“Donald Trump is the only candidate of either party, indeed of the last many elections, about whom it is almost certain that there will be Broadway musical.”
With that line about a projected future production of “Trump!” I got on air chuckles first from Sean Hannity on his Fox News show Thursday night and a day later on my radio show from Chris Christie.
Why did this aside “work?” Because it was true: Trump’s personality is so big. His combination of chutzpah and charisma, pure Barnum-self promotion and endless innovation in its pursuit makes him the stuff of the big stage and screen. How it will go on the cooler debate stage remains to be seen.
(I suggested to New Jersey’s hardly retiring and deferential governor that a potential debate Christie-Trump showdown was a bit like Godzilla-Mothra. Christie responded, again with a laugh: “Well listen, you know, if Donald tries to interrupt me, I can guarantee you that that’s not something I take from a reporter in the gaggle, and it won’t be anything I’ll take from somebody who’s standing on that stage as a colleague and a competitor.”)
Kasich, who is the most Trumpian of the candidates not named Trump, is keyed in on this dynamic underlying 2016: We are a free people and we expect our president, senators, congressmen, governors and especially bureaucrats to at least pretend they work for us, to show some good natured self-effacement and restrain the obviousness of their privileges and perks.
The anger some hear exclusively in conservative media stems from arrogance among D.C. elites about their superiority in position and especially about their expertise — girded by not a little envy over their salaries and benefits in an era of austerity.
Anyone who has actually dealt with bureaucrats, and especially with elected’s, know the former are almost always unfamiliar with the actual operation of the industries they regulate, and that the latter are just ordinary Joe’s and Jane’s, and sometimes a lot below ordinary when it comes to intelligence, experience and the qualities usually associated with success. Nothing but actual power sets the Manhattan-Beltway powerful apart from ordinary Americans — and their mistaken feeling of entitlement to it.
The anger is fueled by the arrogance and privileges of power. But the best offense against that arrogance is humor and patience, and some portion of Trumpian bluntness, bumpered by good humor and authentic humility about what American government should be: Small except when it comes to national security, and always a servant of liberty, not the messenger of its necessary eclipse.
This column was originally posted on WashingtonExaminer.com.