Las Vegas Sun

October 19, 2018

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Where I Stand:

Trump’s base isn’t getting the joke — it’s him

Who you gonna believe, anyway?

There are a hundred jokes that end with a similar punch line. I am going to focus on just one. It pains me a great deal to talk about the president like this because I respect the office so much, but enough is just about enough. The joke is the POTUS, and he continues to make a laughingstock of my country. And that makes me angry.

The question is: When is President Donald Trump’s base — whoever they may be and however many there may be left — going to get angry too? He has already alienated those who didn’t support him but wanted to rally behind their president, and now he is turning his ire — perhaps not realizing he is doing so — toward those who support him.

In a normal world the president of the United States would never be the subject of such universal scorn and ridicule. Under normal rules, American don’t want their presidents to lie constantly to the people. Normal presidents don’t threaten legitimate businesses just because they disagree with him. Normal Americans don’t want presidents to hint at some kind of mass annihilation of human beings because one muzzy-headed leader can’t deal diplomatically with another muzzy-headed leader.

But, these are not normal times. These are the times of Trump.

Where do I begin? How about with his very public feud against Bob Corker, a U.S. senator from Tennessee who by most accounts is very conservative and a natural Trump supporter. Well, Corker announced he was not running for re-election next year, so that has freed him to tell the American people how he really feels about the dangers presented by our president.

Would that every Republican senator announce his or her retirement — if only for a day or two so that they would feel free to tell the truth for the sake of the country they have sworn to defend. Alas, that is a dream well beyond any realistic grasp.

So we are left with the normally serious and steadfast senator from the South whose constituents, for the most part, form President Trump’s base supporters. And what Corker says — in another world — would be downright hilarious if it weren’t so downright scary.

Corker believes Trump is leading us down a road toward World War III because of what he says to the bad guys in the world coupled with how he acts toward them. Trump shows a disdain for world events and a willful ignorance of the affairs of man that a grade-schooler ought to know and understand.

Trump got upset at the senator’s criticism and slung a few epithets at the diminutive Corker who, as Trump’s luck would have it, is the powerful and respected chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Trump needs Corker if he is to get any part of his “still-figuring-it-out” foreign policy enacted into law. It is just a guess, but Corker, who doesn’t need Trump or anyone else because he ain’t running again, has gone from very supportive of the president to somewhere on the disdainful end of the scale. And he is taking a few of his Senate friends there too.

And the president’s latest fight with NBC over the accuracy of a story exposing Trump’s desire to double- and maybe triple-down on our nuclear arsenal — at a time when we still have enough nukes to destroy the world many times over — has him threatening the broadcaster with license revocations because the NBC folks dared to fulfill their First Amendment responsibilities.

It matters not that a president run amok most likely can’t convince the Federal Communications Commission, the Congress and the courts to let him have his petulant way with NBC and any other media outlet that dares to defy the Trumpian world view. But it does matter that he is even considering the thought. Shutting down the media is the first matter on the agenda of authoritarian leaders. It is Dictatorship 101, and Trump will not be caught wanting when it comes to trying to silence his critics.

And here is when what he wants and what his base wants — and what the cowards masquerading as patriots in the House and Senate want — could come into conflict.

It is bad enough that he has picked a fight with the NFL, jeopardizing our Sunday, Monday and Thursday night television viewing, but now he is threatening to black out NBC transmissions during the rest of the week to teach those folks a lesson.

So here is where he has finally overreached. Do you know what programs would go dark on the television screens of Trump’s base should his minions in the FCC, on the courts and in the Congress go along with his childish proclamations?

How about NASCAR racing? Whoops! What will the folks watch if both the NFL and NASCAR go dark? And who will they blame if they are forced to talk to each other or, heaven forbid, read a book!

And, oh yeah, there goes “America’s Got Talent.” I like that show, too, and would really be pissed at the fellow who made that go away.

And, finally, here is a show with a double-entendre: “The Biggest Loser!” You guys figure out what that means to the viewers.

I understand — or at least, I earnestly hope — that Trump’s dictatorial desires may never be realized, but the fact that he even thinks this way should scare the heck out freedom-loving America.

At some point, the “base” will have to stop blindly and dumbly defending the man whose every action hurts their country. At some point, and I really hope it isn’t too late, the supporters who have been hornswoggled beyond measure must realize they are to blame for what is happening.

And when that time comes there is only one person — besides themselves — at whom to point the finger.

It is the “moron” in the White House.

That’s not me talking. I am just quoting the secretary of state of the United States of America.

Brian Greenspun is editor, publisher and owner of the Sun.

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