Never argue with stupid people. They will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.
– Mark Twain
“We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.”
– Benjamin Franklin
It’s hard to be astonished anymore during the era of Trump. It seems that you barely have time to grasp one amazingly ridiculous proposal, dubious policy, outrageous statement or incredibly inept blunder before another one smacks you right in the gob. I never understood news fatigue until the election of our current president. I have heard talking heads say this is part of some brilliant plan, that the Trump team wants to so overwhelm us with idiotic actions that we become numb to the reality of just what they are doing.
Well, I can’t disagree with the idea that Trump is devious. Nor that he is a greasy, cheap, egotistical serial liar. I think, however, that his greatest attribute is that he is cunning. But not like Dick Cheney was cunning or Lee Atwater was cunning or Henry Kissinger was cunning. There was intelligence behind these examples of cunning, albeit a dark, dangerous intelligence.
There is no intelligence behind Trump’s cunning. There is the street smarts of the greasy snake oil salesman who makes a lot of noise upon his entry into a rural town, peddles his wares and then slides away in the middle of the night before the rubes can realize he’s fleeced them.
He reminds me of the Duke in Huckleberry Finn. One devoutly wishes that Trump could share the same fate.
It would be bad enough if we only had to deal with this intellectual vacuum in the president. Sadly, he has surrounded himself with people who, like him, seem to be as dumb as a bag of hammers.
Take for example the recent comments of Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross, another billionaire of dubious integrity in the Trump administration. While appearing on CNBC Ross said that he was puzzled by stories about federal workers needing to turn to food banks and other forms of relief in order to tide themselves and their families over while waiting for the government to send them their paychecks. “They should just be able to obtain bridge loans to tide them over,” Ross burbled on.
Only a man who is lived most of his life in the 1% could fail to understand why people, many of whom must live paycheck to paycheck, need to seek relief from food banks and other organizations. To label it as the statement of spoiled, out-of-touch asshole is an insult to assholes everywhere.
Then you have the human circus that is Rudy Giuliani. Seldom has one man done so much to undermine his employer then Rudy has recently. Not only has he raised serious questions about Trump’s actions during the 2016 election campaign, he successfully knocked the news about Robert Muller’s team publicly disagreeing with the Buzzfeed story about Trump instructing Michael Cohen to lie to Congress off the front pages, airwaves, and computer screens of media outlets across the country.
Giuliani is Mini-Me to Trump’s Dr. Evil. Very much like him in every way except so much “smaller.”
Nor can we forget KellyAnne Conway, one of the official designated liars of the Trump administration (an appointment she shares with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders). Conway, who invented the unforgettable term “alternative facts,” and make sure she uses them every chance she gets, reminds me of what Dandy Don Meredith once said about a running back in the NFL – she’s slippery than a watermelon seed.
I always used to think Conway was at least somewhat intelligent. But the revelations this week contained in the book Team of Vipers by former White House aide Cliff Sims has caused me to reconsider my evaluation of Conway.
Sims writes in the book about the time he was asked to write an official statement denouncing accusations that Conway was one of the sources leaking information to the media from the White House. Conway lent Sims her Mac Book to write the statement. Meanwhile, Conway went into a corner and started using her smartphone.
What she didn’t realize was that every tweet she was sending was also appearing on her computer, now being used by Sims. Sims watched as she tweeted back and forth with several journalists from media outlets like CNN, the Washington Post, and Politico, bashing other officials in the Trump administration like Jared Kushner and the then Chief-of-Staff Reince Priebus. Sims notes that the irony of him writing a statement about her not leaking to journalists as she leaked to journalists was not lost on him.
Sims writes that Conway reminded him of a cartoon villain brought to life. But it appears that like all cartoon villains, she is not quite as smart as she thought she was.
Oh, you can write for days about the imbecility on display every day at the White House. But one only has so much time. I leave you with the unforgettable words of Forrest Gump…
Stupid is as stupid does.