Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Like a binge drinker, America has a tendency to humiliate itself periodically and throw up all over the host's perfectly lovely table design and fine china. It's doing it again, but if things go a certain way, we might very well wind up remembering this time as The Great Humiliation.
It's not Trump. Trump is what Trump is, and in a way he's a breath of fresh air: here is a guy who turned out to be exactly what most of us thought he was when he ran for President. How unique is that? Incredibly! No shock and disappointment, no sigh of recognition that Obama wasn't Lincoln and George Bush wasn't George Bush, or Monroe wasn't Madison. No, Trump has turned out to be the dummy flim-flam man I thought he was; can't read, can't write, can't think, can't even hold a consistent thought in his head for more than half a day.
He is awe-inspiringly simple in this way. He's like a sea cucumber, which as a biological organism is without guile or complexity. A sea cucumber takes in plankton and algae and whatever else is on the sea floor, then shits out sand. Got it? Donald Trump is equally direct and simple: he can only think about Donald Trump and he shits out Donald Trump. Viewing it this way, certainly no one should be surprised he can't read or understand things as complex as basic American history, little less his daily intelligence briefing. I'll grant you he's managed to grasp the idea of 'great deals' and 'business' (America's holy gospel), but he's a long way from managing either.
No, the key to the Great Humiliation is Cory Gardner, the junior Senator from Colorado. This Ken doll, who comes equipped with lifelike premature greying hair, is a mealy-mouthed dummy who just congratulated the (much smoother) budget director Mick Mulvaney on really handing in one heck of a great budget, which slashes medicare, medicaid, and most social programs (as well as Amtrak!) in favor of high defense spending and tax breaks for the rich. Gardner is just so gall dern gratified, as is Senator Chuck Grassley, that "the President's" tax reform bill is having such a great effect on the economy already! Well that is amazing, isn't it? Talk about legislation taking fast effect. I doubt even the declaration of war on Japan kicked into high gear with such speed.
Obviously, the idea that the President could even read the tax bill, let alone understand it, let alone write any part of it, is absurd. Secondly, the idea that it is going to change the face of America with such speed is sophistry. But thirdly, and most importantly, the idea that any of this is good for the average American is an insult to... everyone.
I wonder if Cory Gardner, who attended Colorado State and then the University of Colorado, both fine schools as far as I can see, believes anything he's aw-shucks and gee-ing about. I'd really like to know. Does he go home to Mrs. Gardner or whomever and say, "Gee, honey, that President is sure helping this country along?" Is there any Cory Gardner inside Cory Gardner or is he just an empty vessel who hangs himself up in his own closet at night? I certainly hope he's real, if not just for the sake of Mrs. Gardner, but for the sake of the rest of us. Because from what I can see, Cory Gardner is just another lying dummy (and again, I use that word in it's proper Mortimer Snerd definition) with a crummy act to keep the hicks voting for him. But he is only one part of our humiliation.
To be fair, Chuck Grassley is as much a part of our humiliation as poor Cory Gardner -- and he's a phoney old bugger. Ron Johnson is just as much a part of the humiliation. So is Lindsey Graham. So is Orrin Hatch. So is Deb Fischer and Devin Nunes and that very weird Trey Gowdy (the missing cast member of "Deliverance" and the most Faulknerian politican we've had since Restoration). So is Paul Ryan. And so, certainly, is Mitch McConnell.
They are all part of our humiliation. That these are the elected representatives of the United States. That these are the people that working, presumably thinking, voters have sent to represent and protect them. The fact that these charlatans are there, defending the Ultimate Dummy (Trump) and the pernicious and greasy plans of the equally dim-witted Koch brothers, is all we need to know: the American voter is too stupid to vote.
This is the Great Humiliation.
These people will be re-elected. Trump will almost certainly be re-elected. And why?
Because the Democratic Party so misunderstands this country, and is so dysfunctional, and so self-destructive in its understanding of itself, that it's going to allow it to happen. You think the Republicans are arrogant? The Democrats are so arrogant they aren't even setting themselves up to fight. They believe power is going to be handed back to them in a cakewalk for the simple reason that Trump is so awful, so odious, how could it go any other way?
Or maybe they think Mueller's investigation matters. Maybe they think there's something Trump can do to destroy his base. Maybe they are able to ignore secret shame voters, the folks who slip behind the curtain and vote for the circus because ... well, what's the difference anyway?
If Republicans and the simple-minded business establishment of America may one day, we hope, have to answer for what they did during the Time of Trump (read: McCarthy, Japanese internment camps, slavery, genocide of Native Americans -- "what did you do, daddy, when all that was going on?") then surely the Democratic Party will have to answer if it does anything less than win both houses of Congress in 2018 and the Presidency in 2020. Because right now it's going to do neither, and that's an amazing feat in the face of this Great Humiliation.
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