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CSotD: What did he swear to defend and when did he swear to defend it?

The one thing all Americans can agree on is that Mick Mulvaney will be starring on “Dancing with the Stars” by Thanksgiving, which is better than sleeping with the fishes but then again much the same thing.

Robert Ariail‘s cartoon is only one of several marking Mulvaney’s utterly bizarre press conference in which the only thing he left out was to tell Trump that you can’t talk to a man like Moe Green like that.

And the only secret he forgot to reveal was who in the hell thought sending him out to talk to the press was a good idea.

He managed to compress Sean Spicer’s career into about 15 minutes, breaking Anthony Scaramucci’s previous record.

However, while several cartoonists had fun mocking his astonishing performance, Ariail includes the more sobering fact that he delivered it with the purpose of enabling his boss to shred the Constitution.

 

Bill Bramhall skips adding a twist and simply states the obvious, contrasting the President’s pig-ignorance of the document he swore to preserve, protect and defend, with the dignity and thought that went into its creation.

There was probably a time when his placing a cartoon-ish president in front of a classically rendered set of founders would have great impact.

There was certainly a time when our eighth grade social studies curriculum required that we be able to name the members of the President’s cabinet, the justices of the Supreme Court, and the amendments to the Consitution, and we had not begun to sequester the honors students from the lesser scholars.

Which is to say that everyone was supposed to have some understanding of the underpinnings of our system and, while I’m sure not everyone retained it, they at least retained a sense that they were supposed to know that stuff.

It has become a commonplace among luncheon speakers that far more people can name the Seven Dwarfs than can name the Supreme Court Justices, and we all shake our heads and are glad the guy didn’t call on us.

I’ll admit I always have to check to see which amendment did what and which article governs what function, but I know the overall content, and, in particular, I remember Mr. Garbreana going over the part that said the President couldn’t take money or accept a knighthood.

Then again, the Civil Rights Act was signed into law the summer after I left the eighth grade. Most folks liked the Constitution just fine, until they started enforcing it.

When I used to show this Bill Mauldin classic to high school kids, I’d emphasize the Eagle’s words: “I’ve decided …” and contrast the two birds to make the point that he could have commanded his proper seat atop the flagpole any time he wanted.

The cartoon is more a rebuke than a celebration, and we haven’t gained much since.

On a similar level, I like Bramhall’s cartoon and I take his point, but I think it falls more in the category of rallying the faithful than of converting anyone to the cause.

 

Which brings us to Jack Ohman‘s piece, in which a faceless bureaucrat puts a funny twist on a familiar phrase, but that’s not what makes the cartoon work.

What sells it is Trump’s crossed arms and baleful glare, which, by the way, are not an unrealistic or unfamiliar sight and which, here and in real life, represent a refusal to listen and an insistence on getting his own way.

I’m reminded of a lecture I got from a judge on my first moving violation, when I told him that the traffic light was so placed that I hadn’t seen it, and he responded that he’d rather that I’d seen it and decided to disobey, and that I posed a greater hazard to safety for not having seen it at all.

I feel the same way about Donald Trump: I’d rather he understood the law, and his job, and the Constitution, and made a conscious decision to defy them all, than what I am quite sure is the truth, that he simply blunders through with no awareness of any of it.

I believe that he is only marginally literate, and that he knows no more about the Constitution than he knows about the Bible, which belief I base on the time he claimed the Bible as his favorite book but was unable to single out anything in it.

I’m quite sure he took his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution the same way we sign off on those user agreements. If nothing else, John Roberts should have required him to scroll to the end before hitting “Agree,” to at least pretend he’d bothered to read it.

And I am less bothered by his colossal, pig-headed ignorant pride than I am by his continued popularity and the prospect that he may be reelected by an equally ignorant populace, egged on by a GOP made up of people who sure as hell saw that red light and decided to hell with it.

 

The hope — a faint enough glimmer, but a spark to be nursed — comes from Nick Anderson‘s observation that there is beginning to be some pushback from within the military.

I’m not naive: With a son who is a veteran of the modern service and a grandson currently serving, I know full well that progressives often need to keep it on the down low, at least within the ranks.

But seeing our troops pelted with garbage as, following orders, they abandon our allies, and seeing at least one apparently wearing the patch of the peshmerga, offers hope.

Whatever their CiC knows about the Constitution they have sworn to support and defend, they — and their officers — are taught that the  Uniform Code of Military Justice requires them to obey lawful orders but to reject unlawful ones.

As I have said before, this farce could end with the White House surrounded by tanks.

If so, the critical factor will be which way the turrets are facing.

Community Comments

#1 Mary McNeil
October/22/2019
@ 5:35 pm

Let’s see : name the Supreme Court Justices : Ginsberg, Kagen, Sotomeyor,. Roberts, and, um,,,Larry, Curly, and Moe ?

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