Tuesday, August 09, 2016


Matt Latimer, a former George W. Bush speechwriter, has published a New York Times op-ed in which he proclaims that he has a genius idea involving Mike Pence and Donald Trump:
The unassuming governor of Indiana, Mr. Pence is in a powerful, if unenviable, position. Were he to publicly repudiate his own running mate, or question his fitness for office, the Trump campaign would be unsustainable. He does not need to take such a drastic action -- not yet -- but the prospect of his doing so, even if conveyed obliquely, might persuade his running mate to broker a withdrawal.
A lot of people would say that the Trump campaign is unsustainable now. I'm becoming one of those people. But the candidate doesn't agree. He thinks he should be doing better in the polls. He thinks polls that show him trailing badly are skewed.

He's clearly incapable of self-doubt. Why would that change if Pence challenged him? Why would that change if Pence "conveyed obliquely" the notion that he might make such a challenge?

(This is so typical of anti-Trump establishment Republicans: The election is in three months! We're in a crisis! Somebody really needs to do something -- but not yet, no rush, let's just start thinking about possibly doing something in a week or two, because that kind of caution has worked so well for us up to now in dealing with Trump!)

Why would Trump start thinking seriously about withdrawing if Pence challenged him? He'd just show Pence the door. He could use the most famous words he's ever uttered: "Mike Pence, you're fired." His fan base would go wild. He'd love that. And then he could replace Pence on the ticket with Newt Gingrich. Or General Mike Flynn. Or Ivanka.
The nominee has spent a lifetime equating the Trump name with success. Now he faces the prospect of a staggering defeat -- recent polls suggest he could lose even in reliably Republican states like Arizona and Georgia. If such an outcome were to occur, he would be forever branded, fairly or not, racist, sexist and, worst of all in the Trump lexicon, a historic loser.

But were Mr. Trump to leave the race now, on whatever pretext, he could state honestly that he bested a formidable Republican establishment and that he brought important issues like illegal immigration to the fore. He would win the gratitude of his party for putting its interests first. He could help his capable children rebuild the tarnished Trump brand.
Seriously? Mike Pence is going to persuade Trump that he knows how to manage the Trump brand better than Trump does? How many golf courses and gold-plated skyscrapers has Mike Pence built?
And with a little luck, his running mate, should he replace Mr. Trump as the nominee, might defeat Hillary Clinton, who has severe image problems of her own. In that event, Mr. Trump could reasonably boast that he hand-selected the next president.
Oh, right -- Trump crawls off with his tail between his legs and he's going to feel pride if there's a victory in November by a running mate who was effectively forced on him by family members, who were desperate for him to choose someone within the pale. Latimer genuinely believes that's how Donald Trump's ego works.

Never mind the fact that the GOP would struggle to settle on a replacement candidate -- Pence or anyone else -- and would probably be stuck with Trump not running but still on the ballot, as a result of establishment indecision. Never mind the fact that swing voters would question the judgment of Pence if he were the nominee simply because he'd agreed to run with Trump. Never mind the fact that Trump diehards would see Pence as a Brutus who stabbed their Caesar. (See: Cruz, Ted.)
Though it is against his nature and probably his instincts to turn against his running mate, Mr. Pence must put the country first. Besides, if the party chose him as Mr. Trump’s replacement, and if he managed to receive Mr. Trump’s blessing, Mr. Pence could yet salvage this mess.
"If he managed to receive Mr. Trump’s blessing"! Latimer is imagining that someone who's not at all like him thinks the way he does. But I guess that's what you'd expect from a former speechwriter for George W. Bush, who thought Iraqis would respond to all the peace and freedom we were forcing on them at gunpoint the way we Americans respond to our own troops.

I'm not an ex-presidential speechwriter. I'm just an underachieving blogger. But hey, New York Times, if I write an op-ed with a premise that's absurd on its face, will you publish it? Don't you want a diversity of naive, delusional voices?


AllieG said...

How could Mike Pence talk anybody into anything? Trump picked him because he saw a zero, what he wants in a VP.

Victor said...

"Don't you want a diversity of naive, delusional voices?"


The New York Crank said...

Alas, any — repeat, ANY — opinion as to forthcoming events and the final outcome of the election is pure fantasy at this moment. For example, is it possible that the "new" Trump will regain some of the losses that the loudmouthed ad-libbing Trump created? Will Julian Assange reveal some last-minute dirt, or filth, that shifts public opinion further away from Hillary? Will American voters become exhausted with election fatigue and on the whole just stay home, leaving the vote to diehards on both sides?

I sincerely hope that Trump gets trounced. I sincerely hope he takes down enough Republicans with him to give us a Senate, and perhaps a Congress, that will allow Hillary to get some legislation and some appropriations passed, including higher taxation on the very prosperous, and Medicare for all.

But my best, although rather feeble guess is that Hillary will squeak in, only to face a replica of the same sclerotic Congress that gridlocked Obama. And that four years from now, finger-pointing Republicans will say, "See, she achieved next to nothing. Are you really better off...yadda yada?"

Yours crankily,
The New York Crank

Unknown said...

I'd like to think that the NYT editorial board published this to troll Trump. But then I think "No. They are idiots.". Maybe someone inside the NYT trolled the editorial board! Hope springs eternal, but ... probably not.

Joey Blau said...

"that he brought important issues like illegal immigration to the fore.". . what? This is delusional as well. What does it even mean? That no one was talking about immigration before? That Trump somehow help the conversation?

Trump just heated up some bile and anger and made up an imaginary solution to an old problem.

Feud Turgidson said...

" if I write an op-ed with a premise that's absurd on its face, will you publish it?"

Sure we will Stevem!! Oh, Steve M; sorry. That's French or something foreign, right? No? Hmm. So, Steve, uh, Just Plain Steve is okay too, right? Good! So, Steverino, who sent you? Nah, really? Your a reader? Imagine that. Well we actually were kind of expecting or hoping anyway you work for some Heritage or AEI funded blog, cuz that's in intro in the capital pools, hedge funds, Far East Casino Resourts, you know: the kind of money that buys ad space in our little newsletter here, or will commit to a 'special' subscrition. Capiche?

'Really? Oh, that's so sss ... NICE! I meant that's nice, running a lefty politics blog. So, uh, we'r a little pressed for time, so .. GA BYE!'

Ten Bears said...

Can't be that difficult, Bobo does it all the time, and those drunken bimbos Does and Noonan. Hell's Belles even V.Hansen slips one in regularly.

If you think the New York Times is "liberal", you don't read it.

Damn, Crank, I dislike it intensely when you're right, though I'm fairly confident it will be more than just squeaking by.

Ten Bears said...

Dowd. Stupid phone.

Professor Chaos said...

Op-eds with absurd premises are pretty much the only ones the Times publishes. Thomas Friedman has built his career in absurd premises.

Ken_L said...

Pence fire Trump? Hmmm ... that's so crazy it just might work!

I forget who coined that phrase. Robin the Boy Wonder, Homer Simpson, Custer at Little Big Horn ... one of those I think.