I am soon headed out, with teenage daughter, to meet with a university financial aid officer.
I shall be wearing a rope instead of a belt, and I'm instructing said daughter to go barefoot.
From The Hill, yesterday:
Trump said his primary opponents who now refuse to support his candidacy should not be allowed to run for office in the future, since they've gone back on their word….
“Honestly, you sign a pledge, you’re supposed to honor the pledge,” he [said].
From Politico, three months ago:
Donald Trump has rescinded his pledge to support the Republican nominee for president.
Asked during a CNN town hall whether he stood by the earlier pledge — which he signed in September after meeting with party chairman Reince Priebus — Trump said: "No, I don't."
In Martin Amis's delightful memoir, Experience, the English novelist describes how he prepares himself for those dreadful visits to the dentist's office. The night before, he reveals, he ingests "a near-fatal dose" of Valium, and then on the morning of the appointment he downs another near-fatal dose.
I suspect that Mitch McConnell has by now adopted Amis' self-preservation technique in preparation for television interviews, which invariably swing toward the dreadful topic of Trump. Of course it's difficult to detect the effects of a powerful benzodiazepine on anyone as chronically catatonic as Mitch, except that Valium, in near-fatal doses, appears to also act as a kind of truth serum. Here, Q.E.D., is the Senate majority leader speaking to NY1 TV yesterday:
Trump clearly needs to change, in my opinion, to win the general election. What I’ve said to him both publicly and privately: "You’re a great entertainer. You turn on audiences. You’re good before a crowd. You have a lot of Twitter followers. That worked fine for you in the primaries. But now that you are in the general, people are looking for a level of seriousness that is typically conveyed by having a prepared text and Teleprompter and staying on message."
In brief, McConnell confessed that his party's presidential nominee is nothing more than an undisciplined clown.
He went on to say that his "hope is that [Trump] is beginning to pivot" — could we please dispense with that overused word for the campaign's remainder? — "and become what I would call a more serious and credible candidate for the highest office in the land." Please note that that is McConnell's hope, not an observation of any incipient reality.
As are others among the incurably unhinged, the Gateway Pundit is outraged by McConnell's quite possibly drug-induced honesty:
Despite [Trump's amassing pf primary votes] GOP elites continue to trash the Republican nominee. They want Hillary in the White House.
"GOP elites" once meant the country-club types. Now it means all Republican pols (some of them tea partiers) hoping to survive, through vast distancing and occasional trashing, the 2016 devastation of Trump. Thus is the term "elites" diluted into meaninglessness. That much, the Gateway Pundit may well fail to appreciate.
What it knowingly, cynically is selling to its readers, though, is the pure fantasy that Hillary's destiny is anything but the White House. Hence the Pundit's readers are being twice fleeced: by Trump himself, and then again by the right-wing flimflammery complex.
Where are those much-pooh-poohed "trigger warnings" when one actually needs them?
It was cruel, unnerving, even borderline sadistic of MSNBC yesterday to abruptly switch from live coverage of President Obama at the North American trade summit to deadhead coverage of Donald Trump, grifting in Maine. My sensibilities are less than delicate, nevertheless I experienced a deeply disturbing kind of characterological-culture shock from which I am still recovering.
One minute I'm admiring the eloquent thoughtfulness of presidential sophistication squared; seconds later — with no more than a brutally curt, "We're now cutting to …" — I'm watching a second-rate swindler bamboozle a bunch of first-rate imbeciles. My equipoise of admiration and respect was thrown into asymmetrical disorder. It was like switching the channel from the Metropolitan Opera to "Hee-Haw," or from a Bogart movie to Pee-Wee Herman. (Nothing personal, Pee-Wee; besides, compared to The Donald's exhibitionism, your honor is intact).
As if to acutely underscore the obscenity of MSNBC's broadcast juxtaposition of the eminently refined Obama and the bunco-artist Trump, there was the latest, in print, from the NY Times: "Trump Institute Offered Get-Rich Schemes With Plagiarized Lessons." Oh my, color me shocked.
In somewhat metaphorical language the Times described how The Donald is politically screwing millions of morons: "The institute was another example of the Trump brand’s being accused of luring vulnerable customers with false promises of profit and success."
Reading yet another exposé of Trump's history of rip-off hucksterism while suffering his enthusiastically received grifting in Maine, live, was almost surreal. There he was, yesterday, again promising that he would recreate American manufacturing jobs by either renegotiating trade treaties that benefit the U.S. alone or by withdrawing from the global economy, which would somehow result in an insular, economic Elysium.
The Trump Institute, which was an unspeakable fraud ("It was like I was in sleaze America; it was all smoke and mirrors," said an attendee of one of its "seminars"), was nonetheless a model of business decorum compared to the prodigious political scam being pulled by the charlatan Trump on the stump.
And when one sees it so abruptly thrust against the reasoned elegance and personal nobility of President Obama … well, let me just say again that a cable-news trigger warning would have been most appreciated.
Ballotpedia's latest battleground polls:
Florida: 51-37, Clinton
Iowa: 45-41, Clinton
Michigan: 50-33, Clinton
North Carolina: 48-38, Clinton
Ohio: 46-37, Clinton
Pennsylvania: 49-35, Clinton
Virginia: 45-38, Clinton
God bless Republican primary voters. Just take a look at how Kasich (a more polished demagogue than Trump, which is why he lost) fares against Clinton, same states:
Like I said, God bless Republican primary voters, who know not … well, pretty much anything.
This morning on ABC's "Good Morning America," FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver predicted that … Clinton has a 79 percent chance of winning the election, compared with Trump's 20 percent….
Silver said "both candidates have a lot of room to grow," but historically the only candidate to blow a lead like the one Clinton holds now was former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis in 1988.
Clinton, though, isn't the Dukakis she was in 2008, and Trump sure as hell is no George H.W. Bush.
Fight fire with fire. We have to be so strong. We have to fight so viciously.
—Donald Trump, 28 June 2016
How about this little tactical ditty, Donald? It's from British historian Richard Miles's Carthage Must Be Destroyed, parts of which are some of the most gruesome reading I have ever endured:
[Carthaginian prisoners'] hands were cut off, they were castrated, and their legs were then broken. While they were still breathing, they were flung on top of one another in a big pit and buried alive. [It was] then declared that all Carthaginian prisoners could expect the same repulsive fate.
Too much? Too little? All we can know is that only The Donald knows, since he knows "more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe [him]."
Oh, here's another quotable quote — same source — from Trump: "How stupid are the people of the country to believe this crap?"
This morning in a NYT op-ed, former McCain agonist Nicolle Wallace (who now bigly suffers Donald Trump) observes:
Those in Mr. Trump’s inner circle are waiting for the political conversation to turn to events that they believe will determine the outcome of the election: the vice-presidential pick, the conventions and the debates.
As if anticipating Wallace, and no doubt anticipating Trump's "inner circle," former President Clinton adviser Doug Sosnik counter-observes in a Washington Post op-ed:
Breathless coverage notwithstanding, none of these has had a measurable impact in changing the outcome of a presidential election in at least 40 years.
The last time a vice presidential selection may have altered the outcome was in 1960, when John F. Kennedy’s choice of Lyndon B. Johnson assured Democrats of carrying Texas. (It should be noted that had Kennedy lost Johnson's state, he still would have carried the Electoral College.]
The last time a party’s convention may have changed the outcome was in 1968, when the Democrats suffered four days of rioting in the streets of Chicago.
And the last time a debate may have affected the outcome was in 1976, when Gerald Ford mistakenly asserted that "there is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe," effectively ending his surge against Carter.
I'm still trying to identify even one advantage that Trump might hold, other than having a lock on that part of the electorate that brushes its tooth every night.
The only thing more painful than watching Donald Trump head-bobble his way through a "serious" policy speech is listening to the media's subsequent commentary on it. Yesterday afternoon proved another bonanza of the commentariat's delirium: Well, now that's the kind of scripted talk he should give every day — professionally written, smoothly delivered, and loaded with thoughtful ideas that appeal to despairing Americans, such as withdrawing from NAFTA unless Canada and Mexico renegotiate it with us — presumably with nothing but our interests in mind. Yeah, that oughta work.
Never mind the inexorable technological revolution that has cost millions of American workers their traditional manufacturing jobs. Never mind the straightforward, undeniable fact that those jobs will never return, because of technology. And never mind that America's economic future lies in technology, in an educated workforce, and in professional services.
No, all that is far too fussy, too complicated. Trump's simplistic babble is just what his campaign needs — and by extension, one gathers, just what the electorate needs to hear. That, from what I heard yesterday, was the commentariat's consensus, which almost exclusively centered on the sexy politics — not the thundering stupidity — of Trump's speech.
Of course the media is no monolith and my complaint this morning is anecdotal; perhaps other commentators, somewhere, were assessing Trump's economics speech from more serious angles. I should hope so. I possess, however, a deeper complaint about the media's universal tics when it comes to Trump: To wit, its memory banks are generally closed for business.
What do I mean by that? I mean that whenever The Donald pretends that he's a serious president candidate, as he did yesterday, political commentators rush to forget just who they are commenting about.
The media should follow every display of Trumpian "presidential" fakery with public-service reminders that this is a man who ruled a federal judge professionally disqualified from a case because of his ethnicity; a man who self-swooned over the Orlando massacre; a man who has ridiculed the disabled and demeaned women and has characterized minorities as criminals, though some of them are personal pets; a man who has proposed banning a world religion from legal immigration; a man who has embraced war crimes as a valid instrument in battling the tactic of terrorism; a man, lest we forget, who spearheaded birtherism.
That last one — alone — disqualifies Trump from any serious consideration of his "serious" policy speeches. He is an oaf, a buffoon, an irremediable child — and no responsible commentator would have his or her head turned by some 20-minute pretense of what is laughingly called "presidential gravitas." And yet, commentating heads are turned in a flash by just that. My, my, they meditate, he certainly has given voters something to think about.
They readily forget, dismiss, push aside the true, contemptible, wretchedly fatuous History of Trump. And their lack of unfolding perspective is an absolute disgrace.
Chait, on Obama, Sanders, and wealth inequality:
In Obama’s telling, his [big-business] opponents are foolishly greedy, defending their short-term interests [i.e., suppressing wages] at the expense of their long-term interests. In Sanders’s telling, they are shrewdly and correctly greedy … in that "the billionaire class" or "the one percent" — terms he uses interchangeably — [are] locked in a death struggle against the vast majority of the populace.
History would tend to side with Obama on this.
These times are often compared to those of the 1920s, the Second Gilded Age. It should be noted that a distinctive mark of that decade was mounting inventories — a result, in large part, of big business' suppression of wages. Increasingly, American workers couldn't afford the very products they were making, and ultimately, oversupply and underdemand combined in vast contribution to the flowering of the Great Depression.
Now obviously the post-industrial 2010s cannot be compared to the industrial 1920s. Still, the fundamentals hold: The suppression of wages and economic marginalization of American workers may be in the short-term interests of big business and its stockholders. But as a long-term strategy, it is self-defeating. "Over time," as Obama put it, "you’ll strangle this goose that’s been laying you all these golden eggs." His advice: "Share the eggs."
Not doing so is far from "shrewd." We learned that the hard way, nearly 90 years ago.
I wish I were still a 6 a.m.-to-midnight boozer.
Presently I'm watching Trey Gowdy & Co. deliver its "nonpolitical" committee's scandalous findings based on committee hearings that, like a half-dozen investigations before it, revealed no scandal.
Later I'm going to watch Donald Trump deliver a hideously stilted teleprompted speech on economics, which he knows as much about as he did "Brexit."
I'm in desperate need of artificial fortification — oodles of distilled courage.
The latest NBC/WSJ poll finds that a majority of Republicans are dissatisfied with their party's presidential choice, while a majority of Democrats are satisfied with theirs. These findings are less than surprising, since a majority of Republicans didn't choose Trump, while a majority of Democrats chose Clinton.
Responses to both polling questions are, then, merely affirmations of what we already knew, or rather, of what we just went through: two prolonged primary contests, one of which produced a minority nominee of questionable legitimacy; the other, a majority nominee whose legitimacy is self-evident — as are, to repeat, the responses to both polling questions. One wonders why the pollsters bothered.
Just as predictable, though of enduring interest, is another poll's finding that a majority of Republicans (77 percent) support the Republican nominee whom a majority of Republicans can't stand. This only confirms that to the partisan "conservative" mind there is nothing more simplistically sacred than an "R" before a presidential nominee's name. It makes no difference that this nominee is crawling with creepy personality disorders, that he's a demonstrable sociopath, that he's a gynophobe and a racist embarrassment, that his thought processes are akin to a poorly engineered Rube Goldberg contraption, and that his "policy" ideas are born of whatever sounds good at the expedient moment. As long as there's an "R" slapped on the menacing idiot, he's good to go; he's as valid as an Eisenhower.
In the immediately aforementioned poll, Hillary's support among Democrats is 90 percent, notwithstanding her pervasive "trust" troubles, resurrected Clinton fatigue, and her deficiency in wholesale political skills. On the upside she's knows her stuff; not even her enemies deny her that. She's as wonkish as Bill. Still, there are those negatives. Hence, about her near universal Democratic support, Republicans would say what I have observed about Trump: It's just a partisan thing.
Ordinarily I would agree. Democrats will support any presidential pol with a "D" in front of his or her name — they're as mechanically responsive and electorally robotic as Republicans. But, I would argue, this presidential election cycle is different. Very different.
Clinton's nearly uniform Democratic support is — above all other explanations — in answer to the austere question: What in God's name is the alternative? The answer is resounding: There isn't one — not a rational one.
This, it is to be hoped, answers (for some readers) why I abstain (defensively, it is implied) from tub-thumping and sis-boom-bahing for Hillary. For the answer to that question is as undisguised as the answer above: Please tell me what the alternative is. I have my differences with Hillary — especially in the field of foreign policy — and I've never secreted them. Thus energetic cheerleading for Hillary on my part would be less than ingenuous. Yet the matter of cheerleading or no cheerleading for Hillary is entirely beside the point, for it evades the at once monumental and elementary question: What rational alternative is there to Hillary Clinton?
No rational being could argue there is one, and that, in itself, removes from serviceable discussion whatever shortcomings Hillary possesses. Against the The Donald, they just aren't pertinent. And they'll remain irrelevant until 20 January 2017.
"President Obama, facing the historic and precarious situation of 'Brexit,' inexcusably failed to advise our British cousins of the perils of leaving the European
Union. This lapse was but another demonstration of Obama's reluctance to lead — in fact, his utter leaderlessness.
"A strong, visionary president of superpower grit would have lectured the Brits like children, explaining that we love them, but also that they need to grow up. A U.S. president worthy of the title would have advised and pressured the Brits to vote 'No' on leaving the E.U. Yea, verily, a true superpower president would have led the free world in opposing Britain's impending act of stupidity.
"Yet, once again, President Obama sank into weakness, indecision, and disastrous silence — leading, as he would have it, from behind. He said nothing. He failed to act. And, wouldn't you know it, a calamitously successful Brexit was the result."
But of course President Obama did say something. Indeed he said plenty. He did advise, lecture, and lead. So what do we get from our conservative commentators? Self-satisfied babbling about how Obama's arrogant intervention into Britain's internal affairs "backfired."
Don't you just love 'em? They're so fucking predictable.
Note: The above, "quoted" text is a spoof.
We knew most things financial were grim for Trump, but we didn't know just how astonishingly grim they were, until this:
Just 29 people who contributed to a super PAC supporting Republican Mitt Romney’s presidential bid four years ago had donated either to Trump’s campaign, to the Republican National Committee via a joint fundraising committee he established with the party or to a pro-Trump super PAC, Great America PAC, according to a USA TODAY analysis of new campaign-finance reports….
Similarly, the analysis found only 23 individuals among the more than 3,400 donors who wrote checks to a super PAC supporting Jeb Bush’s candidacy in this election cycle had given to Trump or aligned groups so far.
Republican donors are now promising a flood of fresh money (uh-huh). But Hillary's well-financed, early-summer ad blitz is securing ground that Trump can never reclaim.
On the other hand, what does Trump care? His finances at Turnberry are looking good.
ABC News/Washington Post's polling, which earns an "A+" grade from Nate Silver, shows Hillary up by 12. For The Donald, it's even worse than that: "Sixty-four percent of Americans now see Trump as unqualified to serve as president, up 6 points from an already-high 58 percent last month." What's more (and what was predicted):
Results of this poll temper the notion that last week’s Brexit vote in the United Kingdom marks a broader dissatisfaction with the status quo that advantages Trump on this side of the Atlantic. On one hand, nativist sentiment, populism and economic anxiety clearly benefitted Trump in the race for the Republican nomination. On the other, his general election campaign requires broader support – and he’s had a dreadful few weeks.
Indeed, dreadful enough to limit his Republican support to 77 percent, while "Clinton’s support among Democrats [is] 90 percent."
And remember, another "A+" poll, from two weeks ago, found that "barely half of those who favored Sanders — 55 percent — plan to vote for Clinton." That will change, the percentage will swell. Mercies are still tender.
Politico breaking news, via email:
The Supreme Court on Monday struck two key provisions of a sweeping anti-abortion law in Texas, ruling that the state had imposed unconstitutional burdens on women's access to abortion.
Justice Anthony Kennedy sided with the court's liberals in the 5-3 decision, the most significant abortion ruling in a generation. The decision marks the first time the court has put limits on state abortion legislation in more than 15 years.
The cynical underhandedness of the anti-abortion forces finally received its judicial comeuppance.
What worries me now, though, is how this will affect the increasingly palsied George Will. Poor guy. He recently reversed his long-standing opposition to "judicial activism," declaring that democracy (such as democracy Texas-style) is in need of cooler, detached, unelected heads. I happen to agree with Will on that. But for him, now this. First Donald Trump annihilated Will's confidence in the conservative virtues of his (former) party's base, and now comes a seismic rattling of his judicial-activism reversal. Poor George. If the world does not already have him writing in circles, it soon will. I'm worried about him.
In political deference to the protectionist delusions of the populists Sanders and Trump, candidate Clinton has, as you know, turned on the TPP as a flawed trade agreement in need of vigorous renegotiation. I suspect President Clinton will take the agreement in hand, shift a comma, insert a semi-colon, and declare it vigorously perfected. These punctuation adjustments will be sold by the Clinton administration as heroic, visionary adventures in U.S. leadership. This necessary scam, successfully completed, will then pass into history (although populist, protectionist pols will of course blame every American job lost on the monstrous TPP).
The British-European parallel to Clinton's political sorcery was envisioned two months ago by one Andrew Moravcsik. Moravcsik, a Princeton politics professor, predicted that "under no circumstances will Britain leave Europe, regardless of the result of the referendum." Assuming that "Brexit" succeeds at the polls, he wrote, Britain would simply "negotiate a new agreement, nearly identical to the old one, disguise it in opaque language and ratify it." The future alternative — domestic economic devastation — would leave Britain's leaders with no choice.
Clinton's ineluctable manipulation still awaits us, since our national "referendum" still awaits us. But it appears that Moravcsik's prediction is already playing out, for "Britons are already worse off," notes political economist Philippe Legrain in a NYT op-ed. The pound is in free-fall, the stock market is in turmoil, property prices are at risk, business uncertainty prevails and thus business investments are on hold, Britain's political leadership is in doubt, and the United Kingdom itself may break up.
"Experts are, of course, known to make mistakes," writes Legrain. "But in this case, the people who voted for Brexit will pay a big price for ignoring economic expertise. The harmful effects of this vote are both immediate and lasting."
See: Moravcsik. There remains a way out. As the NY Times reports, "some supporters of Brexit are backpedaling on bold pronouncements they made just a few days earlier." They're backpedaling because their "misinformation and even deception" are now plain to see. The National Health Service will not, after all, receive a superabundance of funding that would otherwise go to the E.U., and immigration — if Britain intends to trade at all with the continent — will see no decline. "Brexit" was a true protectionist racket, engineered by lies. And yet the lies were exposed repeatedly by the Remainers.
Which brings us to the deeper subject of this post, a subject inaugurated by E.J. Dionne this morning: "Don’t trash democracy or the voters. Where complicated choices are involved — and Brexit defines complexity — leaders in representative democracies need the guts to make hard calls and submit themselves to voters afterward. They should not use referendums purely to evade responsibility."
I never thought I'd find myself defending the Tory David Cameron, but his promise to stage a Brexit referendum was, in retrospect, a gutsy call. Stupid, as we now know, but to some extent gutsy. Prime Minister Cameron no doubt foresaw the "misinformation and even deception" the Brexiteers would deploy, but he put his faith in the wisdom of democracy, of voters — who were being unscrupulously converted, by populists, to populists. Was Cameron's a "hard call"? It seemed a rather easy one at the time, yet unquestionably he submitted himself to voters, just as Dionne urges. Hence it doesn't appear that Cameron "used" the referendum "purely to evade responsibility" as a leader. He mistakenly believed that democracy would affirm his leadership. Dionne, however, appears to let the voters off the hook.
Voters are not of much democratic use, though, if the majority of them are so easily swayed by demagogues — which is synonymous with "populist leaders." And therein lies a debate that will never end, because it is fundamentally, decisively unanswerable: Who is to blame when democracy implodes? — the voters or the pied pipers?
Having trashed referendums, Dionne further urges that "real democrats should demand a second referendum on the terms of an exit deal." There I agree. And the "deal" is likely to unfold much as Professor Moravcsik predicted it would — now that voters are bothering to inform themselves.
Breitbart's populist condemnation of George Will was swift, unmistakable, characteristically tacky, and yet admirably concise. CNN Politics and PJ Media (itself a conservative outlet) reported that Will spoke at "a Federalist Society luncheon" last Friday, announcing that "This is not my party" any longer, thus he has re-registered in Maryland from Republican to "unaffiliated." Breitbart reported the same, but with a pitchfork: Will spoke at "a fancy luncheon at the Federalist Society" (emphasis mine).
Unlike CNN and PJM, Breitbart was also careful to remind its Idaho-militia subliterates that the Federalist Society is housed in Washington, D.C.. How fitting that Will would announce his "Democratic Party-sympathizing" apostasy in that foreign outpost of centralized oppression. Still, although Breitbart was compelled to note that Will was schmoozing with Washington's elitist supermen of tyranny, his political-commentary stature was in simultaneous need of mildly ridiculing diminishment: "The bespectacled baseball aficionado has mostly been a non-factor this election cycle."
Breitbart left it unclear how a solitary columnist could be an imposing factor in a presidential election cycle, even if its hypersensitive reporting on Will provided a countervailing hint. I'm a trifle surprised that Breitbart failed to simply disallow Will's apostasy as a nothing-to-see-here non-story, which is how Breitbart treats most news of any significance.
On the other hand, Will's flight from the torch-lit madness did offer Breitbart yet another excuse to remind its priapic readership that "Trump’s populist nationalist campaign has galvanized voters and taken over Will’s once-genteel party." (No percentage was assigned to those "galvanized voters," just as no date was assigned to the GOP's last-seen "gentility.") "Trump has failed to lock up the support of some Beltway and establishment conservative types," continued Breitbart quite contentedly, "despite the fact that he is running on an extremely right-wing platform." If that didn't give Breitbart's readers an ideological stiffy, I don't know what could.
That last passage was Breitbart's most comical. Trump has failed to lock up establishment conservative types not "despite" his "extremely right-wing platform," but, obviously, because of it. Establishment types, whether conservative or liberal, possess an unmysterious fixation on actually winning national elections, which is done pretty much straight down the middle — not on the extremes of left or right. This simple, electoral phenomenon is so empirically verifiable one wonders how even Breitbart could miss it.
But is Breitbart missing it? Is Rush Limbaugh missing it, along with Drudge and Hannity and nearly the entire, right-wing flimflammery complex? I am skeptical. I am rather more confident that Breitbart's scribbling imbeciles and the stentorian windbaggery of Limbaugh & Co. uniquely understand that their profits lie not in a Trump presidency — which would necessitate quotidian defensiveness — but Hillary Clinton's — which would happily incite daily, over-the-top hostility.
And hostility sells.
In most every post of any length, I strive, in my own obscure little way, for at least some whit of originality — of original thinking, of signature style, of something, anything differentiated from the millions of words pumped out daily on the Internet. Otherwise, I figure, there is no point to my posting. I appreciate that I don't always succeed; some days, creativity just won't come. But I do try, for I also figure I owe you that much: the attempt, if nothing else. I never wish to squander your time on words you can read most anywhere else.
Mine is, of course, no singular philosophy of political commentary. It is, rather, the fundamental force that underlies the writing of all readable commentary. If C and D are to write precisely what A and B have already written, already observed, then C and D should spare us. We find it offensive — or rather we should find it offensive — when political commentators trundle out the already and vastly available. They — especially the well-compensated ones — owe us more than that. Each post, each piece, each column, should contain something of some originality.
And yet we are cheated, regularly. Roaming the cyberpages of major journalistic organs is the all too familiar herd — which, once it espies others grazing on some sexy narrative, just can't help itself. It swarms the easy pastures of prefabricated thought. Case in dreadful point … This morning I somewhat randomly clicked on Kathleen Parker's latest — "Brexit, meet America’s Trexit" — only to be rudely and instantly met by: "With Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, did Donald Trump just win the presidential election? On the surface, this may seem an odd question…."
No, it seems a silly question. In fact it is a silly question.
It's also a question that took instant hold on much of America's commentariat, and so within 24 hours we were reading it damn near everywhere.
Brexit, Ms. Parker et al, wasn't a mentally unbalanced toddler. Brexit wasn't subject to America's diverse electorate. Brexit wasn't detested by overwhelming numbers in virtually every voting bloc. Neither was Brexit subject to a partisanly entrenched Electoral College map that will reject "Trexit" for the roundly distasteful pathogen it, he, is. Brexit may resemble a Trexit, or rather a Trexit may resemble a Brexit, but there the fundamentals end.
Nonetheless, the slothful comparison has issued forth with undifferentiated vigor and almost indistinguishable wording. It is plausible, it is said, that Brexit over there portends the triumph of Trump here. Well, such fearmongering (in some cases, cheerleading) fills space and elicits gobs of clicks, I suppose; we do so like to be frightened. I enjoy a good scare myself every now and then, so to that, I don't object.
I do object, however, to the pounding sameness of this herd's, ahem, observations. We deserve at least a touch of originality — which sure as hell isn't to be found in the undiscerning, monotonous cries of "Brexit foretells a President Trump." That's just lazy.