Former President Donald Trump and a Truly “Bully” Pulpit
As terrible as it is to have this moron as President of the United States for the next three years plus change, I suspect that we will survive. Barring a war with N Korea, I am almost certain he will serve only one term, having discovered that there isn’t that much money to be made as a sitting president.
We have a resilient nation. After all, we survived James Buchanan’s one-term presidency. Okay, his presidency (in which he did almost nothing to alleviate the growing tensions in the nation) did set the stage for the cataclysmic brutality of the American Civil War.
Our nation (led by Lincoln) was left to clean up the mess that Buchanan largely ignored, but the national hurricane that Lincoln faced had its roots buried deeply in American soil before Buchanan took office.
President Grant (1868-1876), always thought the most powerful seeds of the Civil War were really sown in the Mexican-American war (1846-1848), not by Buchanan. It was a war where Grant fought gallantly, but one he abhorred. He believed that war gave the slave states a vision of coast-to-coast expansion for their “peculiar institution” and for its existence in perpetuity. Lincoln objections to that expansion were the match that lit the fuse on the Rebellion.
If one doubts this, remember the Knights of the Golden Circle and their grand plan. These noble fellows, prior to the Rebellion, called for the creation of a “golden circle” of slave territories that extended from Texas down through central America and circled back across the ocean to encompass Cuba and other island territories before it completed the circle of slave chains with a line back to Florida.
The heart of the Golden Circle was formed in the Mexican war. It was, after all, Elkanah Greer, future general in the army of the Confederate States of America, who organized 21 “castles” and 4,000 knights in Texas and Louisiana. Oh, and remember that Greer served with Jefferson Davis and his Mississippi Volunteers in the Mexican-American War.
Sorry for drifting from the mains issue here, but new leaders must always deal with the misdeeds and miscalculations of previous presidents. Trump’s pseudo-populism and his evident racism have allowed those despicable emotions, which we have largely kept simmering beneath a boil among a non-trivial proportion of our society, to rise up as seemingly meaningful aspects of American culture.
Angry white guys have been around for a good while now; they basically see the world as a zero-sum game, where any benefit that goes to others comes out of their empty pockets. These folks are not going away anytime soon, but we all need to remember that they are maybe 1/3 of the Republican party electorate. Their ascendancy in 2017 was a fluke.
More important that those Bozos, someone will need to reinstate all those Obama era policies that DJT has so happily reversed. Seriously, don’t be surprised if he kills a Thanksgiving turkey on the White House lawn for Fox News, just because Obama pardoned one there. His antipathy to that “outsider’s” presidency is that intense and mindless.
Putting the issues noted above aside, most former presidents fade into the woodwork after they leave office. The presidential authors (e.g., Buchanan, Hoover, and Nixon) of serious misdeeds and miscalculations have almost always slipped beneath the pages of history after their errors and miscalculations.
Look at the Bush presidents, Clinton, and Obama. They each find ways to occupy their time after leaving office without endlessly assailing the public with their visage or their pontifications. Poppy Bush took up sky-diving and trying to provide enough flame for a thousand points of light. George W is painting and not that well I fear. Clinton immediately started piling up book deals, speaking fees, and feeding the Clinton Foundation. Obama seems so far to be hooking book deals and speaking fees, while leaning a bit toward some not-for-profit enterprise.
Unfortunately, that is not what I expect for our future with the current occupant of the White House. I fear that what we must look forward to is the possibility of a former president, no matter how disastrous his term and his policies or how low his approval rating, who will constantly seek all the limelight that Fox News and all the rest of the media reserve for former presidents. Barring a fatal illness, we will have in our future, for at least an additional decade, an inability to ban that orange visage from our video devices.
He will tweet; he will give interviews; he will issue statements about everything his successors do or don’t do. He will tout his “huuge” accomplishments and belittle whatever his successors do. He will seek out every possible opportunity to feed his ego. All that he does do will be ideology-free, but it will, like his current pronouncements, be the truly objectionable self-promotion, self-aggrandizement, and venomous Neolithic tripe that feeds his narcissistic soul and makes his diehard supporters ready to “kick some ass.”
Four years now seems almost intolerable. But, remember that HRC won the popular vote by almost 2 million votes. DJT won with less than 80,000 votes in key states. I doubt that Democratic strategist will make that mistake again. So, I expect a D to take the White House in 2020, if they can keep the D primaries from being a circular firing squad. I think we will all be able to drink a toast after the next presidential election, rather than drown our sorrows. But, that will not be the end of DJT.
We need to remember that the continual playing of loud, metal or hair band music was a part of the enhanced interrogation techniques we now see as torture. But, having to listen to this self-aggrandizing asshat for a decade and a half, at a minimum, seems like the horrible type of experience that I am sure the World Court in The Hague would judge to be torture. I’ll admit that 15 years of Trumpisms versus 15 years of continually listening to “We are the Champions” at high volume seems more humane, to me, than having to listen to DJT for the next decade and one-half.
Of course, the only thing that might stem the flow of that obnoxious verbiage would be an impeachment or a criminal conviction with a prison term. He would continue to bloviate, but all he would talk about is how unjust it all was. He will not be able to stop himself. Remember, he is still pissed about stories about the size of the crowd at his inauguration. But, his attempts to cry “foul!” over how he was treated by the courts or congress. That is not a topic that I doubt will keep the news channels attention for long.
We can only hope. There are, after all, only a limited number of times over the next 15 years that you can substitute Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Comedy Central for MSNBC.