Saturday, December 30, 2017

We have a mad King, on a path to re-election.

Trump may be crazy.  It won't keep him from being re-elected.

He is the center of attention.

Being senile or psychotic is not a disqualification.

You can rent it.
Students of Roman history are familiar with the idea of crazy leaders.  Caligula made his horse a Senator, married his sister, and had multiple people killed.  The King George the Third that the American colonies rebelled from in 1776 had rages and hallucinations.  

The system survived them.  

I myself observed a man unfit for the presidency, indeed unfit to dress himself.   It was the summer of 1992.  I attended a Bohemian Grove weekend and arrived early for a "lakeside chat" by former president Nixon.  I had a front row seat on a bench.  A man tapped my shoulder from behind.  "Would you mind giving up your seat for President Reagan?"   I turned and stood.  There was Ronald Reagan, 3 1/2 years past his presidency.  He was led to me by his handler.  Reagan himself was a zombie, staring vacantly.  He appeared to have no idea where he was.  His handler sat him down onto the bench.  Reagan's head dropped.  Alzheimers.

In his final couple of years in office Reagan was no trouble.  He was fading out, and he was surrounded by capable people. We survived.

Madness is a different thing.  It is active and energetic and disruptive. It may be bad governance but it is not bad politics.  Democrats need to figure that out, but they haven't yet.

Crazy is interesting and genuine.  Transcripts of informal talks often read "weird."  I know from personal observation that Trump is an extreme version of this.

The transcript of this week's half hour interview with NY Times reporter took things up another notch, with Trump seeming both incoherent, vainglorious, and unable to focus. Commentators on the left are calling him crazy.  Diseased.

Trump:  "I know more about the big bills. … Than any president that’s ever been in office. Whether it’s health care and taxes. Especially taxes. And if I didn’t, I couldn’t have persuaded a hundred. … You ask Mark Meadows [inaudible]. … I couldn’t have persuaded a hundred congressmen to go along with the bill. The first bill, you know, that was ultimately, shockingly, rejected. … I know the details of taxes better than anybody. Better than the greatest C.P.A.. . . "

Weird. Worrisome to many.  

Thad Guyer left a comment yesterday, the burden being that Americans are in the midst of a Stockholm Syndrome, in which the victim of a kidnapping or other abuse becomes so fixated on the abuser that they become dependent upon him:

Guyer wrote:  "Trump is the first president in my lifetime for which our president is a daily obsession, not just in the USA but across the globe. All of us are addicted to him, every tweet echoes in the media. Even to his most ardent detractors, Trump has become the value equilibrium in how we articulate our values if not our entire political selves. Can America psychologically simply cut off that life and return to normalcy in our body politic, to boring ho-hum politicians? If Trump is reality television, the most popular show of all time, will voters just turn it off after one season? What would replace his tweets and our media obsession?"   [Read the full comment in the comments section of yesterday's post.]

Trump might in fact be "crazy" in some way, but this is yet another misdirection for Democrats. Democrats think that Trump craziness is bad.  In fact it is good for Trump. Trump is crazy-interesting, and he is crazy-appealing to his base.  He is a provocateur. And the focus on Trump simply adds to the Stockholm Syndrome effect.  All eyes on Trump.

Like the Archie Bunker character, saying ignorant bigoted things, and like the Steven Colbert character doing the exaggerated version of Bill O'Reily, Trump has created a fascinating character.  
Trump's undisciplined mania for praise are wonderful fodder for comics, but they are not the route to Democratic victory in 2018 and 2020.  They affirm the Trump brand and they keep the attention on Trump.

Democrats cannot be simply not-Trump.  They need an interesting character of their own.  

That character will need to be OK with progressive policies to get the nomination, but he or she cannot be--overtly or by implication--condescending and disrespectful to the "deplorables."  Opponents will attempt to depict any Democrat as an effete snob. Count on that. The Democrat needs to make that difficult and unpersuasive.

He or she needs to be OK with patriotism, religion, country music, and blue collar work. The Democrat needs to be OK with empowering women, but also recognize that it isn't easy to be a guy, either. The Democrat needs to address immigration as medicine, something in which dose is critical, and acknowledge that there are side effects to manage.  

It is time for Democrats to elevate Democrats.  Enough Trump.

1 comment:

Rick Millward said...

I think it's safe to say there is some incredulousness over the sustained support that Trump has enjoyed over the last year. Surely by now, say opponents, they have seen through the fraud. Trumpets will say if asked that "he is doing everything he can and fighting the opposition", and "he needs more time". Now, they are somewhat uncertain what the new order will be, and here's the point; they don't care. Their disdain for all things Washington DC, the media and "elites" predated Trump by decades and they are completely sanguine with having him there ostensibly fighting for them. They feel they have noting to lose. As one put it recently, "Even if he fails, it won't be any worse than it was". As you have said "they believe what they want to believe". Whatever happens they won't blame Trump. It will be his defeat by the lies and trickery of the DC swamp.

Democrats are wasting their time trying to get through to this bunch; they are unreachable. I shudder to think what it would take to convince them of anything approaching reality. I have postulated that we are experiencing an epidemic of mental illness, and it would seem events are supporting this theory.

Democrats should run a woman again, right now my favs are Harris and Warren. If Dems retake Congress I predict a swift impeachment, probably bipartisan, leaving a limping Pence/Kasich ticket in 2020.