The great Trump selfie: As ‘transparency’ surges, so does disgust

Trump doesn’t even know his own 16 month, presidential “transparency” – full of obstruction of justice and profiteering – sets up his own final apocalypse.

Image Credit: Carlos Osorio/AP

Trump IS the bull who brings his own China shop

Who’d ever think to complain about too much transparency from a politician? But a White House run solely on macho optics must show off the charade of the endlessly boastful leader. If Trump doesn’t blow his own horn, then failures to deliver campaign promises bury him. Trumpery (literally) in a nut shell careens from lie to lie, all the while displaying that surface appearances do mirror deeper, darker realities.

No doubt, the visibly manic Trump dreads the dire comeuppance from what we, and presumably Robert Mueller, already know. Yet what discredited hustler still won’t flail away, deflecting attention from a career of bottom-sucking crony capitalism, campaign dirty tricks and reams of complicity with Russian abuses? Not to mention damage to American democracy. Why else does Trump shrug at adultery, yet refuse to impugn Putin? Exposure as depraved playboy he can live with; exposure as failed, low-life Robber Baron – that crushes his fragile, money-is-everything bubble. Master of the deal – hardly, only for history of the Great Swindle.

Truth to tell, every telling driver of Trump’s crash and burn politics surfaced in the first month of campaigning, if not years before. The gambit of this most arrogant of hustlers was/is to parade, not hide his personality. What New Yorkers ridiculed for decades – his ignorant, petulant pettiness – erupted into non-stop fake pledges of greatness that suckered the dim right. They still don’t get the joke.

What now fully disgusts the majority isn’t the uniqueness of Trump crimes, but the astonishing concentration in one scoundrel. Already our worst president, Trump jumps the shark (though never from greatness) to prove total boorishness is a total bore. It is both chilling and mind-snapping to realize Trump’s vicious, unfeeling surface is all there is: he plays no complex chess games, respects neither strategy nor in-depth thought, – just manic, selfish instincts gone batty. What, like demonizing foes, threatening or not? Arming teachers to confront crazed shooters? Lawlessly confiscating guns? Executing drug dealers? And wait, more nonsense to come.

Truly, as entertainment, Trump’s singular transparency removes the suspense. We wait not to learn anything new about the next heinous outrage – only how long until leaders, especially Republicans shaken by upcoming electoral disaster, declare, “Enough foolishness.” The remaining drama isn’t even about impeachment were Dems to take the House – but can Trump be hounded out of office (as 67 Senate conviction votes remain a stretch)? This classic bully can’t be bullied or shamed but maybe driven from office after all hell breaks loose. Will not this victimized martyr always leap ashore before flames engulf the ship?

The ultimate presidential selfie

That’s the inevitable result, if the system rights itself, to escape the ultimate selfie presidency. His suckered base will scream maniacally, but it’s already a doomed, out-of-power (T)rump minority. Waves of belligerent whoppers will continue to offend, especially women and minorities, inviting more electrifying upset wins like that from Pennsylvania’s Conor Lamb. Never has a flawed minority president facing a midterm reversal played so disastrously to a fixed minority.

The ultimate amateur, Trump never learned Non-Transparency 101. He’s as much a failed con artist as failed president. He can’t even coverup his disgraces, great and small, any more than hide his comical hair. What greenhorn running for city council doesn’t master the first art of public ambition: dissemble, obscure and/or spin. Trump self-humiliates by tossing off the dumbest lies in Christendom. Indeed, the more half-baked the newbie, like Dubya the bumpkin, the more imperative for a Karl Rove to stage-manage whatever charms distract from rightwing garbage dumping. Because Trump knows everything about everything, that ‘s out.

Trump’s task was and is harder, the billionaire/playboy/braggart posing as plain-shooting, ordinary joe, now discredited by not delivering (the Wall, the Ban, a greater America for workers). Now the Entitled One, still deluded he can do anything, acts like he actually wields power when all that’s left is picking different (more inept, more corrupt) clowns to man deck chairs on the Trump Tower Titanic.

The knee-jerk F-U

For all of Trump’s callous F**k-You schtick, no president matches his unerring penchant to expose how vulgar and low-brow he is. And worst of all, displaying zero empathy for the pathetic followers wounded when deregulating the oligarchs. Fewer health and safety regulations don’t injure the Koch brothers, only workers; dirty air devastates asthmatic blue collar children, less so kids breathing cleaner suburban air; our gun free-for-all culture kills more poor and working class than rich kids. Unfunded tax giveaways, instead of infrastructure, threaten the 99%, not the walled-in rich and famous. Item, last week’s Miami bridge collapse.

Whether from calculation and/or neurosis, Trump cannot stop exposing exactly who he is – ironically proving how he keeps screwing up his own “brand.” Acting like clever master of the snarky put-down, Trump only exposes terminal mean-spiritedness. Trump is now confirmed not merely as the greatest liar alive but a madman – incapable of distinguishing truth from fabrication. That’s beyond lying into lunacy. When Mueller’s finale arrives, and Trump sputters with self-righteous rage, even fans blinded by gilded surfaces will have their fixed illusions sorely, one hopes, permanently battered by “real news.”

The plot will thicken

When Mueller’s A-bombs explode, and the fullness of Trump’s stupidity revealed, behold confirmation of today’s transparency – with a rush of misdeeds never before recorded. The focus will then shift from the terror of Trumpery to the vulnerable future of Republicanism as national party. What happens when today’s majority, exhausted with juvenile stunts, grows its revulsion from 60% to 70% or more? Whither Ryan and McConnell then?

Clean out the swamp? Clean out democratic government will then become the GOP’s sole, self-destructive mission if its leaders stand with manifest infamy. Trump will try even harder as wrecking ball against government, the FBI, and the “enemy” courts, whoever gets in his way. The guy doesn’t even know his own 16 month, presidential “transparency” – full of obstruction of justice and profiteering – sets up his own apocalypse. As Churchill first quipped about an American diplomat, Trump is the iconic, self-defeating “bull who brings his own China shop.” Imagine the ineffable joy when enough of us come together and declare, “You’re fired. No appeal.”


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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.