PARIS – This week, the threads come together… the lines converge… the dots connect…
The State of the Union…
The Republicans and Democrats…
“Us vs. Them”…
Our own wobbly “us”…
…and the coming financial catastrophe.
Lies and Claptrap
No one wants to hear about the State of the Union speech (SOTUS). Full of bluff and bluster… lies and claptrap – all of them are best forgotten, and fast.
But we return to last week’s SOTUS, as to the site of a murder, not to bury the corpse but to praise him.
For there lies DJT… Donald John Trump… slain. Like Caesar, smitten in the Capitol, but by his own hand.
Our guess is that he will never rise again. A further guess is that he will take the nation down with him; we will look at those dots tomorrow.
The problem with his SOTUS was that it failed to mention anything that might be meaningful or helpful. That is, it avoided any mention of the real state of the union.
Who would report on a company and fail to mention that it was $22 trillion in debt… and was, at the time, losing money at the rate of approximately $100 billion per month… and that it had no plans – or even hope – of cutting its losses or heading off a monumental debt crisis?
Who would assess the state of a country without reference to the fact that it was slipping in every measure that matters – wealth per capita, business startups, patents, freedom, equality, and the integrity of its institutions?
What kind of a Commander in Chief would describe brave and heroic achievements from more than half a century ago, but lack the courage to confront an ongoing pattern of wasted lives and wasted trillions spent on military adventures with no coherent strategy, no possibility of victory, and no foreseeable end?
Alas, Mr. Donald J. Trump is that kind of guy.
Last Great Opportunity
And yet, it might have been so different. It was he who called Pentagon spending “crazy.” He said his predecessors had created a “big, fat, ugly bubble” in U.S. stocks. He said he saw the decline of the U.S. and offered to make it great again.
And so… last week, it was DJT’s last great opportunity to put his cards on the table. It was a chance to validate his campaign promises… to bring some sense of purpose to his administration… and to his life.
Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and taught by Roy Cohn, one of the sleaziest scalawags in U.S. political history, and held back by neither scruple, dignity, or peer pressure, Mr. Trump is unique in White House history.
No one expected Barack Obama to turn the tables on the insiders. Nor Hillary Clinton. Nor George Bush. They were all insiders themselves. But Trump? He was right again, in a way, saying that “only he” could fix the system.
He spent his whole life as an outsider – ridiculed and disparaged by the elite – preparing for it. Lying about his wealth, shamelessly building his brand, making a public spectacle of himself in newspapers, magazines, and on TV… and for what?
And then, against all odds, he won the world’s elected office. It was a remarkable achievement by a remarkable man. Trump defied them all – the party bosses… the pundits… the pollsters. And he won.
And wouldn’t it all be worth it… all the sacrifice and buffoonery… if he could one day stand on the podium and nudge the nation, even just a little, in the right direction?
But that is the problem with politics. If you want to be elected, you have to pretend to care about people you’ve never met, and greet total strangers as if they were long lost friends.
So, too, you must dissemble about everything: You claim to have solutions to problems you don’t understand in the slightest… identify enemies who’ve done you no harm… and offer to rip off someone, somewhere, sometime in the future so you can pay off the cronies and zombies you need to get you elected today.
You have no time to think seriously about how a government should work… or what makes for a peaceful, prosperous society. Who would care anyway?
All you have left is the claptrap and lies of campaign slogans and stump speeches. And by the time you get to the White House, so much time and energy has been spent acting like a fool, that you’re no longer acting. You have become the jackass you pretended to be on the campaign trail.
This is a syndrome that has afflicted every president, to a greater or lesser extent, at least since Calvin Coolidge. Even Mr. Trump, for all his strength of character, couldn’t resist.
And so, his SOTUS took off like a rocket, soared into the clouds of America’s Great Past… and sank into the swamp of America’s tawdry present… leaving not a trace of dignity, honor, or intelligence floating on the surface.
That is the Swamp Mr. Trump pledged to drain. That is the Swamp that runs the country… and that is the Swamp that Mr. Trump couldn’t escape, even if he wanted to…