Thursday, April 16, 2020

Leading From Behind

Commander-in-Chief Trump, in his infinite wisdom, is demonstrating his leadership by beating a hasty retreat. It didn’t work out so well for Napoleon in that Russian winter nor for Hitler either, but Rear Admiral Trump is fighting a different sort of war. The enemy is invisible and Trump wants to be invisible as well as he leads the nation unmasked, unhinged, unconscionable and unaccountable.

I’m reminded of William S. Gilbert’s libretto from the G & S operetta, Gondoliers….

In enterprise of martial kind / when there was any fighting
He led his regiment from behind. / He found it less exciting.
But away his regiment ran, / His place was in the fore,
O / That celebrated, cultivated, Underrated Nobleman / The Duke of Plaza-Toro.

The Duke of Mar-a-Lago is far too busy receiving orders from General Hannity to risk his legacy as visionary and candidate for Nobel Peace Prize. In a brilliant maneuver he has positioned himself to take all the credit and none of the blame.  If things go wrong it is certainly the fault of Democrat Governors and Mayors; if they go right it is due to his absolute authority as the smartest person in the history of the world.

He has systematically dismantled Health and Environmental agencies and stocked them with sycophants. At the same time the Man in the Oval assumes executive powers bordering on monarchical. And yet in the midst of our death and dying he is nowhere to be seen having left it all to the states. History will note his colossal inaction.

When to evade destruction’s hand / to hide they all proceeded.
No soldier in that gallant band / hid half as well as he did.
He lay concealed throughout the war / and so preserved his gore, (O)
That unaffected, undetected, well-connected warrior / the Duke of Plaza-Toro.

Rear Admiral Trump has company in the grand retreat choreographed by that other military megalomaniac, Douglas MacArthur. He managed to retreat from Bataan leaving behind 70,000 G.Is, many of whom met a cruel death as the General staged his famous photograph landing on another Philippine Island. Apparently Old Soldiers never die, they just lead from behind.

One wonders if the Fuehrer also had delusions of grandeur as he led Germany from his subterranean bunker under the rubble of Berlin. Did he curse his own submarines and his Panzer tanks? Did he vent his fury at whistle-blowers, Bavarian beer halls, poison schnitzel, slow scientists and, of course, those Jewish money-lenders?

Military blunders can be spun into cri de coeurs which become rallying points in the hands of such true leaders as Churchill. Witness Dunkirk where over 300,000 British and French troops were rescued. But Donald is no Winston.

Back to work, says our leader, speaking from an undisclosed location. Let afebrile folks stock the shelves and scoop the frozen yogurt so the Dow can rise along with the morning sun upon which he can also lend his signature.

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