I spent the evening poking at the keyboard, trying to wrangle a new Tin Can story, the first in that series for years. But I couldn’t get my head in the game. First it was sports, then it was politics. Scandal broke around the president today (again), but it was a scandal he could easily have avoided were he not a narcissistic idiot. It was Bob Woodward, for crying out loud.

So I was trying to get my head to a creative place. After being distracted by the surprisingly-compelling Tour de France coverage of stage 12 (kid from Switzerland taking his first ever TDF stage and looking like a beast in the process — he was zooming down narrow, poorly-paved roads fast enough to challenge the lead car, only to mash up the next hill, while the Big Names launched futile attacks and fell farther behind), I turned off the television and set to writing.

And checking the news. It seems that our Stable Genius President sat down with Bob Woodward, a journalist instrumental in bringing down Nixon. They didn’t talk just once, oh no. Not five times. Eighteen times Donald Trump talked to this guy. And our President went on to tell this Journalist, on the record, a bunch of astonishing things.

I will not go into the astonishing things here. Mostly it’s stuff we already knew, but this time it came directly out of Trump’s mouth.

Instead, let’s discuss what a monumental idiot our fearless leader was to have the interviews in the first place. I imagine a conversation somewhat like this:

Bob: Hello, Donnie?
Donnie: Yeah, that’s me. [Donnie doesn’t ask who Bob is, because if Donnie doesn’t know who he is already, the guy is not important]
Bob: I’m writing a book about you!
Donnie: That’s great! Beautiful! All the best writers want to do a book about me. When will you be done?
Bob: Well, that’s the thing, Donnie — if we want the book to be awesome, it needs more of you in it. I need to talk to you. Get inside your head. Really feel the genius.
Donnie: Call me any time. Except when I’m golfing.

Jared or Ivanka could have stopped him; they didn’t. They just let him spend hours talking to Bob “Watergate” Woodward about whatever crossed his mind at the moment. And Bob, bless his heart, was not hostile. He actually tried to guide Donnie around the worst land mines, to give Donnie an escape hatch. Donnie would have none of that.

This episode shows a new and different kind of stupid for our president. Sure, he’s always been a sucker for flattery and a racist and a liar and honestly pretty stupid, but before he’s at least shown enough intelligence to not spill his guts to a man who has already brought down a president. This isn’t Entertainment Tonight.


Ted Cruz and the WWE

So in case you’ve missed it, Senator Ted Cruz has done another batshit-crazy move. He’s asked the United States military to assure him that they do not intend to invade Texas.

Texas. You know, the state that is in fact already one of the United. We have, according to this amusing rebuttal, fifteen military bases in Texas. What would an invasion even do?

So Ted Cruz, Canadian, Ivy-League educated, has once more done something embarrassing and nonsensical. Can he really be that stupid? Is he really incapable of seeing how utterly ridiculous he looks?

“He’s just conveying the concerns of his constituents,” you might say, to cover for him. But is that leadership? Would he also petition the White House to turn off the tornado machines if some nutjob in the panhandle started quacking that the windmills in Kansas were actually giant fans aimed at Texas? Or would he choose instead to maybe not give credence to the whacked-out, nut-assed ravings of an imbecile? Or if I can ask another way, how many imbeciles does it take to get Cruz to embarrass himself?

What Cruz did is terrible governance. He undermined the very institution he is a part of. But… I don’t think governing is why Ted Cruz is in Washington. He has seen the future of politics and he’s jumped on board with gusto.

Ted Cruz is not a leader, he’s a showman. He’s not in Washington to make America better, he’s there to sell tickets. (Rhymes with: collect campaign contributions.) He sees politics for what it has become: the WWE.

Hm… thinking about this a little more, selling tickets is one part of what WWE does, but mostly what they do is make money for their corporate sponsors. In this way Cruz is exactly like a character in the WWE. Cruz’s corporate sponsors are companies who profit from the legislation he passes. Our government is all about the corporate sponsors these days.

And the product the WWE sells is characters. Heroes, heels, stereotypes, and fleeting characters representing America’s enemies, who rise and fall with the each new bogeyman who threatens the American way of life.

I know, I know, there has always been an element of this in politics. But Ted Cruz the politician is so far removed from anything you would expect given his history, that I have to wonder if Senator Ted Cruz is a wholesale invention, a six-year stand-up act on the nation’s biggest stage. Seriously, is there any other explanation for someone with more than five brain cells to rub together to act the way he does?

Perhaps in fact he is brilliant. Perhaps he has identified a group of people who love the WWE, who recognize the emotional manipulation but steadfastly refuse to acknowledge it. And for those people he has become Superpolitician, crusading against the Philistines in Washington, a lonely voice in a tempest of corruption. He does it well. Andy Kauffman would be proud.

Although, if Senator Cruz is the wave of the future, and other completely fabricated personas take up residence in Washington to pit staged fights with pre-dertemined outcomes, C-Span could get a lot more interesting.