The Message Of The Message

By

Leonard Zwelling

         In this piece by Frank Bruni, it is pointed out, quite correctly, I believe, that the message being delivered may be more important than the package in which it comes. This may be much to the chagrin of Tiffany’s and their famous light blue boxes, but it may be so of political candidates, too.

         There can be no less attractive packages than Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. One is a narcissistic old fat guy who looks like he’s waiting for his first heart attack and the other is a screaming even older white guy who just had a heart attack and always seems to be on the verge of having another. That’s who we want to be president?

         The Democratic debates have descended into yelling matches among a bunch of old white guys, two white gals and a young gay mayor. No one has managed to get above the fray for fear they won’t be heard. So instead, they yell at each other trying for zingers that will make the news at eleven. This is clearly no way to pick a president.

         As a friend and blog reader correctly points out, what we need is a woman president. We need a person capable of balancing ten things at once (like caring for two kids, baking cookies, driving carpools, and serving on the PTA as well as being CEO of a Fortune 500 company) not two guys with a combined age of over 150 who will resort to insulting each other as America holds its collective nose and votes for one of them—probably Trump.

         And it won’t help if the Democratic nominee is Biden either. He’s so far past his use by date, he’s aged cheese or vinegar.

         America is in a difficult place. Either it re-elects the worst president in history from the point of view of American greatness and international respect or it elects a democratic socialist, which I find completely impossible to fathom. If Bernie is the one nominated, then Trump wins every state but New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, and maybe California, although I am not at all sure about the latter.

         What is so remarkable is that neither of these men, Trump or Bernie, is in the least bit likeable.

         Hillary Clinton echoed what I detected when I was on Capitol Hill and served on the staff of the Senate committee of which Bernie was a member. No one did like him. No one did work with him. Hell, he wasn’t even a real Democrat. Hell, he still isn’t. I’m not sure why they let him run in their primaries. Bernie sounds like the next words out of his mouth will be “get off my lawn.” He makes John McCain sound like a Buddhist monk. Bernie yells and screams and gesticulates and makes himself a generalized pain in the butt. The kids (those under 30) think this is great and love the fact that he will deliver them from their staggering college debts, but he really has no good idea how to implement his health care plan and could never get Congress to raise taxes to pay for all the stuff he wants to give away.

         Trump is one of the singularly least attractive politicians I have ever encountered and he treats people dreadfully, has loyalty only to those crooks who give him fealty, and is not averse to using his power to free real criminals. That’s a president? Give me a break.

         As Frank Bruni points out, the likeability factor cannot be at play all that much in this year’s contest for the White House. The Democrats get on stage and act like spoiled children throwing tantrums at one another and expecting voters to forget all of this and pull the lever for them. Why? Only Mayor Pete and Senator Klobuchar have the demeanors to lead. He’s way too inexperienced in politics to galvanize a nation against Trump, and as Bruni points out, Amy is simply too low key, seeming to be running for local office or treasurer of the bridge club.

         Evidently the next president is likely to be a thoroughly unlikeable white man who people either fear or just plain don’t like. Great. And I thought relationships mattered in politics. Silly me!

         Trump’s message is to “keep America great.” Bernie wants a revolution. John Lennon commented about the latter fifty years ago. “You ain’t gonna make it with anyone any how.” Those are the messages. The fact that Trump is likely to get re-elected and Bernie might be the Democratic nominee means that the package enveloping the message is clearly without import.

Leonard Zwelling