Minor Trump Cautionary Tale

What is it about bad guys that makes them think they are so clever? Whether’s a courtroom or police procedural drama, the murderers, thieves, spies and such get their smugness botoxed from their faces when they are undone.

A certain current POTUS has clearly spent too much of his life feeling clever. Perhaps underlings do not unmask him because of his inherited wealth or because of their jobs or deals depend on him is moot. He blusters, lies and deludes himself nonstop.

Those of us who came of age with Perry Mason or Columbo or Watergate hearings know how that invariably ends. The clever are the fools in waiting. Cleverness inevitably falls to real smarts.

Just following Jim Comey’s written and oral testimony in the past few days, we saw taunting, delusional tweeting by Trump and even a cleverness blowup by his private attorney.

#45 asserted that he was completely vindicated. The opposite was true, not even counting what we did not get to hear in closed session. Then bumbling lawyer  Marc Kasowitz turned up the cleverness dial by pretending that Comey had leaked classified and privileged documents and so screwed up the timeline and cause-and-effect that even his leak lie had no punch.

There’s the big lesson we should all learn by observing criminals and politicians. If you think you are being clever, you are not.

Retrace, rethink, and forget that. If you are invested in how an idea and stance fool everyone else, you are the fool.

We saw that in Richard Nixon’s I-am-not-a-crook ploy. At hand, Trump moderately successfully smeared his primary and general election opponents with flaky, dishonest and dishonorable derision. Perhaps worst was corrupt Hillary, while he and his nepotistic administration are proving his lifelong pattern of corruption. The stains he rubs on others end up on his hands.

Numerous good writers have supported the same cliché — if you love a phrase in your work, delete it. That’s the cleverness parallel.

Poor, dumb Donny Jo is not likely to get it. He remains the smart aleck blurting out his embarrassing joke again and again. He awaits the praise of the teacher and students…praise unlikely to come. And the ensuing laughs are not in appreciation.

 

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