Sunday, January 22, 2017

By His Words

Andrew Cohen has left Ottawa and moved to Washington, where -- for the time being -- he is a Fulbright Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center. He was, therefore, well placed to observe Donald Trump's inauguration and speech -- which, he writes, was an "endless tweet:"

Mr. Trump’s address defines the difference between his America and Mr. Obama’s America. The world according to Donald Trump is gloomy, cold and joyless.

Factories are “rusted-out” and strewn like “tombstones” across the land; schools “deprive” students of knowledge; crime and drugs have “stolen lives and robbed the country;” infrastructure has fallen into “disrepair and decay.”

Mr. Trump’s stentorian statement: “This carnage stops right here and right now.” This will become the signature of his address.

Unsurprisingly, Trump's took no note of the facts:

The reality is different. Crime is falling. Poverty is ebbing. Incomes are rising. Unemployment and inflation are low. Standards of education are rising.

But if you are the captain of chaos, you need calamity. If it does not exist, invent it. President Trump sees a country with an existential problem and makes himself its saviour. The worse things are, the more we need him.

So he is Hercules cleaning out the Augean Stables. Or Huey Long redistributing wealth. Or Andrew Jackson denouncing the “Corrupt Bargain.”

The speech was -- like the man himself -- utterly graceless:

Beyond the sternness, there was little grace. No soothing bromides about sunlit uplands. No salute to Hillary Clinton, who sat a few feet away. No grace notes at all, other than to the Obamas, whom he declared had been “magnificent.”

Intense though the tone, the words were pedestrian. It was a screed less than a speech, an extended, angry, endless tweet, punctuated by emotional exclamation marks.

By his words, ye shall know him. 

Image: RTE


Anonymous said...

Trump is right. The American economy has been gutted as a result of 40 years of neoliberal reforms that were entirely self-serving to the upper class. He's right that action has to be taken. He's also right when he said American government has to be in the hands of the people not the establishment.

Trump talks about going back in time to when the economy functioned. Liberals talk about going back to the Clinton/Obama era when robber barons could leech and loot with impunity – and say Trump is Hitler to distract from the absurdity of their message.

If Obama had delivered Trump's inaugural speech in 2008 he would've gone down in history as the new FDR. Now he goes down on the wrong side of history with an empty legacy. A token do-nothing president who resided over an 8-year 'Lesser Depression' (Paul Krugman.)

There is no going back. The Friedmanian neoliberal era is toast. It was a colossal failure. The only way Democrats can win in 2020 is to offer better than Trump. If they merely say Trump voters were conned they will come across as hypocrites, at best – they were happily conned by Obama and the Clintons.


Owen Gray said...

I agree that the Democrats can't go back to Clinton, MAGA. If they're smart, they'll listen to Bernie Sanders, rebuild from the ground up and choose a new, progressive candidate.