Robert De Niro’s notoriously created quite a stir at the Tony Awards over two weeks ago when he preached to the choir his two-word sermon: “F*** Trump!” Yes, he said more than that, but that concise, not very eloquent sentence is all anyone is likely to remember about the speech in the future.
As for the response, the evening-gowned, tuxedoed attendees acted on cue as predictably as the rising of the sun in Homer: they went wild—not once but twice because De Niro repeated himself. “It’s no longer down with Trump; it’s f*** Trump.”
There was a time such a stunt would have shocked the world of popular entertainment, with guaranteed consequences: public contrition from De Niro, a distancing of the Broadway League and the American Theater Wing (co-administrators of the awards) from the tawdry affair, various and sundry assurances that such a performance was the opposite of professional behavior, and, surely, an open apology to the President of the United States.
Unless I missed something, none of those things happened.
Outlandish as De Niro flights of oratory were, he was mainly stepping up to the plate to introduce Bruce Springsteen, the aging, rocking man of the people. Springsteen’s performance was, well, pure Springsteen: a man from the streets whose seen hard times and just wants Washington to bail everybody out—the sort of thing he’s been crooning about for the last forty years or so. Real Americanism!
And it was De Niro’s introduction to the “Boss” (an appropriate, if shopworn, a sobriquet for someone who would like to boss the country into bankruptcy) that said a great deal more about the rotten ceremony than his (alas!) hardly shocking vulgarity. “Bruce,” he gushed, “you can rock the house like nobody else, and even more important in these perilous times, you rock the vote. Always fighting for, in your own words, truth, transparency, and integrity in government. Boy, do we need that now.”
Did you get that? “Truth, transparency, and integrity in government.”
Obviously, from De Niro’s and Springsteen’s bleary-eyed perspective those are commodities sorely lacking in Washington today. I won’t say that’s entirely wrong, but I have a strong suspicion that the subtext of the statement was that, as of 2016, we lucky Americans had just gone through eight paradisiacal years of government as it was supposed to be, that is, transparent, etc., etc.
Both actor and singer surely felt they were on solid ground in lamenting the disappearance of the recently passed good old days.
In fact, another actor had made a similar claim quite recently. I’m referring to the man who still sends chills up the legs of liberal columnists, academics, and entertainers alike, Barrack Obama, now mere citizen Obama.
For even though he is out of office, he’s far from seeking the quiet life on a farm on the outskirts of Washington, D.C. Not at all. Obama is preparing to step back into the limelight with his own TV “talks,” courtesy of Netflix. Will they call it The Man in the High Castle with a cast of one—or, counting Michelle, two, or perhaps The Crowns?
In anticipation of the great event, Obama is making his voice heard on the only subject that interests him other than himself: politics. In these scandal-ridden times, he declared in Las Vegas late in May, “I didn’t have scandals, which seems like it shouldn’t be something you brag about.” Was that another way of saying he was bragging about it? Absolutely.
Now I suspect some of you are saying to yourselves right now, “But the Obama administration was rife with scandal.” Not so, I say. After all, a scandal is, by definition, a “public outrage”—so my handy ‘Word’ dictionary tells me, and I knew it to be so even without its help. I also know there were no Obama “public outrages” because the always-accommodating leftist press kept the numerous outrages under wraps.
No publicity, no scandal. A tree fell in the woods, but no one heard.
For some of us, it was scandal enough that Obama once crowed to a foreign dignitary that the great thing about being president was that he “could do anything [he] wanted.” Find that in Article II!
However, concerning the scandals that should have been, consider the following unethical-to-criminal events that would have destroyed the Reagan, Bush I, Bush II, and, today, Trump administrations. There was the “Fast and Furious” operation that sent two thousand guns south of the border into the hands of drug-traffickers, which resulted in the deaths of not a few Mexicans and one Border Patrol agent.
Consider, also, the quiet dropping of a Justice Department suit for harassment of voters by the New Black Panthers; the granting of subsidies to “green industries” who contributed to the Obama campaign in 2008; the GSA spending and the Secret Service sex scandals; veterans, unable to get guaranteed VA hospital care, dying by the dozens; Eric Holder’s contempt of Congress; chaos in Benghazi that included the deaths of four Americans, including its ambassador; Hillary’s illegal server and Obama’s certain knowledge of its existence; the IRS’s targeting of conservative political groups—and the destruction of Lois Lerner’s hard drive and its backup.
These were all potential scandals, but what was needed was a press corps willing to get the story. Rather, they perpetuated the complete falsehood of a squeaky-clean eight years under Obama. Our mainstream media were surely capable of uncovering the truth.
If you’re old enough, you’ll recall Watergate and its aftermath, with the presses’ incessant trumpeting of the “peoples’ right to know.” When the fourth estate wants to skewer a politician or an entire administration, it can do it.
Sadly, they chose their turf many years ago, and a scandal is not a scandal when committed by an approved member of the political left.
The real obscenity at the Tony Awards was not Robert De Niro’s adolescent, “F-bomb” laced tirade; it was the underlying suggestion that Obama and the Democrat Party are the great hope for “transparency and integrity” in government. Times are “perilous” indeed if we’re willing to swallow that lie.