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Perhaps some of you will remember a great performance by the very likable Mayberry hero-sheriff Andy Griffith in the 1957 film “A Face In The Crowd” where he played Lonesome Rhodes, a poor Arkansas hobo who becomes a big TV sensation. It was a very different role for Griffith as he became drunk with the power of his voice. He said: “You gotta be a saint to stand all the power that little box can give you. I’m not just an entertainer. I’m an influence, a wielder of opinion, a force…a force.” A reporter in the film admired him in a way: “I’ll say one thing for him, he’s got the courage of his ignorance.” Our daughter Rebecca called me after watching Donald Trump romancing a Southern white campaign crowd and asked if I remembered the role played by Andy in that movie. Yes, I had. She said: “He’s another Donald Trump.” How right she is. And The Donald is a perfect fit to lead the present Republican Party.
Lonesome Rhodes rose from a life of poverty and homelessness to one where he believed he was the leader of those “that’s got to jump when somebody else blows the whistle.” He told his wife Marcia: “This whole country’s just like my flock of sheep. Rednecks, crackers, hillbillies, hausfraus, shut-ins, pea-pickers—everybody. They don’t know it yet, but they’re all gonna be ‘Fighters for Fuller’ (a senator Lonesome was supporting). They’re mine! I own ‘em! They think like I do. Only they’re even more stupid than I am, so I gotta think for ‘em. Marcia, you just wait and see, I’m gonna be the power behind the president—and you’ll be the power behind me.” But Marcia did not last long enough to become that power. After the breakup she said: “He thinks he has to take a bite out of every broad he comes across. Then he calls them a tramp, drops them, and there’s all sort of psycho something-or-other, you know. I caught him red-handed with my best girl-friend. He broke my jaw.” In a great scene later, Lonesome described his followers to a reporter, not realizing his microphone is still on: “Those morons out there? I could take chicken fertilizer and sell it to them as caviar. I could make them eat dog food and think it was steak. Sure I got ‘em like this. You know what the public’s like? A cage of Guinea pigs. Good Night, you stupid idiots. Good Night, you miserable slobs. They’re a lot of trained seals. I toss them a dead fish and they’ll flap their flippers.” Trump has been described by political pundits and junkies as “King of the Whoppers.” Although Lonesome grew up poor and Trump grew up with the social sickness of wealth called affluenza, they end up preaching from the same script.
A synopsis of the movie “A Face In The Crowd” is based on the discovery by a radio talent scout of a drunken country-western singer (Lonesome) in a small-town jail sleeping off a good one. She figures he, a tall, gangly aw-shucks type, is worthy of a radio spot tryout. He becomes an overnight sensation on both TV and radio, rakes in huge endorsements and numerous sponsors. He later reveals he is a power-hungry manipulator with political aspirations. He tramples, trumps, and insults anyone who stands in his path to the very top. The talent scout, tossed aside by him in his psychopathic rush, decides she has to reveal his true side to his millions of followers, so she deliberately leaves his mike on when it’s supposed to be off. His broadcast rant about rednecks and pea-pickers destroys him. Does this remind you of anyone? Born of rich parents, evidently The Donald contracted affluenza very early, forcing his father to send him to a New York military school to gain a little discipline when he was in his early teens. Trump has said he learned things at the school, but evidently humility was not one of them. He later bitched about the fact his father only gave him a million dollars to get started in real estate. No one has ever told him: “You’re fired!”
A Perfect Fit For The Present Republican Party Presidential Nomination
Trump has captured the attention of the national media as Lonesome did. In fact in the last year, the TV networks have spent 234 hours in prime time discussing Trump’s run for the presidency while spending ten hours on Senator Bernie Sander’s run on the Democratic side. When we carefully examine the Republican platform and the policies it has fought for and against over the last 130 years, there certainly cannot be much of a question that Trump is actually a perfect fit for the Republican Party. Examine his stump speeches and his constant tweets—and then compare his stand on major issues with the dogma of the Republican Party over the years. Originally the Republicans opposed voting by women—and would love to cut down on the female vote today. They still are pro-life, against equal pay for women, still trying to defund Planned Parenthood, and have the support of evangelicals who treat women as second-class citizens. Over 60% of the Republican base believes Obama is a Muslim out to sell the country down a Kenya river. We now know what Trump thinks of the female sex in his comments about female reporters, candidates—and his own trophy-style marriages. The Republican Party fought against the use of birth control methods by married couples, and is still against the use of contraceptives which would eliminate many of the abortions performed today. Republicans have fought Social Security for 80 years. They have been instrumental in changing pension plans to 401k plans so Wall Street can get its share of each transaction. Republicans have fought the establishment of labor unions for a century and a half, and have presently succeeded in getting union membership down to about 7% of the work force. Labor unions promoted 61% of the total population to the middle-class after World War II. That’s when one parent made enough money to support a family. Now the middle-class is down to 49%, with both parents working, and is doomed for more reduction. I see Cargill had employed over 600 Somalians out of 2,000 at a Colorado meatpacking plant before firing 180 over a prayer time dispute. Cheap immigrant labor is destroying the economic fabric of the U.S. Republicans continue to fight the safety net of unemployment compensation for the jobless. Republicans have generally thrown in the rainbow flag on same-sex marriage and other LBGT issues—but still continue to fight the establishment of sex discrimination laws which would prevent the firing of gay workers just because they are gay.
Republicans will soon vote again to repeal the Affordable Care Act, an act that has covered 17 million additional Americans. But 20 Republican governors have refused to adopt the Medicaid option of covering poor uninsured workers in their states. The following number of workers in the 20 states are not covered because of such intransigence: Food service, 741,226; Construction, 656,555; Sales, 605,419; Cleaning and maintenance, 588,388; Office and administrative support, 456,460; Transportation, 411,482; Production,336,227; Personal care and support, 274,706; Health care support, 188,474; and Installation and repair, 162,007. Many millions of their compatriots in the other 30 states are covered by this stipulation of ObamaCare. Ohio’s Republican Governor John Kasich accepted the Medicaid program that covers 600,000. Republican Arizona covers 78,000. The Republican governor of Tennessee wants to cover 280,000 low-income people but the Republican legislature is objecting. And so it goes. If the Republican Supreme Court had agreed to this part of the Act, many millions would have health insurance. Should universal health care be a right instead of a privilege of money? “Conservative” Republicans have been fighting the food stamp program since Republican Senator Bob Dole and Democratic Senator George McGovern decided years ago that the poor should not go hungry in a rich nation and pushed the legislation through Congress. Why are they fighting it today?
Will Republican Billionaires And Millionaires End Up Supporting The Donald?
Trump’s support comes from Southern and Northern rednecks, white supremacists, the KKK, Bible-thumping pro-life evangelicals, the gun culture, and assorted racists ranging from Muslim to Mexican haters. This is the Republican base, often called the White Party now. They love his “straight” talk like the Lonesome Rhodes listeners and viewers did in “A Face In The Crowd.” They cheer the twice-divorced, formerly pro-choice casino magnate who lives an ultra-rich life in a $100 million penthouse with gold-plated entrance doors on New York City’s Fifth Avenue, has a little country cottage in Florida with 58 bedrooms, 33 bathrooms, 12 fireplaces, a spa and swimming pool, a tennis court—and a golf course minutes away. He hired Billy Joel to sing at his third wedding there. He has another weekend vacation home called Seven Springs in Bedford, New York composed of 60 rooms on 230 acres. He also has a private resort on the Caribbean island of St. Martin, and he stays at another mansion in Beverly Hills when he is doing business on the West Coast. Trump also owns Trump Vineyard Estates in Charlottesville, Virginia, which has two mansions on 2,000 acres, one of 23,000 square feet and the other of 45 rooms. He owns a $100 million Boeing 757 with 24-carat gold trim and seat-belt buckles, leather seats for 43 passengers, two bedrooms—with a big sign on the side naming the owner. He also owns a Cessna Citation jet which runs about $50 million and three $7 million Sikorsky S-76 helicopters. His cars include a vintage 1956 Silver Cloud Rolls-Royce, a $500,000 Rolls-Royce Phantom, and a Maybach, a Tesla, a Cadillac Escalade, a Ferrari, a Mercedes-Benz S600, and an SLB McLaren which runs $455,000. He presently does not have a big yacht, but did have a 281-ft. one earler. Maybe that’s why the white members of the rapidly declining middle-class really love this guy. He has been defined as a blivet—that is two pounds of crap in a one-pound bag.
Unless Trump sets off his suicidal mouth somehow and blows himself up, it’s highly possible he will lead the Republicans to their convention as their prime candidate. What will the rich and superrich Republicans do at that time with his racist, white, gun-nut, Bible-thumping, anti-abortion base? Can the rich buy them to back another candidate? Will the rich remember he is against the minimum wage, for lowering taxes on the rich, for building a grand wall with Mexican money-with a doorway-on the Mexican border? His foreign policy “Make America Great Again” is much like the George Bush-Dick Cheney-Don Rumsfeld and their nutty “make war, not love” neocons. Trump’s foreign policy today is contained in his promise: “We’ll bomb the shit out of them.” (As we did in Afghanistan and Iraq.)
What Is This Epidemic Of Affluenza Sweeping The Country?
Research by social scientists has determined that the affluent generally lack empathy, disrespect norms and laws, and are more likely to cheat. Dr. Aaron James, a doctorate in philosophy from Harvard, has covered the disease of affluenza rather well in his serious 2012 book “Assholes: A Theory”: ‘The asshole (1) allows himself to enjoy special advantages and does so systematically; (2) does this out of an entrenched sense of entitlement; and (3) is immunized by his sense of entitlement against the complaints of other people.” That pretty well sums up Trump and his fellow billionaires who have been the highest bidders for The Best Congress Money Can Buy. Trump, like Lonesome Rhodes, is trying to sell “chicken fertilizer” to the stupid idiots “as caviar” and are tossing the voters many dead fish. The rich will probably end up supporting their fellow billionaire The Donald to cement a victory. What will the White House look like with that huge neon sign “Trump” on the roof? Obama recently renamed Mt. McKinley to Mt. Denali. I wonder what the Alaskans would think of Mt. Trump…