The Golden Commode Era of American Decline Is Upon Us

From Esquire, by Charles P. Pierce:

A good friend and mentor of mine once wrote that the only true blasphemy is that which attempts to make the profane sacred. He was talking about the deleterious, ego-boosting ceremonial aspects of the presidency of the United States, which served, he believed, to imbue whoever the president was with quasi-mystical qualities that prove extremely useful in the grubby political parts of the president’s job. I wish he’d lived long enough to watch the second night of the Republican National Telethon. He would have seen El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago demonstrate vividly what he’d written decades before. He would have seen a grifting, heathen president* garishly—and not entirely legally—use all the ceremony and trappings of the office as though they were the gold leaf in which he encrusted his commode.

He treated the pardon power as though he were a cut-rate game-show host bestowing the Grand Prize (“A complete living room suite!”) on the contestant who’d remembered the name of Lake Titicaca. He turned a citizenship ceremony, one of the few truly uplifting things government does anymore, into what Norman Mailer would have called an advertisement for himself. He arranged to have his Secretary of State deliver a psalm of praise over the darkened streets of Jerusalem, thereby profaning the entire American diplomatic corps, even those members of it untouched by his personal corruption. (Hi there, Woody Johnson!).

And he treated the White House worse than anyone has since the Royal Marines torched the joint in 1814. He turned it into his personal soundstage, and then handed it over to his wife, who delivered an overripe speech about nothing while dressed like Fidel Castro. [TTPT: My thought exactly!] Back before he became a threat to American democracy, the president* was notable for the baroquely bad taste with which he accessorized his various properties. Now that he has become a threat to American democracy, he’s still the same nouveau riche clown who believed that you class up the joint by dropping a white grand piano down in the lobby.

That was the only real impression worth having on Tuesday night. Oh, there was bullshit a’plenty, even without the Protocols of the Elders of Zion lady whom they cancelled at the last minute after she’d gone all Henry Ford that afternoon. Eric Trump, last seen taking the Fifth in front of New York prosecutors, lied three times before he got to his first punctuation mark, and wrapped it up by giving us a dinner-theater rendition of the “Papa, Can You Hear Me?” scene from Yentl. Tiffany Trump expressed solidarity with her fellow kidz in their struggle to find work.

In an act of pure chutzpah of a sort one thought the human mind incapable of, Pam Bondi, once the attorney general of Florida, gave a fantastical account of the Biden family’s corruption that came straight off the factory floor in the St. Petersburg that isn’t in Florida. This one had some extra tang to it because it was Bondi, during her time as Florida AG, who declined to pursue a state fraud case against Trump University, an action that coincided with a $25,000 contribution to her campaign from the Trump Foundation. Even the hypocrisy was in bad taste. Even the lies were tacky. The Golden Commode Era of American Decline is upon us.

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