Saturday, December 12, 2015
The Long Hall of Mirrors
Yesterday on the pretty darn boring if horrible "news" show that MSNBC has posted to it's early evening lineup, that would be Chuck Todd's whatever it's called, Todd asked someone whether Hillary Clinton would simply vanish from view behind the Trump-glare. There were bemused shrugs. I think the interlocutor said something about how "she's waiting for her moment." After a bit of this I decided to spend my early evening watching Chabrol's "La Ceremonie," which is (as is typical of Chabrol) an outstanding piece of film-making, and apropos enough to the context of this particular end of Fall, drenched with blood from a range of fanatics (when pray-tell was Mr. Deal "radicalized," and what does that actually mean?--but I digress). By 8 PM Libby had come back from a quick trip to Pittsboro with a tiny solar panel connected to a string of Xmas lights, which we're going to attach to a big butterfly bush that is the most positive visible evidence of gardening activity in the year 2015.
It's true that Mr. Trump is good at attracting attention to himself. Chris Hayes devoted his show to a wait to see if Trump was going to attack Cruz live, at his rally of the moment in New Hampshire. I didn't wait. It wasn't hard. It was, eventually, much easier to actually go to bed. So the question really is, how come it's so hard for the whole phalanx of our so-called news media to avert their eyes, or at least do what we thought they were charged to do--cover stuff. That might include what Mrs. Clinton says, as well as any number of other things. I guess what Trump says on even this is relevant. He ups ratings. So they talk about him, unless someone is getting shot down in the street and they can catch that from their choppers and camera drones. And once they catch the blood being shed, they can of course go back and see what Trump thinks about it. They know he is watching.
I saw a little interview with some random voter yesterday. She said she didn't like a lot of what Trump said, but she liked a lot that he was "decisive." I think that's actually what Trump offers as his own "analysis" of why he'd be a great President who would make our country "great" again. Hitler was one of history's most decisive leaders. He was certain about all of his decisions. Sometimes, as in his attacks on Poland and France, his decisiveness was effective. He didn't wait around in front of the French defenses. Other times, as in his placement of key Panzer divisions prior to the Normandy invasion, he was decisively wrong.
Even as we listen and marvel at Trump's decisiveness at the podium--he's certainly willing to say pretty much fuck-all--we don't yet know the real-world outcomes of some of these remarks. I'd guess, though, that a lot of people who already have doubts about the character of the United States will point to Trump's various remarks and feel their doubts confirmed. "This guy is a serious Presidential candidate. What does that say?"
But I get tired of the idea, which in the coming weeks is going to be one of the themes coming from the GOP camp, that Mr. Trump is somehow not embodying true Republican values. How stupid do they think we are. A couple of months back Jeb!, who is certainly our moment's Taft, was calling for a religious test for admission to the United States. Pick out the Christians from the muslims, he said. He wasn't talking about Indonesians of course, but that's only a detail. Trump is exactly what they are, all of them. And apparently, that applies to the media as well.