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State of American History, Civics, and Politics

The White House Ship of State (The Sequel)

The White House ship of state is not the Love Boat. Is it the Titanic? Perhaps a better metaphor than something crashing into an iceberg would be the meltdown of the ship where the motto is “ABANDON SHIP! ABANDON SHIP!” Let’s examine the different components of the ship of state and determine what if any general observations may be made separate from the “Breaking News” limitations of the cable TV talk shows.

The Crew

For the crew of the White House ship of state life is a combat zone. To some extent such a description would be apropos for any White House. It is a high pressure environment of relentless stress punctuated by moments when it all seems worth it. There is a burnout factor associated with the job even in the best of times and these are not the best of times when people are dropping like flies.

Each day begins never knowing when Kratatoa east of Java will erupt. Under ordinary circumstances, White House staff know that on any given day something outside their control – a mass shooting, a North Korean missile launch, a terrorist attack – could disrupt their day. However in this White House, the explosions are internal. At any given moment our insecure immature child President could unleash a barrage of hissy tweets leaving the stressed staff to clean up the bull trump. No preparation or advance planning can be brought to bear since there is no telling what will trigger the outburst. It’s a little like the situation with the 7th grade smart-aleck-dumb aleck student. The teacher never knows exactly what will generate a smart-aleck-dumb-aleck remark by the student, but you know sooner or later it will happen. It is inevitable.

For the first time since the War of 1812, White House staff may qualify for combat pay. This time the White House may not be literally burning but it is a metaphorical “Is the Bronx Burning?” This is not what they signed up for. PTSD was not part of the job description. The white trumper is the most recent casualty following a day after the resignation of her close friend Josh Raffel. You can’t tell the players without a scorecard and in a moment’s notice that scorecard may be obsolete. Suppose there is a real emergency and We the People need the White House staff to be a its best to steer us through the crisis. Given all the effort and energy to deal with self-imposed crises, what will be left for the real ones?

The Lawyer-Facilitator

In the original Battlestar Galactica series, the facilitator was a (female) member of the crew whose job it was to facilitate the needs of the (male) members of the crew on their long voyages. The network decided that such a job description no matter how realistic would not play well in Peoria. As a result, the position was redefined in something more like Julie McCoy, Love Boat cruise director.

In some ways, the issue of the adultery with a porn performer has come and gone. People, especially evangelicals, don’t care if their President committed adultery before becoming President or while President. The irony of the situation is that he paid $130,000 for nothing. The story came out and his supporters are just as likely to be high fiving and back slapping each other shouting “You the man! Way to go Donald” as they are to condemn him.

The issue here is not sex but “follow the money.” Although not part of Mueller’s probe, the payment of the funds through the lawyer-facilitator has spawned its own investigation and legal case. At some point, the source of the money may be traced back to the President. In the meantime, isn’t it comforting to know the lawyer-facilitator of our President has no ethics?

The Abuser

Besides the stressed out staff and the unethical lawyer-facilitator, our White House ship of state has a crew including abusers, in this case, men who beat women. Naturally, the abuser in-chief takes the word of the men in these situations.

He took the word of Putin over his violation of America in 2016 elections.

He took the word of Judge Moore.

He took the word of senior aide Bob Porter.

So far this decisions have led to the indictment of 13 Russians, a Republican defeat in Alabama of all places, and a resignation. Truly it is shame that good men can be ruined by mere allegations and from women who are always wrong. Look at his own life as proof.

But the abuse like the adultery is the mere tip of the iceberg for the White House ship of state. There is a lot more going on below the surface than realized. The most immediate issue is security clearance. The revelations of Porter’s actions unexpectedly shone the light on an aspect of White House operations in complete chaos. Instead of being an isolated case of an overlooked person lacking the proper security clearance for a given position, the number of people without such clearance mushroomed into the dozens. Did anybody outside the military and intelligence agencies actually have the required clearance to do their assigned job?

People have been wondering when Mueller’s investigation will hone in on Jared Kushner, son-in-law to the current president and husband to a future one but the F.B.I. may beat him to it.  In a still unfolding story, the senior advisor now has been stripped of his access to meetings and files he is supposed to have access to given his vast responsibilities. The revelation that four countries admit to seeking to manipulate the financially-exposed naïve son-in-law inevitably leads to the issue of the Russian manipulation of the father-in-law. It will be interesting to see what the F.B.I. turns up in its investigation of Kushner’s financial dealings and whether the first “pardon” will be to grant this compromised person who lied on his application through omission. In the meantime, the internal war in the White Hosue heats up to the level of the Congressional Schiff/Nunes conflict. As Steve Bannon of all people correctly noted, the House Intelligence Committee is a misnamed joke. If it had been tasked with determining who bombed Pearl Harbor we never would have entered World War II.

Related to this commotion over security clearance is the entire issue of chaos. After more than a year of operation, the White House should not have had this issue. The fact that it does is another reminder of the management by chaos style that defines this presidency. I have seen people on cable TV talk shows expound on how this President prefers the chaotic style that puts him at the center. This viewpoint makes it seem as if the Wharton student made a careful study of the different styles of management and then came to an informed decision that the management by chaos style is the one he preferred the most. What nonsense! As an immature child the management by chaos style is the only one in which he is capable. He simply lacks the mental necessities and emotional maturity to manage in any other way. Chaos isn’t his choice, it’s his nature.


What does all this mean about the captain of the White House ship of state? We can learn that in a real emergency or crisis he has no experience to draw on. His preferred venue is the professional wrestling arena where the action is scripted and the results are predetermined. Even his vaunted “You’re fired” was scripted and based on the decisions of others. He’s not even man enough to fire Jeff Sessions face to face, he needs to act through Twitter and hope Mr. Magoo gets the message. The real world, however, isn’t scripted and his shortcomings are exposed every time he makes a decision on the spur of the moment. In the movie or TV show in his mind, he can charge unarmed into a building consumed in gunfire; in the real world, not so much. Here he is in the eighth decade of his life, still playing hero in his imagination just as 7th graders do when they read comic books and watch John Wayne or the superheroes.

Our insecure immature child President is relentless in his need to belittle others to assert himself. His Republican primary opponents were little and losers. His Democratic investigator is little and a loser. The North Korean leader is little and will be a loser to the man with the bigger button. The only foes he doesn’t call little are female. He doesn’t belittle them as individuals the way he does his male foes, he demeans the gender. They are someone he would grab, they are unworthy of being treated as an equal.

From this perspective, it is easy to understand his devotion to macho-macho man himself, Vladimir Putin. It is easy to understand why the insecure immature child would want Putin to be his BFF. What more validation of himself as a real man could there be than to be Putin’s BFF? Even putting aside the Russian money that rescued him or his escapades during the Miss Universe pageant in Russia, one should not lose sight of the importance of Putin’s appeal to him. “Macho, macho man. I want to be a macho man.”


America doesn’t need a parade, he does. How many people will have to die so Trump can prove he is a real man? How many will have to suffer? Let us pray that in the real world, our ship of state never hits an iceberg, because the person who is supposed to be at the helm lacks the right stuff to be captain.