Bryan Zepp Jamieson
July 25th 2023
Back nearly fifty years ago, my buddy Grunt and I were sitting around in my room/converted garage and just shooting the shit. It was late July, 1974, and it was becoming obvious that the Nixon presidency was drawing to a close. Like nearly everyone, we were wondering What Would Happen Next.
Grunt was of the opinion that Nixon would not go quietly, and gleefully painted a lurid picture of a naked or near naked Nixon, clinging frantically to the top of the highest flagpole over the White House, howling obscenities into the wind as he swayed back and forth, shrieking and flinging his poo at the army helicopters that circled around him.
Mind you, this was back when presidents were supposed to be dignified and present a good example to the nation. Lyndon Johnson and Harry Truman were considered shockingly undignified at the time. We thought Nixon was the worst, most blatant criminal to ever occupy the oval office. But at least he tried to hide his wrong-doings. And he even had a moral basement. For instance, as the looming indictments and impeachment grew, he and staff forbade themselves to use the word “pardon” in any context (Gerald Ford didn’t get the memo, apparently) not just because it looked bad, but it crossed a line most of Nixon’s staff were not willing to step over.
It was a different era. Since then, we’ve had Reagan, Bush the lesser and Trump to show that the adage that “anyone can grow up to be president” includes fools, morons, scofflaws and people so poorly trained in social skills that they wouldn’t be able to hold a job pumping gas. People might want an Abraham Lincoln, but they’ll settle for a Zaphod Beeblebrox. Two heads are better than one, right?
But back in 1974, Grunt’s view of the demise of Nixon was outrageously funny. (There may have been some beer involved.) It was about as outside the realm of expected actions as the Pope hitting the local pub, getting pissed and doing a Knees Up Mother Brown whilst wearing an Andy Capp cap. Jerry Lewis playing Atticus Finch.
I should ring Grunt (we talk about once a month anyway) and get his take on the demise of Trump. I know he’s delighted. I never saw him more openly angry then he was when, in the summer of 2016, we discussed the chance of Trump becoming president. We both knew the possibility was real.
But it would be unfair to expect Grunt to match his soliloquy on Nixon. At least, as far as being outrageously and unexpectedly funny. Grunt still has matchless verbal skills.
It’s just that every night now, Trump climbs the Truth Social flag pole and starts screaming and flinging his poo. He screams delusional bluster about how indicting him “will destroy the Joe Biden presidency” and calls for Congress to destroy the FBI, the District Attorneys, and every other legal force that might inconvenience him. He makes open threats, and openly promises pardons to the violent filth that turned out on his behalf on January 6th. He’s showing all the dignity and gravitas of one of the meth clowns in wifebeaters waving 40s who got hauled in on Cops. Mack Sennet comedies usually ended with more gravitas and probity. Trump has reduced American politics and governance to a pie fight.
Grunt won’t be able to match his effort which I remember so vividly a half century later.
Sorry, Grunt. It’s not you. It’s the world that’s changed.
What is truly depressing is how much of America Trump pulled down around him. Oh, his supporters have always existed, and they were always deplorable. Trump just made it easier for them to crawl out from under their rocks. But the GOP has become a self-doomed disgrace. When Trump falls, they will implode. They worshiped Trump, and he gave them the moral equivalent of syphilis.
Will the media have a similar fall? Faux will never recover from the role they played propping up Trump and lying on his behalf. But what about CNN and MSNBC, who even now put in hours pretending the Trump presidential campaign is a real thing and he might be president again? It’s a lie, one that drives up ratings, and they know it’s a lie. They can bloviate all they want about how popular Trump is amongst Republicans, but that is only a quarter of the voting population. The rest want to see the end of him in overwhelming numbers. Sixty percent of voters reject Trump under all circumstances. No candidate can overcome that.
Will the media do their own version of Nixon’s demise as Trump collapses? After all, once he’s in prison and finished, how are they going to attract viewers? More indictments are coming, possibly this week, and some are the sort that will finish any political credibility Trump has remaining. Even his followers are beginning to wise up. Prince Charming just wants to sell Springfield an elevated monorail, and whatever Jesus is doing, even the Jesus that wants to gas transgenders, he isn’t hugging Trump.
It’s a sign of how frantic the right is becoming as they become ever more loud and violent and vicious, hoping to detract from the fall of Trump and hoping that something in their message will appeal to Americans. It explains the flat-out Naziesque cruelty of people like Ron DeSantis or Gregg Abbott, or the increasingly ludicrous Hunter Biden scandal or the Barbie foofooraw. (Yes, Barbie. The doll. Apparently she’s an agent for Pink China.)
Expect lots of monkeys on lots of flagpoles throwing lots of poo.
But watch carefully: Three quarters of the population will be still, and silent, and thoughtful, carefully watching the end of Trump and his diseased movement. They, not the poo-flingers, are what matter.