Donald Trump descended on Iowa this past weekend, dropping from the skies to deliver words of wisdom to the masses of Hawkeye Christian Republicans starving for enlightenment at the feet of The Donald. To no one's surprise -- no one outside the GOP at any rate -- Trump's inchoate jawboning once again revealed a vacuous puffball incapable of organizing the basic parts of speech into coherent, declarative, and compelling sentences. And the subsequent interviews with the media further exposed a character completely unsuited for public office. When he told ABC's Jon Karl that he would be willing to spend half-a-billion dollars or more in a 2016 White House bid ("I'd be willing to spend that kind of money. I'd spend whatever it took,"), it wasn't so much about his aspiration to achieve a great and responsible office as it was about his desire to buy something new and big.
Maybe it's me, but I've never gotten Trump, never felt the least bit comfortable with his utterances and his maze-like thought processes. I believe most Americans take the measure of a person not by his or her bank accounts, but by his or her accountability. With Trump, there is always a fog that accompanies his pronouncements -- a smokescreen of obscuring rhetoric designed to cloak him in pseudo facts and vaguely damning suggestions of impropriety. His visit to Iowa showcased his directionless approach to real-world issues.
Consider this Trumpism, a 54-worder on the Republicans' chances of recapturing a Senate majority, as quoted by NBC's Kasie Hunt:
"Well I think you have six or seven states - I won't mention the states 'cause I don't want to put pressure on anybody, but I think you have six or seven states where you could really have in a couple of cases upsets, really, and you could have some good victories for the Republicans."
When pressed for specific candidates, Trump passed, which is to say he doesn't have a clue.
Unleashing another context-flawed gem of convoluted syntax in response to a question about the pending Senate immigration bill, Trump said,
"I will say this, you have to form a very very strong barrier from people just flowing in like candy. It's no good, you can't have it. We either have a country, or we don't have a country."
These are scare tactics, cheap shots without substance, clearly crafted to frighten folks in the heartland who already have enough worry on their plates. Trump knows perfectly well that immigration is bottoming out. Mexican illegal immigration has virtually come to halt, according to a May, 2013, Pew Hispanic Center report. There is no candy-like flow (whatever that means). Trump sidesteps, tap-dances, or simply bails when he's asked to provide unambiguous examples of his immigration positions. He won't comment on what aspects of the Senate bill he would support ("I actually think it's too early to say."), and when pressed to discuss details about specific border security measures, he said, "I don't know. I don't know."
As to his opinion of the next chairman of the Federal Reserve, Trump replied,
"I think they want to have the lowest interest rate economy because if interest rates went up, ah, it would be very interesting to see what would happen."
Again, it is a no-answer answer, a sort of three-card Monte response that leaves audiences more confused than ever.
On education, Trump opined:
"It's very complicated but you know getting education for people in the country and helping our students is very important."
Yes, that's all true, but is there any policy in there? No. And there won't be.
According to Trump, America "used to be the king and the queen all put together, now we're a laughingstock as a country." I don't even know what to make of that bizarre metaphorical admixture, but it has the tint of fear-mongering to it, and it feels insulting. But, again, that's classic Trump style, tweaked to create unease among hard-working, God-fearing Midwesterners whose labors and honest ethics have earned America great respect in the world, not derision.
In the end, the boisterous billionaire seemed confident that his newest digs in Washington, the old Post Office building on Pennsylvania Avenue, will secure for him some sort of imperial watch tower from which he will keep a lookout over the branches of government. "You have the White House, you have Congress and I'm building right in the middle!" Mr. Trump, speaking as a Washingtonian, let me say, enjoy the view of the Executive Mansion and the Capitol; it's the closest you'll ever come to being an occupant of either.