Wading in a pool of abstraction © Robert Sommers 2023

Monday, May 18, 2020

Make America Gag Again

I am by no means a Presidential historian but I have been around a little and have done a bit of reading. And I have been thinking about the "worst President ever" award. And it has been a really tough call.

Warren Harding was a corrupt philanderer who gave us both the Teapot Dome and the Veteran Administration scandals during his tenure.

Millard Fillmore signed the Fugitive Slave Act, that required that escaped slaves be returned to their masters. Pierce and Tyler both joined the Confederacy.

James Buchanan was a Dred Scott booster who supported slavery and whose policies helped lead to the Civil War. His administration admitted Kansas into the Union as a slave state, he had the panic of 1857 on his watch and was known as a "doughface," a northerner with pro southern inclinations.

Aside from Nixon, Andrew Johnson may actually have set the mark for the nadir of office of the presidency. The post civil war President was a slave owner himself who took power upon the assassination of Lincoln and failed to protect the freed slaves and handed back the civil rights gains made in the Civil War. He allowed southern states to institute "black codes" and furthered the rise of Jim Crow policies during reconstruction. He refused to give Black people the rights accorded to other Americans. I think he gets my award for the worst of the worst. Like Trump with the environment, he rolled back some very legitimate gains the country had made, at great cost to the republic.

Herbert Hoover crashed the stock market and sent the country careening into the great depression.

Richard Nixon prolonged the war in Vietnam needlessly by seven years by entering a secret deal with Madame Chennault while he was a candidate for President in October of 1968. He lied to the American people about incursions into Laos and Cambodia, escalated the bombing, spied and played dirty tricks on his political opponents, bugged the Democratic party headquarters, sicced the FBI on his political rivals, harassed political activists and although brilliant, was perhaps the most consciously venal and corrupt President we have ever had.

And then you have Donald Trump. A vain narcissist with little or no capacity for either criticism or self criticism for that matter, he has presided over a destruction of our republic that might be unparalleled in American history. With his unwillingness to accept any blame or take responsibility for any of his actions, we are witnessing something truly unique with this man, who is better suited to be a carnival show barker or late night television pitchman. A  man who lies as naturally as he breathes.

He has inflamed the racial environment in the country, thumbed his nose at every moral code and convention, from emoluments and oversight to financial transparency and accountability, regularly pits one federal department or employee against another, has viciously gone after any one who dares question him and was elected with a real push start from the Russians. He plays favorites among states and sets region against region, he weaponizes and dissembles whenever convenient. He continues to illegally fire Inspector Generals, we are up to four fired now, he sends daily mixed messages undermining his CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services and has completely alienated his own intelligence agencies.

No conspiracy theory is too outlandish for him to peddle to the deplorables, no ally too close or dear not to burn on the pyre of his famous megalomania when deemed convenient. He dissolved the Pandemic Team at the NSC, disregarded ample warnings about the threat of a contagion and then totally abdicated federal responsibilities to the states when he was shown to be totally inept, causing them to have to bid against both each other and the federal government.

Now he claims he is taking a malaria drug that has just failed two major clinical trials, prophylactically, claiming that the scientists who had instituted the studies were not "big Trump fans." You know, because it is always all about him. The drug has been shown to have grave and dangerous effects on both heart and liver function. I, of course, do not wish ill physical health on anyone but it would indeed be a rich irony and would once again cause me to question the absence of a deity if we had ourselves an old fashioned smiting right about now. Although as my wife said, he is probably lying about even taking the stuff.

I can't put him on the venal level of Nixon or even an Andrew Johnson yet. Unfortunately he is just not that smart, so he will never join the storied ranks of the true evil geniuses. He's too stupid and there is nothing worse than an despotic idiot who thinks he is smart. Can never become a real legitimate Dr. Evil. Just a dumbshit rich kid, who has destroyed pretty much everything he has touched his entire life through sheer incompetence and now he gets to fuck up the ultimate play toy, our country. This petty emperor has alienated our allies, abrogated our trade agreements and put our farmers and the rest of the country on life support.

If you look at every conceivable metric, from pandemic response to debt to unemployment, he is doing a fine job of destroying the nation at that. Of course he has been enabled by a Republican Senate that has been willing to look the other way at every turn. Can you imagine the howls from them if these actions were being perpetrated by a Democrat? But all we get are crickets. Simon and Garfunkel. Sounds of silence.


Lena said...

The world pities us ...

Sanoguy said...

Well said... I could not agree more....

island guy said...

Good to be reminded that this is not America’s first exposure to a very toxic presidency. Maybe there is hope that we can pull out of this authoritarian tailspin.

Anonymous said...

I totally hope he dies from Hdrofuckface drug, why not be a real man and take cyanide?


Anonymous said...

This is so depressing. I'm reverting to my childhood to protect my sanity. When I hear the same buzzwords day in and day out on the news, my brain now goes into survival mode. Take a deep breath and VISUALIZE.....namaste.

Here are a few helpful examples:

PPP - Pee Pee Pee
Social Distancing - Hide and Seek
Hydroxychloroquine - Hydrox (Sunshine)
Face Mask - Quick Draw McGraw
I.G. - Inspector (Henderson)
Quarantine - Timeout
Stimulus Check - Allowance
Take-out - Good Humor Truck

Anonymous said...

Good words, comforting to some extent. I would add Woodrow Wilson to the deplorable list. He was a complete racist and actually expelled people of color from government. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2015/11/20/9766896/woodrow-wilson-racist.

MRE said...

Right on Robert!

Blue Heron said...

It really seems more like a mafia criminal operation than a Presidential administration.

Scrota Voce said...

Sophomoric comments from blatant arrested development. But that's all you ever aspire to.

Way, way down deep...you're really, really shallow.

Carl Jung

Blue Heron said...

How shallow can I be if I even have a way down deep, Scrota?

Scota Voce said...

Ah, that's the joke, son, but then again, it's really deep.

Bennett Cerf
(Actually married to Sylvia Sydney for 6 months, in her prime. Every dog has his day)