Back in those early and innocent days of the last presidential campaign, the crowded Republican field was often referred to (not infrequently by Republicans) as a “clown car.” It was funny at the time, if clichéd.
It’s not funny now. Send in the clowns. Please.
The more apt vehicular metaphor might be a padded van. The ostensible leader of the free world is seeing bugs in the walls, like Ray Milland in “The Lost Weekend,” except he insists these bugs were put there by the previous president of the United States.
That ought to be of substantial public concern. Of far greater concern is that millions of Americans not only don’t have a problem with it, but consider these bizarre and irresponsible rantings somehow credible.
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It’s reassuring that polls say only 39 percent of Americans think Donald Trump is doing a decent job as president. It’s horrifying that 39 percent of Americans think Donald Trump is doing a decent job as president.
I’ve been trying for weeks now to write something about this intensifying national nightmare and just haven’t been up to it — overwhelmed, frankly, by the sheer enormity of what we’re seeing ... and willfully not seeing.
What every attempt keeps running into is this: Is there anything at this point, literally anything, that President Trump could do or say, or that could be revealed about him, that would make any difference to people who are going to excuse and rationalize this monstrous mutation of a presidency no matter what?
Apparently not. Because in the Age of Trump, reality is Play-Doh.
It certainly didn’t matter before the election. We all saw him mocking a disabled reporter — the video is still available all over the Web — and his enablers, public and private, tell you with a straight face that it never happened. He’s caught on camera boasting about grabbing women by the crotch, and it’s just dirty talk, not molestation. He claims to have seen American Muslims cheering on 9/11 — a story the rest of the nation somehow missed for 15 years. (Let’s hope we don’t have some diplomatic disagreement with Tokyo, or Trump will claim Japanese-Americans on Oahu were celebrating as the Arizona burned and sank.)
Now he’s president, and it still doesn’t matter.
He sends out illiterate, unhinged Twitter messages accusing his predecessor of wiretapping his apartment — an assertion Trump clings to, writes the notoriously left-wing editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, “like a drunk to an empty gin bottle.”
He’s a serial liar, and he’s gloatingly defiant about it. His recent interview with Time magazine is one jaw-dropping lie after another, after another, after another. He needs no evidence and should be held to no accountability, because he’s “intuitive.” (Or was it “intuitional”? No matter.)
This reckless, fact-untethered, pathologically narcissistic man-child is unfit to lead a snipe hunt, and there apparently aren't five people in the moral wasteland that's left of Congress who are willing to rise above this wreckage for the sake of country over politics. (Ending this dangerous farce would still leave the GOP in control of all three branches of government.)
At some level, almost everybody sees the truth. That’s what has the world looking at us in head-shaking disbelief: Everybody knows it, and everybody knows everybody knows it.
And we’re not even into the Russia thing yet — the growing evidence of collusion with a foreign, and hardly friendly, power. It really isn’t needed here except to make a grotesquely obvious point: Summon up 30 seconds’ worth of intellectual and ethical honesty, and imagine a Democrat — any Democrat, but especially one named Obama or Clinton — with exactly the same body of evidence re Vlad Putin and Moscow, and try to make the case that Congress wouldn’t be in full impeachment-imprisonment meltdown mode. We’d be building new cells at Gitmo.
Speaking of Democrats, incidentally — and they are indeed incidental — don’t expect any help there. They’re fully engaged in the time-honored tradition of ignoring battles they can win to fight ones they can’t. There’s also a passionate faction you’ve no doubt heard about that thinks the way to win back Trump voters is by pulling the party more to the left. There might be some planet where that makes sense. On this one, it sounds like using the Falcons’ fourth-quarter Super Bowl game plan for strategy ideas.
This shouldn’t be about liberal vs. conservative, because Donald Trump is neither. He has no discernible ideology or principles or convictions — except, of course, for his newly discovered (but no doubt sincere and abiding) reverence for the unborn. This was apparently enough to secure him the “Christian” vote thanks to the toxic embrace of the Elmer Gantry PAC, a tragic degenerative disease of American faith.
We’ve heard a lot of talk in recent years about “taking back” America, much of it from people who seemed to think the country was ever all theirs in the first place. Somewhere within the GOP, surely, are men and women who constitute a collective conscience with a pulse, and who need to focus on taking back their party. If they manage the latter, it would go a long way toward accomplishing the former.
Dusty Nix, 706-571-8528; firstname.lastname@example.org.