Tuesday, June 27, 2017

June 27, 2017--Jack Again: Trump's Intelligence

OK. One more from Jack and then tomorrow, I promise, back to Midcoast stories--
Trump's Intelligence
Never previously, but this time, two days in a row, Jack showed up at the Bristol Diner.

I said, "Long time, no see." I admit that though he almost always manages to get under my skin, I was happy to see him. Maybe I was in a masochistic mood. Or confused about the state of our politics. Closer to the truth, how Democrats are faring these days. Not good.

"Did you see that piece in Friday's Washington Post, 'How Can You Still Doubt Trump's Intelligence?'"

"I did in fact see it. By one of their conservative opinion writers, Kathleen Parker, and so . . ."

"'And so' nothing. Just being a conservative doesn't mean you're always wrong. Even to people like you who claim to be interested in honest dialogue between those who disagree with each other. You always talk about the need to be open minded and civil."

"The Post piece was civil, I'll grant you that, but it dealt only with Trump allegedly outsmarting former FBI director, Jim Comey. Trump may or may not have won the day with him but that doesn't speak to his larger state of mind or ability to be an effective president. In fact, though he may be good at putting people down--ask Little Marco and Low-Energy Jeb about that--but about the things that presidents need to know, I see very few signs of intelligence."

Ignoring me, Jack said, "The title of the Post piece says it all. My boy may be getting battered and even at times shows signs of unravelling, but there's no denying he's sly as a fox. Call it political intelligence if you will. My favorite current example is not how he helped four Republicans win four special congressional elections, but, as Parker said, how he managed to snooker Comey with that talk about how he had their conversations on tape. That dominated the headlines at the same time Comey was testifying to Congress and became as much the story as what Comey had to say. If nothing else, Trump knows how to change the subject and dominate what you guys call the 'narrative.'"

I repeated, "That doesn't prove he's particularly intelligent. Let's agree to disagree about that. I think Comey did pretty well, but for me that's not the meaning of life. What special counsel Robert Mueller eventually comes up with is much more important than how Comey did the other day."

"OK, let's disagree about that but how about what your Maureen Dowd wrote last Sunday in the New York Times, 'Trump Skunks the Democrats'? Let me read some of it to you--
The Democrats just got skunked four to nothing in races they excitedly thought they could win because everyone they hang with hates Trump. 
If Trump is the antichrist, as they believe, then Georgia was going to be a cakewalk, and Nancy Pelosi was going to be installed as speaker before the midterms by acclamation. But it turned into another soul-sucking disappointment. . . . 
Democrats cling to an idyllic version of a new, progressive America where everyone tools around in electric cars, serenely uses gender-neutral bathrooms and happily searches the web for the best Obamacare options. In the Democrats' vision, people are doing great and getting along. It is the opposite of Trump's dark diorama of carnage and dystopia--but just as false a picture of America.
"I saw that," I said, "and agree with most of it. Liberals, most Democrats have been out of touch with voters who should be, who have been their constituents. We have become isolated and smug. People feel this and hate it. And us. Of course not all of us," I added, "But enough to win national and local elections. Especially local elections. I've been writing about this for years."

"Which brings us back to Trump," Jack said.

"Yes and no," I said, "He won, that's true, and it showed a certain kind of intelligence. But he's done nothing but stumble when it comes to the being-president part of the equation. For politics I give him an A-, for the rest of it, straight Ds."

"And," Jack said, winking, "I thought the old professor in you would give him Fs."

"OK," I agreed, "All Fs." This time I did the winking.

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