and may be overstating the enthusiasm of his support. Sometimes I feel like saying, "Wake me up in March and then tell me about the Trump Phenomenon." Let's see what actual Evangelicals do in the Iowa caucus and what the reputedly, no-nonsense Yankees in NH have to say.

nonynony said...

I've read a quote of his where he said he likes the chase more than the quarry. He loves the thrill of the hunt but not so much the reality of his prize.

We lived through 8 years of that already. That's exactly how GWB approached the presidency.

I don't think Trump would govern like W - for starters, I don't see him having a VP that he hands the reigns of power over to in his place. I actually find it difficult to imagine Donald Trump as president. It's as if my imagination just isn't equipped for the task.

flipyrwhig said...

Between her shoe thing and her "vibrations" thing, Peggy Noonan reveals far, far more than she ought about her fantasy life.

MaysonicWrites said...

Actually, decisions made there will affect billions of people, not just hundreds of millions.

Aunt Snow said...

Trump wants to acquire the presidency. He's not interested in being president.