In the investment business, they say stockbrokers never get rich, because they don't believe their own BS.
Trump is rich, having fun, and leading in the polls. So maybe he does believe his own BS.
In any event, he has become, in the words of Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post, “A farce to be reckoned with.” He makes his opponents look small, weak, and boring by comparison. At least for now.
The question is, will he wear well over time. We'll know more on September 16, 2015 at the next Republican Debate, hosted by CNN at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. The moderators are Jake Tapper of CNN and radio personality and movement conservative Hugh Hewitt.
Expect emphasis on the following topics:
The Iran Deal and Israel's opposition
This is CNN moderator Jake Tapper's sweet spot. He'd love to spend the entire two hours having all the candidates compete with each other over who loves Israel the most and has the lowest opinion of the Iran Deal. Expect it to get embarrassingly creepy … which means Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee will be in their sweet spot.
It will be interesting to see how Donald Trump and Ohio Governor John Kasich handle this topic. Trump has built his reputation on being candid and fearless. He claims he doesn't need mega-donors like Sheldon Adelson. If all Trump can do is mouth Israel Lobby approved mush, his tough and independent image will take a hit.
John Kasich has a similar challenge. He enjoys the image of a tough, can-do Governor capable of getting Democratic votes in the number one swing state … Ohio. Is he willing to stand up for a Made in America Mid-East policy, or is he going to get all creepy like Cruz and Huckabee?
A few closing points on the Iran Deal:
First, boiled down to basics, this is a battle between President Obama, who has twice won over 51% of the popular vote in the United States, and Prime Minister Netanyahu, whose party won 25% of the vote in Israel over who makes foreign policy in the United States.
To add to the utter wackiness of this situation, the Iran Deal is being reviewed by the Republican-controlled US Congress that has, according to Gallup, an approval rating with the American people of 14%. I'll leave it to others to decide if there is a causal relationship between Israel's influence on Mid-East policy and the Republican-controlled Congress's 14% approval rating.
Second, one or more of the bright lights on the Republican debate stage will surely argue that on non-designated nuclear sites, inspections can be delayed up to 24 days. Those who are troubled by this provision must not be aware of our enormous intelligence capabilities.
If, through our on-the-ground human intelligence assets and our satellite imaging, we get a whiff of something foul somewhere, you can be sure there will be so many people from the CIA wandering around the site that there won't be enough left back at Headquarters to make a foursome to sneak out for a round of golf.
Third, someone surely is going to pin the Marine Corps Barracks bombing of 1983 in Lebanon on Iran. That's an interesting charge to make in front of Nancy Reagan at the Reagan Library. Reagan, of course, was President in October of 1983 and was in the best position to know where the responsibility for that attack lay.
He didn't accuse Iran of responsibility, and he didn't retaliate against them. Indeed, not long after the Marine Corps Barracks attack, Reagan authorized back-channel dealing with Iran as part of the Iran-Contra matter. Enough said.
Fourth, surely all of the participants will have a horror story about what Iran is likely to do with their own money after sanctions relief kicks in. Well, not all countries spend their money wisely.
I would guess some in Iran think we didn't spend our money wisely when we overthrew their government in 1953 or helped Saddam Hussein acquire and utilize chemical weapons against Iran (we liked Saddam then) in the Iran-Iraq War.
Right here in the USA, I'm sure some Americans feel Israel didn't use the money we gave them wisely when they paid their spy, Jonathan Pollard, to spy on us, the United States of America. On top of that, Israel has not given us, their super best friend forever, a full accounting of what they received from Pollard, and what they did with it.
I guess we can agree that countries, like people, make mistakes when they spend their money. They even make mistakes when they spend money given to them by their best friend against their best friend.
The Rise of ISIL
Lindsey Graham, who according to Donald Trump is at zero in the polls, will blame the rise of ISIL on President Obama. He'll claim that if the US had left a residual force in Iraq, ISIL would never have gotten started.
As a veteran, Graham should know that we never leave troops in a country unless the host country signs a Status of Forces Agreement whereby the countries agree that if an American solider commits a crime in the host country, he will be tried by a US Military Court.
The Iraq government, at the time, could not sign such an agreement, and survive 48 hours. If we left troops there without such an agreement and an American soldier was brought before an Iraqi court on a criminal charge, Graham would have been the first to go on FOX and complain.
The refugee problem breaking now in the Mid-East and Europe will soon be a worldwide crisis. So far, Angela Merkel of Germany and the German people have the most to be proud of in their welcoming attitude towards refugees.
We'll see who, in the Republican field, is willing to go out on a limb and apply their religious beliefs to something greater than making a hero out of someone unwilling to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Kentucky. My guess is, when it comes to refugees, there will be a lot more talk about walls then welcomes.
My guess is that with Jake Tapper of CNN moderating, he's going to try and use as much time on the Iran Deal as possible.
As of this writing, President Obama has 41 announced supporters of the Iran Deal in the Senate. That's 7 more than necessary to sustain his veto of a Resolution of Disapproval.
It is also the exact number of votes necessary to filibuster the matter from being brought up in the Senate, which would be the best result for those of us who favor the deal. It would short-circuit the entire process.
While the news is good on announced supporters, when it involves the incredibly deep pockets of the Israel Lobby, nothing is over until it's over. Announced supporters are just that. Announced. They haven't voted yet.
In the past, when it appears there was some possibility of normalization of relations with Iran (like right after 9/11), strange things have miraculously been “discovered” … like a ship with all sorts of strange stuff in it marked “MADE IN IRAN”.
That actually happened. Remarkably, Israel “discovered” the ship … called the Karine A. Suspicious types called it a False Flag Operation. Who knows?
I'm just sayin'.
I am out of the country and will post again on Wednesday November 11, 2015 or before if the news flow dictates.
Comments are welcome at tomc[at]wednesdayswars[dot]com. Comments will be addressed in subsequent posts.