On Monday, we learned that the Symbiosis of Stupid between Donald Trump and Fox News may go way deeper than the president repeating whatever he sees on Fox & Friends. But today, El Jefe and his favorite network seem determined to remind us just how dumb our politics have become on the surface, and how much credit they deserve for dragging the American republic into this tawdry hellscape. It’s easy to hate on Saturday Night Live on the basis that it’s become people putting on makeup and repeating what people in the news said that week. But we may very well be in the Land Beyond Parody, where satire is dead because nothing is more outlandish than our own demented reality.
To kick things off this Tuesday morning, the president tweeted a clip from the Fox Business program hosted by Lou Dobbs, the fascistic Benjamin Button, because these are the places the World’s Most Powerful Man gets his information. The only quality required of the information is that it is positive about the president. Do they like me, or do they not like me?
OK, you have to be genuinely deranged not to see the need for Congress to look into whether the president is a crook who abused his power. He abused it out in the open, in public, just last month, when he declared a national emergency when there is no national emergency in an attempt to seize funds not appropriated by Congress in a direct subversion of the Constitution. He has repeatedly tried to obstruct and interfere in the Justice Department investigations into his associates and himself in public.
The special counsel has indicted or garnered guilty pleas from 34 different people and three companies that we know of while investigating The Russian Connection. His former fixer, Michael Cohen, has testified Trump pursued a deal for a Trump Tower Moscow throughout his run for president while bald-faced lying to the American public and, when it came time for Cohen to testify to Congress the first time, intimating in mobspeak that Cohen should lie under oath. This is one of many allegations Trump’s former personal lawyer made that amounted to calling the president a crook. Beyond that, there’s the Trump Tower meeting between senior advisers on the president’s campaign and a bunch of Russians.
Republicans in Congress may have completely abdicated their constitutional obligation to provide oversight of the Executive Branch during the first two years of the Trump presidency, when they controlled both majorities and demonstrated themselves to be complete toady cowards. But that time is over, even if Lou Dobbs doesn’t like it. What do you expect from Dobbs, who advocated Trump declare a national emergency “and simply sweep aside the recalcitrant left in this country.” That is, sweep aside Congress and do whatever you want, My King, Constitution be damned.
But our large, adult president wasn’t done sharing info from his favorite teevee channel.
It appears Sean Hannity also went postal over the document requests from House Democrats. It is not “McCarthyism” to investigate a president who has already been named in a federal indictment—albeit as “Individual-1″—and who ran multiple organizations that were forced to shut down amid allegations of fraud almost as soon as they were examined. Pretty much every other organization he’s ever run is under investigation by state or federal authorities for the same reason: the president does not run an honest shop.
But again, what do you expect from Hannity, who regaled the watching world during the same program with…this.
You can’t do much better than the description offered by Andrew Lawrence here. This is the single dumbest thing you will see today, and this is a day in the Dumbest Time in History. The only recent rival is the New York Post‘s muckraking investigation into Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who claims to care about the climate but also rides in automobiles. These are the two standards of our political system now: on one side, people who live in reality and acknowledge there is an existential threat to human civilization that we’ve barely addressed are attacked over complete nonsense.
On the other, everyone just kind of shrugs when the president erupts in a display of genuine public insanity—like he did while announcing his Definitely Real National Emergency, or like he did at CPAC on Saturday:
Credit where it’s due: that there’s the work of Saturday Night Live, though it looks more like something from the Jon Stewart-era Daily Show. It’s another symptom of our bizarro world that straight-news anchors from Jake Tapper to Chris Hayes have also begun adopting some of these same methods to try to communicate the absurd gravity of what’s going on. For instance, here is a tweet today from the official account of the White House. You know, the place Abraham Lincoln lived.
In the Dumbest Time in History, the acidity of the stupid has worn on and begun to break down how we view and process our reality, distorting our gauge of normal and calling into question the basic truths we took for granted. Donald Trump, American president, has been successful in one fundamental way: he has proven that so much of what we thought was the bedrock foundation of our society is in fact an elaborately painted drywall that we all just agreed was rock-solid. It’s easy enough to destroy it if you adopt the armor of complete and utter shamelessness, and if you are too selfish or too damn stupid to ever consider the consequences. Neither of those adjectives seems sufficient in this case.