(I’ll have my late-night dedication to Robert Mueller up one of these late nights. For now….)
After a day-and-a-half of monitoring my usual social-media feeds and assembling all the Mainstream Media takes, I was beginning to think I would have to do the heavy lifting on the essential meaning of Team Trump’s resounding victory over Team Mueller myself.
Lucky me, fervid anti-Trumper Matt Taibbi has stumbled around and, blind-squirrel style, at least assembled the outline.
Taibbi is still stuck on stupid in the manner of Trump’s intelligence. He seems to think his own initial reading of Trump as some sort of idiot-savant whose lucky streak is bound to end sometime (and probably soon) has somehow held up in the face of everything else he tells us here. But that only demonstrates how much counter-evidence our preferred narratives can withstand.
By all means, read the whole thing. I don’t agree with all of it but he’s got the gist right and suffice it to say that dozens, if not hundreds, of key members of the Swamp State (which I’m still thinking maybe we should call the Rump-Swab State–ya’ll feel free to weigh in on this), are now lying awake nights praying to the God they do not believe in (but who believes very much in them), that Donald Trump is not a vindictive man or at least Ivanka and Jared, the only people who would likely be entrusted with the execution of his response, will make less-than-able consiglieres should he bother to sweep his feckless opposition from the board.
The real message, as always, is that Trump is where he is because he is opposed by people whose depths of corruption, arrogance, and sense of entitlement are built on fifty-plus years of misgovernance and thirty-five of mal-governance and exceeded only by their rank stupidity.
Hey Eddie. It’s been a while. Think maybe you can help a brother out and remind ’em how it is?
…For if/when I get around to articulating my theories of the Rough Beast (as it applies to both History and the Present) and the Grand Bargain (as it applies to the Frozen Silence, circa 1980–2016.
Since Donald Trump started running for President–and especially since he was elected–there has been a steady stream of mostly unsourced (i.e., anonymously sourced) anecdotes about his behavior. Among what must, by now, be more than a thousand such, the only one that rang true for me was this one (which I swear I read around the time Steve Bannon–aka Trump’s Brain–was excommunicated, and have not been able to find since).
Bannon and Ivanka Trump were in a meeting with the President, with perhaps one or two others present. As the discussion (on whatever topic) became heated, Bannon called Ivanka some obscene name (along the lines of “stupid fucking cunt”–as I say, I can’t find the source so that might be a paraphrase, but, in any case, it was somewhere out past Samantha Bee).
Trump reportedly turned to his daughter, shrugged, and said:
“Tough business honey.”
And that was that.
Two months later, Trump’s Brain was out on his ear.
Given that the few anecdotes which are properly sourced (like tapes that include Trump’s voice) have indicated the private Trump speaks and acts very much in accord with the public Trump–and that Trump has made a lot of hay with his supporters by emphasizing this fact–I recommend taking those few sourced clues as wheat and regarding the rest as chaff. It serves the purpose of distraction even if, by some long chance, it’s not the design.
Few as they are, these clues are more than we usually get, with any President.
I find the noise regarding Trump’s thus far systematic dismantling of the Grand Bargain that reigned during the Frozen Silence from 980 to 2016 a little bit….odd. The more he does what so many said they wanted done (including several Presidents of both parties), the louder the opposition gets.
Which must be because. re Trade and Immigration, War and Peace, (i.e., the Things that Matter) he’s doing most of what he said he would do. The people who voted for him are happy. The people who didn’t vote for him are unhappy. He’s like every other President then–only more so. And that “more so” is what makes life, circa 2017-18 and counting, exhilarating, frightening, or interesting, depending not so much on where you stand now, as where you stood while the Grand Bargain was in operation–and whether you thought it was working for you.
I’ll save explaining the Grand Bargain for later. (God, I might have to explain the Third and Fourth turnings of the Empire before that…and the First and Second Turnings before that–hope I haven’t bitten off more than I can chew.)
And the Rough Beast for later still.
Meanwhile, just remember:
Tough business honey.
Oh, and this is still Trump’s closing theme at every rally. Are we getting it yet?
My sense is that, in the last two weeks, the Trump Fever broke. On the evening of the day he punked the G-20 summit that was the latest in a long line of Security State backstops which, assuming the key operatives (in this case various heads of state) could get the stars out of their eyes and quit staring at Ivanka’s ass or keep their knees from buckling when Melania flashed that fragile smile, were supposed to humiliate him beyond all hope of recovery, it became pretty clear that–barring some drastic, pyrrhic action like an assassination–he’ll now march from victory to victory.
You know, just like he’s been doing since June, 2015. Back when “the Republican Establishment” was going to put paid to him–by driving him not only from political life, but society itself…remember?–in the impossible event he became a problem.
Oh. there will be speed bumps along the way, and, just like the obstacles now fading in the rear view mirror (faster and faster, I might add), they’ll be celebrated as mortal wounds by whatever’s left of that creaky old Establishment (and breathlessly Re-Tweeted by those who are still certain–certain I say!–that this time, we’ve got him).
Those who put their faith in such folks, needn’t worry. There’s probably a month or two of real entertainment value left before your champions do what they were always going to do and kick you to the curb, the better to curry favor with the new boss.
My puny, unsolicited advice is to kick them out of the tent before they get the chance.
Why let them co-opt you one last time and destroy even your one-in-a-million hope of igniting a grass roots movement with real teeth in it? The fake ones you’ve been relying on aren’t getting it done. If you’re looking for a leader to emerge from the current crop, you’re trading in fool’s gold. (To wit, there’s real talk Bernie Sanders will carry the flag in 2020. God help us. But, believe me, Kamala Harris won’t be any less chumped and compromised by then, even if you buy the sketchy assumption that she is now.)
As we sit here tonight, Trump has a conservative majority entrenched on the Supreme Court, with more to come. His trial-balloon travel ban (sorry, did you think it was something else?), is now, with a few negotiating ploy caveats, in place. Contracts for the border wall are proceeding apace. The regulatory wall, built from used tissue by the Bi-partisan Consensus over the last thirty-five years for the express purpose of enriching themselves at everybody’s-but-their-own expense, is being torn to shreds. He’s tied the “Russian thing” tin can to Obama’s tail, and, by extension, Hillary Clinton’s. (Rhetorically, conspiratorially, theatrically, that is–i.e., the ways that matter in a land where concepts like the Rule of Law were reduced to laughless-punchlines by the very folks who now insist they are Never Trumpers long before Forever Donald Trump happened along.)
And, oh by the way, while you weren’t looking, the Alt-Right has seized the language and the messaging.
And oh by the way….
They view Trump as a loss leader.
Albeit in blind-squirrel fashion, Kathy Griffin–one of many useful-idiot celebrities whose brains apparently function as test patterns–had it right.
If Trump’s head isn’t on a platter by the end of the summer, there’s gonna be some deep and lasting changes around here–and perhaps more than a few.
Up to now, the main question since election night has been whether Trump understood that he was in a war with the Security State that would end in his utter defeat or theirs.
Tonight, for the first time, the question has changed.
Do they understand?
Bet they do…
Which means it must finally be time for Trump to ditch “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” and keep what’s left of his opposition really confused, by switching up his theme song…
Or would be, if playing in a rock and roll band was still masquerading as something more than a chance to meet the kind of fabulous women Donald J. Trump and Michael Jagger are prone to marrying.
It’s not that Trump is a genius (he sort of is, but it’s not that). It’s that he’s opposed–up and down the line–by idiots.
Idiots who have had their masks ripped off….and their Consensus destroyed.
It took two years.
So, as ever….Goodbye us.
But really, it was fun while it lasted.
C’mon Mick…Are you sure you don’t want to play the Ballroom in 2021?
[Note: Yes, I know. There were protests. To call them meaningless would be to debase the word. Somebody cue “American Woman” and dedicate it to Angela Merkel.]
Rooster said, “If I ever meet one of you Texas waddies that says he never drank water from a horse track I think I will shake his hand and give him a Daniel Webster cigar.”
“Then you don’t believe it?” asked LaBoeuf.
“I believed it the first twenty-five times I heard it.”
(True Grit, Charles Portis, 1968)
For the record, I’m dumber than Rooster Cogburn. The first five thousand times I heard the wild, independent cowboy spirits of the American media tell me they had Donald Trump on the ropes, I believed it.
Now we’re on to reassurance 5,001, something to do with the Russians, national security, General Flynn, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Nordstrom dropping Ivanka’s line and Pearl Harbor.
It’s striking that none of Trump’s opponents–meaning everybody who isn’t in his inner circle, which I gauge to be about three of his children and something less than three of his “advisers”–have figured out that a twenty-one month political winning streak against every established political/intellectual center of power or influence in the Western world probably has not happened by virtue of the amazing luck of an imbecile.
Trump has already established that he’s a political genius. (The laugh of the week was Mark Cuban trying to sell himself as a viable alternative on Bill O’Reilly’s show, without, of course, admitting he was doing anything of the kind!) It’s time to start treating him like one.
It’s also time to stop assuming he won’t show a similar talent for governance. He might not. It’s way too early to tell. But given his track record and the quality of his opponents–who can only hope to win with numbers if it’s warm bodies we’re counting, because it’s clear there aren’t three functioning brain cells among the lot–I wouldn’t bet against him.
Hell, maybe he really is Andy Jackson. There must be some reason I couldn’t get this out of my head during this afternoon’s surreal press conference, in which the working press dutifully played the British.
If I were advising Trump, I’d tell him to show up at his next rally (which, surprise, surprise, is this week, right next to Disney World) in a coonskin cap and carrying a musket. (If Disney’s parent corporation has gone so bonkers they stopped selling those in the gift shops, they deserve every bad thing that happens to them between now the Judgment.)
Heck, we’ve gone this far down the rabbit hole, there’s no call to stop now.
Per that “election” thing (going past Isaiah, who reminded us to “Put not your faith in princes”):
Point 1: Yes, there were many encomiums to how “historical’ it all was. I didn’t hear anyone say that no one else, living or dead, could have done what Donald Trump just did. This will become clearer next time around when Mark Cuban throws his hat in the Democratic ring and gets the usual four percent that Billionaire X gets when he tries to take over a mainstream political party.
Point 2: Trump’s campaign strategy was twofold and it never changed or wavered from day one. He bet that he could, by force of personality and riffing a catchy White Boy Blues on a few constant sorrows, hold the generic Republican coalition together and also pull in enough voters who came out to vote only for him to put him over the top. I suspect he didn’t do quite as well on either front as he hoped…but he still smashed the expectations of conventional wisdom. (Caveat: I encountered some of this reasoning in the fringes of the blog-world–i.e., what some people have started calling “the alt-right,”–but it was never put quite succinctly. Everybody I read either over-analyzed it or just yelled Trumpslide! at the top of their rhetorical lungs. In mainstream outlets it was never put coherently at all, being reduced to mutterings about Trump’s “hidden” voters, who no one allowed on television believed in until last night.
Point 3: Blacks and Latinos shifted a few percentage points in Trump’s favor vs. Romney four years ago. That shift is why he’s president-elect this morning. I wonder how long before Good Liberals start blaming them for averting paradise, the way Ralph Nader did in 2000?
Point 4: On the most pressing issues–immigration and the economy–Trump ran as a New Deal Democrat and Clinton as a Reagan Republican. (Woody Guthrie wrote “Deportees” about FDR’s Bracero program, not Reagan’s blanket amnesty, and it wasn’t Ms. Clinton who ran on bringing Glass-Steagall back and overturning NAFTA.)
Point 5: Trump understood that harping on “social” issues was meaningless. Yes, he had to mention them (usually when he was asked about them point blank) and yes, he got in hot water a time or two for not having developed a coherent position about abortion or gay rights or transgender bathrooms, etc. But social issues are adjudicated by Culture. Presidents play little role. That’s why the man who supposedly can’t let go of anything, kept letting go of his social-issue “mistakes” and turning them into here-and-gone twenty-four hour news cycles. Or, make that “news” cycles.
Point 6: Trump realized that, just like everyone else, present day conservatives—even church-going Evangelicals–have been roughened by the cultural collapse that has benefited him so enormously. Sorry, the little old lady in the second pew every Sunday morning at First Methodist might find talk of “pussy-grabbing” from a man on his third marriage distasteful, but she’s not shocked anymore. And just because she’s still too well bred to say, “Yeah, but will he punch those suckers in the face?” out loud doesn’t mean she’s not thinking it.
Point 7: The charismatic one always beats the stiff. Always.
Point 8: Having created a culture where “everyone has their own truth” should we be surprised by the success of a man who embodies the concept? Not that it really even does, but you didn’t think that was only going to help lonely weirdos, did you? Speaking as a lonely weirdo, get the hell up off of me.
Point 9: America’s enduring, subliminal yearning for a Royal Family has gone unremarked, no matter that Trump’s brood of tall, handsome children makes the Kennedys look like The Anaheim, Azusa and Cucamonga Sewing Circle, Book Review and Timing Association.* Camelot is taken, but don’t be surprised if Trump makes some like-minded concept stick to the national imagination like a squashed bug to a windshield. I have a sneaky feeling it will start with an aside at a press conference where President Trump starts riffing off the cuff about “This Shakespeare guy. I was reading him the other night and boy…I mean, I never had time to read him before I was leader of the free world. I was always too busy, but now I’ve read him and boy he’s really something. MacBeth, sure, who wants to be him? I say, Melania, don’t get any ideas! But Prince Hal? I see a lot of myself in that one…and Falstaff, too. What a guy! I feel like I’m both of them somehow. Sometimes I’m one, sometimes I’m the other. Sometimes I’m both at once and how great is that?” Also, don’t be surprised if the media spends a few days chaffing him for getting “off message”–they aren’t going to stop feeling superior to those they report on and report to just because they’ve been dumped under a manure truck…they’ll still come crawling back–before swallowing the narrative whole and referring to the impending Trump Dynasty as “Shakespearean Royalty” by default. Once that’s properly absorbed, liberals can start an endless stream of clever tweets about Ivanka going all Goneril on him.
Point 10: Bill Clinton has now accomplished his life’s one real goal, which was to humiliate his wife on the biggest possible stage. Wait, you thought all those well-timed “gaffes” in 2008 and 2016 were…unintentional? Please. I eagerly await the forthcoming Wikileaks release of the video showing Bubba and Trump, on the day they cooked this whole thing up, sharing a hooker and a cigar, perhaps in the Mar-A-Lago honeymoon suite where Micheal Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley once canoodled, while their mutual theme song plays….
…because there ain’t no way anybody’s gonna shut down the Lolita Express now.
*Folks, I didn’t think of that. J. Berry/R. Christian/D. Altfeld did, God bless them. For yea, verily, I say unto thee, we can all use a smile today.
And, yes, five will still get you ten that the Stones play the Inaugural. The second if not the first. By then, even Donald Trump will be able to afford them. And don’t worry, he won’t let them chicken out like they did at the Super Bowl. It won’t be “Satisfaction” and “Start Me Up” this time around. Maybe they don’t go all “Stray Cat Blues,” but I bet we at least get “Gimme Shelter.”(I’m thinking Beyonce for the Merry Clayton part. By then, he’ll be able to afford her, too.) Might even get “Brown Sugar.” Maybe with Bey going down on whatever Mick’s hanging between his legs and using for a member by then.