What's Tony Thinking

Not Even Texas Can Keep Up


Texas has been known as the land of big talkers and tall tales for a long time.

As the joke about a Vermont farmer and a Texas rancher goes: the Vermonter was working his pasture when a Texan in a ten-gallon hat pulled up. He climbed out of his Cadillac. The Texan shouted to the Vermonter, “How big is your spread?” The farmer points to a ridge to the south and a low mountain on the north and says his land runs between the two.

The Texan allows as how, “Well, I can set out in the morning and drive until sunset and still not cover my entire ranch.” The Vermonter thinks that over for a moment, then says, “Yes, I had a car like that once.”

Yesterday Texas again met its match, but not from one so wry or laconic as the farmer of this tale.

According to the writer, Richard Parker, there’s just no one even in Texas who can tell whoppers to rival those of one Donald Trump. He was in El Paso, Texas this week to tout his wall. But the El Paso locals were turning out in force to protest Trump’s use of their city as the poster child for his pet project.

“Undaunted” used to be a synonym for courage. But now, with Trump, it is the proper term for a man who is wholly undaunted by reality. In El Paso a “March for Truth” was led by the former El Paso congressman, and possible Presidential candidate, Beto O’Rourke.

Here’s Parker:

“He (Beto O’Rourke) helped bring out 10,000 supporters, according to local organizers, maybe as many as 15,000. Mr. Trump brought 6,700 to the old rodeo arena, according to the fire department, with a few thousand more stamping their feet in front of the parking lot Jumbotron. The truth — or at least the facts — made steady progress in El Paso.

“But that didn’t stop the lies, like Mr. Trump claiming 35,000 people came to see him while just 200 went to see Mr. O’Rourke. There is nothing the president won’t lie about. He even encouraged followers to chant “Finish That Wall,” though there’s been no construction since he became president on any kind of wall he promised, just fences ordered up since 2006. I tried to count the lies during his speech but had to stop after 10. My Stetson is off: The guy is a gifted and gratuitously generous liar.” (italics added)

That about sums it up, doesn’t it? “This guy is a gifted and gratuitously generous liar.”

In this era of bigger than Texas-sized whoppers, “the Wall,” is now mainly a symbol, or rather an empty vessel. Parker:

“The wall is about whatever you want it to be about: welfare, immigrants, race, class, socialism, you name it. It will never be an actual, 30-foot wall from sea to shining sea, as Mr. Trump once promised. He is, in fact, losing on the merits, bit by bit. But he will still get his monument: a metaphor that just as effectively divides the nation, even if a real wall never divides the border here, in El Paso.”

Another piece that came to our attention today argued that the reporters and media have been missing the story on Trump because they keep wanting to write a political story. But they are making a category mistake. It’s a mental health story, argues Amanda Ripley at the site Reasonable Doubt.

“So, I tried an experiment the other day. To make sense of Trump’s behavior, I did not call foreign policy experts or pundits. That would be like calling an astrologer to explain a flu pandemic. Instead, I called Wendy Behary, who wrote the book Disarming the Narcissist and has treated hundreds of narcissistic clients, including surgeons, Wall Street executives, and other powerful people, in her private practice in New Jersey. It was one of the most useful conversations I’ve had about Trump in months.

“Unlike the Washington Post or the New York Times, Behary has never once been surprised by Trump’s behavior. ‘His behavior is not remarkable. It’s predictable. It’s exactly what we’d expect,’ she says. ‘He just continues to be a consistent version of who he appears to be.'”

While the citizens and leaders of El Paso were saying loud and clear that Trump’s claims about a wall and its correlation to reduced crime in El Paso were pure poppycock, that didn’t matter one iota to the President. He out-Texas’d the Texans.



Categories: Uncategorized