Trump in Mexico
I’ve always thought that one of the worst aspects of being the leader of a country that wasn’t America was having to meet with every mouth-breathing midwest governor who was once called “Presidential material” by David Broder. They’d want to burnish their foreign policy cred, so they’d travel to the Czech Republic for a meet-and-greet where they’d discuss the “bilateral cooperation and trade opportunities between Oshkosh and the good people of Czechistan”, mouth fumbling over “bilateral”, clearly the first time they’d ever pronounced it. But the foreign leader couldn’t say no, because what happens if Scott Walker wins, you know?
It has to be even worse with Donald Trump, whom every single person outside the US (except for Nigel Farage and Hungarian neo-nazis) knows will be an absolute disaster, and a repulsive one at that. What do you say when you meet him? Well, that’s what will be on the mind of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto today when he meets with Trump, who accepted at the last minute a long-standing invitation.
On the one hand, this could be a disaster for Trump. It’s pretty clear he has never really studied the issues of trade or immigration, his two main topics regarding Mexico, and obviously has no clue about any other topics of concern the two countries might share (indeed, he is probably ignorant to the idea that there could be topics other than “stealing our jobs” and “sending rapists”). And the country is pretty hostile to him. There is a good chance this turns out poorly.
But on the other hand, it might be sort of smart politics, if you can ever attribute smart politics to a Trump campaign. It is a chance to look Presidential, or at least having the trappings of the President (a state visit, solemn handshakes, the whole deal). Now, I don’t know if Trump will actually be able to pull off looking like a President, since his entire persona is that of a low-rent casino greeter who found a bag of money off the turnpike and thinks he earned it, but still. Don’t miss out on the media saying that this is his “Nixon in China” moment, even though saying so makes no sense at all.
And then he’s going to give his immigration speech. A bad trip is actually a decent way for him to spin it. “They don’t like me because I tell it like it is, folks, and I’m going to be compassionate, so compassionate, but also really tough, which is why they don’t like me.”
Best case scenario is that it is a disaster and he looks even more foolish. Worst case is that it is a joke, but the media spins it in his favor making him look slightly more Presidential, and he’s able to use it to not lose any of his hardline votes. Most likely is that it is a weird day, but it will be buried by the next weird day of this campaign, and become a footnote that doesn’t move the needle.
Also in the best case: him saying that the tacos are only ok.
Rubio on life’s mysteries
Ashley Feinberg at Deadspin (no longer Gawker) flags down this Rubio quote on if he will run for President again if he wins reelection.
No one can make that commitment because you don’t know what the future’s going to hold in your life, personally or politically. I can commit to you this, and this is that if I am running to be a U.S. Senator, I am fully prepared to allow the U.S. Senate to be the last political office I ever hold.
On the one hand, this makes sense. Who can know what life brings? Who can really say what they’ll be thinking in four years? This life, this existence, is an endless garden of forked paths, and while you make choices, there are times you find yourself steered down one or the other by forces outside your control: maybe there is a snake in the road, maybe a cold wind suddenly buffets you to the side, or maybe a strange voice in your head– one you don’t even recognize– tells you to turn.
But on the other hand, come on. Everybody knows that Rubio is going to want to run for President in 2020 if Hillary wins, and maybe even if she doesn’t. My best guess is that, like Ted Cruz, he’s already thinking about running against Trump, who will obviously be a terrible President, and whom they can claim doesn’t represent real conservativism.
Rubio has some decency, for all his ambition, and so tries to fudge the issue, since I think he is even slightly embarrassed that he is so nakedly discontented with being a lowly Senator. So he comes up with philosophy, instead of telling the truth.
It’ll be even more fun to see Ted Cruz in 2018, since he’ll be running regardless of who wins. There’s no way he can pretend he won’t start running for President the second after the Senatorial election, but he’ll be incredibly self-righteous about being asked. He’s someone who will be puffily outraged about anyone who dares question his committment to the people of Texas, and then equally puffy the next day when he announces his run, after “much thought and prayer”.