Island Issues

A Pragmatic Populist President?

A Pragmatic Populist President?

Donald Trump’s presidency consists of many presidential firsts.

He took the oath as the oldest person to ever hold the office at 70 years and seven months. Ronald Reagan was the second oldest at 69 and 11 months. All other presidents before Trump held previous government positions or served in the military. President Trump is the first to come directly from the private sector with no prior government or military background.

He is also the richest man to ever hold the office. Hebert Hoover, who made his fortune through his ownership of silver mines was one of the richest and George Washington’s real estate holdings placed him at the time as one of the wealthiest American presidents ever.

I don’t believe Donald Trump considers himself a Republican or a Democrat even though he’s been registered as both. He ran as a Republican and cleaned the clocks of 16 Republicans in the primaries but was as critical of the GOP as he was of the Dems. He self-funded his primary campaign and only used money reluctantly offered by a stunned GOP during his presidential campaign.

It’s difficult to compare President Trump to others who held the office, but populist Andrew Jackson probably comes closest. During and after the campaign Trump shunned both liberal and conservative labels. He equally mocks and rejects both Republican and Democratic views. His appeal, like Jackson’s, is to everyday, working-class Americans, people Hillary Clinton labeled “Deplorables.” These are the folks who know how to use a torque wrench, change the oil in their own cars, replace gutters, eat at Chick-fil-A, cut your hair, coach your kids at Little League, crack the top on a Pabst after work, watch NASCAR, and cheer for a football team at a college they never attended.

Trump and his “Deplorable” base’s opinion of today’s political culture and both parties is similar to what legendary newspaperman H.L. Mencken described in 1911 as: “…an endless saturnalia of bunk, of bluff, of stupidity, of insincerity, of false virtue, of nonsense, of pretense, of sophistry, of paralogy, of bamboozlement, of actorial posturing, of strident wind music, of empty words — even at times, of downright fraud.”

And like Jackson and many of America’s traditional and hardworking “Deplorables”, Trump can be vulgar, rude and at times undignified. They can relate.

Trump is also a pragmatist. That comes from his business background.

He doesn’t look at a problem as a liberal, conservative, Democrat or Republican issue. He looks at it from a pragmatic businessman’s viewpoint, as something that needs fixing.

Mychal S. Massie, a former Christian Minister who now runs the Racial Policy Center (RPC), a think tank he founded in 2015, says Trump, as a pragmatist, doesn’t have a political agenda.

Says Massie: “Viewing problems from a liberal perspective has resulted in the creation of more problems, more entitlement programs, more victims, more government, more political correctness, and more attacks on the working class in all economic strata.”

Republicans are no better he adds. “Viewing things according to the so-called Republican conservative perspective has brought continued spending and globalism to the detriment of American interests and well being, denial of what the real problems are, weak, ineffective, milquetoast leadership that amounts to Barney Fife Deputy Sheriff appeasement, afraid of its own shadow.”

The pragmatic approach says Massie is that Trump doesn’t view immigration or the economy as Democrat or Republican problems. Immigration is a problem that threatens the very fabric and infrastructure of America. It demands a pragmatic approach not an approach that is intended to appease one group or another.

And he adds, until the economy is viewed as an American problem that demands a “common sense” approach, it will never be fixed because the Democrats and Republicans know only one way to fix things and the longevity of  their impracticality has proven to have no lasting effect.”

Successful businessmen like Donald Trump find ways to make things work, he says because they do not promise to accommodate.

Massie says that businessmen like Trump, who have weathered the changing tides of economic reality, understand what is necessary to make business work, and they, unlike both sides of the political aisle, know that if something doesn’t work, you don’t continue trying to make it work hoping that at some point it will.

“As a pragmatist, Donald Trump hasn’t made wild pie-in-the-sky promises of a cell phone in every pocket, free college tuition, and a $15 hour minimum wage for working the drive-through at Carl’s Hamburgers,” adds Massie. “A pragmatist does not see a problem and compound it by creating more problems.”


The Government Is The Problem, Not The Solution Continued: Critics of mass shootings, crumbling public schools, homelessness, rampant drug use, inner city crime, and other growing societal ills are quick to look to the government to fix these problems, but fail to understand that the real cause of all this IS the government and its misguided programs that do not work.

An example is the disintegrating family unit created by the cultural upheaval of the last 50 years. According to the Cato Institute a staggering $20 trillion of tax money has been spent by dim federal bureaucrats on the War on Poverty since the 1960s that has only created chaos and misery. The results include an increase in unwed motherhood from 8 percent in 1965 to 40 percent today, and a staggering 78 percent among blacks. Results also include increased child obesity, welfare programs that provide material goods rather than empowering individuals, an increase in food stamps AND adult obesity, overgenerous unemployment benefits that that make joblessness a lifestyle option, and much more. Common sense and logic have been tossed out the door.

In addition, the institutions that used to instill civility — the family, the schools, the church — have lost influence over children because politicians have kicked them to the curb. The traditional nuclear family is a thing of the past as according to U.S. Census Bureau numbers more than one-third of all babies born in the U.S were illegitimate with single mothers accounting for 85 percent of homeless families and 90 percent of all welfare recipients. God and discipline have been banished from public schools and dress codes, responsibility and respect are in short supply there too. Faculties at liberal universities shut down, rather than stimulate debate. Church attendance is decreasing and politicians continue to erode the church’s positive role in civic life by banning religious symbols and rituals from the public square.

The tragic fatal shooting of seven-year-old Tashawn Gallon in Jacksonville last Sunday is a sad and too common example. According to news reports this little kid was shot and killed at 9:15 p.m. in his uncle’s yard with a group of men who were drinking and smoking marijuana. Why is a first grader out at 9:15 at night and what the heck is he doing hanging out with a group of drunk, pot smoking scumbags, who police say are uncooperative witnesses to this crime? Where were Tashawn’s parents?

Tashawn isn’t the first, and unfortunately won’t be the last fatality of a society unraveling because of self-inflicted wounds.


Things I Wish I’d Said: “To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil.” — Charles Krauthammer


Forecast: Chili Tomorrow: Apparently somebody dropped the ball, and the wildly popular annual chili cook-off planned for downtown Fernandina Beach this weekend was abruptly cancelled without explanation just a week before the 8th annual event was to take place tomorrow, Saturday, February 24.

The event, which was eagerly anticipated among downtown businesses and the public, was a major fund raiser for the private local Montessori School, and overseen by former city Parks & Recreation Manager Jay Robertson, who departed a few weeks ago to take a similar position in south Georgia, a move that may have contributed to the cook-off”s brusque cancellation.

But true chiliheads will not be deterred. Many cooks, who had planned on participating in the cook-off, will still be serving bowls of red, but not on the streets of Fernandina Beach. For example from about 2:00 p.m. to whenever the chili runs out, the 12 South 2nd Street’s PJD’s Beer & Wine Garden will host a number of contestants including me, the new slimmed down version of Monty Kitchen, PJD himself along with the classy Zan Maddox, Jeffrey “Sailor Boy” McDowell, and recently engaged Hupp & Lulu. This chili judging affair invites bar patrons to taste for free as long as the chili and their taste buds last. The entries will be judged beginning at 3 p.m. by the less than sober and totally unqualified local jurist panel of Bob Ramshaw and Mark Cochran in a blind tasting, while the public can cast their votes for People’s Choice until the chili is gone.

Meanwhile over at the 14 South 3rd Street Green Turtle the “Smoke in da Cockpit” BBQ team will sell bowls of their chili concoction for eight bucks from 2:30-5:30 p.m. with proceeds going to the Nassau County Humane Society.

The winner of the judging at PJD’s will be awarded a tacky, but eagerly sought after Stanley Cup-like Bud Light rotating trophy with their team name engraved on it, while the taster’s public choice winner will receive a Pajamadave pint mug and PJD T-shirt. So grab a beer, taste the chili, vote for your favorite, and bring some Tums.

Just because somebody at city hall and/or Montessori screwed up doesn’t mean you can’t join the chilibration this Saturday.


Dumb & Dumber Department: Young people are filming themselves eating laundry detergent and posting the videos online. Teenagers in Chicago are videoing carjackings and then bragging on Facebook that they just stole a Lexus, Mercedes or other expensive car.

Apparently being stupid to gain attention is now something people aspire to.

If they’re dim enough to eat poison or steal a car and boast about it online, society would be better off without them.


Attention Fernandina Beach Mayor Moonbeam Miller: Lawmakers in California are currently attempting to impose a six-month jail sentence on waiters who bring plastic straws to customers who haven’t asked for them, based on “research” conducted by a nine-year-old kid. I’m not making this up. Based on this kind of nutty thinking maybe Moonbeam could target the “Do you want paper or plastic?” baggers at local grocery stores or restaurant servers who offer Styrofoam cups.


Amelia Island’s new airport terminal.

Dumbest Local Comment of 2018: A friend tells me that during a conversation with one of the principals at Amelia Island’s now under construction “It Looks Like An Airplane Airport Terminal” that he was told that people will want to hang around inside the new facility because it will feature terrific artwork. I don’t know about you, but no matter where I’ve lived I’ve never asked: “Hey honey do you want to go down to the airport and look at the paintings?” I doubt that people that fly around on private planes will head here because someone hung a few attractive paintings inside the terminal. Most of these folks have artwork in their homes that rival many museum pieces, much less what’s featured in a small local airport. This terminal building remains a monument to local government ineptitude and stupidity and the only reason a pilot with no particular destination would visit here would be to say to a passenger: “Let me show you something you won’t believe unless you see it.”


Drinking, Dining & Dancing: If free beer appeals to you then make plans to be at PJD’s Beer & Wine Garden, 12 South 2nd Street, Friday, March 2, beginning at 6 p.m. when Vero Beach’s Walking Tree Brewery debuts its Straw Hat Blonde Ale and Walking White IPA for Amelia Island residents with free samples. They’ll also be giving away other free stuff. The recently opened Aloha Bagel & Deli shop at 432 South 8th Street, near Elm next to the Shady Ladies Art Studio, has some of the best bagels I’ve eaten outside of New York City and is giving 1014 Atlantic Avenue’s Chez Lezan Bakery a run for its money as the best place on the island to get a really good bagel. The new deli also has lunch and breakfast seating for 28 inside with a few more outside and is open every day of the week from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The eatery boasts its most popular Everything bagel as well as garlic, cheddar, blueberry, poppy, onion and more and offers sandwiches ranging from Italian subs and Ruebens to Cajun, chicken or tuna. Or you can build your own. Sub bread is available if you don’t want it on a bagel. There are also six luncheon salads on the menu as well as a variety of cream cheeses, a Nova and Eggel bagel, even peanut butter and jelly. Call ’em at 904/432-8934 for takeout or to have your meal ready when you arrive. Tonight, Friday 23, the Sandbar & Kitchen at Main Beach will feature the Orlando-based husband and wife dueling piano team of Amy and Randy Keith for a 7-11 p.m. session of music and comedic entertainment. Get there early to get  good seat. Good friend Fran Kane, who is building a house on Amelia Island’s north end and visits here frequently from Tampa to check on its progress earned a “My best friend” tag when he showed up at my house earlier this week bearing two enormous smoked mullet filets from St. Petersburg Beach’s Ted Peters’ famous smoked mullet eatery. Despite the fact a couple have tried, there hasn’t been a decent smoked mullet on Amelia Island since Captain Van’s death a number of years ago and I’m willing to bet that the person that dedicates a smoker to this southern delicacy will eventually be grinning all the way to the bank. North 2nd Street’s downtown Hola Cuban Café, next to the Palace Saloon, has new hours and is now open every day as follows: Sunday 10:30 a.m – 3:30ish p.m.; Monday-Thursday 9:00 a.m. – 3:30ish p.m.; Friday and Saturday  9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Call ’em at 904/206-1985 and enjoy the best Cuban sandwich in the state.


Tom Yankus - 23. Feb, 2018 -

Adding to your last blog on the current rogue baseball Commish. Now he is considering, in the top of 9th for a losing team, dropping the batting order and letting a manager bat his top three hitters to “catch up!” I can’t make this up. Honest.

W.A. Hendrix - 23. Feb, 2018 -

Thank you for the blog mentioning Aloha Bagel and Deli!

George Clements - 23. Feb, 2018 -

Dave, the boys who work for the Koch Brothers could not have said it any better. Back in early 2015 I’m sure that you, like me, could not have foreseen that a dishonest New York con man could push aside conservatives and take over the Republican Party. What intrigues me is that long-time thoughtful right wingers like you are fawning over a guy who must wait each morning to find out what Fox News expects him to do that day. Trump has accomplished a lot in 13 months, even if he has little understanding of what he is doing.

Donald Sims - 23. Feb, 2018 -

Good article on Trump!
Since we are talking politics, I have a question. Does anyone know where Jeff Sessions is hiding?

Lea Gallardo - 23. Feb, 2018 -

Well said. I now find myself looking forward to Friday mornings!

J. McDowell - 23. Feb, 2018 -

Mr. Scott, please tell PJ Dave to have the afore-mentioned chili trophy ready for pick-up, inscribed with my name. After I win this taste-off, I plan attending the Monster Jam in Jax on Sat. Evening. Who said culture is in short supply? Regards, Sailor Boy McDowell
PS. I believe it was Herbert Hoover.