According to the former Arkansas governor and presidential wannabee, Mike Huckabee, President Trump ranks right up there with Winston Churchill. Oh, and former President Obama should be relegated to the garbage bin alongside Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister that preceded Churchill and shamefully appeased Hitler before World War Two began. (Many war-wary Brits applauded Chamberlain for it at the time.)
Well, Huckabee’s judgment-call about Trump tells you a lot about Huckabee – and about our country. For starters, his ignorance of history is appalling, and such a glib comparison is, as one commentator put it, “ridiculous”. Only in a country like ours – where ignorance, inattention, susceptibility to lies, and blind partisanship are rampant – would such a deeply disrespectful comparison even be noticed and reported.
Here are a few preliminary, cautionary points about how Trump will be treated by the supreme court of history. First, Donald Trump doesn’t yet have much (political) history. (His business history is a swirling cesspool.) But what there is has been breathtaking: prolific, malicious lying (a world record so far), gratuitous and self-serving bullying, wanton self-dealing, tax legislation that will harm the country in many ways, and a broad array of executive actions that are undermining the ability of our government to serve the common good – from the State Department to the EPA, the Interior Department, the Department of Education, FEMA, the courts (you name it). Especially noteworthy for future historians are his mounting efforts to subvert the rule of law and the course of justice with respect to his own highly suspicious and probably illegal acts. Winston Churchill he is not.
The second thing to know about the judgment of history is that the winners always seem to fare quite well. As Churchill himself put it before writing his own, award winning multi-volume history of World War Two, “History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it.” If our country continues its slide toward a self-perpetuating oligarchy along the lines of “Putin-land” (once an unthinkable idea), perhaps we will ultimately have only an “official” version of the Trump presidency. If so, God help us.
In the meantime, my advice to Mike Huckabee is that he should start his education with the Wikipedia biography of Winston Churchill. To modify an old expression, a little knowledge is better than nothing.
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