I’ve been listening to my audioboook of Stranger in a Strange Land in my commute (I’ve finished the other books I was listening to, and haven’t gotten around to finding a new one yet), and, while listening to it, was struck by a revelation.
Donald Trump is remarkably like Jubal Harshaw. Or vice-versa.
Both shoot from the hip, revel in verbally abusing and putting down their opponents, are extremely wealthy and well-connected, surrounded by agreeable servants who take care of their stuff, and are not dependent upon anyone else, so they can say whatever they want. Neither are 'political" , meaning careful about what they say and how they phrase it, and don’t mind stepping on toes.
When you read SIASL, Jubal is the character you’re likely to identify with most, as much of the book is told from his POV (and he’s not as strange as Mike). He’s pretty clearly Heinlein’s alter ego (I’ll bet he would’ve LOVED to have had a trio of beautiful secretaries to dictate his work to … and have them finish up the messy details on stories he’d already started and outlined). He’s an expert in many areas (He has a law degree AND a medical degree, and knows plenty of other stuff), by his own reckoning, and he can bellow or bully his way through any circumstance.
The thing is, Harshaw wasn’t running for office (you get the impression he wouldn’t want the trouble). Although he’ll dabble in politics, he just wants to get his business over with and retire to the Poconos. And he seems to be genuinely knowledgeable and “classier” than Trump (would Trump collect authorized Rodin reproductions for his own private use?). But Trump is in it for the Big Prize, and he ain’t got those Law and Medical degrees, or Harshaw’s broad range of practical knowledge. But he’s got the bullying and the Speak Your Mind part down pat.
What scares me is that he acts as if he has that knowledge.
Irrelevant aside – I could see Jim Parsons doing a GREAT job playing Valentine Michael Smith in the movie.