Trump and the Realm of Upper Blowhardia

David Brooks:

there has always been a fan base for the abrasive rich man. There has always been a market for books by people like George Steinbrenner, Ross Perot, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Bobby Knight, Howard Stern and George Soros. There has always been a large clump of voters who believe that America could reverse its decline if only a straight-talking, obnoxious blowhard would take control.

And today, apparently, Donald Trump is that man.

Why this is the case is something of a cypher, but I think he describes a real phenomenon (although not all of those in the list are the same type of blowhard).

I am less sure about this:

A child of wealth, he is more at home with the immigrants and the lower-middle-class strivers, who share his straightforward belief in the Gospel of Success, than he is among members of the haute bourgeoisie, who are above it. Like many swashbuckler capitalists, he is essentially anti-elitist.

I think he sells himself as an anti-elitist of sorts.  However, I think that that is marketing.  He seems to me to live a life that revels in being elite.

I do think that this following has some resonance:  “He emerges from deep currents in our culture, and he is tapping into powerful sections of the national fantasy life.”

America is deeply rooted in the myth of success and many of us clearly fantasize about being a rich blowhard.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Quick Takes, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Chad S says:

    I’m not fan of Soros, but how exactly is he on that list? He makes some TV appearances, but is hardly a regular pundit. Or Bobby Knight? He’s not nearly wealthy enough to make that list.

    And apparently that column was directed at Krugman for his shot about Brooks’ column on the Ryan plan.

  2. Interestingly, there’s one elite that Trump has apparently never been able to crack. The upper-class in NYC, the old money people, reportedly don’t really consider Trump to be one of them.

  3. mattb says:

    +1 to

    America is deeply rooted in the myth of success and many of us clearly fantasize about being a rich blowhard.

    and

    The upper-class in NYC, the old money people, reportedly don’t really consider Trump to be one of them.

    Both pretty much sum up Trump in two succinct moves. Trump is crass new money — which is always worse than crass old money. Plus the Donald is still working very publicly — were as the mark of old money is that it shouldn’t have to sweat in order to grow.

    It’s that very rejection (and Trumps embrace of it) that makes him still appear the everyman — the guy you could imagine having a beer with and talking about “non-rich-guy” stuff. This is the same appear that GWB had and Palin has (though there are of course some differences there). Ditto Rush (in particular).

    It also makes him the perfect person to push the birther meme — everything about him screams a very specific type of “American” — exactly what Orly Taitz wasn’t (btw).

  4. wr says:

    I worked once for a very talented writer whose great talents had built him an entire company producing shows. He was a mogul, but at heart he considered himself a writer, and there was nothing he liked more than to jump into a writers room and be “one of the guys.”

    Funny thing, though, there was always that palpable sense that while he might have been one of us, none of us was one of them.

    That’s the way I’m sure it is with a Trump. Sure, he’ll have that beer with you and treat you like an equal — as long as you don’t start getting the idea that you really are his equal.

  5. sam says:

    I caught Robin Williams on The View (I think it was).

    RW: Trump wants to see Obama’s birth certificate — I wanna see his hairline. That’s not a comb-over. That’s a reentry vehicle.

  6. I would say that your average Trump supporter does seem to be in the same mold as someone who would have supported Ross Perot. At least Perot had charts…

  7. michael reynolds says:

    A certain percentage of the human race are bootlicks and forelock-tuggers.

    At one point in my life I went from low class to sort of a low-end millionaire. It was amazing how much more intelligent, charming and likable I became as a consequence. The MR who pushed a vacuum and drove a piece of sh*t Dodge was not nearly as wonderful as the MR who wrote books and drove an S-500.

    Bootlicks. That’s who likes Trump.

  8. tom p says:

    there has always been a fan base for the abrasive rich man.

    and D Brooks is that fan base. Will somebody please gag this idiot with a spoon? He has not said something intelligent since 1973.

  9. G.A.Phillips says:

    Bootlicks. That’s who likes Trump.

    Harry, this little bootlicker sure don’t seem to like him…lol….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WEuj7wjCO0&feature=player_embedded#at=31

  10. jwest says:

    Michael,

    I remember the same moment. Quite coincidently, I became remarkably handsome at that time.

  11. michael reynolds says:

    jwest:

    It either makes you start believing or reinforces your cynicism. Me, I was pretty sure I was the same guy with money as without.