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CSotD: An empty room & the right kind of people

“All you need to start an asylum is an empty room and the right
kind of people.” — Alexander Bullock (My Man Godfrey)

Ed Hall‘s cartoon has gone so viral that it would be a little pointless to feature it here, except that it’s a good example of combining a pop culture reference — always a way to get a lot of shares — with a valid observation.

That is, if the President had mangled “Cuyahoga Valley” or “Saguaro,” you might think he was a bit uninformed on the topic of National Parks. But, JFC, it’s hard to believe anyone could grow up in the United States without running across Yosemite Sam.

Did the kid never watch cartoons? Did he never drive behind an 18-wheeler? Does he think it’s fair to sell tickets to a high-diving act and then cancel the show?

Obviously, the president has trouble with the written word, but Nelson Rockefeller was dyslexic. He said so, he dealt with it, it was cool. Nobody thought the less of him for it. Some even admired his frankness and resourcefulness.

And it takes a helluva a lot of nerve and a good set of blinders for Trump supporters to mock Joe Biden for his speech impediment, declaring it a sign of senility, while giving Dear Leader a pass for the ridiculous things he says and then doubles down upon.

It’s not helpful for this latest blunder to come days after he bragged in the Axios interview (transcript here) about how much he not only reads but comprehends.

Jonathan Swan: (17:57) Do you read your written brief?

President Donald J. Trump: (17:58) I do.

Jonathan Swan: (17:58) Do you?

President Donald J. Trump: (17:58) I read it a lot.

Jonathan Swan: (17:59) Really?

President Donald J. Trump: (17:59) I read a lot. They like to say I don’t read. I read a lot.

Jonathan Swan: (18:03) You read your daily intelligence brief?

President Donald J. Trump: (18:04)  I comprehend extraordinarily well, probably better than anybody that you’ve interviewed in a long time. I read a lot. I spend a lot of time at meetings. Usually it’s once a day or at least two or three times a week, intelligence meetings.

 

I hesitate to share an amateur meme on a blog devoted to professional cartooning, but, come on, he sounds more like Fredo than Fredo.

 

And it’s not a family secret: David Rowe managed to pick it out from 10,000 miles away.

The exchange about reading came about because Trump was claiming he’d never heard of Russia putting bounties on American soldiers, when in fact it was in his intelligence briefings in February.

 

It’s no secret that White House staff struggle to get Dear Leader’s attention. In this Moderately Confused, Jeff Stahler points out the reason I’m not buying John Bolton’s book: Every one of these insider stories “reveals” the same things as the last one.

It’s not just that he won’t/can’t/doesn’t read. It’s that he also doesn’t listen, and that he then cheerfully, proudly breaks the old rule about remaining silent and being thought a fool rather than opening your mouth and removing all doubt.

“I’ve met with some of our great generals and they just seem to feel that this was not some kind of a manufacturing explosion type of event,” the president told reporters. “It was a bomb of some kind.”

Must have been General Foxinfrentz from the Ministry of Truth, because nobody from the Pentagon told him that.

And, again, it didn’t go unnoticed, providing a grim and embarrassing

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Andy Marlette)

 

(Steve Bell)

It’s like fighting a drunk: You’d rather face a black belt because at least you’d have some idea of what he might do next. A drunk is more dangerous because he’s illogical, unpredictable and just might get lucky.

And, in this case, has the nuclear launch codes.

 

Here’s the real threat and damage, and I’m going to disagree with Robert Ariail, because it’s not the difference in the generations. It’s the difference in the leadership.

It’s true that, when FDR asked Americans to pull together, they responded by doing so.

Granted, it takes more than a speech. When Jimmy Carter asked Americans to turn down their thermostats and put on sweaters, he was mocked and his request was ignored.

But Carter spoke of a theoretical threat, not imminent death, while FDR asked for sacrifice with the specter of conquest as the alternative.

When did Trump ask us to pull together? In fact, he encouraged — not simply by what he failed to say but by what he actually did say — exactly the response of the people in Ariail’s second panel.

It doesn’t take great leadership to get people to do nothing and to indulge their own most selfish instincts.

But it wouldn’t have taken great leadership to get them to behave sensibly and make a few sacrifices to save lives.

 

It’s hard to believe that nearly every nation in the world has some extraordinary genius at its head, but they all seem to be doing better than we are.

And it’s even harder — as Mike Luckovich notes here — to believe the counterfactual, nonsensical posturing that attempts to cover our national failure.

As has been noted here before, it raises the question of whether Dear Leader is deliberately lying, has been fed pleasant falsehoods by a cowed staff or is simply delusional.

Which then raises the question of what the hell difference it would make?

 

Meanwhile, I’m not as down on Gov. Sununu’s response as my fellow Granite-Stater, Mike Marland. We’re not doing as well as our neighbors, Vermont and Maine– they’re #2 and #4 respectively in least cases per 100k, while we sit at #10.

But our third neighbor, Massachusetts, is #43, next to which we’re not an abject failure, and it seems most towns of any size are adopting their own locally-tuned mask mandates.

However, I certainly agree with him that it is inappropriate and insane that restaurants are not required to tell anyone — customers or employees — if somebody on their staff tests positive.

And you thought only Dear Leader could wield a Sharpie to make his faults disappear!

 

 

Community Comments

#1 robb mcallister
August/6/2020
@ 8:50 am

Irony patrol:
Yosemite Sam was of course created by Friz Freleng (first name Isadore), and his full name is (according to Wikipedia) Samuel Rosenbaum.

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