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writing for godot

‘Genius’ Shut-down Exposes Trump ‘Fix-ations’

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Written by Robert S. Becker   
Friday, 08 February 2019 23:52

It’s the government shutdown, stupid! How predictably the latest Trump stunt boomeranged, shredding his delusions of grandeur and obliterating the corrosive lie he “alone can fix everything.” He can’t even fix what he alone breaks — and now his farcical fixations of threatening another shutdown. I lean towards a declaration of national emergency, then years in the courts and nary a yard built. What defines not just insanity but manic stupidity is repeating the same basic mistake and expecting positive results.

In free fall, Trump has incited what a myriad of scandals and definitive investigations could not do: alienate his own party support, both base and top brass. Is this not the iconic, cornered victim desperately heaving grenades in the air, willy nilly, hoping they take out lawful inquisitors? Watch your head. Allergic to reality, thus guy’s forgotten where his own land mines are buried, shuckin’ and jivin’ as fast as he can. The costly, ignored lesson: Trump is getting creamed for not knowing which pie-in-the-sky promise needed to get buried by inauguration day — vs. those destined to take him down two years later. There will be pygmy walls for a pygmy president, and what poetic justice: he raves about bigger and stronger and louder, but his great barrier shrinks the longer it’s stays merely symbolic.

Most importantly, thanks to the endless bad news, we now confirm Trump’s deceptive use of the word “fix” has nothing to do with “restoring to greatness.” Instead, the Trumpian “fix” denotes ruthless, self-interested Mafia notions, as in “erase a problem, means and consequences be damned.”  What other “non-colluding” criminal ever “associated” with an army of sleazy fixers that go way back? For Trump, “fixing” answers to his delusion he’s always the winner because the end justifies all means, whether subterfuge, lying, intimidation, bluster or bullying. But Trump can’t fix anything, certainly not his own credibility and lost leverage, and that makes his tenure a fusillade of fixations repeated ad infinitum.

And what does such irrepressible talent display about his unstable “genius”? Obviously, not “exceptional intelligence or innovation.” His reactionary reflex covers his ears against his own multiple, professional intelligence reports with the same message. That reduces “genius” is insular self-regard, blasting out soundbites, making waves and acting like he's in charge. After all, yokels have a five minute memory span and Trump plays on Biblical moralists like a fiddle. Bingo, his true believers are as crudely transactional as the Trumpster, citing “ordained” ends whatever the unscrupulous means. What deity is so desperate to finger Trump, from billions of earthlings, as his chosen vessel? What model of goodness “elects” a mafia-style chiefdom to run down our former beacon on the hill?

Counting the Countless Wins

Of course, by one transcendent standard, Trump’s rapacious free-for-all (except for federal workers) is a screaming success: after two years and a month he’s still president. Every month he escapes an upsurge of genuinely new scandals is a near miracle — and consider this mock triumph: formal bills of impeachment are not yet underway. Oh yeah, his tax returns aren’t yet public but not for ever. How demoralizing for his base, for they must intuit in their bones strong leaders set the agenda, control the message, stick to their guns, and deliver more wins than anyone can stand? Not the Trumpster, not from now on.

But boy oh boy, didn’t Trump’s shutdown show both House and Senate, and the world, what he’s made of? In advance, he not only took full responsibility for political disaster, but bragged about owning the closure. Then, blindly fixated, he stayed the course far beyond common and political sense (what do experts know?). How many besieged presidents willingly bet their last chip (remnants of public opinion) on a busted flush?

That dramatic disapproval slide was no small irony since finally he was “sticking to a principle" and enduring storms for a cause. Isn’t great sacrifice what greatness demands? Of course flexibility matters, too so now the “wall,” once concrete and high as a kite, shrinks to invisibility before our very eyes. But for Trump, never impeded by details, his pygmy wall will still shield Americans from crime, drugs and foreign-looking people. And more positives: the shutdown kept Trump from expensive, blunder-prone foreign junkets — and unlike absurd troops to the border saved us millions. When so distracted, he can’t muck about where he can do even more damage, like playing wag the dog.

Overall, does not this shut-down, along with the Muslim ban, battered health care coverage, incredibly unpopular tariffs, and rejected tax reform, reinforce the infamous Trump Doctrine: many must suffer to benefit the few?  And not just abused asylum seekers, desperate Central American families, or Muslims coming to visit relations, but scads of federal employees — who else would even imagine replaying the shutdown flop?  That’s the Trump specialty — the voodoo of the wholly unexpected — par for the course when reality resides in only one mind.

Loyal fans, however, are so impressed with their champ’s incredible remarkableness they think he’s redefining greatness. That puts him high in the presidential pantheon because historians always judge importance not on doing good or bad but “making a difference.”  Here is the ultimate “great —if shrunken man” theory of history on display — proof that serious damage to institutions and tradition, if not law and justice, can happen quickly, then need years to repair. Even ardent critics fear the magnitude of change that Trump has wrought. What if the presidency is never the same again? What if scurrilous campaigning plagues running for office? What if the Republican Party is permanently altered, ideologically chaotic, thus less dominant, then shunned by new voters? No bad comes without some good.

A Monument to Being Unpresidential

So for both me and his fans, Trump’s handling of his own private, nightmare shutdown speaks volumes about his character, judgment, and mindless risk-taking. Who else dares to invoke the N and E words, as in National Emergency, disclosing how true folly replicates itself? No one can match Trump’s special skill — disrupting everything he touches, even his own credibility, leverage and legacy.  Bravo!

Mr. Unpresident: keep following your own misguided gut feeling, elevated over all other collective brainpower. May your standing shrink like your disappearing wall. Thanks for exposing what happens when a belligerent non-reader, who willfully defies his own experts, seizes an absolutist (and absolutely damaging) position, then sticks rigidly to his guns. Do not five year olds in tantrum mode parallel this behavior? Like historians to come, I am not here simply focusing on rightness or wrongness, but whether Trumpery will be historically significant. Bingo, how about exposing what being monumentally unpresidential, let alone needlessly shooting yourself in the head, is all about. Inmates unite, all you have to lose are your perverse fixations — and how many such aberrations ever fixed anything?


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0 # Robert S. Becker 2019-02-15 12:25
Finally, if irrationally and lawlessly, Trump broadcasts his counterproducti ve, demagogic core, even more explicitly than before. Behold the latest craven stunt: a fake National Emergency. He's also threatening what I deem an impeachable offense -- trying to co-opt the central power of the purse given Congress by the Constitution. Go for it Donald and show us who you really are:

As I wrote some days ago, "I’d favor the unconstitutiona l, if comic absurdity of declaring a national emergency, thus bagging reams of more bad publicity, years in the courts and nary a yard built of Trump wall."
 

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