Kabuki Dance of Nothingness

I did not watch the Trump Oval Office TV Special nor did I watch the rebuttal by Pelosi and Shumer. Here’s the reason why: I don’t care.

I don’t care about this kabuki dance of nothingness. I don’t care because there is no crisis. I don’t care because this whole political game is tiresome bullshit.

Of course, there are immediate reactions and hot takes everywhere.

I haven’t watched it, but I’m sure Crooked Media’s OK Stop video of the speech is 30 minutes of biting commentary. David A. Graham, at the Atlantic, picked apart the speech and the response and rightly concluded that nothing new was imparted, no fresh information or emergency declaration. The whole thing was pointless.

Finally, David Frum tells us exactly where we are now, which is exactly where we were before this exercise in futility.

After the January 8 Oval Office address, little doubt remains of how this shutdown will end. Sooner or later—probably sooner—it will end the way Trump’s threats of nuclear war upon North Korea ended: with a sudden Trump about-face. It is now only a matter of time. The polls will arrive over the next hours. Democrats and Republicans will both see that Trump did not move public opinion in his favor. They might see that Trump could not even motivate very many Americans to watch him. The panic slowly building among congressional Republicans will boil. Trump, trapped without a decent exit in a predicament of his own making, will yield everything and get nothing.

Trump will cope by locking himself into the Fox News closed-feedback system of flattering disinformation, emerging only to emit enraged tweets pretending he won big and denouncing the media for reporting otherwise. He might even convince himself to believe it. His political allies will repeat it without believing it.

But he will have lost. Lost humiliatingly. And he will have done it almost entirely to himself, before the amazed eyes of the opponents who, dumbfounded, watched him do it to himself, without a plan or even much of a reason, other than the empty and fleeting joy of feeling briefly powerful by inflicting pain.

Trump created this mess because he’s impulsive, has no political acumen or leverage, and only cares about scoring points and appearing strongman-like to the rubes. Trump is going to lose. There is no crisis at the border. The crisis is in the White House. The sooner Senate Republicans realize this, the better it will be for the country and we can move on from this empty political nonsense.

January 9, 2019


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