I’m not a Trump voter; I’m a #NeverHillary voter. However, I’d much prefer to vote for someone than against someone else. Voting is more fulfilling as an affirmative act than as a negative one. So, I look for those moments when Trump says something that makes me think “Yes!”
Well, Mr. Trump did precisely that yesterday:
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump told California voters Friday that he can solve their water crisis, declaring, “There is no drought.”
California is, in fact, in midst of a drought. Last year capped the state’s driest four-year period in its history, with record low rainfall and snow.
Speaking at a rally in Fresno, Calif., Trump accused state officials of denying water to Central Valley farmers so they can send it out to sea “to protect a certain kind of three-inch fish.”
“We’re going to solve your water problem. You have a water problem that is so insane. It is so ridiculous where they’re taking the water and shoving it out to sea,” Trump said at a rally that drew thousands.
The comments came a day after Trump outlined an energy policy plan that relies heavily on expanding U.S. fossil fuel exploration and reducing environmental regulations.
The above quotation, from the San Francisco Comical is a mere five sentences, but it conveys volumes of information. There are actually four layers of data in there. Let me peel them away:
One: I’m beginning to realize that one of the main problems I have with Donald Trump is how imprecise his language is. Because I am extremely literal, I prefer people who speak precisely. It creates clarity, which I find appealing.
Also, as we’ve seen with both Obama and Hillary, imprecise language is a refuge for scoundrels. Obama’s favorite trope is to create straw men and then to lay waste to them with moral fervor. The straw men are lies and so is the moral fervor. Hillary, of course, parses words with lawyer-like skill, something Jonah Goldberg summed up:
It’s kind of interesting when you think about it. Since the Clintons respect only power, the only power they respect is that of the law. Which is why the only times they can be counted upon to tell the truth is when the law absolutely requires it — or may require it down the road. Of course, as lawyers, they are artists at telling only the minimum amount of the truth absolutely required of them. The flipside is that because they are lawyers, when they resort to legalistic language, it’s a tell that they’re lying.
For instance, when Hillary Clinton went on the Today Show in 1998 to address the growing Lewinsky scandal, she blamed it all on a vast right-wing conspiracy. When asked what it would mean if the allegations were true, she said:
Well, I think that — if all that were proven true, I think that would be a very serious offense. That is not going to be proven true.
Note: She didn’t say “if it were true.” She said, “if it were proven true” — twice. She had every intention of concealing the truth. It just turned out that this time her cover-up skills weren’t up to the task. This is the same tactic we see in the e-mail scandal. “There is no classified information.” We’re constantly told, “There is no smoking gun!” Which is just another way of saying, “You can’t prove it!” Not, “I didn’t do it.” Again: The server is the smoking gun.
Donald Trump is a different kind of animal altogether. He uses words and phrases that stir emotion but that are remarkably inexact. This gives him an enormous amount of wiggle room, as was the case with his ability to back away from his draconian statements about Latin American illegal immigration and the administration’s willingness to accept Muslim immigrants without any ability to check their bona fides. Because his language was imprecise, we could read meaning into it. For example, after hearing his statements about Muslim immigrants, I concluded that he didn’t want to ban Muslims forever; he just wanted to ban them until we have means to process them intelligently, something I think is a reasonable thing to do. But I was reaching at the time. Only later did his spokespeople clarify that he meant to say what I had imputed to his imprecise words.
Trump’s a smart man and I think he uses imprecise buzz words, power phrases, and muddy sentences on purpose. They’re like an octopus’s inky cover. However, sometimes he just seems to be careless. Case in point: “There is no drought.” That is factually untrue since the word “drought” is a very technical term: “
A drought is precisely what we’ve had in California. It’s been a four-year period with abnormally low rainfall. By speaking so imprecisely, Trump gave the hard-Left SF Chronicle the chance to call him a fool in the second paragraph, below which most people don’t read — and certainly none of my Progressive Facebook friends read past that paragraph. All of which leads me to Point Two. . . .
Two: If you push past the imprecise language Trump uses, sometimes to good effect and sometimes to bad, he says things that are both important and very appealing to conservatives. While my Progressive Facebook friends were laughing themselves silly about Trump denying the drought, he was actually highlighting something significant.
Trump wasn’t talking about a drought; he was talking about a water shortage — a water shortage, moreover, created by federal water policies aimed at placating environmentalists. These scarily inhuman environmentalists are much more concerned about the wee Delta Smelt than they are about the livelihood of hundreds of Central Valley farm owners and thousands of Central Valley farm workers, as well as this nation’s entire food supply. This Congressionally-created water shortage pre-dates the drought by at least a decade, although the drought has exacerbated it terribly.
Three years ago, when the drought was already becoming evident — because they’re cyclical here in the West and we were due for one, and clearly beginning one — there were reports (which Progressives ignored) about the government flushing staggering amounts of fresh water into the ocean:
Pumping restrictions aimed at protecting Delta smelt have reduced deliveries to water agencies in the Central Valley, Southern California and San Francisco Bay Area by more than 700,000 acre-feet since Nov. 1, state officials announced Feb. 13.
In a conference call with reporters, Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin said water deliveries from Delta pumps have been curtailed since mid-December under a biological opinion for Delta smelt issued by federal regulatory agencies. DWR and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation continue to confer with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on measures to protect the smelt – a threatened fish found only in the Delta – while providing for water deliveries to Californians.
Three years ago, though, is nothing in this war between environmentalists and human beings (both those who farm and those who eat). Back in 2011, when the environmentalists got excited about a Texas lizard as a way to block oil production, I wrote about the drying of the Central Valley:
Exhibit B is the delta smelt, the protection of which has decimated large parts of California’s Central Valley. The Central Valley used to be America’s bread basket. If you drove down I-5 from the North Bay to L.A., once you got past the Altamont Pass and before you reached the grapevine, it was farm land and grazing land all the way. Now, large parts of it look exactly like the Oklahoma dust bowl, circa 1930. Both the Bush and the Obama government have survived this assault on America’s food supply. California Democrats, comfortably sequestered in ultra urban Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, didn’t blink as the state’s agriculture infrastructure started to be destroyed. Food prices have gone up, but they’ve stayed within tolerable levels.
And at least ten years ago, when I was still writing on Blogger (which means I can’t find the post), I wrote about driving through the Central Valley and seeing large signs protesting the government-made dust bowl. Here’s an example of one of those protest signs:
So, yes, we in California do have a drought, but Trump is absolutely right that the real problem is Federal government policies that have made environmentalism a sacrament that outweighs all other concerns. As both a conservative and a sane person who values humanity, I’ve hated how Republicans have been utterly silent about this disgraceful policy. I’m therefore extremely grateful to Trump for addressing it and wish only that he had been less muddy in his presentation. (Although perhaps “muddy” is an inapt term given that we’re talking about water shortages, both natural and Congress-created.)
Three: Another thing I liked reading in that short quotation is that Trump is taking a “drill, baby, drill” position. Let me hasten to add here that I’m not longing to return to the America of the 1960s, when lakes were without fish and periodically caught fire, all due to uncontrolled pollution. Nor do I want America to resemble the oil fields that dotted the U.S. starting in the 1890s or so and for many decades after:
As an affluent nation, with technological sophistication, we can do better than that.
BUT (and there’s always a but),
But I’ve never bought into the whole “climate change” scam. As my friend Mike McDaniel once so beautifully explained, because climate change is an unfalsifiable premise, it’s a matter of faith, not science. Indeed, science keeps disproving its premise.
I believe that the climate change lobby exists (1) to feather the nests of Al Gore and so-called “green energy” companies and (2) very specifically, to weaken the United States by pushing her back to a pre-modern standard of living. Even now, I share my home with a high-end dishwasher and a high-end washing machine, both of which are so green they can barely clean a damn thing. Between saving electricity and water, and using detergents that have no cleaning abilities, I sometimes end up running two or three loads where one used to do.
I like fossil fuels and I really like what they do for us. They undergird every aspect of modern American life, from the food we eat, to the clothes we wear, to the houses and buildings that shelter us, to the cars we drive and the roads upon which those cars travel. Fossil fuels are the essence of the modern era. Without them, we’d quickly find ourselves back in a grimmer, hungrier, darker, sicker time.
Obama has worked hard to stop America’s ability either to produce her own fossil fuels or to have easy access to Canada’s fossil fuels. He’s banned drilling on federal lands. In addition, refineries are vanishing. Even if there were oil, there’s no place to process it. And so we send money to Brazil, where it vanishes into the corrupt government’s maw or, worse, to Muslim nations that fund terrorism the world over, when they’re not busy abusing their own people. If it weren’t for fracking on private land, we might all be feeling very Venezuelan today.
With this in mind, to learn that Trump “outlined an energy policy plan that relies heavily on expanding U.S. fossil fuel exploration and reducing environmental regulations” makes me incredibly happy. I do not believe that he will destroy our environment. I do believe, however, that smart environmental policy means freeing us from the jackbooted thugs at the EPA.
Four: No matter how stupidly Obama expressed himself in the past eight years, the media ignored it or covered for him. No reporter would ever have used the second paragraph to correct the fact that Obama thought Austrians spoke Austrian, that the Americans liberated Auschwitz, that Navy “corpse”-men provide medical care in the field, that Hawaii is part of Asia, that America built the first intercontinental railroad, that his bowling is so bad he’s like a Special Olympian (no wonder he encourages aborting “defective” babies), and on and on and on.
Some of the mistakes were clearly slips of the tongue and some were manifestly abysmal ignorance. No matter the cause, though, the media never said a word. Not in the second paragraph, not in the fifteenth paragraph, not in any paragraph.
With Trump, however, it’s going to be George Bush all over again: Anything Trump says that isn’t stated with exquisite and scholarly skill, accuracy, and knowledge, is going to be headline stuff. Heck, as far as the media is concerned, it’ll be Reagan all over again: “Trump’s stupid; Bush was stupid; Reagan was stupid. So is Obama, but let’s keep that our little secret.”
But the good thing about Trump is that he’s unapologetic. He doesn’t care. He plows forward utterly untouched by media malevolence. That’s another thing I’m learning to like about his candidacy. That unabashed quality doesn’t mean Trump is qualified for the presidency or that he’ll be a good president, but it’s lovely to see someone treat the American media establishment with the contempt it deserves.
And that’s why, after reading that article today, one that had my Progressive friends just dying from laughter, I’m feeling more sanguine about ticking off the box next to Trump’s name. I’m also more confident that Hillary’s going to have a very unpleasant campaign season followed, perhaps, by a depressing morning-after election day.