Soundtracking the Resistance - Dynasty Fever

Which of Trump's Kids is Next in Line for the Throne?

Mar 02, 2018 Bookmark and Share


This week we're keeping it in the family before moving on to security risks, resignations, bunga bunga, op-eds, and Frankie Cosmos.

The Big Event

One of the side effects of keeping the full glare of the media on him is that Donald Trump's family often find themselves sharing the spotlight. They've been at it again over the past couple of weeks, not that the president's progeny always needs papa Trump to draw attention their way.

It's interesting to watch because for a country dead-set against hereditary rule, America sure loves a dynasty. It didn't take long after those glorious days of independence either. Presidents number two and six were related, but the obsession with keeping it in the family really took flight in the second half of the last century.

Thank team Kennedy for that. Burning bright and fast, they've offered diminishing returns ever since the days of Camelot. Then we had the Bushes ready to step up to the plate. Getting father and son into the White House is pretty good going, especially with only an eight-year gap. With them in charge we lurched from the bland competence of George H.W. Bush to the debacle that was George W. Bush, the foreign misadventurer extraordinaire.

The Clinton dynasty never managed to take flight in quite the same way, although Hillary did reach Secretary of State before losing to the misleader in chief, Donald J. Trump, when she bungled her second shot at the top job.

As for Trump, given how quick he is to parade his family around, do we have decades of vote Trump posters to come? If you're looking for similarities, there's a funhouse mirror resemblance between clan Trump and clan Kennedy. They both come with ruthlessly successful patriarchs (Joe and Fred) not averse to bending/breaking the law. The two presidents from each family also have a way of stirring up a crowd and enjoy indulging in infidelity.

But after Bobby was assassinated and Teddy got up to no good on a bridge, no Kennedy has gotten close to the glory days. Can any of the five children of Donald J. Trump go further and reach the White House? Let's leave Tiffany and Barron aside for now as both are too young to show what they can do (well Tiffany did give stardom a first shot in 2011 with the release of a single painfully smothered in Auto-Tune.)

That leaves three. Of this trio, Ivanka seems the brightest hope. She's at least competent and capable of seeming like an actual person, and the only one likely to succeed outside the safety net of the Trump business.

When Trump wants someone to give reasonable answers and not embarrass him, Ivanka's sent out, leaving her with the tough job of embracing the power she seems to want, while maintaining enough distance to ensure she isn't sunk if Trump blows himself up. She seems to have gotten the taste for the top, making it hard to return to a life of attaching her name to soul-sappingly dull consumer products.

Of course, she is currently shackled to pyrite golden boy Jared Kushner, the man with a portfolio far beyond his capabilities. He's been rolling around the White House for a year now with his training wheels still attached and it seems he's still not allowed full security clearance (see below).

Then we have the two oldest sons, Donald's loyal big game hunting henchmen who are always happy to imitate their father and aggressively go after enemies. Eric does at least seem to have something about him, and is already at work on the 2020 election, although given he can't even run a charitable foundation without facing allegations of mismanagement, it's hard to see him in charge of a country. Mind you, his father managed it.

Finally, bringing up the rear is good old Jr., cast by some as the GOB figure in this real-life Bluth family disaster. Eldest child Donny got himself in the news last week when he blathered on about how happy the abject poor in India seem to be. He's the family buffoon who has his father's belligerence and sense of entitlement without the corresponding ability to charm.

So busy does he seem to be promoting various conspiracy theories online, it's amazing he has time to hold suspicious meetings with Russians or concoct fast unraveling stories to explain them. He's also liable to get the dates of elections wrong when urging people to vote, and, as Skittles will attest, proves not all publicity is good publicity. Where Donald the first seems to have the ability to turn any misstep into gold, Donald the second turns it all into lead as fast as he can tweet.

Maybe they'll all mature into their roles. If so, keep an eye out for the Trump family, coming to a 2024 Republican primary near you.

What's Going On

After claiming he'd hire the best people to work in his administration, it's taking an awfully long time to grant all these best people permanent security clearances. Even his son-in-law has been laboring under an interim clearance, and this week, along with a couple of dozen others, that has been downgraded. Practically, it might not mean much right now, but it seems mighty embarrassing that after a year, Jared still hasn't passed a full background check. Oops.

As the White House Director of Communications, Hope Hicks must have known the optics would look bad. The same week she's dragged before a congressional committee to answer Russia related questions, she resigns. She wants new challenges apparently; perhaps the challenge of trying to ensure she still has a career after working in this administration. Neither Hicks nor the White House has suggested the resignation has anything to do with Russia, but no one looks particularly good with this level of incompetent messaging.

Italy goes to the polls on Sunday to choose a new government, which usually means confusion will follow. This is the country that, since World War II, has installed almost as many governments as there have been years. The frontrunners are the ragtag Five Star movement, which may be embracing fascist elements, and is definitely popularist, but is really marked by being a bit of whatever is in the mind of whichever candidate is speaking at the time. Silvio Berlusconi is also back, rising once more like Rasputin to wreak havoc when his day appeared to have passed. Good luck Italy, you might have to bunga bunga again if things don't go well.

Speak Up!

It's the week of the op-ed. First up, veteran Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea has penned a piece on drug addiction for Time. He talks about his own battles with drugs and proposes ways to help deal with the opioid epidemic sweeping America at the moment.

Then we have hip-hop artist Talib Kweli writing on white supremacy and freedom of speech. In his article on Medium, he draws distinctions between the right to express an opinion and the right to criticize such expressions, especially when they are intolerant, factually inaccurate and liable to whip up hatred.

Courtney Barnett has offered up an acoustic cover of the INXS song "Never Tear Us Apart" for an Apple commercial celebrating same-sex marriage in Australia. It was only at the end of last year that same-sex marriage was legalized in the country following an odd postal ballot that delivered a comfortable majority for legalization.

Song of the Week: Frankie Cosmos - "Being Alive"

Greta Kline is in that drip-drip stage of putting out songs ahead of the release of the third album under her Frankie Cosmos stage name. Vessel will follow at the end of this month, on March 30. "Being Alive", the second of the three tracks out so far, appeared in February, and comes with a chorus that can aptly be applied to our wider travails at the moment.

In the song, Kline sings "Being alive/matters quite a bit/even when you/feel like shit." It's a realistic rallying cry for our times.

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