Monday, April 17, 2017

Trump Rising

It’s hard to keep up with The Donald’s buffoonery, so I haven’t been trying, but it was hard to miss that he finally got a chance to play Zeus hurling thunderbolts, in Trump’s case 59 Tomahawks, getting rid of inventory, lobbing them at the Syrian airfield. Not Iraq, as he told Maria Bartiromo on Fox. Thankfully, he lets his generals decide where to drop the bombs, like the MOAB, supposedly never used since created in 2003, that they let loose over Afghanistan. More inventory reduction.

Trump’s popularity went up, though only a point or two, not a surprise, though there does appear to be a gold-plated ceiling where The Donald is concerned. The Trump method, doctrine, if you will, is distraction, and it is quite successful. Trump himself is the chief distraction, while the House and Senate Republicans knit away, Madame Defarge like, only backwards, undoing the fabric of the Obama state, canceling protections right and right.

Neil Gorsuch sits on the High Court, Gorsuch, like Mike Pense, was raised Catholic, but now seems to be a fashionable Episcopalian, thereby finally adding a Protestant to the Court. Paul Ryan, the Speaker, remains busy dreaming his apocalyptic dreams – no taxes! No entitlements! – Mitch McConnell continues his haughty hypocrisies, do not as I have done, but do as I say.

Democrats are resisting, though it would have been better if they had been voting in 2016.Those shouting “You lie!” to Joe Wilson at his South Carolina Town Hall should have been yelling it back in 2009 when he shouted out in Congress to President Obama.

I have written quite a bit on elections since 1996 and it still seems credible that outcomes rely on the so-called low information, late deciding, undecideds. In Trump’s case, he had direct access to the same crowd that George W. Bush profited from, those voters who most identified with him.

Not the self-identification of bogus billionaires, but which person they wanted to be next to, have a beer with, etc. W had more than a leg up on that constituency, compared with Al Gore. Even though Gore won the popular vote – England has its Royals and we have the Electoral College – Gore would have won even that, had the whole state of Florida been counted correctly, yet not many voters wanted to have a beer with him. Trump, of course, doesn’t drink alcohol, but his coarse bonhomie, similar to the younger Bush’s, struck a chord with the common voter.

Hillary, poor Hillary, had more in common with Al Gore than her titular husband. And, though the usual suspects – email server, Ruskies, Wikileaks, Comey, etc. – did their dark work, Hillary’s losing ground was well prepared by Bernie Sanders. Sanders’ largest success in public office likely will turn out to be his assistance in helping Donald Trump become the 45th president of the United States.

Nonetheless, Trump is rising, given the begrudged acknowledgment by most of the media that he is the president. No one with a sense of self importance wants to believe a clown is presiding over the Oval Office. Oh, no, it flies in the face of self regard. So, Trump may not be presidential himself, but he is being treated as the president. With respect, of a sort.

And, if the presumed shake-up in Trump’s administration is coming and The Donald is throwing the more picturesque clown car occupants under the bigger bus, more of this incipient fawning will continue. Trump may not be acting more presidential, but the people around him are, and that will likely be enough for the permanent establishment, in both the media and in Washington.

Steve Bannon does stick out as a sore thumb. Even when he wears a suit and tie he just doesn’t look the part. He looks like the alt-right zealot he is, disheveled, unhealthy, and though he might have millions he doesn’t look well cared for. Compare him to the typical Senator. Those folks know how to look the part. They all look like a million dollars.

And poor Sean Spicer. How can he stay? His latest pratfall about Hitler doesn’t gas his people (other Austrians?) contained the priceless coinage “Holocaust centers,” a phrase that can only be the product of a Cuisinart brain, chopping into tiny bits vocabulary and ideas that are swirling around the plastic bowl of his mind.

If Ivanka and Jared are really running things Sean will be gone soon. It is alarming to look at the people Trump has been discarding: Paul Manafort, Carter Page, Roger Stone, Gen. Flynn, and, possibly Bannon and Spicer, all true believers, each helping in their own twisted way Trump become leader of the free world.

The Huffington Post version, which ran on April 14, 2017, can be found here.

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