Posts Tagged ‘Republican Primaries’
July 16th, 2015 at 5:59 pm
Your Weekly Mencken: Donald Trump Edition
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A USA Today/Suffolk University poll this week finds that reality TV celebrity and billionaire golf-course developer Donald Trump currently leads among Republican contenders for the 2016 presidential nomination.

Economic historian Robert Higgs, author of many fine books, including the classic Crisis and Leviathan, muses on Facebook: “If only the great H. L. Mencken were still alive to write about Donald Trump and his admirers. What a joyous field day he would have in doing so.”

One commenter offered this gem from the Sage of Baltimore: “As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

Not bad, but perhaps a bit too general. Mencken saved some of his best barbs for the business titans of his era. Here, for example, is Mencken on John D. Rockefeller Jr., whose celebrity in some ways parallels The Donald’s:

He is, by all ordinary standards, an eminent man. When he says anything the newspapers report it in full. If he fell ill of gall-stones tomorrow, or eloped with a lady Ph.D., or fell off the roof of his house . . . the news would be telegraphed to all parts of the earth and at least a billion human beings would show some interest in it. And if he went to Washington and pulled the White House bell he would be let in infallibly, even if the Heir of Lincoln had to quit a bridge whist game or a saxophone lesson to see him. But it must be obvious that young John’s eminence, such as it is, is almost purely fortuitous and unearned. He is attended to simply because be happens to be the son of old John, and hence the heir to a large fortune. So far as the records show, he has never said anything in his life that was beyond the talents of a Rotary Club orator or a newspaper editorial writer, or done anything that would have strained an intelligent bookkeeper. He is to all intents and purposes, a vacuum, and yet he is known to more people, and especially to more people of means, than Wagner, and admired and envied vastly more by all classes. (The American Mercury, August 1924)

On second thought, Rockefeller looks pretty good by comparison.

January 6th, 2011 at 5:41 pm
Chris Christie Now the Republican Frontrunner for 2012
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The GOP rank and file may be in love with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, but there’s one issue on which the Trenton Thunder is out of the Republican mainstream: it seems that he’s the only conservative in America that doesn’t want Chris Christie to run for president.


Yet despite the fact that Christie has repeatedly — and dramatically — forsworn any interest in making a presidential bid, a shocking new Zogby Poll shows that Christie is the Republican favorite for the party’s presidential nomination in 2012, with a whopping 10 point lead over his closest competitor (Mitt Romney). Even more amazing? Christie is the only Republican who currently outpolls President Obama in a general election. Not bad for a man who’s spent one year as the Governor of New Jersey.

Christie’s denials of presidential ambition (at least for this cycle) have been positively Shermanesque. In fact, they’ve been so emphatic that going back on them may undermine his reputation for straight talk. But with numbers like these, look for the Draft Christie movement to catch fire in 2011.