I originally planned to write a post about Donald Trump called F is for Fatuous, Not Fascist. Then he went farther than even he had gone before with his latest bombast. I still think the Nazi/Hitler analogies are overwrought and inapposite: Hitler was a true believer and Trump makes shit up on the fly. If we must go there, Trump’s latest bit of demagogy is more reminiscent of Mussolini who was an opportunist without a plan. He swung from the pacifist far Left to the warmongering far Right at the drop of a top hat in order to obtain power. Like Trump, Il Duce was once a very popular figure in the US and A. And like Trump, Il Duce was winging it.
Trump’s tendency to spout off and utter unfiltered bullshit is the most alarming thing about his candidacy, not his ideology. The Insult Comedian has no ideology: the only thing he believes in is himself and the roar of the crowd. The last thing a country with the world’s largest military needs is a guy who wings it as the Oval One. Impulse control is a very important quality for any President to have. The Insult Comedian has none, he’s like the kid who eats all his Halloween candy in one sitting and wonders why he’s puking his guts out.
Presidents without impulse control tend to get us into big trouble. The most recent example was W and his Mesopotamian misadventure, but Nixon nearly intervened in the Yom Kippur War whilst in a drunken stupor. Tricky Dick obviously had no impulse control. Then there was the most overrated President in American history: Andrew Jackson. Old Hickory woke up mad and got angrier as the day progressed. Oddly enough, Jack Kennedy had NO impulse control in his private life but was cautious where it mattered.
I must admit to a bit of schadenfreude over the MSM’s hand wringing over Trump’s frontrunner status. They helped to create this monster by giving him such lavish free coverage, and allowing this silly billy to call into their teevee shows willy nilly. It fed his massive ego and made him almost the equal, in terms of coverage, to the sitting President. It’s what Fox had in mind, CNN and the rest just stumbled blindly into the Trumpian trap or is that temptation?
The reason Trump is still riding high is that, like any good demagogue, he’s tapped into the dark underbelly of the American psyche. The Republican base has been primed for this sort of nonsense ever since the Goldwater campaign in 1964. Yes, it’s been that long in coming. It’s why a substantial slice of GOP voters are doing the most outrageous thing imaginable and telling pollsters they support a rich, obnoxious Insult Comedian with no impulse control.
I saw an interesting piece on MSNBC the other night. The reporter was asking Trumpites if they still supported him after the ban Muslims flap. There was much reaffirmation of fealty followed by statements like this, “He speaks his mind. He says what he believes.” Wrong. He says what YOU believe and speaks YOUR mind. He’s a wingnut weathervane.
Despite being a narcissistic windbag who never shuts the fuck up, Trump has an uncanny knack for reading people and telling them what they want to hear. Trump only believes in Trump: he doesn’t give a shit what some redneck in Alabama thinks. He’s a pander bear in true believer drag. It’s like the Kinks song, he gives the people what they want:
I’m not exactly sure how the whole Trump phenomenon will play out. It reminds me of something Robert Kennedy once said about Nixon reflecting “the dark side of the American soul.” The only question is how many people are willing to follow Trump off the cliff and into a general election rout. I still think Trump’s WWF bad guy style approach will blow up in his face sooner rather than later, BUT there is a chance that he will be the Republican nominee if I’m wrong about that. As cynical as I come off, I don’t think there are as many hardcore assholes out there who are willing to turn the nuclear suitcase over to this bozo as some people seem to think. As Trump himself might say: HE’S A LOSER.
Since the Insult Comedian was originally the creation of the tabloids, I’ll give the New York Daily News the last word:
INSTANT UPDATE: While I was working on this piece, Josh Marshall posted Know Your Fascist Dictators comparing Trump to Mussolini. Great minds and all that jazz.
5 thoughts on “Winging It With The Insult Comedian”
I watched the first segment this morning on the Toady Show. They were running around with their hair on fire about Donald Trump, running footage of his rallies, and twice showing that old goat talking about “Who’s cutting off people’s heads? . . . It’s not the Christians. It’s not the Jewish [sic]. It’s not the Buddhists. It’s the Muslims!” Then, turning to look into the camera, smugly asked, “Did you get all that, sport?”
The closed the segment with the original chucktodd to come on and calm everyone down, saying that Trump didn’t have the political organization to win the Republican nomination, but if he ran as an independent, it would hand the election to Clinton on a silver platter.
My takeaway was that NBC’s gast is ultra-flabbered that this circus barker is leading the race for a major party nomination. They of course, didn’t mention that it’s been the National Broadcasting Company that has employed Trump for several years, granting him fawning interviews and uncritical coverage so that he had a base (exposure, name familiarity, credibility) from which to launch his voyage of a thousand ships of fools.
The popular media can’t help themselves. They’re addicted to the sideshow, and Trump is their crack. Trump doesn’t have to spend any money on ads, he’s his own ad, and the major outlets run those ads free-gratis several times a day. Then they run it one more time, and stroke their chins and wonder why Trump gets so much air time.
Blogger Driftglass, who guest posted here some time back, also compared Trump to Mussolini, and came up with a pretty spot on description: Il Douche. And I agree with you and gratuitous that the media has a Trump addiction. They need him as much or more than he needs them.
Sure, he represents some 20-30 percent of a major political party. I’m guessing they’ve always been there, and don’t much care about the Constitution, except when it suits them (2nd and 10th Amendments). I’m not a total cynic yet, so I think/hope they’re ultimately outnumbered (some Repugs are already saying they’ll accept Hillary Clinton, either by voting, or with Bob Dole, by sleeping in on election day), anyway, yeah, I’d call these folks proto if not literal fascists, at least to the extent that their concept of government is mostly to punish anyone they hate.
They’re also wrestling fans, and I think of Trump’s candidacy as wrestling hype taken to the campaign trail. That said, it’s more dangerous than wrestling, since with the crowded field, he’s actually got a chance to win the nomination. But again, you’ve gotta hope the larger public isn’t so crazy as to actually vote him in…
Damn, Steve Bell is good.
1964 is actually a pretty good analogy for today’s Republican race. The so-called moderates of the day, the neoliberal business class, wanted and expected Rockefeller to run away with the nomination, and were completely flummoxed by the Goldwater movement, the Bircher wackos supporting Goldwater were bugfuck nuts, so much so that even Goldwater tried–unsuccessfully–to distance himself from them. Greatly different cast of characters and context today, but similar dynamics, especially with regard to the purity tests that seem to dominate today. Same-same then.
Then, too, the Republican establishment simply didn’t recognize or understand the monster they’d created. They literally started the red scare and redbaiting with the 1946 Congressional campaign, even then equating Democrats with commies through the use of the slogan, “Communism vs. Republicanism.” They used McCarthy to cultivate some serious right-wing sentiment in the country–until he went way too far, and then they politically disappeared him (shades of what happened to Little Boots). However, McCarthy may have been gone, but the right-wing sentiment lingered on and grew into the Goldwater campaign.
They seem not to pay attention to their own history. Didn’t they even ponder the possibility that demonizing the Democrats and dogwhistling to the authoritarian followers for more than two decades was going to attract more than a few creeps and crazies?
as i’ve posted elsewhere, this line from “The American President” seems prescient:
“…whatever your particular problem is, I promise you, Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who’s to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections.”
how we forget. WHITE CHRISTIANS have been using all manners of torture & head removal during the inquisition years. + god know what was done during the crusades.
isay the nekkid yrumperor is the pied piper of the fuzian monsters.
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