It’s funny, how stuff you know can hit you like something you don’t know. I think I already deleted the email, but a newsletter I get — pretty sure it was the What a Day end-of-day roundup, from Crooked Media — made a simple statement that stuck with me. Basically, it observed that if the president could restrain himself in the simplest ways, if he could simply go through the presidential motions of not being a jerk, of not tweeting stupid shit, of not behaving like the Fonz at what should be a solemn occasion, of standing up, and showing up, and being what we think of as presidential — essentially, if he could practice the self-control and social skills we expect of seventh graders? He’d be coasting to a not-embarrassing midterm election and most likely a second term.
The economy is good, jobs are plentiful, we’re at what we now consider to be more or less peace. All the conditions that once were considered good enough for re-election for the chief executive.
But he just can’t do it.
That’s sort of astounding, when you think about it. Every week, every 48 hours, something happens that goads him into being his worst self. He has the self-control of a toddler, the sense of propriety of an outlaw biker. And this is who is more or less guiding our nation.
I’m flabbergasted anew. Really.
Or it might be that I, we, just bought our li’l girl her first car today, and I’m in shock from dropping a tidy sum on a vehicle I’ll never drive. Ah, well: She earned herself a full scholarship. She has dutifully ridden the bus for three years now. She has legit needs to get back and forth to Detroit and elsewhere, and she’s earned it. So a used Subaru Forester, big enough to hold the upright bass, small enough to not drink all the gas in the world, will be hers in a couple of days. All-wheel drive will help in Michigan winters. It’s a milestone, and she deserves it.
Like most of you, I’ve been thinking about September 11, 2001 today. I am not thinking of flags waving slowly in the breeze, or eagles with tears dripping down their feathered cheeks, or What I Was Doing When I Heard the Terrible News, because ultimately, who cares? I was getting ready for work. We had the Today show on, as we often did. The first plane was surely an accident. I drove to work. There was another plane. Kate was at her sitter’s. The morning was a blur. A couple of moments stand out:
That was the day we had digital cable installed, an upgrade from the regular stuff. I was of course riveted to CNN that day, and the cable guy needed to disconnect everything for a few minutes to make the switch.
“I can barely stand it if you turn it off,” I said. I believe Ashleigh Banfield was near hysterics, asking some NYC official if the reports she was hearing about bombs in the sewers were true. He stared at me, blankly. I nodded to the screen.
“Yeah,” he said. “Crazy.”
A few days later, in Target: A woman earnestly explaining to two cashiers that the date of the attack was chosen for its numeric significance. 911, you see, like the American emergency number. The cashiers were totally into this idea.
It didn’t occur to me then, but it does now, that the cable guy, the woman and the two cashiers = four votes, whereas Nance = one vote. And the next thing you knew? We were in Iraq.
Couple more things:
I’m not Nancy Pelosi’s biggest fan, but this excerpt, from this story in Time magazine, is dead on:
Also, Alex: If your dad keeps having trouble getting his driver’s license because he can’t find his fucking naturalization papers, SPREAD THE WORD. I have some people you can call. That shit is outrageous.
Time for “Better Call Saul.” Happy Wednesdaying, everyone.