It’s The Greatest Show on Earth: The Presidential Reality Show. In 18 months, Americans will go to the polls to cast ballots for a “lesser of two evils” to lead the greatest nation of “exceptionals” to more economic ruin and endless war.
Tracking trends is the understanding of where we are and how we got here, all to see where we’re going. Go back to February 2007, when candidate Barack Obama addressed the Democratic National Committee and called the race for the White House precisely what it is, a reality show: “If you look at all the cameras gathered around and the clicking of the photographers, and the pundits who are collected… you know, sometimes you feel like you’re part of a reality TV show. Yes, sometimes you feel like this is American Idol or Survivor… You’re trying to figure out: Are you going to go to Hollywood? Are you going to be voted off the island?”
Obama: A rookie US senator with not one measurable legislative accomplishment; a former community organizer in Chicago who overnight became the American Idol when America’s Queen of TV, Oprah Winfrey, threw her support behind him. Transformed into a flawlessly packaged and directed Harpo production, the teleprompted snake-oil salesman that sold “hope” and promised to “heal the nation and repair the world” … was voted “to go to Hollywood.”
Politics: Show business for ugly people
Unlike Obama, who roused worldwide enthusiasm and built his campaign on “Change You Can Believe In” (but never changed anything except his mind), there is little excitement among the public in the run-up to the 2016 general election. The slogans have yet to catch on; the performances have fallen flat.
As we go to press, eight candidates officially have become contestants in the 2016 Presidential Reality Show, the three-ring circus that will determine who will “go to Hollywood” and who will be “voted off the island.”
Contestant 1: First to announce was US Sen. Ted Cruz, whose claim to fame was contributing to the government shutdown in 2013 and reading Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham while speaking for 21 hours on the Senate floor. Taking the stage March 23 at Liberty University, the largest Christian university in the world, Cruz asked that “God bless Liberty University,” and for “the transformative love of Jesus Christ,” that saved his father from drinking too much and brought him back home after he deserted his wife.
With the first Republican caucus being in Iowa, where 57 percent of caucus-goers describe themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians, Cruz kicked off his campaign playing the God card, followed by his being part Cuban and his humble background — all wrapped up in the theme: “Imagine.”
“Imagine a president who says, ‘We will stand up and defeat radical Islamic terrorism and we will call it by its name’,” roared Cruz, to thunderous applause from the holier-than-thou Christians in the audience whose Jesus Christ they and Cruz believe in is anathema to the Prince of Peace.
Contestant 2: Next in line was Rand Paul, another US senator with no track record of accomplishments, but as proven by Obama, presentation and performance count more than deeds and action in The Presidential Reality Show. As with Cruz, Paul played up his humble background, a simple everyday guy who, unlike the rest of us, “from an early age I worked.” He “taught swimming lessons,” he “mowed lawns,” he “did landscaping,” “put roofs on houses” and even “painted houses.” And, unlike the rest of us, Rand Paul — who would be a no-name from Kentucky if his father weren’t Ron Paul, former congressman from Texas, a solid libertarian with a sizable following — “never saw work, though, as punishment.”
Like Cruz, Rand Paul, who once vowed to cut the Pentagon budget but has since pledged to increase it dramatically, also pledged to keep fighting the never-ending War on Terror: “The enemy is radical Islam. You can’t get around it. And not only will I name the enemy, I will do whatever it takes to defend America from these haters of mankind.”
Like Cruz, Paul never addresses nor admits how America’s role in invading, occupying and destroying entire nations and killing millions of innocent people has created “these haters of mankind.” And, “doing whatever it takes” means playing the role of commander in chief in The Presidential Reality Show by sending others to fight and die while neither you nor your loved ones are ever put in harm’s way.
As for Paul’s prescription to fix the economy, it was light on facts, empty of solutions but rich in rhetoric: “I see our big cities once again shining and beckoning with creativity and ingenuity, with American companies offering American jobs.”
Trendpost: In his first television interview following his announcement, Rand Paul confirmed what I have been speaking about for decades: The people running for president of the United States are the same people you disliked in high school and college that ran for class president and head of the student council: the brown-nosers, glad-handers, suck-ups, overly ambitious and insincere.
When asked “Was higher office, the presidency, always the master plan for you?” Paul replied: “You know, it’s kind of funny; you’ll meet people who are running for president and their friends will say, ‘Oh, in eighth grade, he said he was going to run for president.’”
Contestant 3: Shortly following Rand Paul’s declaration, in a very different manner, Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy by running a banal Presidential Reality Show commercial featuring the ideal demographic/psychographic cross-section of most-likely voters of all colors, shapes and sizes — married, gay, college student, retiring boomers, etc. Excerpts:
» I’m getting ready for a lot of things. (hahaha) A lot of things. It’s spring, so we’re starting to get the gardens ready and my tomatoes are legendary here in my own neighborhood. (Hehaha)
» Grrrr… (making muscles) My daughter is about to start kindergarten next year, and so we’re moving just so she can belong to a better school.
» Right now I’m applying for jobs. It’s a look into what the real world will look like after college.
» Well, we’ve been doing a lot of home renovations. But most importantly, we really just want to teach our dog to quit eating the trash. (Heheheh) And so we have high hopes for 2015 that that’s go
nna happen. (heheheheh)
The punch line from Clinton was, “I’m getting ready to do something, too. I’m running for president. Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times, but the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top. Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion so you can do more than just get by — you can get ahead and stay ahead. So I’m hitting the road to earn your vote. Because it’s your time and I hope you’ll join me on this journey.”
Eschewing the private jet, and playing the populist card for The Presidential Reality Show, Clinton, who has not driven a car in 20 years, announced she was traveling to Iowa in a van named Scooby (after the cartoon character, Scooby-Doo) to have heart-to-heart talks with regular folks. After a week of the presstitutes’ puff-piece coverage of her faux journey through middle America, the breaking news of a new book, “Clinton Cash,” stopped her campaign momentum. It documented that hundreds of millions of dollars in contributions were showered on the Clinton Foundation by foreign governments, domestic and foreign corporations, and special interests, putting into question the legality of the donations and raising allegations that Bill and Hillary were influence peddlers.
Contestant 4: The day after Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Reality Show commercial announcement, first-term US Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida joined the race. Speaking at Freedom Tower, once used to process Cuban exiles fleeing Fidel Castro’s regime, Rubio, like Cruz, sang the “poor son of Cuban immigrants” song. Several times during his race for US Senate in 2010, Rubio played the sympathy card that his parents were exiles that fled Castro’s rule. And in his official Senate biography, he stated that his parents “came to America following Fidel Castro’s takeover.” (In 2011, the Washington Post reported that his parents actually left Cuba for Miami in 1956, years before the Castro takeover.)
The main point of his speech, besides his pledge to beef up military spending, his war-hawk rhetoric and his shallow policies to restore economic growth, was that at 43 years old, he felt “uniquely qualified” to restore the American Dream.
“Now, the time has come for our generation to lead the way toward a new American Century,” he said. Discounting all of what had once made America the envy of the world and truly The Land of Opportunity, Rubio declared that, “Yesterday is over and we are never going back” to the “ideas of the past.”
Rubio, boasting a track record of accomplishing nothing more than promoting himself, wrote off America’s past. Inept or too arrogant to embrace the concept of Renaissance — a rebirth, taking the best of what made America the best and retrofitting it for the future — he knows what’s best for America. Bragging that “I’m still a Nicki Minaj fan” and praising the rapper as “very talented,” Rubio indeed has what it takes to be a contestant in The Presidential Reality Show.
Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio received major media coverage prior to and following their official announcements. But when US Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont threw his hat in the ring on April 30, it landed with a thud. Just two days later, on Meet the Press, host Chuck Todd set up the final panel discussion with a look at “the presidential announcements coming up of former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Dr. Ben Carson and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee,” with no acknowledgment that Sanders was officially in the race.
Contestant 5: Bernie Sanders, who calls himself a “democratic socialist,” is against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, is pro-union and promotes himself as the crusader for Americans who’ve had enough of “establishment politics” and are against “a system where our democracy is being owned by a handful of billionaires.” On foreign policy, while Sanders plays the pro-peace card, he’s a war hawk in sheep’s clothing. In 1999, Sanders, then in the House of Representatives, voted for Bill Clinton’s Kosovo War and in 2001 for George W. Bush’s Afghan War and War on Terror. And while he did vote against the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Bernie voted for appropriations bills to fund both the Iraq and Afghan wars.
Elected to the Senate in 2006, Sanders voted for sanctions against Iran and has supported President Obama’s troops surge in Afghanistan, the Libyan war and White House policy with Syria, Yemen, Ukraine and Russia. As with all the candidates, Sanders is a staunch supporter of Israel, including the Israeli attack on Gaza last summer.
Contestant 6: Ben Carson, another tough-talking chicken-hawk war hawk, has warned that Russian “President Putin must come to learn that there will be grave and serious consequences when Russia engages in naked aggression against other sovereign nations and free peoples. All options should remain on the table when dealing with international bullies such as President Putin.” Comparing Obamacare to “slavery,” Carson, a proud pro-life advocate, was blasted as a gay-basher following his statement that “Marriage is between a man and a woman. No group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality… it doesn’t matter what they are. They don’t get to change the definition.”
Strong on rhetoric and weak on policy, as are the others in The Presidential Reality Show, Carson’s paper-thin economic plans include a balanced-budget amendment and a new tax code.
Contestant 7: Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard whose corporate claim to fame is firing 30,000 H-P workers and scoring a $21 million golden parachute when she got fired in 2005, touts her top qualification as knowing “how the economy actually works.” She threw her hat in The Presidential Reality Show on May 4. Active in Republican politics since leaving H-P, Fiorina was trounced by incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer in the 2010 race for US Senate in California. Fiorina’s Internet video announcing her candidacy — coupled with virtually each broadcast and print interview and her non-stop strident attacks against Hillary “she clearly is not trustworthy” Clinton — add up to a setup for the vice-presidential slot.
On building the economy and creating jobs, Fiorina is in step with most Presidential Reality Show contenders. She is long on clichés — cut taxes, promote small business, and fewer government regulations — and short on tangible steps and quantifiable measures. On the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Fiorina says she requires more information before making a decision, and calls on President Obama to lift the shroud of secrecy placed on it. Personally opposed to abortion, except in cases of rape, ince
st or endangerment of the mother’s life, Fiorina would like to see the Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion overturned. Her takes on war and peace: More sanctions on Iran, stay in Afghanistan, and her first move as president would be to phone Israel. Her official website is very thin on fact and depth.
Contestant 8: Mike Huckabee, a contender in the 2008 Presidential Reality Show, is back. Having made his name by winning the Iowa Republican caucuses in ‘08, this time, the Baptist minister, former governor of Arkansas and Fox TV personality has a lot of holier-than-thou competition. With Rubio, Cruz and Carson all singing the high praises of the Lord and loudly thumping the Bible, Huckabee, in the crusade to win the votes of Iowa fundamentalists who dominate the state’s caucus, has been the most strident Republican opponent of gay marriage and abortion. On war and peace, this man of God — who carried out the death penalty more than any other Arkansas governor, who proclaimed “we’ve lost our way morally” — has vowed to “keep all options on the table in order to defeat the evil forces of Radical Islam” and “bomb the daylights out of” ISIS (collateral damage notwithstanding). As with all the other chicken-hawk war hawks in The Presidential Reality Show who talk real tough about going to battle against the evil enemy, Huckabee said he will put US “boots on the ground” (not his) to win the war against “jihadism.”
And for all those who think they are Christians, according to Preacher Huckabee, “It’s impossible to be a Christian and not be totally connected to the Jews. There is no Jewish state without a Christian faith; there is no Christian faith without a Jewish state.”
Putting on a populist mask that separates him from most other Republican contenders, Huckabee wants to abolish the IRS, is against the Trans-Pacific Partnership and denounces “the real axis of evil in this country — the axis of power that exists between Washington and Wall Street.”
Trendpost: None of the reality-show contenders or presstitutes, who are like carnival barkers promoting side-show freaks, address mass murder committed by the United States, its Coalition of the Willing and Arab League partners who invaded sovereign nations based on lies, slaughtered millions of innocent civilians, destroyed entire countries and created the conditions for “radical Islam.” US foreign-policy initiatives and subsequent wars on terror have been recurring themes in the Trends Journal since 1993, when we first forecast a “Crusades 2000” trend.