(It’s another week of political releases, so apologies for the back-to-back similarly-themed content, but you know it’s important!)
MSNBC political commentator Keith Olbermann chronicled the Trump campaign, election, and aftermath in a video series for GQ called The Resistance. This book is a collection of those commentaries, opinions, rants, analyses, researched revelations, and carefully-crafted insults in chronological order. (The insults are pretty amazing.)
There were some revealing moments I’d missed despite the news I consume, especially in relation to this administration. A favorite: the New York Times reported an anecdote of then-campaign chairman Steve Bannon’s pants literally catching on fire from a hot light while he and aides “agonized” over what words to feed into a teleprompter for a man who shuns prepared remarks and prefers off-the-top-of-his-head lies.
Olbermann is bluntly outspoken, refreshingly so, although at times his tone can be grating because of the overly chatty style and addressing rants directly to Trump. Some refrains become repetitive. I’m entirely on his side, but I found the repetition and clipped, shock value sentence structure irritating at times. The writing format seems specifically designed to appeal to internet-age readers, those more interested in reading quick, quippy, high-gloss screeds instead of in-depth commentary or analysis. I prefer the latter, although with jokes and light-heartedness when possible, so the tone didn’t always feel right for me.
Or maybe it’s just meant to be easily consumed by fleeting attention spans, in which case, we need every way of disseminating information we can get.
And this is important work he’s doing – providing step by step callouts against Trump and all his madness, shining spotlights on the administration’s wrongdoings and distraction techniques. There’s not much that gets by Olbermann, that’s for sure. And he doesn’t bother holding his tongue. Speaking out is vital, this constant reminding that none of this – what’s happening now and lately – is normal. It wasn’t normal under any of Trump’s predecessors, not even Nixon, it’s only normal in countries whose democracies aren’t as nominally advanced and open as ours. We need that, because the opposition is working very hard to gaslight us into believing their narrative of “alternative facts”.
Another striking tidbit: “…nine years ago, Dmitry Rybolovlev bought a Palm Beach mansion from Trump, reportedly for about $50 million more than it was worth…twice during the campaign and again as recently as last month, Rybolovlev’s private plane landed at a U.S. airport just before, or just after, Trump’s private plane landed at the same airport.”
Like I said, he doesn’t miss much and he doesn’t so much spill details as scream them.
Olbermann meticulously catalogs Trump’s libraries of lies – a not insignificant feat. Like how Trump gained notoriety for ejecting anyone he viewed as a protestor or dissenter from his campaign rallies, effectively shielding his fragile ego from hearing even the slightest disagreement. It’s not a matter of opinion or conjecture, it’s all clearly on tape – how he screams “Get ’em out, get ’em outta here,” offers to pay supporters’ legal bills if they assault someone, remarks that in other times protestors would’ve been shot for exercising their right to free speech, and accused them as they’re being forcibly removed of being paid Hillary Clinton plants.
Yet this hypocritical know-nothing turned around and crowed that Obama supposedly was yelling at and fighting with protestors while stumping for Hillary; quoth Trump: “Wherever I go, I see him screaming at people that are protestors”; later issuing an order after seeing a Clinton poster unrolled at the same Nevada event to “take him out.” The man was then jumped, punched, and grabbed in the groin. “While you are lying, Trump, about how Obama handled a protestor, you incited your own crowd to beat up a protestor,” Olbermann marvels.
Or his speech to the widow of U.S. Navy Special Operator Senior Chief William “Ryan” Owens, who died during a controversial raid that was denied approval by the Obama administration. He said, “Ryan is looking down right now and he’s very happy because I think he just broke a record [for the length of an ovation].”
That moment made my blood boil. It was actually difficult reading this and having to think about it again. This buffoon actually thinks that a senselessly killed person is watching his devastated family, feeling happy because he broke a record for clapping? I try not to bust a blood vessel over that one but it’s tough.
Now to those incredible insults Olbermann lobs around. Some favorites:
a sadistic bully with a cult but not a clue
a triple-chinned bull in a nuclear china shop
Trump “wanders into the mental woods” even during important occasions like bipartisan meetings with Senators to discuss his Supreme Court nominee
He first had to wade through the involuntary egotism and spasmodic salesmanship with which he thinks he cloaks the most insecure man of our times from public view.
on his never-ending stupid feud with the New York Times: Still obsessing over one newspaper as if he were fifteen and it had refused to go with him to the junior prom.
It’s worth the read if only to find your favorites amongst Olbermann’s pointed and brilliant insults towards this man who has inspired so much irate creativity.
His detailing of the 25th Amendment is a particularly fascinating subject: intriguingly, it allows the President’s removal, without the process of impeachment, if the Vice President and a two-thirds Cabinet vote agree that he’s in some way unfit. Olbermann’s book-length series of arguments, distilled on a variety of fronts throughout these chapters and in the online videos of The Closer and The Resistance, is that Trump is extremely mentally unfit. The reasons aren’t certain, or whatever combination of reasons exist, but there’s ample evidence something isn’t right.
This amendment was created in response to Woodrow Wilson’s behavior after suffering a stroke that didn’t allow him to realize how impaired he actually was. There’s an argument that his behavior post-stroke contributed to leading the country into war.
This gave me so much hope. Knowing there’s another option makes me optimistic.
An angry, funny, often enlightening but sometimes rehashed, argumentative book that’s unlikely to change any minds that weren’t already in Olbermann’s camp, but it does provide a little balm in the form of acknowledgement and laughs for those of us who insist that nothing about Trump is normal, and something is in fact deeply wrong.
Trump is F*cking Crazy: (This is Not a Joke)
by Keith Olbermann
published October 17, 2017 by Blue Rider Press & Plume (Penguin Group)
I received an advance copy from the publisher for unbiased review.