July 25, 2017

Trump and the Ooompa Loompas

A column in First Things recently argued that Trump isn't a malign Machiavelli but a benign one. Faint praise, perhaps. And I got to thinking how comparing Trump to other politicians in a way isn't fair simply because his faults are so obvious and transparent while other politicians take care to hide them.  He probably has better character than someone like LBJ who lied repeatedly but more subtly and about things of much greater significance than crowd size (like sending kids to die in Vietnam).

We put up with our family's faults and our own faults, why not put up with Trump's faults? If nothing else Donald helps teach us that, that although a similar lesson got lost on me in the Obama era - probably because Obama's faults were so much more damaging to the Republic.  Trump tends to shoot himself rather than shoot the country, which is far easier to forgive.

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I do find myself constantly amused when I shouldn't be given the stakes.  For example, you can't say it's not rich drama that early Trump supporters like Chris Christie (a friend calls him "Two-ton Tony") and Jeff Sessions have been so thoroughly renounced by the Donald. The streetcar of loyalty only goes one way.

One of the more enjoyable tweets I've seen recently went like this:
"I feel like every time a Trump employee quits, Oompa Loompas should appear & sing a song to teach us about the perils of gluttony & greed."
In a sense the politicians who glommed on to Trump remind me of battered wives who think their man will change, but Sessions at least has the high ground.  He did the right thing in recusing himself and he still has the job he really wanted.  Trump, hilariously, apparently wants to fire Sessions because Sessions did the right thing.

And then you have Sean Spicer, a likable guy who resigned in protest not over having to lie for Trump but due to someone else Trump hired.  This stuff reads like farce.  Every day an Onion.

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I occasionally listen to folks like Bill Bennett and Laura Ingraham for the sole purpose of hearing an "I was wrong about Trump" confession.  Seems to be taking awhile. Of course I'm not waiting for Sean Hannity's confession, which won't happen until the Second Coming (of Trump, in his eyes).

Bennett makes the case that Republicans have always just gotten black and blue from the biased national media and they always just stoically take it and Trump comes in here and hits back.  Which is true and refreshing as it goes. I can't say that some of his hits haven't been deeply satisfying. But the problem is there's no picking and choosing which battles to fight.  Everything is equally important, from inauguration crowd size to the Comey's inadequacies.  Perhaps you don't get one without the other - you don't get someone with the courage to call out the media unless you have a slightly unhinged candidate.

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I for one don't fault Trump for hanging out with Putin at the recent G20 conference - who else is he going to hang with?  He's a pariah to the uppity Europeans, as black a sheep as Putin despite having done nothing close to what Putin's done.  So I say good for him.

On the Russian interference, one thing I'm not hearing too much about is simply voter responsibility. Duped American voters are a fault as much as Russian bots. Shame on voters who don't minimally vet the info they receive. But you'll never hear that in the media or from politicians because both are beholden to their customers - the people - and the customer is said to be always right. Ha.

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