It took almost a year, but we’ve now said all we have to say.
We promise to return when someone new is the President of the United States, assuming there’s anything to return to.
It took almost a year, but we’ve now said all we have to say.
We promise to return when someone new is the President of the United States, assuming there’s anything to return to.
During the run-up to the election, when so many people just didn’t believe they would ever have to say the words “President Trump”, many agonized over Tweety’s comments about the election being rigged, that there was massive voter fraud, that he may not accept the results, and so on. It was clear that his millions of followers were breathlessly awaiting his every Tweet, and eager to show their support for whatever he wanted them to do.
The legitimate fear throughout the land was that when he lost, he would rally the worst of them to violence in the streets. After the shocking election result, some took bitter consolation in thinking that at least this scenario was averted. It was also a given that impeachment proceedings would have immediately begun against President Crooked Hillary Clinton. Benghazi! Emails! So we were also spared that protracted convulsion.
What no one ever dreamed of was that even if he won, Tweety would continue to provoke violence in the streets. The Tweety era is proving to be far worse than we ever thought it would be, and we thought it would be pretty bad.
It’s very hard to understand Trump’s motives and behavior at this point, except if you embrace the notion that he is, in fact, deranged. He seems determined to fight with everyone, including loyalists, allies, and friends. He seems completely disinterested in the job of President. He seems to think his current role is an extension of his TV show, the ultimate purpose of which was to attract as many eyeballs as possible to publicize the brand and increase revenues.
During the campaign, Trump’s posture as provocateur and outsider help distinguish him from a large field of aspirants. When the nomination was apparently in hand, all talk turned to when Trump would “pivot” from the vulgar flame-thrower to the serious candidate for office – when would he start to show he could be “presidential”? It seemed clear to everyone that his antics were inappropriate once he was the official standard-bearer of the Republican party.
Tweety himself often repeated the promise that he could be very presidential, “more presidential than anybody”, the most presidential except Lincoln.
Although he assured us of this capability repeatedly, he never acted on it during the campaign as he cruised to the nomination. He equated being presidential with being boring, and he isn’t boring.
It turned out he was on to something. The crazy-pants chaos candidate never wavered and actually won the election. It was stunning. Then all the talk turned to what would happen next – it was one thing to be so crazy before becoming the nominee, another to be so crazy before the election, and yet another to be so crazy while president! Something had to change. Obviously.
Many of us took comfort in President Obama’s serene assurances that the power of the Oval Office itself had a way of exerting itself on whoever sat there. Once in the job, any president would immediately be moved by the awesome responsibility and weight of the surroundings, and the reality that every word and gesture would now reverberate throughout the world, perhaps with terrible consequences. Obama said January 20, 2017 would be the day of a wake-up call for Trump.
But just as Trump refused to be presidential as a primary candidate, and just as he refused to be presidential as the nominee, and just as he refused to be presidential as President-elect, he has also refused to be presidential as President.
In fact, it isn’t a question of “refusing” to do it. He simply can’t be presidential. This is because he is and always has been manifestly unsuited to the role and because he can not rise to the challenge. The fact that he cannot “fake it”, which would be easy enough to do by simply surrounding yourself with professionals and keeping your mouth shut, speaks to his mental state.
He is who he is. There is nothing to be done about changing that. Only the 25th Amendment can help us now, and that is the longest of long-shots.
Section 4: Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
Too much would have to happen that almost certainly won’t, starting with a Mike Pence mutiny. I don’t think so.
And it is not completely clear that we can ever go back to “normal” again when Trump is finally gone. The damage done by this man may well be permanent.
That is all. Carry on.
One thing you have to admit about President Donald J. Trump is that he has never wavered from his one overarching, bedrock principle: Look Out For Number One!
He doesn’t pussyfoot. He doesn’t flip-flop. He doesn’t waffle. What you see is what you get. Cover your own ass if you want to win and winning is all there is. There are no other issues or principles that matter.
A new poll shows that the Tweeter’s approval ratings in the three key rust belt states that gave him the presidency have not budged. He’s still their guy.
Nothing matters to these people except “Obama is a Muslim” and “Lock Her Up”. Don’t bother reminding them of the Tweeter’s solemn pledge to get us out of the Afghan quagmire, tweeted (what else?) over and over again for years:
Yesterday, a breathless nation awaited his long-promised brilliant plan for defeating al Qaeda and the Taliban, and was rewarded with a bold new policy: Into the Quagmire! It’s the only way! Kabul or Bust! More troops for the generals! More fodder for the cannons! Any reports of my abandoning the platform I was elected on are Fake News!
Of course, this announcement was made in the brilliant Trumpian style of pre-blaming others for its eventual failure. He said he had always relied on his instincts in the past, had been hugely successful doing so, and that his instincts had been to get out of Afghanistan. But his “generals” had now claimed this was wrong and so he will reluctantly follow their advice.
Perfect. If, somehow, doing the same thing we’ve been doing fruitlessly for 16 years now magically produces positive results, then Trump’s a genius and a visionary and the best leader we’ve ever had. If it produces nothing but more body bags and years of grief for everyone involved, well, Trump is still a genius and a visionary – remember those instincts of his? The generals are to blame and will certainly pay with a good, public, career-ruining Twitter-shaming at the appropriate time.
Best of all, no one now remembers or cares about the events of last week. It was only a few days ago that we all realized we had reached a historical inflection point and that Trump had to go. He couldn’t bring himself to unambiguously criticize Nazis. Completely unprecedented and inappropriate for an American president of any party. Remember? That was the straw that broke the camel’s back! No? OK, then. Never mind.
And if you don’t remember last week, I won’t bother trying to remind you of the week before. That was when the world was going to end because Trump recklessly dared the North Koreans to do something in Guam. Fire and fury, baby.
Tweety is winning. And all you losers who want to doubt him can just go home to Loserville and enjoy your loserpalooza.
They’re at it again. It’s the same old crowd of leftist intellectuals with their oh-so-fancy “science” degrees, probably financed by that extreme left-wing kook, George Soros. The same crowd who laughs at the people in the flyover states, calls them “deplorable”, and thinks they’re smarter than you.
Now they’re saying that in a couple of hours from now, there will be an “eclipse” of the sun across the United States. Don’t fall for it!
They want you to leave work and buy their special glasses. It’s the same old anti-American agenda we’ve seen a million times before. These are the same people who want you to think we landed on the moon in 1969, or that the polar ice cap is melting because human activity is changing the climate. The same people who want to cover up what really happened in Roswell.
They control the media and the banks and the government. Don’t let them control you!
It’s the same crowd that’s always claiming their “scientific method” allows them to predict things that will happen based on what’s already been “proven”. Now they’re telling you the sky will go dark in a little while. Don’t you believe it.
Who do they think they are? God? They don’t even think the Bible is true! Don’t fall for it.
It’s all a fake. Fake news. Fake science. I promise you this: if the sky actually does go dark this afternoon, I’ll personally take my kids out of home-school and down to the free clinic for an MMR shot. That’s how sure I am that these pointy-headed liberal “professors” are all wet.
Wake up, Sheeple!
This week, we experienced another national paroxysm of “controversy”, the result of which is that a few more formerly obstinate people admitted what millions already found obvious: Donald J. Trump is a hyper-combative, utterly incompetent, ignorant narcissist who cannot do the job he finds himself in.
Also, he may or may not have proven himself to be a racist and Nazi sympathizer, though neither of those possibilities is nearly as important to the world as his utter incompetence.
On the plus side, a few monuments to the Confederacy have been torn down, thereby bringing the Civil War one baby step closer to conclusion, only 152 short years after the last shot was fired.
Also, in some circles traveled only by the 1% , it has now become de rigueur to prove your bona fides on the subject of race by making some sort of gesture or speech about it, which doesn’t help all that much but doesn’t hurt either.
More than 40 years after the death of Tom Yawkey, Red Sox ownership is making little tiny noises about finally doing the right thing concerning the “legacy” of Tom Yawkey: killing it dead.
Yawkey bought the Red Sox for himself a few days after he turned 30 years old in 1933 for $1.25 million, thereby sentencing the team and its die-hard fan base to decades of mediocrity. Yawkey had inherited $40 million from the lumber and iron empire built by his grandfather, and could finally access the money, having reached the age specified in the will.
Today, $40 million doesn’t buy that much. Maybe the privilege of watching David Price nurse a hangnail on the bench for two years, or maybe watching Pablo Sandoval eat hamburgers in the minors before recognizing you made another small mistake. But in 1933, it was real money.
Yawkey never earned or produced anything on his own, and treated the Red Sox as a private club, often taking batting practice with “his boys”.
He died in 1976, a year after the greatest World Series ever played, in which the Red Sox lost the seventh game and came up empty for the third time on his watch. They were one player short of success yet again. The next year, Boston re-named part of Jersey St., on which Fenway Park’s main entrance sits, to Yawkey Way in honor of the great man. It’s been Yawkey Way since then.
In his day, most people in Boston thought Yawkey was a peach of a guy, and most had no problem with his views on black people. He didn’t like them. The Red Sox were the last team in baseball to put a black player on the field, waiting until 1959, and they did so half-heartedly. Pumpsie Green was the man’s name, a .246 hitter with zero power over his five year career.
The Red Sox had the chance to sign Jackie Robinson and they passed. They did give him a tryout in 1945. A newly elected city councilman, Isadore Muchnick, campaigned to bring black players to Boston, and refused the usual formality of granting permission for the Red Sox and Braves to play on Sundays, unless they gave some guys from the Negro Leagues a tryout.
A day before the 1945 opener, Yawkey had Jackie Robinson, then of the Kansas City Monarchs, take the field for a look, along with Marvin Williams and Sam Jethroe. “We knew we were wasting our time”, Jackie said years later. No one from the press was there, and the whole charade lasted just a few minutes. It ended when someone from the stands yelled out. “Get those n—ers off the field”
In 1945, the Red Sox weren’t alone in their antipathy. But in 1949, two years after Jackie was already in the majors and the direction of history was clear, the Red Sox passed on a 17-year-old prospect named Willie Mays, who they could have signed for $4500.
In the 1950’s, the Red Sox could have, and should have, had Ted Williams in left, Willie Mays in center, and Jackie Robinson at second. But Yawkey was too smart for that. Why try to win games with guys you don’t like when it’s so much more fun to relax with the guys you like?
The above picture is Yawkey and Carl Yastrzemski, one of his favorites, after the “Impossible Dream” Red Sox backed into the 1967 World Series, surviving the closest pennant race in history.
Yaz had a season for the ages, playing a supernatural left field all year while winning the Triple Crown. Wow. He played great in the Series, too, hitting .400 with three home runs and an On Base Percentage of .500. He carried the team into the seventh game, where the Red Sox put their Cy Young winner, Gentleman Jim Lonborg, on the mound with only two days rest to face the immortal Bob Gibson. Gibson, of course, cruised to his third win of the Series, striking out ten and giving up only three hits, and ended the Red Sox season in the predictable fashion.
But a good time was had by all, right?
The Red Sox were short just one player, as usual. Just one Bob Gibson. Or Jackie Robinson. Or Willie Mays. And it took another 37 years on top of that to finally get over the hump.
Now John Henry, principal owner of the Red Sox, is entertaining suggestions for re-naming Yawkey Way. I think “Willie Mays Avenue” would work. My plan is that the next time I’m down there on game day, and I overhear some kid saying to his father, “Dad, why is this ‘Willie Mays Avenue’? Willie never played here!”, I’ll look at them both sadly and say, “Exactly.”
I was sipping a gin-and-tonic on my tiny, urban “deck” yesterday, reflecting on how fast the summer speeds by when you’re living on the wrong side of the political looking glass, when I saw my cousin Screwie roll up at the end of the driveway on his fixie. He seemed agitated as he chained his bike to the railing with the “Do Not Chain Your Bike Here” sign on it. That boy is a born anarchist.
I didn’t quite hear what he was muttering as he came toward me – I just picked up the words “Not Terrorism”, so I knew I was in for an earful.
“Hey”, I said. “Want some gin?” I was just being polite as I saw that he had his usual six-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon with him, and I knew I wasn’t going to have to get up. He plopped down in the other Adirondack chair.
“Anything wrong? You seem a little distracted. In fact you seem like you’re gonna pop a vessel”.
“Yes, there’s something wrong,” he sneered. “Barcelona is wrong. Barce. Fucking. Lona.”
“Yeah, such a great place. Awful. Terrorism”, I offered, knowing full well it didn’t matter what I said.
“Yes it’s awful,” he said, “But it’s not terrorism.”
“What are you talking about? Of course it’s terrorism. A twenty-something Jihadi drives a van through an unsuspecting crowd, killing a dozen or more, probably screaming ‘Allahu Akbar’ for all I know. How do you figure it’s not terrorism?”
Screwie says, “Because there’s no ‘terrorist’ objective. Terrorism is meant to accomplish something – to get the victims to modify their behavior somehow. The bad guy wants you to ‘end the occupation’ or ‘release the political prisoners’ or ‘recognize the caliphate’ or ‘stop publishing cartoons that offend me’ or ‘stop supporting the apostate royalty’. Or something.
“Sometimes they just want you to be so uncomfortable and afraid you’ll move out of wherever you are and leave it to them. But terrorists want something, and the implication is that when you give it to them, they’ll quit blowing things up and go back to being humans.”
“Hmm”, I astutely responded. “So you’re saying the Barcelona guys had no ‘terrorist’ objective. I guess I see that. So, if it’s not terrorism, what do you think it is?”
“I think it’s murder. But it doesn’t matter what I think. It’s what they think that matters. Until we understand what they think they’re doing, there’s absolutely no hope we’ll ever get on top of it.”
“And what do they think it is, if I might be so bold to inquire?”, says I.
“They think it’s war. They have no objective beyond killing you. They don’t care if you promise to recognize the caliphate, or if you require everyone in Europe to wear a burqa or anything else. They just want you dead. If they lose two of theirs blowing up or running over eighty of yours, it’s a huge battlefield win. Multiply it by a zillion and you get the picture of what they think they’re doing. And the point is that the battlefield is everywhere in their war, not just Syria or Afghanistan or wherever else you might want to think it is.”
“Crack another PBR and try to enjoy what’s left of the summer”, I offer.
“Don’t be a wise-ass. No one likes a wise-ass. Look, remember after 9/11 when we all were trying to understand what it was about? ‘Why do they hate us?’ was the mantra. Remember the Wall Street Journal guy who went up into the mountains so he could get the al Qaeda side of things, and put the word out so that we could all understand their thinking and their grievances? Daniel Pearl was his name.
“When he got there, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed cut his head off. We were all totally confused. Pearl was going to give them a platform and they killed him? Are they crazy? We still don’t get it.
“They don’t care about a platform. They don’t care about getting their message out to us. They don’t care about compromise or negotiations or getting you to do some particular thing, after which they’ll go back to being like everyone else. What they care about is making you dead.
“The reason we were so shocked by 9/11 and by every attack that’s come after is that we didn’t understand that they had declared war on us and were proceeding accordingly. We were arguing about whether their ‘crimes’ should be treated as civil or criminal offenses, where to try the bad guys and under what law, what rights they should have, and so on. And we’re still thinking that way.”
“So what are you saying?” My cousin’s getting inside my head now. “If treating these guys as terrorists or criminals isn’t going to work, what’s the right answer?”
Screwie seems a little spent now that he’s got these thoughts on the table. He takes a long pull on his beer and says, “That’s above my pay grade. But I’ll tell you this – Step One is to understand what they think they’re doing and we’re not close. It’s the third-rail of political incorrectness to agree with them that it’s all-out war. And who needs it? I’d rather sit here and drink beer than go out and shoot someone. Who wouldn’t?
“But it’s really not so hard to take Step One if you’re up to it. It should have been done long ago. Bid Laden put it right out there in black and white in his 1998 Fatwa. Why not take him at his word? Like the other side does.”
“Huh? Remind me”, I respond with my usual brilliance.
“It’s short and sweet”, Screwie says. “I have the important part committed to memory. It says,
The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies—civilians and military—is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it… “
The sun was starting to set. I looked up the end of the driveway and saw a kid with bolt cutters working on Screwie’s bike lock. But I didn’t mention it. Why stir things up?