The Surreal Political World In Which We Live

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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There was a social media report yesterday that Fox News had fired Judge Jeanine. It was grounded in a story on a basement internet site run by some guy who heard it from his neighbor the night before. Seems that the judge has been making the twilight zone news now for about four months running in the same erroneous story. But the thing is, with Fox in a daily state of flux as it tries to recover from the loss of Bill O’Reilly, it’s the sort of thing that might be true.

Is Fox recovering from the loss of the “no spin zone” or not? Well, you can play musical pundits all month long and never really arrive at the chemistry that O’Reilly brought to prime time news. At times, the new lineup sort of resembles a frat house debating society. Let’s put it this way: saying goodbye to Megyn Kelly was good business; putting Bill out to pasture was bad.

But it is difficult to know who is making the news and who is delivering the news these days in the battle of the network news stars. It’s all about celebrity status and ratings. I’m just waiting for Fox to hire the someone resembling that wonderful Howard Beale character in the film Network to really stir things up and we can all go to our windows and shout “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

Truth is, television news has been operating in a Howard Beale cosmos for many years now. It’s just that we can’t distinguish our surreal political world from the real one anymore.

Speaking of surreal, there was something uncannily bizarre about President Donald Trump’s meeting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull aboard a decommissioned aircraft carrier. Don’t get me wrong: the military moment was at once poignant and effervescent. Trump is getting almost as good at these kind of events as Ronald Reagan. But there were Trump’s frequent references to media mogul Rupert Murdoch and you had to wonder for a second whether there would be an odd moment when the man who fashions the news would become the news.

Trump also expressed what sounded like deep admiration for the Australian healthcare system. Now just a minute, folks. Australia has the same state-run, taxpayer-funded, single-payer medicare scheme that Canada has and that was the one that Trump kept telling us was what the U.S. wanted to avoid. Obamacare, you understand, is more than one step removed from what Canada, Australia and the U.K. operate.

So why on the same day that he managed to eek out a House victory on    repealing Obamacare did he decide to embrace a state run system that proponents will always tell you is “free,” but only for those who aren’t paying any taxes?

The most surreal moment of the week has to go to Hillary Clinton, who live in her own insulated cosmos and continues to live by rules that are either of her own invention or passed on by a Mafia Don. There was the defeated Democratic presidential candidate this week, reemerging yet again from her 30 minute retirement from politics. She was ready to take full responsibility for the loss, prepared to let the buck stop there — as long as she can still blame Comey, the Russians and Twitter users.

In fact, as odd as things can get in the Trump White House, with budgets that appear to be written to appease Democrats and healthcare bills with no dollar value attached, all you need is a few minutes of Hillary to set your mind at ease and you know deep inside of you that Trump’s victory saved the nation from a fate worse than Bill Clinton.

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