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.