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Hotspur versus Bonespur: Having the Right Stuff to Go in the Arena

Statue of Henry Percy "Hotspur" 1364-1403” Alnwick Castle (tripadvisor.com)

According to the Constitution, the American President is designated with one specific task: to serve as commander in-chief. In the 20th century, the title was expanded in the popular culture to include “commander in-chief and leader of the free world.” The expansion was due to America’s role in World War I, World War II, and World War III (the Cold War). We were on the winning side in all three wars and had a leading role in those victories. The abandonment of that role by the current President will be the subject of another post.

The phrase “in the arena” comes from a speech by Teddy Roosevelt on April 23, 1910:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

One famous example of a story of a person going into the arena consistent with the popular image did not actually err again and again but proved quite successful against all odds. The story of David and Goliath has become part of the vocabulary in the American culture. Closer to home, another figure did go into the arena again and again, sometimes winning and sometimes losing. Rocky has become a mythic figure in the American Civil Religion. His iconic image has become a tourist site at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In America, even ordinary citizens can attain the heights once reserved for the kings.

The phrase “the right stuff” comes from a book by Tom Wolfe with that title. It later became a movie with the same title. It refers to the military pilots in Project Mercury when America began its journey to fulfill a presidential challenge to have a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Mission accomplished.

Together these terms and images call upon the American President and the American citizen to reach for the stars, to fulfill the American Dream, and in this instance at least, to risk one’s life to do so.

How does President Bonespurs measure up against this standard?

Unlike John Kerry and John McCain but like William Jefferson Clinton, President Bonespurs did not serve. As always, he has not told the truth when referring to this event in his life.

His first real experience of going into the arena was not even a real event at all. It occurred in the professional wrestling arena, still his favorite venue. Here he followed a scripted sequence and faked having the right stuff to go into the arena in the real world. Thus his combat experience is as fake as his hair.

His second experience going into the arena occurred during the second presidential debate in 2016 (Predator in Chief, Our Lady of Perpetual Victimhood: A Presidential Election Retrospective). In this competition he was pitted against the champion of the opposing political party. If you heard the encounter on the radio, then you probably would conclude that the Democrat won the war of words on the debate stage. Democrats frequently conclude that their side won and that mistake contributed to their defeat in the election.

Simultaneously with the debate “war of words,” a second confrontation occurred. This was the reality game “Survivor.” In this battle, the fight is not with words. Instead, it is a physical struggle. During the Presidential “Survivor,” a large male predator stalked his smaller female victim. As he prowled the stage, he marked his turf and asserted his dominion over this domain. People who watched THE DONALD in action came away thinking that he was the real deal. They still have not caught on that THE DONALD is an act, a persona Little Donnee-Wanee developed precisely for the purpose of conning people into thinking he had the right stuff to go into the arena.

Later the Democratic victim acknowledged her mistake in again being the victim as she had been for decades. Democratic observers took her to task for not standing up to the predator and putting him in his place. Unfortunately for the Democrats it was too late. Even to this very day, there are still people, especially Republicans, who think THE DONALD is not only a successful fighter but a real one…even as he cannot say “You’re fired” in person face-to-face and hides behind tweets instead.

His third experience occurred on July 16, 2018, in Helsinki, in a press conference with Vladimir Putin (Putin and the American President: Who Has the Right Stuff to Go into the Arena?). He can now legitimately claim to have participated in the most humiliating summit with a Soviet/Russian leader in American history. Under ordinary circumstances such a pathetic performance would doom a president. He came across less manly than Dukakis in a tank. But for him it was just another embarrassment before moving on to the next one.

Now Bonespurs is faced with a real political battle against NanChuck. For the first two years of his administration there was no direct challenge to him. No Day of Infamy. No Cuban Missile Crisis. No 9/11. And no politician who confronted him in a showdown at high noon. So far the only person who may do so is Robert Mueller but President Bonespurs is girding up to prevent Mueller from exposing him.

With NanChuck the situation is quite different. The television reality show he hosted at the White House blew up in his face. Without even trying to, NanChuck got him to accept responsibility for the government shut down over the funding to build his wall. In that one public failure, he proved why he should not be allowed to testify under oath under any circumstances.

When Bonespurs subsequently was willing to reach a deal with NanChuck he was undermined by his own team. Fox, Ann, Rush, and the RHINO Freedom Caucus read him the riot act. They put him on notice that if he caved on his signature issue there would be hell to pay come election time. Instead of calling their bluff (whom else would they support in 2020?), he caved and boxed himself in. They forced him to toe the line but offered no way to get out of this showdown.

In an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN on December 20, presidential advisor Stephen Miller became quite agitated and intense in conveying the urgency of the current situation:

Right now as we speak there is a surge of illegal immigration heading toward our country that presents a national crisis now.”

Not a month from now, not a year from now, right now. And this president took an oath, like every lawmaker in Congress to defend the citizens of this country. How many more innocent people have to die in pursuit of an open-borders agenda?”

According to Miller and the various acolytes on the Bull Trump network, there is a crisis RIGHT NOW! Drug dealers are pouring across the border RIGHT NOW! Terrorists are pouring across the border RIGHT NOW! Criminals are pouring across the border RIGHT NOW! They are pouring across the border because Democrats believe in open borders so illegal aliens can vote not just once but multiple times by changing their hat and shirt as they run around the polling places.

Left unexplained in this emotional tirade about the desperate need to save the country RIGHT NOW is how a $5 billion spending bill will change anything RIGHT NOW! Will the $5 billion spending build a new wall RIGHT NOW! Will the $5 billion spending even build a teeny-tiny part of the wall RIGHT NOW! How will this authorization stop this NATIONAL CRISIS RIGHT NOW!

Do you Stephen Miller have a plan to stop this national crisis not a year from now, not a month from now, but RIGHT NOW?

Do you Fox, Ann, and Rush, have a plan to stop this national crisis not a year from now, not a month from now, but RIGHT NOW?

Do you RHINO Freedom Caucus have a plan to stop this national crisis not a year from now, not a month from now, but RIGHT NOW!

The advantage Bonespurs has during the shutdown is that he no more cares about the Americans than he does the Kurds or the Israelis whom he threw under the bus. Besides, the government employees who are furloughed or working without pay are Democrats and they support the shutdown for border security anyway. The very stable genius knows this because he is the smartest person in the room.

We have learned the hard way, from Charlottesville and Harvey, that Bonespurs is not capable of rising to the occasion. The difference now is that he has an actual foe in NanChuck. Plus he is boxed in. If the world’s greatest negotiator creates a deal and claims victory even though he has not won, Fox, Ann, Rush, and the RHINO Freedom Caucus will be there to call him out. He won’t be able to get away with conning his own side this time.

What then should he do?

What does an immature child do when cornered? He lashes out. “Oh yeah! Oh yeah! Oh yeah! I’ll show you who is in charge! I’ll shut down the southern border.” The mind boggles imagining the world’s worst manager supervising the shutdown of the border. Can you imagine the chaos that would result? He does not even have 1% the managerial skills Herbert Hoover had. He lacks both the competence to shut down the southern border and the mental necessities to understand the consequences. Democrats should call his bluff just to expose his shortcomings and inadequacies for even Republicans to see.

There is a better solution.

How about asking China to fund the Great Wall of Trump? They would even build it too, if only Bonespurs would ask.

Putin and the American President: Who Has the Right Stuff to Go into the Arena?

Trump, the Rough Rider Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

The “in the arena” image resonates with humans. Practically from time immemorial to the present, the stark binary scene of the confrontation to the death of two beings, humans and sometimes animal, grabs us by the gut and doesn’t let go [or “does let go” if I miswrote]. Where would we be without the stories of these one-on-one encounters?

These images stick. Achilles and Hector. David and Goliath. The Battle of O.K. Corral. The showdown at high noon. We know the images. We remember the stories. The names may change from culture to culture, from one time period to the next, but the story line endures. It is part of who we are as a species.

So how do/did our two presidential contestants in 2016 match up against this standard?

The first confrontation occurred in the second high school debate between the two candidates (Predator in Chief, Our Lady of Perpetual Victimhood: A Presidential Election Retrospective). Democrats, in their typically misguided way, think their champion prevailed. Her talking points made her the superior warrior. She trashed the know-nothing simpleminded ignoramus in this one-on-one confrontation. To the victor belongs the spoils. She had triumphed over Trump. The presidency was hers based on the merits of her performance.

Democrats still live in this artificial reality. They still don’t understand. They don’t understand how the talking points could lose. Still unbeknownst to them, while this verbal debate ensued, a second battle was underway. The arena may have been the same stage but the game was different. This game was Survivor; its rules were not of the debate but of the warrior in the arena.

In the second high school debate a known predator roamed the stage.

In the second high school debate a known predator stalked his prey.

In the second high school debate a known predator feasted on his victim.

Everyone knows she was a fighter. She wanted to be a marine. She wanted to be an astronaut. She wanted to be an Olympic athlete. She wanted to be your champion. She would fight for you. Except when the moment of truth came, she didn’t even fight for herself. And everyone saw it live on TV.

As it turns out, her opponent and eventual winner had his “into the arena” moment live on TV as well. Summit meetings sound like confrontations among the gods. Actually, the first summit in modern times occurred on June 11, 1939 between FDR and King George VI at Top Cottage in Hyde Park. It’s a nice place to have dinner if you can swing it with the NPS. They met not as adversaries [or “as adversaries’] battling to be king of the mountain, but as allies seeking to prevent others from becoming king of the mountain.

Since that time, there have been numerous showdowns between the leaders of the United States and the Soviet Union in World War III. Nixon and Khrushchev meet in a kitchen debate at an exhibition. People feared the young Kennedy would be no match for the fearsome Khrushchev. People feared the old Reagan would no match for the fearsome Gorbachev. But lo and behold, contrary to the wisdom of the elitists of the 1980s, the world was not divided for eternity into two camps of “some people are capitalists, some people are communists, why can’t we all live together.” It was folly to think otherwise, to think we could prevail, that there would be no Soviet Union. All the experts knew that. Then the Iron Curtain collapsed.

Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!

We have now experienced another such encounter between the leaders of the United States and Russia. This meeting scarcely qualified as a summit and nothing was expected of it. Perhaps the only issues were now that the American President had been played by Kim Jung-un, would he also be played by Putin. A second issue was what compromising material did the Russian have over the American. In terms of traditional geo-politics it didn’t seem likely that anything would come of the meeting.

Then the Friday before the Monday meeting, the Special Counsel investigating the Russian violation of the United States and possible collusion, perjury, and obstruction by candidate and his associates dropped the bomb: 12 Russian nationals were indicted for a comprehensive cyber assault on the United States in the 2016 presidential elections. The timing seemed like a setup coming so close to the scheduled visit, but here is where the story gets interesting and overlooked.

First, promptly in his opening monologue at 9:00 on the Bulltrump network, Trump’s Brain referred to “the so-called big news.” Really? Was December 7, “so-called big news”? How about 9/11? Instead we witnessed the immediate denial of any significance to the indictments. They simply were another example of the desperate actions by the Deep State to keep the focus on Russia instead of crooked Hillary. Imagine of all the ways to interpret the disclosure of the Russian assault on America, would ignoring the beneficiary of the violation and focusing instead on crooked Hillary be the first thought that came to mind?

Second, as it turns out, the Department of Justice had given the President a heads-up about the indictment. It even offered to defer the announcement until after the summit meeting if the Commander in-chief deemed it in the national security to do so. He did not and the announcement proceeded on schedule. That guaranteed that it would become a topic for the summit…or the press conference afterwards. Considering what has happened since, one can help but wonder if the very stable genius was played by his smarter Special Counsel.

Why did the target make that decision? To answer that question provides critical insight into the thinking of our narcissistic immature child-president. He genuinely believed that it would not be the big deal it has become. He genuinely believed that since neither he nor anyone associated with his campaign was indicted, that there was no downside to the indictments. He genuinely believed that since no Americans were indicted there was no downside to the indictments. He genuinely believed that since all the events occurred while Obama was president there was no downside to the indictments. Since it always is about him and there was nothing in the indictments about him, the indictments were nothing more than proof positive of Obama’s failures as president. They were part of a Deep State witch hunt against him that had turned up nothing. It never occurred to him that he had an obligation in the present to stand up for America against an adversary who had violated his country. His loyalty is to himself and not his country. Why should Truman care about a war that started under Roosevelt’s watch? So go ahead and make the indictment announcement. And then when it happened, Trump’s Brain and the Bulltrump network were ready to make it all about crooked Hillary and Obama and no one said anything about putting America first over Putin.

The problem is, everyone saw the press conference. The problem is everyone saw and heard a reporter expose the truth. The problem is everyone saw the weeny passive President defer to the stronger Macho Macho man. Everyone. Not just the usual suspects in the fake news media that almost always gets it right, but the media throughout the world. The headlines tell the story. The photograph tells the story. The actual words even with a “not” added tell the story. He no more stood up to Putin than his Democratic opponent had stood up to him during the second high school debate when he stalked her. This time, he was the one with his tail between his legs obedient to his master. And if Putin doesn’t have any compromising information on the American weeny, that only makes the American President deference to him worse.

From this point forward, it is easy to denounce our Commander in-chief for being a weeny wimp wus.

From this point forward, it is easy to call on his supporters to explain why they support a coward who lacks the right stuff to go into the arena and prevail against our Russian adversary.

From this point forward, it is easy to demean him for his lack of manliness. When he was 13, his father put him in military school in the vain hope that he would man up. It didn’t work. He is still the immature child he was then and now the world has witnessed his cowering before the dominant alpha male who helped elect him President.

The Trump Doctrine versus the Truman Doctrine

https://www.imdb.com

Periodically during the course of American history, individual Presidents are remembered for a doctrine or mantra they have enunciated. The words are not necessarily legally binding in any way. Instead they provide insight into the thinking of the President as to how he (so far) views the world and chooses to guide himself. This vision or guideline may apply during his term and may be considered advice to future Presidents and the American people as well.

GEORGE WASHINGTON

The first such words were issued by our first President. George Washington recommended a policy of no entangling alliances. He offered these words based on a lifetime of experience being caught in the world of British and French interactions along with lesser actions by Spain and the Netherlands. Given the current situation after the French Revolution, it was difficult for him to imagine a Europe that was not consumed by wars. Even the ancient experience of the Thirty Years War would have confirmed that war in Europe is what European countries do so try not to get involved.

Our current President naturally is unaware of Washington’s words. A person who didn’t know Lincoln was a Republican, Frederick Douglas was dead, and the British burned Washington, D.C., cannot be expected to be knowledgeable about American history. Still he seems to share Washington’s aversion to alliances.

In so doing, he is not drawing on any personal experience in war and diplomacy. The serial draft avoider confines his physical competition to the scripted world of the professional wrestling arena and reality shows that aren’t real. What then is the source of his antipathy to alliances?

Once again, here is where it becomes necessary to recognize that we are dealing with an immature child and not an adult. Alliance is an adult term like separation of powers or oaths to the Constitution. These concepts have no meaning to him. It is not that he rejects them but that the seventh-grade smart-aleck/dumb-aleck does not have the mental necessities to grasp such adult concepts. Of course, he can say the word and use it in a sentence but he simply is unable understand its meaning.

Consider the recent words of Cheon Seong-whun, an analyst at the Asian Institute in Seoul:

He sees everything in terms in money but there are values other than money in an alliance (NYT 6/13/18).

Yes, there are values other than money in an alliance, but the immature child really is genuinely not capable of understanding that. The narcissistic seventh-grade smart-aleck/dumb-aleck operates on the basis of TRUMP FIRST, TRUMP ALONE. Relationships are measured in terms of loyalties by subordinates and money for customers/rivals/others. How much does South Korea pay for retaining the services of the United States to protect it? If it is not paying its fair share, then the deal is abrogated. There is no alliance. There is no friendship. There is no shared values or traditions. There simply are deals, transactions between two and only two parties; and if the transaction is costing him, meaning the United States, money, then America is out of there. Nothing else matters. If you were surprised by his unilateral actions in Singapore then you are admitting that you still seek to understand him as an adult instead of the immature child that he is. It is not fair to judge him by adult standards since he isn’t one: TRUMP FIRST, TRUMP ALONE.

If you have doubts, consider his comments about North Korea. Look at all the beautiful beachfront property! Can’t you see opportunity all over the place? Now is the time for the country between China and South Korea to take advantage of the possibilities to build resort communities. And in case you have doubts about who should develop those properties, have I got a real estate developer for you! Think how different the rescue efforts in Puerto Rico could have been had he had a resort there.

In case you still resist the idea of analyzing his actions as those of immature child, I call your attention to my description last August of the seventh grader and another 13 year-old, Tom Hanks in Big. Now consider the words of Roland Paris, a former foreign affairs advisor to the now rotting in a special place in hell Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau (didn’t Madeleine Albright use the same words to condemn (black) woman who didn’t support a female candidate for the Democratic nomination?):

Big tough guy once he’s back on his airplane. Can’t do it in person and knows it, which makes him feel weak. So he projects these feelings onto Trudeau and then lashes out at him. You don’t need to be Freud. He’s a pathetic little man-child (NYT 6/11/18).

Still not convinced he really is an immature child? Now consider NYT reporter Peter Baker’s words later in the same article almost paraphrasing my comments about forcing him to act adult in my Tom Hanks post:

Mr. Trump never really wanted to attend the Group of 7 meeting but aides [meaning adults!] pressed him to go even as they feared it would be a disaster because he was being forced to do something he did not want to do [know any parents who dread taking an immature child out in public?]. He rebelled by showing up late and leaving early….He arrived 18 minutes late for a Saturday session…and did not bother putting his headphones on for the translation [have you ever seen an immature child act out in public when forced to do something he doesn’t want to do?].

For Washington, no entangling alliances meant don’t enter into any so as to maintain peace in our country. TRUMP FIRST, TRUMP ALONE means there are no alliances, only transactional deals that are financially beneficially.

TEDDY ROOSEVELT

Roosevelt like Washington, led a vigorous life. Just as Washington drew on his own personal experiences before recommending no entangling alliance, so Roosevelt drew on his own life when he suggested Presidents should speak softly and carry a big stick. It is hard to imagine any words less appropriate to the whiner-in-chief. Not only is he a constant whining baby thanks to technology not available in Roosevelt’s time, We the People have the good fortune to be able to read every stream-of-conscious whine by the immature child.  We are all trapped in airline with a crying baby with nowhere to go and way to shut him up. I thought the Constitution forbade cruel and unusual punishment.

THE TRUMAN DOCTRINE

Perhaps the most relevant doctrine to understanding our current President is the Truman Doctrine. Truman Burbank was a reality star. And unlike the current celebrity reality-star in chief, Truman’s ratings were boffo at the box office. The difference is that Truman didn’t know he was a celebrity reality star. He did think the artificial reality in which he lived was the real world just as the celebrity reality-star in chief thinks his alternate universe is the real world. The suspense and drama are in the moment of truth, the moment when the reality show star comes face to face with the fact that he is living in a no longer sustainable artificial reality and has to deal with the real world. What will he do then? Can he succeed in banishing the real world and in continuing to live a lie or will he have to adjust for better or for worse to the world as it really exists?

We know what happened to Truman.  SPOLIER ALERT! Through a series of events, the adult Truman seizes the initiative and takes control over his life. He sets sail into the open sea that has always frightened him only to bump into the sky and learn that someone has built a wall. He pierces it and enters the real world. In Truman’s case, the truth sets him free. He leaves the artificial reality that has governed his entire life, takes a chance on real emotions, and goes forth to live a better life.

Nothing like the Truman Doctrine will occur in the TRUMP FIRST, TRUMP ALONE reality. He will never take the initiative to leave the alternate universe for the real world where Russia violated the United States in the 2016 election, 5 million people didn’t vote illegally, and his parade was smaller. Why shouldn’t he remain in the alternate reality, look how far he’s gone?

Whereas Truman left his reality world for the real world, Trump seeks to extend the artificial reality to the world at large. He is likely to fail. But when and how?  Not everyone watches the Bull Trump Network. The seismic shock recorded from North Korea after the Singapore meeting was from the laughter of people who recognize that John Kelly and Rex Tillerson are right: the American President is a stupid ignorant moron. You can get something for nothing. Now the whole world has seen the deal maker in action. Now the whole world has seen the negotiator in action. Now that Iran has seen him at work, is it any wonder it is eager to negotiate a new nuclear arms treaty on the same terms offered North Korea? After all, Iran has beachfront property too. How many resorts do you want to build here?

At this point America’s allies know that no alliance has any meaning in the TRUMP FIRST, TRUMP ALONE universe.

At this point America’s foes know that they have nothing to fear in the TRUMP FIRST, TRUMP ALONE universe as long as they have something to offer him, like a Nobel prize and real estate development opportunities.

At this point America is learning about his fraudulent foundation to match his fraudulent university. Everything in his life is tainted. The world has seen the truth. The only mystery is when will We the People catch on.