Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Art of Getting Away With Things

photograph: White House Press Office
Arguably JFK’s greatest contribution to politics was to do the things he did and get away with it. Politics is 99% presentation and 1% inspiration and the Kennedy White House was Camelot with the president as a venerable Arthur who radiated power and equanimity. The electorate ate it up. But power was the key word. Kennedy fucked the kind of women who had no need to rat on him. Marilyn Monroe didn’t require celebrity or money for that matter. Look at Bill Clinton’s choices and now we have Trump who's simply reduced to having his self described "locker room talk" inspiring the beginnings of another reality series. What should we call it, Animal House? Ike and FDR all had their fabled dalliances, but as with JFK, they operated with a certain nobility, probity and shall we say savoir faire that enabled them to get on with the business of state. “It’s good to be the king “ was the famous Mel Brooks line, but the problem with Trump is that he doesn't behave like one. In order to have noblesse oblige, you require the doit de seigneur and that in turn depends on a sense of true entitlement and nobility. Trump is giving male chauvinism and misogyny a bad name; under the right conditions, it’s true that any man of power can get away with a great deal. Trump said "I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose any voters." But you can’t get away with murder unless you’re Henry the VIIIth. And you can't be Henry the VIIIth or JFK when you sport the kind of blow dried hair that makes you look like a used car salesman.

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