Deepest Condolences

Rites

After a painful and declining battle since November, American global leadership has succumbed to years of toxic rhetorical exposure and come to a sticky end.

The signs of imminent demise were pretty clear after Cheeto Mussolini’s disastrous first presidential trip where he dissed allies and praised dictators. But historians will mark June 1, 2017, as the day that America’s role in creating and leading the post-WWII world order went to live on a farm upstate.

On that day, Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Accord for pointless and petty reasons. And on that day, China moved another step closer to filling the vacuum we are unilaterally creating.

President America First was mentally incapable of grasping that the accord was another way to exert U.S. leadership and highlight American ingenuity and innovation to help solve problems facing the entire planet. Instead, Trump perceived slights from the politically correct opposition rather than recognize the science behind the dangers we face. So the spoiled brat decided to take his toys and go home. Unfortunately, he already was home, and everyone else lives there too. So now someone else (China) will step into the lead role.

To add an exclamation point and make sure everyone knew that American leadership is now pushing up daisies and pining for the fjords, Trump was allowed to get on Twitter as a terrorist attack was taking place in London.

The “leader of the Free World” bypassed all the massive intelligence capabilities at his disposal and simply retweeted an early unsubstantiated bit of news from The Drudge Report. From there he used the attack to again call for his travel ban, and he falsely attacked the Mayor of London.

As most world leaders delivered messages of resilience, Trump spouted fear and division. At this point, any Trump supporter displaying the slogan “Keep Calm and Carry On,” or any of its many variants, should be facing felony charges of fraud with mandatory jail time. Trump is proving a devil undeserving of sympathy.

As U.S. leadership goes the way of all flesh, who knew the idea of the American Century would be so literal. In 1917, with its entrance into WWI, the U.S. began taking on its role in the world. Now, one hundred years later, we can mark its passing with a Last Rites cocktail.

Last Rites is a tasty variant on the Last Word. The recipe via Kindred Cocktails is:

.75 oz blanco tequila

.75 oz yellow chartreuse

.75 oz lemon juice

.75 oz maraschino liqueur

Shake, strain, up

Cheers!

 

Toro!

Matador

The presidency of Theodore Roosevelt gave us the Bully Pulpit, Trump just gives us a bull in a China shop.

As the Reign of Error reaches its 100-Days milestone today, people are not so much tired of winning as they are tired of sweeping up aisles of broken glass.

Trump told Reuters that he misses his old life and he thought being president would be easier. That can help explain why he’s been running around breaking everything from alliances to promises. The NAFTA debacle is evidence he doesn’t understand what he is doing, or even supposed to do. After announcing he would sign an Executive Order to withdraw from NAFTA, he backtracked, saying discussions with the leaders of Mexico and Canada led him to give the agreement another chance after renegotiation.

However, as Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) noted, this isn’t really how this works. He told PBS NewsHour:

The fact that he doesn’t quite understand the ramifications, quite frankly, even the process — he said they already started negotiating, when the fact of the matter is you have to send a letter to Congress to even begin the process of having the conversation within your own country, within your own Congress, within the industry groups that would be affected by it.

That’s a 90-day process before you even start the negotiations with the other countries. And the fact that he didn’t even know that before he made his statements is worrisome to me, that he may actually, through trying to renegotiate NAFTA, he may actually make the process worse.

Trade policy, foreign policy, healthcare policy, none can be designed in 140 characters. They’re complicated. They are not meant to be ruled by royal decree, no matter how much the GOP Congress is willing to go along.

As the Trump administration bull rampages across our democracy, fortunately we have a growing cadre of bullfighters. As Nicolas Kristof wrote in the NY Times, nothing deflates an authoritarian more than ridicule.

In recruiting for the Trump resistance, Stephen Colbert may be more successful than a handful of angry Democratic senators. Trump can survive denunciations, but I’m less sure that in the long run he can withstand mockery.

The Atlantic also touches on this in a cover story on Alec Baldwin’s SNL portrayal of Trump.

So much of Trump’s popularity hinges on his image as a self-made miracle, a winner, a strong and successful man who is the best at everything and always gets his way. Baldwin has become our deflator in chief, a weekly pinprick in Trump’s balloon. Every time Trump tweets a wounded Sunday-morning response, every time Spicer laughs off McCarthy’s portrayal but then tries a little harder to bury his rage, every time Conway shows up on TV looking a little more challenged and broken, Baldwin can tell himself that SNL is not just making laughs but effecting change.

As you join the bullfight today, get prepared with a Matador Cocktail. As Philip Greene notes in his book The Manhattan, the recipe for the Matador was published in London in 1937, likely tied to the popularity of bullfighting, especially as noted in the writings of Ernest Hemingway. This refreshing variation on a Manhattan is:

.75 oz silver tequila

.75 oz dry vermouth

.75 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Orange Curaçao

Shake over ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with lemon peel

Cheers!