News & Politics

'Straight Outta Feelings': My Path to Political Zen in the Age of Outrage

The election of 2016 was the beginning of an interesting political odyssey for me, even though I wasn’t aware of it at the time. I had grown weary of the Republican party, but not because of Donald Trump. I was a Trump skeptic back then, though.

For the first third of the year I was doing a weekly show with John Phillips and Scott Ott on the old PJTV, and just about every prediction I made was wrong. I began to have an inkling that it was all getting weird but I obviously didn’t know just how weird. Rather than get frustrated, I began a process of political detachment that ultimately led to me being able to stay involved in politics and thoroughly enjoy the spectacle it provided.

Flash forward to early 2017, a few months into the Trump Era. I was a guest on KABC radio on the show John co-hosts with Jillian Barberie. Jillian kept asking me about different things that were going on regarding the president and wondered if I was frustrated or offended by any of them.

I wasn’t.

John then observed that I had reached a state of “zen-like calm” in 2016 just as everyone else was getting worked into a fever pitch.

It was true. Since August of the previous year, I’d been encountering people who were angry with me for not being angry. I was more entertained by their fits of rage than I was inclined to respond in kind.

I decided to write about my journey and the result is “Straight Outta Feelings (Political Zen in the Age of Outrage)“, which is now available on Amazon. It is a relatively short, retroactive examination that begins during the primaries and goes through to the present, examining how I went from being a Trump skeptic to thoroughly enjoying almost every single thing he does to aggravate the Democrats and their media puppets.  I’ll share a couple of excerpts here.

The first is about the Evan McMullin insanity:

Instead, those of us who refused to believe that Donald Trump’s mere presence in the race signaled the end of the American Experiment were subjected to what the McMullin supporters swore was a very realistic scenario in which he could win the presidency. It involved Trump winning some states he wasn’t supposed to, which in turn would mean neither he or Hillary would reach 270 electoral votes.

This scenario also hinged upon McMullin winning his native state of Utah, which we were told by the fevered Nevers was totally plausible. Among the reasons given for Utah being in play for McMullin was that he is Mormon.

That’s right, conservatives were supposed to save themselves by stooping to identity politics.

Once the above objectives were accomplished, the rest was fairly simple to understand for those who have even a rudimentary grasp of American electoral politics. Zeus would descend from Mt. Olympus, mate with a sea nymph whose nectar had been spiked with the eye of an albino pelican, and Evan McMullin would spring forth from that union as President of the United States.

Many of the people who brought McMullin to political life were initially Rubio supporters. The thoroughly outlandish path to the presidency they had mapped out for McMullin was actually more fleshed out than the “Just add Florida!” plan they had for Rubio.

In the end, would-be President McMullin didn’t even get half as many votes as Trump did in Utah, once again leaving many of the GOP’s finest strategists standing outside in the cold, insulated by nothing more than their insistence that they were intellectually and morally superior to the people who kept handing their asses to them.

How has that worked out for his fan club?

Here is a longer excerpt about President Trump’s use of social media, which I was praising from his earliest days as a candidate:

Obviously, Donald Trump wasn’t the first political candidate on Twitter. Social media has been a part of campaigning for several years.

The standard model of social media usage for politicians is that a perky millennial who “gets Twitter” runs the account for Senator Luddite, posting bland statements that all read as if they’d been pulled from a direct mail campaign targeting nonagenarians. It’s not unlike making a television commercial that does nothing put point a camera at a billboard for sixty seconds. The senator will then tweet something on his own, usually something benign like congratulating an athlete and done under the strict supervision of the perky millennial. He usually adds his initials so that everyone can see that he left the Senate Dining Room and got in front of a computer like a regular man of the people.

Even Barack Obama-the super hippest godlike POTUS in the history of the universe-didn’t do all of his own tweeting.

What set Trump apart as a candidate and now as a politician is that he gets Twitter as well as the perky millennials do.

Twitter isn’t like other social media, and I’m mostly talking about Facebook here.

It moves faster, which is why it’s a great news source. It is leaner than other social media, even with the expanded character count. It’s made for stream-of-consciousness material, not scripted messaging.

Donald Trump was made for Twitter and Twitter was made for Donald Trump.

The very thing that most people complain about Trump doing on Twitter is what makes him so good on the platform. Detractors and even people on his side often say they wish he wouldn’t tweet whatever pops into his head. That, however, is exactly what Twitter is best for.

As of the time I am writing this, I have tweeted over 193,000 times. That’s really not much-I have friends who are well beyond the 300K and 400K marks. You don’t crank out content like that by putting a lot of thought into each tweet. In fact, if I begin to type a tweet and think it over long enough to maybe want to edit it I usually just scrap the whole thing.

Imagine being in a conversation with someone who pauses and thinks for thirty seconds before every response he makes. You will either fall asleep or be arrested for strangling the guy. That’s what the canned, scripted overthinkers on Twitter are like. They are somewhere else, though, so you can’t strangle them, which makes them all the more annoying.

President Trump understands what the Twitter standard operating procedure is. If you wake up and think of something to tweet don’t think about whether you should tweet it, just tweet it. If you happen to be the President of the United States then really f*****g tweet it.

What Trump the candidate did was impressive enough, but his presidential tweets have been even more trailblazing in the world of political communication.

As always, Trump’s real value for me is directly linked to how much aggravation he causes the media. His Twitter habit as president has probably tripled the number of Xanax prescriptions written for people who work in the Washington bureaus of the major news agencies.

After decades of seeing the press spin positively or negatively-but rarely believably-for presidents depending on their party, watching Trump bypass the media as if they weren’t even there has been one of the most refreshing things I’ve ever seen. That he does it on a platform run by a leftist billionaire who wants to shut up anyone who disagrees with him makes me wish he would tweet a lot more.

The Kindle edition is only $4.99. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can get a free Kindle reader on your phone or computer. A paperback version will be available by the end of the week.

Since I’m plugging here, I also just wrote two new chapters and published a second edition of my examination of the lunacy going on in public education and academia, “Don’t Let the Hippies Shower“.  It too will have a paperback version soon.

Many thanks in advance to those who decide to read either. Being miserable about politics 24/7 is a liberal thing. I’m trying to make keep it fun. We don’t want to be them.