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Kindergarten Cop & The Don

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Donald Trump are both Bombastic Bushkin type figures. If you don’t get the reference don’t worry — you’ve likely got a stronger grasp of Tik Tok than do I. 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 here with a certain inimitable panache. Where does one go once he has achieved tremendous wealth? I always believed the answer to be “home,” but it turns out I was wrong. Power is the only thing that surpasses wealth in this country, 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.

But it all gets much better. Both of these honorable, solemn men, crossed paths when they hosted the reality TV show “The Apprentice.” Trump started the show and Arnold ushered it out, 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 bit of a hyperbolic streak. This made it personal for Schwarzenegger.

Cut to 2021 for top-shelf kicks. Trump, still the sitting president but with no change in his pocket and a ticking parking meter, has seen his Twitter account completely de-platformed. Twitter 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’s gone and the most active piehole in the land, short of The Mouth of the South Jimmy Hart, 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 simultaneously pointing to the fact that he’d failed to reach the heights of his orange competitor. All of this led to the spectacularly enjoyable and absurd moment that we saw yesterday.

Schwarzenegger, seeing the opportunity to take a Terminator-sized swipe at the man who had belittled his Apprentice gig, posted a seven-minute video, complete with a soundtrack so stirring that it made the score for Total Recall play like the “The Teddy Bears’ Picnic.” His approach was both standard and personal. He compared Trump to Hitler, a hackneyed claim that’s been lobbed from the beginning. Personally, I think Trump still had some heavy-lifting to do in order to reach Hitler’s status, and his fine standing with Netanyahu would have been problematic even if he’d had a second term to do said lifting. But nobody asked me. Point is, Arnie made this comparison using the kind of personal flair that rocketed him to stardom despite the handicap of 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 after WW2, Arnold would watch his alcoholic father drown his sorrows in front of their flaming hearth, tears in his eyes, regretting that he had not done enough to stop the Nazis. And, by extension, Arnold suggested that millions of his fellow Americans were in for some serious fireside weeping if they refused to repent.

Absurdity is relative, but we seem to have set the new bar here in America. That two guys like Trump and Schwarzenegger could blaze the trails they did is crazy enough. It makes Ronald Reagan’s “Bedtime For Bonzo” beginnings seem solid as Abe Lincoln munching on cornbread in his Indiana log cabin. Propping up Joe Biden as a “return to normalcy” or conduit for seeing the nation’s “soul” taken off life-support is a real knee-slapper. Biden 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 at full-tilt. He was 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 conceding this thing, and the most logical move the New Order could think to make is to delete his Twitter account, try to invoke the 25th Amendment, and begin impeachment proceedings with the 24-second clock nearly expired. Biden, for his part, went full-Schwarzenegger and likened Republicans who backed Trump to Nazis. Swell, that should quell tens of millions of Americans and go a long way toward lowering the national temperature by a few degrees. It’s not like we’re in the middle of a pandemic and have 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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