What does Donald Trump really believe?
Conservatives don't worship at the feet of perfect human beings, because we know very well they don't exist.
There are no perfect politicians except in the minds of the sucker-bait left.
We also know that some people are morally better, more trustworthy, and more aligned with our own values than others. So we evaluate political candidates like applicants for the most responsible job in the world. Which is not easy, given that most politicians lie. But we try.
I think Ted Cruz speaks from his convictions, which he has thought about a great deal. That's good. But Donald Trump is the only Republican since Reagan to bust right through the hostile media barrier, to reach the hearts of the voters.
Conservatives have been under constant assault ever since the 1970s, when the Boomer Left conducted its infamous "Long March Through the Institutions," guided by Saul Alinsky's little red book. Alinsky called the American middle class "the enemy," and we have been very slow to realize that Democrats like Obama, Michelle, Hillary, and Bernie Sanders actually believe that.
They do! Look at their words and actions.
This year has been exceptionally good for conservatives: just compare our candidates with the opposition's. Any single one of ours is better than any single one of theirs. Our candidate are not Bob Dole or John McCain; they're not Mitt Romney, who never really fought hard or even showed any understanding of what is at stake after four years of Obama/Valerie/Michelle.
This is not a normal election. The nation and our natural allies are being assaulted from inside and out. The stakes can't be higher.
So we have a conviction politician in Ted Cruz and a P.R. powerhouse in Donald Trump. Together they might make a dream team.
We have a pretty good idea about Cruz's beliefs, and what he would like to do in office.
Trouble is, how do you figure out what Trump really believes? His two careers as a real estate deal-maker and reality show star both take a lot of savvy and guts. Among Trump's supporters, I like Rudy Giuliani, because we've seen Giuliani in action as a prosecutor and as the best mayor of New York since LaGuardia. That gives us an important data point.
It can't be said often enough that Trump is an intuitive thinker. In making complicated deals, he studies the details, gets the best advice possible, goes to sleep, and then, in the morning, he comes up with a decision. He may not know why, but executives with that style of thinking can be pretty successful. Nobody scores 100%.
You can ask Ted Cruz what he believes, and he'll give you a clear and articulate answer. But Trump is an intuitive decision-maker, which means he doesn't think like Ted Cruz. But intuitives can be very good at what they do. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart expressed it in a 1964 SCOTUS decision on pornography: "You know it when you see it." A lot of the time Trump knows it when he sees it, and so far his off-the-cuff reactions show commonsense conservatism.
Trump isn't Jefferson or Lincoln, who had the gift of thinking with brilliant clarity in tough situations. He's more like Harry Truman, who ran a haberdashery (clothing store) in Kansas City and got along well with people, including the Pendergast Democratic Machine. FDR picked Truman as veep because he wouldn't make any trouble. Then FDR died, and Harry took over, to the horror and dismay of the Establishment, who were sure he'd be a disaster.
Harry Truman wasn't the most articulate president in history. But when push came to shove, he was decisive, morally clear, and willing to take responsibility.
(Bill Clinton, Obama, and Hillary are the worst decision-makers we've ever seen. See Benghazi, when our president and SecState both got out of Dodge at the very time when they might have saved those four Americans, in a display of slithery cowardice perhaps unequaled in our history.)
I think Harry Truman is the key to Donald Trump.
In 1945, the Manhattan Project suddenly gave the United State two working atom bombs, at a time when nobody understood their proper (and improper) uses. There was no doctrine for strategic weapons. Hitler, Japan, and the Soviets were racing to make theirs. The strategic question boiled down to this: how many American soldiers and enemy civilians would die if we used them? How many would die if we didn't?
Harry decided to use the bombs, to end the War in the Pacific. He never looked back. It was what it was.
Truman didn't have fixed beliefs about super-weapons, because they had never existed before. But like Justice Potter Stewart on pornography, he made the right decision when the question came up. Imperial Japan surrendered. Those bombs ended the war.
Hypocrites around the world point to Hiroshima and Nagasaki with righteous horror, but then they always take things out of their historical context. Harry made his decision, and one result is seven decades of strategic peace in the world.
Nobody thanks Harry Truman for making the right decision, but he wouldn't be surprised about that.
Harry hated Washington, D.C. – another argument for his moral clarity. Truman went home to Kansas City, just as Calvin Coolidge went home, and George Washington.
Harry Truman was a conservative by today's standards, because the left has pushed the culture a couple of miles off center. Truman would have been outraged by that.
We could use a Harry Truman today. He was imperfect, and he knew it. He was rock-solid on morality. He believed in individual responsibility. He stood up to murderous thugs, the ISIS killers of his time. Truman was the anti-Obama before Obama was even born.
We still don't know exactly what Donald Trump believes. Maybe he can't articulate it. But I think he will make the right decisions when the time comes. He'll answer that phone at 3:00 am and do the right thing. He won't run away or hide.
I like the idea of Trump-Cruz or Cruz-Trump, because they might make a historically game-changing team in D.C.
But contrary to the hysterical left, Trump is not a madman.
He's okay, and a hell of a lot better than Obama, Hillary, or Bernie S.
He's not Thomas Jefferson.