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McClellan: Today’s politics are a slow-motion trainwreck

“Woke up this morning, got

yourself a gun.” — Alabama 3

I have taken the pledge. I’m going cold turkey. No more national politics for me until the election is over. If it’s ever over. There was a time when an election was like a baseball game. Even a close game came to an end. Even if you claimed the umps robbed you.

But during one of the debates four years ago, then-president Donald Trump was asked if he would guarantee a peaceful transition of power.

That would have been a ludicrous question in the past, insulting even, but it was asked seriously. Trump considered it, and then said he could guarantee a peaceful transition from his first administration to his second. His part of the audience loved the answer.

I’m old-school about these things. I liked it when every four or eight years we showed the world how a stable democracy handles the transfer of power.

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Because I don’t like this new era that Trump represents, I’m angry at the Democratic Party. President Joe Biden is going to be 82 in November. He looks frail. His speech can be halting. He walks unsteadily. You can see him making an effort to stay balanced.

This is the best the Democrats can offer in these perilous times?

David had a better chance against Goliath.

It seems the party has learned nothing from Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s refusal to step down.

So I’m done. I can’t watch this slow-motion trainwreck.

But I have to watch something. I have always loved to read, but reading requires effort, and when you reach a certain age, you sometimes want to slow down on effort.

Fortunately, television is pretty good these days. They’re streaming stuff out of books I’ve read. Plus, there are old-fashioned series that are worth rewatching. A friend just binge-watched all of the “Columbo” shows. That’s time well spent.

There is, of course, a potential problem with my decision to ignore national politics. Does a citizen of a fragile democracy have a responsibility to pay attention?

If so, the government should meet us halfway. As long as we are going to have show trials, let’s show them. Put them on television.

I would have watched the Trump trial in New York. I’ve never seen Stormy Daniels. Plus, it would have been fun watching the former editor of the National Enquirer talk about that paper’s efforts on behalf of Trump.

That was the 2016 election in a nutshell. The readers of the New York Times versus the readers of the National Enquirer. I’ll admit I bought the National Enquirer in those days. In fact, I’m still pretty much convinced that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the Kennedy assassination. Alien abductions? Not so much.

Had I been able to watch the Trump trial, I probably would have come to the same conclusion I reached from reading about it. He was guilty, but with an asterisk. He would not have been charged if he weren’t Donald Trump.

Also, the “crime” didn’t matter. At the time, and this was in the wake of the “Hollywood Access” tapes, Trump’s team figured news of a tryst with a porn star might hurt Trump’s standing with Evangelical Christians as well as the “family values” wing of the Republican party.

Now cue up the theme song for the “The Sopranos.” On that morning when Hunter Biden woke up and got himself a gun, did he lie when he checked the box that said he was not using illegal drugs?

Of course, he lied. He was an addict.

But what would make the Hunter Biden trial must-see TV has little to do with the actual charge. It’s the salacious nature of his story. He lost his wife and children because of an affair with his brother’s widow. His apologists explain that he relapsed because of his brother’s death. Do these people think most crack addicts live trauma-free lives?

Witnesses included an ex-wife, a sister-in-law/former lover and at least one other girlfriend. Plus, the defendant’s memoir that details his addiction. Plus, a computer that contains material relating to various questionable dealings with foreign governments as he traded on his father’s name.

Sadly, that’s the way of the world these days. Ivanka Trump sought licensing agreements from China while she was visiting in an official capacity.

It makes me long for the slapstick shenanigans of President Jimmy Carter’s brother. Billy Carter loved his Pabst Blue Ribbon, and he drank enough of it that he said and did embarrassing things. He once urinated on an airport runway in full view of the press and dignitaries. A brewery produced Billy Beer, and he endorsed it.

When Libya “lent” him $200,000 — and maybe more — the Senate had hearings. The scandal was called BillyGate.

But let’s return to Hunter Biden. Like Trump, he seems guilty with an asterisk. He wouldn’t have been charged if he weren’t Hunter Biden.

More show trials are on the way no matter who wins in November. Let’s put them on television this time. Why have show trials if you don’t show them?

Until then, I’m staying away from from national news.

Back in 2020 even amidst a global deadly pandemic, Donald Trump famously denounced mail in voting. However, in 2024 he seems to have changed his mind post felony convictions and he is now attempting to get his voters to do so any way, any how. Veuer’s Tony Spitz has the details.

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