(Last Week in Weird is slightly late this week due to ongoing turmoil here at Bumbling Bees world headquarters and discount undergarments shop. All apologies, and we hope to have things sorted out soon!)
We’ve spent some months here at Bumbling Bees laughing at the sheer stupidity of the rhetoric from the anti-Trump partisans, and sometimes I get a bit uneasy about that. I get worried that you fine people will conclude that I’m some type of Trump supporter, which is not at all the case; I’d spend far more time criticizing the president himself in these pages if only I could see a reason. Everyone in the mainstream press blows him up for absolutely every tiny fault, whether real or imagined — as a result, it seems to your humble narrator as though it would be far more fun to make fun of the media hacks instead.
And this is exactly the sort of thing I’m talking about.
How the man finds the time to do all these things is beyond me, but, prior to his rather eventful evening in Berkeley, right-wing troublemaker and official Donald Trump #1 Fan Milo Yiannopoulos (whose name I can finally spell under my own power) headed to the southern border with a crew of shirtless musclemen to get started building that wall we’ve heard so much about.
You knew it was coming, friends: Doctor President Barack H. Obama, PhD is no more. We’ll talk about that loud new gentleman in a bit; for now, I’d like to focus on the accomplishments of our last Dear Leader. Specifically, I’d like to focus on the lovely way he refused to go gentle into that good night without blessing us with another science article in a peer-reviewed journal, this time the esteemed, eponymous Science.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: hey, his last peer-reviewed science article was a huge scam, but that couldn’t possibly happen twice, could it? I’ll leave that as an exercise for the reader, but if you’d like a hint, your ever-so-humble narrator is only too happy to oblige: it’s about climate change. Do you detect the fine aroma of intellectual dishonesty wafting from the pages? It is a mystery!
It seems like the internet just can’t stop crying embarrassing crocodile tears about how 2016 was allegedly just the worst year ever. In most cases, of course, this is a thinly-veiled whinge about how St. Hillary Clinton became a martyr for the cause of universal perfect justice when the Soviet Union forcibly installed some sort of orange space Hitler as the new dictator of the United States, which bone-brained rubbish you must forgive me for not treating with the gravity it deserves. On the other hand, we also have classic libertarianishes like Reason’s Nick Gillespie, who, amidst all the me-too hand wringing, can point to one thing about 2016 that was just super.
If there was anything good that happened in 2016 — a year filled so much awfulness [sic] that even the Chicago Cubs could win the World Series after a thousand-year drought — it was [Gary Johnson’s] ramshackle campaign to bring a very different way of thinking and talking about national politics to America.
In a just world, we could just assume that Gillespie is congratulating the Cubs for being the best thing in 2016 — in which he would be correct — and then all go have pie. In this fallen world in which we live, however… suffice it to say things are about to become maudlin.
You’ve probably heard by now, but the next president of the United States will be Hillary Rodham Clinton. We know this because a stalwart bastion of journalistic integrity said so — specifically Newsweek, which made the decision to go ahead and print its special commemorative "Madam President" issues well in advance of the election. Newsweek defended itself by pointing out that this is a common practice; production times being what they are, generally both commemorative issues do get printed, and only the correct one sees distribution. CNN even provided intellectual cover by referencing the true correct fact that MLB produced both Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians World Series championship memorabilia, but only sold the Cubs version (the Indians gear will be offloaded in the third world as discount apparel — no, that’s true). There’s just one problem with the story.
As CNN explains to its slower readers, "this is the media version of World Series keepsakes that were on sale in Cleveland and Chicago last week. Street vendors printed "Cubs win" and "Indians win" T-shirts, then trashed the Indians shirts after the Cubs won Game 7."
There is just one very notable difference: in the case of the World Series, there were two sets of shirts created. However, in the case of the infamous Newsweek special edition, the publishing company Topix, decided to print just one.
I’m assuming you’ve heard, but Donald John Trump was just elected to be the forty-fifth president of the United States. I remain, as I have ever been, hugely skeptical of president Trump; I steadfastly refused to sign on to Walter Block’s "Libertarians for Trump," preferring instead to claim membership in Robert Wenzel’s competing group, "Libertarians Against Trump, Clinton, Johnson, and Stein." Still and all, there is the potential for some good to come from a Trump administration, which statement I would be unable to make about Hillary Clinton. To get a sense of what I’m talking about, consider the few moments of Trump’s victory speech in which he says substantive things rather than merely thanking his staff and supporters:
We cannot resort to simplistic or extreme solutions which substitute myths for common sense.
Whatever else one has to say about the presidency of James Earl Carter Jr., one must admit that he was not a warmonger. A technocrat, yes; a utopian socialist, probably; a warmonger, no. The Carter presidency brought the United States as close as it has been to peace since the days of Herbert Hoover; sadly, with the cold war still raging and the Iranian people overthrowing the American puppet Shah, president Carter would find himself dragged into foreign entanglements all the same. Still and all, it was something close to peace, and that’s not nothing.
President Carter had the good fortune to be the first president since World War II not to inherit any military boondoggles in the far east. This was, in fact, part of the reason he won the election of 1976; as a relative unknown with no nationwide name recognition, he was at a steep disadvantage running against a sitting president during the bicentennial. However, the Carter campaign nimbly took advantage of president Ford’s two main areas of weakness: Watergate and Vietnam. As an outsider, Carter sold himself to the American people as a "reform" candidate who wasn’t enmeshed in any of the national political scandals, as against president Ford, who was still suffering from issuing the Nixon pardon two years prior. He was also able to tar Ford with the eventual final disgrace in Vietnam. In other words: Jimmy Carter ran on a "hope and change" ticket, spinning his inexperience and remoteness as a positive.
Many people I like and respect have come out in support of your presidential campaign, and they all make basically the same point: Trump is the least likely candidate to start World War 3. Just recently, Dr. Walter Block said so in as many words, and it’s not an argument that holds little weight in my mind. My major concern about it, however, is that I’m not at all confident it’s true. While I greatly appreciate many of the things you’ve said in the past, I cannot overlook the fact that much of it contradicts other things you’ve said. For example, your statement that Qaddaffi, as nutbar and sinister as he may have been, was keeping even worse people bottled up was obviously true. I admired the courage and honesty you showed in bringing that up and standing up against the horrible atrocities the Obama administration committed in Libya, but I notice that now you’re saying something quite different.
I understand how this game is played. You have to wobble around so you don’t scare off either the hawks or the doves, and that may be good strategy, but it won’t win you my support. If you want me to go along with Walter Block and Justin Raimondo and agree that you really are the one who won’t start World War 3, it’s going to take more than this. At the moment, I’m being asked to believe that the less-warlike statements were what you really believe, and that the hawkishness was just a cover meant to "seem presidential," but that makes no real sense to me; it could just as easily be that the hawkishness is the real Trump, and the dovish remarks were to pull in the anti-war wing of the Republican party (who obviously wouldn’t support horrible warmongers like John Kasich and Ted Cruz). If you want my support, you’ll have to convince me that you really aren’t in favor of endless war.
I know what I am fit for. I can command a body of men in a rough way, but I am not fit to be President.
Martin Van Buren had a plan. The year was 1824, and Van Buren was disgusted by the corruption that had soaked through the Republican party. The Federalist party had long since ceased to be, and politics in the United States had become a one-party game; as such, with no competition to keep it in check, that one party became a magnet for every type of disreputable political behavior. Having soundly defeated Hamilton’s Federalists, the Republicans then went on to become what they beheld, adopting all the old Hamiltonian policies they had once stood against: protectionist tariffs, internal improvement spending, foreign adventurism, ballooning central government, and even that most hated of institutions, the central bank. Aided and abetted by a life-tenured federal judiciary that had long been usurping powers never given to it by the Constitution, it seemed as though the permanent enshrinement of the Hamiltonian system was a foregone conclusion.
But Martin Van Buren had a plan. If there existed no opposition party to oppose the slide into tyranny and corruption, he would create one. Having long been possessed by that quintessentially American spirit of fundamental — if somewhat inchoate — distrust of centralized political power, he traveled to Monticello to meet with the man who he believed, more than anyone else, was capable of helping him refine his ideas into a viable political platform: Thomas Jefferson. Van Buren emerged from that meeting energized, and, ever more convinced that the vestiges of the Federalist party were rapidly dominating the Republicans, assured the former president that
you are not sensible my dear Sir, of half the respect, the reverence, & warm affection, entertained for you by all the old and uncorrupted Republicans. and notwithstanding the late rewards for apostasy, you may rest assured, that the number of those is yet larger Sufficiently So, I hope, to rescue their cause from ruin & their country from misrule.