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Monday, December 11, 2017

“You can’t make this stuff up!” is an all-purpose punch line to point out something in reality that’s so absurd that a punch line would shrivel in comparison. And it’s become a sort of a mantra for observers of the Trump Administration who are having trouble coming up with a punch line as ridiculous as the Secret Service spending $35,000 on golf carts to babysit the 70-year old president in about three months as Trump’s budget would gut federal funding for hungry seniors on Meals on Wheels.

Of course, all of this was not only predictable, it was predicted.

We were told that Trump could be baited, possibly into a nuclear war, with a tweet. We’d been warned that his campaign’s strange ties and allegiances with Russia, already codified with a change to the GOP platform in Putin’s favor, likely indicated something more nefarious. His policies always read like a George W. Bush-redux but with extra strength racism, misogyny and Islamophobia. And Trump’s rank incompetence and ability to dance from failure to failure sucking in gains while ripping off everyone in his wake was obvious in his business record, which included a class action lawsuit he settled for $25 million right before taking office.

But nothing prepared me for Trump’s schtick about his first 100 days.

Yes, a president’s first 100 days is an arbitrary marker we’ve inherited from Franklin D. Roosevelt, who swept into office after years of the Great Depression determined to make his personal optimism manifest in legislation and executive action.

It was “unlike anything known to American history,” historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. wrote.

Lyndon Johnson’s 100 days intentionally summoned FDR’s spirit to similar effect and in his first 100 days, Barack Obama took steps to prevent a Greater Depression, to rescue and renew the American auto industry, and to create a green energy revolution that will pay dividends in Teslas and better solar panels for generations. (Obama, unlike Trump, also played no golf in his first 100 days.)

In that spirit, as his campaign floundered last October, Trump went to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to lay out “Donald Trump’s Contract With The American Voter,” which stated his “100-day action plan to Make America Great Again.”.

Anyone who knows Donald Trump’s record expects him to welch on any contract he makes, but — hey — at that point, before James Comey got his closeup, did even Don expect Don to win?

And Trump’s first 100 days have gone even worse, legislatively at least, than anyone expected.

He hasn’t jammed Democrats on any significant issues and his only “victories” are a series of reversals of Obama policies that include enabling oil companies to take money from foreign governments, coal companies to pollute rivers, and Internet service providers to track and sell your browsing history. These bills only required Republican votes in both Houses of Congress and were often signed in private because they would have shown the public that he stands entirely “with the Republican establishment he lampooned during his campaign,” as Politico Magazine‘s Mike Grunwald explains.

Yes, Trump is doing untold damage to our environment and the climate while assailing our tourism industry and terrorizing law-abiding undocumented immigrants who, unlike him, would love to pay taxes. And yes, he’s put together a cabinet that is simultaneously the richest and least qualified for public service in American history.

But there isn’t one promise in his 100-day contract he’s fulfilled.

In fact, his only accomplishments worth boasting about were some good jobs numbers and a Supreme Court appointment. Accomplishments, as the Washington Post‘s Dave Weigel pointed out, he inherited from Barack Obama.

Trump’s only talent, it seems, is inheriting things he doesn’t deserve, which makes him apoplectic when it’s time for his success to be compared against people who actually earned theirs.

Yes, there’s a Trump tweet that contradicts everything Trump says or does. The Daily Show‘s Dan Amira noted that “if Trump randomly, like, tripped on a squirrel or something we’d find an old tweet of his saying only fat losers trip on squirrels.”

But I have to say that Trump’s sudden whining about “the ridiculous standard of the first 100 days” was precious beyond my ability to hold water in my mouth, provoking the first unintentional spit take of my life.

This happened when CNN showed a clip of Trump introducing his 100-day plan in Gettysburg by saying, “It is a contract between myself and the American voter — and begins with restoring honesty, accountability, and change to Washington.”

Talk about a ridiculous standard. And never forget how that very speech began with him promising to sue all the women who had accused him of harassment and/or assault after the emergence of the Access Hollywood tape — another promise he flaked on.

All of this is beyond parody. And it’s beyond parody’s power to stop it.

If pointing out Trump’s rank ridiculousness, contradictory tweets, and the hypocrisy of Bible-theme slot machine had sufficient effect on withering Trump’s core support or compelling Republicans into doing even basic oversight, he would never have gotten past his failed Reform Party run for president in 2000.

Alec Baldwin has called Trump “the first satire-resistant president.” If this is true it’s because Trump is far more effective at bending reality, as With Friends Like These‘s Ana Marie Cox keeps saying, than any American politician that has come before him. This comes from his unrelenting combination of the dog-whistle racist demagoguery combined with the subliminal salesman schtick Trump mastered from decades of learning how to rip off people who should know better

No, satire and parody won’t be enough to stop this guy. Our only option is to take the risks he poses to our democracy seriously, deadly seriously. We overestimated the immune system of our society and suppressed the knowledge that the land of the free only truly began extending its full freedoms to minorities, women, and LGBTQ people in the last few decades.

Only by taking Trump absolutely seriously — by contesting every step of his agenda in marches, in town halls, in our reps offices, on the phones, and everywhere we can — have we kept him somewhat in check. Resisting Trump’s agenda relentlessly must be followed by proposing a better one that frame how division weakens us all and strengthens the ruling class. Still, the powers of the presidency are awesome and he likely has at least a baker’s dozen more 100 days left for him to undo the progress we’ve taken for granted here, and in other democracies.

Only an unrelenting, positive resistance will do, because that’s something you can’t just make up.

 

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Copyright 2017 The National Memo

7 Responses to It’s Beyond Parody How Beyond Parody Trump Is

  1. “The Walmart Presidency” is now open for business.

    Any ludicrous last-minute items to stock up on are available, at little or no cost except to the National Treasury.

    “Want oil-polluted water? This Walmart has it, folks. Need plenty of hydrocarbons to scent your entire household with that industrial smell? Yes, we’ve got that too. Hey kids!! Need a Steve Bannon(**) and/or Anne Coulter(**) mascot to show up and denigrate all minorities at your next birthday party or social outing, and pontificate on the philosophy and benefits of rabid Nationalism? You guessed it, we can provide them as rental items for the weekend—comes with anti-rabies kit.

    “So, whatever idiotic nick-knack you need to purchase, whenever you need any absurdities, or want that special insulting, groping, wireless Donald J. Trump robot, with size 20 shoes to match, we’ve got it. Come on down!!”

    **—(Void where prohibited, and not available on most University campuses)

  2. Thank you for such an accurate, and relevant, synopsis of Trump’s 100-day record. The only thing missing, and what should be most worrisome for all of us, is that despite his obvious ignorance, lies, and failures, 40% of Americans continue to support him, love him, and are convinced that he is doing a fantastic job making America great again. That’s the 40% that delivered the Electoral College victory that sent the most unqualified candidate in U.S. history to the Oval Office, and that same segment of our population that, if the trend continues, will re-elect him in 2020, and will elect Ivanka, the American Tzarina, president in 2024. The latter, by the way, is Trump’s greatest dream, and he believes is putting America first.

    • I suspect that many of Trump’s know-nothing voters assume that everything Trump has promised has already been delivered. They haven’t heard much about ISIS lately, so they figure Trump has gotten rid of that nuisance. That NK dictator, Kim Il Sung, is dead, and Trump did that. The carrier Carl Vinson, which has been tormenting NK for a couple of weeks now, has eliminated whatever threat NK has posed. ObamaCare is dead and has been replaced by Trump’s wonderful ACA, which they are now enjoying, except they don’t have to buy insurance now if they don’t want it. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have returned from China, er, Ghina, and their own jobs in the mines will be returning any day now. Taxes have been lowered, especially for the poor and the middle class, Mexicans have been deported by the millions, and there are no illegal (i.e., Muslim) immigrants coming into the country, thanks to Trump’s ban. Mosques are under constant surveillance, just as Trump promised, and the wall on the southern border is well underway and will be completed in just a couple of months–paid for by Mexico, just as Trump promised.

      The sad fact is that low-information people are not interested in what Trump has or has not done. They likely assume that edicts from Trump are immediately implemented since The President tells Congress what to do. After all, why would The President lie about these things? Trump is a wonderful man, unlike that dictator Obama (who lost the last election to Trump, by the way).

      • The opinion you expressed is likely to be close to reality in some segments of our society. I can tell you, without hesitation and based on comments made by some relatives and friends, that Trump continues to enjoy tremendous support from his followers. For most of them, the difference between Hillary and Trump is that she is a technocrat focused on specific issues of marginal interest to many Americans, and Trump conveyed a message of hope and optimism that even if it is not possible to accomplish it in its entirety, it reflects both the frustrations and aspirations of millions of Americans. The effective solutions she offered to some of the complex challenges we face were no match to the facile slogans and promises The Donald made to people thirsty for positive reinforcement. Unfortunately, it is not clear we have anyone ready to energize the Democratic base, and articulate a message of optimism that convinces mainstream Americans that the solution to the problems we face require skills, commitment, and lots of hard work; not hyperbole, lies, or distractions. BTW, I would not be surprised if Trump gets us in a real mess in North Korea to set aside the threat of ongoing investigations into his links to Russia.

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  3. Trump’s list of accomplishments at the end of a thousand days will pretty much resemble his current record. He has no plan, and wouldn’t know how to implement one if he did.

  4. so eay the DONNY DUMP CLOWN SHOW is to read >> any thing the DONNY DUMP CLOWN SHOW try’s to do to get the money to fix the roads bridges and to Fix America’s Infrastructure will come down to him using his brain dead and brain washed kids to try to tie into all the contracting it will take . (some how some con fraud and scamming way ) the DUMPSTER is so easy to read in the greedy clowns mind he thinks for $1 trillion it will cost maybe to do the job (even more he will be happier ) him thinking if he can pull off one of his frauds con’s and scam’s and even have his clown kids work it so thy can even get a small percentage of the total price would be big buck he can scam out say even just 1 percent % of a $ 1 trillion is $$10 billion dollars . thinking if he can only get a 1/2 (half ) of a % percent that’s still $ 5 billion dollars . but knowing the GREEDY DONNY DUMP CLOWN he will be going for a higher percentage . and he has done this kind of con dealings all his life he gets in the middle of big contracting like what ever he hands his hands in with hotels and or any kind on construction building deals . with his hands in the middle not only can the DUMPSTER CLOWN fraud con and scam money (more then likely off the top ) but then he will pull his slimy move and just wont pay contractors that did their jobs he will stiff them . drag the case’s out for years then at the end settle for a much lesser payment . and then at the end the greedy scum bag will make sure with the lower payout he will make sure he only pays if thy sign a discloser agreement . when thy cant say anything about the whole screwing deal thy had to make to get the less payment for the work thy did . one can look and maybe see the scum at the bottom of the barrel bus still wont be able to see THE DONNY DUMP CLOWN SHOW for the DUMPSTER is under that scum at the bottom of the barrel

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