TRUMP: A Pre-mortem? Or, Death By A Thousand Cuts?
Submitted by Caleb Pilgrim
To return to Trump ….Today is day 1075 since President Trump’s inauguration in January 2017. According to the Washington Post, by December 16, 2019, he, Trump, had made a mere 15,413 false or misleading statements (otherwise known as lies). Some claim that he even lied about his father, Fred Trump’s place of birth.
Arguably, the Post’s figures might well have been inaccurate. We do not know and we will never know the exact number of lies Trump would have told family, friends, acquaintances, strangers, his Cabinet members individually or collectively, or even lies he might have told himself during the period. The Post’s figures might therefore have been limited to his “public” lies, and the Post’s estimate far too low.
Such has been POTUS’s achievement here – a far cry from President George Washington who allegedly never told a lie – that American social scientists have now developed a new category pertaining to lies: awarding politicians, such as Trump, “the bottomless Pinocchio”. He is clearly unable to control his lying; a medical condition sometimes known as “mythomania”.
By contrast, a pastor friend, a diehard Trump supporter and a black evangelical here in the N.E USA, like another friend and former Barbados unsuccessful political candidate in last year’s May 24, 2018 election; these see Trump, notwithstanding his “truthful hyperbole” as a great man of destiny. To be fair, the Pastor’s wife, more wise, more discerning, early intimated that as far as she could see “God is not the author of confusion”.
The die, however, has now been cast; the Mueller Report completed; the transcript made available; the Whistleblower’s report publicized; ditto the IG’s report; the respective House Committees have done their inquiries and Reports. and the House has voted its two Articles of Impeachment. The Senate reconvenes in short order.
It now remains for the Senate under Chief Justice Roberts to schedule and conduct its impeachment trial of the President, a rarity, in the context of looming Primaries and a 2020 Presidential election. Senators McConnell and Graham, prospective jurors in any impeachment trial, have said that they already decided the matter. What happens if or when Senator Schumer and the Democratic Senate minority somehow file with C.J Roberts a motion to disqualify McConnell and Graham and any other juror who has already prejudged the matter? And, witnesses such as Bolton and Mulvaney? Remember that for many Republicans Trump remains the only game in town.
It is therefore appropriate to essay some brief, if random, remarks on POTUS, his Administration, certain of its policies and his prospects at this juncture.
In using the term “pre-mortem”, I do not mean to suggest that Trump’s defeat this November is a foregone conclusion. We have been here before with disastrous consequences, as former Secretary of State Clinton belatedly discovered. In a sense, he must harp on the economy. and his apparent “success” …. the economy stupid”?
Yet, there is an inescapable law of diminishing returns. Just ask any older man. (Even King David, 1 Kings 1, when he was old and cold). This law, it seems, applies in almost every sphere, including politics.
Consider a politician, a man not unlike Trumpf who thinks one way. He then speaks a second way. He then acts a third way. He trifles, obfuscates, deflects, dissembles, even lies. Bullshit and trivia persist as standard, daily political fare. His public, usually fickle, often misinformed, uninformed or even dis-informed. But, as Lincoln remarked, you can trick them some of the time, but not all of them all of the time.
As reasonable people, we must therefore resist the idea of The Idiot Posing as Intellect, or some Trump (The Tramp-in-Chief), a renegade bolshevik businessman and Putin stooge masquerading and declaring himself (soi-disant) a man of high IQ and “a very stable” geni-ass. (Cf. his late Wharton School Professor, William T. Kelley, a nonagenarian, who described him as “the dumbest goddam student” he, Professor Kelley, ever had in more than 40 years teaching at Wharton; Kissinger’s reference to him as not having “a very orderly mind”; or Tillerson’s description of him – unretracted – as a “moron”; his former lawyer, Attorney Cohen’s testimony that he pressured Fordham and Wharton not to release Trump’s academic transcripts; his absence from the Dean’s list at Wharton despite his boast that he had graduated “top of his class” at Wharton; all in the context wherein he (Trump) demanded to see President Obama’s transcripts and academic materials). Truly, a man of seemingly impregnable, untouchable ignorance, with legions of rats of all varieties scurrying around upstairs.
Perhaps, Republican Senator Romney, when he was thinking more clearly, had Trump’s measure, when he counseled Trump against releasing his tax returns, and then subsequently described him as a “fraud” and a “conman”. Thus, by way of example, Trump has always proclaimed his love for the military. Yet, beyond his serial draft dodging, and whatever his personal demons, the only war he (Trump) seems ever to have fought may well have been limited to some gilded boudoir with relatively expensive “toys” such as “Stormy” Daniels and Karen McDougal, going rate between US $125K and $150K.
No one can say that he (Trump) had been in the US Air Force; then exiled himself to Canada, Sweden, Denmark, the U.K., or elsewhere, rather than kill so-called “gooks” in the “swamps” and muddy/paddy fields of Vietnam. He made the great escape. He now poses as a “chicken hawk”, like many another draft dodger.
The Reader might still note that in terms of re-election strategy, it is still open to Trump and his advisers to start a war, if necessary, and before the elections, if this will gee up his domestic support. E.g in the case of Iran. Many a red blooded American would then rally to “the cause”, with typical shouts of “USA” “USA”. The problem will be one of graduated response and escalation? In response, the Ayatollahs and the Iranian National Guard may have to decide on the feasibility of shutting down the Gulf – following up on their attack on Saudi oil infrastructure some time ago. Beyond profiteering by armaments manufacturers, the military-industrial complex, billionaire investors, what would be the implications for the world economy, OECD and LDC countries and the least developed countries?
As to the issue of race, Trump’s re-election strategy, the Black, Latino and minority vote.
Fortunately, many no longer deny the fact that POTUS is a racist. For too long, the naive denied this fact, despite the overwhelming evidence, (his spawning of birtherism, his notorious ads about the Central Park Five after their sentences had been vacated and all criminal charges against them withdrawn; the EEOC housing discrimination complaints against him – I would not be surprised if there was not at least one Barbadian family allegedly victim of his housing discrimination; his abuse of African countries and Haiti as “s—hole” countries; his attacks on the inner city as “rat and rodent infested”; his own admission that he is a “white nationalist”).
As to his palpable disdain for Mexicans, rumor once did percolate that his daughter, Tiffany, had dated a wealthy Mexican young man while at Wharton. Imagine some Mexican with his grubby paw on his beautiful, pristine, blonde, blue-eyed daughter! Enough to make a “nationalist” nauseous! Who knows the source(s) of his animus against Mexico and Mexicans?
To my mind, to deny that President Trump is a good old fashioned racist largely surrounded by white supremacist advisers, such as Stephen Miller, is like witnessing a man in a bank, pointing his gun at employees and customers on the bank’s floor, and denying that the gunman was a bank robber. What stupid poppy cock!
Yet, Trump can still make inroads into the Black Vote (with “Blacks For Trump” and some of his allies). What if Trump and his advisers, including Secretary Carson, following the reparations advocates decide to expend some political capital and give black families some sort of money (not “40 acres and a mule”, far less will do), or even Yang’s “Freedom Dividend”? Many a hungry belly black may well be seduced by such an obvious political ploy and vote for Trump.
As to his foreign policy, unlike the Kennedy Doctrine, the Johnson Doctrine, the Nixon Doctrine, and others, the Trump doctrine seems at best a series of ad hoc, incoherent, non-sequential non-points, never going beyond slogans such as “MAGA” and “America First”, reflecting Trump’s typical, torrential nonsensical tweets.
Several decades ago, the British Yearbook of International Law kindly published an article that I had written on some aspects of trade in the natural resources of Namibia (1990?). The French Revue des Revues subsequently dismissed the article in two words “tres interessante”. However, we all got it wrong. There was/is no such country as Namibia, per Trump in one of his recent addresses to the UNGA, He should be forgiven for not knowing the name of such a namby pamby “s–hole” country. And, thank God for small mercies insofar as he did not confuse Namibia with NAMBLA.
Imagine, also, that iyou were an immigrant, a green card holder, and a veteran who had been deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria. You return “home” to the USA. You find yourself in conflict with the law, felony or misdemeanor. You are convicted in a court of law. You are then deported to Mexico courtesy of a Commander-in-Chief who never served. (ICE officials who might never have served either). And, there are several hundreds such deported veterans in limbo in Mexico, a country they would have left in their very early childhood when their parents brought them to the US as minor children.
We need not speak of the moral obloquy involved in Trump’s policy of separating immigrant children from their parents and caging them, with resulting psychological problems.
In the final analysis, in Trump, we have a man singularly classless, embarrassingly clueless, uninformed and unfathomably uncouth. Bristling with hubris, fire and brimstone, he is more the common man’s” Lord Haw Haw”. But, give him credit. He has normalized the abnormal…He has successfully weaponized unspeakable, mass ignorance and intellectual dishonesty in the U.S. No wonder he says he loves “the poorly educated”). He has so consolidated his leadership of the Republican Party, and might yet demoralize his divided 2020 democratic opposition, all with untold implications.
Caveat: As I have said, always beware of any politician who promises that he will end corruption and “drain the swamp”. Experience teaches that he merely brings in his own new, personal swamp, a la Trump.
A second term, however, is no picnic. Just as Nixon defeated George McGovern overwhelmingly and was then driven from Office, early in his second term; just as Bill Clinton’s Presidency was almost derailed early in his second term by the Lewinsky affair, so too Trump’s chickens may come home to roost before any second term or early in his second term if he should win. Few, if any, at any rate, can indefinitely survive a thousand cuts.