Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Writing About Trump

The thing is I think most people know this now.
This isn’t analysis because there is nothing to Trump, or to his politics—no room for subtext, no broader strategy beyond whatever seat-of-the-pants pandering is most immediately apparent, nothing but the wheedling and undignified and insatiable vanity that is always right there to see. This presents a problem for people whose job it is to write or talk about politics. That job, as the elite media has come to understand and pursue it, is to decode and translate The Great Game’s secret significances, contextualize the triumphs and tribulations of its heroes, and parse its finer points of strategy. Given that Trump is always doing exactly what he appears to be doing, and for precisely the reasons you’d expect, the people in these powerful jobs have naturally found themselves glossing and restating what is already quite obvious, or straining to situate things that are obvious and stupid and embarrassing within a context—a system of essential norms and traditions, governed by civility and reasoned discourse—that plainly no longer exists. They respect the office of the presidency so much that they insist on treating it with a reverence that Donald Trump, as its occupant, plainly cannot merit.
Which is my way of saying everyone who pretends not to know this is just writing presidential fantasy fan fiction, if not about the man himself then The Office Of The Presidency or The White House or the whoever the latest hire is who is supposed to save him from himself, and the Republic from them all. Less politely, they are all completely full of shit.

There was a time when maybe it wasn't completely nuts to imagine there was some grand strategy, or that every Trump Tweet was meant as a distraction from The Last Tweet, or that maybe, just maybe, the man had a tiny glimmer of understanding of the job he had. February 2017 was that time. It was a long time ago. He's just a stupid narcissistic old man with brain worms.