I watched the president's CPAC performance this morning. To borrow from a classic "Frasier" episode, the meat that Trump threw to the assembled crowd was so raw, a skilled veterinarian could have saved it.
Trump commenced his ramblings with yet another assault on the free press. He said he dislikes its quoting of anonymous "sources," which, he implied, were as imaginary as his secret plan to defeat ISIS. (That plan, by the way, is now is place, said Trump, although even the enemy, it seems, is to be kept in the dark as to its valiant unfolding.) From there he went on to complain about election polls. Why? Who the hell knows. He then swung back to the wicked press and unveiled his ramblings' most ominous passage: "We're going to do something about it."
From there he re-introduced the truly peculiar notion that Trumpism is a political "movement" like the world has never seen before. The earthshaking breadths of the French Revolution, Bolshevism and Maoism begone. The crowd, steeped in a Trumpian understanding of history, roared in agreement.
When defining the "movement" came most of Trump's raw meat — not one sinew of which was novel. From here on, he said, America will look after itself first; it will build a Southern wall; it will conquer the federal debt (by adding more $6 trillion to it); it will reinvigorate the coal industry (oh, those poor miners who've bought into the fantasy); it will rebuild its depleted military (the world's vastest by far); it will crush job-killing regulations; and it will rid itself of "bad" trade deals.
From nowhere — and I do mean nowhere — Trump added that "it's time for Americans to get off welfare."
And there you have it, the essence of Trump's morning ramblings.
Does this writing seem rather flat? Good. I've achieved the intended effect, which is to mirror Trump's speech. It was flat, familiar, tired and altogether clichéd. For a budding political movement, Trump's Trumpism seemed dead already.