Via the Daily Rushbo, he’s right but for the wrong reasons. This is really just a standard grassroots attack on the dreaded “consultant class” with Trump’s firing of Rick Wiley as a convenient vehicle. (Rush even acknowledges that he doesn’t know if Wiley’s guilty of what he’s complaining about here.) Trump is the populist savior and the consultants are stupid venal Pharisees and nothing good can come from listening to them, etc. In fact, Rush says, his own path to success was paved when he ignored the consultants who warned him that a talk-radio show couldn’t draw big ratings without a steady stream of guests. I trusted my instincts, he notes, and Trump trusted his, and look where we are now. Right, but meanwhile there are 10,000 chumps out there in radio and politics, nationalist or otherwise, who trust their own instincts every day and get nowhere by doing so, maybe because they lack the same lucky breaks, probably because they lack the talent, or quite possibly because, um, their instincts are bad. Sometimes, that is, consultants do have valuable criticisms. But I understand why he’s pushing this argument. Politico posted a fascinating story last week describing how, to some Trump fans, Trump has become a sort of self-esteem guru. “Trust yourself and ignore the critics” is right in that wheelhouse. Rush knows his audience.
But as I say, his advice to Trump is correct. The reason Trump should resist “toning it down” is because literally no one would buy the new, more “presidential” Trump. His hardcore fans would hate it and swing voters would see right through it. The trick for Trump, remember, is figuring out how to pander to his nationalist base and to general-election voters at the same time. If he “tones it down” to appeal to the latter, he loses the former and gets laughed at by the latter and suddenly the air starts to go out of the balloon. Beyond that, given how fantastically poor his favorable ratings are, his best bet for winning a war with Hillary Clinton is to convince the public that she’s worse than he is. (Very fortunately for him and the GOP, Democrats are set to nominate someone whose own favorable rating is almost as sickly as his.) Attack, attack, attack — the nastier the better, the Trumpier the better, and keep Hillary in a position where she’s constantly stammering about Benghazi and Vince Foster and Whitewater and Goldman Sachs. Voters may come to appreciate Trump’s skill in forcing the other party into a perpetual defensive crouch, reasoning that if he can do that he’ll be just as aggressive with threats to America’s interests. And really — what would a “toned down” Trump even look like as an alternative? How would a “toned down” interview go after he recites one of his bumper-sticker policy proposals, like building the wall? When the interviewer asks for details, what’s he going to say? That’s another great virtue of Trump’s flamboyant, aggressive persona — there are so many shiny objects he can offer reporters during interviews, starting with insults of “Crooked Hillary,” that it almost doesn’t pay for them to try to drill down on the details of his proposals. Who wants to hear about steering the “Build the Wall” bill through the House Appropriations Committee when you can have a riff about what a penguin-esque loser Mitt Romney is instead?
Exit question: Would those pharisaical consultants be wrong if they counseled Trump to maybe spend less time taking a dump on Republicans during his rallies and more time talking about Hillary Clinton’s e-mail server instead? Since the GOP’s all about “unity” ‘n stuff right now, I mean.