FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Trump’s Dangerous High-Wire Act


It’s one thing for President Trump to go around recklessly calling anyone he disagrees with (or who has ever criticized him) a “liar” or “traitor” or “crook” or “loser.” Apparently, this behavior is what an insecure and bullying former real estate man-child regards as a projection of presidential leadership. On the other hand, one can argue that it was this cringe-worthy adolescent behavior that got him elected in the first place.

But Trump’s latest iteration of the classic “smear job” has the potential to not only come back and bite him on the rear end, it has the potential to irrevocably cripple his presidency. When he unwisely (what else is new?) and precipitously launched a public attack on the vaunted FBI, he made what could be a fatal error.

While Trump adheres to no ideology (prior to and during his campaign, he made dozens of outrageous and contradictory assertions, including criticizing the Citizens United decision, suggesting higher taxes for the wealthy, donating money to Hillary Clinton’s senatorial race, and asking why there “can’t be Medicare for all?”), he is still, nominally, a Republican. As squirrelly as this man has shown himself to be, he was nonetheless elected as a Republican.

And being a Republican still means something to the Party faithful. Even in this period of goofy recalibration, being a Republican still represents a belief system. Among other things—going all the way back to the Turbulent Sixties, with its riots, bombings, street theater, and scary black people—it means that a Republican president is automatically going to be regarded as the titular and spiritual leader of the Law and Order Party.

Law and Order. These words are emblematic. They speak of Richard Nixon, Spiro Agnew, and John Mitchell. They speak of Stability. Civility. Respect for Authority. These were hallmarks of traditional Republicans. No beards, no long hair, no protests, no demonstrations. The Republican Party and Law and Order went together as naturally as vodka and regrets.

And there was nothing that represented the glorification and moral excellence of Law and Order more than the FBI. As much respect as decent, down-to-earth Republican families had for their local police force, it didn’t come close to the unabashed awe and admiration they had for the FBI. A boy or girl who aspired to join the FBI was a source of enormous pride to any Republican family.

Of course, for students, anti-war protesters, and the counterculture in general, it was the exact opposite. The FBI (Federal Bureau of Intimidation) was anathema to anyone who considered himself remotely “progressive.” As emotionally charged as this now sounds, in the year 1970, the FBI was seen to represent everything one might expect from a federal goon squad determined to establish a Fourth Reich.

And now Donald Trump, the spokesman of the Law and Order Party, has taken it upon himself to trash the Bureau. To denigrate it. To subvert it. Either to save his own skin, or deflect prying eyes, or avoid embarrassment to his family, Trump and his team have attempted to depict Robert Mueller, a life-long Republican and decorated combat Marine in the Vietnam war, as being a low-class shill for the Democrats, if not an outright “traitor.”

How ironic would it be if the blowback from hardcore, mainstream, pro-FBI Republicans results in Donald Trump being….being what? Impeached? Censured?

In any event, this improbable episode has made one thing abundantly clear: Donald Trump has shown himself to possess the most under-developed, infantile political instincts of any president in the history of the Republic. This dreadful mixture of arrogance, bluster and ignorance takes one’s breath away.

More articles by:

David Macaray is a playwright and author. His newest book is How To Win Friends and Avoid Sacred Cows.  He can be reached at dmacaray@gmail.com

November 21, 2018
Manuel García, Jr.
Climate Change Action Would Kill Imperialism
Kenneth Surin
Return to Denver: Clouds on the Horizon
Jonathan Cook
Netanyahu’s Ceasefire is Meant to Keep Gaza Imprisoned
John Steppling
Liar Liar
Bill Hackwell
Paradise Lost
Gary Leupp
“Maybe He Did, and Maybe He Didn’t:” Reflections on Morality in 2018
W. T. Whitney
Criminal Behavior: US May be Developing Biological Weapons
Zhivko Illeieff
How Media, Tech, and News Networks Normalize Trump’s Propaganda
NEVE GORDON - NICOLA PERUGINI
Migrant Caravan: Branding Migrants “Human Shields” Has a Deadly Motive
Wouter Hoenderdaal
Jordan Peterson’s Disturbing Views on Inequality
Dean Baker
Nicholas Kristof and the China Trade War
Colin Todhunter
Approaching Development: GMO Propaganda and Neoliberalism vs Localisation and Agroecology
November 20, 2018
John Davis
Geographies of Violence in Southern California
Anthony Pahnke
Abolishing ICE Means Defunding it
Maximilian Werner
Why (Mostly) Men Trophy Hunt: a Biocultural Explanation
Masturah Alatas
Undercutting Female Circumcision
Jack Rasmus
Global Oil Price Deflation 2018 and Beyond
Geoff Dutton
Why High Technology’s Double-Edged Sword is So Hard to Swallow
Binoy Kampmark
Charges Under Seal: US Prosecutors Get Busy With Julian Assange
Rev. William Alberts
America Fiddles While California Burns
Forrest Hylton, Aaron Tauss and Juan Felipe Duque Agudelo
Remaking the Common Good: the Crisis of Public Higher Education in Colombia
Patrick Cockburn
What Can We Learn From a Headmaster Who Refused to Allow His Students to Celebrate Armistice Day?
Clark T. Scott
Our Most Stalwart Company
Tom H. Hastings
Look to the Right for Corruption
Edward Hunt
With Nearly 400,000 Dead in South Sudan, Will the US Finally Change Its Policy?
Thomas Knapp
Hypocrisy Alert: Republicans Agreed with Ocasio-Cortez Until About One Minute Ago
November 19, 2018
David Rosen
Amazon Deal: New York Taxpayers Fund World Biggest Sex-Toy Retailer
Sheldon Richman
Art of the Smear: the Israel Lobby Busted
Chad Hanson
Why Trump is Wrong About the California Wildfires
Dean Baker
Will Progressives Ever Think About How We Structure Markets, Instead of Accepting them as Given?
Robert Fisk
We Remember the Great War, While Palestinians Live It
Dave Lindorff
Pelosi’s Deceptive Plan: Blocking any Tax Rise Could Rule Out Medicare-for-All and Bolstering Social Security
Rick Baum
What Can We Expect From the Democrat “Alternative” Given Their Record in California?
Thomas Scott Tucker
Trump, World War I and the Lessons of Poetry
John W. Whitehead
Red Flag Gun Laws
Newton Finn
On Earth, as in Heaven: the Utopianism of Edward Bellamy
Robert Fantina
Shithole Countries: Made in the USA
René Voss
Have Your Say about Ranching in Our Point Reyes National Seashore
Weekend Edition
November 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jonah Raskin
A California Jew in a Time of Anti-Semitism
Andrew Levine
Whither the Melting Pot?
Joshua Frank
Climate Change and Wildfires: The New Western Travesty
Nick Pemberton
The Revolution’s Here, Please Excuse Me While I Laugh
T.J. Coles
Israel Cannot Use Violent Self-Defense While Occupying Gaza
Rob Urie
Nuclear Weapons are a Nightmare Made in America
Paul Street
Barack von Obamenburg, Herr Donald, and Big Capitalist Hypocrisy: On How Fascism Happens
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail