Diary

Suspension of Disbelief is Exhausting

Trump’s new campaign team, including Kellyanne Conway and that guy from that web site that used to be good, have seemingly managed to house train the Donald’s mouth with strategic use of teleprompters and possibly some rolled up newspaper. While being spoon fed words that sound like orthodox conservatism instead of  shooting from the hip, Trump seems to have been less of a liability to his own campaign .

Today he reversed his position on Barack Obama’s birth certificate and citizenship and now we are supposed to pretend this is a moment of setting the record straight rather than finding the political path of least resistance. Those who liked birther Trump will consider this as a strategic deception. Others who didn’t will pretend that since Trump has now said President Obama was born in the United States he never said otherwise.

Even if the birther issue started in a smoke filled Clinton war room, Trump raised its profile more than anyone else.  But now we’re supposed to forget that happened.

Then there is Hillary. Despite what the video clearly showed, she didn’t really seize up like the Tin Man with no oil can. She just was overheated. No wait, it was pneumonia. Or the flu. No, definitely pneumonia. This happens frequently. Did I say frequently? I meant almost never. Or something. It doesn’t matter. It didn’t really happen.

As long as a candidate cobbles together the right combination of words and excuses reality gets reshaped and supporters fall in line and believe the new reality. This is why Hillary saw little risk in blaming the terrorist attack in Benghazi on people protesting a YouTube video no one had ever seen and why she voted for the Iraq war but she didn’t really mean it. She’s just a spry senior citizen fighting for you and for women in particular, just like her husband.

Political professionals seem to think that you can physically change rat poison into baby food with the right combination of speeches and earned media.

The number of things both sides have tried to Winston Smith out of reality during this election cycle is downright maddening. What is even more maddening is how many of us have allowed—or even helped—them to do it. The media is culpable for much of it, but like with government, we get the media we deserve. I’ll shoulder my share of the blame. Certainly the right leaning media is at a disadvantage to the much larger left leaning media, but we’ve fooled ourselves into thinking the media figures on our side are different in kind from their counterparts on the left. There are two teams and two cheering sections. One team just has a far bigger twelfth man, more ruthless coaching, and compromising pictures of the referees.

In politics people talk about things they call “scandal fatigue” or “Clinton fatigue” or “Bush fatigue.” Presented with two major candidates both of whom are unacceptable to a large portion of the electorate, I think many people are experiencing “fiction fatigue.”

Perhaps the most far fetched fiction we’ve been trying to believe is that politicians in Washington, DC actually want to fix what is wrong with Washington, DC. It is just too difficult to pretend these people aren’t who they are.