Comparing Trump to a waterbeetle, then and in the future


The waterbeetle darts about on the surface of the water, seemingly without direction or destination.

When George Will says it, it is said with authority, with aplomb, with certitude — well, with ease, celerity and grace.

So my only consolation is that I said it first.

Will opens his Jan. 18 Washington Post column, which was reprinted today in the Las Vegas Sun section of the morning newspaper, with a few lines from a poem by Hilaire Belloc:

The waterbeetle here shall teach
A sermon far beyond your reach:
He flabbergasts the Human Race
By gliding on the water’s face
With ease, celerity, and grace;
But if he ever stopped to think
Of how he did it, he would sink.

Will uses this bit of poesy to describe President Donal Trump as the waterbeetle of politics thusly:

He won by stoking resentments that his blue-collar base harbors about the felt condescension of elites. He has, however, transitioned with ease and celerity away from the most vivid commitments that made his crowds roar (prosecuting Hillary Clinton, making Mexico pay for the wall, banning Muslims from entering the country, deporting 11 million illegal immigrants within two years, restoring torture because “it works” but even “if it doesn’t work,” etc.).

The august columnist concludes with this apt and doubtless accurate prediction: “As transitioning gives way to governing, Trump will continue to flabbergast. The past really is prologue, so we have been warned.”

Thus, I may only pout and stamp my feet and shout, “Look here, look here,” because I said it first:

I’ve referred to Donald Trump as clueless, rudderless, a cipher, a darting water bug, a train wreck and a human Etch-a-Sketch …

Though not necessarily in that order.

As my ol’ Pappy used to say, “Great minds travel in the same plane, but fools just think alike.” In this case, perhaps a great mind and a fool think alike.

George Will

George Will

Turn out the lights the party’s over, they say that all good things must end

Trump campaigning in Alabama, but I think the fascists used to salute with the right arm. (WireImage via WSJ)

It’s all over but the crying.

On the dawn of Super Tuesday, real conservatives voices are raised in loud lament.

Thomas Sowell says it is time for at least one of the remaining electable Republican candidates in a General Election to throw himself on the Trump grenade.

“Everyone understands that the best chance for stopping Trump is for that fractured majority vote to consolidate behind one candidate opposed to him. But who will step aside for the good of the country?” Sowell asks.

“When we think of American military heroes who have fallen on enemy hand grenades to save those around them, at the cost of their own lives, is it really too much to ask candidates — especially those who present themselves as patriots — to give up their one political chance in a zillion this year for the sake of the country?”

His pleas are probably too little too late, just as George Will says of Marco Rubio’s new-found aggressiveness toward Donald Trump.

Will points out:

Unfortunately, Rubio recognized reality and found his voice 254 days after Trump’s scabrous announcement of his candidacy to rescue America from Mexican rapists. And 222 days after Trump disparaged John McCain’s war service (“I like people that weren’t captured”).

And 95 days after Trump said that maybe a protester at his rally “should have been roughed up.” And 95 days after Trump retweeted that 81% of white murder victims are killed by blacks. (Eighty-two percent are killed by whites.)

And 94 days after Trump said he supports torture “even if it doesn’t work.” And 79 days after Trump said that he might have approved the internment of Japanese-Americans during World II.

And 72 days after Trump proved that he does not know the nuclear triad from the Nutcracker ballet. And 70 days after Trump, having been praised by Vladimir Putin, reciprocated by praising the Russian murderer and dictator. And so on.

Rubio’s epiphany — announcing the obvious with a sense of triumphant discovery — about Trump being a “con man” and a “clown act” is better eight months late than never. If, however, it is too late to rescue Rubio from a Trump nomination, this will be condign punishment for him and the rest of the Republican Party’s coalition of the timid.

Bret Stephens seems to get that there may be nothing to stop the bigoted, politically rudderless and unhinged Trump who in recent days has endorsed “Bush lied; people died,” embraced a Mussolini aphorism, refused to release his “beautiful” tax returns for several difference reasons, waffled on disavowing an endorsement by onetime Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke, as well as calling for “opening up” libel laws to make it easier to sue anyone who hurts his feeling. (Will compared this to the Sedition Act of 1798.)


“None of this seems to have made the slightest dent in Mr. Trump’s popularity,” Stephens concludes.

A couple of Stanford professors writing in The Wall Street Journal observe that Trump’s classless bombast has tarred everybody in the GOP. Polls show the number of people who would never vote for any given Republican on the ballot keep going up, but not so for the two Democrats.

“Democrats are having a vigorous campaign that, so far, hasn’t undermined their candidates’ chances in the fall. Meanwhile, Republicans have been destroying each other,” they write.

Will’s lede paragraph is a classic jibe but a futile gesture, I fear: “Donald Trump’s distinctive rhetorical style — think of a drunk with a bullhorn reading aloud James Joyce’s “Finnegans Wake” under water — poses an almost insuperable challenge to people whose painful duty is to try to extract clarity from his effusions.”

A Trump nomination, which is likely to be wrapped up today, will destroy the GOP. After the state primary in Nevada, in which we get to pick the lesser of assorted evils for U.S. Senate, House and state offices, I may switch to the Libertarian Party. Talk about futile gestures.

I can remember when Willie looked like this: