Monday, January 30, 2017

A President with nothing to hide

For years now I've been thinking, why would anyone run for high office in this day and age?

Some of the most effective leaders – Churchill,  Roosevelt, Mitterand  – had clanking great skeletons in their closet. But since the media took on the job of exposing everything about candidates that they might not want to have exposed, we've had leaders like Obama and Cameron and Merkel who are above all things careful and don't appear to have any secrets to cover up.

That's led us to people who don't have their fingers in the cookie jar, haven't changed their positions all that much and have a dull domestic life.

And now we have the opposite. A President who is largely motivated by money, has run as the candidate of a party who don't agree with him and has a domestic life like something out of a Tom Wolfe novel.

But here's the thing.

Donald Trump doesn't really have anything to hide.

He's exactly the blowhard his opponents say he is and precisely the bull in a china shop his supporters ordered. They didn't vote for him because they listened to his plans and thought, that seems sound. They voted for him because they wanted to roll a grenade under the door of the status quo. They wanted action. And they've got hyperactivity.

But is there anything, apart from the slow unravelling of plans entered into in his haste, that could derail him?

Certainly not the normal stuff. If his tax returns were to come out and to say that he'd been involved in massive tax avoidance it wouldn't particularly hurt him. If it were to suggest he wasn't quite as rich as he makes out that would annoy him but it wouldn't really damage him. If he were to be found in the outer office with an intern, like Bill Clinton was, would even the Evangelical right do anything more than shrug? I don't think so. This is not a man that anybody looks at and thinks, he represents my values or my country. Nobody would lend him their lawnmower.

He's a television personality. To twist an old Tom Stoppard line, he's the opposite of a person.

What he's doing at the moment is "Larping". Live Action Role Playing.

He has no principles. Therefore he has nothing to hide.

TV has a lot of answer for. This is the person the TV industry has been building towards since the middle 1950s. Nothing on the surface and nothing underneath either.


  1. I agree that nothing he could do would hurt him in the eyes of the people who voted for him. The difference is that now he’s no longer a candidate who could say what he liked with impunity. Now he’s in office the actions he takes are judged not just by the people who voted for him, but are subject to the checks and balances of the US legal system and the constitution. It will be interesting to see how he reacts to the various challenges this has already thrown up. He’s a bully whose main interest seems to be in crushing anyone or anything that opposes him. Because he has nothing to hide it is unlikely the papers could do him much damage (though I have a sneaking suspicion that some involvement with Russia might prove troubling to him) but legal restraints might prove more difficult to overcome.

  2. I agree. In a culture in which deference and idealism has been replaced by celebrity and consumerism, Trump is the logical outcome.

  3. I thought the same when the story about the Russian hotel sex tape came out. You can only blackmail a man with something like that if he has any shame.

    "I like pee. I have tremendous pee. Many say it is the best pee."

    I'm reading this. The man is demented and I'm petrified.

  4. Echoing the comments and your piece - there's an interesting article by Richard Branson on his meeting with Trump..

  5. Even if you have nothing to hide, people will just make it up in this post-truth world, viz Cameron and the pig's head and Obama's place of birth.

  6. Mr Mondo thanks very much for that which mentioning Richard Branson link. Interesting first evidence of Trump's vindictive streak.

    Mr Hepworth, thanks for reinstating comments on your blog. Over the years I've picked up some terrific recommendations and personal knowledge/observations from your readers.