A Menckenian Take on Page, Trump and Putin

A Menckenian Take on Page, Trump and Putin November 10, 2017

Republican consultant Rick Wilson has penned a column about Carter Page, Donald Trump and the Russia scandal that is so brilliantly written that it rates about 900 milli-Menckens (my longtime readers know that I consider Mencken to be the finest craftsman of the English language this nation has ever produced). This is genius stuff.


Watching Carter Page immolate himself and incriminate a half dozen of his colleagues from the Trump-Putin 2016 campaign has been a strange, almost guilty pleasure. Profoundly disconnected, socially awkward, and reeking of late-stage virginity, he gives off the creepy Uncanny Valley vibe of a rogue, possibly murderous android or of a man with a too-extensive knowledge of human taxidermy and a soundproofed van…

The emerging paper trail of his forays into Russia has been an amazing mosaic of comic-opera misunderstandings, grand and petty corruptions, grade-school category errors, and fundamental delusions about Putin’s kleptocracy. In short, Page is a perfect example of the ad-hoc weirdness of the Trump campaign, Trumpism’s deep, misplaced love of Putin’s Russia, and the power of magical thinking among the coterie of misfit toys Trump calls his advisors. Page is weird and wrong and in most campaigns he’d be the weirdest, wrongest dog in the pack. In Trump world, Carter Page is in the middle quintile…

It’s not that Page is stupid in the same way many Trump voters are mulishly immune to processing empirical facts in the world around them, it’s that Page’s odd affect and thinking reflects something profoundly off kilter about him in the same way Trump’s entire persona consists of bluster, magical thinking, and wilful self-deception.

The delta between Trump’s imagination of himself and the brand image that he desperately wants to sell is always wide; he’s the “billionaire” lout playing the Manhattan sophisticate who gorges on fast food. He’s a man with a lemur wig and a five-pound bolus of chin-wattle who think’s he’s irresistible to women. He’s the serially bankrupt master of the Art of the Deal. The TV talk show character who snuck into the Oval Office on a tide of Russian influence and now thinks he won on the merits.

Page was an easy mark for Russian intelligence services because he lives in the same world of willful self-deception as Trump. Carter Page, International Business Man of Mystery, jet-setting wheeler-dealer and foreign policy savant was a view shared by only Carter Page, world-class dork and sucker.

There’s much more and virtually every sentence just crackles off the page with that kind of biting wit. I’m not generally a fan of claiming pwnage, but Wilson eviscerates Page, and Trump as well. Neither Page nor Trump will notice that they’ve been disembowled so thoroughly, of course, because each of them is starring in a movie inside his own head, a film in which they are inevitably the hero. But there’s little left at this point but a greasy spot on the carpet.

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