"Words cannot express…." That's the common refrain used to introduce expressive words of shock, anger, or remorse. The speaker or writer, it is flatly asserted, is too surprised, too furious, too despondent to articulate his or her emotion, whereupon the speaker or writer proceeds to erupt in volcanic prolixity. My shock at Trump's Mexico visit today was so profound, this morning I damn near used the common refrain myself, before proceeding, of course, to articulate at some length just how shockingly stupid his visit is.
Then, however, I gave the matter some thought — the antidote to emotional eruptions and extended rants. Is his visit shockingly stupid? Only to the extent that Trump is stupidly shocking, which is a characteristic of diminishing note. His official political debut some 14 months ago was grounded in the shock of unprecedented stupidity aimed at the electoral demimonde, which, turned out, is a much larger contingent than even Trump suspected (i.e., it's essentially the Republican base). In an attempt to sustain the high of mid-2015's shock, Trump has had to infuse ever greater doses of stupidity into the body politic's veins, with predictable results: most of us no longer get a kick from his cocaine; the man is perpetually horrifying, true enough, but somehow a bore as well.
This morning the least bored person on earth, I'd wager, is Trump's most recent campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway. She's a political professional who has made rather gallant attempts at professionalizing Trump's "campaign." I'd further wager that today she's muttering, over and over, "Words cannot express my shock, anger, and remorse at the dumbest political stunt since Michael Dukakis donned a helmet."
With this Mexico-visit thing, her immediate superior, former Breitbarter Steve Bannon, made his move. Just yesterday I was wondering where Steve had been keeping himself. Trump hasn't really been Trump lately. He's been under the obvious spell of the controlling Kellyanne, whose influence probably accounts for whatever narrowing has occurred in the polls. Mr. Bannon wasn't about to take creeping success lying down. Reports the Washington Post:
Trump’s newly installed campaign chief executive, Stephen K. Bannon, played a key role in devising the Wednesday stop…. [He] made the case … that Trump must underscore his populist immigration views in the final weeks of the general-election campaign, perhaps with an audacious gesture. [Mexico President] Peña Nieto’s invitation was brought up, and Bannon said it offered Trump an opening to make headlines and showcase himself as a statesman who could deal directly with Mexico. Trump was intrigued by Bannon’s proposal and agreed, but not all aides and allies were as enthusiastic.
In embracing Bannon's proposal a prodigious mistake has been made, but no unenthusiastic names were named by the Post. I should think that above all others, Kellyanne Conway is positively apoplectic. Weeks of her modifying influence were squandered, just like that, for campaign CEO Bannon finally made his Breitbartian move. Which, true to form, was incredibly stupid. Of course Kellyanne will for some time be all smiles about this, for she is a professional propagandist. The outskirts of Baghdad are secure, and Stalingrad is about to be taken in toto.
The full, blithering stupidity of Bannon's advised stunt remains to unfold. There is no upside. Mexico's president will tell Trump that his beautiful wall is a mirage, which the Republican nominee can put where the Rio Grande don't flow. Trump will then give a dully delivered, gibberish-imbued, teleprompted speech to millions, which will further alienate most of them, for voter alienation is Bannon's specialty.
Meanwhile, Ms. Conway will be muttering to all the staffers within earshot, "Words cannot express…." For me, least shocking of all would be, eventually, her enthusiastic departure from this horror of a resurrected amateurish campaign.