Much to the horror of my brand manager, Donald Trump has taken to calling himself, “a common sense conservative.” Well, sorry Donald, in the wild-west world of internet domain land-grabbing I am the de facto owner of that term and you are going to have to pass some pretty stiff tests before I let you run around stealing my spuriously claimed handle.
Personally, I think Donald Trump is a blowhard and a bully. He’s not the schoolyard troublemaker with the biggest fists, he’s the one with the mouth so fast, that his zingers win the fight before the first punch is thrown. I respected these guys when I was a kid but I feared them too. Like all bullies, they know their skill and use it to belittle others and artificially increase their relative stature. I would really like to see how successful his name calling or water bottle spilling is in a dust-up with Ronda Rousey. (God, will you please let this happen?)
But I suppose a common sense conservative can be a bully and a blowhard. Readers of this blog are learning a few of the things I care about (as am I). But off the top of my head, the list looks about like this.
- An instinctual understanding of economics – in particular that smaller governments make healthier companies, healthy companies make better jobs, and better jobs make happier people.
- That people are happier earning than being given to.
- The recognition that “collective bargaining … cannot be transplanted into the public service” (FDR, August 16, 1937)” and why.
- Fiscal responsibility which requires that the government cannot spend more than it takes in.
- That no one gets credit for forcing other people to do what they think is right (Penn Jilette) and no one gets credit for spending other people’s money.
- The appreciation of capitalist democracy as a free-est form of government and the US’s place in the creation of the 123 that currently exist.
- The intention to support civil rights continuing march forward without hindrance.
- A commitment to support women’s health issues.
- A commitment of inclusion for all people.
Trump does pretty well on this list. He may use rhetoric that we are not used to hearing (or makes our ears bleed), but he understands business, and what companies need to succeed, he understands the benefits of a balanced budget and the consequences of the contrary, he recognizes the importance of a strong and active American military, he supports civil rights – in a common sense way if not an active one, and he has supported Planned Parenthood over and over – not for its abortion component but as a valuable resource to women.
The place where Trump strays from the litmus of a common sense conservative, is this last one – the inclusion of Hispanics. Although his plan to get Mexico to pay for a wall turns out to be slightly less ridiculous than it originally sounded, it still ignores the threat of tunnels, the three other borders, and the inefficacy of physical walls in general. Furthermore, his deportation plan is inhumane and fortunately impossible to carry out. It is very likely that both of these promises will eventually be reduced to metaphors for a secure border, and better documentation of people here illegally.
Last night, following Trump’s super Tuesday victory he held a lively press conference rather than a teleprompter speech. He took a surprising, humbler tone, turned down his insults, and offered lots of praise for his competitors. Megyn Kelly (the biggest winner of this campaign so far), a woman known for telling it straight with respect to The Donald called it “presidential” and “very smart”.
As for a common sense conservative, I am not willing to concede my title, but for the first time ever, I have to admit, I think he looked pretty good.