Trump’s gritty reboot of the Bush presidency

Is the glut of pointless remakes and lame sequels inexorable at this point? Personally I thought it had reached its absolute nadir with Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars in 2010, but here we are in 2018 fresh from rehashes of The Mummy and Planet of the Apes and ready to be wowed by a movie about baby Han Solo and Untitled Avengers Film (2019).

It also looks increasingly as if we are in the middle of a gritty reboot of George W. Bush’s presidency. First there was the tax cut that nobody wanted except for Paul Ryan and a couple of fracking oligarchs in Oklahoma. Now on the basis of less-than-solid evidence we are bombing the heck out of a Middle Eastern republic that hawks have been looking for excuses to blow up for nearly a decade. We’ve even got mainstream liberal commentators who otherwise despise the knuckle-dragging right-wing president suddenly praising him for his statesmanlike resolve in making the difficult decision to launch explosives at brown people half a world away. How far away are we at this point from the little-remembered third act where the president almost manages to sell Social Security to Goldman Sachs on the eve of a major financial crisis? Larry Kudlow is probably scribbling away a draft as you read this.

It is unsurprising that not all of the serious fans are enamored of Washington’s new take on their beloved political franchise. Nerds can be famously picky consumers. Bill Kristol, David Frum, and Max Boot — the George W. Bush equivalents of those Star Wars fan who saw Empire Strikes Back 47 times in theaters and will patiently explain to you why the Ewoks were actually a crucial part of the plot in Jedi — hate Trump’s eclectic reimagining of Bushism for modern audiences. Like J.J. Abrams painstakingly recreating the interior of the Millennium Falcon, Trump has tried to court them with stuff only the diehards care about, like a pardon for Scooter Libby. It hasn’t worked; to neocon geeks of a certain age and sensibility the original matters so much that letting someone else try to employ the same basic situations and characters — a president who ran on a humble foreign policy against an uncharismatic Democrat who was part of the Clinton administration, frenetic omnidirectional opposition from the media, the lack of good intelligence in the Middle East — to tell his own story was always going to be a risky proposition.

Which is why maybe it makes more sense to think of the Trump presidency in musical rather than cinematic terms. It is an ironic cover, like one of those insufferable acoustic guitar renditions of “Straight Outta Compton” or “Boyz-n-the-Hood” performed by bearded wanly smiling IPA drinkers on YouTube. “Bitches Ain’t S–t” might be an appalling piece of music on any reading, but at least in the hands of Dre and Snoop it was a genuine expression of a certain cultural outlook, something that can be understood and appreciated in its proper context. …read more

Source:: The Week – Politics


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