You can only blow so much air in a balloon before it bursts, a concept President Donald Trump needs to master.
One night, he gives a thoughtful, well-ordered, substantive speech on Afghanistan, but then what happened in Phoenix? At a political rally, he reverted to his worst self, a ranting, raving juvenile.
His harangue was largely about criticisms of how he responded to the racist, neo-Nazi, KKK, alt-right rally in Charlottesville, Va., and he was right on some points. But it was essentially me-me-me, off-putting verbosity empowering his critics and weakening his compatriots.
The need was to put the country before himself, for starters, and secondarily, to build confidence in who he is and what he can do. The principle means for both is to discuss pressing issues affecting us-us-us, the American citizenry. Take, for instance, economic growth.
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Trump has already given it a major push through deregulation and more energy freedom. He has encouraged consumer and industrial confidence through infrastructure ambitions and plans for tax reform. So, in a calm, cool, logical if emotionally appealing way, he should make the case for his ideas.
When he dwells on Charlottesville while also talking about a government shutdown, treating most news outlets as a monolithic fraud machine and verbally abusing members of his own party, he comes across as a buffoon and makes his own agenda more likely to fail. This is true even though the worst part of how he reacted to the Charlottesville rally was over and done with in short order and the rest of it, while crisscrossed with shortcomings, was pretty much on-target.
The white supremacist, viciously anti-Semitic neo-Nazis who organized the rally are horror cases. In his first statement about all of this, Trump said “many sides” were at fault without specifically condemning these ungodly freaks.
He did that because he is a racist, it was alleged, and, at the least, it was a monumental error. Yet, he quickly did hit the neo-Nazis in a no-holds-barred statement. Then there came a press conference on infrastructure and, when question time arrived, the reporters didn’t care about infrastructure.
In virtual unison, they shouted angry Charlottesville questions at Trump, whose main point in angry reply was that both the protesters and the counter-protesters were to blame for the violence. He has been bashed for this as much as for his failure to mention the neo-Nazis initially, but he was incontrovertibly correct. Ask Isabella Ciambotti, a University of Virginia student who was at the scene and is quoted in a New York Times story.
“I was on Market Street around 11:30 a.m. when a counter-protester ripped a newspaper stand off the sidewalk and threw it at alt-right protesters,” she said. “I saw another man from the white supremacist crowd being chased and beaten. People were hitting him with their signs. A much older man, also with the alt-right group, got pushed to the ground in the commotion. Someone raised a stick over his head and beat the man with it, and that’s when I screamed and ran over with several other strangers to help him to his feet.”
The counter-protester viciousness is backed up by videos, numerous other first-hand witnesses, news accounts and even a tweet from a New York Times reporter. What everyone with open eyes also knows is that antifa, a group of leftist-embraced, antifascist fascists, was bloodily involved. Here is a fierce, violent, vandalizing group that is growing, hitting again recently in Berkeley, Calif., while neo-Nazis are a mere speck on the current scene.
The left is a real danger – it is right now fighting for an end to free speech – and Trump can fight back only if he keeps from bursting by growing up. He recently did in a unifying speech to the American Legion.