|“The President For All The People (Who Voted For Him)”, the new TV comedy series, is struggling in out-of-town tryouts before taking center stage in Washington in January.
TPFATPWVFH, to coin an acronym almost as clumsy as the new production, stars former “Apprentice” bully Donald Trump. Unsure how to adapt his Billionaire Boss character to the role of a sitting President of the United States, the Titan of Real Estate Titles has so far proved inept in the new role, wholly ill-suited to its demands and nuances. We’ve watched the preliminary, pre January 20th performances of the new Trumpsters production and so far, instead of seeing the low go high, we’re witnessing the high standards and principals of governance in the world’s most successful democracy brought down to a level of crass commercialism, bumbling public communications, and administrative cronyism.
Not surprisingly, given the raw ignorance of the star and his cast of novice players, the initial out-of-town tryouts mostly centered on the Trump Tower in New York, where early mistakes and sluggish performances would not be so easily noticed by the general audience.
Then we saw the next stage of the tryout process, a series of “Thank You, Suckers” rallies, beginning in Cincinnati, and continuing in seven states that Trump carried, or rather, which helped carry Trump and his traveling circus of a candidacy to victory. Surprise, not! We saw the same thoughtless crowds wearing the same empty hats cheer the same pointless, incoherent Trumpian rambles through the fogbank of his uniquely incommunicable thoughts.
These attempts to engender some public enthusiasm for his imminent takeover of Federal power went nowhere. Which, concluded Trump, was the fault of the news media. But attacking these proven enemies of Trumpiness has largely failed, resulting only in louder and more frequent calls for the traditional and now anti-American “news conference”. Horrors! A public, televised forum where Trump would actually have to allow his critics to ask embarrassing questions that he was expected to answer, in freaking cogent sentences! Our new President would have to reveal himself to be incapable of understanding an issue, and incapable of commenting on it in a manner that did not reveal him to have the mental faculties of an intellectually challenged twelve-year old schoolyard bully.
As Christmas approached, the Trumps and their hangers-on escaped to Mar-A -Lago in Florida, and faced their own reality: the new TPFATPWVFH TV show was nearing launch, and was already threatening to be a dud.
Like every successful charlatan before him, Trump saw that his notion of reaching out was failing given his smallish hands. Undaunted by the real rejection of his fake reality, he, like his lying predecessors, opted for the proven strategy of misdirection: if your audience is looking right through you and doesn’t like what it sees, or, in Trump’s case, what it doesn’t see, then make them look at something over there, close enough to get their attention, but not close enough to be easily understood.
With true theatrical flair, Trump selected as the object for his misdirection strategy the very Master of Modern Misdirection, none other than Razzamatazz Putin.
|For weeks, Trump’s pro-Putin tweets and random interjections into U.S.-Russian foreign relations have mesmerized, befuddled, outraged, and distracted the TV media, the Democrats, the National Security Establishment, the pundits, the Republicans not busy rewriting Obama’s history, and, we’ll bet, the Russians. (But not the army of Trump supporters, whom we may safely assume do not bother watching any news that they themselves haven’t made.)
To be fair, the Putin Gambit has enjoyed mild success. Not because we’ve seen true public comprehension of the current and likely future state of our relations with the Russian kleptocracy, but because Trump’s critics and doubters have pretty much stopped discussing the scope and direction of his incoming administration, and the mostly hidden machinations of Ryan and Mitchell and the Koch Brothers as they prepare to declare a backwards-facing social revolution.
Trump’s chaotic obfuscation of our real reality with his fake one has largely succeeded, in short, and this is the real news these first days of 2017. As darkly comic as Trump’s stumbling attempts to act like a President are, people need to understand this is no joke: we’ve decided as a country that our government is not capable of governing, and have replaced it with a TV show. In the broader perspective, we’ve chosen to substitute a gang of buffoons and bumblers and venal billionaires for the principled practitioners of public policy.
The wonderful irony underlying the new show’s episodes will be that the characters in TPFATPWVFH turn out to be just as incompetent and corrupt as the real-life politicos, corporate grafters, and more-conservative-than-thou right wingers who’ve utterly paralyzed America over most of the past 16 years. The incoming cast of characters will very likely prove incapable of getting anything done, same as the government we’ve had for the past six years. Sure, they’ll do damage, but, it probably won’t be more than the damage done by Speaker Ryan and Leader McConnell since they won control of Congress in 2010. Laughable, sure, but hopefully not a tragedy for the country.
Our obsolete Constitution has given us this looming theatrical flop where high drama deteriorates into low comedy. And soon, that same precious Constitution will deliver the Supreme Court even further into the clutches of the great corporations and their One Percent owners. That same Constitution is about to hand unlimited power to start wars all over the map — like the war dreamed of by Bannon, Stone, and Alex Jones, the mad men whispering in Trump’s easily confused ear — the war to end all wars, or at least, these fanatics fervently hope, all Islam. That same Constitution will soon make it possible for a sitting U.S. President to enrich himself and his cronies to the tune of billions, while the great majority, the ninety-nine percent of us, foot the bill.
With one national Constitutional act, we really have made our government a reality show, with a contract set to run at least four years. For the next four years, we’ll get a nightly diet of media stories showing the world’s most powerful democracy attempting to “go forward” by marching in the other direction, as the Trump cabinet and its allies in Congress overturn everything progressive we’ve accomplished since Lyndon Johnson.
Our collective failure to update our Constitution over the past seventy-five years has delivered us into the hands of an utterly immoral, incompetent, immature, spiteful monster, the very apparition of avarice. Soon, probably within months of “The President For All The People Whatever” show’s inauguration, the dramatic question will be: can our Constitution, which produced this clown cavalcade, stop the production from burning down the theater?