“Ah yes, Mae West. A plumber’s idea of Cleopatra”
— W.C. Fields
“A feature, not just of the age of the end of ideology, but of the age immediately preceding the age of the end of ideology, is that of the dictator who has no ideology at all.”
— Christopher Hitchens
Who would look at Trump and say he’ll get the job done?
Idiots who are too stupid to know they’re bigots and bigots who are too stupid to realize they’re idiots.
Either way you’re talking about people who have no idea how the system works. They have an innate grasp of the concept – they know money talks. They know the system is corrupt. They know there’s blackmail and extortion and people with offshore accounts but their idea of off-shore is a locked room at a bowling alley that has a sign that says: Private.
Even the so-called educated ones are half a deck short. And the most basic and thus obvious proof is that they voted for the enormous pig in a poke. They actually believed he would get the job done. Exactly what that would be is a moving target because when you’re dealing with half-wits where what passes for a fact is as stable as a car with three wheels the definition of success is always changing.
And a word here about the pale attempts at layering some justification and sophistication over the truth by Michael Moore and others like him. Their idea being that Trump is a political Molotov cocktail thrown in desperation and anger. We’ve dealt with this elsewhere but let’s just add – what a pile of moldering horseshit.
Even if one were able to somehow dismiss the flaming shit pile of foul rhetoric with its base echoes of early 20th century fascism and the frat boy yearnings for Cosbyied women with ball gags in their mouths who wake up hungover and unable to account for the last 24 hours or the odd stains on their clothes and the bruises on their arms and the shout-outs to the post-modern pseudo atavistic torch-lit ceremonies full of brown shirt neo-nazi/nascar fan boys one is still left with a Grand Canyon sized hole where the facts live. And there one is confronted by the sheer ignorance of the entire demographic.
A skim along the surface would reveal that even if only for their own reasons – self-preservation, money, power, the moldy fruit of blackmail and so on – the corrupt gerrymandered psych-ward of the House and the decadent depraved gentleman’s club of the senate would never allow their power to be eclipsed. And changing that power dynamic requires on the part of the self-described outsiders, knowing how to work the system. Which then requires at least the appearance of normality. Yes, Trump could act like a rutting pig and say any insane thing he wanted just so long as he took the old ladies of both sexes along for the ride. If he would just behave then Paul Ryan could fulfill his dream of jizzing all over women in red while Margaret Atwood is burned at the stake and a children’s chorus read aloud from Atlas Shrugged. And if he would just follow the norms Mitch (I Said No) McConnell would happily turn the Supreme Court into his bitch. As long as everyone agreed it was Mitch who owned the robes and gavel.
But this requires not just adherence to the norms but an actual understanding of the rules and regulations; of the who’s who inside the whorehouse. Or it requires being a genuine radical; a genuine revolutionary and Trump is as much a radical revolutionary as Alan Greenspan is a Bolshevik. And Trump not only doesn’t know, he doesn’t care. And if he were willing to be a figurehead, even a foul-mouthed ill-tempered figurehead, it would be workable for the lizard kings of the republican party. But then you have the increasingly massive train wreck following in his wake. The consistent inability of his depraved decadent mongoloid children to avoid falling face down in a puddle of their own vomit while pissing on the shoes of government lawyers is not only hilarious and pathetic and frightening but it is exhibit one in proving these people are a gang of colossal idiots. It doesn’t matter that the system is broken and corrupt if you can’t tell the players without a scorecard and you can’t read the card because you’re so stupid you can’t read. In other words, you could imagine them as a gang of political thieves bent on destroying the system except they are the maggots of the system and they are morons.
Consider their fight with the media. The idea that you could blow up the corporate media without a fight – without the corporatists defending themselves – is less a problem than it is a sign of being delusional floating somewhere between thinking you can wage a successful land war in the jungles of Asia and believing General Winter won’t be a problem as you approach the gates of Moscow. The issue isn’t the institutionalized mendacity and corruption of the media (which is corrupt and full of liars – see Broadcast News, and Network, etc) the issue is that being institutionally corrupt and prone to distortions from which they turn a massive profit, why would the billionaires who own them just roll over and let Trump and his gang of fascist goons do whatever they wanted? And who would think they wouldn’t fight back? Idiots, that’s who.
And it’s not just the corporate media. The corporate media is an umbrella – of entrenched vested interests who can’t live inside the brute realities of a totalitarian state. You can’t sell the Avengers and Star Wars and iphones if you’re running gulags in Texas. Yes you can sell them to the Chinese and ignore Foxconn and the gulags over there but precisely because…they are over there. Which does not mean the entertainment empire is necessarily in favor of a democratic republic with socialized medicine and an absence of Wall Street piracy (because of course they are Wall Street pirates). Nor does it mean they aren’t in favor of it but it does mean that what matters most to them is that they go on making money and that requires a global marketplace. It means it wants to have its cake and eat it too and no matter how hard Trump Inc tries the right wing has lost the culture war for at least the next generation. A majority of Americans favor the right to an abortion, the right to marry whomever you want, the use of marijuana and a majority of them believe that the environment is collapsing. In fact a growing number of them don’t believe in capitalism and believe instead in some form of socialism. Which is exactly why the reaction attacked the majority and voted for Trump. Because it’s a rear guard last ditch effort. And yes, they are right the country has been gutted and they’ve been destroyed as a class as a community as a demographic. But the single biggest reason: They did it because they’re idiots.
Which brings us to Gruppenfuhrer Bannon and his Mouth of Sauron, Steven Miller – both of whom are such clichés of staggering ineptitude one has to stop and wonder exactly what are we so afraid of? Yes, they’re obviously fascists. And yes they are threatening. But the threat that is emerging is one of ineptitude not genius. After nearly seven months what exactly do they have to show for it?
In the land of the blind as the saying goes the man with one eye is king. And so to Bannon. Consistently described as being smart because he has a lot of books and drops obscure references to still more obscure books and makes cryptic comments about cryptically minded proto-fascists he’s regarded as some sort of Svengali – as they said about Turd Blossom – Bush’s brain – Karl Rove except, Rove didn’t bother with the pretense of being an intellectual. He knew numbers and he ate numbers and had no soul. And he helped destroy the republican party and a large swath of the planet. But this idea of Bannon as Trump’s brain, as the Sith lord or some sort of Nazgul to Trump’s agenda is both frightening and hilarious. It is frightening because clearly Bannon is unhinged and a fascist. But again, exactly what about him makes any intelligent person think he’s intelligent? Exactly how is he supposed to destroy the Administrative State when Trump Inc is a wholly owned subsidiary of Deutsche Bank and Putin Inc and thus a wholly owned subsidiary of…the Administrative State. The threat then is not because Bannon is a brilliant tactician or a sublime Machiavellian strategist but rather that he is a fanatic and an idiot who thinks he’s smarter than everyone else.
Bannon’s contempt for the system is palpable and the system is corrupt but without the ability to make the trains run on time he’s powerless and other than getting the right wing Borg drone Gorsuch on the court what has he (what have they) accomplished (and in fact getting Gorsuch on the court was about as difficult as getting out of bed in the morning and would have happened with or without Trump and his minions).
If his strategy is to sow chaos he’s succeeded but it’s not a winnable plan of attack. Ultimately the lubed up whores in the house and senate have to show their homework and prove that they’ve done something. And here we must consider a deeper facet of Bannon’s staggering ignorance. The republicans are now prisoners of their own corrupt bargain. Having succeeded through gerrymandering they have fallen into power without substance and substance without power. They have an unworkable non-coalition torn between the Wall Street and Main Street factions – the Freedom Caucus fanatics who want to burn The New Deal and The Great Society to the ground and the conservatives who want financial junkies hooked on the heroin of capital. The problem of course is you can’t have one without the other. And if you have the trappings of power without substance than you lose ability to actually enact legislation. The inability to legislate means the best you can hope for is to prevent the opposition from gaining the majority. And that also is not a winning plan. It creates stagnation. And governments that stagnate are like sharks that stop swimming. Stagnation breeds chaos. Chaos requires action. Action requires either a coup producing dictatorship or a semblance of republicanism and not even the thugs want dictatorship – at least not an obvious one that requires tanks on the streets. And the ones who do know they don’t have the means to achieve it. And Trump Inc has missed the opportunity to declare a state of emergency. Even if North Korea goes off and there’s a war and a rally ‘round the flag by jingo in the air it will last exactly as long as it takes the utterly overmatched North Korean army to disintegrate. The fallout (radioactive and political) could be horrific but precisely because of the severity of the situation relative to Trump’s colossal stupidity and lack of ability to effectively lead, he will be accelerating his own demise. Special Counsels don’t care if Tokyo glows. They are the train and the conductor and the tracks and they will reach the next station.
And it is worth considering here the appointment of H.R. McMaster as National Security Advisor. It is essential to see him in the context not only of Flynn’s removal but in the context of the machine’s response to Flynn’s corruption. Trump did not select McMaster. Trump was given a political Montessori choice – here are the three that we have preselected for you. You can have anyone of these three and we will pretend to approve your selection.
Trump was at that moment already on his way out of the door and well on his way to being a figurehead. And Bannon if he were half as intelligent as everyone claims would have bailed then and there. In fact if Bannon had any sense, or even any political sense he never would have signed up with Trump in the first place because any rational person with even a modicum of political knowledge about how the sausage gets made would have looked at the stooges surrounding Trump and run for the nearest exit.
But apparently he figured he could break the system and rule through fiat. Or that the House and the Senate would just go along with their own political suicide. But for a guy who is so smart it didn’t occur to him that either Trump has to suspend everything and become a dictator (which means civil war) or he has to conform or surrender (which for an out of control narcissist amounts to the same thing). For a guy who is allegedly so smart he seems to know absolutely nothing about how the House and the Senate work. Or the lobbyists. Or the Pentagon. Or the intelligence agencies. Or for that matter how the lawyers work. And taken altogether the idea that someone would look at Trump on with his oily court jesters (Kellyanne, Manafort,) or his inbred Romanov-esque lizard children and their appendages, (Jr and Ivanka and Jared) and say that’s a winning team demonstrates either a sublime zen wisdom or a jitters and shakes stupidity just slightly less disturbing than Hitler in the bunker screaming for divisions that don’t exist.
And to state the obvious, we’re going with the scenario that has jitters and shakes and phantom divisions that vanished in the ice outside of Stalingrad.
That’s it. There are no other options. The intelligence agencies may be full of thugs who think the Bill of Rights is useful for target practice but the majority of them are not interested in having to set up gulags in Montana and won’t go along with amateurs like Trump and sadistic amateur geeks like Sebastian Gorka & co running the show. Not because they love the republic but because they love their pensions and perks. And really, who in their right mind (sic) would look at a professional ass-clown like Gorka and think counter-terrorism genius! Answer: Idiots, that’s who.
And Bannon either doesn’t understand this or he doesn’t care but either way only an idiot would look at the math and piss on the blackboard and wipe his ass with the eraser.
And yet despite all of the evidence highlighting exactly and precisely just how stupid these people are we keep getting liberals gnashing their teeth about Bannon’s mystic intelligence and Trump’s innate political skills. Which brings us to the Devil’s Bargain.
About the book and thus Trump/Bannon the lofty New York Review of Books says:
“Joshua Green’s new book, Devil’s Bargain, argues that Trumpism is best understood through his partnership with Stephen K. Bannon, now the president’s chief political strategist. Green, formerly a correspondent at The Atlantic and now at Bloomberg Businessweek, has been writing about conservatives since the George W. Bush years. It is a testament to his adroit intertwining of Bannon’s story with Trump’s that we’re not certain which of the two figures has sold the bigger part of himself to the other. In the broader sense, they are coauthors of our moment’s tabloid conservatism.”
Fair enough except for how it allows for a Trump that isn’t delusional and controlled by his out-of-control-impulses – an idea not supported by any evidence.
And this, specifically about Bannon (emphasis added):
“Bannon is by upbringing and temperament a son of the embattled South, a working-class Catholic who grew up in Richmond, Virginia, when the state was still a backward fief, ruled by Senator Harry F. Byrd Jr., an early leader of Southern “massive resistance” to civil rights. From the start, Bannon seems to have been a younger version of Pat Buchanan: a noisy, brawling, bred-in-the-bone anti-Communist. Educated by Benedictines at a Catholic military school, he went on to Virginia Tech and then enlisted in the Navy in 1977. He was a navigator on a destroyer in the North Arabian Sea in 1980 when the Carter administration was putting the last touches on its disastrous secret mission to free the Iran hostages. “You could tell it was going to be a goat fuck,” Bannon recalled.”
The world is full of people with perfect retrograde vision. Steve Bannon, “military expert”. Steve Bannon, expert…who signed up to work with Jared and Ivanka…and Manafort…and Spicer…and Conway…and Trump…
cannot be taken seriously but can seriously be taken as a fool.
But Green continues:
“Bannon’s talent, like Trump’s, is finding and picking up the strains of hidden grievance: against “media elites,” feminists, civil rights activists, left-wing professors, and, above all, immigrants.”
Talent? Look at the man. The wasteland expression and thousand yard stare of a drunk, the potted disarray of the country club libertine (the uniform of khakis, blue blazer and regimental tie the gut that screams gout in the making) are not indicators of his ability to perceive so much as they are the pheromone of a particular type of rutting porcine personality that attracts its own kind. Prep schools and certain types of bars are full of them and it takes zero talent to spot kindred spirits. David Foster Wallace – a man of some genuine talent – once mentioned in passing that while covering the coronation of W. he saw the other type of typical Harvard grad – the one’s not like himself – the one’s who didn’t get high but got drunk; they didn’t listen to Phish and they didn’t read Pynchon but they did beat their girlfriends and later their wives who filed for divorce…along with the others who filed for divorce. And then they got jobs on Wall Street because their fathers called in favors. And then they either worked at hedge funds (like Bannon) or they worked for the republicans (like Bannon).
And then this:
“In Hong Kong, where Bannon went in 2005 to put together a licensing deal involving the video game World of Warcraft, he discovered the teeming community of gamers, millions of “intense young men…who disappeared for days or even weeks at a time in alternate realities.” He sensed “the powerful currents that run just below the surface of the Internet,” Green writes, and “began to wonder if those forces could be harnessed and, if so, how he might exploit them.”
The Dark Lord myth takes shape – Bannon the man who sees what others do not. Bannon says: come to the window…you bitches…the sea is calm tonight…
Except of course it would require an encyclopdeia to list the number of shallow or even halfway decent articles that have over the years described these young men and their alt-world.
But then Green turns to Trump:
“Green approaches Trump as a serious figure, with “the best raw political instincts of any Republican in his generation.”
Raw political instincts? Yes, because he’s as incoherent and moronic as the people who voted for him. The way Green phrases it, it sounds as if Trump gave his persona some thought and decided to choose one form of gibbering versus another. This is not “only Nixon could go to China.” This is Trump fell down the stairs and hurt himself but blamed someone else for not telling him there were stairs.
The truth is he has no instincts except the instincts of an unhinged ape who may very well suffer from some form of brain damage. Certainly he has the instincts of an Id unleashed. Consider his leering lubed up comments about his daughter – it’s out of Pinter or Lynch or Stone in Natural Born Killers. It’s a subplot in an episode of Shameless but that of course proves the point – the decimated White working class has plenty of reasons to be angry at how they’ve been betrayed, but that doesn’t mean Frank Gallagher should be running a division of marines. And more to the point – anyone (Bannon, Miller, Breitbart, etc) who thinks they should is either a fascist in search of a frenzy or a fool who thinks they can ride the demented tiger.
But whatever its origin it precludes any sense that he possesses political instincts. He does not. He is the mirror of the mob (not the mafia but the undulating surging mass of drunk apes for whom NASCAR is ballet – and no, it’s not just because you think it is. If you prefer it that’s your business but only a rube would call it sophisticated). His instincts are of the infant enraged and the gutter. And while there are numerous examples of monsters who rode the mob to power the fact is that in every case they were either politically savvy or politically ruthless. Trump is neither.
But to go further we must remember Tolstoy’s idea that it is the stage that calls the leader not the leader who sets the stage. Trump did not recognize what the voters wanted because Trump is incapable of thinking about anyone except himself. And he did not recognize what the voters wanted because that would require him to sift between one demographic and another; between genuine alternative facts – that is, the ability to hold two mutually exclusive ideas in his head at the same time and continue to function. It would require empathy and sympathy. Trump possesses neither.
Nixon could talk about establishing the EPA and running S.E. Asia through a meat grinder. Clinton could throw Black Americans into a prison industrial complex and talk about economic inequality. Blair could pivot to the center while running as (New) Labor. And they could be sincere about it. Trump is incapable of sincerity and he is incapable of sifting facts or holding onto contradictions.
And it’s not as if Trump brilliantly calculated the emergence of the neo-fascist anti-establishment urge in the American electorate or on the fringe of the republican party. Trump has been wallowing in the gutter since day one and it is no accident he slithered into bed with Roy Cohn. The NYRoB and Green mentions this but tries to have it both ways. On the one hand, we are told, Trump has raw political instincts that are superior to his rivals and yet he is nothing more than a tabloid whore and thug who follows in the smog trail that reaches back to the days when Fatty Arbuckle was being destroyed and the grotesqueries of They Shoot Horses Don’t They and The Day of the Locust. There is nothing original about Trump and no second rate demagogue has raw political instincts. They have money and they are useful idiots in the service of first rate demagogues like Putin.
Raw political instincts conjures a sublime feral intelligence – Clinton or Nixon Bush or Obama. One could even say the same thing about any number of people from Mussolini to Francisco Franco or Mao or Stalin. But that second gang were all psychopaths who possessed an unwavering will to power and were utterly ruthless and their intelligence was a kind of cunning that Trump is lacking. The fact that they all held power is true but doesn’t mean it’s a sign of Trump’s intelligence so much as it means the bar has been set so low an ant would have trouble passing under it. To put it another way if Trump did not exist the American Id would have invented him anyhow – because, it did; because it had to. And in that sense Trump is a national blow-up doll. After W., after WMD and Katrina, after it depends on what the meaning of is is, after Snowden, after a generation of iphone narcissism and 24 hour cable meta-reality, the stage was set not for a strong man with raw political instincts but for a megalomaniacal carnival barker with the instincts of a successful second rate pimp or a second rate evangelical huckster. Or both. Trump steaks and bigly are not the stuff of raw political instincts. They are the stuff of raw late night infomercials that pander to rubes. That the system has inverted itself to allow a goon to capture a portion of it says nothing about the goon and everything about the system. Bigly may appeal to the uneducated mob but so does a free oil change and a culture defined by buy one get one free being the equivalent of Opera.
But even if we take it as read what does it mean except that again, people are so stupid that they would believe a moronic psychopath – because of course what the fuck do they know?
It’s not as if they have any experience discerning between sane and insane or smart and stupid except within the context of being citizens of dumb-ville where the guy who knows how to make his own beer is considered to be some sort of savant.
But even stacking the numbnuts to one side you’re still left with what being king Trump in the land of the blind means.
He may represent Bannon’s version of move fast and break things (the blunt instrument as Bannon called him) but he is insane. And he is an idiot. And the political definition of both is the compulsion to harm yourself and say the wrong thing. And then refuse to recognize or be incapable of recognizing that you are harming yourself and saying the wrong thing. And Bannon clearly must be delusional and stupid if he took a look at Trump and thought: hell yes I can wield this cudgel and shatter the system.
And take a moment to consider what would have to happen for Bannon to achieve that – with his declaration of how he was going to dismantle the Administrative State.
Abandon NATO. (and as an example consider the epic shit show of Brexit)
Abandon our treaty obligations in the Pacific.
Break our connections in the Middle East.
Ignore China and Saudi Arabia owning trillions in US Treasury Bonds.
Slash defense spending.
Gut social services.
Destroy the democratic party.
Stop the media from protecting itself.
Break the connection between the media and Wall Street.
Break the connection between the tech giants and all of the above.
Force Congress to pass a trillion dollar infrastructure program.
How about a gang of gibbering idiots.
While it is true that an endless line of cardboard law school graduates in boring blue suits is a kind of hell the fact is that the government is all about laws. And while the plebs may fantasize about cutting in front of the ghouls being manufactured by Harvard Law Inc there’s only one way to rule without lawyers who know you shouldn’t piss off a Special Counsel or his army of lawyers (sic!) and that’s to suspend the law. Which requires killing the lawyers. Which requires killing a lot of other people and it’s not going to happen.
Mouth of Sauron Miller can wave his tiny dick in the air and shout that no one will question the president’s decisions as much as he likes and he can throw red meat to his base by calling a reporter cosmopolitan but between the people who actually are patriots and the cynical rutting pigs of the establishment he’s as likely to succeed as a fish is likely to ride a bicycle.
Which brings us to the so called base. Among that undulating undifferentiated mob there is a complete lack of information that matters. Among his base there are dull fantasies of power and revenge and something called the good life which consists of impulses towards power and revenge and the tribal accumulation of trinkets or fetish pieces that arouse envy. In people just like them. These include everything from a nice car to a big house to money. Compliant women. A big television. Season tickets to a football game.
Liberals suffering from an absence of spine will hang their heads in shame crying about snobs and elites dismissing the poor wretches of the post industrial tsunami ironically echoing the neo-fascist bund who scream about the cosmopolitans with their smug dismissal of something called real Americans. But there’s no getting around it. He’s a fucking colossal idiot and voting for him means you are as well.
There never going to allow him to succeed. They can’t. They won’t allow him to whore the country to the Russians. Saudi Arabia sure because that’s how they make money. China – again, the same thing. And if China goes to war with India it’s a problem but not without an upside*. If Russia on the other hand goes to war with Poland it’s a catastrophe. Trump tried throwing NATO on to the third rail and it didn’t work. Because it can’t. Because they won’t let him. The racist fantasy about killing the “globalists” died in the ruined burned out shells of Europe and Asia in 1945. There is no drawbridge to raise and the oceans are not moats. National sovereignty is an illusion. But the base being base and stupid doesn’t understand that and being committed to ignorance and allergic to information they don’t care.
They won’t let him succeed because he really is setting the table for fascists like Bannon and while proper reactionaries and aristocrats are always willing to let fascists do their dirty work for them they are not willing to let them sit at the high table and certainly not be seen in public. (a fact that eats away at Trump’s Lawn guylind bred soul – his Gatsbyesque dream really is that green light at the end of the dock that will never, never be his). After all it’s one thing to outsource torture to thugs in South America it’s another thing altogether to have Steve Bannon run the gulag. Because Bannon is not one of us as it was phrased elsewhere once upon a time. He may have slithered through the sewer with them but he doesn’t want to share. He wants to soak it all in gasoline and drop napalm on it. And they – the Deep State and its friends – know that if that happens they are either out of work or have to step out of the shadows and start letting people see them in their Stasi uniforms. And that’s out of the question. After all while it is likely that a great many leaks have originated inside the White House does anyone actually believe the intelligence agencies and their cohorts aren’t in it up to their gills? And in that regard the Breitbart morons and the FOX news junkies are correct when they wail and moan about the Deep State but that just begs the question: You come for the king, you best not miss.
And consider the leak of Trump’s calls to the president of Mexico and the Prime Minister of Australia. Not only do they represent a breakdown in security but they reveal yet another facet of Trump Inc’s total lack of command of the levers of power and control of the system. Any fool should know going in that the walls have ears and that pissing off the mandarins isn’t worth it unless you either can manufacture evidence of treason or really have evidence of treason and then have the political capital to force the House and the Senate to hold a show trial which then allows for a purge. But the idea of Trump Inc pulling off that is as likely as the Three Stooges having their own Jason Bourne franchise…Hey Mo! It’s a secret government spy program!
And again this returns us to the absolute lack of basic sense among his supporters. Where did they get the idea that he would be able to do any of the things he said he was going to do? They got it from the bottom of a box of stale crackerjacks. They got it from morons they know. Who repeat the same toxic half-truth shit they spew to themselves or to the screen when some animatronic doll with a haircut screams at them from inside the FOX or Breitbart echo chamber.
The Mexicans will pay for the wall.
The corporations will bring the jobs back.
The Chinese will do as their told.
Everyone we hate will shut the fuck up.
And who believes this useless pile of crap? People who are functional illiterates. People who have trouble holding more than one contradictory idea in their heads at the same time. People who have never really traveled anywhere or talked to anyone with whom they disagree. People who know nothing about how the world works. People who are powerless and have fantasies about being powerful in direct reverse proportion to their spineless existence.
In other words, the sort of people who are fascists and bigots and complete total fucking idiots who think Trump is a poster boy for success when of course he’s a third rate corporate huckster and a goon from Queens. Who of course is so desperate to have a table with the swells in Manhattan he’d sell out his base in a heartbeat – like a fire sale at a bankrupt casino. But what the fuck do they know about Queens? They don’t know shit. About anything worth knowing.
We’re not supposed to say that. We’re supposed to have empathy and even sympathy for them. They were betrayed says Michael Moore and Trump is their molotov cocktail. Jon Stewart says he knows these people and he loves them and he knows they’re not bigots. The corporate media won’t even say it. Watch Mika and Joe trip over themselves in their earnest efforts to not call a spade a spade.
Trump supporters aren’t stupid, they insist.They are not ignorant of how the government works.They have legitimate grievances.
Yada yada yada…
Listen to the bottom of the grease pit talk about him – we don’t care if he had to cheat. We don’t care if he lies. We don’t care. And the pundits twist themselves into knots trying to find justifications for it. The burned out husk of post-industrial America…the opioid crisis…the jobs went away…and all of those things are true. It’s also true that Jack the Ripper was good with a knife but that doesn’t mean he’s allowed into your house.
And while all of those things are true and people have been destroyed because of it anyone who looks at Trump and sees superman – a populist anti-establishment champion is a fucking moron.
And of course that’s who these people are. Fucking morons.
Which doesn’t mean there’s nothing but geniuses at the NY Times. It doesn’t mean the Algonquin is full and the wit is flowing like gin from overturned bottles of Bombay Sapphire.
One does not require the other.
A third of the country’s electorate voted for an idiot.
And they did it because they are stupid. They did it out of spite and because they hate women and themselves and because they are cowards. And they did it because in being idiots they could be manipulated by blatantly obvious Putin Bots. But above all else they did it because they are just dumb and don’t know anything worth knowing about how the world works.
Trump is an outsider…
Trump is brilliant…
Trump is successful…
Trump will outfox everyone…
It would be funny were it not so sad (well actually it’s both).
People infinitely smarter and with genuine knowledge of how things work can’t bend the world to their agenda. But knowing that requires actually knowing things that matter. In other words: “Ah yes, Mae West. A plumber’s idea of Cleopatra.”
Anti-intellectualism has a long history in this country. In fact it has a long history pretty much everywhere. Mao decided he didn’t like intellectuals unless they were chained to tractors that didn’t work. And Stalin never met an idea he couldn’t shit on. Even the ones that he found useful. And plenty of goons from Berlin to Rancho Mirage have heard the word culture…and reached for their gun.
The appeal of it is obvious. It tells you the world is simple and being simple it can be bent to your will if you have simple commitments to simple ideas. This is right and that’s wrong. Good guys wear white and bad guys are Muslims. The world is a nail and I am a hammer.
That’s it. That’s the mantra. W. used that with a slight twinkle in his beady eyes that suggested he knew it was crap in a shiny box but so what? He won. Ivy League shit-kicker. The best of both worlds. A common man worth millions.
And look how that turned out for everyone.
Of course then you have the urban hep-kat. Over and over again during his first run at the presidency his handlers used the same image – Obama getting out of an SUV slipping into his blazer and wearing cool shades. Cool. Jazz. Feline as Hitchens described him. He wasn’t bogged down by worn out ideological concepts, He was a transitional great man.
Except of course the system was entrenched and waiting for him when he arrived and swallowed him. (See Gary Wills):
The mandarins of Whitehall, they say, smile dismissively at every new Prime Minister because they were there before the election and they’ll be there after the next one. Regardless of who wins.
And yet, for all his enormous faults, Obama at least grasped that the world is not simple and that systems exist. He failed in spectacular fashion to adjust himself to that reality but at least he knew it was there.
And whatever the depth and complexity of his neurotic self-regard (the narcissism, the man of destiny hubris) if someone presented him with evidence he would recognize it as evidence. He might have base political reasons for disregarding or even morally sophisticated reasons, it but he wouldn’t disregard it because he was in the grips of a delusion and couldn’t tell truth from lies.
But that doesn’t excuse the idiots.
There’s two scenes in Band of Brothers that come to mind. In the first, one of the officers breaks into a house looking for booze. It turns out it’s the home of a German officer. It’s an elegant house. The widow is there. She shames him with a steely fascist gaze and he leaves not quite tail between the legs but close enough. Later he sees her again. She like the rest of them has been ordered to one of the camps to help move the corpses. He stares at her. She at him. She is broken.
There are excuses and there are justifications but in the end none of them work.
There are piles of dead souls.
They got there because people are sadistic.
They got there because people are stupid.
In the second a wounded soldier is brought in from the line. The medic asks the officers how much morphine they gave him. They don’t know. He asks what do you mean you don’t know. They say, in their defense it was dark and they were rushing. The medic climbs into the ambulance with the wounded man. He looks back and says: You’re officers. You’re supposed to know.
On the first day after he’s gone from office the post-mortems will start.
Fascists? Here? No, they will say, down the road but not here.
And then they will slink back under their rocks and lick their wounds and whisper about how they were stabbed in the back.
And like the idiots they are, they will learn nothing and forget nothing and wait for their hour to come around again. And slouch back to DC waiting to be reborn.
As if more proof were required to demonstrate that Bannon is a fool consider the following:
Either the neo-fascist wing of the republican party has decided to pivot and attack the traditionalist wing in the form of McConnell or the marble in Trump’s head rolled to a different slot labeled: Blame Someone Else for My Stupidity and Incompetence.
In the first scenario Bannon and friends establish again that they are idiots because if they are successful in breaking McConnell they elevate Rand Paul as senior Senator from Kentucky. If they fail then they make McConnell their enemy and while feeding their base of White fascist powerless fools, they empower the Wall Street and traditionalist wing.
In the second scenario Bannon and friends establish again that they are idiots because if this is just the marble rolling from one dimly lit slot to another then it just means only an idiot would hitch their waggon to Trump.
If the goal is the destruction of the Administrative State then running around DC with a flamethrower and a can of gasoline while the grownups are keeping an eye on the pyromaniacs in Pyongyang is guaranteed to generate Deep State blowback, media condemnation, lobbyist fits, crashing poll numbers and the vein above Robert Muller’s eyes to start throbbing like someone has just injected him with a barrel of triple strength espresso and Adderall.
Revolutions may succeed by accident but they never succeed because a gang of chimps are trying to hump a lubed up football.
* We mean upside in the cynical sense of the American establishment’s realpolitik view – China and India beating each other up (but not to the point of trying to annihilate each other and using their nuclear weapons) means China is distracted, and possibly exposed as still not having a first rate military. The last time the PLA went to war they invaded Vietnam. Despite overwhelming superiority the PLA was repulsed and suffered badly.