January 10, 2016

Donald Trump kind of likes being compared to P.T. Barnum.

On "Meet the Press" today:
CHUCK TODD: As you know, people call you a lot of names. Some of it's positive, some of it's negative. I want to throw some by you. Let's see. Some people are calling you the Music Man of this race. Kim Kardashian. Biff, from Back to the Future. George Costanza. P.T. Barnum. What's - any of those do you consider a compliment? Or do you--

DONALD TRUMP: P.T. Barnum.

CHUCK TODD: You'll take the P.T. Barnum?

DONALD TRUMP: P.T. Barnum. Look, people call you names. We need P.T. Barnum, a little bit, because we have to build up the image of our country. We have to be a cheerleader for our country. We don't have a cheerleader. I thought Obama, when he got elected, would be a good cheerleader. That's the one thing I said. I said he'll be a - you know, he'll unify the country, whether it's African American and white and all. You know, he'll unify. He's not unifying. He's been a great divider.....
Phineas Taylor "P. T." Barnum...
(July 5, 1810 – April 7, 1891) was an American showman and businessman remembered for promoting celebrated hoaxes and for founding the Barnum & Bailey Circus. Although Barnum was also an author, publisher, philanthropist, and for some time a politician, he said of himself, "I am a showman by profession... and all the gilding shall make nothing else of me," and his personal aim was "to put money in his own coffers." Barnum is widely, but erroneously, credited with coining the phrase "There's a sucker born every minute"....

One of Barnum's more successful methods of self-promotion was mass publication of his autobiography.... Often referred to as the "Prince of Humbugs," Barnum saw nothing wrong in entertainers or vendors using hype (or "humbug," as he termed it) in promotional material, as long as the public was getting value for money..... Barnum was a producer and promoter of blackface minstrelsy....

While he claimed "politics were always distasteful to me," Barnum was elected to the Connecticut legislature in 1865 as Republican representative for Fairfield and served four terms. In the debate over slavery and African-American suffrage with the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Barnum spoke before the legislature and said, "A human soul, ‘that God has created and Christ died for,’ is not to be trifled with. It may tenant the body of a Chinaman, a Turk, an Arab or a Hottentot – it is still an immortal spirit." Barnum was notably the legislative sponsor of a law enacted by the Connecticut General Assembly in 1879 that prohibited the use of “any drug, medicinal article or instrument for the purpose of preventing conception" that remained in effect in Connecticut until being overturned in 1965 by the U.S. Supreme Court Griswold v. Connecticut decision. 

23 comments:

Achilles said...

but... but... you are supposed to take our criticism seriously!

Todd is a democrat operative not even pretending to be a legitimate journalist.

walter said...

"George Costanza."
?

walter said...

Achilles said...
Todd is a democrat operative not even pretending to be a legitimate journalist.
--
Well..at least we have War Room Snufellapagous working the objective side of things...

The Godfather said...

You are known by the enemies you make and the heroes you honor. Tromp's been doing well in the first category all along. With Barnum he is moving up in the second category.

But I still think he is his own hero above all others, and we will have spent 8 years with that kind of person as president.

YoungHegelian said...

In the debate over slavery and African-American suffrage with the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Barnum spoke before the legislature and said, "A human soul, ‘that God has created and Christ died for,’ is not to be trifled with. It may tenant the body of a Chinaman, a Turk, an Arab or a Hottentot – it is still an immortal spirit."

Salesmanship, like courage, can be used in the service of good or ill. In all the hot air & blather that has filled the many legislatures in this country over the many years, this quotation ranks up there as an exception of great beauty. Barnum learned to craft these words after many years of practicing on his own "humbug".

Ann Althouse said...

""George Costanza."?"

"'He’s the George Costanza of politics,' [said Portsmouth activist Renee Plummer (a Christie supporter)], alluding to an episode of 'Seinfeld' titled 'The Opposite,' in which a down-on-his-luck Costanza resolves to do the opposite of what he would normally do in every situation and ends up landing a date with a beautiful woman and a job with the New York Yankees."

Ann Althouse said...

The comparison to George Constanza makes no sense, even when you see the context. The idea of The Opposite is that you have a loser and he tries going against all his instincts and is successful. Trump is already phenomenally successful and he's following his normal instincts and they are working.

traditionalguy said...

P. T. Trump is a showman extraordinaire. He does shows in another town nearly every night, like the Circus is coming to town.

P. T. said to governments should respect the eternal souls of men saved by Jesus Christ. God also was a showman when He puts on show fights for his covenant people like He did for Moses at the Red Sea.

walter said...

Yeah..that Costanza bit was what came to mind..which really made no sense. But..maybe it's based on the idea that he's continually saying things opposite of standard political etiquette.

Paco Wové said...

The comparison to George Constanza makes no sense,"

I assume what Plummer meant was that Trump is behaving in a way that no Republican political consultant would advise their candidate to behave, and yet somehow, by mysterious unfathomable means, Trump appears to be crushing the opposition. It makes sense if you take as axiomatic that political consultants (and politics-as-usual) are worthwhile.

Hagar said...

As James Taranto says, "What would we do without experts?"

FullMoon said...

Trump builds skyscrapers. He generates millions upon millions upon millions of dollars. He has created thousands of construction jobs and employs thousand of people.

He hires competent people to get shit done and make him look good.

He has to do all this without breaking thousands of trivial rules and regulations that could result in prosecution. He has to cross the "T;s" and dot the "I;s".
(An example of trivial rule: in CA, I need a special license, requiring a study course, to open a sheetrock wall more than three square feet, or face prosecution)

What have the other contenders personally accomplished?

P.T. Barnum? Egress is my favorite story.

dustbunny said...

I like that he owns the Barnum comparison. He knows who he is and isnt ashamed to admit it and that is a large part of his appeal

Michael said...

Trump also knows that nobody watches this stuff on Sunday mornings. He can say anything he likes. Absolutely anything. Forgotten by Tuesday.

Chuck said...

Who watched Trump on Fox News Sunday today?

Asked about Obama and guns, Trump came up with one of his standard semi-literate Trumpisms, "The President is hitting the Second Amendment hard. Very hard." (The President's actions may be futile -- I think so -- and they may be executive branch overreach -- perhaps -- but they have nothing to do with the Second Amendment and indeed they are so tailored to steer clear of any Second Amendment question, they are rather pointless. A mere nuisance to most private citizens operating legally in the gun trade.)

Then, still botching the Second Amendment notion, Trump suggested that what needs to happen is for Republicans and Democrats in Congress to get together, in a room, and hash it out. Dear Donald; Congress "hashing it out" doesn't avoid a Second Amendment question in the end. And oh by the way, Congress "hashed it out" in the 1996 assault weapons bill and was pushed toward "hashing it out" with the Captain Hashmeister himself, Joe Biden.

Donald Trump's careless mumbling about gun laws and the Second Amendment ought to send serious gun rights proponents scurrying to the polls to vote for Anybody But The Donald.

It's an otherworldly state of affairs; the Trumpkins are all in a lather about how the GOP Establishment is waaaaay too conciliatory with Democrats in Congress. And then along comes Trump to say that on the sacred issue of gun rights (and even thinking to himself, wrongly, that the Second Amendment is at stake) he'll get everybody into a room in Congress and cajole them to do the right thing. Whatever that might be and of course Trump would never say what that might be. But it would be some compromise with Democrats, by Trump's own definition.

PB said...

Trump is a master persuader. Industrial-grade. He's moved the needle on the political conversation several times. It's not an accident.

Daniel Richwine said...

The bit I noticed was how Trump seized control of the interview. Rather than see what alley Todd was leading him, he jumped in where he wanted to and steered the conversation from there. It's a skill I've seen in executives but not politicians, at least not from republican presidential candidates, lately.

Char Char Binks said...

Trump supports blackface minstrelsy! Just like P. T. Barnum! I knew it!

Brian McKim & Traci Skene said...

People don't know what a server is. And they don't "know" anything about Barnum other than that he "invented" the circus. Which they remember fondly from their youth... And which is under threat from PETA. So... Shorthand is: Trump vs. PETA. Trump wins. Trump math is fun!

aritai said...

Where's Dr. C.? As the hands down smartest and most practical candidate of either party, he quickly saw the future more clearly than anyone. He was so impressed by his private one-on-one with p.T.B, the personal one-on-one humility he sensed and saw when it was clear Mr. T. was not intimidated by intellect, and indeed desired to only hire people smarter than he and understood Mr. T.'s respect for human life and individual creativity, that he told Mr. T. that he'd be proud to serve as his V.P. and he would exceed his expectations. Given Mr. T.'s history of only hiring people this direct and honest into his leadership team (as does Warren Buffet). Mr. T. was moved to tears and then when Dr. C. said his only ask was that he be given the privilege of assembling their roster of Supreme Court Judges, Mr. T. extended his hand and said "Thank you, whatever else I can do for you in support of your efforts, please let me know."

If this were not so deadly serious, it'd be good fun. I'll pass on my ration of popcorn today. Do they still ration popcorn in Venezuela? Looks like they got their before our FDA, aka democrats ne socialists, and worse, masquerading as scientists and bureaucrats.

aritai said...

re:Guns. His style is to reduce a disagreement to its essence. He'll define the "gun problem" as deaths due to guns And his offer will state that the goal is not only less gun death, than say Sweden, but the need for self defense to drop sharply once violent crime throughout any municipality is lower than of any Swedish community, be it in Minnesota or Sweden. Since Amd since more than half of gun deaths in the U.S. are suicide, both individual and "by-cop" when not "by-car" he'll commercialize "assisted suicide as well as abortion, removing public funding f brom both as part of the compromise, to avoid the moral hazard and leave it private choice and private policy, not we-the-body-of-voters. i.e. those who want to support abortion and birth control can fund it without transferring the moral responsibility to every taxpayer, where 3 of 4 citizens believe that late term abortions are not only abhorrent but murder (call it yet another compromise by Mr. T). Along with deregulating most of the medical system and drugs so those who want birth control can buy it for less than a condom (purchased in handy packs of 100 as an Add-on item at Amazon, soon to make big money for Ms. A. here as visitors click through).

For those that want to end it all, an individual who can't get a signature of 3 long term friends or close family can choose to enter a one month program of counseling and then be given their red pill after settling all their affairs and saying goodbye to those they want to as well as distributing 3/4s of their remaining SSI as owed by we the people given standard actuarial data for folks in their condition to their named benifiaries, having saved we the people that much money. He'll also fund the development of technology that enables the weakest of us to meet or exceed the strength of the most aggressive of us, while at the same time denying an aggressor an erection (and orgasm) and the use of one arm for five years,with the antidote that takes a year to work locked up in Fort Knox. Amazon will sell this equalizer over the counter and build it into ladies' fashions and always handy accessories. Clutch bags, make-up kits, etc.

He'll make the socialists such a sensible offer that they can't refuse, save the socialists that are worried about being overthrown by a revolution that Mr. Jefferson would bless. All while putting us on a path for repetitive halving the size of all governmentand its "fruits", federal, state and local, so we the people have less to fear, demilitarizing the police as well as every part of the military that's a social program. Similar to the halving of employment that all the archaic service and manufacturing companies are going thru as the internet and automation are woven through the fabric of our lives and everything gets cheaper at the same rate. To maybe one tenth its current size. Ok,Whoda thunk that deflation was death only to the elites and such a boon to the least of us, elderly included (as oil falls to $1 a gallon, soon very soon to be back at the quarter I paid for it in the 60's? Which will also solve every argument with the oil based autocracies, Iran included. Peak oil, my @ss. Yes, it's a fantasy, but a wonderful one that may well come true.

tim in vermont said...

The new minstrel shows are things like the Colbert Report, where the performer puts on conservative face. The emotions related to ridicule of "the other" go pretty deep and there is always good money pandering to it. If you can convince your customer that they are not indulging emotions regarding other hatred while at the same time serving it up buffet style, you can get very rich today.

Kristian Holvoet said...

'since more than half of gun deaths in the U.S. are suicide, both individual and "by-cop" when not "by-car" he'll commercialize "assisted suicide..."'

Hmm, Futurama (first episode): http://futurama.wikia.com/wiki/Suicide_booth