Trump Fakes Presidential: A Better Speech Is Not A Better Candidate

Donald Trump is known for his spontaneous speechifying, for his spewing of populist rhetoric in boundless stream of consciousness. He’s also known for his loose pontifications, meandering demagoguery filled with insolence, ridicule and accusation, rife with malediction, derision and disparagement, bristling with hubris, racism and slander, simply festering with anger, intolerance and turmoil. For a year now the whole world has borne witness to it.

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Suddenly, though, at a Trump rally in North Carolina on 8/18, hours after a dramatic change in Trump campaign leadership, the candidate gave a more disciplined, more cohesive and more presidential speech than he ever has before.

Can this speech, a drastic, opportune departure from the rabble-rousing tirades of his sordid past reflect a sudden transformation in Trump’s personal makeup? Has Donald Trump changed? Can a superficial reference to contrition by an erstwhile vicious and impenitent bully as atonement for a solid year of unbridled impudence, untoward antics and unspeakable slurs signal newfound grace, prove earnest if belated circumspection and remorse? I don’t see how.

Trump’s taken no late shocks to the system quite seismic enough to make the leopard change his spots. The old boar behind the more refined public speaking thrives unchanged, unrepentant, uninspired, untouched. I think Donald Trump has merely gone underground. He’s opted for the optics, nothing more. He’s chosen to conceal the ugly spots for just a moment. He’s decided to appear better groomed, let his questionable image (keyword image) be artificially spun into something better fit for broad consumption under the auspices of a new and ruthless force at the helm.

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A quick image overhaul is not character evolution. A turn to diplomatic means is not a change of heart. Giving one professional speech all of a sudden does little to erase a whole year of ignoble sentiment. Tailoring a speech out of the blue to the druthers of true conservative voters can’t conceal the speaker’s proven identity. No amount of damage control can mend the tarnished image of a visible, now well-studied Donald Trump.

Steve Bannon can’t mask sufficiently the haughty, devious, overweening cad whom Trump remains and who, even if he doesn’t host personally the contagions of ethnic, religious and sexual bias, does to a large extent court, indulge, dispense and fan the flames of all these grievous wrongs.

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Trump fuels that prejudicial anger and intolerance which is tantamount to hatred and violence. He does so quite consistently and effectively, not so much through open hate mongery as through more subtle weaponry like racist rhetoric, divisive solicitation, clear, emboldening innuendo and that omnipresent, inspirational, swaggering ascendancy of the outright, dyed-in-the wool supremist.

Donald Trump remains the very miscreant he was before his latest speech, the same vicious, vacuous, vituperative vipor, the same panderer to bigots and misogynists, elitists and xenophobes, the identical purveyor of doom, fear and slander that Donald Trump has always been. Guaranteed.

Unfortunately, narcissism, arrogance, ignorance, autocracy, recklessness, profanity and bigotry, vile traits, all traits intrinsic to this one specific rich, spoiled, dyed-in-the-wool, uniquely insular septuagenarian, won’t likely vanish overnight. Of course Trump has been admonished for them all and there’s a sage old adage that applies to this awkward circumstance, to wit: If three people say you’re sick, lie down. Trump never does lie down however. Instead he seems impervious to criticism of any kind or quantity.

Then again, the presidential hopeful neither sees nor acknowledges his own fatal flaws, lauding even negative commentary positive publicity. He’s out of touch and obstinate too. Indeed, the numb-nutted needler seems to sense little outside pressure to lie down, whatever staggering number of provident and well-meaning observers bid him kindly do so. Perhaps this unwavering obstinacy derives from Trump’s stubborn self image or a die-hard element of his obvious narcissism.

In any case, there’s wisdom in the adage and I sense that while he’s loath to lie down of his own volition, reckless Donald Trump will likely fall down instead and very soon, good lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise. In the end it’s simple anyway, despite how tickled pink pundits are to harp on mere public image and the consequential need for phony speeches to promote it. It’s not just the speech but the man behind the speech who must prove presidential. Good luck with that one, Donny.

–♦©M. D. Phillips–

Melania Mimes Michelle in a Virtual Symphony of Indiscretion, Attribution, Plagiarism and Campaign Incompetence

Melania at Podium Picture

♣ Melania Trump was stalwart, poised and eloquent in the deliverance of her speech honoring husband, decided presidential nominee Donald Trump, at the Republican National Convention on July 18th. That was opening day of the RNC. It’s quickly grown apparent since then, however, that parts of Melania’s speech were taken almost verbatim from a speech Michelle Obama gave to honor her own husband Barack Obama eight years ago at the DNC. Before her speech Melania Trump told Matt Lauer of NBC “I wrote it.  And with as little help as possible.”

Whether Melania cribbed those segments of Michelle Obama’s speech on her own or some accessory gave her help, maybe a friend or professional speechwriter, effectively the result was the same. The wife of Donald Trump presented someone else’s spoken words as her own at a major event for all the world to see. Melania Trump is no professional speechwriter of course. In all fairness then the amateur must be granted a little grace despite a nonetheless wrongful indiscretion, a possible amateur miscalculation or some poor beginner’s oversight on her part or the part of a likewise inept aid. Remember, though, she did declare “I wrote it.  And with as little help as possible.”

In any case, Melania Trump was a key part of a key event selling not only herself but a figure no  less than the newly chosen Republican Party nominee for president of the United States and she was planted before an audience numbering hundreds of millions. She was not some raw middle school teen whining her spruced-up book report to a twelfth grade Lit class. Where on earth were Donald Trump campaign manager and staff in regard to a major speech at a major event with the presidency at stake? Where was Donald Trump himself, the illustrious man who would be king? What disastrous level of gross neglect preceded such an inauspicious blunder?

To say the least, Mrs. Trump’s appropriation of passages from the famed speech of another only begs more questions and cautions about the Trump campaign, its meager staff and Trump himself, a man whose personal qualifications and character stand in serious question already. Was use of Michelle Obama’s words in Melania’s speech an act of attribution born of simple admiration, Melania’s personal admiration or that of a certain aid or aids, an admiration for the First Lady’s own special prowess as a speechmaker or, perish the thought, was it out-and-out plagiarism?

Why was Melania’s speech never vetted? Wasn’t miming parts of Michelle Obama’s speech, whether in neophytic innocence or deference to a mentor, sure to render all sentiment in Melania’s own speech inauthentic, make Melania Trump herself appear shamefully disingenuous? Melania’s speech was already conspicuously devoid of personal references, details and anecdotes after all .

At the same time, It’s hard to imagine a seasoned professional tied to something as public as a political convention being daft enough to purposely pirate a well-known document. In that light it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that gross ineptitude lay at the heart of the matter.  When grouped with many another faux pas by the Trump campaign, a voter can only ask if such casual incompetence is indicative of the wholesale whimsy, alacrity and devil-may-care ease with which an elected Trump is bound to run the country, destined to lead the free world.

Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort flatly denied that Melania’s often word-for-word copy of Michelle Obama’s speech was intentional. More, he termed accusations of Trump campaign plagiarism “crazy” Tuesday morning on CNN, then in a flagrant bid to shift negative attention to his rival, blamed the accusations on what he framed a skittish Hillary Clinton. This is downright Orwellian.

With a ruse like this, Paul Manafort flies in the face of salient truth. He claims for all the world that things are not what they most clearly are. Who would have guessed the intellectually lax and incurious Donald Trump, with help from a manager thick enough to rate voters blind and stupid, would ever be first to usher in the Orwellian Age? Eliza Collins pointed out in USA Today that there was no sign Clinton was connected to the speech or its loud repercussions for that matter. Woah! Big surprise!

Paul Manafort even dared  claim similarities between Melania Trump’s speech and that of Michelle Obama were strictly coincidental, that Melania or her speechwriters selected common words to describe common values and thus some unavoidable similarities. Sorry Paul but all of those exact same words arranged in far too often just the same sequence through sentence after sentence can be no mere coincidence, even to the minds of us way down here in the busy, half-lit halls of the rank and file. You can shelf your “Stupid Meter.” It’s poorly aimed and needs calibration.

Melania and Michelle Picture

In more denial, Jason Miller, Trump’s communications advisor, threw up a thin, malodorous smoke screen. In a statement, Miller proposed that since Melania’s team of writers did draw from their notes on her “life’s inspirations” and sometimes even infused bits of “her own thinking,” the speech originated entirely with her.

Miller then dared hint, waxing most sentimentally, that because, as he put it, “Melania’s immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it such a success” her fellow Americans would be cold and callous indeed to acknowledge the least impropriety from this fine, exemplary figure, though that same impropriety glared out belittlingly at them all. In other words, working from a jingoistic fervor, Miller boldly spun the patriotism elements of Melania Trump’s speech in hopes of overshadowing any wrongdoing.

It seemed Tuesday morning that despite its crucial bearing on the event, we might never know precisely what Melania Trump meant when she told Matt Lauer: “I wrote it.  And with as little help as possible.” On Wednesday, however, Donald Trump staff-writer and ghostwriter of many Trump books quite contritely took blame for the indiscretion saying she worked with Melania Trump on her First Lady speech and wrote lines from Michelle Obama’s speech that were read her over the phone by Mrs. Trump as choice examples.

One Merideth McIver said she used some of the phrasing in what became Melania Trump’s final speech but then neglected to check that phrasing against Mrs. Obama’s speech, this presumably for conceptual and wording similarities. She claims she offered her resignation to Donald Trump but the candidate wouldn’t have it.

Just prior to release of Ms. McIver’s statement, Donald Trump tweeted the message “all press is good press!” Was the issue now described as the Melania speech scandal just a nefarious ploy orchestrated by Trump and friends and appropriated as rich fodder for good negative press? If so, then precisely how much of Donald Trump’s scandalous behavior during the past year’s campaigning had been deviously gauged to serve the same objective?

It was some two days before the Trump campaign would even so much as concede certain passages in Melania Trump’s speech clearly mirrored some of those in Michelle Obama’s of 2008. In a fit of insincerity, Trump manager Paul Manafort was still denying obvious similarities in a CNN interview Wednesday morning. Crooked Hillary indeed!

–♦©M. D. Phillips–

The Upshot of Ignorance Is Lies

Chaos makes precarious ground for argument.
♣ You just can’t argue with ignorance for ignorance bides in chaos and in chaos every premise for argument is conflated, all logic in argument is skewed, the shear fabric of truth around argument is unwoven, its edges irreparably frayed.

–♦©M. D. Phillips–

Rich, Proactive Cultural Exchange Ensures Peace

If we form a world community by befriending strangers on common ground, we’re bound to avert prospective enemies.
♣ While the roots of war are often isolationism and procrastination, it seems leaders have always stalled real preventative action until hostility grew critical and war itself imminent.

–♦©M. D. Phillips–

Peace is Worth the Struggle

War is a failure to work for peace.
♣ Peace challenges. War kills.

–♦©M. D. Phillips–

When It’s Harder to Do Right Than Do Wrong

A brain is given, a mind developed, a soul cultivated. The first is sane, the next profound, the last purely sublime.
♣ The rational brain, appointed to man for better or worse, growth or stagnation, always craves proximity to a developed mind and soul. Alone, the rational brain succumbs to doldrums, tedium, restlessness.
Mind and soul constitute the rational brain’s only inner support, its only compatible partners. Combined, the three can grow a rich and burgeoning inner life. Without the flourishing inner life drawn from mind and soul, however, the rational brain, no matter how advanced, enjoys but shreds of the true meaning, wholesome pursuit, clear direction, gripping intensity and high aspiration otherwise gained by the synergy.
In the absence of a thriving inner life born of mind and soul and entrance into the brain of nettling doldrums, tedium, restlessness, what’s right seems counterintuitive, boring, hard, restrictive, what’s wrong instinctive, thrilling, easy, liberating. Insight blinds. Distinction blurs. Confusion rages. Truth languishes. Joy stifles.
The rational brain bereft of mind and soul begins to hunger but is thwarted. Short of nourishment the rational brain forms a nagging void and feeling pangs of hunger ventures outside to the semblance of nutrition that constitutes vice. The rational brain seeks to fill the nagging void with vice. Vice proves incompatible, insufficient, untenable. Soon the nagging inner void deepens. To compensate, the rational brain consumes more vice without avail. The void sinks to a veritable abyss. The rational brain begins to starve. Blinding insight, blurring distinction, languishing truth, stifling joy, raging confusion all compress, implode on themselves and finally reduce to nothingness. What vestiges of mind and soul remain start to die and the rational brain gradually follows.

–♦©M. D.Phillips–

Hope and Wear a Slicker

Hope springs eternal but so do the torrents.
♣ If every cloud has a silver lining, it’s probably gathering rain.

–♦©M. D. Phillips–

Wait for the Sun

Maintain hope but watch your step.
♣ Knowing it’s darkest before the dawn won’t stop you from stubbing a toe.

–♦©M. D. Phillips–


Live and Learn

The roads to true enlightenment and decadence can be one.
♣ There are those for whom the path of excess leads to the palace of wisdom, then there are those for whom it shuts down at the park bench of ruin.

–♦©M. D. Phillips–

To Err Is Human but Wrong Nonetheless

Forgiveness neither condemns nor condones transgression.
♣ Turning the other cheek is not looking the other way.

–♦©M. D. Phillips–