Friday, January 12, 2018

The Very Stable Genius is "a very flexible person"

Daren Jonescu's current piece at his blog discusses a quote from Trump that I'd not seen before:

 Trump also just told an interviewer he might be on the verge of forming a great friendship with Kim Jong-un. Yes, that’s just what the world needs — the leader of the free world trying to make nice with a crackpot dictator who is starving his own people to death while threatening to blow up the free world.
When asked to explain how he can call Kim names and threaten him with annihilation one day, and then talk about forming a friendship the next, Trump, always happy to reveal his business secrets, gave himself away in the form of a boast:
“You’ll see that a lot with me,” Trump said, “and then all of the sudden somebody’s my best friend. I could give you 20 examples. You could give me 30. I’m a very flexible person.”
“I’m a very flexible person.” In other words, “I have no principles, no core, no goals, no interests other than whatever advances my personal advantage and enhances my reputation with any given audience on any given day.” That’s the same answer he gave during the primaries when asked about his long history of major donations to progressive Democrats. That’s the same answer he implicitly gives every other day on the wall; on his on again / off again love affair with the world’s bloody tyrants; on socialism in America; on you name it. In short, Trump is a complete zero as a human being: zero intellect, zero historical awareness, zero moral compass.
Trump said some things along these lines during his campaign. "I'll be very presidential" comes to mind.

What such pronouncements amount to is a fairly explicit declaration of phoniness. He's quite plainly telling us and everybody that you can't depend on anything he ever says and does.

Jonescu has a short litmus test, that sets a rather low bar, for being able to recognize at least minimal depth in a human being, and says  Trump's fails it on all counts:

Call me old-fashioned, but for me a man cannot be judged smart until he can be shown to have done at least one of the following things:
  • Said something really thoughtful and literate, or at least sounded marginally articulate on a regular basis
  • Made an interesting allusion that implied a capacity to bring superficially disparate notions together in his thinking
  • Indicated in his (unscripted) words and behavior some kind of basic principle of life and action broader and more substantial than “whatever works for me at this moment”
  • Showed some interest in, and enthusiasm for, a book, any book — not including one with his own name on it
It was a mistake for the Republican Party to nominate this guy.