As a huge politics junkie, I’m a big fan of the television shows “Veep” and “House of Cards.” I rewatch every episode of the former, and made it through the latest season of latter within three days and rewatched several episodes.
The writers of those compelling shows have nothing on the ultimate political reality show playing out on a daily and hourly basis — “TrumpWorld.” Some of the storylines on those two shows have been fairly unrealistic. But so are the real-life storylines.
Instead of the Washington Herald uncovering Frank Underwood’s shenanigans, it’s The New York Times and the Washington Post, and other outlets, doing the excellent investigative journalism on a daily basis.
After completing previous “House of Cards” seasons, I was thankful that, in real life, at least we didn’t have a psychopath in the Oval Office. I don’t know that I can say that in 2017, when we’ve seen psychopathic tendencies from Trump. Now, I can only be thankful that, unlike Underwood, our narcissistic president at least hasn’t killed anybody.
Instead of a president giving his wife power (Claire Underwood), Trump has given it to his son-in-law and, to some extent, his oldest daughter.
Trump and Underwood demand loyalty and, in the case of Underwood, that demand often is delivered in an ominous manner. We’ll never know the tone Trump uses when he makes such demands privately. I have my guesses.
A White House where loyalty is demanded — even from an FBI director — but not always returned creates never-before-seen soap-opera-like storylines. When it’s all about self-preservation, the attacks from the president could go in any direction — even directed toward his own attorney general for making an ethically correct decision.
In many cases, it seems like whatever Trump might be trying to hide drives decisions. Jeff Sessions was one of the first people on the Hill to come out in support for Trump during the campaign but now appears to be expendable and the target of passive-aggressive scorn.
In “House of Cards,” chief of staff Doug Stamper is absolutely loyal to Underwood, even to the point of killing somebody for him. Spoiler warning from most recent season — instead of rewarding Stamper’s loyalty, Underwood has him falsely admit to killing Herald reporter Zoe Barnes.
Which former press secretary was more incompetent: Sean Spicer or Mike McLintock on “Veep”? Instead of accidentally handing a Post reporter revealing information as did McLintock, Spicer handed “Saturday Night Live” lots of comedy gold, beginning when he claimed Trump’s inaugural crowd was the biggest in history. Period.
You think this isn’t like a reality show? He’s the first president to mention that an outgoing press secretary got good ratings. It’s like performance art with consequences.
Both Trump and Underwood hate the media and blast them when the reporting isn’t favorable. For Trump, who routinely lies, even factual reports he doesn’t like are “fake news.” But the media seems to be more of a foil for Trump, who is unlikely to leak stories to the largest Washington newspaper as has Underwood. Both are masters of distraction — creating one story to take the focus away from another.
Both are under investigation and, go figure, the deputy director of the FBI ends up under suspicion in “House of Cards.”
Both are bullies. How often have business or personal relationships with Trump ended well for others, including his former wives? As Brad Krantz of the “Brad and Britt Show” points out, he’s like a day trader: When somebody is no longer of value in his mind, he moves on, and past loyalty doesn’t seem to matter.
The biggest similarity between Selina Meyer and Trump? Both don’t seem to care about anybody else. Hopefully, Trump cares more for his daughters than Meyer does for her only daughter. Actually, considering some comments he’s made about Ivanka, maybe not.
The amusing part of following White House changes, such as the shake-up in the communications department, is that they don’t matter.
Yes, Anthony Scaramucci may hunt down some of the people who are leaking information to the press. But no matter what changes are made, Trump isn’t going to change and his middle-school-level slights on Twitter are going to keep coming. Trump can keep changing lawyers. But if he doesn’t follow their advice, does it really matter?
One thing is for sure: Scaramucci has forced news channels to get creative with their chyron headlines. He suggested that Steve Bannon tried to perform an act on himself that is impossible. The new communications director sure has a way with words.
Should we, at least for the short-term, call crude language “White House talk”? Scaramucci could probably help out the “Veep” writers considering his profanity skills. But he fits right in with Trump, who made profane comments in “Access Hollywood” tapes and didn’t think anything of saying “who the hell?” to thousands of Boy Scouts this week.
I’ve always loved watching Sunday news shows and reading newspaper political coverage and politics news websites. But the unpredictable and unprecedented twists since Trump took office, while (using a word he loves to tweet) sad, make this the most enthralling presidency I’ve witnessed.
I follow numerous political reporters on Twitter and, yes, also Trump.
I barely listen to sports radio anymore. I still record the highlights-heavy overnight episode of “SportsCenter” on DVR but hardly ever watch it. During my morning runs, I’m listening to the “Brad and Britt” podcast, which provides insightful and entertaining commentary, with some humor mixed in, on the latest craziness. They make it easier to come to terms with one amazing/maddening turn of events after another.
Instead of listening to sports radio before and after my shower as in the past, I’m watching/listening to a DVR recording of the A block (i.e., the first 20 minutes before Hoda Kotb joins the desk and hard news is less likely) of the “Today” show on my phone and then watching either “Morning Joe” on MSNBC or “New Day” on CNN before heading to work. I never watch “Fox and (Trump’s) Friends” on Fox News, but often view recordings of particularly amusing segments later on Mediaite, which is politics’ answer to a “SportsCenter” full of highlights.
As infuriating as it is to watch a Kellyanne Conway appearance, it’s like a wreck on the side of the road. I can’t turn away but, no doubt, it’s hate-watching. She has a casual relationship with facts, and is skilled at deflecting her answer away from the actual question. (My 19-year-old son walked out of the room recently rather than have to listen to her.)
The only time I listen to sports radio anymore is on my way to and from work, and only if they aren’t talking politics on the other stations. In comparison, particularly with NFL camps opening (I’m not a huge NFL guy, so don’t care about every nugget coming out of NFL camps), the topics don’t interest me nearly as much.
When I get back from work, I watch Chuck Todd’s MSNBC show “MTP Daily” on DVR so that I can whip through the commercials and catch up on what I’ve missed.
I even sometimes watch my Chicago Cubs with the TV sound down while listening to a politics show on my computer. My Dish Network box allows me to set up a “quad box” to watch four channels at the same time. I often have all three news channels, plus a sports channel, on the quad box and switch back and forth to watch the most intriguing discussion.
From 6:30–7 p.m. weekdays, I’ve got all three network newscasts on the screen so that I can go back and forth and pause or rewind the programs to see how each is reporting the latest developments and listen to analysis.
I’ll go from show to show in the evening, but appointment viewing is “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC. She may take too long at times when she is setting up a point. But she provides the best summary and analysis of the latest news and is able to quickly pivot when the Post or the Times break news in the middle of her show. She frequently brings on the reporters who author the scoops.
When I went on a 7-day western Caribbean cruise in May, with limited access to the news, I wasn’t as angry because I had less information. But I definitely worried about what Trump might be up to and was relieved to find out that the James Comey testimony that I knew was coming would be the week after our cruise.
How will the first season of “TrumpWorld” end? Hopefully, with a cancellation.