There’s a great difference between having guts and having an attitude.
We were about to illustrate this by using only two examples, but we thought better of it. We’ll start, however, with two and build from there.
Naturally the first example is of an attitude, not guts. That would be the Donald.
What Donald has is confidence. It may be misplaced, but he’s got it. An attitude that says I win, you lose, no matter what the game. This is because Donald doesn’t care what the game is – the survival of our country, the improvement in living conditions for millions of Americans, the faltering educational system here, the international idiot he’s making of himself. If he can poke fun at Carli Fiorina for her looks, what can he do with Angela Merkle’s? This is not how one goes about making friends and influencing people.
Donald’s lack of guts is blazingly evident in that when asked questions to which he does not know the answer – pick one of millions – he makes something up. Rather than humbly saying he doesn’t know but he’ll find out, Donald overrides the questioners with information of a far different and unsought kind. Chances are Donald hasn’t actually learned anything new since he was eighteen. And he certainly doesn’t see any reason to change. Certainly not just to win votes. Take him for what he is- whatever that is – or take him not at all. He doesn’t care. (Actually, he cares mightily, striving for legitimacy and stature.)
What Donald does have is an imagination. That everything in the world revolves around him. But this is not guts. This is egotism.
Compare, for a second or two, the Donald with Vice-president Joe Biden’s appearance on Stephen Colbert’s show last night. That, ladies and gentlemen, took guts, to be honest, emotional, forthright, uncertain. Under earlier circumstances, Biden has been solid as a rock, free and eager to participate in real life. He’s spoken boldly when he needn’t; he’s disagreed with the President; his affection for the nation goes well beyond what he feels for his son, Beau – he feels the same way towards all of the USArmed Forces and their families.
If he doesn’t know something, he admits it and gets to it the next day. He is still capable of learning. And he worries: about finance, about the Mideast, about education, about children without parents, about infrastructure, about foreign affairs. He cares about ecology and civil rights. And when he makes up his mind, he leaves just enough room for himself to be corrected, to grow.
He is a patriot, with experience at governing. He doesn’t make things up. He’s seen too much reality to lie.
And God knows he has guts.
Candidates about whom we know very little, and certainly not whether what they say is what they believe, include Ben Carson, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz (oops! We think he doesn’t believe in anything), Chris Christie, Carli Fiorino, Mario Rubio, Jim Webb.
Some would-be leaders do have bottom lines, although alas these lines also seem just a little too likely to move one way or the other depending on public reaction to their presentation. Jeb Bush, for one. Rand Paul. Bobby Jindal. Lindsey Graham.
Bernie Sanders has guts and a record for standing by what he has for so many years advocated.
Bernie, by the way, cares about what he stands for. Donald doesn’t. Jeb does. Hillary maybe.
What we’re looking for are men and women who take chances in their lives, who are fearless enough to fight. When Donald loses, according to his first wife, he stalks from the field and stops playing. He picks up his ball and goes home.
You know that Joe Biden, hell, even Jeb Bush, would go after the ball.
Guts – those that would “make America great again” – belong to Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders and perhaps even to John Kasich. And to Barack Obama.
Attitude rests in the corners of Carson, Fiorino, Jindal, Paul, Rubio. Not to mention Walker, Cruz, Christie, and the blond steam-ship the Donald.
But as we begin finally picking up speed towards the primaries and caucuses, we realize we do have some candidates for whom we could vote, not just hold our noses.
America wants guts, not attitude.
We’ve got some.