Still, I’m thankful: The wayward comedy routine that is the Trump administration has finally found the level of the room, and it’s the president and LaVar Ball having a bad-blooded ontological debate over the meaning of gratitude.
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In Ball, you see, Trump has finally drawn a truly worthy opponent, and perhaps his match. Both men are so alike in their lack of dignity, inveterate blowhards whose accomplishments you can’t quite dismiss out of hand but whose rhetoric leaves you with the distinct feeling that they are overselling them beyond all reasonable proportion. Both seem to have an indefatigable energy for battle, and the same ability to just draw the media’s cameras and klieg lights into their orbit.
And as he proved on CNN, Ball, like Trump, is completely incapable of enunciating a logical through-line or following a train of thought. They are both creatures of pure feedback, saying whatever it is they need to say to maintain an audience’s rapt attention, without any regard for what they said before or what they’ll say next.
Sadly, not everybody seems to want to be in on the joke. On Monday evening, just as the Trump-Ball folderol was starting to ripen into its fullest flavor, Fox News' Neil Cavuto took to the airwaves to try to scold this glorious quarrel out of existence by taking the president to task for his lack of seriousness, like President Merkin Muffley tone-policing the War Room. Over the course of a segment — titled, ironically, “Common Sense” — Cavuto admonished the president for using his bully pulpit as a “bazooka to respond to a pea-shooter,” and for his pathetic demands for “gratitude bordering on groveling.”
“Last time I checked, you are the president of the United States,” he added. “Why don’t you act like it?”
I don’t know what part of this Cavuto hasn’t figured out: Trump tweeting about how he should have left these UCLA players to rot in China because he received an insufficient amount of gratitude is everything that Trump promised to be from the get-go. Why there’s still anyone hanging around in November 2017, pretending that some other Trump is possible is beyond me. That ship sailed a long time ago, into a vast ocean, blundering in a direction that takes it far away from, say, Puerto Rico.