It's not just that he has a long history of being a jerk, continues to be a jerk, and often seems proud to be a jerk. After all, we've had a number of presidents who were jerks. It's not just that he is not now and never has been any sort of conservative, and that he is sabotaging what a year ago looked like a promising opportunity for a conservative swing back from the Obama years, and is very likely to complete the destruction of conservatism as a force in American politics. It's not just that he dealt a body blow to the pro-life movement yesterday.
It's not even, God help us, that he seems to have little or no idea how the government works, and apparently thinks that he is running for monarch (well, he wouldn't be that unusual there).
It's that his mental processes appear to be utterly incoherent, except insofar as megalomania imparts a certain overall thematic unity. I thought so when I listened to the speech he made here back last summer, and I was only incorrect in that I didn't realize just how bad it is. And, again, as with every other defect in his qualifications, he appears not to care, and to trust that he will always be able to beat down any opposition by any means he can muster. At the level of rhetoric, that means he doesn't really much care what comes out of his mouth as long as it asserts his will and his delusions of grandeur. At the level of practice--well, who knows what he might do with the power of the presidency in his hands?
I guess you already know all this. And I'm certainly not going to try to muster all the available evidence. But I want to point out just one example: this transcript of a CNN "town hall meeting" hosted by Anderson Cooper.
The first topic is the accusation by a journalist named Michelle Fields who claimed to have been physically jerked around by Trump's campaign manager. Notice the way Trump denies what Cooper says about Fields's statement and demands that Cooper read the transcript, then denies that the words say what they say. Then suggests that the reporter's pen could have been a bomb or a knife.
A normally dishonest politician (think of Bill Clinton) would have evaded the whole question (which Trump also does, trying to change the subject to Ted Cruz). Trump's babbling is not normal dishonesty. It sounds more like the voice of a man who literally does not know what is true or false, or doesn't think it matters.
And the whole transcript goes on like that. In case you don't want to wade through the whole thing, I'll give you a couple of other examples. You may have heard about the bizarre claim that "I alone can solve" the problem of terrorism.Here's how he supports that claim:
COOPER: You talked about the death toll [of the Easter bombings in Lahore]. And then you said, I alone can solve. What do you mean by that?
TRUMP: I think I alone because I know my competition. Look, I know my competition.
COOPER: You, alone, among the Republican candidates.
TRUMP: I see Hillary with Benghazi, you know the famous ad, 3:00 in the morning, guess what, the phone rang, she wasn't there. Unless Sidney called, if Sidney called she was there.
COOPER: But you're the only one who can solve terror problems in Pakistan? I mean, Pakistan…
TRUMP: Yes, of the ones that are running, I'm the only one. I know what I'm running. I know the competition. And believe me, I know, I watched Ted Cruz.
COOPER: How though? I mean, what…
TRUMP: So phony. I mean, you know, I know you have couple people out there because he put them in the audience. But it's so false. You know, the whole thing with the five-second intermissions between sentences. No.
Yes, I think I am the one to be able to solve the problem.
COOPER: But, I mean, there's problems in a lot of different countries, problems in the United States. How can you solve the problems all the way over in Pakistan when the Pakistanis, themselves, are struggling with it?
TRUMP: Look, look, Pakistan is a very, very vital problem and really vital country for us because they have a thing called nuclear weapons. They have to get a hold of their situation.
When I see that and when I see it put in a park because it was mostly Christians, although many others were killed other than Christians, I think it's just absolutely a horrible story.
But I'm talking about radical Islamic terrorism. I will solve it far better than anybody else running.
I can't decide whether this next item is the most off-the-wall part of the discussion, or if that award should go to the part where he suggests that Japan and South Korea should obtain nuclear weapons while he insists that nuclear proliferation must be stopped, and refuses to acknowledge that he is contradicting himself--not contradicting something he said in the days of yore a week ago, but in that moment. I'll go with this one, since it involves fundamental concepts. This is a question from the audience.
QUESTION: Good evening, Mr. Trump. In your opinion, what are the top three functions of the United States government?
TRUMP: Say it again?
QUESTION: In your opinion, what are the top three functions of the United States government?
TRUMP: Well, the greatest function of all by far is security for our nation. I would also say health care, I would also say education. I mean, there are many, many things, but I would say the top three are security, security, security.
We have to have security for our country so that we can continue to exist as a country. We are in danger. Thousands and thousands of people are infiltrating our country. We don't know who they are.
There's a very vicious world. We're living in a very vicious world and we're doing something that is against a lot of very smart people's wishes. I can tell you, it's totally against my wishes.
COOPER: So top three, you're saying, security.
TRUMP: Security. I say all top three are security, but health care, education, would be probably three that would be top. And then you can go on from there.
But the military and the secure country, so that we have a country. Believe me, we've never been in a position, in my opinion, where our country is so vulnerable. Our military is being eaten away.
When General Odierno left recently, a year ago, I was watching him on maybe your show, one of the shows, and he said that the United States Army, the United States military forces have never been so - and I think he used the word depleted. But basically he said they're exhausted.
COOPER: So just to follow-up, though…
TRUMP: And that's a pretty - that's a pretty sad commentary. And honestly, even though he was retiring at the time - and I had a lot of respect for him, good man, but even though he was leaving at the time, people shouldn't say that because you're giving the enemy ideas.
But if I get in, our military will be bigger, better, stronger than ever before. It's the cheapest thing we can do.
COOPER: So in terms of federal government role, you're saying security, but you also say health care and education should be provided by the federal government?
TRUMP: Well, those are two of the things. Yes, sure. I mean, there are obviously many things, housing, providing great neighborhoods...
COOPER: Aren't you against the federal government's involvement in education? don't you want it to devolve to states?
TRUMP: I want it to go to state, yes. Absolutely. I want - right now...
COOPER: So that's not part of what the federal government's...
TRUMP: The federal government, but the concept of the country is the concept that we have to have education within the country, and we have to get rid of common core and it should be brought to the state level.
COOPER: And federal health care run by the federal government?
TRUMP: Health care - we need health care for our people. We need a good - Obamacare is a disaster. It's proven to be...
COOPER: But is that something the federal government should be doing?
TRUMP: The government can lead it, but it should be privately done. It should be privately done. So that health care - in my opinion, we should probably have - we have to have private health care. We don't have competition in health care.
The problem that we have in our country is we don't have competition. It's made because the politicians - by the way, I'm self-funding. I am self-funding. So the health care companies aren't taking care of me. But they're taking care of everyone else.
Wait one second. We don't have - we don't have bidding. We don't have competition in health care. And it's a disaster. Obamacare, if you take a look at your premiums, they're going up 35 percent, 45 percent, 55 percent, and the deductibles are so high, you'll never get to use it.
Granted, it's not a very good question: did the questioner really mean something like "current top three priorities"? But it's still an incoherent answer. And by the way, if you're a citizen of this country and are wondering what's wrong with listing education and health care as two of the top three functions of the constitutionally-defined government of the United States of America, I hope you'll consider renouncing your citizenship.