Donald Trump is Rodney Dangerfield — and that’s a good thing

Rodney Dangerfield Back to SchoolOkay, I’m exaggerating a little bit when I say that Donald Trump is Rodney Dangerfield, because Trump isn’t a Jewish stand-up comedian whose shtick was to be a shlub who “got no respect” and who, near the end of his career, suddenly hit the big time in Hollywood. But if you stick with me a little bit, you’ll see what I mean.

Trump has been horrifying the reliable sheep on the Left by abandoning TPP, insisting that he’ll renegotiate trade deals, and discussing ideas for imposing a tax that will see Mexico help pay for the wall that will benefit Mexicans as well as Americans.

Regarding that wall, Trump first floated the idea of taxing Mexican imports, but that vanished in the face of legitimate uproar about the fact that this kind of tax would also harm American consumers. Indeed, it vanished so quickly that I think Trump used his by now familiar tactic of putting something extreme out there so he would have room to negotiate down to something that seems more reasonable, even if it’s still kind of radical. A smarter idea, I think, is to tax the billions in remittances that Mexicans in America, many of whom are here illegally, send to Mexico.

Incidentally, before I move on to my Rodney Dangerfield theory, let me take a minute to explain why am I say that the wall will benefit Mexico. I’ve been arguing for years that having America as a safety valve allows corrupt Mexican governments to ignore systemic problems in Mexico. Those Mexicans with energy and initiative, who have nowhere to go in Mexico’s corrupt, stagnant economy, head to America and send much-needed money home. While the money is great, Mexico is losing its best and brightest and, moreover, those same best and brightest are living marginal existences in America, rather than having the chance to be luminaries at home. Also, as Jonathan Murray argues, the Mexican gangs who own the border area bring tremendous crime to Mexico.

Done. Digression over. Back to my point.

As I was saying, Trump is terrifying Leftist sheep by riding roughshod over their comfortable little world of received wisdom. The latest argument zinging around among my Lefty friends (all of whom seem to go to the same big box store of ideas when it comes to their political opinions) is that Trump is insane to be taking these economic stands when (horrors!) he doesn’t have a degree in economics.

In Lefty world, academic chops always count for more than real-world experience. Certainly academics have been responsible for some good ideas, especially in the hard sciences, as opposed to theoretical sciences, especially those based on computer models attempting to predict future events. Speaking of those computer models, academics have also been responsible for utterly stupid ideas, such as misbegotten computer predictions about climate change (garbage in, garbage out), Keynesian economics, and the entire academic embrace of the panoply of PC thinking and victim ideology.

Academia’s myriad failures are as nothing to the Left. Their bubble says, if it comes from an institution of higher learner that isn’t strongly Christian or Hillsdale college, it must be good. The fact that Trump has spent his years in business negotiating actual, rather than hypothetical, deals; that he has negotiated deals the world over; and that he has a very good idea about how the world operates isn’t just anathema to Lefties; it’s incomprehensible to them.

And that’s where Rodney Dangerfield comes in. In the 1980s, during the peak of his fame, Dangerfield starred in a movie called Back to School, about a vulgar, hugely successful businessman who decided to connect with his preppy son by attending his son’s college. Dangerfield’s first day in his business class, when he schooled the snotty, highly theoretical professor, is a timeless classic:

Trump knows the real world. While the Lefties are having heart attacks over affronts to theory, Trump is living in the world as it is, not as Lefties posit that it ought to be.

I am so loving all of this. Really. It’s just a thrill a minute. A totally get Pamela Geller’s kvelling.