#613 Musings Beyond the Bunker (Tuesday March 21)
THE FIRST INDICTMENT IS COMING
Today is the day Donald Trump proclaimed last week that he will be “arrested.” One usually refers to this process as “indicted,” by why quibble? The Trump victimization machine is running full-blast, attacking the character of the New York District Attorney, spinning webs of unproven conspiracy theories, downplaying the wrongdoing and encouraging his supporters to take to the streets and protest. No doubt Mr. Trump understands the ramifications of these admonitions.
The author of the “will be wild” proclamations before the January 6th violence, provides the following on his social media account (capitalization and punctuation is that of the author):
“THE FAR & AWAY LEADING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE & FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK. PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!”
That last call to action seems ominous enough. He is calling for protests and he is instructing his followers to “take our nation back” (one presumes by force but perhaps this is mere hyperbole). Perhaps this time, however, his troops grow tired of the endless protests he demands, the incitements he makes, and the victimization he claims. Perhaps they have seen through his fundraising as the con game it is. We shall see. But there is little doubt indictments are on the way…how people respond will be interesting, to say the least.
This won’t be the only indictment. This is only a small matter—the payment of hush money and the attempt to violate campaign finance laws. The other indictments will address matters of greater consequence. This is merely Round One.
DONALD TRUMP, ONCE AGAIN WITH FEELING…
While we’re on the subject of the former President, a little more…
As we all witnessed the debacle that was January’s election of the Speaker of the House, I wonder how many of you shared with me the incredulity that, in the midst of all this, Donald Trump was making cell phone calls to members of the House.
What is it with this guy? It’s like the carnival game of “Wac-a-mole.” Every time he is put down—whether electoral defeat, judicial decision, grand jury investigation, legal settlement, exposure of lies, or personal humiliation—he’s back again…and again…and again…
1. He says he’s smart. Yet I think even his followers don’t even attempt this argument any more.
2. He says he’s educated. Yet he apparently took few classes in (or recalled nothing from) history, political science, English, economics, writing and rhetoric, logic, or science.
3. He says he’s brilliant in business. Yet he’s lost hundreds of millions, as his tax returns show. He is correct that he doesn’t pay much in taxes. Much of his income derived from his father’s legacy. The tax returns showed us exactly what we expected and which he sought to cover up.
4. He says he is charitable. Yet his foundation was mismanaged for personal gain and settled with the New York Attorney General regarding inappropriate expenditures. Despite claims that he took no salary, his tax returns note that, notwithstanding his assurances to the contrary, he took his government salary as president. And despite assurances that he was making meaningful charitable contributions throughout his presidency, he made few charitable contributions while in office (or before).
5. He says he tells the truth. Oh, wait, he actually never has claimed this. The evidence to the contrary is far too great.
6. Throughout the 2016. Campaign and his four year term in office, he promised that he had a better plan for health care. Yet he never provided it during his four years in the White House, or since.
7. He claimed he had a better way to deal with Iran. He pulled out of the joint agreement without anything in its place. He proffered nothing. In the meantime, without an agreement, the Iranian nuclear program proceeds undeterred. There is no treaty.
8. He claimed he had a better way to deal with China. Yet, other than a trade war that we appear to have lost, he offered nothing. We left the Trans-Pacific Partnership, previously of bipartisan appeal, ceding the leading role in the South China Sea and in Asian markets to China.
9. He claimed a great relationship with Korea (including mutual “love notes”), yet their nuclear ambitions weren’t thwarted. There is no treaty.
In the meantime, his team lost over 60 cases in the courts over the non-existent claims of election fraud.
He’s likely to be indicted for several more crimes related to the attempt to thwart the Georgia election results and pressure government officials to manipulate these results, witness tampering, defrauding lenders in New York, inciting violence and violating his oath in connection with the January 6th uprising, attempts to circumvent the election with “false electors” and other schemes he knew to be false, and the retention, mismanagement, claims of ownership, and lies about top secret documents.
So what’s this man’s appeal? Why do so many kowtow to this charlatan, one of the worst presidents in one of our most fraught times? The only presidents adjudged by historians to share the bottom of the heap with Mr. Trump are Andrew Johnson, Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan, all associated with the advent of the Civil War and anti-reconstruction policies thereafter.
I think it Mr. Trump’s continuing appeal is that he articulates the anger, vitrol and sense of grievance of a segment of the population. This anger need not have much rational basis and need not have policy prescriptions. It just has to be indignant and consistent. His very outrageousness and unfiltered anger seems enough to provide a central organizing node for what essentially are obstructionists, xenophobes and anarchists of the modern variety.
Perhaps the Republicans will finally throw off the yoke of Trump and move on. Perhaps we can be presented with clear policy differences—rather than personal differences—between the two parties. These differences would, one would hope, still be based upon shared common values.
THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING
It is the end of Winter. Spring is here. Huzzah!
Ten days until baseball season begins. USC’s Spring Scrimmage is just weeks away. And, because it’s Spring, it means the celebrations of Passover and Easter are just around the corner.
Have a great day,
From the archives: