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Thursday, April 07, 2016

Fear and Stasis, Part Two

      There are several points of comparison between the pissed off British electorate of 1770 that inspired Edmund Burke's Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents and the segment of the American public who find Citizen Kane attractive.  The British rogue John Wilkes was the Donald Trump of his day.  His damning sin was bucking the Earl of Bute, but what he was denied Parliament for was his insult to George III in North Briton #45.  The first time Wilkes was denied his seat, the Middlesex electors were at least allowed to elect a replacement.  The second time, the ministry named a Colonel Luttrell to fill Wilkes' spot.
       The grievances of the British in 1770 were the weak legislature caused by an intrusive executive power (namely, Lord Bute and the Court faction), the fact that competent leaders were unwilling to enter office because of the undermining of ministries (as happened with Pitt the elder and Lord Rockingham), and a public feeling that the executive was overwhelming the legislature.
       The grievances of the Trump faction today are similar.  They include a pushover Congress that does everything the President asks, Congressional leaders who are scapegoats for executive programs, and a public uninterested in empowering Congress.
        The problem with the backers of Citizen Kane is that they want to deal with an emasculated Congress, not by restoring the proper functions of Congress (e.g. by returning to actual budgets, rather than continuing resolutions;  an end to finances being designed in the White House), but by replacing one autocratic President with another autocratic President.   Two years ago, Estase was lamenting the nomination of Sci-Fi Bruce Rauner for Illinois governor.  Estase felt that Rauner's position on abortion was unacceptable, and that Rauner basically wanted to enter public life as a rich man's hobby.  Citizen Kane is forty times worse than Bruce Rauner.  Virtually no position Trump takes is based on facts, reflection or experience.  Limited government and constitutionalism are meaningless to him.  All Trump promises to be is a different type of autocrat.  His ego is so out of proportion to what he is that it is not saying too much to call him a meglomaniac.   His history as a liberal is too well-established for any person to take him as anything other than a Democratic plant.   He refuses to rule out a third-party candidacy, yet another sign that his intention is not to defeat Hillary Clinton, but to split the vote to ensure her election.  Why Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh defend Trump defies logic.  It probably will damage the Republican brand forever if a xenophobic authoritarian enters office as a Republican.  So, unlike the British in 1770, there exists today in America discontent, but a strange, incoherent discontent that aims to remedy a disorder by the same disorder.

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