Patterico's Pontifications

7/30/2017

Kevin Williamson: Trump Is Blake from Glengarry Glen Ross

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:13 pm

Coffee is for closers!

Kevin D. Williamson has had some especially entertaining columns lately, but his comparison of Trump and his fans (especially the hyper attack dog Anthony Scaramucci) to Alec Baldwin’s character Blake from the film Glengarry Glen Ross is a keeper. (More accurately, it’s a comparison of Trump to sad-sack loser salesmen who want to be Blake.) First, let’s recall who the character is:

In the film, Blake sets things in motion by delivering a motivational speech and announcing a sales competition: “First prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Second prize? A set of steak knives. Third prize is, you’re fired. Get the picture?” He berates the salesmen in terms both financial — “My watch cost more than your car!” — and sexual. Their problem, in Blake’s telling, isn’t that they’ve had a run of bad luck or bad sales leads — or that the real estate they’re trying to sell is crap — it is that they aren’t real men.

The leads are weak? You’re weak. . . . Your name is “you’re wanting,” and you can’t play in the man’s game. You can’t close them? Then tell your wife your troubles, because only one thing counts in this world: Get them to sign on the line which is dotted. You hear me, you f***ing f*****s?

Here’s the scene, in case you never saw it or have forgotten it.

Whatever else you might thing of Alec Baldwin, he will always be a little bit OK in my book just because of the way he pulls this off. It’s chock-full of memorable lines and is a riot from start to finish. And the hyper-alpha-male bravado of the guy is indeed typical of an ideal to which many clueless males with no character aspire in the Trump era. You’ve seen the Web sites, which explain to socially inept doofuses that they can drive women wild by treating them badly (“negging” them) and so forth. Williamson says Trump is a perfect example of the sort of guy who sees laughable over-the-top displays of dominance as the pinnacle of masculinity:

Trump is the political version of a pickup artist, and Republicans — and America — went to bed with him convinced that he was something other than what he is. Trump inherited his fortune but describes himself as though he were a self-made man.

We did not elect Donald Trump; we elected the character he plays on television.

He has had a middling career in real estate and a poor one as a hotelier and casino operator but convinced people he is a titan of industry. He has never managed a large, complex corporate enterprise, but he did play an executive on a reality show. He presents himself as a confident ladies’ man but is so insecure that he invented an imaginary friend to lie to the New York press about his love life and is now married to a woman who is open and blasé about the fact that she married him for his money. He fixates on certain words (“negotiator”) and certain classes of words (mainly adjectives and adverbs, “bigly,” “major,” “world-class,” “top,” and superlatives), but he isn’t much of a negotiator, manager, or leader. He cannot negotiate a health-care deal among members of a party desperate for one, can’t manage his own factionalized and leak-ridden White House, and cannot lead a political movement that aspires to anything greater than the service of his own pathetic vanity.

He wants to be John Wayne, but what he is is “Woody Allen without the humor.” Peggy Noonan, to whom we owe that observation, has his number: He is soft, weak, whimpering, and petulant. He isn’t smart enough to do the job and isn’t man enough to own up to the fact. For all his gold-plated toilets, he is at heart that middling junior salesman watching Glengarry Glen Ross and thinking to himself: “That’s the man I want to be.” How many times do you imagine he has stood in front of a mirror trying to project like Alec Baldwin?

(As an aside: I had not realized Peggy Noonan had turned on Trump. I’ve always seen Noonan as something of a human weathervane. If she has gone anti-Trump, that may be the canary in the coal mine that shows the rest of the country willing to jettison the guy.)

Trump, the famous dealmaker who actually sucks at closing deals, has failed to close on ObamaCare repeal. He said it would be so easy. But he is failing. And so, it may be time for Trump to get the motivational speech the salesmen got in the film.

Listen up, Trump. Coffee is for closers. So go and do likewise. Close a repeal of ObamaCare. The votes are out there. You pick them up, they’re yours. You don’t — I got no sympathy for you.

“The Senators are weak,” you say. The Senators are weak? You’re weak. Always Be Closing! If not, you’re gonna be shinin’ my shoes.

I’d wish you good luck, Trump, but you wouldn’t know what to do with it if you got it.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]


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