I think of it as the lumberyard phenomenon. A load of lumber comes into the yard and you put it in a bin. A little lumber goes out, but then another load comes in and you put that on top of the first load. Then another load, and another load and you’ve forgotten exactly what you put in first. The older stuff, the stuff underneath, is just too hard to get at. Same thing happens to the stack of books by my bed. I don’t even remember what those books are on the bottom.
Donald Trump has a new use for this dynamic. He does it with the news cycle of daily outrages. Think about it. At first, we were just outraged that this rich but unqualified buffoon from shock radio, professional wrestling, and The Apprentice, the guy with the funny hair and all those bankruptcies, was actually running for President. But then, in the primaries, there he was belittling his opponents. US Senator Marco Rubio became “little Marco.” Governor Jeb Bush, son and brother of Presidents, was “weak. Really weak.”
“Whoa,” you thought. “Aren’t there standards for civility, for courtesy? Can you really do that? Would people really vote for this guy?’
“Lyin’ Ted.” Did he just say that? Look, he’s aping that reporter!
“Senator McCain is no hero.” Talking about decorated veteran Navy pilot John McCain – US Senator, former Presidential candidate. Well he can write off support from veterans.
About the Mexicans: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best… They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” Presidential announcement speech, June 16, 2015
About Muslims: “There were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey, where you have large Arab populations. They were cheering as the World Trade Center came down.” Exchange with George Stephanopolos on ABC’s “This Week,” Nov. 22, 2015.
Trump wants us to understand that Muslims are terrorists. What about the Muslims we “liberated” by invading Iraq and Afghanistan?
From the Billy Bush tape: “I did try and fuck her. She was married,” Trump says….“I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married.” Trump and Bush see Arianne Zucker, the actress who will bring them into the soap opera set. “I’ve gotta use some tic tacs, just in case I start kissing her,” Trump says. “And when you’re a star they let you do it,…. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”
On Pope Francis: “For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful.”
On Clinton: “Crooked Hillary.” Trump leading chants of “Lock her up”.
And it goes on. He calls CNN “trash”. He nominates Pruitt the climate change denier to head the EPA. He nominates Tillerson, Russian honoree and Putin pal for Secretary of State. He demands repeal of ObamaCare. He asks the Russians to release Hillary’s emails. The Russians have tapes of him with prostitutes? Now he bans entry by Muslims? Including refugees? Muslims with green cards? Moves Bannon to the Security Council? Wait! No, just stop!
It is simply too much. Trump commits a serious outrage a day. In fact, he uses outrageous Tweets to control the news cycle. And, not coincidentally, no particular outrage can hold the front page; it is rapidly followed by something equally outrageous. A couple days ago, Rachel Maddow had an exposé about the Russian dossier and it already felt like old news, competing with the news that Trump was banning Muslims from seven countries, detaining documented immigrants with green cards. Neither the press nor the public can keep up. The litany of crassness, of outrage, of pure shit doesn’t quit. And the Republican Congress, the only ones who can do anything, barely bat an eyelash. Immunized, or zombieized. Who even remembers his incivility to Marco?
Of course, none of the shit truly goes away. The manure just gets piled higher and deeper. You know what they say? Pile it high enough and it will start to burn.