erik lundegaard

Saturday February 08, 2020

Stephen Colbert Ain't Joking Around

Well, that was a helluva week.

A lot of worthy stuff to see about this unworthiest of men, let alone presidents, who was acquitted on two charges (abuse of power, obstruction of Congress) by the GOP-held, McConnell-led and thus throroughly corrupt U.S. Senate. Now Trump is back on a rampage—attacking the usual suspects, firing or reassigning the people who stepped up and told the truth. This week someone called Trump “the sorest winner,” which is about as accurate a description as I can think of. Unless it's this line from Jennifer Szalai's review of “Unmaking the Presidency” by Susan Hennessey and Benjamin Wittes:

What makes the current presidency truly unprecedented, they say, is how Trump combines a seething vindictiveness with a total lack of interest in governing.

Damn, that's good. We see the vindictiveness daily. The disinterest in governing, let alone government, will probably have longer-term consequences. See Michael Lewis' book on same.

Anyway, there was worthy stuff from the left and the middle and the generally sane in the wake of Trump's “acquittal,” but I think Stephen Colbert's monologue beats them all. Because it's thoughtful, and admiring (of Mitt Romney's vote of conscience), but oh-so angry. Colbert's funny here ... but he ain't joking around. Just see his takedown of Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. Or any time he mentions Trump at all.  

(WARNING: The section where Republicans talk up how Trump has learned his lesson and will behave himself may cause rage-induced heart attacks in the otherwise rational.)

These are among the things Colbert calls Trump:

  • a golden cow
  • that monstrous child in the White House
  • a bloated golden child who none dare gainsay—who destroyed anyone who did not follow him blindly, and then went and destroyed a lot of people who followed him blindly anyway

Colbert says hearing Mitt Romney take his oath of office seriously is “like finding water in the desert,” but so is Colbert's monologue. He's saying what we‘re all feeling, and what the mainstream media is generally ignoring. He says: “Now we know: Asking a foreign power to interfere in our election is the new normal.” He says: “The only lesson Trump has learned is that he gets away with everything. Multiple bankruptcies: Nothin’. Multiple sexual-assault allegations: Nothin'.”

And he says this:

“We know Republicans are lying when they say Trump didn't do anything wrong, or ‘Maybe he did but he shouldn’t be removed,' ... The Republicans are privately horrified by Donald Trump, and they want someone to do something to stop him, but they don't have the balls to say it out loud when it matters.” 

All that and Robert Bolt's “A Man for All Seasons,” too. Watch the monologue. Memorize it. Remind yourself that you're not crazy. 

Posted at 10:07 AM on Saturday February 08, 2020 in category Politics  
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Twitter: @ErikLundegaard