February 27, 2016

The theme of the day — "awkward" — finally brings us — as all things do — to Donald Trump.

It's Think Progress: "Rubio’s New ‘Con Artist’ Attack On Trump Could Put Him In A Very Awkward Position."
“A con artist is about to take over the conservative movement and the Republican Party, and we have to put a stop to it,” Rubio said on CBS’ This Morning. “He is wholly unprepared to be president of the United States.”

Rubio used the “con artist” line again on NBC’s Today. “I mean, this is unreal. Again, this guy is a con artist,” Rubio said. “He’s always making things up. No one holds him accountable for it.”

And again on ABC’s Good Morning America: “I think it’s important for people to understand they have a choice to make. Look, if this pattern continues, the conservative movement in the Republican Party will be taken over by a con artist portraying himself as the fighter of the ordinary person fighting for the working man — but he’s spent years sticking it to the working people.”

Rubio used the line again Friday while campaigning in Texas, and again later on Twitter....
Rubio is repeating himself and it's triggering the stereotype we have about him: a robotic repeater of sound bites. And that's a reputation that Chris Christie stuck on him, Chris Christie, who, while Rubio was flogging his "con artist" label, was out there endorsing Trump and overshadowing Rubio in the news cycle.

But that's not what Think Progress is calling "awkward." Think Progress is calling attention to Rubio's pledge to support whoever wins the GOP nomination. How is he going to support somebody he's insulted by calling him a "con artist"?

2 ideas:

1. Take a look at Chris Christie? Chris Christie insulted Trump plenty of times. Here's Politico's "8 times Chris Christie suggested Donald Trump shouldn't be president." Christie once said Trump was acting like "13-year-old," "someone who's just going to talk off the top of their head," not "suited to be president of the United States," someone who "has the quick and easy answer to a complicated problem," etc. All the candidates insult each other. It's part of the game, and when the game moves forward, it's time to drop the insults and switch to compliments. If you're good enough to get this far, you obviously know that.

2. "Con artist" is one of those insults that can be flipped. Remember how Trump embraced the insult "angry"? "Our country is being run by incompetent people. And I won’t be angry when we fix it, but until we fix it, I’m very, very angry." Do the same thing "con artist." If you think about it the right way, a "con artist" is just what we want. I know that sounds frightful, but I'm pre-paraphrasing what I think Trump could say and Rubio could winningly endorse.


MadisonMan said...

As if all politicians aren't con artists.

Easy for Trump to flip this insult to his advantage, as you note.

David said...

For that matter how is Bernie going to support Hilary?

The answer is that they do it all the time. They may not mean it or do much but they go through the necessary motions.

mccullough said...

We love con artists in the US. The roguish charm of Henry Hill and the men in The Sting

Meade said...

The Art of the Shill

Bay Area Guy said...

Thankfully, the long stream of insults exchanged this political season wont have a long shelf life. As AA noted, Christie hurled invective at Trump, but quickly made nice-nice without a fuss. Same thing will happen with Rubio.

More so, the next 6 months of the general election between Hillary & Trump, wiith each side armed with $1 Billion dollars, will be much nastier than what we've seen to date. By September, "con-artist" will seem quaint.

Temujin said...

For years, even this year, one of the traits that was pointed out as a positive by the press and those 'in the know' was when a politician stayed 'on message'. Staying on message supposedly showed real discipline and a level of maturity, if not sophistication in campaigning. Today, if it's Marco Rubio, it's called robotic repetition. 'Look…he just repeats himself'. Hmmm…

Go google 'stays on message' and you'll see glowing reports of just about every other politician this year or past. Except for Marco. Wonder why that is?

Curtiss said...

Yes. Con artist = confidence man = Trump.

traditionalguy said...

A con man asks for people to place their confidence in him. That is what social life vets. Trust in people is self regulated as time goes by and the promised from relationships either goes sour or are confirmed as loyal and trustworthy.

The long con first asks for trust on a small thing, and fulfills it. Then it asks or more trust on a bigger future return and fulfills it. Then it asks for trust on all you have, and they leave town with it and are never found, having morphed into another person in another town.

So how long has Rubio been trusted and found loyal as compared to Trump.

Ask people in the NYC and Palm Beach communities about The Donald. Either he is the real deal or he has salted thousands of rich and famous paid liars in those communities, because they all love the man.

Ask about Rubio in the Florida commmunity and most hate him for being disloyal and changing instantly into another role for whoever hires him for the most money. He is a political grifter with a cute little boy lost act.

Michael K said...

All this is an odd undercurrent in this very odd election.

What worries me as a valid issue is the concern voiced by Ace at Ace of Spades
where he wrote:

But is this really what he thinks? Or is this just a salesman and deal-maker -- as Trump proudly proclaims himself -- saying whatever he thinks he needs to say to get the customer to sign on the line which is dotted?

It's interesting to me that his first impulse was to of course go along with the safe, path-of-least-resistance assumptions on this matter.

Because that is what people without strong principles do -- they go down the soft, easy, no-hassle path of least resistance which is provided by the liberal intelligentsia as the only safe harbor. The safe harbor you won't be attacked in.

(Yes I mixed metaphors there.)

Why I am I banging on about Trump's lack of knowledge and thinking on these thoughts?

Because, unlike many, I don't consider thinking and knowledge to be enemies of conservatism and principle. Rather, I consider them to be essential to it.

If you're going to be a conservative -- if you're going to fight the very powerful cultural forces that surround us and push liberalism on us as the easy path you won't get beat up for -- you'd better have some damn good reasons for doing so, or you'll come apart like a cheap suit.

and this :

My problem with Trump is that he is a dealmaker trying to make a sale. Right now he's trying to make a deal with conservatives -- so this is the very most conservative we'll ever see him.

If he gets the nomination, he now starts working on making the second part of the deal with the other party in the negotiations, the general public.

So this is the most conservative we'll ever see Trump -- this is the absolute most conservative he'll ever be -- and he's not conservative at all, except, possibly, on immigration. He combines liberal policy impulses with frankly authoritarian or even fascist ones, which he thinks are "what conservatives want," because, frankly, he conceives of us as ugly-minded, stupid dummies who get off on this shit.

That's why he didn't put the "Ban Muslims" line in a more palatable, persuasive form, like "Reduce immigration from Muslim-majority countries or countries with a terrorism problem to a level where we can vet each individual applicant."

No, he put it in the most bigoted, ugly way he could think of, because that's about his level, and because, also, that's what he thinks "conservatives" are.

This is a real worry but I think it is probably too late. If only the GOP Congress had done its job and brought about "regular order" in the House and write 12 appropriations bills that were debated and passed, no matter what the Senate did and Obama did.

They didn't and here we are.

Humperdink said...

Trump a con artist? I think bait and switch defines Trump more accurately.

It's one thing to switch positions over a period of years. Trump has mastered the art of switching positions in mid-sentence.

traditionalguy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

The ultimate con game is played on Wall Street, and they are now buying the talented Mr. Rubio to block Trump. They hate the idea that Trump, who understands the con they play, will go into authority.

And the Plan B is starting up already using Rubio as a kamikase. If Trump cannot be stopped in the GOP circles, then there will be a scorched earth for the GOP Nominee of high negatives to gift wrap the Presidency for whoever is in charge at the reliable old Clinton. Inc.

The actual Biggest Con is the CO2 Planet Control of weather fraud.

Once written, twice... said...

Conservatives and the Republican Party have completely fucked themselves. And they only have themselves to blame.

AllenS said...

A con? Anyone want to buy some carbon credits?

Limited blogger said...

'Con Artist', 'Choke Artist', at least they are recognizing that it requires talent.

AprilApple said...

Geez. Trump repeats himself more than anyone. And his repetitions are ghastly and moronic.

rhhardin said...

I write about one new computer program a day, usually in awk.

rhhardin said...

Not being conservative isn't a huge danger. Being politically correct is the danger.

Only Trump avoids that.

rhhardin said...

On being a Christian: best god ever.

You can't beat that.

Bob Ellison said...

This not on-topic, but it seems relevant.

Michael K said...

"Conservatives and the Republican Party have completely fucked themselves."

"Once written... " and Amanda seem quite happy with their treasonous felon candidate.

The world gets a vote once a president is elected. We are seeing what can happen when someone like Obama who is an empty suit is elected.

JSD said...

Ask people in the NYC and Palm Beach communities about The Donald. Either he is the real deal or he has salted thousands of rich and famous paid liars in those communities, because they all love the man.

Donald Trump’s has a long and contentious history with the people of Palm Beach. Yes, they’re an insufferable lot, and I’m sure Trump has had lots of fun poking them in the eye. But the old money Palm Beach crowd has no love for the Donald. Love him or hate him, the article is pretty funny.


I’ve owned a place in nearby Hobe Sound for a long time. The Donald has always been good entertainment.

Birkel said...

Not respecting the federal system of governance is the problem. Without belief in the system, with its checks and balances and division of power, the system collapses.

Politics aside, the system is ALL that matters.

Michael K said...

"The Donald has always been good entertainment. "

That article was fun. In an odd way, it is almost reassuring about him.

Charlie Currie said...

The biggest con artist to ever occupy the White House, has been occupying it for over seven years now, and no one - the press, which is what Rubio is referring to - has ever held him accountable. So why start now? Besides, Donald knows everyone of importance in the business, and all their dirty little secrets, too.

JaimeRoberto said...

Pretty much all politicians are con artists. They promise to give you stuff while they have their hand in your pocket. That's why the power of government should be limited.

Jacinto said...

I remember candidate George H. W. Bush calling Reagan's economic proposals as "voodoo economics". Then he ended up accepting the vice-president position.

n.n said...

Conservative artist. There are also lib artists, prog artists, etc. Until he makes a habit of disarming people and babies, there is room for repentance and acceptance.

robother said...

What kind of artist? Long con or short con? I would say only the practitioner of the long con deserves elevation to the status of an artist.

Beldar said...

No, no, no.

There is righteous anger.

There is no righteous con.

There are self-righteous con artists, but that's not to be confused with righteousness. Con artists are evil. Donald Trump is a con artist.

There's no reconciling that, but it's exactly apt. I will vote for the Republican Party's nominee (because it's the only meaningful way to vote against the Democratic Party's nominee), but if that's Trump, then on the day I'm forced to cast that vote, I will tell anyone who asks:

Donald Trump is an evil con artist.

His victims are suckers, but they can redeem themselves if they haven't already voted.

Joe said...

The Republican Party fucked themselves a long time ago. To the point where I don't have a clue what the Republican Party actually stands for. Where are the Hayek conservatives (what he called classical liberalism)? All I see are big government types who simply disagree with Democrats on what to regulate and force people to do.

eric said...

It's a shame the Republican party decided awhile ago that they could ignore their base and do what they wanted to do, in order to go along to get along and maintain power.

Now we're pissed and Donald Trump is the result of that anger. I still hold out hope for Cruz, but it's looking increasingly like it's going to be Trump.

Here is what I think will happen with a Trump presidency.

1) He'll turn out to be more conservative and a better President than many are claiming (Even though the #neverTrump crowd will still be unhappy no matter what).

2) He'll turn out to be just as bad as his critics are saying he is, and in 4 years, he will face a brutal primary and probably lose and only be a 4 year president, like Jesse Ventura was only a 4 year Governor in MN.

I suspect we will see more along the lines of #1, mostly because I believe he will do what he says about immigration and build a wall and be tough on illegals. And because I think he'll pick conservatives like Scalia and Thomas to be on SCOTUS.

And if he gets those two things correct, I can forgive a lot.

David Begley said...

Con artist succinctly summarizes Trump and what he is doing to the GOP electorate.

He says he is for hiring Americans but he imports foreigners to work at his fancy FL hotel.

He was pro-choice for years and then he has a private conversion that is unverifiable. I could go on.

He is tricking voters just like the rubes at Trump University. Trump University was no University of Wisconsin and it was way more expensive.

Beldar said...

@ Joe, who asked: "Where are the Hayek conservatives (what he called classical liberalism)?"

I have a definitive answer to your question: Ted Cruz, who'll talk Hayek with you 'til the cows come home:


When Cruz was in his early teens, in Houston, his parents enrolled him in an after-school program run by Rolland Storey, a retired energy executive who wanted to instill the values of the free market in young people. At the Free Enterprise Institute, Storey had his young charges read Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, and other authors revered by conservatives, and then give speeches at Rotary Clubs and similar venues around the state. “They created a spinoff group called the Constitutional Corroborators,” Cruz told me. “And they took five of the students, all of whom had been involved on the free-market side, and we focussed on studying the Constitution. So we’d meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays, for a couple of hours each night, and study the Constitution, read the Federalist Papers, read the Anti-Federalist Papers, read the debates on ratification. And we memorized a shortened mnemonic version of the Constitution.”

I asked for an example.

“TCCNCCPCC PAWN MOMMA RUN,” Cruz said. “Taxes, credit, commerce, naturalization, coinage, counterfeiting, post office, copyright, courts, piracy, Army, war, Navy, militia, money for militia, Washington, D.C., rules, and necessary and proper.”

Chuck said...

Trump repeating himself; the lead paragraph in an online column by Scott McKay:

"No, I’m not — no, no no. I don’t repeat myself. I don’t repeat myself.”

That was Donald Trump amid a forehead-slapping exchange with Marco Rubio in which the latter challenged the frontrunner to provide specifics on how he’d reboot the American health care system in the wake of Obamacare’s denouement. Trump’s response, following a pattern which played itself out all night long, was paper-thin — he touted the virtues of making health insurance available across state lines, but couldn’t come up with much else despite having a plan on his website with other elements — and Rubio chided him for it. Whereupon Trump stressed again the virtues of an interstate health market, and Rubio then landed a haymaker by suggesting that Trump sounded as though he was repeating himself."

It's actually an ongoing, persistent tic with Donald Trump. And not just a one-off debate response. The guy repeats himself in virtually every interview he does. Transcripts are brutal on Donald Trump.

Howard Nelson said...

Beldar, something askew either in that mnemonic you presented, or the sequence of subjects to be memorized thereby.
Cruz is the right man for The Job(s) -- Prez, Justice of SCOTUS, Senator, Conscience, and Sober-Man Pincher.

gadfly said...

Eric thinks that Trump "will turn out to be more conservative and a better President than many are claiming . . ." but the Hive believes without proof that he will be "the best thing that happened to corn (liquor) since the Indians invented it" and those of us who have read up on many of Trump's shenanigans know that you can't teach an old dog new tricks - and he is 70 folks. That doesn't make him as old as I am but I count myself among the experts in understanding how old people think - or don't think - and failing to consider all conflicts affected by his wild rants is Trump's major problem (brought on by narcissism).

Remember the wisdom of Samuel L. Clemons, writing as Mark Twain: "Actions speak louder than words, but not nearly as often." Shania Twain (no relation to Mark) also reminds us:

If elephants could fly I'd be a little more optimistic
But I don't see that happening anytime soon
I don't mean to sound so pessimistic
But I don't think that the cow really jumped over the moon

gadfly said...

Blogger Joe said...
The Republican Party fucked themselves a long time ago. To the point where I don't have a clue what the Republican Party actually stands for. Where are the Hayek conservatives (what he called classical liberalism)? All I see are big government types who simply disagree with Democrats on what to regulate and force people to do.

Waiting for the other shoe to drop but Joe is still holding it. Reading between the lines , he is saying that Donny Trump, a one man gang, is going to fix it. How does he know? Simple, Donny tells him so. Yes Donny loves him . . . the Bible tells it's so!

Joe said...

Unfortunately, Beldar, Cruz may be a classical liberal in thought, but not in action. Aside from finding him very creepy, my main problem with Cruz is how much he has squandered his position as Senator.


This has nothing to do with Trump--I think the guy's a loon and wouldn't fix shit--and everything to do with WHY Trump is where he is and that's because a Republican establishment which disagrees with the Democrats only on what to control. In other words, the politics of the influential in both major parties are between big government liberals and big government conservatives.

Kasich would be the best president of the lot, by far, but I don't see him having a snow ball's chance in hell of winning.

yash saradva said...

The Art Of Shill (www.wikiposts.com)

The answer is that they do it all the time. They may not mean it or do much but they go through the necessary motions.