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We are the Losers: Played Again by King Donald

I spent last weekend considering the latest word salad plated by our Accidental President and enjoying some of the endless satirical memes about Revolutionary air forces and such, until they became tiresome and predictable—which was in about five minutes. (Still to come: John Oliver, Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert, and a thousand other talk show hosts taking their shots.)

You know what I concluded? We are being trolled by the Trump. Somewhere in the bowels of the White House, he is sitting on his t-rump and laughing his head off at us gullible fools. More than that, I would place my bet on his speech being scripted. You heard me. This is comic gold:

“In June of 1775, the Continental Congress created a unified Army out of the Revolutionary Forces encamped around Boston and New York, and named after the great George Washington, commander in chief … Our Army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do, and at Fort McHenry, under the rocket’s red glare it had nothing but victory. And when dawn came, their star-spangled banner waved defiant.”

My vote for the most likely S.O.B. with the delightful job of penning those words—court jester to King Donald—is Dennis Miller. Just a hunch. Whoever it is, there’s an Outrage Machine at work in close proximity to the Oval Office.

A second explanation is that, while not scripted, the off-script, cockeyed rants are planned events. They remind me a little of improv comedy (I took lessons last year). You say the first words that come to mind and go with them. Pretty soon they become the funniest part of the scene, especially the “mistakes.”

Admittedly, I can’t prove my theory, but I believe there is strong evidence to support it. And I think I know what it is not.

It is not dementia. We are not hearing any reports of the President falling asleep at meetings, like Reagan. When he wants to, such as at rallies, King Donald can be perfectly on-message, however noxious that message is.

It is not, as this article in the Washington Post suggested, an inability to admit mistakes, which he then covers by plowing on, often compounding the mistakes. I say that partly because he plays with the mistakes like that improv amateur—consider “covfefe,” which is cited in the article and with which the President made great sport; and because phrases such as “rammed the ramparts” are too clever by half to be mistakes—it’s a clear (if silly) attempt at alliteration.

And—although this is where most will disagree—it is not because he is a moron. Morally, yes, he is. Cognitively, no. He was shrewd enough to get to where he is in life, a (sort of) millionaire and President, even if he did it all by deceit, grift, and con art.

The time has come to admit that the braggadocious “author” of “The Art of the Deal” is a manipulative master of “The Art of Distraction.” As evidence, I offer the following:

+ It happens virtually every day: A new outrage, a new “faux pas,” a new head-scratching statement of seeming ignorance, all keeping the focus squarely on the Orange Menace. Is this just Donald going through his daily paces? Or is it deliberate trolling? To me, it is too regular not to be coming from the Outrage Machine in the White House.

+ The real work of the current administration is implementing a scorched earth policy—literally—and dismantling the government and its regulatory apparatus, piece by piece. Taking our minds off this very systematic program, whose objective appears to be the enrichment of Trump’s friends, family, and fellow fat cats and the dispossession of everyone else, with fresh buffoonery is one effective way to defang the opposition.

+ Manufactured foolishness is just the flipside of manufactured crises. We all know this President is steeped in cheap entertainment and reality TV, and these methods are the stock in trade of the business.

American “democracy” looks more and more like medieval feudalism every day. The wealthy and their handmaidens in government, with Trump at the helm, are building figurative castles for themselves that may one day, with the full explosion of the climate catastrophe, may become literal castles, with moats separating them from the drowning masses without. Meanwhile, the king and his jesters continue to make fools of us all.

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Fred Baumgarten  is a writer living in western Massachusetts.

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