I was thinking the other day why I find the Trump Presidency pretty much a yawner. Which I do.
Sure, I work around a lot of people who think he is The Worst Ever, a new old-fashioned fascist like Hitler or Mussolini, but that is patent nonsense: whatever else you can say about Schicklgruber and il Duce, they had philosophies and published plans -- evil, horrible plans based on a twisted philosophy, but a definite framework nonetheless. Mr. Trump, now, everything I have seen indicates he's an absolute spur-of-the-moment pragmatist, which may not be the best of possible Presidential traits but is solid proof that he's not up to anything much past late-night twitter spats. He doesn't even have a fancy uniform, which is a pretty stunning omission given what I have seen of his sense of style.
Growing up, the first election I (barely) remember is the Nixon-Kennedy race, and the awful suspicion by my parents that some female member of the extended family had had the temerity to vote for Mr. Kennedy. This was generally held to be an awful mistake caused by the candidate's good looks. Then everything came crashing down and even the adults who had been most incensed at the thought of someone they knew and trusted having voted for that East Coast Democrat were horrified by the assassin's shot in Dallas.
President Johnson was in and my folks loathed him. He reportedly held conferences from the toilet (true) and showed reporters his gallbladder surgery scar. He was, for lack of a better word, crass. The hippie kids hated him for the Vietnam War; conservative adults loathed him for carrying on just like a big ol' Democrat and for his abrasive personal style. Eventually even the Press disliked him, and it showed.
So he was disliked from both sides and the big middle of the bell curve was irked. In a comeback effort by scrappy ol' Dick Nixon, the man who went toe-to-toe with Nikita Khrushchev over the state of kitchens and daily life in their respective nations, he spoke directly to that "silent majority" and made his way into office on the strength of their votes.
The press promptly found he was a President they could dislike far more heartily than they had Johnson -- and Mr. Nixon had long possessed a gift for hating them right back and redoubled, which he proceeded to exercise.
Richard Milhous Nixon was (in my opinion) a foreign policy genius, who probably should have been pulled into the State Department and kept there as a resource. The Presidency did him no good and directly led to the multi-year feud and growing cynicism on both sides that culminated in the Watergate investigation, his resignation, and President Ford followed by President Carter, two men as determined to be likeable as puppies and neither one especially suited for that tail-wagging role. It left me so burned out on Federal politics that after pulling a lever in the Carter-Ford contest, I didn't vote for years.
And Mr. Trump? He's just Mr. Johnson's personal style with Mr. Nixon's sullenness, and lacking the nasty war in Southeast Asia that allowed them both to seem bigger than life. He just doesn't bother me that much. I don't think he's the Great Savior of Conservatism (seriously, guys? Can you not do better?), nor do I think he is a would-be fascist dictator. He's just Another One Like Them, of which this country has had plenty, most of them buffed warm and shiny by history but a plain ugly bunch of outright bastards in their day.
Love him? Hate him? He, too, shall pass.
5 weeks ago