This Unholy Mess


Take a Look at These Terrific Values!

So there he is again, the great Salesman-in-Chief, hawking his wares to the usual crowd of adoring troglodytes, this time in Phoenix. He wants us to know the lengths he was going to in attempting to close a deal with his critics.
I can’t understand these people. What gives? I offer them whatever they want and they still aren’t buying. They want me to disavow the Ku Klux Klan? Sure, you got it. They want me to throw in white supremacists, the neo-Nazis. So I do that. I mean, I hit ‘em with everything. What do these people need to get on board with me, huh? The words were perfect. It’s just not reasonable, folks. Very unfair to me.
Okay, he was a little whiny. And maybe hitting the phony “innocent victim” thing a little bit hard, but his point was a familiar one: His critics were unfair. He was saying the right words, wasn’t he? Doing the whole distancing and disavowing thing? He might have had some trouble getting there, yes; he might have reversed himself once or twice, he might have omitted the critical phrase “on many sides” when he spoke in Phoenix, as opposed to emphasizing that phrase in his original statement the week before, assigning blame equally for the violence in Charlottesville.
And the whole spiel might not have had even the barest hint of earnestness—there’s that, too. It had the sincerity of a telemarketer at the end of his shift; but he was doing what they asked, wasn’t he? What, you need sincerity now, too? So unreasonable.
He was trying to offer some terrific values. It’s just that they clearly weren’t his. They sounded more like he was reading them off an advertiser of weekly supermarket specials. If he’d been talking about a great price on a 16-ounce can of pineapple chunks in heavy syrup, it was just the right tone. His customers might have bought in. But as a personal statement from POTUS, reflecting the values of a nation? The values he supposedly holds dear as an American? No deal.

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