Are You Ready To Be Nauseated? or "What The #$@& Has Happened To "The Hill" ?"

By:  john-russell  •  3 months ago  •  10 comments

Are You Ready To Be Nauseated? or "What The #$@& Has Happened To "The Hill" ?"

Someone at The Hill must have fallen and hit their head. How else to explain the sudden urge to publish fawning love letters to President* Trump? There are always people trying to slobber over the powerful , even if they are the insane powerful.  And that is why we need even more vigilance and intensity from The Resistance. Things are about to get serious as we creep toward the 2020 election. Two articles from the erstwhile mostly sensible political publication "The Hill" today call into question if their editorial staff has all their marbles. 


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1  author  JohnRussell    3 months ago
A political tsunami swept Donald Trump into the White House in 2016. He’s been riding that wave ever since. The gaffs, misstatements, outright lies, questionable ethics and attacks on American institutions that would have brought down most politicians have had little or no effect on   President Trump . That’s because the Trump phenomenon is no ordinary political movement. It is a pop-culture spectacle. Over the years, we've experienced Presley-mania, Beatle-mania, and Spice-mania. This time around, it’s Trump-mania!  

For good or bad, the craze is still going strong. The main reason for Trump’s success has less to do with his political positions, policies or rhetoric than it does with his status as a pop culture hero.

We’ve had heroes become presidents in the past, but Trump is different. He’s not a war hero like Dwight Eisenhower. Nor is he a heroic politician like Jefferson or Lincoln. Ronald Reagan used his celebrity status as a movie star to launch his political career, but by the time he became president he was an experienced governor. John F. Kennedy and   Bill Clinton   became pop culture heroes only after they became president. Trump, on the other hand, first gained attention as a pop culture icon and then rode that fame all the way to the White House.

Much to the chagrin of the Democratic and Republican establishment, Trump still has mass appeal. Only time will tell how that plays out in 2020. Arguably, pop culture is participatory democracy in action. It truly is one person, one vote. Consumers can cast their ballots by buying a product or becoming a fan.

Many voters know and trust Trump — or at least, they think they know and trust him. They’ve seen him on the public stage for decades, tracking his every move as a businessman, author, reality TV host, pitchman and all-around celebrity. Now they’re cheering him on in the political arena. Adoring fans equate Trump with success and, through the miracle of mass media, consider him a close friend and kindred spirit.

Many Americans raised on pop culture view Trump as a no-nonsense problem solver in the heroic tradition of John Wayne. They are convinced that the president is uniquely qualified to lead the nation. Supporters see Trump as an accomplished businessman who won’t accept mediocrity but will stand up to special interests and political correctness. Trump promises to “make America great again” with good jobs for all, victory over enemies, and guarantees of life, liberty, and happiness.

No wonder millions of people have jumped on the Trump Train. They’re on board because they like the product and trust the brand. His one-size-fits all approach — whether it’s in baseball caps or government policies — has great appeal because of its simplicity. To true believers, Trump is America’s last hope.

Of course, popular culture has a dangerous downside. America’s nightmares have always lurked in the pop culture shadows. Unscrupulous hucksters learned early on that sex, violence, bigotry, profanity, vulgarity, misogyny, racism and deceit sell pop-culture products. Arguably, Trump has exhibited each of those on the pop culture road to political success. What remains to be seen is whether his willingness to dabble in pop culture’s dark side will ultimately result in political perdition for him and the nation.

So far, most politicians and pundits haven’t been able to figure out how to counter Trump. The reason is simple: the 45th president of the United States isn’t practicing politics as usual. He continues to ride a pop culture wave high above the political landscape. Like many pop culture heroes and villains, Trump is invulnerable to ordinary attacks. His loyal fans identify with him and are willing to overlook missteps and mistakes. Logic and facts can’t bring down this pop culture superstar.

If any political Kryptonite is out there, Trump’s opponents have yet to find it. Ironically, the fickle world of pop culture may hold the key. Just as the Wizard of Oz was eventually exposed as a charlatan, the curtain protecting Trump might come tumbling down if something in his personal life or professional career clearly demonstrates that he is not what he pretends to be. Another way to topple a pop culture idol is to find a newer American idol. At this point, no figure on the national stage has been savvy enough or fresh enough to outmaneuver Trump. But, perhaps down the road, a new hero could ride in on a white horse to save the day. It might be a Republican like Rep.   Justin Amash   (R-Mich.) or a Democrat such as Sen.   Kamala Harris   (D-Calif.) or Mayor   Pete Buttigieg   of South Bend, Indi. The best bet is former Vice President   Joe Biden , since Americans have always loved dramatic comebacks.

For now, though, Trump — pop culture hero or anti-hero extraordinaire — is on a roll. Where it stops nobody knows. If this political equivalent of the WWE’s villainous “Rowdy” Roddy Piper cleans up his act, he could still wind up a successful president with enormous grassroots appeal. Then again, he might prove to be just a modern-day snake oil salesman in league with pop culture’s darker angels.

In any case, Trump’s rise is no mere political movement. It is a powerful pop culture phenomenon that continues to crush anything or anyone in its path. That’s why Republicans and Democrats need to take him seriously. Another Trump Tsunami could be headed their way in 2020. If they’re not careful, they’re going to be trumped again by America’s first “pop culture” president.

Richard Aquila is a professor emeritus of history at Penn State University and a distinguished lecturer of the Organization of American Historians. A specialist in U.S. Social and Cultural history, his latest book is “ Let's Rock! How 1950s America Created Elvis and the Rock & Roll Craze.”
1.1  author  JohnRussell  replied to  JohnRussell @1    3 months ago

To say this article is a disgrace to journalism would be a vast understatement. 

Greg Jones
1.1.1  Greg Jones  replied to  JohnRussell @1.1    3 months ago

Sounds like he has it right. You're the one who hasn't figured it out yet, not that anyone cares.  jrSmiley_76_smiley_image.gif

2  author  JohnRussell    3 months ago
It is always a delicate balancing act when the president of a representative republic visits a foreign monarch. One leader was chosen by the majority of states in the republic. The other was born into royalty. One is a man of the people, accustomed to fist pumps and handshakes. The other is perpetually surrounded by pomp and protocol. Neither is right or wrong, yet they are worlds apart in implementation and experience.

President Trump  struck that balance masterfully in his meeting with Queen Elizabeth this week on his state visit to the United Kingdom, displaying sincere respect for the royal family without kowtowing to regal pretensions. After all, let us not forget that the United States was founded as a rejection of monarchy in general, and the British monarchy in particular.

President Trump and first lady  Melania Trump  represent all of us when they step on foreign soil. With them they bring the traditions and the culture, the priorities and the friendship of the American people and extend them to the leaders and citizens of the United Kingdom. Although it is important to be aware of and respectful of the traditions and etiquette of the host country, diplomacy at its core is less about rhetoric than it is about relationships. The greatest emphasis should always be put on the people, not exclusively on the protocol.

As the media elites tried to generate offense at Trump’s every interaction with her majesty, she herself remained perfectly cordial, never betraying the slightest indication of unease. To the contrary, her warm and genuine smile revealed a sincere interest, or perhaps even a delight, throughout their time together. Royal protocol is intricate and complicated, and it’s not uncommon for even the most experienced to misstep according to the official standard. However, if the president of the United States is acting within appropriate guidelines of protocol for the United States, is it really a breach of conduct? And is it truly worthy of criticism?

If there was criticism of President Trump’s visit, it certainly wasn’t coming from Queen Elizabeth herself, whose undisguised enjoyment of President Trump was apparent as his folksy-but-respectful approach aligned with American values while still showing deferential respect to the figurehead of our closest political ally. When President Trump greeted her, for instance, he dispensed with the pomp and circumstance of bowing, opting instead for a friendly handshake, which is an appropriate greeting for even the highest-level meeting between Americans.

During the state banquet that followed his tour of Buckingham Palace, President Trump annoyed some in the mainstream media by lightly touching Queen Elizabeth’s back as she rose to deliver a toast, prompting liberal reporters to  complain  that he had violated royal protocol, even though Queen Elizabeth herself didn’t seem the least bit perturbed by the gesture. The president underscored that theme during the banquet by  clinking glasses  with Queen Elizabeth after his own toast, outraging the liberal etiquette police but inspiring regular Americans who practice that same tradition at holiday meals, weddings, and other special occasions.

If we want to talk about protocol missteps, how can we forget Michelle Obama actually  hugging  Queen Elizabeth, President Obama  bowing his head  to her, or his  odd gift  to her of an iPod preloaded with some of his own speeches?! I wonder how many times she has hit “Play” on that gift? Instead, more appropriately, President Trump gave her majesty  a silver and silk poppy brooch  from Tiffany’s that was personally and thoughtfully selected by Melania Trump, who is the epitome of style and gracefulness.

In her recent memoir, Michelle Obama responded to criticism by saying that “If I hadn't done the proper thing at Buckingham Palace, I had at least done the human thing.” The exact same could be said for President Trump, whose gesture of cordiality was not an affront to Queen Elizabeth, but rather a reminder that the “special relationship” between the United States and the United Kingdom is much more than just an ordinary alliance — it is personal, profound, and lasting.

When it comes to international diplomacy, great attention is often put on the specific minutiae of the actions themselves. However, of far greater importance is the intention behind those actions — and the priority being placed on the relationship, not on just getting the choreography right. Of course it is vital to show respect, be cordial, and appreciate the hospitality and friendship that is extended during an official state visit, but there are many ways in which to do so in both the British and American traditions. By this standard, seeing the genuine warmth between President Trump and Queen Elizabeth, the latest state visit was an overwhelming success.

Peggy Grande was the executive assistant to President Reagan from 1989 to 1999. She is now a keynote speaker and author of “The President Will See You Now: My Stories and Lessons from Ronald Reagan’s Final
4  author  JohnRussell    3 months ago

If I had a subscription to The Hill, it would be long gone after this nonsense. 

We have a member who likes to claim The Hill is a center left site, despite there has never been any evidence of that. I think we can dispense with that fantasy tonight. 

Greg Jones
4.1  Greg Jones  replied to  JohnRussell @4    3 months ago

Thanks for sharing, John. jrSmiley_84_smiley_image.gif

4.2  Texan1211  replied to  JohnRussell @4    3 months ago

MBFC rated the Hill as left center bias.

That IS the Bible for sources here, right?

What other evidence is required now?

Vic Eldred
5  Vic Eldred    3 months ago

The Hill has had contributions from both ends of the spectrum.  Some don't like it

5.1  author  JohnRussell  replied to  Vic Eldred @5    3 months ago

These two opinion pieces are ludicrous, particularly the first one. 

Vic Eldred
5.1.1  Vic Eldred  replied to  JohnRussell @5.1    3 months ago

Have you read some of the stuff by Juan Williams?


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