Those Who Can’t Do, President
BY MAX BURBANK | Let’s do a little thought experiment: It’s midnight and your toilet is totally plugged, just jammed up all to hell. You’ll call a plumber first thing tomorrow — but right now? You’re too irritated to sleep. Flipping through the channels, this infomercial catches your eye. It stars some chubby-ass, orange dope with a comb-over and a third grade vocabulary. You’re about to change channels but he mentions he’s rich, so he’s gotta know something. And coincidence, he’s talking about plumbing! His idea is, when your toilet’s plugged? You don’t want a plumber. The very last thing you need is a plumber. Their whole deal is scamming you into thinking only they can fix toilets. So this guy says hire him because he has never worked on a toilet in his ENTIRE LIFE! So you hire the guy — bad hair, obvious learning disability, and all.
How do you imagine things end up in this thought experiment? Is your toilet flushing like a champion, or are you standing ankle deep in cold sewage, gingerly dodging turds as you high step toward the door in the vain hope you get there before the water level reaches the electrical outlets?
That’s America right now, because, surprise! A late night infomercial huckster with no plumbing experience is never going to MAKE YOUR TOILET GREAT AGAIN! They can only make it much, much worse.
Listen: Trump. Can’t. President. You wouldn’t say a coked up orangutan was bad at piloting an F-22 Raptor. It doesn’t know how, and even if it could learn (spoiler: it can’t), it’s not going to, because it thinks it probably knows how already and it’s pretty busy tweeting about the overrated Meryl Streep’s failing career!
Remember all the way back at the Republican Convention, the whole “I alone can fix it” speech? That’s not just egotism or hyperbole, that’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the system! Trump wasn’t elected “King” or “Dear Leader” — a president needs the cooperation of a whole lot of people, many of whom possess free will! Not everyone is Devin Nunes! Even executive orders, the most “alone” thing a president gets to do, are judged by (and I know this is weird) JUDGES! The travel ban didn’t even cosplay as constitutional. It’s like Trump had a fake nose and moustache eyeglass set all ready to slap on it, but then went “You know what, screw it, I got golf.”
And this shouldn’t have been a surprise, because he’s never made a secret of the fact that he knows less about how our government actually works than most middle school students — as well as every single immigrant who ever became an American citizen because they had to TAKE A TEST AND PROVE IT! He does not know what the three branches of government do, and might not know their names. To the degree that he understands separation of powers, he is against them. Worse yet, he doesn’t seem to care! It’s too much for him to focus on! Do you know where he was the first time the healthcare vote got cancelled? Sitting in a truck on the White House lawn, bouncing up and down in the seat making truck noises, surrounded by actual truck drivers!
Trump only understands three things: Golf, kleptocracy, and his theory that the best people for a given job are folks who know as little as is humanly possible about it. Trump isn’t just winging it, he’s completely surrounded himself with people who are winging it, from his personal physician to his cabinet to his closest advisors.
Pop quiz: Who is the most powerful man in Government right now?
Steve Bannon would say he was, but the so-called brains of the operation turns out to be only marginally more capable than a turnip or Ben Carson. He blew any chance “Repeal and Replace” had when he told the Freedom Caucus, “This isn’t a negotiation.” That’s like walking onto the court at a Knicks game and telling them, “This isn’t basketball,” because: A. Clearly it is basketball, and, B. Now we have to take time out of our schedule to give you a swirly and stuff you in a locker. He forgot that the main reason Trump chose him for the job is that he’s supremely unqualified to do it.
No, if you’ve been following the news this last week, you know the most powerful man in government is Jared Kushner. As of press time, Kushner is in charge of… well, I have to keep to a word count, so I’ll just say “everything.” Kushner is the perfect choice for Trump. He’s not just unqualified; his lack of qualifications fit a very specific profile. He’s a svelte, young, silver-spoon prep school weasel, born into wealth, handed a real estate empire, and married to Ivanka. There’s only one person on earth Trump wants to be more than himself, and it ain’t Bannon.
None of this is meant to comfort you. The Trump administration may lack the skills to become an effective dictatorship, but a collection of unqualified, incompetent egomaniacs can still do an awful lot of damage. Right now the only people in a position to put the breaks on any of this are Republican congressmembers. Many of them are fully aware of just how dangerous Trump and company are, but they also know if they cross him, they might not get re-elected. The collapse of western civilization versus personal temporary unemployment? That’s a real “Sophie’s Choice” for men of their caliber. There’s nothing wrong with hoping for a few profiles in courage — but you shouldn’t hold your breath either.