If you thought the blue lines in hockey were confusing (apologies to MAD Magazine), try spending time in the White House briefing room.
While most of the nation wants a health care plan much like the plan congressmen can enjoy, and while hate crimes and anti-Semitism are on the rise, reporters in the White House press briefing room are enduring a never ending epidemic of language H.L. Mencken would describe as “wet sponges,” though earlier this week we heard it in the guise of “rainbows and puppies.”
What was said? Well it turns out it wasn’t said. Maybe we didn’t understand and it doesn’t matter because there’s something new to say to us any way. Bad hombres are all about.
The numbers are good. The numbers are bad. President Obama “wiretapped” the Trump campaign. No. Wait. The former president didn’t wiretap the Trump campaign. “Wiretap” was in quotation marks, and it just means surveillance.
The president believes the press is the enemy of the people. No. The president only thinks “Fake News” is the enemy of the people.
President Trump will release his taxes. President Trump won’t release his taxes. Someone else will. Was it the President? Two pages from 2005? Well that means everything. It means nothing. Russia is bad. Russia is good.
The president can use “alternative facts.” The president isn’t arguing the facts. The president means everything he says. Sometimes the president is making a joke and we don’t get it.
President Obama used microwave ovens in surveillance of the Trump campaign. Never mind - that was just a joke.
There are two things glaringly apparent in this president’s administration. First, some of us don’t get his tweets. Since we don’t seem to understand President Trump’s humor or what he’s really trying to say in a tweet, perhaps The President of the United States could help us all to help him (with apologies to Scrubs and Dr. Cox). Could he just promise that at least when it comes to matters of national policy, the president will refrain from tweeting complex ideas and policies in 140 characters or less? Maybe a few more words would help us all understand.
Could you help a brother out? Help me to help you Barbie.
Secondly, when it comes to humor in the White House – and let me say this comes from doing standup comedy and it goes out to everyone in the current administration – all the surrogates and appointed and elected officials. Stop trying to be funny. It isn’t working. It’s painful to watch.
The one exception to this – the jury is still out on him – may be Sean Spicer. He can crack a joke. His “Don’t make me move this podium on you” quip last Friday was indicative of a man who doesn’t take himself too seriously. But Kellyanne has to stop. She couldn’t find “funny” if Kevin Hart, Billy Crystal, John DeBellis, Jackie the Jokeman, Steve Mittleman, The Fat Doctor and Bill Maher dragged her there in chains.
But beyond the bad jokes, blue smoke and mirrors is the reality Trump supporters don’t acknowledge and his detractors don’t understand. The former is lost in admiration and the latter is lost in a cult-like condemnation. Neither side is looking at issues – other than those that surround the president’s continuing personality cult.
This nation is not healing as the president promised. There is no bipartisan cooperation in Congress and our government is more fractured than ever. The president, Congress and the voters in this country can share in the blame for that debacle.
The communication coming from the White House the first two days of this week has been chained to the replacement of the Affordable Health Care Act. The president finds himself in full deal mode right now trying to get the new legislation passed. Only thing is the Congress ain’t buying what he’s selling.
He may yet convince Congress to pass his replacement health plan, but it is so convoluted that even Spicer referred to it as a “puzzle” during a press briefing Tuesday.
On Monday, Spicer talked about everything not being “rainbows and puppies,” in regard to a question about health care. Tuesday, he told us there was some “inside baseball senate talk” going on but confessed, “If we can’t get this through,” then things will be “unbelievably difficult.”
Meanwhile, the administration is adamant about us ignoring the CBO numbers that question the healthcare plan while the president tries to convince Congress to shut up and drink the Kool Aid. For those who don’t drink freely, Trump has apparently already promised to back GOP challengers against incumbents if the incumbents don’t vote for the health plan.
If that isn’t confusing and annoying, then the tweet about former President Obama “wiretapping” Trump Tower most certainly is. Just witness what Congress said Wednesday regarding the tweet!
The president initially tweeted he just found out Obama wiretapped him. That indicates he had information in his possession. And while he refused to disclose what that information is, last weekend Spicer sent out a notice the president had forwarded everything to the Department of Justice and would have nothing more to say about the matter.
The DOJ then was supposed to send information to Congress, but no one in Congress has seen anything concrete and they’ve given the DOJ and the president another week to come up with something concrete.
Why would Congress have to investigate anything? If the President has information, couldn’t he just share it with the DOJ? In fact, wouldn’t it have come from the DOJ? Never mind Presidents can't arbitrarily wiretap anyone and the members of congress who reported to the media on Wednesday simply stated Spicer hasn't been accurate in providing information to us regarding the tweets. Okay - now we're seeing some bipartisan cooperation. No one knows what's going on in the White House!
Kellyanne Conway is talking about microwaves. Tin foil hats are up next and after that maybe we can watch Dr. Bombay cast a spell (with apologies to Bewitched) to cure the sick. Dr. Bombay would at least be more entertaining than Paul Ryan.
The president’s supporters aren’t swayed. The Democrats aren’t convinced and there remains few signs of bi-partisanship anywhere. The President who promised to Make America Great Again and bring us all together still is struggling to bring both sides of the aisle together on health care and other issues.
While I see some evidence the American people want to come together, I see none of it in the executive branch. Most of the language from that robust institution continues to be divisive.
In the press room, every time we begin to dwell on issues something new pops up – like two pages of a tax form from 12 years ago – to distract us. I get the distinct impression I’m being played. And as much fun as it is to pick apart the questionable policies and bad jokes, the real joke will be on us – if we don’t start seeing progress soon.
United We Stand. Divided We Fall.
Or, you can remember what Mencken said. “Here the buffoonery never stops."
We have a complete "Libido for The Ugly."