On Monday he gave his stump speech to the Boy Scouts. That’s the only speech he has, his usual stemwinder about how great he is and how great the things he does are and how bad his enemies are – including the former president, whose legacy he tries to tarnish, and supposed arch criminal Hillary Clinton, his perennial opponent who is walking her dog and living her life.
People were immediately, appropriately, upset and offended at his asinine politicization of a speech to a nonpartisan institution. But it wasn’t until Tuesday that some of the worst parts of his speech were pored over in shock. He actually spoke to the Boy Scouts about a sex yacht used by another NY real estate developer.
When people decry Trump in alarmed terms as non-presidential, doing and saying things that no president would do, it’s still not alarmed enough because clearly he’s doing and saying things no responsible adult would say. The story about the sex yacht followed by “you’re Boy Scouts, you know the world” was something you might say in a closed door speech to former sailors, not on a hot mic in public… to young boys you don’t know. This wasn’t the Friar’s Club for fucks sake. There’s a reason they don’t hire a comic from The Comedy Store to do a speech like that – it’s inappropriate. But that’s who is in the White House – a very bad house comic with no sense of the right material for the room – who has the nuclear codes.
Today in his constant search for enemies to rail against in order to keep his hard core followers angry and blinkered he decided to make policy by Tweet and toss all transgender soldiers out of our military service. This is a group of people who fought to be included and just made it in 2016 by announcement from the Joint Chiefs. No doubt they were talking on Fox and Friends this morning about the costs of the military paying for gender reassignment surgery and Trump made an announcement without consulting anybody (as he claims to have consulted his generals and experts). This is awful, un-American and not the way to do things, of course! It may have been an impulsive thing. But maybe not. Because this rhetoric ratchets up the culture wars that separate us and keep us from making progress on real issues.
Whether it was impulsive or planned, his play is to fan the flames of hate and resentment in order to separate certain Americans from the herd and get the rest of the herd fighting each other. It’s the politics of resentment championed by Nixon, polished to a fine sheen by Gingrich and Luntz and practiced by the GOP not as a strategy but as a way of life. We’re the good guys, they’re the bad and disgusting guys who are ruining everything for the real Americans. It’s a confused world in which morality is turned on its head and guys with 3 marriages and some profound moral failings can talk about yacht sex to the Boy Scouts, because it was straight sex – remember? Locker room talk? While the real perversity they inveigh against is the the always moving point of the counterculture spear – currently transgender people and their icky body part issues. Transgenders in the military, or going to the bathroom anywhere, are the new gay marriage.
As conservative media turns on him for his selfish attacks on his own Attorney General, he shouts out that he’s with them on all their absolutely worst most shameful and un-American instincts. He may not understand the nuances of the conservative agenda, but he knows how to hate and how much people who hate love to hate.