I know the Trump administration is supposed to be wealthy upper-crust and all, but when you turn on the news, do you ever feel like you’re watching an episode of “The Beverly Hillbillies,” minus only Jed’s homespun wisdom?
Billy Bob Bannon is keying Uncle Donnie’s pickup truck, so Donnie got back at him by stuffing Billy Bob’s cat in a mailbox. Kellyanne and Sarah Lou, dripping in sarcasm and mascara, are holding up freshly uprooted swatches of the media’s hair. String Bean Stevie’s taking out a peace order on Mooch, who keeps trying to sneak back into the doublewide with a pair of bolt cutters. The cousins over in Congress are getting a little too friendly with the girl help and sometimes, the boy help, but we don’t talk about that. Paulie Clotheshorse and Mikie are in trouble with the law again and who would have thought it, but old Grandpa Newtie is still hanging in there, upstairs in his room cackling away and pounding his cane on the floor, even though the doctors have told him that if he keeps eating Zagnut bars like that, they’s gonna have to take his foot.
It’s like the whole trailer park has moved into Washington, and they’re throwing plates at each other and poisoning each other’s dogs.
Here, we’ve spent 18 months puzzling over why people in Appalachia identify with a jet-setter like the Donald. Well, isn’t it obvious? Deep down, he’s one of them. He’s Donald the Cable Guy. If his daddy hadn’t made a mint in real estate, he’d be sitting around a kerosene heater right now with a long-neck and a handful of scratch-off tickets.
It’s almost exactly like the Golden Globes, where an inbred subset of fabulously wealthy Americans gather a couple of times a year to rend their garments over being so popular — because, you know, if they weren’t busy acting, they would be JFK. “God help us, we are all creeps — and that’s why we should be the ones to lead this country! Or something like that!” (Thunderous applause.)
And I love Donald and I love Oprah as entertainers, but maybe it’s time we step back and take a deep breath and consider that the system of political/military establishment — you know, “government” — that brought us FDR and Truman and Eisenhower and Kennedy and Reagan and Bush 41 wasn’t quite as bad as we thought.
The thing that is striking is that for the past quarter-century, people have been ranting and raving about “professional politicians.” But look at some of the people who are lining up to run for president next time around, and a professional politician doesn’t seem all that bad.
They might not be warm and fuzzy or even someone you would want to have dinner with, but political pros do have some marginal idea of how to do the job. It’s like the fan of an Ivy League school watching the team step off the plane for a game with a school from the SEC. One after the other, they file past the newsstand, picking up copies of the New York Times, or the Economist, or the Wall Street Journal. Finally, a defensive lineman comes along and picks up a comic book and the fan says: “Thank heaven, we have a chance.”
Today, we have an entire generation of people in government who say that the problem with America is the government. Guys who have been in office for 30 years look straight into the camera and, with zero sense of irony, say: “The problem with government is these career politicians.”
So next time around, don’t give me a rapper, or the owner of a basketball team or any other rookie. Give me Hubert Humphrey. And please tell me I didn’t just say that.