Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore
Long-suffering patrons of this establishment need not be told that the Ol’ Bloviator is not much given to seeing the metaphorical tankard as anything other than half-empty. Those who know him personally also know that he is responsible for making many an actual tankard completely empty. During the holiday season, at least, the O.B. has traditionally striven for a less baleful, more hopeful, cheerful outlook, which in sufficiently intoxicating doses can actually lead him to feel, for a few days at least, grudgingly optimistic about the future of humankind. Unfortunately, his strivings this year to “keep on the sunny side” have thus far availed him zilch.
The O.B. had no celebration plans, regardless of the outcome on Nov. 8, and in the first days that followed, he did his damnedest to discount the ramifications of his fellow citizens’ electoral embrace of the decidedly greater evil of the two evils confronting them. There ensued a truly Herculean effort to suspend his well-honed instincts for disbelief and entertain just the faintest hope that having shocked nine-tenths of the human race, himself charitably included, by actually being elected president, the Orange One—a.k.a. “ the O.O”—might now cease and desist in his bombast, bullying, boorishness, lying, scapegoating, etc. In other words, maybe, just maybe, he would summon from somewhere hidden deep within himself, the self-control requisite to doing justice to the job he had so ardently and effectively pursued.
Well, so much for that. It turns out that not only is there no moderating impulse within our next prez, there is absolutely nothing within him at all. His innards are without form and void. His outtards are where it’s all happening, and it is important to understand this above all else right now.
The O.B. don’t have much truck with all these diagnoses of ol’ Orangey as a narcissist or self-delusional psychopath or whatever. It ain’t all that complicated. The man is just an asshole. Not simply of the garden variety, to be sure, or even of the sort that comes along only once in a great while. Indeed, it would seem in this truly extraordinary case that the Almighty himself, having finally lost patience with seeing so many of his human creations seemingly hell-bent on establishing their individualized asshole bona-fides, He had decided to show them how it was really done. Throwing himself totally into his work, he proceeded to construct the ultimate aspirational model for assholes everywhere. Not just one for the here and now, but one whose monstrously obnoxious, befouling presence would continue to induce shudders and grimaces across centuries and millennia yet unimagined. Struck by the brilliance of his own handiwork, the Creator then succumbed to the puckishness that is sometimes his wont, and opted to showcase his achievement on the biggest stage available
If, somehow, the campaign itself did not fully validate this unflattering version of his nature and origins, how about the copious examples of President-Elect Orange’s aggressive disregard, not simply for official protocol, but international stability, the benefits of a smooth transfer of power, or the need for a unity after a campaign propelled by the politics of polarization and division? On this latter point, it appears that the O.O., who continues to go merrily about the business of mocking, taunting and demonizing those whom he has vanquished is intent on establishing himself as history’s worst winner.
More troubling still is the prospect that he sees the next four years as a continuous victory lap in which he gets to strut, posture and encourage his adoring minions to greater heights—make that greater depths—of bitterness and animosity toward anyone who has dared to stand in his way.
The O.B. started flatly telling folks early on that O.O. actually envisions the presidency of the United States as, for a person of his incredible talents, certainly, nothing more than a part-time job. Let somebody else cool their heels in those butt-numbing daily briefings on threats to national security. Let the kids sit in on as many high-level meetings as possible so that they can assist him in assuring that the business of America is not just “business” but HIS business.
Then there is the proposed cabinet of the Great Orange “populist,” which is still a long way from being complete but already boasts an aggregate worth estimated between $13 billion and $16 billion—50 times that of W’s first “millionaires club “cabinet and more than the annual GDP’s of some 70 small countries.
In keeping with his promises to save the American working class, the poseur-elect has tapped a labor secretary who thinks the current minimum wage of $10.10 per hour is too high, and to see to their health care needs, he has designated a physician who is primarily interested in healing his suffering fellow physicians while stripping millions of their healthcare with nothing resembling a replacement to fill the void.
The forces of Orange are quick to cite his quick follow-up on his vow to force Carrier to abandon its plans to ship some 2,000 jobs at an Indiana plant to Mexico. It is true enough that Carrier’s mother company, United Technologies, does a fair amount of business with the feds, but it’s also fair to suspect the prez-elect’s rhetorical stick—or shtick—may have been insufficient to seal the deal (which actually saved only half those jobs) without the $7 million tax-break carrot served up by the state of Indiana, (Wow! The O.O. must have really done a sales job on Indiana’s governor... Oh, wait!)
There will doubtless be other such charades such charades for a while at least, but please don’t think the O.B too cynical for suspecting that not many of those cabinet-level corporate bigwigs were enticed from the boardroom by the prospect of championing the cause of the folks on the assembly line.
Some are inclined to credit the Orange One for at least pulling back on his demand for top-secret security clearances for his offsprings, but the O.B.’s guess here is that he simply realized he could get better, quicker intel from his best bud Vlad Putin. As luck would have it, ol Puty has just picked up a great new source in Michael Flynn, the proposed national security advisor who is as comfortable sharing information of the classified sort as he is in disseminating total fabrications.
(BTW, since it’s safe to assume you are reading this, Vlad, word is Mike wants to talk to you about some things Bill Clinton said about your daughters. Also, don’t be concerned that nothing has been announced yet about Sarah Palin. An eager-to please Orange One will come up with something to occupy her because he truly understands how creepy it must feel to know she is constantly staring at your country.)
Alas, for those who are resting their hopes on our vaunted system of checks and balances, don’t let them rest too easy. Obama already showed us how much can be done by executive order, and while, on the face of it, these can be rolled back, the damage they might do in the interim may not be so quickly or simply repaired. The simple fact of the matter is that the framers of the Constitution and subsequent legislation pertaining to executive power and privilege thought and wrote broadly about reasonable questions that might arise, never in their wildest nightmares imagining an audacity even remotely on the scale of that which is simply SOP for the new guy. For example, search the regulations on what and how the president can earn or receive in gifts while in office for the section labeled “In the event the President-elect wants to continue to produce ‘Celebrity Apprentice…’”
Washington was rocked badly by the invasion of President-elect Andrew Jackson and his rustic supporters who reportedly turned the inaugural festivities, still held in the White House at that point, into a furniture- and carpet- destroying frenzy of boozing, belching, farting and fighting. Strong-willed and occasionally volatile, Jackson himself simply scoffed at a Supreme Court ruling that would have blocked the removal of the Cherokee from Georgia, but even he knew when to bluster and when to back off, in a way not suggested by many recent actions of the O.O., who, as they say at Harvard, is sooey-generous, and not in a good way.
As he did during the campaign, said prez-elect continues to convey toward the Republican Party something too much akin to outright disdain to worry about finding a better word. How long do you think his torrid bromance with Paul Ryan will last? The prospect of a president simultaneously battling not only the opposition but his own party—and let’s not forget the lying liberal media—hardly seems out of the question. A lot of Republicans bit big chunks out of their tongues because they were afraid of jeopardizing their own campaigns this fall. Duly re-elected, will they all maintain their locked-jaw deference and for how long?
If the Big Orange’s legislative agenda is to be thwarted, that surely must happen in the Senate, where some see a glimmer of hope for a fractionally bipartisan Senate coalition of Democrats and a smattering of Republicans such as John McCain and Lindsey Graham in numbers at least sufficient to block any ultra-ultra-idiotic initiatives.
Should this come to pass, what next? We are dealing here with the explosive ego and a temperament of a man to whom mere opposition is anathema and a definitive “no” from the Congress or the courts is almost certain to set the stage for a firestorm of popular outrage deftly kindled by a master arsonist who hardly seems the sort to shy away from provoking a constitutional crisis in order to get his way. And, understand, this might be the best we can actually achieve, for in the face of what appears to be the greatest threat to the presidency, and perhaps to the entire governing process, in this nation’s history, gridlock is far from the worst possible outcome.