I listened to one of Trump’s speeches broadcast in full on MSNBC Saturday.
His oratory “stirs hatred and feeds self-vindication, and whether on paper it bears inspection for consistency, logic or soundness is immaterial.”
- For example: He says we have absolutely no idea who is coming in from Syria. That “60 Minutes” has shown this to be utterly false is immaterial.
- For example: He says Hillary will raise your taxes. That she won’t — unless you make more than $250,000 a year — is immaterial.
- For example: He promises the largest tax cut in history even as he decries our $20 trillion debt. That cutting taxes for the rich is inconsistent with curbing deficits — as George W. Bush so painfully proved in a real-world test — is immaterial. (That his heirs would get a $4 billion tax break, if his net worth is really $10 billion, goes unmentioned.)
- For example: He says he’ll bring back millions of high-paying jobs from China and Mexico. That this defies logic — because these are no longer high-paying jobs, they pay a dollar an hour, and if the Chinese and Mexicans don’t do them for us they’ll do them for our competitors and consumers will buy their products instead of ours — is immaterial.
- For example: He says “believe me” and “100 percent” and “if you want to know the truth” — yet rarely tells it. That he said he would “absolutely” release his tax returns if he ran but hasn’t; that he would release them if they weren’t under audit when, in fact, his 2015 return can’t possibly have yet been selected for audit — it’s all immaterial.
And the list goes on. And on. He spews falsehood after falsehood, but has learned he could “go into the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot people” and his supporters would stand firmly behind him.
Donald Trump is the wrong answer to the right question. Tens of millions of us are right to be frustrated and angry. But it’s not “the government” that should be blamed, it’s the Republicans who’ve determinedly prevented it from confronting our problems.
You want change? You want to break the gridlock? Just give us two years. Two years of a Democratic Congress and we’ll put Americans to work revitalizing our infrastructure – the Republicans blocked that. We’ll boost the economy and cut government subsidies by hiking the minimum wage – the Republicans blocked that. We’ll let you refinance your federal student loans at today’s low rates – the Republicans blocked that. We’ll enact the comprehensive immigration reform Marco Rubio crafted that passed the Senate 68-32 and that economists say would boost the economy – the Republicans blocked that. Just give us two years to get America really rocking!
Just give us two years.
By the way — that highlighted quote I led off with?
As regular readers of this column will recognize, it comes from the introduction to a 1941 book of Hitler’s speeches Trump long kept by his bedside.
To use constantly and untiringly the same arguments, and to pound into the heads of his listeners the same formulas, is part of Hitler’s oratorical technique. . . . [He] is past master at throwing up verbal smoke screens . . . He knows equally well the effectiveness of massive oratorical assaults that shake the nerves of his victims or opponents . . . he knows how to give pledges that will be broken later . . . he uses insults and lies in the same manner as his generals use Stuka planes and tanks to break through the respectable but often weak front of his adversaries. . . . His crudity frequently borders on downright vulgarity.