Saturday, March 05, 2016


Did I tell you or did I tell you that, aside from being an arrogant, off-putting asshole, Donald Trump is just plain fucking weird? I doubt if any of your political bookmaking sites had "insists during debate that dick size is sufficient" for any of the candidates. That in response to Rubio making fun of Trump's hands, which as we all know is an ancient Spy magazine joke that took up residence under Trump's amazingly thin skin over a quarter-century ago.

Only Trump could take a jibe about short fingers, and not only extrapolate it into a cock reference, but pretend he doesn't know whence the meme originated, as if a goodly number of people weren't aware that he's been obsessing about it all these years. Seriously, what's wrong with this fucking guy? He never gets tired of telling you how impossibly wealthy, intelligent, happy and perfect he and his family are, and yet he gets immensely butt-hurt over the slightest slights.

This is certainly the most entertaining campaign season in my lifetime, if also one of the more disconcerting. Most people don't bother tuning into debates until the general election, because primary debates are, almost by definition, a complete circle-jerk, where a set of candidates from a single party attempt to drag each other down by parsing arcane bits of internal orthodoxy. Trump has blown that stale paradigm wide open with a variety of stunts, the implication of Mitt Romney sucking Trump's ginormous swinging dick being just the latest.

Surely this is all a blow to decorum, the pundits huff and snort, unbefitting the dignity of this esteemed process. These debates are supposed to hew to traditional principles of courteous discourse and intellectual probity, you see.

Obviously, that's a steaming tub of horseshit. As bad as Trump is -- and make no mistake, friends 'n' neighbors, he'd be a fucking terrible city alderman, much less the President of the United States of America -- the rest of them are at least as bad, probably worse. As is the process itself. It's really just an ongoing dog-and-pony show where millionaire whores stand in a row and talk blithely about bleeding the public dry for their corporate sponsors, dropping bombs indiscriminately on inconvenient brown people in spots most 'murkins can't pronounce or find on a map, and generally posing and posturing with varying levels of insincerity and opacity.

In his way, whether he has meant to or not, Trump has helpfully deconstructed much of these hidebound tropes. Oh, he's happy to do all those terrible things the other guys want to do, but because he is after all a (short-fingered) vulgarian, he is therefore vulgar enough to adopt those positions as openly and aggressively as possible. This is completely unacceptable to the owner/donor class, who consider politics an investment strategy, and like nice safe muni-bond type pols (like Rubio) to sink their money into.

As ridiculous and debasing as Trump's dick jokes were, what was worse was how, after weeks of ankle-biting and trying to paint him (accurately) as a fraud, a con-man, and a tacky dickhead, the other three monkeys on the stage still said they would support Trump if (when) he wins the nomination. I don't think they understand how people will perceive that, especially from Rubio, who went after Trump on his "university" and passionately painted him as a scam artist at best, most likely something of a white-collar criminal.

So what does that tell people, little Marco, when you call a guy a criminal, and less than an hour later in the same event, declare that, yeah, he might be a crook, but if he wins our party's nomination, he's my crook? And we thought Trump had no principles.

The irony of all this, of course, is that that pledge is a direct result of the oath they all took last fall, mostly to make sure Trump didn't go rogue after getting laughed out of the primaries and try a third-party run. Obviously it turned out much differently than anyone thought; it's turning out like the old Gandhi chestnut, much to these assholes' chagrin. And frankly, given the way the party elders have openly conspired against him, most honest observers would understand if Trump abrogated the pledge and went third-party anyway, if it came to that. And it might; a brokered, nasty convention seems to be on the horizon for the Goopers. Get ready for innumerable "Cleveland Steamer" riffs.

It seems that we are on the verge of witnessing a once-in-more-than-a-lifetime event -- the dissolution of a major political party in this country. Call it an unraveling, an implosion, whatever, but it's happening in slow motion, the destruction of something we assumed less than a year ago was a stable (if corrupt) institution. This is a rare thing. Treasure it, observe it closely, act on it where possible. The demolition may be uncontrolled, but collectively we might be able to affect where the rubble falls. It's all in how you work the pinball machine with your hips. But mainly enjoy it for the precious rare thing that it is:  a bunch of spoiled assholes eating each other. Trump is accelerating the process, but it should be clear that he is a symptom of the party's decline, not the cause.

Getting back to the debate, Trump also displayed a sudden chameleonic flexibility with almost all of the core positions he's espoused for nine months -- immigration, torture, health care, etc. His idiot supporters should take note, while in the midst of their populist glossolalia -- the man cannot be relied on for anything. Like everything else in this hopelessly abased process, he is simply taking things to their logical extreme. You think politicians are untrustworthy, you think they are a class of people who will say and do anything to get elected, you ain't seen nothin' yet. Situational ethics are the peach-swirl helmet-hair of the spray-tanned Trump golem.

What the Motor City Mud Match demonstrated for me is how callow and empty these people really are. All of them -- yes, even Kasich; just because he's too much of a wuss to mix it up doesn't make him any less of an asshole. Go check out the job he's done in Ohio and imagine him doing that to the rest of the country. Dipshit "austerity" governors such as Kasich and Bobby Jindal can go fuck themselves.

Come to think of it, the citizens of Ohio and Louisiana can go fuck themselves as well. They could have had Ted Strickland and Mitch Landrieu, respectively, and went with Kasich and Jindal. Kansas too, in re-electing that other shithead Brownback. It is incorrect to opine that by referring to idiots as such, one is placing oneself above them; one is merely observing with accuracy the consequences of not paying attention to the world around them.

Some of us take the trouble to inform ourselves from as many reliable sources as possible; maybe they ought to turn off the Chrisley Knows Best and Bachelor marathons once in a while and do the same, or eat the results. I cannot muster sympathy for people who are either too lazy to show up to vote, or too ignorant to stop voting against their own rational self-interest. They deserve to twist in the wind of their own making.

A substantial part of the reason we're in the mess we're in, as far as being on the verge of being governed completely by radicals and poltroons, is that the hopey-changey crowd from 2008 forgot to show up in 2010, and then again in 2014. Yes, you dumb assholes, we have midterm elections as well. You know who shows up to those? Fucking cranky old bastards who keep thumbsuckers like Louie Gohmert in office. They have nothing better to do. Get your fucking shit together already, for Christ's sake.

Ambition can be a good thing, done correctly and for the right reasons. But as we saw in Detroit, pure ambition for its own sake is one of humanity's uglier traits. There's nothing more bizarre than watching a soulless punk like Rubio trot some worthy smackdown on a richly deserving asshole, and then close his argument with a "yeah, he's an unprincipled cocksucker, but I'll endorse him if it comes to it."

Hillary Clinton has had that kind of nasty ambition as well, the kind that makes normal humans recoil from the sheer opportunism. To her credit, she is at least making token attempts to soften that particular edge, sensing correctly that the electorate is in no mood for self-serving bullshit. But her cynical "mistakes" are too recent, too venal, too stupid to engender any real passion. People will vote for her as a means of voting against her opponent, nothing more.

Look, maybe all the "scandals" arrayed against HRC by her opponents are mere fiction and hot air; in fact, I believe most of them are just that. But again, someone who has claimed persecution for 25 years needs to stop finding ways to add to her ever-growing stack of so-called nothing-burgers. You know? If you're the Secretary of State, and you don't think the email server is secure enough, then get people to fix that problem. Because you're the fucking Secretary of State. You can do that. You don't have to have someone set you up with your own server, especially since, because you're the fucking Secretary of State, you might have to deal with classified or top secret pieces of intel. And don't get me started on her mealy-mouthed excuses about her paid Goldman Sachs speeches. Me, I'd be happy to speak to them for free:  Good morning, you thieving motherfuckers....

But it's all about blind ambition in the end. Which brings me to the real, ultimate lesson from Thursday night's shitshow:  Bernie Sanders is the only candidate of the remaining six who is utterly without guile, without ambition, without ulterior motives. If everyone who says that they're tired of "politics as usual" actually walked the talk, Sanders would be steamrolling not only HRC, but any of the Republican candidates. He's getting drummed out as someone with an "unrealistic" policy agenda, but that's a tautology. Anyone can win, as long as enough people think they can and should win. What the hell do you think has gotten Trump this far?

The Democrats should enjoy their schadenfreude for the time being, but take a lesson as well. Because they've been cynically jerking their constituents around just as consistently as the Republicans have. Sanders -- who again, is not a Democrat in the first place -- is the only honest broker in this mess, the one candidate who understands best what's actually going on here. His central thesis is that economic problems are at the root of most of the identifiable forms of instability, even including some cultural issues.

In other words, if jobs return to the de-industrialized urban centers, fewer blacks are in trouble with the law, and their lives matter once again; if median incomes for households and women rise above their stagnant 1974 levels, you have fewer women seeking abortions (even though that statistic has been steadily declining for twenty years anyway.) The media and the non-Sanders-supporting public are skeptical of this centralizing theme, even though it passes the common-sense test.

If there is any coherence at all to the Trump voters' plaint, it is that they have been economically disenfranchised. Their country was outsourced out from under them, without recompense. Their towns and industries have been decimated, and replaced with a neo-feudal system. While it is hilarious that their cure for transactional politics is to cut out the middleman and simply vote for a lifelong donor/owner, the fact is that they have correctly assessed their problem, if not a viable solution.

It is very likely that (assuming HRC does not get indicted over the email server thing) we end up with a Hillary vs. Trump contest, two candidate with negatives as high as their positives, and the candidate with slightly fewer negative ratings (HRC) becomes president, and a few Republican senators in swing states lose their jobs as well.

In that scenario, the Democrats should not feel validated or vindicated about much of anything, but instead should get the message that, as their opposition begins a painful rebuilding as a conservative populist (historically a rather volatile combination) party, they need to start looking after their own constituents better. HRC's cozy relationship with the thieving banksters will need to be replaced with proactive, working-class-friendly policies. The scams and rackets underpinning major sectors of the American economy -- health care, higher education, finance -- need to be halted, reversed, made more equitable. Electing Hillary Clinton would not be a repudiation of whatever the hell "Trumpism" is, so much as a mandate to begin righting some institutionalized wrongs.

The proles are very close to realizing that the greedheads have stayed in power for this long simply because they have successfully pitted poor conservatives against poor liberals, poor whites against poor blacks, etc. Sooner or later -- keeping in mind that social media is a yuuuge driver of Trump's success thus far -- they start talking to each other, and realizing who the common enemy really is.

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