Sunday, March 31, 2019
Let's Get Animal
Ukraine might have an actual comedian as president after today, but we have our own stand-up comedian-in-chief expounding on wind energy and how deep the Great Lakes are in another one of his signature rallies in Grand Rapids, MI. Like Trump, Volodymyr Zelenskiy is backed by Russian money and would be yet another world leader in Vladimir Putin's back pocket. The funny thing is that Zelenskiy comes across as much smarter in person, which I suppose is why so many Ukranians are taking him seriously, even if it means a tilt back to the East in their political seesaw.
Trump couldn't have been any dumber this past Friday night, putting his ignorance on full display with a cheering audience loving every minute of it. All those bleached blondes on the front row looked like they washed their brains with Clorox. You can't help but chew over the memorable lines, because there are so many of them, which is why he draws crowds. He is an entertainer if nothing else, and his loyal following loves him for it.
We continually make fun of the MAGA crowd, but time and again they get the last laugh, because until Trump is unseated they got what they wanted, they got us, to paraphrase the great improviser. Trump may not be making American great again but he sure is delivering a vision of the country these persons have been yearning for: a ruthless abomination of the Old Testament, which he lords over like Moses himself. Only difference is that Trump doesn't answer to any god. He only answers to himself.
To drive his anti-immigration policy home this weekend, he cut off aid to the "Mexican" countries of Guatelmala, Honduras and El Salvador, all but assuring more migrant caravans in the months ahead. Central American refugees are already living in cages underneath overpasses at the border, as they wait to be processed. Mexico wouldn't accept them after Trump tried to pawn them off on our neighbor to the south. Not that long ago, Trump was promising a yuge aid package to Central America to help relieve the crisis, but his Friends at Fox talked him out of it. Now these "invaders" get nothing.
Steve Bannon described it as going "full animal." In Trump's mind, the Mueller Report fully vindicates him and he can do whatever he wants these next two years. There's no one who can stop him, not even "little pencil neck Adam Schiff," who has vowed to continue investigations into Russian collusion and obstruction of justice. Ironically, the other resident legal export at Fox, Judge Nap, sided with Schiff, much to the chagrin of the Fox viewing audience that now considers poor Nap a sellout to the Left. Justice Jeanine has since reasserted her role as the leading legal expert on Fox, as unapologetic as ever after her little fallout over her disparaging remarks about Ilhan Omar's turban. Sorry, here's the actual clip. Hard to tell the difference sometimes.
We don't need a comedy about a chocolate king as president, as they have in Ukraine, we have a 24/7 reality show with its own laugh track. Trump is in full campaign mode, going after everybody and everything. He showed his disdain for "windmills," wondering out loud what happens when the wind stops blowing, christening himself an expert after his 30-second soundbite.
Zelenskiy could only wish he had that much freedom to express himself, even in his sitcom, which you can watch on Netflix. There's nothing new about the theme. Servant of the People is a Ukrainian parody of West Wing. Zelenskij is backed by the Russian Jewish producer of the show, Igor Kolomoisky, who currently resides in Israel to avoid facing trial in Ukraine over charges of bank fraud. Kolomoisky is also bankrolling Julija Timoshenko's presidential bid, pretty much assured one of them will face Poroshenko in a run-off next month. Russia helps by keeping Ukraine's civil war going in the Donbass region, which has taken a heavy toll on the country.
For Trump the war is with Mexico, threatening to close the border if Congress and the US courts don't stop trying to block his national emergency. It doesn't matter that Mexico has nothing to do with Trump's border crisis. Most of the asylum seekers come from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, but in the eyes of Trump and his Magaheads, "what's the diff?"
All the chaos Trump stirs up isn't helping the economy, which has slowed considerably since its high last summer of a 4.2% increase in GDP. 2018 closed out at 2.2 per cent, and looks like the first quarter of 2019 will be even worse. Most economists see a recession ahead, but don't tell Trump that. He's still gloating over last summer's high.
Anytime you wonder how much lower Trump can reduce the office of the presidency, he shows you he still can. Whether it is chiming in on the Jussie Smollett case or deciding to recognize the disputed Golan Heights as part of Israel to boost his friend Bibi in the upcoming parliamentary elections or lashing out at dead senators, Trump finds a way to continuously lower the bar. His attacks against his new archnemesis Adam Schiff only reveal how insecure he is about the Mueller Report being made public. Like his tax returns, Trump has no intention of letting this report see the light of day lest he be revealed a total fraud.
What good will he might have gotten over Barr's summary of the report was quickly undercut by his extrajudicial attempts to kill "Obamacare" and his budgetary proposals to gut Medicare and Medicaid. Health care looms large in the 2020 elections and Trump handed the Democrats their favorite talking point, much to Republicans' chagrin.
If this is going "full animal," then the Republicans have a lot to worry about come next November. It is best to keep such animals caged and let them out only under highly supervised conditions. He may appeal to the base of the party but such audacious claims and executive orders don't play well on the broader public, which is always struggling to pay health insurance premiums.
Let Trump chase windmills or even make his pitch for the wall, but health care is not something to be tampered with, which every previous Republican president has learned the hard way. Republicans will also have a hard time holding onto their Senate majority, as they have 22 seats to protect this time around, not 9 like in 2018. Alas, Trump finds a way to chew through his leash and get out of the backyard, terrorizing the neighborhood at the most inopportune moments.
Even Vladimir Putin must be wondering if Trump is worth the trouble and if there are more stable American politicians he can buy through the NRA. He certainly has the chance to make Trump's life miserable by mobilizing troops to Venezuela and making US efforts to topple Maduro even more difficult. This was seen as a potential foreign policy coup for the Trump administration. Now, it is Syria all over again.
Anyway you look at it, Trump is cornered. He bides his time simply because it isn't worth the effort to impeach him. This is a reality show in its last full season and is destined for an ugly finish. In the meantime I will leave you with Olivia Newton John's classic refrain,
Let's get animal, animal
I wanna get animal
Let's get into animal
Let me hear your body talk
Let me hear your body talk