The Boys Who Cried Wolf

It’s obvious by now that any inconvenient assertion, no matter how reasonable, sensible, or validated, will be denounced as fake by administration functionaries.   Correspondingly, by administration lights their absurd, ludicrous and obnoxious assertions are to be regarded as truth, until we, the citizenry, are informed otherwise.

Ergo, labor statistics were fake when last year they showed a good economy and that was bad for Trump, but are no longer fake when they show a good economy now.  The Congressional Budget Office’s report on the Republican’s unimaginative Next-Gen Obamacare was criticized as fakery even before the report emerged, as even the GOP knew their health-care arithmetic would receive a grade of F.  And yesterday Trump’s otherworldly suggestion that Obama was wiretapping him during last year’s election was explained away as something the president didn’t really mean, even though everyone, especially Trump and his most ardent supporters, believed he meant it.

Trump and truth are now effectively oxymoronic.  Any administration statement is now subject to validation from reliable sources, if they can be found.  Whether the administration’s pin-jello-to-the-wall notion of truth is intentional, as another facet of scorched-earth disruption, or simply the result of Trump’s neuroses isn’t clear.  Regardless, Trump now convinces no one other than his most robotic supporters, who in turn convince no one other than themselves.

All of this truth-as-we-like-it distortion has had surprisingly little impact to date, because in spite of administration ineptitude, the United States Government and economy have been running themselves rather nicely over that last few months.

That will end when there is a crisis of some kind.  We must assume there will be one, perhaps as a result of external forces.  Or, an economic crisis could come along simply as a result of the anxieties and nervousness Trump and Bannon breed.  Small business people like a lack of regulation, but they may not be as crazy about the lack of customers, which can quickly result when people sense an uncertain future.

History, which Bannon so gluttonously consumes but obviously does not really digest, tells us that crises are amplified, not resolved, by fact and believability vacuums.  In an economic or military crisis, were Trump to explain the situation and what must be done, many people would assume he is lying, possibly for reasons of psychological dysfunction. The resulting confusion and anxiety are guaranteed to make any real crisis worse.

Communication moves quickly and amplifies emotion, while the calming impact of understanding moves pretty much at its age-old pace.  To make up this difference in a crisis, clear and believable communication from those in authority is essential, but now also impossible. Trump’s believability creds are long gone, spent on things like insulting government professionals, arguing about the size of inauguration crowds, and complaining about non-existent wiretaps.

In a crisis, the little boy president will be lost in the woods, with only the bad wolves to guide him to safety. We shouldn’t wait up for a happy conclusion. Like the proverbial boy who cried wolf, Trump will have no credibility left. In the presence of a real wolf, he and the administration are likely to fail even more notably than they have to date. And that is saying something.

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