Monday, November 21, 2016

Trump As President: Oh My God! How Did We Get Here?

So tomorrow will be two weeks since the night a lot of America felt that collective gut kick as Donald Trump won the race for President of the United States as I examined in Saturday's post. The intervening weeks have not brought to my mind much clarity on the question of what we as a country have done. Every time I think maybe, just maybe a Trump Presidency won't be that bad, he goes and names another alt-right racist or something to a government post or drops another ill-considered Tweet that still shows him as self-obsessed and thin-skinned. 

But you might be asking, "How did we get here?" What were the sequence of events that brought together the necessary elements that produced the perfect storm known as President-Elect Donald Trump? 

To answer that, you might think we need to go back to June 2015 when Trump descended his escalator to make his grand announcement that he was running for President. But you're thinking too much in the short term. No, to understand how America got to the point of putting a Cheetoh colored clown in the White House, you have to back to 1964. 

And I can hear you say, "WAIT! 1964? That's like ages ago and stuff! That... that's HISTORY! Are you trying to teach me HISTORY? I don't come to this blog to learn about history! I don't know why I come to this blog but it ain't to learn nothin'!" 

Just settle down. I'll try to make this painless; I'll even toss in a few uses of "fuck" and "shit" that will hopefully enhance the experience. And if you really can't bring yourself to go through this, come back tomorrow where I shall offer my opinions of the latest movie, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.

Now you may be asking who that is. Well, that is Astrid Schultz, the September 1964 Playboy Centerfold. And yes, there is more to see of Ms. Schultz later in the post. But never you mind that. I'll see you at the Fantastic Beasts post tomorrow. 

Still here, I see. 

OK, back in 1964, a lot of shit was going down. On the home front, the civil rights movement was kicking into high gear. In the area of foreign policy, there was a lot of tension between the United States and the Soviet Union what with us pointing nuclear weapons at each other. There was a prevailing view that both problems could be solved peacefully with talking and negotiation. The Republican Party said, "Fuck that!" and nominated Barry Goldwater to run for President. Goldwater was a hard ass hard line son of a bitch when it came to conservative policies. He was so way off whack-o, the people overwhelmingly rejected him and opted to keep Lyndon B Johnson as President. LBJ, it should be noted, had a fondness for carrying on official business while shitting on a toilet. Compared to Goldwater, America was OK with that. 

The Republicans tried again in 1968 with Richard Nixon who was hardly anyone's idea of empathetic warmth and human kindness but compared to Goldwater, Nixon was Mister Fuckin' Rogers. It also didn't help that Johnson royally fucked up things in Vietnam; apparently he was constipated when it came to making war plans for Southeast Asia.  

But then Nixon pissed off conservatives by actually negotiating deals with those godless communists in the Soviet Union and China. But as Spock told Kirk in Star Trek 6: The Undiscovered Country, "Only Nixon could go to China." Then Nixon imploded as his paranoia got the better of him. (For that you can thank the Doctor and what I mean by that can be explained in the Doctor Who episode, Day of the Moon.) 

In 1980, the conservative movement found its standard bearer for the Republican Party, Ronald Reagan. Yes, the twice married Hollywood actor would stand up for wholesome American values. Actually, to be fair, Reagan did actually have some serious political credentials including 8 years as governor of California. After four years of Jimmy Carter sitting in the White House in a cardigan sweater telling us to turn our thermostats down to save on energy, we were ready for Reagan's sunny optimism even it masked some inherently troubling conservative policies and rhetoric.

But the only person who came along after Reagan who could come close to his charisma was... Bill Clinton. Yes, the Democrat who won the Presidency in 1992 could talk stink off of a pig and then convince that pig to pay good money to buy that stink back. But in Bill Clinton, Republican conservatives found something even better than someone to promote conservative values; they found a scapegoat. 

From day one of the Clinton administration, Republicans ran interference on virtually all of Clinton's policy efforts and when that wasn't enough, they launched all sorts of inquiries to tie up the White House in legal knots.  Anything and everything Clinton did was regarding with suspicion and contempt. Anything and everything that was wrong in the federal government and in America was Bill Clinton's fault. And if all of that sounds familiar, that's because conservatives kicked that strategy into high gear when Barack Hussein Obama took office in 2008. 

Back in 1964, the same year that Astrid Schultz was appearing in Playboy... what, did you think I forgot her? OK, let's move a bit lower down Astrid's naked body.

OK, that's a bit too low. Unless you have a feet thing. Look, I promise that by the end of the post, I will post the entire length of Ms. Shultz's naked body. 

But back in 1964, the ultra conservatives decided that a message of belligerence, fear and preserving the status quo was not the problem; the problem was the messenger. And other than Ronald Reagan, the Republican Party hasn't found anyone worth shit to promote their conservative views; the result is so much energy has been placed on denigrating the Democratic political opposition at every opportunity.  

Here's the problem for the Republicans: if you're running less on a program of "here's what I can do" and more on a platform of "here's what I'm going to stop those godless America hating, goat fucking Democrats from doing", there eventually comes a point where the electorate you're targeting goes, "What the hell? I keep voting Republican to keep those Democrat goat fuckers from destroying America but I'm still out of a job."  

You see, here's the irony: the people who were being riled up about Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were the same people who were more likely to benefit from government assistance and I don't mean just food stamps and Medicare. I mean stuff like health care reform to reduce costs and increase access. Or funding for infrastructure projects such as building and repairing roads, bridges, water lines, electrical grids and more. The very sort of stuff that Republicans routinely voted against in the name of controlling government spending but more often just because Clinton or Obama wanted it and fuck that shit, they're not getting it. So conservatives obstruct, slow down or outright kill programs then go back to their districts to point out how much life sucks with a Democrat in the White House. 

After years of this constant indoctrination that the Democrats weren't gonna help them and years of the parade of Republicans not actually delivering anything, the blue collar white voters in the small town and rural areas were primed and ready for anyone who could offer something different.

Enter Donald Trump. 

And sadly, the rest you know. 

And it all started in 1964 when the Republican Party blamed the messenger and not the message of their most ultra conservative views, thereby spending five decades painting themselves into a corner. 

And oh my God, that is how we got here.

And that is that for today. Tomorrow, as I noted earlier, is a post on Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. 

Wednesday is Comic Book Day here on the blog. I did finally get to Acme Comics and I'll post a bit about what I bought from there. 

Thursday in Thanksgiving Day here in the good ol' US of A and believe it or not, I may have some things I'm thankful for. 

Friday brings us back around to politics and the third in a series (of three, thank you very much) of Trump As President: Oh My God! as we deal with the question: What Are We Going To Do Next? 

Until next time, remember to be good to one another.  

Wait! I almost forgot! I promised the post the full length of Playboy September 1964 Playmate Astrid Schultz's naked body. 

And here we go.

One Less Republican

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