John Colson: Our tap-dancing president at work

John Colson
Hit & Run

The antics of our besieged president, Donald J. Trump, make me think of nothing so much as a desperate, overweight tap dancer trapped between the pistoleros and the targets at a shooting range — he’s whirling and dodging at warp speed as the bullets of numerous investigations come flying at him from all directions.

At the same time, of course, he is, by his own actions, ensuring that new probes and investigations will crop up periodically throughout his presidency, which I and many, many others hope will end on or before Election Day 2020.

The latest outrage — attempting to unconstitutionally circumvent the Congressional power of the purse by declaring a “national emergency” along the southern border of the U.S. — is one clearly calculated to distract attention from Trump’s mounting legal and political troubles.

The Mueller investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, the various probes mounted by the Southern District of New York’s state prosecutors into Trump family financial shenanigans and a rising sense around the country that our president is nothing but a sham and a con man whose main interest is in keeping himself in the public eye and in making himself more and more wealthy; these and other crises in Washington, D.C., are problems he hopes to defuse by exhibiting increasingly wild behavior, Twitter rants and questionable actions from the executive branch of government.

Even some members of his own party seem fed up with his chaos and his tap-dancing act, particularly in light of their fear that if The Donald can do it (bypass congressional oversight by decree), so can future presidents from the Democratic party.

The last thing Republicans want is a Democrat in the White House who decides that climate change, or the thousands of preventable deaths by gunfire every year in our country, or perhaps our ongoing and worsening health care crisis — you name it, any of these, or other national issues, could be justification for a similar declaration at some point in the future.

But right now, all our president can see are the bullets zooming his way, such as former FBI Director Andrew McCabe’s assertion on last weekend’s TV talk shows that Trump may well be guilty of one or more acts of obstruction of justice.

Trump, naturally, has reacted by condemning McCabe as a traitor to Trump World, a pathetic liar and schemer who is out to get the president and who secretly has been in Hillary Clinton’s pocket ever since the Clintons supposedly gave massive amounts of money to support McCabe’s wife in her bid to win elective office (the FBI at one point cleared McCabe of any conflicts of interest in the matter).

And since Trump’s tantrums over his invented “caravans” of murderers, rapists and drug dealers headed toward our southern border failed to adequately distract the people, he has doubled down on his insistence that we should spend billions building a wall to keep unwanted Mexicans and Central Americans down below the border where they belong. Hence the “emergency” declaration, after Congress refused to cave in to his wall mania.

It hasn’t helped, of course, that Trump’s own companies have been caught hiring and employing undocumented refugees from South of the border, even as he rages against supposed economic, political and criminal waves of “illegals” marauding across the border — waves that many of the people who live along the border say are nonexistent or not a problem.

But that’s what our president does — manufacture crises out of his imagination as justification for his wackier policy initiatives, and then repeat them ad nauseum at the numerous campaign rallies he whips up weekly, just as he has since he first took office.

Trump has never stopped running for election, of course, because he loves the adoration and attention he gets from his “base,” that group of gullible and deluded voters whom Hillary Clinton unfortunately (but accurately) labeled a “basket of deplorables” during her unsuccessful 2016 campaign for the presidential job.

And while rational observers believe his base to comprise a bare 30 percent of the U.S. electorate, Trump and his allies clearly are counting on a combination of voter-suppression tactics, political fatigue among those opposing his administration, and probably a little additional help from the Russian hackers who proved to able and supportive of his 2016 bid for the office.

He is convinced that, since such tactics worked so well for him once, they certainly will do so again.

And if he gets another four years in office, we can say goodbye to any hope of heading off cataclysmic climate change; any hope of repairing our broken health care system and our disabled immigration system; any hope of actually coming up with a way to fix the roads, bridges, sewer and water systems, and other infrastructure that is so badly in need of attention; and definitely any hopes of repairing our broken political machinery.

So, he rants and raves, the national media scrambles to make sense of nearly every word he speaks without success, and serious problems go unaddressed and ignored. Because chaos is what our president loves to create and feed on, not solutions.

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