Sunday, May 16, 2021

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Political Mercury

5 takes on President-elect Donald Trump


1. Accept the results of the election, kids. Trump won. Full stop. Disgruntled millennials in Portland, Oregon, and tea cuppers who crack when the microbrewery short stocks their favorite craft beer need to learn to take a loss. The time for protest of vote totals? Election Day.

Do the results hurt, Little Miss College? Good. Remember that and yank yourselves from what the social critic Marc Maron calls “narcissism pods” (the self-absorbed bubbles of Twitter and Facebook and safe spaces and participation trophies, life among the like-thinking) into building for the 2018 election cycle with real political interaction.

Iowa Republican legislator Bobby Kaufmann of Wilton is right. Closing down interstates with demonstrations is dangerous business and deserves greater punishment than what is now available.

Sure, protest Trump policies and his rhetoric, but not the legitimacy of his presidency.

The election was not rigged — even though Trump said it was.

Prep Iowa

2. Expect the Trump administration and liberals, who have long wanted a massive infrastructure bill, to craft a deal. Iowa cities and counties and the Highway 30 Coalition of Iowa would be well advised to have shovel-ready projects and a strategy for steering work here from what will be a package of billions of dollars for roads and bridges and airports and infrastructure.

This prediction assumes, of course, that Trump’s transition folks, they of little governing experience, are able to actually make appointments to the White House and Department of Transportation.

3. Is John Edwards allowed back into the public domain now? Can he come out of political exile?

The former North Carolina senator and Democratic vice presidential candidate had an affair and a kid out of wedlock, a sordid business that seems rated PG or even a bit Disney compared to the Trumpian display of back-from-the-1980s sexual bravado and no-blushing conquest we just witnessed.

The career-ending revelations about Edwards: He fathered a child with his lover, Rielle Hunter.

Edwards, who from my reading of the devastating book “The Candidate,” seemed to be the object of aggressive seduction in this relationship. He didn’t just reach out and grab Hunter’s genitals and then brag about it on an “Access Hollywood” bus with Billy Bush.

On April 12, 2011, in a column, I called Edwards a “toxically narcissistic” “dirt bag” who “fooled Iowa.”

Ladies, I’ll leave it to you. Does it make any sense whatsoever that Edwards is dismissed from public life over an affair while Trump is elected president after admitted serial P-word grabbing and high-fiving misogyny?

4. The 2018 Iowa governor’s race, which likely would have been a GOP coronation during the mid-term of a Hillary Clinton administration, is a boarding-now vessel for voter dissatisfaction — and therefore an enormous opportunity for a Democrat.

A returned and rested Tom Vilsack is clearly a preferred candidate.

His no-nonsense style — what I termed a “towering competence” in a column this summer — could serve as antidote to the sickness borne from the fantasy virus Trump spread, the notion that people with no government experience are best suited to run government.

But Vilsack, 65, who served as a mayor, governor and U.S. secretary of Agriculture, could very well call it a career.

The best Democratic candidate for governor of Iowa not named Vilsack I see at this point: Des Moines Area Community College President Robert Denson, a man with rural and urban appeal, clear administrative skills and someone who can point immediately to accomplishments for white, working-class Iowa. Newton. Carroll. We get what DMACC means here. DMACC connects real people to real jobs in Iowa.

5. Gov. Terry Branstad will grow a larger mustache to obscure what surely won’t be a straight face if he sponsors an anti-bullying summit in Iowa next year.

How does that introductory speech go for Branstad, the earnest Trump backer?

If you supported Trump, you either cheered or went ostrich-in-the-sand on some of the more effective and consequential, boundaries-of-decency-shattering bullying in American history. Trump, you may say, used bullying for the greater good, to prevent Hillary Clinton from taking office or because you think Trump will create a better job for you.

Fair enough. I see that point of view.

But the teen boy seeking the affections of a fetching gal, the employee looking for a promotion, the salesman seeking to close all can point to a “greater good” in their own lives, a justification for using any angle (race, gender, disability, immigration status, “the chick is fat”) to vanquish a rival.

Trump colored outside the lines of civil civic engagement in such shocking fashion that he not only threw primary opponents off their games but shook their very senses of self.

It worked. He won.

Adults can learn business moves from “The Art of the Deal.” Why can’t kids incorporate cyber-bullying and other Trump tactics for their own ends?

If President Donald J. Trump is a role model, as presidents are supposed to be, especially just-elected ones in the afterglow of victory, the youth of America surely can Tweet Like Trump. One other lesson here: start bullying early.

When Marco Rubio tried to fire back at Trump with some counter-bullying, it fell flat.

Why? Rubio had zero bullying skills, making him child’s play for Trump, a master of the craft who got started as a kid.

Don’t fall behind in Trump’s America. There may be nobody left who cares enough to catch a loser. ♦

burns doug 12-10-25

Douglas Burns is a fourth-generation Iowa newspaperman. He and his family own and publish newspapers in Carroll, Jefferson and other neighboring communities.




One Comment

  1. jay howe says:

    . . . instead of more concrete highways and all the wasteful sprawl they encourage (for contemporary US “infrastructure” – and thus for more environmental degradation), we should substantially upgrade and expand our national passenger railroad system (Amtrak) and catch up with places like China where regional and national high-speed train travel will whisk you along at 200 – 300 MPH with minimal damage to our threatened planet!.

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