"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Thursday, November 30, 2023

In Sickness And In Health - Poor Joe Biden, Javier Milei, And The Coming Of Donald Trump

Anyone can see that the US President is not up to the task of running the country let alone making any sense. He has become a stumbling, incoherent shuffler, in the thrall of obsessive progressive claques, a puppet, an inconsequential dreamer, a man with A Child's Garden Book of Verses by his bed, policy papers stacked, unread in a corner, unreadable by a man barely beyond McGuffey's Reader. 

The election of Javier Milei as President of Argentina should give Biden supporters pause.  For decades the Argentines have suffered under the legacy of Juan Peron and his fairy princess Evita, drowned in the magical realism of Peronism and its give-away policies.  Argentina, a land of natural resources, European descendants, favorable climate and geopolitical position, should have been a star in a continent known for misrule and corruption. With its dalliance with military rule in the era of the disappeared, its continued dreamlike support of faux populists only out to ride the coattails of the dead dictator and his embalmed wife, Argentina has fallen farther and farther into disrepute, poverty, and  economic hopelessness. 


Then along comes Milei, a Trump-like man of theatrical energy, a rock star, a circus performer free of cant, sanctimony and intellectual arrogance.  Like Trump a man of the people - not an earthy Woody Guthrie at home with the folk on the pampas and in the barrios but a man of outlandish, preposterous opportunity.  After so long laboring under the neo-socialism of Peronism, Pope Francis and his Liberation Theology acolytes, and in-and-out petty dictators and claims to Bolivarian restitution, the Argentine people had had enough.  Basta! No mas!

The new president will do away with the peso, the central bank, and the ponderous inefficient, self-serving government bureaucracy.  He will, with one swift kick, one fell swoop, rid the country of its self-inflicted socialism and leaky progressive idealism. 

More important than the man's policies is the man himself - an outsized public talent, a willful, determined politician who tells people that reform will be easy - and easy it will be, for he will do away with the codicils, the caveats, and the deliberately arcane tangles of the bureaucracy.  It takes decades to build up government 'service' that exists only to perpetuate itself, to create corridors and back alleys, byways and hidden doors, oubliettes and coffee corners; but it takes only one determined, purposeful, and willful man to do away with it all. 

Of course every newly elected politician who has run on vacant promises to sweep clean with a new broom rarely does so; but Milei has the Argentine people behind him - not only those who understand how privatization and drastic fiscal and financial reform are exactly what's needed to set right the national ship; but those who, at the end of their ropes, are willing to try anything.  And trying with such a charismatic man, imbued with the tango, the ethos of the gaucho, and the sense of destiny of European civilization is an easy matter. 

Idolatry! A Mussolini dressed as an Argentine clown, a fascist in principle, character, and deed, howl his critics who can think only within the narrow focus of American-style inclusivity and diversity.  They miss the point - Milei was elected as much for who he is as for what he has promised.  Argentines want to have freedom again, to be free from the pandering, the hectoring, the miserable intellectual impoverishment of the Peronists.  Life in Argentina can be prosperous, and fun again, the pearl of the continent, the Latin Shining City on a Hill 

Sound familiar?  Donald Trump and Javier Milei are brothers, two of a kind, two peas in a pod - both brilliant politicians who understand the psycho-social dimensions of electoral rule, what the people want, feel, and desire - not some artificially articulated policy paper on doing the right thing 

Donald Trump’s opening campaign salvo in Tulsa during his 2020 campaign was vintage Trump – a loud, outrageous, politically incorrect evening of bombast, sight gags, and ridicule.  The image of Sleepy Joe Biden, pale and cramped in his basement, wearing a mask, afraid to go out, and speaking tired nostrums was priceless.  The ‘protesters’ outside the arena were not exercising their freedom of speech for an important cause, but thugs, looters, anarchists, and miscreants.  ‘Bad people’, the President said, nothing laudable or respectable about them. 

His West Point story, or “The President, The General, and The Ramp” was worthy of Eddie Murphy’s raw one-liners and Steve Martin’s physical comedy at their best.  His imitations, his accents, his build-ups and pauses had a comedian’s timing.  His lambasting of the Left’s toppling of the statues of Jefferson, Grant, and Washington showed the comedic master’s understanding that ridicule, not umbrage, gets laughs and exposes the idiocy of the cancel culture.

Every Northern Liberal, shouted Trump, has a slaver in his family tree; a greedy, land-grabbing capitalist, and anti-Semitic misogynist, so what’s the big fucking deal?  

Trump posed and postured, strutted, and shambled; was at times garrulous and and at others curt.  He played to the audience, to his faithful, and to the millions of others who have grown tired of progressive cant, civil disorder, and knee-jerk complicity.  It was a speech which put the Democrats on notice.  They have had months of a free rein, their own purposeful, righteous political Woodstock.  Now it is time to bring in the cavalry.

The liberal press was quick to criticize Trump in Tulsa – the expected crowds never showed up; Trump’s lies, innuendos, distortions, and ad hominem, gratuitous attacks were on display; and the very reasons why this arrogant, retrograde idiot should be overthrown were there for everyone to see.

Phooey, said the President, as he always had.  Fake news; but this time, within the hilarious comedy and in-your-face provocation, Trump was deadly serious – a shot across the bow, a wake-up call as loud as the one he shouted in 2016 which Hillary Clinton never even heard.

Here was a man in his mid-seventies but in his prime – a combative, confident, strong man – against whom a notably absent, querulous, and over-matched, deer-in-the-headlights Biden will have no chance.  The message was lost on no one.  No more watching the Democrats destroy themselves with street violence, radical policies, and a moralistic approach to COVID.  The conservative forces would now be on the march and as ruthless as Sherman.

Image result for images confused biden

Those at Tulsa and watching on social media were not only pleased with the President’s unequivocal political stance, but with his performance.  This president has been one of a kind – a one-man circus act and vaudeville headliner all rolled into one, a Borscht Belt comedian with timing, irreverence, and honest humor.  Who said that there was one way of ‘acting presidential’? Who said that the Eastern image, the Upper West Side image of a president was the only one?  

Most Americans are either like Trump or want to be like him – rich enough to have trophy wives and girlfriends, yachts, five homes, and enough money to say screw you.  They are as Las Vegas glitz and cheap glamour as he is.  They are as fake news, soap opera, Hollywood, and the mean streets as he is.  Finally they have a president who is one of them.

Donald Trump has a genius for understanding Americans, our love of glitz, ribbons, and tinsel, our dismissal of the somber and the presumptuous   Thanks to his intelligence, arrogant confidence, absolute ambition, and vaudevillian sense of timing and audience appeal, he has just begun another perfect electoral campaign. 

Donald Trump is a man of Hollywood, Las Vegas, vaudeville, and Barnum & Bailey.  He is the first candidate to understand – and embody – our deliberately illogical preferences, our passionate anti-intellectual populism, and our anti-establishment moral rectitude. Issues don’t matter for either him or for his supporters.  Not even Ronald Reagan stirred so many legitimate aspirations.  No more logic, issues, and moderation.  The way forward is visceral, and absolute.  There is no on-the-one-hand-on-the-other dispassionate consideration here. The circus is the message.

Biden's problem is that he will have to run again against the most savvy vaudevillian circus performer in the nation’s history.  Trump’s term in office reset the political calculus.  No more political correctness, compromise, respectful debate, or honorable disagreement.  Trump has been a clown, a comedian, a bare-knuckles John L Sullivan street fighter, a man cut from an American cloth with an amoral approach to power and individual interest.  Biden will be sorely tested by this master of sarcasm, cynical darts, and innuendos.

At first - if he in fact decides to debate Trump - he will be bemused, wry smiles, and head-shaking at Trump’s obtuseness. The people understand what a buffoon Trump is and rectitude, temperance, and good counsel will win the day; but as Trump’s ad hominem attacks continue and increase in intensity, Biden will become flustered and despite the advice of his handlers, will respond in kind.  Yet he is not up to fighting dirty.  First of all, anyone representing the party of decency, progress, respect, and inclusivity can afford to look like a street-fighter.  It would be unseemly, and it would show the electorate that there is no qualitative difference between the candidates.  

Image result for images circus clowns

As sure as Javier Milei is in the Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires, the regency of Joe Biden is coming to an end.  Just as Argentines became sick and tired of old political chestnuts, empty promises, failed treasury-emptying public spending, weirdness, and the brooding death cult of the Perons, Americans are sick and tired of progressives' nostrums and their empty calls for diversity as they champion their own self-selected black, transgender heroes.  They have had it with legislative nightmare calls for electric only vehicles, and energy dependence; climate change hysteria, and geopolitical accommodation. 

The victory of Milei is not just a warning shot over the bow.  It is the future. 

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