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History repeated on MSNBC.

March 15, 2017

One of the best reasons not to own a TV or tablet was highlighted last night. To sum up the Maddow special  it was no news…and no entertainment either.

As Geraldo Rivera himself noted, the grand reveal of President Trump’s tax return (well, two pages of it anyway) reminded older viewers of the over-hyped and anti-climatic Capone vault opening of 30 years ago.

Why in the world Ms. Maddow went ahead with her exposé piece when all it did was show that yes indeedy, President Trump did pay taxes, a lot of taxes, is beyond understanding.

Perhaps it will have the same beneficial effect on her career as it did Geraldo’s, but somehow, given the context of current events, it seems unlikely.

And it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that we just don’t seem to be able to  get beyond treating this presidency like a circus sideshow.

It’s entirely likely that we never will, and that may in fact be President Trump’s hole card.

Yes, President Trump does bring a lot of this on himself, but he is hardly the first president to have a larger than life personal image.

Although everyone seems to delight in comparing No. 45 to either Ronald Reagan or Tricky Dick Nixon, depending on whether they love or hate him,  he more closely resembles Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, both in terms of his popular appeal and his personal style.

That’s not to say the flamboyant TR didn’t have his detractors. The establishment Congress and the Republican party elites of that day hated him, but he went on to be counted among  America’s greatest Presidents.

Whether President Trump will join that revered group we won’t know for quite some time.  Unlike Roosevelt, President Trump didn’t work his way up through his Republican party ranks, leaving himself a lot to do in terms of navigating the political seas.

The 24th President (1901-1909) was a reformer, and is widely credited with being the man who brought the presidency into the modern  20th century in terms of becoming a dominating influence rather than an austere and formal figurehead.

Like Roosevelt,  President Trump is seeking to make some fundamental changes in many Washington sacred cow policies, such as education and how America receives the means to pay for healthcare.

Like Roosevelt, President Trump does not fit neatly into a party philosophy.  Part social reformer, part economic visionary and part military hawk, he gives both sides of the aisle something to target unfavorably.

In fact, much like TR, the only people who seem to be on his side are ordinary people with ordinary common sense goals.

It’s those people who are looking at the incoming flak from both sides and simply ignoring it, for now.

One would hope that at some point his own party would get the message, and as they did, however much to their surprise during the election, ride his coattails into the midterms.

If they keep getting the kind of help they did last night from Rachel Maddow’s nothing burger show, it should be an easy ride.

From → op-ed

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