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Kindergarten Cop & The Don

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Donald Trump are Bombastic Bushkin types. If you don’t get the reference don’t worry — you’ve likely got a stronger grasp of Tik Tok than I do. Point is, neither of these guys is nearing runner-up status for the National Salt Of The Earth Awards. They are flamboyant sorts who made their bones via capitalism before transitioning to celebrity. It isn’t a uniquely American phenomenon, but we do it with a certain panache. Where does one go once he has achieved tremendous wealth? I always believed the answer to be “home,” but I was wrong. Power is the only thing that surpasses wealth, and for your average Arnie or Don, politics is the next logical move. And so they made that move, with Arnold ascending to govern the largest state in the nation and fourth-largest world economy. Don, being the pesky alpha that he is, had to one-up Arnold and go for a slightly more elevated position.

These honorable, solemn men crossed paths when they hosted the reality TV show “The Apprentice.” Trump started the show and Arnold ushered it out, rather abruptly. This mish-mash of facts led to a nasty exchange on Twitter when Trump took office and the entire planet was dumping on him. Arnold joined the pile-on and Don noted that he (Arnold) had essentially killed the greatest television franchise in history. I’d put The Honeymooners in that slot, but let’s face it, Trump has a hyperbolic streak. This made it personal for Schwarzenegger.

Cut to the present. Trump, still the sitting president but with no pocket change and a ticking parking meter, has seen his Twitter account pulled. This was his last avenue to get the word out, crazy as that word might occasionally be. They were tagging his every utterance with an approved Jack Dorsey message that said “Please Disregard This Kook” but he still had a podium. Now that podium is gone and the most active piehole in the land has had the Denver Boot clamped on said pie and said hole. Arnold, however, still has an active Twitter account. This gave him an opening while reaffirming that he’d failed to reach the heights of his orange competitor.  This led to the spectacularly enjoyable and absurd moment that we saw yesterday.

Schwarzenegger, sensing his Apprentice adversary in Terminator crosshairs, posted a seven-minute video complete with a soundtrack so stirring it made the score for Total Recall play like the “The Teddy Bears’ Picnic.” He compared Trump to Hitler, a hackneyed claim that’s been overused. I believe Trump still has some heavy lifting to do to attain Hitler status and his good standing with Netanyahu makes reaching these Fuhrer heights problematic. But nobody asked me. Point is, Arnie made this comparison using the kind of personal flair that rocketed him to stardom despite a ridiculously thick Austrian accent and neck so wide that no man-made shirt collar could contain it. For seven minutes he spilled on about a memory “so painful” that he’s never mentioned it publicly. You see, before making it in the Land of Opportunity, and as a young boy post WW2, Arnold would watch his alcoholic father drown his sorrows in front of their flaming hearth, tears in eyes, regretting that he had not done enough to stop the Nazis. And, by extension, Arnold suggested that millions of Americans were in for some serious fireside weeping if they refused to repent.

Absurdity is relative, but we’ve set the new bar in America. That two guys like Trump and Schwarzenegger could blaze such a trail is crazy enough. They make Reagan’s “Bedtime For Bonzo” roots seem solid as Abe Lincoln munching cornbread in his Indiana log cabin. Propping up Joe Biden as a “return to normalcy” or national soul-saver is rich. He famously called Trump a clown, but I’d say Trump is more a PT Barnum character. Nobody’s got anything on Uncle Joe in the clown department. He’s never come equipped with an Obama or Clinton level intellect, even when all of his neurons were firing. He’s an empty suit propped in place by a powerful national party that knew, under no circumstance, could the phrase “second term” be uttered. We’re less than a week into Trump (finally) conceding and the most logical move the New Order could think to make is deleting his Twitter account, invoking the 25th Amendment, and starting impeachment proceedings with just seconds on the clock. Biden, for his part, went full-Schwarzenegger and likened Republicans who backed Trump to Nazis. Swell, that should calm the restless millions and help lower the national temperature by a few degrees. It’s not like we’re in the middle of a pandemic with bigger fish to fry.

I typically avoid such pontificating and end my pieces with a self-consciously pithy line or two .. but I’m all out at present. New year, New me. Look for those World View campaign signs to appear on lawns in short order — we’re just getting the color scheme worked out.

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