A friend of mine who’s a journalist hoped Trump would get in because things had been dull under Obama – and that prompted a slow epiphany.
I’ve said in a previous post that it was about change, that Obama delivered steady growth, blah blah blah, but didn’t make any systemic changes; that there seems to be something I’m missing, etc. But, although I didn’t realize it when it was said, my journalist friend nailed it.
One of my great complaints about Obama during his presidency was that he consistently refused to beat his own drum. He got his country out of two unwinnable wars – not a word. He pulled the economy back from the brink – not a squeak. He created ten million jobs – not so much as a high-five. And he got Obamacare through without so much as a smile. I’m sorry; my friend’s right. Obama was dull. And at least he was a great orator; Clinton offered the dullness without even the oratory. (See Paul Krugman today on the facts, by the way.)
This perhaps is why his record is being so swiftly ripped to shreds by Trump. Forget about the fact that Trump doesn’t blush to take credit for other’s achievements, doesn’t flinch to distract from his own shortcomings with bare-faced lies, and whose gift for showmanship is every bit as effective to his caucus as Obama’s rhetoric was to his. (I mean, remember that absurd photo of supposed business leaders in the Oval Office, some of whom were wearing construction helmets? Bob the fucking Builder’s going to “restore” America’s “greatness”? How stupid do you have to be to believe that that wasn’t staged?) Forget all that: Obama said almost nothing to take credit for his achievements, and that makes it oh so easy for those achievements to be dismissed.
I suppose I should lighten up. After all, despite the hundreds of thousands who’ll fall off health insurance when Obamacare is repealed later this week of whom some will die prematurely because of it, despite the hundreds of thousands of unwanted pregnancies and backstreet abortions that the destruction of Planned Parenthood will cause, despite the censorship of unpalatable scientific results such as Climate Science with the Secret Science Reform Act and the millions who will suffer as our planet warms even faster than it already is, it’s all just theatre, and those people are not victims but CGI animations, expendable so long as we’re all having fun.
And here we come back to the fourth pillar. Yes, Obama was boring. But Trump didn’t run against Obama, he ran against Clinton (and lost, by three million votes). Yet even the supposedly left-wing press published every ludicrous statement, every obnoxious lie, that he made. And this continues today. The “wire-tapping,” the five million “fake votes” are reported not as if they are fun, but as if they are true. That’s because the public still believes that the job of journalists is to serve up checked facts, not entertainment.
Or perhaps it’s because the future’s so dismal that we prefer entertainment to facts.