So many nicknames, so little time.
The first good one, offered by Stephen Colbert, was "presidunce." Perfect. It fit nicely today as a description of the presiduncial phone call with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The subject was tariffs and the damage they'll cause Canada. The presidunce is reported to have shot back with a wildly inaccurate barb about the War of 1812: "Didn't you guys burn down the White House?" Um, no, Mr. Presidunce, that would be the British.
Another Colbert nickname is based on the presiduncial encounter with Stormy Daniels, who reportedly whacked him on the butt with a magazine: President Spanky.
Then there's the one hung on him by Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois), who lost her legs in Iraq. Earlier this year, when the presidunce gave his State of the Union address to Congress, he only half-jokingly hinted that those who declined to applaud with sufficient adoration might be treasonous. Using the presidunce's favorite weapon, the tweet, Duckworth responded: "I swore an oath—in the military and in the Senate—to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, not to mindlessly cater to the whims of Cadet Bone Spurs and clap when he demands I clap."
The origin of that great nickname was his failure to enter the military, purportedly because he suffered from bone spurs. In his own mind, though, he was a sort-of soldier. He went to a military school, after all. And, in an interview with Howard Stern, he actually compared his struggle to avoid sexually transmitted diseases, in his multiple encounters with women, with the dangers of Vietnam: "It’s like Vietnam, sort of. It is my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave solider.”
I'll bet you do, Cadet Bone Spurs. And there he stood on Tuesday, his hand over the place where most people keep their hearts, singing the unsingable British drinking song, lyrics by a slave-holder, that he loves so much. Doubtless, he was feeling like a very brave soldier indeed, for snubbing the Philadelphia Eagles and putting together a bogus display of patriotism, to play to his jingoistic base.
The musical accompaniment, of course, came from members of the United States Army and the Marine Corps (which the spelling-challenged presidunce once tweeted as Marine Core). Cadet Bone Spurs loves being around soldiers. He loves generals, with all those shiny stars and chests hidden behind row after row of "decorations." At least he loves them until they try to tell him what to do, as four-star Marine John Kelly has attempted to do.
The whole display of bogus patriotism took just a few minutes. The highlight was the moment when Cadet Bone Spurs couldn't quite sing all of "God Bless America." It must have been those sneaky Canadians, fresh from burning down the White House in 1812, dropping some sort of amnesia-inducing drug into his water.
Actually, though, this isn't funny. It's the Cadet Bone Spurs version of the Nuremberg rallies: Worship the flag, sing the anthem, or else. He also loves that old trick: Make everything about the troops. Anyone who doesn't stand, hand over heart, hat off, and sing loudly and proudly, is dishonoring the troops.
That sort of obligatory obeisance is dangerous stuff. And it's particularly galling, coming from someone who didn't love troops enough to become one himself, but embraces them as a useful prop to pump up his base. In the army, we used to use an acronym and a sentence to make fun of some of the more annoying aspects of army life. The acronym was WETSU. The sentence was We Eat This Stuff Up. (Except we didn't say "stuff.") And Cadet Bone Spurs eats this stuff up too: the phony patriotism, the flapping flags, the singing Marines, the prancing generals. Next, his big military parade.
All this poop and circumstance—yes, I meant poop—is his sick definition of patriotism. The definition that I like best came long ago from the Rev. Jesse Jackson: Patriotism is loyalty to the highest ideals of the nation, not to the person who happens to be in the White House at the moment. Amen.
First in my class in Officer Candidate School. Late to the conclusion that our attitude toward the military is idolatrous.