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Hullabaloo


Monday, October 03, 2016

 

Taxes are for suckers

by Tom Sullivan

In December 2010, I commented on what Paul Krugman called the right's “humbug factories” (conservative think tanks). One need not invoke malice to explain the behavior of certain politicians, he wrote, while ignorance remains a possibility.

But Krugman left out a third possibility. His column reminded me of the 1978 “Great Pool Shootout,” as ABC’s Wide World of Sports billed the live tournament between fifteen-time world straight pool champion, Willie Mosconi, and well-known pool hustler, Minnesota Fats. A relentless self-promoter, Limbaugh-like with a touch of W.C. Fields, Fats was asked beforehand if he practiced much. The hustler replied with characteristic bombast, “Practice is for suckers.” Mosconi won the contest in three straight sets.
And here we are nearly 40 years later. The bombastic Donald Trump handily lost his first debate to Hillary Clinton and faces two more. Dan Balz at the Washington Post writes:
Donald Trump has one week to prepare for his next debate with Hillary Clinton. It is a critical event for him. Yet everything he’s done before and after the first debate sends a loud, clear message: He seems to think debate prep is for chumps.
Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post commented on what was a very bad week for Donald Trump, one capped by a disjointed speech in Manheim, Pennsylvania Saturday in which he mimicked Hillary Clinton's stumbling into a van. Cillizza observes:
True character tends to be revealed when times are tough. Anyone can be magnanimous, happy and generous after a win. It's a hell of a lot harder to maintain that dignity and charitableness after a defeat.

Trump has shown throughout this campaign that he runs well while ahead. His chiding of his opponents, his dismissiveness of the political press — it all plays great when he is on top of the political world.

But, last night in Manheim, he showed what we got glimpses of almost a year ago in Iowa: When he's down, Trump is like a cornered animal. He lashes out — at everyone. That is when he's at his most dangerous — to his own prospects and those of the party he is leading.
Those observations may not be earth-shattering, but we may get the opportunity for more shortly. Grace under fire, Trump is not.

Appearing at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, former presidential candidate Jeb Bush responded to a student's question about Trump's claims of a rigged election:
“Trump only talks about things being rigged when it’s not going well for him,” Bush replied. “It’s a leading indicator.”
The revelations in yesterday's New York Times about Trump's nearly billion-dollar loss in his leaked 1995 taxes reverberated in Toledo, Ohio where Hillary Clinton has struggled to convince voters that Trump's success is not as it appears :
The revelations about the Republican nominee’s taxes gave Clinton a fresh opportunity. In conversations around Toledo, many voters said they were offended by Trump.

“It’s disgusting,” said Steve Crouse, 65, the owner of Toledo’s downtown Glass City Cafe and a separate printing business. “As a businessman, he’s got that right to do that. It’s the way the laws were set up. But it’s not right. I would feel guilty if I didn’t pay anything. It’s flat-out cheating the government. You’re using all the roads, the fire department, the police, so you should pay for that.”
As with practice, taxes are for suckers seems to be Trump's philosophy. In Trump's mind, that makes most of his working-class supporters, what?

The Trumpish aftermath of round two with Hillary Clinton ought to be entertaining. Too bad Howard Cosell is not around to officiate.