BB #55: Thunder Bubbles

astonishedI was thunderstruck — brought to a speechless halt — by a thought I had last night while hanging out with friends and (as required by urgent social custom these days) the talk turned to the candy corn-colored bag of GOP chickens come home to roost.

The thought suddenly that occurred to me: We might actually end up being very grateful for Donald Trump for the very simple reason that Hillary Clinton might well be losing against any reasonable, and sane, GOP candidate!

We might otherwise have been looking at strong odds on a Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio presidency (and, no, poor Jeb! never had a chance; he just doesn’t have the right stuff).

The problem is that Hillary Clinton… is the problem. She’d likely make an excellent president, but she’s been a pretty shitty candidate. She’s such a political wonk that she constantly makes unforced errors.

Plus, she’s so clearly precisely and exactly a Washington politician, something the public has lost its taste for. We want someone like Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump, who breaks the mold, but not those actual guys.

You know, someone like them, but sane, reasonable, and capable.

Or someone like Gary Johnson or Jill Stein… but, again, you know,… sane, reasonable, capable, and — perhaps most importantly — moderate and middle of the road. Someone who has elements with universal appeal.

In a country with over 300 million people, how hard can it be to find a  truly representative, capable, intelligent, educated, moderate, sane, articulate, clever person to run for president?

(And, yeah, I assume such a person, if found, wouldn’t have a chance.)

But with the email issues and the Clinton Foundation issues, plus Hillary Clinton’s massive unpopularity in her own party (not to mention the bitter, blind, unthinking hatred Republicans have for her), were it not for an orange goblin opposing her, this race might be trending a very different way.

But the gods of politics have thrown different dice.

So different that even prominent Republicans (the smarter, saner ones) are, for this election, dissociating from their candidate (except for the political whores who’ve hitched their wagon to the monster).

So just think of it.

Donald Trump, for all the horror show that he is, might actually be exactly what Hillary Clinton needed this election cycle. That is some very weird-tasting food for thought!

§

Speaking of weird, over the years, after starting off as a huge fan, I became disenchanted with Penn & Teller. Their cable show, Bullshit, a supposed debunking show, actually seemed to contain some oddly bullshitty things at times.

Like the time they tried to sell me on the idea that global warming wasn’t caused by humans. That it was volcanoes that did most of it. That was a lie.

Or the time they tried to sell me on the idea that fast food wasn’t that bad for you. (In small doses. Not a lie, as such, but that episode really came off as a paean to fast food and made me wonder.

Then there was all the times they seemed to come down on the right-wing side of things. I’d always thought (well, assumed) they were liberals (you know, like most sane people). I was shocked at some of the right-wing stuff they seemed to support.

This video has me re-thinking my opinion:

He seems very thoughtful (and certainly very intelligent — always a hit with me). There’s a longer version of the interview you might want to watch if you like this piece. (I’m going to assume you can find it on your own.)

§

An article I read recently (sorry, no reference) mentioned an interesting thing:

Usually, especially at the convention, when a candidate’s spouse gives a speech, the intent of that speech is to humanize the candidate, to give some insight into what makes them a wonderful spouse and person.

For example, Bill Clinton spun a long tale about how and why he fell in love with Hillary. Or think of Ted Cruz’s wife and her input to their campaign.

Melania Trump’s speech… didn’t do that.

We got so caught up in the plagiarized aspects we didn’t notice that.

Consider this: If Donald Trump really is a psychopath, or a sociopath, or just a very broken personality, the people who live with him have to be in a very strange and artificial relationship with him. (Oh, how often I’ve wondered what goes on behind the scenes!)

Is it possible that not even his own wife can give us a reason to love the man? Is it possible that not even his own wife can humanize him?

My answer: Entirely.

§

And I have to ask once again: How is it possible I live in a world where someone like Donald Trump can become a presidential candidate?

What terrifies me is the rising global sense of nationalism.

China has issued rules prohibiting Western values (like cleavage) in Chinese films (which has Hollywood concerned about its partnerships with Chinese film studios).

France seems to be a growing hot-bed of nationalism, and they’re famously trying to legislate the requirement of bikinis on their beaches. Germany might not be far behind (at least they’re not starting it this time 😀 ).

Briton, also, is experiencing rising nationalism (as seen by Brexit and the growing number of anti-immigrant incidents).

And we have Trump and the wave of “alt-right” assholes he’s turned out of the woodwork. That fucking waste of skin David Duke is running for office (and yelling “Go Trump” from the sidelines).

Given my deep-seated and abiding misanthropy, part of me is laughing my ass off because: [A] All this shit proves my long-standing points about the value and importance of education; and [2] I love a good karma joke.

The only problem is that I’m stuck living on the same planet.

Damn it.

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

7 responses to “BB #55: Thunder Bubbles

  • Steve Morris

    Do you think that part of the problem is that party members choose the candidates? They tend to choose the candidate they’d most like for President, rather than the candidate who stands the most chance of getting elected.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      I’m not sure which members you’re referring to. Candidates choose to enter the race on their own, although some are more “anointed” than others by those who run the parties. Part of the problem for the GOP this cycle was the large field of candidates who’d tossed their hat into the ring. Later in the Primaries, a bigger problem was that party officials couldn’t get some of them to drop out. Point is, those party officials don’t have any real control over who tries to run.

      If you mean the Primary voters, those party members, well, yeah, they’re definitely the problem, but democracy kinda forces them on us. Since we can’t legally kill, jail, or just completely ignore them (but we’re working on a “B” Ark), as far as I can see the only alternative for a sane modern world is that thing I keep bringing up all the time…

      You know… edjukashun.

      (There was talk this cycle, for obvious reasons, about the “good old days” when party officials met in those infamous “cigar filled back rooms” and decided who would run. Political parties are private companies, so they don’t actually need their electorate’s input on candidates at all. But lots of folks hated that, because democracy, so now it’s more of a free-for-all.)

      • Steve Morris

        Yeah, I meant those Primaries that you have. We don’t do that over here. The Conservative Party just decides for itself who’s going to be boss. The Labour Party used to allow the Trade Unions to decide, then last year they changed the rules so that ordinary party members could decide instead, and now they wish they hadn’t!

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Yep. Tyranny of the majority. And exactly as you said, they choose who they like with little regard to any other factors, “electablity” no doubt being far down the list.

        This cycle we’re plagued with an outburst of a current that’s been growing a long time. There’s a confluence of multiple large tributaries contributing: Social media, decades of anti-intellectualism, an ‘extreme games’ and ‘reality show melodrama’ public consciousness leading to a ‘blow it up and see what happens’ ethic, a segment of citizens who’ve not kept up with a rapidly changing world and have been left behind and are pissed about it, globalization making lots of changes — not all good — happen,… and more.

        That’s what scares me. I see the larger patterns; I see where this can lead (and historically often has). It’s mob mentality writ large, entire societies, the whole world.

        I’m starting to read articles asking, implicitly or directly: “Are we unraveling?”

        There are signs we are. The question is whether social inertia will carry us through (as it often does; societies survive and adapt to all sorts of changes).

        But civilizations can “collapse” (undergo extreme changes, usually involving lots of deaths and other losses), and the ones that have showed their own signs.

        The complexity of the modern world might act to increase social inertia or it might act to make it more fragile. We rely on some things to a degree that might make their loss catastrophic. A virus or nanobot that ate silicon, for example.

        The system is far too chaotic and complex to even begin to predict, so we’ll just have to wait and see. But what I’m seeing right now worries me.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      There’s also been a great deal of talk this cycle about the movie Idiocracy, a silly (but insightful) comedy that turns out to be a documentary.

      I love that movie and think find it very prophetic. Supposedly takes place 500 years in the future, but I see all too many of the signs right now. (See my post: Idiocracy.)

  • rung2diotimasladder

    Interesting points…I definitely haven’t heard anyone say it’s a good thing for Hilary that Trump’s her opponent.

    And Jeb, what a strange thing. I found him fairly reasonable, relatively speaking, even though I disagree with much of what he believes. Imagine if he were running against Hilary? I wonder. I don’t trust that my own opinion aligns with public opinion. I would like to think that he’d give her a run for her money, but who’s to say he would do better than Trump? Maybe he’d be way worse, especially since he represents politics as usual.

    Now here’s something you probably don’t want to think about, but I’ll go ahead with it: Imagine if it were Palin vs. Hilary? That would be crazy. I think Palin would win, but once again, not trusting my guesses anymore.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      “I definitely haven’t heard anyone say it’s a good thing for Hilary that Trump’s her opponent.”

      Just imagine how she’d be doing against a creditable candidate given her unfavorables and strong negative public perception. (Some of which is due to her behavior; much of which is due to oft-repeated right-wing lies.)

      OTOH, one could speculate that Trump’s carnival barker act is what’s really giving her, the traditional pol, the run for the money. Maybe a conventional GOP candidate actually wouldn’t stand up to the Clinton Machine.

      Oh, if only we could create a life-like virtual reality simulation with millions of software pretend people who act (and think they are) real! Then we could whip up a bunch of different scenarios and see what happens.

      Of course,… there’s the idea that we already are in such a simulation being done by some other civilization to see what happens in a stressed out highly divided society when a sociopathic authoritarian demagogue attempts to seize control…

      “I found [Jeb!] fairly reasonable, relatively speaking, even though I disagree with much of what he believes.”

      Likewise. And yet, Trump calling him “low energy” was a reasonable shot (bullies always have a sense of the vulnerable points ’cause they’re always looking for them). He just doesn’t have the bearing his dad and brother do.

      But it’s quite possible he’d make a calm, steady, knowledgeable Commander-in-Chief.

      A Clinton-Bush race would have been interesting!

      “Imagine if it were Palin vs. Hilary?”

      A lot of people do love her, but I’d wonder about glass-ceiling issues and the wide perception that she’s absolutely bonkers (although, these days, is that really a disqualification anymore?).

      I spoke to a guy who met her. He was a worker at a plant she visited campaigning. He said she comes off really well in person. (Like Trump, her off-the-cuff speeches often come off as rambling and not a little incoherent.)

      It would certainly be a battle of substance versus air! (As in “air head.”)

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