26 Apr 2011

Trump and Sheen – The Wingnut Reality Show Presidential Campaign

Colbert nails this one on the head… as usual:

[there was a video here, but the code no longer worked and I couldn’t figure out what episode it was]

I find it so utterly amazing that I actually caught a bunch of flak on this very blog a few months ago for calling Trump a freak show… and a lot of that flak came from independents. Are any of you reading this among those who defended him at first?

Were people REALLY confused as to how nutters this guy is? I didn’t even think he’d go so far as to delve into birtherism, but it doesn’t surprise me and the kind of garbage that he spouts in the clip Colbert brings up about Trump’s absurd response to how he’d deal with oil producing nations in the Middle East… classing nutjob thinking that what works in one occupation works everywhere.

I just don’t get how people didn’t see that he’s a crazy person like most celebrity freak shows are. He might as well get Charlie Sheen as his running mate… they’d be like the reality show, version of McCain and Palin, with three times the wingnuttiness.

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27 thoughts on “Trump and Sheen – The Wingnut Reality Show Presidential Campaign”

  1. Well it is a blog after all. You can usually find someone to defend even the most outlandish of hypotheses. I also got a few comments defending Trump when I said that my position was “just no.”

    Of course, I’m re-thinking my position now that we have a Trump/Sheen ticket. What dynamism!

    1. Seriously… I mean, isn’t Charlie Sheen allergic to losing? It’s as sure a bet as I’ve ever seen! Might as well bet the house on that presidental ticket stock exchange now! haha

  2. I haven’t paid a lot of attention to Trump (there is plenty of time for personalities with the first voting so far off), so I don’t know what his positions are like. However, I have to say that, in a political climate that substitutes name calling for for issues, I am fundamentally turned off by calling people things like “freak” show.

    Nor do I see the point. Why do you have to label the guy personally? If he has weird positions, just say that he has weird positions that you can’t see any justification for.

    Now I’m sure that there might be post or two saying how this guy really is a “freak show”. Heck, maybe he even is. But I’ve heard it all before and it almost always ends up being just political labeling for politics sake and, as I said above, it is a case of substituting labels for issues.

    1. Birtherism was never a legitimate issue, considering the utter emptiness of its adherents’ arguments, so I think that gives us a bit of leeway when it comes to snark.

      1. I have to say that given that personal attacks have become the norm, I’m don’t think much about giving “leeway” for them. They add little to the debate and everyone seems to think that when _they_ do it, it is justified.

        Trump pushing “Birther” arguments is something that will lessen my regard for him. This will happen whether or not people throw negative characterizations at him. All the later does is lessen my regard for the one using negative characterizations.

    2. I haven’t been paying attention to The Donald either because frankly he’s too much of a pompous ass for me to waste any time on him, but yesterday NPR had a sound byte from him that made me think out loud, “what an asshole!”

      It was a quote from him after Obama presented the long form of his birth certificate in an attempt to head off this foolishness before the election season and Trump’s response in some sort of press conference was,

      “Today I am very proud of myself, because I’ve accomplished something that nobody else was able to accomplish…I hope that it’s true so we can get on to much more important matters. So the press can stop asking me questions…I am really honored to have played such a big role in hopefully getting rid of this issue.”

      I was gobsmacked at his arrogance but then quickly passed it off as being part of what makes him the Donald. He may be a shrewed businessman but he’s no President.

    3. I don’t use the word freak show for many people… Trump has earned the label many times over, for all sorts of things. Extremist and wingnut are not the same thing… his views aren’t the most extreme out there, he’s just a crackpot. Crackpot who happens to be really good at certain things, which isn’t abnormal at all. Lots of crazy people who are geniuses at certain things.

      1. “I don’t use the word freak show for many people…”

        It would be better to not use it all…

        “Trump has earned the label many times over, for all sorts of things. Extremist and wingnut are not the same thing… his views aren’t the most extreme out there, he’s just a crackpot. Crackpot who happens to be really good at certain things, which isn’t abnormal at all. Lots of crazy people who are geniuses at certain things.”

        Yes, every single time I’ve ever commented on this desirability of no attacking people personally, the response has been that it is OK “this time”. Add to this the fact that if he is bad as you say he is, one should be able to make the point by just saying what his positions are.

  3. Dave, I dare you to pay close attention to Trump for 2 weeks. Then, you can come on back and admit that, yup, he’s a freak show.

    Here’s the thing: I’d be happy to agree with you in general that nasty name-calling is not a useful or productive approach. But when someone takes the insincere, attention-seeking, serial exaggeration, bullshit salesman approach that Trump is quite clearly taking, then “useful and productive” takes on a new meaning.

    In politics, as in any schoolyard game without referees, the worst actor can dictate the bounds of the game. “Sideshow Don” Trump is running a carnival barker’s freak show, and it’s up to everyone who recognizes and despises it to call it out for exactly what it is.

    It’s not an occasion for lengthy measured criticism. It’s a time to outbark the barker, and to show what’s behind the curtain nothing.

    1. [This is getting a bit redundant. I apologize for that. However, a partisan two party system that uses personal attacks to substitute for issues is a peeve of mine. I retrospect I might have condensed all my replies into one post.]

      “Dave, I dare you to pay close attention to Trump for 2 weeks. Then, you can come on back and admit that, yup, he’s a freak show.”

      I might think that. Heck, I think a number of things about him already that I won’t repeat because they are personal negative characterizations. However, in the end, I see no point in such characterizations. If someone agrees with me, then the facts will suffice. If they don’t, then what is the point?

      Negative characterizations are the meat an potatoes of partisanship where it is all about trying to drive up “negatives” (after all, it is not like anyone will be allowed a third choice). The goal is often to try and get people to vote for you simply because you have labeled your foe a “bad man”, rather than because they might disagree with the issues.

      “Here’s the thing: I’d be happy to agree with you in general that nasty name-calling is not a useful or productive approach. But when someone takes the insincere, attention-seeking, serial exaggeration, bullshit salesman approach that Trump is quite clearly taking, then “useful and productive” takes on a new meaning.”

      Yes. I’ve heard this before. But I’ve also notices that what is considered “insincere” and”exaggerates”, etc. etc. I’ve also noticed that in our partisan age, it is standard proceedure to assume that if someone doesn’t agree with you, then are insincere. I’ve noticed that how exaggerated someone claims a position is has atrong correlation with where they stand politically, relative to the speaker, rather than to the degree if exageration.

      These are subjective characterizations that always had little use in debating issues and, these days, have become worthless. If they are objectively as one claims, you don’t need to the labels, you can just point out the facts.

      “In politics, as in any schoolyard game without referees, the worst actor can dictate the bounds of the game. “Sideshow Don” Trump is running a carnival barker’s freak show, and it’s up to everyone who recognizes and despises it to call it out for exactly what it is.”

      You can call him on what he is done. If he supports the Birthers, say “this guy is supporting the Birthers. I think that his a stupid position. But using personal labels is not, IMO, something that promotes debate.

      It’s not an occasion for lengthy measured criticism. It’s a time to outbark the barker, and to show what’s behind the curtain nothing.

      1. In general, I think you are correct. Specifically here, I think you’re picking at nits. And sometimes, some people need to be called out. If Orly Taitz was running for public office, would she deserve decorum and respect? Trump has proven himself to be about one notch above Taitz.

  4. “Yes, every single time I’ve ever commented on this desirability of no attacking people personally, the response has been that it is OK “this time”.”

    So, over time, a list of who the exceptions were made for would be illustrative, right? Either Sol is simply using a lame excuse for doing as he pleases, or else he in fact shows decent judgment in occasionally picking out some small subset of political figures for serious derision.

    Can you cite any single instance where Sol has singled someone out for derision and it proved to be undeserved? Or are you just doggedly sticking to your position that derision is always purely negative?

    My sense of Trump is that he is extremely poorly suited to be President, as opposed to tyrant. And that this is SO manifestly obvious to anyone who understands the nature of the job that Trump doesn’t even deserve the right to be dismissed via a lengthy blow-by-blow of his lowlights. That would only give him the opportunity to spin them as highlights. It would also treat him with a measure of seriousness that he has not earned in any way shape or form.

    1. Not to mention what should be an obvious point. This post is in regards Colbert’s show, which is pure satire. Satire lends itself to exaggeration and “derision”. And since when has “freak show” been a terrible pejorative? It’s not like Sol used “dumbass” or “dickweed” or “fucktard”, all of which would be totally appropriate given the blatant playing to racism that Trump has used of late.

  5. I have no problem believing the author of the article is restrained in his use of name calling and sincere in his belief that it is justified this time. However, I think he is still making a mistake to engage in practice. The subjective nature of personal characterizations means they can never be objectively applied and that you can never really say whether it is justified. What is more, there is no purpose in it. If the fact really do justify the name calling, then name calling adds nothing that fact don’t already indicate.

    I most certainly don’t believe that people need to be “called out” through negative characterizations. Negative characterizations prove nothing and show nothing that is already not present in the facts that would be used to justify name calling. Thus, if some has done things that need to be called out, then presenting the facts already does that.

    What is more, the idea that it is OK “this time” fundamentally undermines any attempt to move debate to the issues. (Whether or not it is “justified”, even if you believe that it can be objectively said that it is.) It undermines opposition to the substitution of negativity for an actual discussion of the issues since it devolves the argument that it is wrong in principal to a discussion where one just argues about which times it is OK. An argument that itself devolves into another round of name calling in the endless partisan war. (I have seen endless treads where each side argues that their name calling was justified and the other’s wasn’t. Threads in which everyone was so sure that it was OK for them and that the target was so clearly unsuited to any office).

    I believe that if you want to move beyond partisan negativism, one will eshew name calling _completely_. In the end, I believe it can only come in substitution for a discussion of the issues and can only serve to promote the negative and partisan climate.

    1. Your utopia with only the most civil and polite form of debate would certainly be more productive, but it would also be totally lacking in color and levity.

      I think there is a happy medium (or is it median? I can never remember.) And again, David, please don’t ignore the context. This was in regards to a comedy show on a comedy network with “Comedy” in the name. Latitude, my man, latitude.

    2. It is just as important that we aggressively fight back against crackpots like this, and push them back to the fringes where they used to be, than it is to build bridges with reasonable forces in American politics. These people are running roughshod over us precisely because the center thinks your tack here works… it doesn’t.

      Plus… I’m a guy from Nebraska, not someone pretending to be a politician, plastic pundit or academic. When I write a post, they are my thoughts, with very little filtering. I’m not trying to substitute anything for anything, these are my opinions, my commentary. If you don’t like it, don’t read it.

      1. On this point, actually, I disagree rather wholeheartedly. Aggressively “fighting back against crackpots” only serves to provide a platform for them to gain attention and support from other would-be “crackpots”.

        If everyone ignored Trump he wouldn’t disappear, but it certainly would be distracting us from the real issues at hand.

        I have called names, though I try not to do it with any frequency and I certainly think lowly of some public figures, but the best way to get rid of stupidity is to take away the microphone in a metaphorical way. Don’t give him air time to spout useless distracting rhetoric about nothing, give that attention to someone else who is actually talking about the issues and has real ideas on how to solve our problems.

        1. Boy are you dead wrong… I wish you weren’t.

          Not fighting back is precisely what has gotten us into the mess we’re in. We’ve let them run roughshod over us for a generation, leading to a situation where far left and far right folks have much more power than centrists and moderates because most in the center shy away from a fight, and they are more than willing to.

          We don’t control the media, and no amount of prevaricating will change that people are uncontrollably attracted to the sensational… which is why the networks play stuff like this, it attracts eyeballs.

          If you were right, then PBS would be the most popular news station… it is by far the most informative (only TV news I ever watch), it is FREE and still people go to cable for their news, because it is flashier, has more conflict and sensationalism.

          They have the floor. Ignoring them doesn’t change a damn thing about that. They’re not going anywhere unless we push them out of the way, and take our fair share of power the same way they have, by fighting. We can certainly fight cleaner, but not fighting is a losing proposition I’m unwilling to make.

          I don’t focus on people like this, but I do mention some of the worst examples, to keep readers aware of what we are up against.

  6. OK…

    First of all, I don’t see calling someone a “freakshow” or a “nutter” as being a way to “call out” them or “fight back”. Pointing out what they said, and why it is wrong, is doing that. Calling them names is just name calling. It is both necessary for the process adds nothing to it intellectually. Calling Trump a freakshow does nothing in itself to show anything about how wrong or right is statements are.

    For the same reason, I don’t see myself as pushing a principal to any extreme (or even very “far” at all). Because name calling adds nothing to the debate, I am hard pressed to find any place where it use is justified enough to strain principal at all.

    My comments are to the calling of names in serious discussion. Regardless of whether we are talking about the previous post the Author talks about the reaction to calling Trump a “freak show” or about this post where, unless I’m wrong, people here feel those are labels that should be seriously applied, we are talking about what is appropriate in serious discourse. (If people think these are labels that should only be used on a satire comedy show, then let me know.) (Though, in the end, I’m not impressed with Colbert Report or the Daily Show. I have to admit they are very funny and comedic license does excuse some of it. However, IMO, I think a some of their success is because political name calling is popular and, in the end, I think they end up promoting it. Maybe I’m being nostalgic, but I think I remember when satire was more than mockery and name calling.)

    1. You don’t need to keep saying “the Author”… you’re talking to me, haha

      And you’re talking in circles. I think you’re wrong. I don’t think its wrong to call freak shows out when it is accurate, and I think it is even counterproductive to not do so. If you don’t agree, and posts like this irk you in some way, there are billions of other web pages to look at, and hundreds of posts on here that are substantive.

      This site is for commentary from centrists and moderates.

      This isn’t a political journal or think tank.

      We have fun here.

      We’re honest here.

      These are my thoughts, unfiltered… and thoughts that many people share with me. If they are too uncouth for you – don’t read them.

      I’m not a political hack – everything I do doesn’t have an agenda. I’m not trying to “add to the debate” here, I’m just speaking my mind… and obviously I hit a nerve, because this post has a decent number of comments.

  7. I immediately advocated that Trump be ignored. Donald Trump has not lived a life that remotely resembles the sort that earns one the right to be seriously considered to be America’s President. He fails my sniff test by a margin that I would call a stench. So I had hoped that if he didn’t get the attention he craved, maybe he’d lose interest, But once it became clear that this wasn’t going to happen soon enough, even though it was the richly deserved result, well that was that.

    Dave, you have essentially repeated several times your assertion that some minimal level of decorum is what is called for, implying, I guess that we’re all diminished by its lack. Believe me, you have my sympathies. As someone else said, your heart is in the right place.

    But as someone else also said, you’re sticking doggedly to this principle. To an extreme? Only insofar as you are utterly unwilling to admit the possibility of any exception.

    Decorum can be a very lovely convention so long as everyone can follow it. But as soon as someone unscrupulous finds ways to manipulate the appearance of decorum, those who follow it sincerely are put at a serious disadvantage.

    I do not think you have made any sort of persuasive case that Donald Trump deserves to be seriously or respectfully considered. Fundamentally, I think this is because you misunderstand the nature of the actual real game that is being played.

    You are probably right that calm sober fact-based refutations of Trump’s views and contentions SHOULD carry the day, But they haven’t and won’t. Not soon enough for me. And in the meantime, treating him seriously and respectfully raises his stature well above what he merits.

    If I really want to win a crucial game against an opponent who is bending and twisting the rules in his favor in the absence of effective refereeing, I’m accepting of the need to do just as much bending and twisting. Really, it depends on whether the outcome of the game really matters. Sportsmanship is a great lesson for sports, when the winner only really gets bragging rights. In that case, moral victories really are possible.

    But in the real world where we pick the next leader of the United States? No moral victory is possible where Trump becomes our President, or even where he hijacks the debate for the glory of his ego.

    That said, for my part I intend to simply repeatedly describe his grossest inadequacies for the job: he lacks the temperament, insight, wisdom, and moral stamina to be President. The sooner he goes away, the better.

    Nothing anyone can say will ever convince me that Trump deserves to be taken seriously. I am certain he’d be a disasterous President. However at this point it may well not be productive to let the discussion of Trump stay stalled over whether or not he deserves serious consideration.

    Better that we all skip right to a simple conclusion that hops over all the minutiae and goes right to “nothing he has said or done makes me think he’d be a very good President.

    1. “Oh for Christ’s sake! This particular blog post wasn’t a “serious” discussion. It was a throwaway regarding a Comedy Freakin’ Central show!”

      Well, I’m not sure that is accurate. Most of the post, and most of the replies (until late in the thread), seemed me to argue that is OK to seriously call him negative labels. But if you are saying that you feel that any serious labeling of people as “freakshow” or “nutter”, etc. is inappropriate, I’m glad to hear it and will regard the rest a minor difference about what we felt the thread was about.

  8. A short message to say that when I try and click these fields, I jump to the cartoon above. (I’m here by tabbing between fields, but I can’t click to edit what I’m typing or paste quotes without jumping to the cartoon.

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