Sunday, January 1, 2017
Enter The Glitzy Trump Era–A Welcome Bye-bye To The Washington, East Coast Establishment
Never before has there been such exhilaration in Washington. Donald Trump is coming to town! It is unimaginable but true that this Hollywood-Las Vegas-New York celebrity is actually going to sit in the Oval Office, the Oval Office of Lincoln, Jefferson, Adams, and Roosevelt.
The Eastern establishment both liberal and conservative are still incredulous that this arriviste, low bourgeois political interloper with a trophy wife, gorgeous, E!, Elle, People, and Vogue-ready family, a big mouth and a big ego is actually going to run the country.
It is one thing to lose an election, another to lose the very culture of the Establishment itself. Al Gore took defeat gracefully, for although W was far too conservative for Gore’s blood, he was a Bush of the Kennebunkport Bushes – President George H.W. the father, Senator Prescott the grandfather, and blueblood family odds and ends throughout the Northeast and therefore family.
Gore himself was of notable political family heritage, if not with the highest WASP pedigree, and he followed in the footsteps of this father, Al Gore Sr. Senator from Tennessee to national prominence.
Bill Clinton had no patrician roots whatsoever – perhaps unfairly parodied as trailer trash with a hillbilly taste in women - he still had enough Eastern Establishment pedigree in his background – Georgetown and especially Yale Law – to give him Washington credentials which were only marginally tarnished by his classless affairs. His taste in women may have been cheap; but he still played by the rules.
LBJ, like Clinton, was from a poor Southern background, but once the got to the House, the Senate, and the Presidency, he lost all his cowpoke, brush, and creosote upbringing and gamed the Washington system like no other politician.
JFK, scion of an American WASP wannabee family who made good thanks to Papa Joe’s liquor business money, Irish ward politics savvy, and Five Points ruthlessness, was as close to a political outsider as we have had in Washington. He played by the rules – Oval Office, Congressional hearings, stump speeches, and League of Women Voters – but he was a pussy hound who refused to let historical assumptions of Presidential propriety weigh him down.
Yes, he was President of the United States; but he was also a young man in his early forties blessed with money, power, influence, and an insatiable sex drive. Why was anyone surprised that he bedded every starlet in Hollywood and Marilyn Monroe? What man of his position wouldn’t?
President Obama has been a model of patrician (despite his conspicuously non-patrician roots) good taste. His eight years in the White House have been pure, unsullied by scandal, rumor, or questionable personal preferences. His wife, intelligent, talented, and educated enough to be President herself, has remained quietly and respectfully in the background, a dutiful First Lady and mother to two model children. He has been a mediocre President, but he is respected by both parties for his respect for tradition and the high office he holds.
It is bad luck that this political gentleman, this man of principle, good taste, and moral rectitude, is to be followed by Donald Trump, a man for whom old-line, old-guard propriety means nothing. He has nothing but distaste for the Washington elites who have arrogated political, social, and cultural authority and ruled as a matter of entitlement. Who says that Washington must be in their hands?
Who says that a socio-cultural tradition dating back to the Founding Fathers means anything at all? While Jefferson, Hamilton, and Adams may have had an intellectually important vision for the Republic, there is no reason to continue to bow to their elitist, patrician roots. Washington and Jefferson were among the ‘One Percent’ of Old Virginia society. Hamilton and Adams from New England stock but no less socially important.
Trump is quintessentially middle American. His rise to power has nothing to do with family heritage, old boy networks, prep school chums, and summers on the Vineyard. He, with admittedly a financial boost from his equally ambitious father, has made it on his own. Not only has he made it, but he has made it in the American way – real estate and entertainment.
There is nothing Old Guard about him, no Europe-love, or fondness for ascetic Early American. He is all glitz, glamour, show, and showoff glam and tinsel. He is unashamedly a successful American.
It is not so much for his policies on immigration, foreign relations, trade, or social policy that progressives hate him. It is because he is the very epitome of cheap, gaudy, nouveau-riche success.
The liberal Left would have embraced a Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Elon Musk had they been conservative presidential candidates, for they are part of the Establishment. They value core American values – initiative, entrepreneurship, hard work – without the chest-thumping, end-zone dances and imitative mime of the arrivistes. They are as essentially American as Donald Trump without the hoopla and bling.
Yet, Mr. Trump and family are about to take over the White House; or at least some of them. Melania and Barron will stay in New York until ‘the end of the school year’; but few expect the glamorous and socially connected First Lady to take up residence in the dowdiest and least buzz-worthy capital of the Four Powers any time soon.
As far as press conferences and official communiqués, hold on to your hats. Why should anyone assume that Trump's tweets and zingers will stop once he is in the Oval Office? Is there anything to indicate that this totally outrageous, unpredictable, and totally unpolitical man will change personality once he sits in his Presidential Chair? Of course not. And this is why we have elected him. Not because of his populist policies, although they are part of the reason for our support; but because of his iconic American nature.
America, except for a few unique enclaves on the East Coast is not patrician or old-monied WASP. Nor is it academic, intellectually privileged, or exclusive. We may have IRAs, investments in the stock market, and even a few fliers in gold and precious metals; but we are not high-risk-high-reward Wall Street investors. We have one home, usually modest and indebted and not two or three and certainly not in St. Bart’s or Gstaad. We shop at Costco, Target, Walmart, and Buy Less.
Which is why we love Donald Trump. He is one of us, and there, other than with a few helping hands and a few better genes, go I. We love his impossibly gorgeous apartment in Trump Towers – all the sconces, mirrors, and Venetian wallpaper. We love his impossibly gorgeous family – picture perfect, blonde, and runway-ready Ivanka with her sweet, adorable, family. And his Towers?!
Symbols of American wealth, success, and democratic potential. We may tour Beacon Hill, Georgetown, and the Main Line; but we want to be in, own, be part of Las Vegas and Hollywood.
The Trump era is here; and there is good reason for both the liberals and conservatives of the Establishment to be whining. Not only does Trump bring radical populism to Washington, but uber-Americanism – a trashy, glitzy, strip Mall, Vegas, high-flier real estate, Hollywood image-and-glamour, unreconstructed white, privileged, on-top superiority.
Succeed or fail geopolitically, the Donald Trump era has ushered in a refreshingly and long-overdue real American cultural populism. Applaud it!