Boomer Opinion: Would an intervention help?

Just when you think our politics are at a crisis point, somebody moves the goal posts. That’s how it seems right now as the president and his detractors find new ways to butt heads. In this Boomer Opinion piece, BoomerCafé’s co-founder and executive editor Greg Dobbs gives his take on where it’s taking us.

I’ll admit, when I first heard a few days ago that Nancy Pelosi said, “We believe that the president of the United States is engaged in a cover-up,” I was shocked. Not shocked at the charge of a cover-up; I believe it too. But I was shocked that right before a scheduled meeting with the president on infrastructure, knowing what a vengeful viper he can be, the Speaker of the House would knowingly taunt him.

It’s also why I’ve come to like her.

Because she speaks truth to power. Bluntly, and at least as effectively as any of the 20-some Democrats running for President.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She’s third in succession to lead the country.

And, because Trump deserves it. Of course the president took offense— big-time offense— that the Speaker was “disrespectful” and had accused him of “horrible, horrible things.” As if Trump isn’t “disrespectful” and doesn’t say “horrible, horrible things” about every human being who looks at him the wrong way.

The roster is too long to record— like disabled reporters, Mexican-American judges, Gold Star parents, overweight women. But the most recent instance is the Republican congressman from Michigan, Justin Amash— a founding member of the super-conservative House Freedom Caucus by the way— who last week had the temerity to tweet after reading the Mueller report, “President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct.” Trump’s response? Tweets last weekend that Amash is “a loser,” and “a total lightweight.”

Actually, that isn’t “the most recent instance.” The most recent is Trump’s tweet yesterday morning, after a new report that former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has called Trump ill-prepared and outfoxed by Vladimir Putin for their 2017 meeting in Poland. It prompted the president to recycle his opinion that Tillerson, former CEO of Exxon, is “dumb as a rock.”

Well, even that isn’t “the most recent.” As of this writing anyway, that came yesterday afternoon when Trump tore into Speaker Pelosi, calling her “Crazy Nancy” and saying, “She’s a mess. She’s lost it.”

You get my point.

Every time the president takes offense that he is being either investigated or insulted, I don’t know whether to consider it hilarious or horrifying. Probably some of both. But the stupefying revelation from Trump’s latest hissy fits is, he deplores disrespect. Go figure.

The trouble is, Pelosi’s charge of a cover-up tamped up Trump’s temper to the boiling point, where instead of negotiating at the scheduled summit about infrastructure, he blew his tinted top and, according to reports, “stormed” out of the room straight to the Rose Garden and demanded that the Democrats stop their “phony investigations.” But he’s been pleading that case for a long time. The surprise was the clincher: Trump won’t work with the Democrats at all, on infrastructure or presumably anything else, until they give in. “We’re going to go down one track at a time.”

America’s crumbling infrastructure.

Put aside for the moment the appearance of a scripted outburst that Trump was shocked by Pelosi’s broadside, since in the moments it took Trump to travel from the Cabinet Room to the Rose Garden, his staff had already methodically erected a podium decked out with defiant signs saying “NO collusion NO obstruction” (as if saying it makes it so). And put aside the fact that Trump’s channeling of the classic line in Casablanca— “I am shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here”— is at odds with the fact that critics have been accusing the president of a cover-up since the whole Mueller investigation began.

Humphrey Bogart with Capt. Renault in Casablanca.

Put all that aside, and just consider the president’s assurance in the Rose Garden, “I don’t do cover-ups.” (He went on to say to the assembled media, “You people know that probably better than anybody.” He was smart enough not to take a vote on that one.) But in the wake of his inadvertent analog to Richard Nixon’s infamous assurance, “I am not a crook,” it’s only fair and balanced to point out that Trump actually does cover-ups galore. Does the name Stormy Daniels ring a bell? Or how about the president’s total refusal to release any documents, let alone permit any aides to testify, to Congressional committees trying to exercise their Constitutional right to oversee the Executive Branch. What some have the audacity to call checks and balances.

Kind of makes you wonder, if you’ll excuse the incoherence of the question, if this president doesn’t do cover-ups, what exactly is he covering up?

Greg Dobbs

And one more thing: Trump said in the same Rose Garden rant, “I’m the most transparent president probably in the history of this country.” Right off the bat I’d argue that in modern times at least, Jimmy Carter— ultimately to his peril— has him beat. But the bigger point is another question: if this president is so transparent, how come he hides so much? I can’t help but think about all the men who have been allied with Donald Trump either politically, or professionally, or personally, who now are in jail or awaiting their sentences, thanks to their association with him. I had to conclude early this month that there was something wrong with the picture when Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen was marched off to prison, while the man he was imprisoned for protecting roams free.

You could argue, all of this is beside the point. What’s important is the nation’s business. And that includes infrastructure, the rare issue on whose importance the two political parties agree. Politically, it’s about as close as anything comes these days to a no-brainer.

Yet President Trump put his ego above his obligation to get it done. Suddenly, an insult— Trump’s own stock-in-trade— is a capital crime for which the nation’s business must grind to a halt.

The day after Trump’s tantrum, Speaker Pelosi called on “his family or his administration or his staff” to “have an intervention for the good of the country.” The goal of an intervention is to change someone’s destructive behavior.

This time I wasn’t shocked by the Speaker’s blunt talk. I was glad. Because Donald Trump’s behavior isn’t just destructive to him. It’s destructive to us all.

8 Comments

  1. As the saying goes; one monkey don’t stop no show. If both parties agree on a course of action, it goes to the president to either sign, veto, or do nothing. If he does nothing it goes into effect, if he vetos, veto can be overturned. This shutdown light can be remedied along with the message we are not a dictatorship.

  2. Absolutely right on. Not to mention Trump’s hiding his tax returns. He lies so consistently that even the possible rare truth is suspect. Pelosi handing it back to him in his own style every once in a while seems acceptable, given it seems it is the only way he listens. He is a charismatic bully, and some people choose to be on the side of the bully to avoid his wrath and share in his ill-gotten gains. Lies, disrespect, and personal greed are the president’s modus operendi. Is this how we want to live? This can’t end well.
    Thank you, Mr. Dobbs, for an excellent piece.

  3. Iam astonished at the lack of objectivity in this article. Why don’t you just report the true facts and let us decide what to think,ya know we still can of course. First the Democrats had an emergency meeting just hours before he was to meet with Trump, Pelosi came out and accused Trump of a CRIME, then the two faced hypocrite strolled in to meet with POTUS now you decide is this the kind of atmosphere you set before a meeting.

    1. Patty,
      Seems you’ve been watching the cable propaganda channel, Fox News, too much. It’s not a “crime” to say Trump is not prepared for a meeting or to point out that Trump does not comprehend matters of state. Where do you hear such wrong-headed things? The guy has been a failure at nearly anything to do with business or intellect, excelling only in grabbing private parts of women … by his own words.
      Carleton

    2. Patty, neocons have redefined the English language. They have twisted the meaning of words like freedom, liberty and “free market”, for example. Even the word “facts” has been propagandized, so only neocons have the “facts.” Because of that, if others make statements neocons do not agree with, there is no common ground upon which to have a discussion.

  4. With pity for all the “Patty’s” in America…

    A pioneer in the transition from the printed page to the digital age, I was taught the art of advertising propaganda by the ad guru behind the success of the grand department stores of yesteryear. With years in retail advertising, I went on to produce the first mail order computer catalogs before typesetting top-secret IBM documents in Palm Beach and then working, in 1988, as a proofreader and paste-up artist for an Atlantic City casino and entertainment newspaper.

    That was my first career. Unwittingly, I ended up a professional student and earned my BA in Theatre Arts at 54. Shortly after my 2010 graduation, I saw the Facebook/Zuckerberg movie and immediately left the bully pulpit knowing nothing good would come of it. It was no easy task to remove myself and finally, when asked why I wanted to leave, I answered “because Facebook is the Devil!”

    So, in July of 2016, when my daughter bought me a tablet and put me back on the platform, only because too many outdated websites force us there, I was just in time to witness and completely understand the political campaign horror show on display there simply by “friending” old school chums nationwide and knowing their blue collar heritage, religious beliefs or gender identity.

    Floored by the blatant trickery I saw, I knew with certainty that only a person with my skills and knowledge of how it all works could have achieved that level of specifically targeted mass saturation and I knew exactly who that someone was.

    With pity for all the “Patty’s” in America, I will leave it there.

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