Editor’s Note: Trump
is a buffoon. Unfortunately, Americans don’t really mind buffoons all that
much. The fact that he’s a buffoon isn’t what’s most important and most
scary about him. He’s also a racist, misogynistic, corrupt, opportunistic and unpatriotic,
as well as unqualified for the office. We need to concentrate on this latter
and not let the buffoonery get in the way.
Keeping an Eye on the Ball
keep hearing liberals say they feel sorry for Sean Spicer. The Donald’s press
secretary needs to be articulate and fast on his feet, but he’s neither, and
Melissa McCarthy’s spot-on impersonation on Saturday Night Live makes it hard
to take “Spicy” seriously. However, his bigliest hurdle is being the voice
of a president who makes Tricky Dick sound like Honest Abe.
needs to be not just a willing liar, but a believable one, or he’ll end
up like Kellyanne Conway, whom discerning newsmen don’t even want to
talk to anymore. Like their boss, Spicer and Conway are sufficiently
sociopathic to pass the lawyers’ “giggle test” (i.e., they can lie
outrageously without laughing out loud), but their listeners are the ones
who have trouble keeping a straight face.
has also unfavorably compared Bashar al-Assad with Hitler, crediting the
Nazi for not having used poison gas. This flew in the face of Chris
Christie’s advice that it’s never
a good idea to invoke Hitler in any
metaphor. Not surprisingly, Spicer was factually wrong — the Nazis used
lots of poison gas in the death camps — although he probably meant that,
unlike World War I, the Germans didn’t use it on the battlefield.
Nonetheless, Trump’s detractors pretended to misunderstand, implying
Spicy might be pro-Fuehrer.
Trump purposely damaging the country, playing “gotcha” with his PR flacks’
misstatements is frivolous. Democrats need to avoid faux outrage each time a
steaming pile of contradictions emerges from the White House. With a corrupt,
anti-democratic president who’s more comfortable around autocrats like Putin
and the Saudis than he is with European democrats, Spicer’s mumblings about a
long-dead Nazi are trivial.
Clinton once wrote a book entitled “It Takes a Village,” which
stressed the role of the community in raising children. Deceitful
conservatives used it against her, citing a nonexistent quote from the
book that the state’s primary role is to “teach, train and raise
children. Parents have a secondary role.” This outright lie probably
wouldn’t have galvanized the Right as much had the book’s title not
been an African
proverb, or if the word “church” had been substituted for
knew what “it takes a village” meant, but feigned indignation anyway.
Similarly, conservatives characterized Obama’s “You didn’t build
it” comment about personal accomplishment as an attack on capitalism and
individuality, even though they surely knew that it merely recognized that
prosperous individuals owe at least part of their success to America’s
village — its culture, infrastructure, institutions and rule of law. If
Obama had had an (R) after his name, the Right would have called his
observation “patriotic,” but, as a (D), he was purposefully
the GOP had accused Al Gore of pretending he’d invented the internet. He
never made such a claim, but his mention of having participated in
government initiatives that supported its initial development was twisted
by Republicans intent on embarrassing him.
no one really believes Trump invented the phrase “prime the pump,” as he
recently claimed. It’s as trivial as whether he had two scoops of ice cream
when everyone else had only one. What the latter event says about his character
is nothing we didn’t already know. It’s a gotcha that made for an amusing 30
seconds during an SNL sketch, but it’s no more relevant than a Facebook
W’s language usage gave rise to the term “Bushisms.”
“Misunderestimated” statements such as “we look forward to hearing your
vision,” “I talk to families that die,” and “our enemies never stop
thinking of new ways to harm our country and neither do we,” weren’t taken
terribly seriously during those less-partisan times. We didn’t always know
what W meant, but most of us concede that, unlike Trump, he probably meant well.
was following in the garbled lip prints of Dan Quayle. In those
more-innocent days, we were more amused than incensed by Quayle’s,
“What a waste it is to lose one’s mind” and “I stand by my
misstatements.” Was it significant that Quayle misspelled “potatoe”?
It mattered as little as the meaning of “covfefe,” which merely shows
that Trump is as inarticulate on Twitter as he is with a microphone.
for a metaphor to describe his position during the 2016 debates, Gov. John
Kasich told Bill Maher that he was as “far out to the side as a Ugandan
Olympic swimmer.” Maher, no stranger to the problems caused by
inconvenient truths and uncomfortable metaphors gave him ample opportunity
to explain his mildly non-PC comment, which Kasich did, unnecessarily,
since it was obvious he’d meant no offense.
a time when we’re breaking up with Europe to start a bromance with
Russia, how important is any of this? The only check on our corrupt and
dangerously underqualified president are spineless opportunists like Paul
Ryan and Mitch McConnell, who put party ahead of country and conservatism
ahead of patriotism. In the face of an effete and ovine Republican party
that supports Trump’s assaults on a free press, the environment,
science, civil rights and women’s rights, while salivating at the
prospect of widening the gap between the billionaires and the rest of us,
liberals shouldn’t focus on the trivial.
need to follow neocon pundit Bill Kristol’s advice concerning Trump: “Let
him play golf. Don’t criticize or mock. It’s good for the country if he
golfs, compared to what else he could be doing.” Liberals will need to pick
their battles. When an arsonist is torching your house, you don’t waste time
complaining how bad the kerosene smells.
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