Nothing Touches the Tired Spot

As the Civil War seesawed and the Union scored one of its rare early successes, a man met a somber-looking Lincoln at the White House.  Trying to cheer the president up, he suggested that the president should be pleased by the latest news from the battle front.  Lincoln agreed but then sighed that "nothing touches the tired spot."

And he should have had a tired spot.  Abraham Lincoln's administration had to deal with the Civil War and its raft of incompetent Union generals; Indian uprisings; an ongoing monetary crisis of epic proportions; and a dozen major foreign issues, including the Trent Affair, which almost brought us to war with Great Britain, all the while being harried by ankle-biting matters like the individual approval of postmaster appointments in towns nobody ever heard of.  Finally, there were major political distractions, like a secretary of war who, in Lincoln's words, "would steal everything except a hot stove"; another Cabinet secretary who sometimes acted as though he had been elected president; and yet another who called Lincoln "the original gorilla" in public.

And to manage the ongoing catastrophes of his time as well as the often obnoxious members of his own administration, Lincoln had but two full-time assistants: John Nicolay and John Hay – young men so overworked that they sometimes slept on the couch in Lincoln's office.  We should remember that so much of the secretarial work these men performed, such as copying important documents by hand, wouldn't be necessary in today's world.  Nor, for that matter, would be the constant running back and forth to the Army telegraph office because there were no telephones.  And we should remember too that they had to open, read, and screen thousands of written letters by hand and write back by dipping a pen into ink and blot what they wrote so that it didn't smear.

Yet this was perhaps the most efficient and successful administration in American history.

And administrations like it were the prime reason Americans paid no or almost no direct taxes to the federal government prior to the Civil War and for quite a long period after.

But that was then, and this is 2016, where insanity rules.  I don't want to get into how many people Barack Obama has working for him today with his one-point-something-billion White House budget.  Or talk about the Pentagon, with its seven hundred thousand-plus civilian employees.

Instead, I want to use one simple illustration from the City of New York.  The Democrat liberal mayor Bill de Blasio, exclusive of a raft of secretaries and majordomo types, along with hundreds of telephones, fax machines, copiers, computers, and printers, has not just two personal assistants.  Nor four.  Nor forty.  He has two hundred sixty-four special assistants.  In other words, he has the staff – and we're paying him in taxes in order to have the staff – to run sixty or seventy Civil Wars.

And he's only one Democrat city mayor out of dozens and dozens.

Of course, the liberal's goal in life is to run every facet of everybody's life.  I guess it takes more people to do that than it does save the Republic.

And those bloated political entourages are why the establishment, Republican as well as Democrat, is so deranged over the idea of Donald Trump becoming president.  Because Trump built and now runs a multi-billion-dollar business on three or four continents.  He has his name emblazoned in yuuuge (sic) letters on his personal aircraft, lives in a shining silver sky tower, and has done and does all that with not much more than Lincoln's immediate official family.  This means he doesn't understand empire-building inside government, because not only is his power base outside government, but government has been shaking him down so long that he detests it along with all its pretentions.  Just watch as he makes fun of politicians as corrupt, incompetent boobs.  War heroes, former presidents of his own party, Latino senators – he doesn't care. 

And so, as far as the establishment is concerned, if he gets elected, it will be like Elliot Ness moving into their Mob-controlled neighborhood lock, stock, and Tommy gun, or like Mom finding those magazines you hid behind the bathroom vanity.  They'll never have hundreds of personal assistants or be able to buy ten-thousand-dollar pantsuits again.

Or bribe, buy, and suborn the mainstream media with access in order to bask in the glow of their adoring writers and news readers.

And so, between now and election day, there is going to be an unending stream of allegations of sexual misconduct and general knavery directed against Donald J. Trump.  By the time it's over, I wouldn't be surprised if he winds up blamed for the Rape of Nanking, for Jeffery Dahmer's murders, for Flint water or the next hurricane.  Or maybe the New York Times will discover that it was Trump who assaulted Juanita Broaddrick or flew geese into Chesley (Sully) Sullenberger's airliner.

Who knows? 

It's going to be a ride.

At the end of the day, nobody needs two hundred sixty-four assistants, and everybody knows that.  Just as everybody knows that the nation doesn't need the Michelle Obama Memorial Garden she's pouring concrete for on the White House grounds, and that we don't need the speaker of the House somehow accumulating millions of dollars in the bank while living modestly on his government salary.  So what remains to be seen is whether or not that tide of character assassination directed against Trump is enough to outweigh our tolerance for these shenanigans – outweigh, that is, our own individual tired spot.

Our own individual very, very tired, tired spot.

Richard F. Miniter is the author of The Things I Want Most, Random House, BDD. See it here.  He lives and writes in the colonial-era hamlet of Stone Ridge, New York; blogs here; and can also be reached at miniterhome@gmail.com.

As the Civil War seesawed and the Union scored one of its rare early successes, a man met a somber-looking Lincoln at the White House.  Trying to cheer the president up, he suggested that the president should be pleased by the latest news from the battle front.  Lincoln agreed but then sighed that "nothing touches the tired spot."

And he should have had a tired spot.  Abraham Lincoln's administration had to deal with the Civil War and its raft of incompetent Union generals; Indian uprisings; an ongoing monetary crisis of epic proportions; and a dozen major foreign issues, including the Trent Affair, which almost brought us to war with Great Britain, all the while being harried by ankle-biting matters like the individual approval of postmaster appointments in towns nobody ever heard of.  Finally, there were major political distractions, like a secretary of war who, in Lincoln's words, "would steal everything except a hot stove"; another Cabinet secretary who sometimes acted as though he had been elected president; and yet another who called Lincoln "the original gorilla" in public.

And to manage the ongoing catastrophes of his time as well as the often obnoxious members of his own administration, Lincoln had but two full-time assistants: John Nicolay and John Hay – young men so overworked that they sometimes slept on the couch in Lincoln's office.  We should remember that so much of the secretarial work these men performed, such as copying important documents by hand, wouldn't be necessary in today's world.  Nor, for that matter, would be the constant running back and forth to the Army telegraph office because there were no telephones.  And we should remember too that they had to open, read, and screen thousands of written letters by hand and write back by dipping a pen into ink and blot what they wrote so that it didn't smear.

Yet this was perhaps the most efficient and successful administration in American history.

And administrations like it were the prime reason Americans paid no or almost no direct taxes to the federal government prior to the Civil War and for quite a long period after.

But that was then, and this is 2016, where insanity rules.  I don't want to get into how many people Barack Obama has working for him today with his one-point-something-billion White House budget.  Or talk about the Pentagon, with its seven hundred thousand-plus civilian employees.

Instead, I want to use one simple illustration from the City of New York.  The Democrat liberal mayor Bill de Blasio, exclusive of a raft of secretaries and majordomo types, along with hundreds of telephones, fax machines, copiers, computers, and printers, has not just two personal assistants.  Nor four.  Nor forty.  He has two hundred sixty-four special assistants.  In other words, he has the staff – and we're paying him in taxes in order to have the staff – to run sixty or seventy Civil Wars.

And he's only one Democrat city mayor out of dozens and dozens.

Of course, the liberal's goal in life is to run every facet of everybody's life.  I guess it takes more people to do that than it does save the Republic.

And those bloated political entourages are why the establishment, Republican as well as Democrat, is so deranged over the idea of Donald Trump becoming president.  Because Trump built and now runs a multi-billion-dollar business on three or four continents.  He has his name emblazoned in yuuuge (sic) letters on his personal aircraft, lives in a shining silver sky tower, and has done and does all that with not much more than Lincoln's immediate official family.  This means he doesn't understand empire-building inside government, because not only is his power base outside government, but government has been shaking him down so long that he detests it along with all its pretentions.  Just watch as he makes fun of politicians as corrupt, incompetent boobs.  War heroes, former presidents of his own party, Latino senators – he doesn't care. 

And so, as far as the establishment is concerned, if he gets elected, it will be like Elliot Ness moving into their Mob-controlled neighborhood lock, stock, and Tommy gun, or like Mom finding those magazines you hid behind the bathroom vanity.  They'll never have hundreds of personal assistants or be able to buy ten-thousand-dollar pantsuits again.

Or bribe, buy, and suborn the mainstream media with access in order to bask in the glow of their adoring writers and news readers.

And so, between now and election day, there is going to be an unending stream of allegations of sexual misconduct and general knavery directed against Donald J. Trump.  By the time it's over, I wouldn't be surprised if he winds up blamed for the Rape of Nanking, for Jeffery Dahmer's murders, for Flint water or the next hurricane.  Or maybe the New York Times will discover that it was Trump who assaulted Juanita Broaddrick or flew geese into Chesley (Sully) Sullenberger's airliner.

Who knows? 

It's going to be a ride.

At the end of the day, nobody needs two hundred sixty-four assistants, and everybody knows that.  Just as everybody knows that the nation doesn't need the Michelle Obama Memorial Garden she's pouring concrete for on the White House grounds, and that we don't need the speaker of the House somehow accumulating millions of dollars in the bank while living modestly on his government salary.  So what remains to be seen is whether or not that tide of character assassination directed against Trump is enough to outweigh our tolerance for these shenanigans – outweigh, that is, our own individual tired spot.

Our own individual very, very tired, tired spot.

Richard F. Miniter is the author of The Things I Want Most, Random House, BDD. See it here.  He lives and writes in the colonial-era hamlet of Stone Ridge, New York; blogs here; and can also be reached at miniterhome@gmail.com.