Quote; “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear” (proverb, from 1500’s)
In the news: Meet the shadowy accountants who do Trump’s taxes and help him seem richer than he is (Peter Elking-Doris Burke-Meg Cramer, Salon, 5.08.20) (originally published in Pro Publica, co-published with WNYC)
In context: The Trump base won’t agree but Donald Trump is as out of place in the Oval Office as a colorblind salesman in a haberdashery. Like that peddler, Trump sells his wares by pushing products regardless of suitability. He throws shirts and ties at the browser with such rapid-fire force that the hapless buyer leaves with an unfit melange, perhaps a red tie with green plaid shirt. If the grouser returns after outside critique, the seller couldn’t care less.. “You bought it,” he says, turning back to selling..
Donald Trump is the proverbial used-car salesman unloading lemons. As President of the mighty US, he graduated to master swindler. Hit with an unprecedented pandemic, he has become simply absurd. He is now the colorblind salesman pressing more wares on the disgruntled buyer as smoke fills the shop. “Just a faulty steam pipe,” he assures and hustles to the cash register where information is stored from the prior transaction.
Trump blasted into the presidential bid by hooking a receptive base with a pitch honed over decades through ventures that all failed but kept him in the game. Coldly resourceful bravado was apparently his strong suit. With family funds, he invested in ever more flashy projects. a few cohorts doing his bidding to circumvent legal constrains. Anyone who fell short was summarily replaced. When the project inevitably failed, Trump had a new source of funding complete with a new roster of aides.
The 1989 fall of the Iron curtain was fortuitous for Trump. Just when repeat failures deprived him of legitimate funding, he found new infusions from the evolving world’s rising needy greedy class. From the ashes of the failed Soviet Union, the underbelly of regulated monetary systems had money aplenty that needed legitimizing. The election of Trump as US president was an untold return on their investment.
The notorious Trump secrecy about his finances based on his ability to manipulate the legal system and stymie investigation has obscured Trump ties to foreign players. It is a safe bet, though, that legitimate entities have less to hide than those whose dealings would suffer from public scrutiny. That may be why Trump in the White House has devolved. The gift of outrageous gab that got him elected evolved into his Art of the Scam during his first three years. Since the pandemic hit just as he was impeached, the Trump trademark bamboozle has turned into a full blown Art of the Absurd.
From the start as US president, Trump trampled the Constitution so egregiously that outrage at any audacity never gained traction before another even more brazen became public. Starting with nepotism and unabashed self-dealing, he has hired and fired with no discretion about doing so to protect himself simply because he can. The base has seen this as the maverick Trump draining the Washington deep state swamp, but the Covid-19 pandemic has unmasked both Trump and the US infrastructure maligned as the deep state swamp.
Trump was a documented serial failure when he was elected. He won by re-branding that record into an image of a man of many ventures. He sold that twist on his record to enough American to get him elected on a technicality with foreign help, and with that win he solidified his standing with the conservative Republican party. The interplay between the Trump base and the Republicans has enabled Trump to thrive like an opportunistic disease on the country. The base has consistently applauded his verbal assaults and the Republicans have been led by the nose in tune to Trump insults and praises, however fleeting. The result was a chaotic scramble for cover by Republicans, a hapless impeachment by Democrats and a pandemic that proved how helpful a so-called deep state would have been in a national crisis of international proportions.
However Trump re-proved a disframes his response to the Covid-19 pandemic, a comparison with other countries makes clear that the world’s leading power proved a disaster of its own in management. The Trump work method was to delegate responsibility, which meant tht the executive branch of teh US government created no national strategy and instead there was the Trump decree for state governors to manage on their own with the added burden of being judged by the central power. Branches of the central government were under the same constraint, which led to a mixed messages about the mysterious new global invader, as well as a haphazardly rolled out economic stimulus program that created not only chaos but inequity in accessing assistance. Those stressors on the American public led to an increase in social conflicts, all of which fueled an apparent Trump tendency to lower the boom and demand compliance with increasingly absurd demands proving no purpose but to confirm his command of a country falling disastrously out of control under his presidency.
Donald Trump has never held a job. He had no resume to present when he won the Republican vote to be the party’s candidate for presidency. He has never worked with others in an institutional hierarchy, has never had to coordinate between his thinking and those charged with carrying out his judgments. A complex situation like the unprecedented Corvid-19 pandemic involves coordination above all else. To Donald Trump, it seems just another business snag that can keep him from the long-elusive goal of finally finding success by getting re-elected to the US presidency.
The colorblind salesman in the haberdashery wants his contract renewed, despite the fact that he never presented a resume in the first place. His only qualification is that he landed the job once. His sales record warrants a renewed assignment. Customer complaints don’t take away from register receipts.