“Nobody, no, nobody is gonna rain on my parade!” (Barbra Streisand, Funny Girl)
So Donald J. Trump wants a parade. He went to Paris last July to see the Bastille Day parade and decided that America needs a big ceremony like that. Trump the showman.
When you think about large military displays you might think autocratic; dictatorial; crazed military leader. Such events have been big in Europe. Hitler used to stage them regularly. So do the Russians, the Chinese and the North Koreans. That’s not too great as far as role models are concerned.
The United States has in years past conducted military parades, mostly as troops returned home from war. The parades did include tanks but we probably never included missile launchers, since our missiles are underground or on submarines. Our parades have mostly been about proud and happy returning war veterans, marching or riding in vehicles and waving to the crowds while confetti rained down.
Trump’s intentions are designed for two purposes: to satisfy his own incredibly huge ego; and to divert attention from other things that he doesn’t like. You can fill in the blanks about that.
Folks don’t seem to be jumping up and down, excited about the idea, although in fairness, we haven’t heard from Congressman Devin Nunes yet.
No one knows for sure when the parade will be held, but there is some speculation the event will occur on June 14, Flag Day. Which also happens to be Trump’s birthday. So henceforth June 14th will be known as …
Some are concerned about the costs. Trump’s budget director estimates that the parade Trump envisions might cost between $10 million and $30 million. The last big military parade that we had, following the successful 1991 Gulf War, cost $12 million, which translates into $21 million in 2018 funds. Think for a moment about what that amount of money would buy to provide better care for veterans, or to fight the opioid epidemic, or to assist in making schools safer places.
Dismissing the need for a parade, Republican Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana said “I think confidence is silent and insecurity is loud.”
The Navy SEAL who killed Osama Bin Laden had a more concise commentary: “A military parade is third world bulls—-,” wrote Robert James O’Neill. “We prepare. We deter. We fight. Stop this conversation.”
Defense Secretary James Mattis noted: “I owe [Trump] some options. We’ll put together options, and we will work everything from size to participation to cost, and when I get clear options, we’ll send those over to the White House, and I’ll go over and talk with them.”
In the interest of helping Secretary Mattis develop those options, Politics and Other Stuff has a few suggestions. No pride of authorship here, General, so feel free to borrow these ideas.
Most of us, when we think of parades, think about certain basics such as a Grand Marshall, an Honor Guard, and politicians walking down the street, waving, shaking hands and passing out candy. You also need marching bands and floats – lots of floats.
Something like that, General, could considerably reduce the costs. You already have military bands. Maybe you can just add others from Washington area high schools.
Donald Trump probably won’t walk the parade route because he couldn’t make it that far. Maybe he could use a Trump © golf cart. The Secret Service would follow along, weaving in and out, like the Shriners do with those little cars in their parades. The Trump family (actually Donald Jr., Eric, Ivanka and Jared – but only if they haven’t been indicted by the time of the parade) would follow. Melania might be in the reviewing stand if there hasn’t been another Trump sex scandal that week.
There’s no need for tanks and missile launchers. The world already knows that we are the strongest military power. No need to show off. This would also would save the costs of repairing the damage that the heavy equipment would do to Pennsylvania Avenue.
And then the floats. There’s all sorts of possibilities for floats.
Right up front there certainly should be several for veterans who are the real honorees of the event. Lots of these floats, for those who served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. The Secretary of Veterans Affairs, David Shulkin, however, would likely be unavailable due to a prior commitment either involving another taxpayer-funded European vacation for himself and his wife, or perhaps due to the pressing need to answer congressional questions about his abuse of taxpayers’ money.
There could be a float celebrating the success of the criminal justice system in this country. Michael Flynn, George Papadoupolus, Rick Gates and Hungarian fugitive Sebastian Gorka could be on this one. The marching band behind them would be playing the Bobby Fuller Four classic hit from the sixties, “I fought the law (and the law won.)”
For the kids there could be a Disney-sponsored float, Pinocchio comes to Washington. It would feature White House spokespersons Sean Spicer, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Raj Shah, Kellyanne Conway and Anthony “the Mooch” Scaramucci. Given the size of the nose extensions for those folks, this float would need to be extra-long.
That float would be preceded by some Republican elephants. The people on the spokespersons’ float, however, would need to do double duty, following the elephants and cleaning up after them. They, of course, have significant experience with that.
A “Family Values: Bringing Us Together” float might feature Trump friends Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal, Jerry Falwell Jr. and Franklin Graham.
A float honoring the American financial industry would distribute $5 bills to parade attendees to “share the wealth.” The first hundred parade goers will get the money.
On a lighter note, third and current Communications Director Hope Hicks could appear on a float with Corey Lewandowski, singing “my boyfriend’s back.”
Another float would celebrate American industries such as airplane manufacturers and charter flight providers. To demonstrate the administration’s commitment to those industries, frequent flyers like former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry would be on board. And of course, the accompanying music would be “I’m leaving on a jet plane.”
Then there could be float glorifying the mountains, Great Plains and our waterways. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and his horse would arrive by government helicopter to join the march. He and the horse he rode in on would be followed by a float that included dead trees and a tank of dirty water to show how much the Trump administration values the environment. The float would leak lots of oil on the pavement.
Finally, the last float could feature Vice President Michael Pence. Pence, with a halo affixed above his head, would offer thoughts and prayers for all those who came before him in the parade.
What a glorious day it will be!
Job opening – Erie County Water Authority
As noted in a previous post, there is job opening up at the Erie County Water Authority for the part-time position of Commissioner. It pays $22,500 per year for occasional political heavy lifting. If you’re interested you better hurry.
The winning job candidate has probably already been selected. Nonetheless the Erie County Legislature is soliciting resumes from those interested in the position. The deadline is 5 pm on Monday, February 26th. Interviews will follow.
Nothing to report on any additional job posting, but the word on the street is that there could also be a new public relations person coming on board at the Authority – someone who will in turn create another political vacancy.