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

Donald Trump is known for his spontaneous speechifying, for spewing populist rhetoric in boundless stream of consciousness. He’s noted for his loose pontifications, meandering demagoguery just redolent with disapproval, innuendo and accusation, rife with malediction, derision and disparagement, tinged by hubris, racism and slander, highlighted in 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 much more presidential speech than he ever has before.

Can this speech, a huge if somewhat convenient departure from the rabble-rousing speeches of his sordid past reflect a sudden transformation in Trump’s personal makeup? Has Donald Trump changed? Can the mention of regret by an erstwhile impenitent bully for a year’s worth of impudence, untoward antics and unspeakable slurs signal newfound grace, prove belated if no less earnest circumspection and remorse? I don’t see how.

Trump has taken no jolts to the system quite seismic enough to make the leopard change his spots. I’ll wager that the man behind the newly-ordered words is unchanged, unrepentant, uninspired, untouched. I think Trump has merely gone underground. I think he’s simply opted for the optics, nothing more. He’s moved to conceal those ugly spots for the moment, look better groomed, let his image (keyword image) be spun into something better fit for broad consumption under the auspices of a one bolder fist at the helm.

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A quick image overhaul is not character evolution. The turn to sober language is not a change of heart. One dignified speech all of a sudden does little to erase a whole year of ignoble sentiment. Saying out of the blue whatever comforts the ear 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 cannot mask sufficiently the brash, haughty, devious and overweening cad whom Donald Trump remains and who, even if he doesn’t quite host the high contagions of ethnic, religious and sexual bias, does 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 with blatant hate mongery as with more subtle weapons like racist rhetoric, divisive solicitation, 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, same panderer to bigots, misogynists and xenophobes, 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 intrinsic to this one specific rich, spoiled, dyed-in-the-wool, uniquely insular septuagenarian, will not vanish overnight. Of course Trump has been admonished for them all and there’s a sage old adage: If three people say you’re sick, lie down. Donald Trump never does lie down, however. In fact the strange candidate seems eerily impervious to public criticism. He neither sees nor acknowledges his flaws and considers even negative commentary good publicity. He’s obstinate too. He seems to feel little outside pressure to lie down. Perhaps this obstinacy derives from a stubborn self image or an element of narcissism itself. Nevertheless, I trust in the wisdom of the race. In the end it’s pretty simple anyway, despite how pundits like to harp on public image and the need for phony speeches to promote it. It’s not the mere speech but the man behind the speech who must ultimately 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. Since then it’s quickly grown apparent certain 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 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.

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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 is precarious ground for argument.
♣ You just can’t argue with ignorance. Ignorance bides in chaos and in chaos all premise for argument is conflated, all logic for argument deflected, all fabric of truth in argument unwoven, its edge irreparably frayed.

–♦©M. D. Phillips–

Proactive Cultural Exchange Ensures Peace

Befriend strangers on common ground and avert prospective enemies.
♣ The causes of war today are isolationism and procrastination. It seems, in fact, that leaders have always stalled preventative action until hostility grew critical and war became 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 second profound, the third purely sublime.
♣ The brain, appointed to man for better or worse, growth or stagnation, craves proximity to a developed mind and soul. Alone, the brain only succumbs to doldrums, tedium, restlessness.
Mind and soul are the brain’s only compatible friends. Combined, the three can grow a rich, burgeoning inner life. Without the flourishing inner life drawn from mind and soul, however, the brain, no matter how advanced, enjoys but a spark of the true meaning, wholesome pursuit, clear direction, high aspiration and gripping intensity otherwise gained by the synergy.
With 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 and restrictive, what’s wrong instinctive, thrilling, easy and liberating. Insight blocks. Distinctions blur. Confusion reigns. Truth languishes. Joy stifles.
The brain bereft of mind and soul hungers and is thwarted. Without nourishment the brain forms a nagging void. The brain feeling a nagging void unfilled ventures to the outside and the semblance of nutrition that is vice. The brain seeks to fill the nagging void with vice. Vice proves incompatible, insufficient and the void grows. The brain consumes more vice to compensate without avail. The void becomes a veritable abyss. Blocked insight, blurred distinctions, reigning confusion, languishing truth, stifling joy all compress, implode on themselves and form nothingness.

–♦©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 paths toward true enlightenment and decadence can be one.
♣ There are those for whom the road 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 Nevertheless Wrong

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

–♦©M. D. Phillips–