Friday, August 07, 2015

August 7, 2015--Friday at the Bristol Diner: Tony Said

He said, "I don't care."

"You mean you'd vote for someone who won't tell you what he'd do about immigration?"

"I told you," he said, beginning to get heated, "I don't care. I really don't."

Jack, who was sitting opposite Tony, stared at him.

"It's his biggest issue. His political claim to fame."

"How many times do I have to tell you, I don't care.

"Or what he would do about the Middle East." With that Tony turned to the window and started humming.

"Can you believe this?" I asked Jack who shrugged and shook his head.

"You're from New York, right?" Tony turned back to us. I nodded. "You remember that skating rink in Central Park?" It didn't register at first. "It was an ice rink. The city owned it."

"It's coming back to me," I said, knowing now where this was headed.

"There was some sort of a problem with it. The cooling system. It made slurry, not ice. For years. I forget how many, the city kept trying to fix it. Spent millions. Maybe over five years but still no ice. My boy, Donald Trump, The Donald, said he couldn't take it any more. He said he'd fix it and pay for it himself."

"I remember that," Jack said.

"Again, I don't remember how long it took. At most a few months. That was years ago. As far as I know the ice machine is still working."

"It is," I admitted.

"So now you know why I'm for him. He knows how to get things done."

"You don't care what those things are that you believe he can get done? Like what he would do to 'get things done'," I made air quotes, "with the 10 million illegal immigrants who are here--hundreds of whom I assume mow the grass on his golf courses?"

"I know he got in all sorts of trouble when he said the Mexicans here are murderers. That was ridiculous."

"And so?"

"And so, as I said, I don't care. Don't get me wrong, we should figure out what to do with all the illegals--most are doing work that none of us would want to do. Like pick lettuce in the hot sun. And I believe that Trump would figure that out."

"You mean like fixing the ice skating rink?" Jack asked.

"I know they're not the same thing. I'm not that deluded."

"So what are you then?" I said, "It feels as if you drank the Trump Kool Aid."

"Maybe I did, but let me put it to you another way--The other candidates, from both parties, have all sorts of position papers about immigration and education and the environment. But we know that once they get into office they never get done what they promise to do. Maybe in their first year or two a new president can get a few things through Congress. Whatever you think about those policies. But after that all those position papers and their speeches about this or that mean nothing. And then we're left with a president who can't get anything approved and who has to fall back on whatever ability he has--forgive me, she or he has--to get things done."

"Like what?" Jack asked. "Give me an example or two of what Trump could get done after he realizes he can't get anything through what will for sure continue to be a gridlocked Congress?"

"Well, first of all, as someone who knows how to get things done on a large scale, the people he hires--appoints--to say the Cabinet: the secretary of state, of the treasury, health, education would be the same kind of get-it-done people he hires to build his hotels and casinos and condos and golf courses. People, who if they don't get the job done, get fired."

"You mean people like his daughter, Ivanka?" I couldn't help but ask.

"Yeah, like her. Like Kennedy appointing his brother attorney general. remember that? Though with that I suspect you didn't have a problem." He winked, knowing he had made a good point. "Look, no matter who wins, Democrat or Republican, no matter how much they cut the budget, there's still lots of money around to do things with. Like rebuild the infrastructure. Not all the money you or I might like, but enough to make at least a bit of a difference. Wouldn't you admit that for doing that--fixing our roads--Donald Trump would do a better job than Jeb Bush or your Hillary?"

I couldn't disagree with that. "But what about foreign policy?" Jack asked, "You'd trust him to be commander in chief? He doesn't even know where Iran is on the map."

"First of all you don't know that. You're just being partisan. We need to get away from that--making everything partisan--and focus on fixing things as best as can be done. Like our southern border which is still like a sieve after decades of politicians promising to fix it. Again, who would you prefer to work on that? Bush? Walker? Rand Paul? Ben Carson? Or Trump? I vote for Trump."

"That's clear," Jack said with a sigh. "Before I have to leave, here's more ammunition for you."

"I'm all ears."

"I forgot where I read it earlier this week, but some columnist for the Times or Washington Post said that Trump is the first post-policy candidate."

"A what?"

"Post-policy. He was making your point. That it doesn't matter what his so-called polices are. Or even if he has any. All that matters is what people believe about him. Like you--you believe he can get things done. You're not interested in the specifics of what that means. Just that you believe he can. That a lot of people are fed up with 10-point plans to fix our education system or white papers about creating jobs. Trump is attractive because he gives you and many others the feeling of competence and a certain kind of hope for a better future, a better America."

"Now you're talking."

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