We’re taking a little road trip this weekend, and I hit the library in search of reading material. I’d selected a couple of novels when I saw Maggie Haberman’s “Confidence Man” there on the new-books shelf, and put the novels down. It’s a thick book. I doubt I’ll finish it in the two-week new-book borrowing period, road trip or no.
But I’m making progress, and one thing is abundantly clear from the earliest pages: Donald Trump not only is a fraud, a fool, a confidence man and every other pejorative assigned to him in the last seven years, but he always has been. From the jump, this guy was as bad as he was in the White House, and barely 100 pages in, I’m mad at every enabler who let him get away with it, mostly in the New York media – the reporters who printed his lies, his exaggerations, his steaming piles of bullshit, because it was good copy, or good TV or whatever. Sure, we didn’t know how dangerous he’d become. All through 2016, a friend would gleefully post his shenanigans on his social media and comment, “Best. Election. Ever.” I remember his face a few days later, after his daughter had someone scream at her from a passing car in the days after the vote, “I’m gonna grab your pussy!!” Not so funny.
During the worst of that administration, I would sometimes mentally list of the Five Men to Blame, and think how swift and merciless their punishment should be (and only a guillotine would do, in my opinion). Mark Burnett, Rupert Murdoch, Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, Erik Prince, and that was only the list I’m thinking of now. It changed a lot, although Burnett and Murdoch were always on it. (And Rudy’s pretty pathetic now; his punishment is having to be Rudy Giuliani, pathetic drunken clown. A woman I know works in a Manhattan office building with a lobby Rudy passes through regularly. The security guard told her America’s Mayor no longer ties his shoes.)
But it’s plain that there are a lot more than five men to blame for Trump. Skipping ahead to read passages here and there, I appreciate Haberman’s withering gaze, and her ability to deploy that old reporter’s trick of demonstrating an idiot’s idiocy by just quoting him accurately. Another observation: All of his speaking tics – “fantastic,” “disaster,” “tremendous,” the way he never said “very” without repeating it once or twice – were all there from the beginning.
I don’t like to immerse myself in this man’s life again. The habit certain of my friends have adopted, of ignoring the news more or less entirely, has occurred to me from time to time. But that strikes me as turning one’s back on a rabid dog. It may be out of sight, but it’s still dangerous.
OK, time to make dinner. See, I can do a second blog in a week. Cleared some shit off my desk, and the next few days look pretty good.