Donald Trump Is Boring

There is a crisis in American politics. The crisis is that Donald Trump is boring.

Normally, I wouldn’t mind a boring president. In fact, I prefer boring presidents. I like less drama, fewer scandals, and more focus on the issues—on actual legislative action and foreign policy decisions. But that’s not the good kind of boring that we’re getting with the current president.

We have the bad kind of boring. Donald Trump is constantly barging around and sucking up all of the media oxygen, but he does it for things that are petty and trivial. It’s constant superficial turmoil, but it’s the same stupid thing over and over again.

The media is just making it worse, because they agree to magnify every new fake presidential drama, treating mean personal tweets as if they are incredibly newsworthy. Take the other morning, when Trump sent out a set of gossipy mean-girl tweets about “Morning Joe” hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.

So what did the media do? I got this “breaking news” notice from the New York Times.

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“Breaking News”: I don’t think it means what you think it means.

Then there was this list from the Washington Post in which a childish Twitter spat takes up more space than the progress of actual health care legislation.

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I suppose you could argue that Trump’s Twitter sniping constitutes some kind of authoritarian attack on the free press. On the other hand, I supposed you could get over yourself. This isn’t the stuff of an authoritarian dictatorship. It’s the stuff of squabbling between rival high school cliques.

From the other side, I hear the argument that this is some brilliant move by Trump to keep the media focused on trivialities while he gets things done. Meanwhile, the current Republican Congress has been spectacularly unproductive and has delivered very little of Trump’s promised agenda. They can’t even pass an Obamacare replacement, much less repeal it.

The president is not entirely responsible for the actions of Congress, even a Congress where his own party has a majority. But the whole pitch for Donald Trump as president was that he was going to be a superior leader and negotiator who would knock together the heads of all those wimpy beta males in Washington, DC, and get things done. And if he’s supposed to be such a master manipulator of the press, shouldn’t there be some results to show for it?

No, I’m afraid Donald Trump isn’t doing this out of some kind of calculation. He’s doing it because this is who he is and because the fake drama of tabloid gossip columns and “reality TV” is what made him a household name. The media is going along because this is what they love, too. After all, it was media shows like “Morning Joe”—he was a guest dozens of times—that provided Trump with total media dominance during the last election cycle. They have continued that relationship with the latest Twitter spat, just with Trump in a more antagonistic role.

Maybe they think this makes for good TV, and I suppose people who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like. The rest of us are going to get bored and starting tuning out politics. It’s too bad that the important issues won’t just go away while no one is paying attention to them.

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