Saturday, September 22, 2018

‘Very stable genius’ bravado—Trump’s epic self-delusions will boomerang, again

The president keeps playing the fool who invites removal with madcap assaults on reality, like what genius and stability mean, all the while exposing his own addled, unreconstructed turmoil.

Do Trump’s bizarre, self-congratulatory whoppers about my “very stable genius” not prove beyond any reasonable doubt he’s the most reactive, unstable, and untrustworthy president since, well, since pathological lying wrecked one’s public credibility? With Trump fans already in retreat, what sane, even moderately intelligent voter trusts blowhards who defensively tout their own brilliance and sanity — tons of current evidence to the contrary? As pundits quip, besieged politicians who have to “explain” how smart or stable they are — have lost the campaign.

Children are rightly warned that bragging about one’s own astonishing wonderfulness boomerangs: that boasts of hyperbolic self-regard come across as the least persuasive of human utterances. Even more so when zero evidence, new or old, is brought to bear. Bad news, Donald, your weird, counterproductive responses to Wolff’s “Fire and Fury” weigh against months of equally revealing insider comments. How much is new? By confirming with tweets your own staffers’ accounts, that you’re impulsive, insecure, infantile, uninformed and unteachable, you amplify the very issues you’re trying to bury, namely, doubtful mental fitness.

Good show, Donald! Can the House impeach you for stupidity beyond the call or defensive derangement. Do not your fatuous assertions certify much of the worst of last week’s shocking reportage? After ten months of world-shaking, White House chaos, the electorate now has even more direct evidence that defies any cultists who cry out, “here’s a stable, political genius” — simply because you say so. What Big Lies remain, that your celebrated coiffure is all natural, uncolored, like your genius a gift of birth?

The ultimate ‘Trumpian lie’

Here again, Trump not only mocks the truth (even ways to confirm truth) but replays for the nth time what Masha Gessen pinpoints as the “Trumpian lie,” nothing less than

a ‘power lie,’ distinct from other kinds of political lying. That’s because its purpose is not to convince the audience of something that isn’t true but to demonstrate the power of the speaker. Trump tweets blatant lies, repeatedly, to show that he can—and that by virtue of his bully pulpit, his words, however absurd, always have consequences.

What cements Gessen’s insight is this lyingest of presidents claims not just competence and intelligence but genius — not just sufficient psychic fitness but outsized stability. Remember his campaign brag his IQ topped all other GOP candidates — because he just knew it, thanks illogically to his super IQ. Trump’s circular audacity never sleeps. Other than cries of horror, followed by hysterical laughter, why shouldn’t sane, intelligent people not instantly assume Trump is lying, as always, and that reality rules when we simply invert everything he says. Even good propaganda, the original fake news, dishes out plausible evidence, not just self-serving emptiness.

Thus, Trump’s latest over-the-top bluster will boomerang, confirming exactly what his harshest critics posit. That’s why, since this Trumpian lie is not intended to convince, desperate underlings like Sec’y Tillerson must descend to Watergate-style non-denial denials, “Nothing I’ve seen makes me doubt his stability.” Right, just his core ability when he called Trump a “moron”? Who believes such Trump nonsense, considering the last ten months confirm his functional illegitimacy? Who would trust anyone already empowered, yet now forced to justify both his absent smarts or diminishing faculties?

The self-mortification, as with denials of any Russian complicity, is deafening. If Trump weren’t such an horrendous liar, with idiotic campaign distortions compounded 1500 times since January (per Wash Post), the sane majority wouldn’t conclude, “this is the crudest hustle of all, with zero evidence or context. Who brags about his own high sanity AND matchless intelligence but cornered, twisted hustlers?” How many thrice-convicted criminals don’t forever declare unjustified victim hood, indicted by nasty enemies out to get them?

The beginning of the end?

Are we there yet, the invisible point of no return when enough millions anticipate not if, but when the Trump train wreck irreparably derails? Did we just fly past some telling boundary when Trump, despite months of instability, lying and idiocy, feels obliged to declare himself the sanest, smartest, obviously most misunderstood genius in history? When does this shredded house of cards fall to pieces?

Certainly, the most outrageous, laughable aspect continues: Trump persists as his own worst enemy, reinforcing the old line that, when shoulder-deep in a mud hole, best to stop digging. Have we reached that critical threshold when tens of millions conclude, “We’ve heard enough. Why cares how this loser got elected. How do we end the nightmare by defanging, if not dumping Trump?” One thing for sure: never in our history has bad character, confirmed with mind-numbing frequency, so informed a disastrous destiny. Are there no political thresholds beyond which even “stable geniuses” fear to go, inviting even more credibility-busting ridicule?

Nothing moves us towards resolution like Trump’s unshakeable character flaws, whether as crass worshiper of money or befuddled, desperate president. That direction, towards a failed regime that makes Dubya’s look good, is accelerated by ever more outrageous outbursts from the center ring of the chaotic Trump circus. The shock and awe are getting so great, maybe, just maybe a critical mass can advance reform of the antiquated Electoral College. Measured even by its anti-democratic, 18th C origins — for elite electors to filter out grossly unqualified dangers to the state and populace — the EC has now failed twice in one generation: denying two demonstrably more qualified, popular vote winners.

When do enough Republicans under growing re-election pressure feel truly “terrified,”as Steve Bannon describes Ivanka’s dread what telling financial malfeasance Mueller will expose? Will the GOP stand by a figure so self-destructive he threatens the leaders’ status and the party’s future? And now Bannon the insider, the erratic Trump fan, opines his ex-boss has “lost it” and won’t last four years. Curiously, we’re now forced to believe noxious White House staffers — like Bannon, hardly dumb, uninformed or visibly crazy— over a bungling, incredibly compromised, narcissistic president. Bannon remains a menacing, reactionary knave who wants to replaces one swamp with a worse, white nationalistic one. The president keeps playing the fool who invites removal with madcap assaults on reality, like what genius and stability mean, all the while exposing his own addled, unreconstructed turmoil.

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Robert S. Becker
For over a decade, Robert S. Becker's independent, rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, history, implications, messaging and frameworks. He has been published widely, aside from Nation of Change and RSN, with extensive credits from OpEdNews (as senior editor), Alternet, Salon, Truthdig, Smirking Chimp, Dandelion Salad, Beyond Chron, and the SF Chronicle. Educated at Rutgers College, N.J. (B.A. English) and U.C. Berkeley (Ph.D. English), Becker left university teaching (Northwestern, then U. Chicago) for business, founding SOTA Industries, a top American high end audio company he ran from '80 to '92. From '92-02, he was an anti-gravel mining activist while doing marketing, business and writing consulting. Since then, he seeks out insight, even wit in the shadows, without ideology or righteousness across the current mayhem of American politics.
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