Monday, March 2, 2020

Whistling Past the Graveyard: The Moron Savant


With all due respect to Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump is not a “fucking moron”; Donald Trump is a moron savant.  He’s really stupid but he has an unsurpassed talent.  He says stuff that many people want to believe.

He lies, says almost nothing, and people who want to believe him (or are terrified of not believing him) interpret his word salads as something semi-reasonable. He's very good at mimicking an adult rational person but he's really an ignorant toddler.  And he is stupid, but he has a talent that hides this from many people.  He hides his ignorance (or his inability to even understand the question) with a number of vague stock answers.  Their ambiguity allows him to get away with saying nothing.  Much of the time he doesn’t even have to lie.

Think about his answers to questions; he never says anything substantive.  While it is true that the art of the non-answer is as old as politicians, Donald answers almost every question, difficult or simple with a deflection.  It sounds good to his supporters (who all want their belief in him validated), and effective for non supporters because any push back is easily rebuffed.  

After all.

He IS the president; you aren’t allowed to “brow beat” him into a substantive reply.  If you do have the courage to stand your ground like James Acosta, you will be labeled as a Trump “hater”, someone who will have to watch his back because of the very large MAGA mob available to put you in your place.  He'll call you names on Twitter and try to get you fired from your job.

Some stock Trump “Answers”:

“We’ll see about that.”  We’re looking into it.” 

“I think XYZ is wonderful.”  “America is the greatest.”

“I’ve done more that anybody [about XYZ].”

 “We’re coming out with certain policy that’s going to be very interesting and very surprising, I think, to a lot of people.”


“It relates to everything we’re doing…”

“You’ll be hearing about it in—over the next couple of months.”

“We’re going to have to look at a lot of things very closely.”

In the beginning of his term, almost nobody thought that he could get away with being as bad as he was during the campaign, but he has.  No one wanted to believe that America could be led by someone as awful as he showed us he could be then; it had to be an act.  He had to be kidding.  We whistled past the graveyard. 

We hoped he would be humbled by the office, schooled by good advisors and encouraged to do his best for the country.  It’s a little like Vietnam in 1970; surely all those young Americans didn’t die for nothing, so we’ll all refuse to believe that.  We'll continue to believe that it was the right thing to do.

People say their votes for Trump don’t make them responsible for the mess we are in; it has to be somebody else’s fault.  Little by little too many people have gotten used to him.  He has normalized the unthinkable: an ignorant, stupid, stubborn, immature spoiled brat bully with a third grader's world view is president of the United States.  And spectacularly, the Republican Party, Senate, and House of Representatives appear to be OK with that.