The character and failings of the 45th president of the United States are now engraved upon American history — to the eternal shame of the republic. The man-child with the comb-over has deservedly suffered abundant ridicule. So much mockery has been sent his way that the late-night television skits have actually grown shopworn.
While the 45th president has been suitably exposed to contempt, the same cannot yet be said for those who facilitated his rise. The white supremacists, proud misogynists, unredeemable
rednecks, easily misled blue collar workers, and hypocritical evangelicals – all of whom found their savior in Agent Orange – constituted a minority of the population and could not have elected him on their own. They needed the help of the Republican party’s power brokers, as well as vast numbers of rank and file members.
The majority of traditional Republicans, despite their higher education, country club manners and better judgment, obstinately held their noses and opted for the promise of tax cuts and conservative judges over simple decency and honesty. They remained devoted to the brand of their party despite the clear abasement of it.
They saw and heard a bigot. They saw and heard a serial liar, a sexual predator, a wannabe authoritarian. Yet they ignored all the evidence. They held out hope that the malicious buffoon could train his manners and take expert advice once installed in the Oval Office. They thus voted for a man who could not have won a fourth grade spelling bee, much less converse intelligently about the constitution of the United States.
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The reckoning must include all those Republican women who robotically voted for their
party’s candidate. They were not by and large the sensible soccer moms who are nurturing the
future of our southern neighbour, but rather ladies of the sort who had always regarded Barack Obama as a Muslim yet somehow saw in Mr. Genital Grabber a Christian.
As we have seen for over two years now, once the man was elected, the same Republican partisans have upheld his presidency as it stumbled and careened from scandal to caricature to horror show and back again. Not even strong evidence of collusion with Russia, bribery from Riyadh, and multiple obstructions of justice could sway these partisans from defending him.
They have continually put party before intellect, party before country, party before truth itself.
Their just desserts, however, will ultimately be served.
Polls now indicate that re-election has become an unlikely prospect for the man who has made America a laughingstock. Once he is evicted from the White House, historians will deliver retribution. The titles of their books about the grotesque discontinuity in American life that began in November 2016 are not difficult to imagine. President Liar will be among the more bland.
Harsher critics will opt for Putin’s President or perhaps The Book of Moron. Writers from the tabloid universe will show no mercy with titles like Elect a Clown, Get a Circus or, better yet,
Sweet consolation will spice the American literary agenda in perpetuity. As this modest column suggests, the verdict of the historians may render a reviled name morally unmentionable.
Michael Carin is the author, most recently, of the novel Churchill At Munich.