• The Lure Of Trump The Populist, And The Company Biden Keeps

    May 5, 2024
    Lamont and Biden. Public Domain.

    Please Follow us on GabMindsTelegramRumble, Gettr, Truth SocialTwitter

    Can you be a populist without being popular? Of course you can, sometimes. Can you be a populist if you talk like a member of Harvard’s Law faculty? Not likely. Bill Buckley, free of the stain of populism, once said he would rather be governed by the first hundred people picked at random from a phone book than the Harvard Law faculty.

    However, populism is not merely a matter of tone. Your mother – well, at least my mother – was engaging in populist rhetoric when she told you a couple of times every week, “You will be judged by the company you keep.” That sentiment, before the 1960s disturbed our increasingly secular moral universe, was widely shared – in a word, popular. Mom delivered most of her apothegms in the common tongue, as did her mother and her mother’s mother. Common sense spilled out of her like wine from pressed grapes.

    Despite his riches and vulgar gold toilets, former President Donald Trump -- vilified every Monday, Wednesday and Friday by the Harvard Law faculty -- is a populist of this kind, his tongue almost certain to get him into trouble with anyone who is not a member of a fire department, a police department, active duty marines, sidelined border officers, or ordinary work-a-day folk who do not prance about the universe covered from head to toe in the kind of ivy leaves that adorn Yale University’s ancient walls.

    The company Trump keeps is larger and more various than the usual company of the usual politician. Most American politicians limit their company to staffers, many of whom are graduates of prestigious colleges, friendly members of the media, members of their immediate families, however grasping and corrupt, likeminded political acquaintances, political fantasists, propaganda producers and government administrators, the hidden puppet-masters adept at pulling strings.

    Their political views are narrowed by – my mother again – “the company they keep.”

    Trump, constantly berating the media as “fake” and partisan, is not likely to find many friends among media engineers who produce news and then beat us with their product 24/7 as if it were a truncheon.

    But the news media – and increasingly a highly politicized and humorless entertainment media – is, according to polls measuring such things, unloved by the general populace. Americans' Trust in Media Dips to Second Lowest on Record, Gallup tells us: “36% in U.S. have a "great deal" or "fair amount" of trust in mass media; 68% of Democrats, 31% of independents and 11% of Republicans trust media; Democrats' and Independents' trust is down five points since 2020; GOP's flat.”

    Trust in the media hit its lowest point in 2016, and then rebounded, according to Gallup, “gaining 13 points in two years -- mostly because of a surge among Democrats amid President Donald Trump's antagonistic relationship with the press and increased scrutiny of his administration by the media. Since 2018, however, it has fallen a total of nine points, as trust has slid among all party groups.”

    The abysmal media rating  appears to be baked into the political consciousness – or consciences? – of a majority of Americans, and the nine point slide since 2018 cannot be due to an increase in Trump’s distaste for a hectoring media, which remains flat like the “trust the media” numbers within the GOP.

    Consider the lede to the following Fox Business News story featuring Jared Bernstein: “In a recent cringe-inducing moment, Jared Bernstein, Chief Economist and Economic Policy Adviser to President Joe Biden, found himself in hot water as he struggled to explain the basic concept of how money works. This occurred during an interview for an upcoming documentary titled 'Finding The Money', which aims to delve into the complexities of the economy.”

    What was so cringe-inducing about the documentary? The documentary asserted that the nature of money was “illusory.” And Biden’s Chief Economist and Economic Policy Adviser was flummoxed when he was asked whether it was possible for the U.S. government to go bankrupt.

    "The US government can't go bankrupt,” Bernstein answered, “because we can print our own money."

    The real fun began when the interviewer “sought clarification on the government's borrowing practices.”

    “Some of the language, Bernstein confessed, “is just confusing. The government definitely prints its own money. The government definitely prints money and lends that money. The government definitely prints money … It then lends that money by selling bonds. Is that what that they do,” he asked the ghost of Adam Smith, standing off stage? He must have received confirmation from the ghostly author of The Wealth of Nations,” because he then declared confidently, "They sell bonds and then people buy the bonds and lend the money. Yeah."

    Bernstein, who appeared confused by elementary economic verities, did not stress the important connection between deficit spending, Biden’s specialty, borrowing by the federal government, and the printing of money to pay down debt, possibly because he did not wish to further confuse the president he serves as chief Economic Policy Adviser.

    We do not know whether Bernstein is confused by the company he keeps with Biden or Biden is confused by the company he keeps with Bernstein, possibly a little of both.

    We do know that Moms of the world are undoubtedly right when they say, “You are judged by the company you keep.”

    ‘NO AD’ subscription for CDM!  Sign up here and support real investigative journalism and help save the republic!



    Don Pesci

    Don Pesci is a political columnist of long standing, about 40 years, who has written for various state newspapers, among them The Journal Inquirer, the Waterbury Republican American, the New London Day, the Litchfield County Times, the Torrington Register Citizen and other Register Citizen papers. He maintains a blog, among the oldest of its kind in Connecticut, which serves as a repository and archive, for his columns; there are approximately 3,000 entrees in Connecticut Commentary: Red Notes From A Blue State, virtually all of them political columns stretching back to 2004. He also appears once a week Wednesdays on 1080 WTIC Newstalk radio with Will Marotti.

    Continue Reading

    Notify of

    Inline Feedbacks
    View all comments
  • Copyright © 2024 The Connecticut Centinal