Politics is downstream from Roseanne

When I sat down last night to give the new Roseanne revival a try, I had no idea that plenty of other Americans were sitting down as well, a lot more, 18.1 million according to the ratings.  That’s not nutin’.

It was actually much as I remembered the old Roseanne; wise cracks and working class angst. Twenty years later, nobody’s life is really great.  Becky’s husband has died and she is resorting to desperate measures to make ends meet, Darlene has moved back home having lost her job, and DJ is back from the military, after serving in Syria.  But satisfying nostalgia isn’t what got me curious enough to tune in, it was this:

Roseanne is a Trump supporter.

At first glance, that seems a big leap from the character during the original run of the show.  She definitely pulled left during the original run of the show, as did  Roseanne Barr herself, but times change, and some of the same factors that would lead Roseanne Conner to pull the lever for Trump led leftist Roseanne Barr, who previously had run for the Presidential nomination of the Green Party in 2012, to support Trump in 2016.

In a way, that’s not that inconceivable a change.  Tens of thousands of Obama voters in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania went for Trump in 2016 during an election year in which Trump was the only candidate speaking to their concerns.

Television is a vast wasteland as far as the right is concerned, with virtually every network and every show on those networks as left leaning avatars for the Democratic Party.  Not always overtly, but the liberal worldview is the subtext behind virtually everything in pop culture.  In almost any other show, a Trump supporter would be a walk on villain; racist, sexist, and homophobic. We have not seen a sympathetic portrayal of a Trump supporter since ABC cancelled Last Man Standing last year.  I assume that the show, even with solid ratings, was a smug slap in the face to ABC executives so soon after the election.  But there’s been time to heal so it looks like TV is willing to give a character who’s politics are not to the left of Murphy Brown (another show being revived) another try.

Andrew Breitbart, the late conservative publisher was fond of saying that “politics is downstream from culture,” meaning that if political bias is imbedded in popular culture, than most of the political battle has already been won since those are the premises that everyone already accepts without thinking.  On TV, everyone knows that corporations are evil, and activists are good.  It’s as much a part of the scenery as a brownstone on Land & Order: SVU.

So it’s nice that there will be a Trump supporter shown on TV without devil horns.  And don’t get me started on how the devil gets a more sympathetic portrayal on TV than conservatives…

 

 

Advertisements

Morning Joe Makes the Case for John Bolton

Although I can see the reason that Trump fired H.R. McMaster, Trump’s most recent National Security Advisor, I admit I’m not much of a fan of his replacement, John Bolton.

Bolton’s never met a war he didn’t like, and doesn’t see any diplomatic quagmire that can’t be fixed with a little pre-emptive bombing.  So…not my cup of tea, and no surprise, he was panic inducing to the whimpering girls and man-girls of MSNBC. In a Morning Joe video called, “Former Ambassador is scared by naming of John Bolton,” the shaking and shivering is cringe inducing.

0:35 Former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul says he’s scared by Bolton (man up you pussy!).

1:05 Former Ambassador McFaul says John Bolton will prefer military solutions in North Korea.

5:00 Reporter Courtney Kube makes gratuitous reference to The Hunger Games (?).

8:15 Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Evelyn Farkas frets that not only North Korea has to be nervous, our allies in the region have to be nervous. She notes that Bolton had previously been banned from negotiations by North Korea, who called him a “bloodsucker,” and “scum.”

11:30 McFaul says that Trump is putting together a team to go to war with North Korea.

Mika ended the segment by noting how disturbing it all was.

Ha!

Although this resembled the usual media hair on fire reaction to anything Trump does, it actually provided a little information that helped me put the Bolton hire into perspective. First, I don’t disagree that Bolton has publicly stated positions that polish his war-monger credentials, since he penned an op ed last month calling on a preemptive strike to eliminate North Korea’s missile program.

What was really interesting to me however, was that Bolton was a known player to the North Koreans, having been the Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security when he made a 2003 speech, in which “he described North Korean leader Kim Jong-il as a “tyrannical dictator” and saying that, for North Koreans under Kim’s rule, “life is a hellish nightmare.” In response, a North Korean spokesman said “such human scum and bloodsucker is not entitled to take part in the talks.””

And that’s when it hit me that Trump might be favoring him because of his bad reputation with the North Koreans, not in spite of it.

I’ve mentioned before my four theories of Trump’s operating system.  In this case, the typical liberal/establishment/media view would be theory one, Trump is all id who saw Bolton on Fox news who said some tough things, and Trump liked it.  But this looks like a theory three situation, in which Trump is putting on a show, in this case for the North Koreans.  Trump in negotiating likes for his opponents to think he will do anything, and what better optic to underscore that point than by firing McMaster for bomb thrower Bolton right before the beginning of high level negotiations with the outlaw state?

I’m suspecting the “chaos” of the revolving door White House might instead be more that Trump is hiring temps for piecemeal work.  In this case, Bolton was the perfect foil to frighten the Norks, thinking that a guy who has been advocating bombing of North Korea now has the President’s ear before the beginning of talks between the two countries.  Hopefully after Bolton has served his purpose he will be shown the revolving door.

 

Trump Out-Trumped by Congress

In sharp contrast with Trump’s successful win with January’s Schumer shutdown, it looks like in the fight over the Omnibus Spending Bill, Trump found himself out Trumped by Congress.  Don’t let it be said that Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan have not learned anything since the Trump train rolled into town. McConnell and Ryan finally decided to pick up Art of the Deal, and see if they could use it against the President.

Turns out they can.

The bill was a terrible bill, not because of the overspending, which is sort of built into the woodwork of a Trump Presidency.  Trump, although he dislikes deficits in a general way, is not interested in slashing and burning the federal budget in the way Reagan wanted to.  On the critical issue of immigration, Sanctuary cities will continue to flout the law.  The bill continues to provide funding for them.  And although Trump did get some money for border security, the money can’t be used to build the wall; the signature election promise of this President.  If you can’t squeeze even one dollar of a 1.3 Trillion dollar spending bill to build the wall, you’re failing.

So how did the swamp win such a victory?  It helped that they ignored their own rule to provide 72 hours for members to review the bill, wrote the bill in secret, and most importantly, after the bill passed the senate, immediate took a recess and left town.  These bozos won’t be back for two weeks, meaning if Trump had vetoed the bill, we would have been stuck in government shut down mode until after Easter.  It would have been hard to turn around that sort of media attack putting the blame firmly on Trump for weeks, with Congressional Republicans agreeing, “Yep it’s Trump’s fault.”

After praising the bill earlier in the week, Trump began to realize that he was getting hosed, and during his press conference for the bill signing today, it was obvious that he was pissed stating, “There are a lot of things that we shouldn’t have had in this bill but we were in a sense forced if we want to build our military, we were forced to have. There are some things that we should have in the bill. But I say to Congress that I will never sign another bill like this again. I’m not going to do it again. Nobody read it, it’s only hours old.”

The truth is, Trump got taken because he forgot that his biggest enemies aren’t the Democrats, but the Republicans, who are actually in charge and have power, McConnell, and Ryan.  McConnell knows how to throw stop sticks in a President’s agenda; he did it to Obama for years.  Now he’s throwing his considerable legislative skills against an enemy far more threatening to insider interests, Donald Trump.

Hopefully a lesson was learned by Trump to not forget who the real enemies are.