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THE FUTURE PAST TENSE

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BOB FRANKEN
FOR RELEASE TUESDAY, JULY 9, 2019

THE FUTURE PAST TENSE
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Let’s give the highest praise possible to President Donald Trump: He didn’t mortify his country on Independence Day.
Other than his Revolutionary War airport thingy, he stuck to the script and gave a vanilla salute to the nation, which tries to overlook that most of its founders were slaveholders. He also choreographed a display of military might, a few flyovers and some tanks scattered around for good measure. Thanks to his staff’s frantic efforts, he even drew a good crowd.
But it’s time to engage in any pundit’s favorite pastime, which is forgetting the past and gazing at the future. As I’ve pointed out before, we enjoy it so much for two reasons: We pretend we have special insights, which, if true, would make our commentary worthwhile. Also, no one remembers our predictions, so there’s no harm in our being dead wrong. Consider us the prophets without particular knowledge. So onward and downward I go with my soothsaying act.
July 4, 2020: Put your money on the president doing another spectacle, a more spectacular spectacle next year. (Update: Since this was filed, he has said so, which just shows you which just goes to show you what an easy things this is) There will certainly be more tanks, more flyovers, more him. While this one ended up being relatively noncontroversial in that it did not embarrass him, the commander in chief got to show off his playthings, his toys of war, just like his autocratic friends do. Before you reproach me to say that he was really inspired by France’s Bastille Day festivities, it is true that the French leaders aren’t autocrats. Just a tad arrogant. But they do make great cheese. We just do cheesy. Anyway, save the date for the repeat next year, prominently featuring POTUS. Did I mention that he’ll be deep in the throes of running for re-election?


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Speaking of the election, which once again shows that I am the king of clever segues: Look for Justin Amash to run for president as an independent. Who is Justin Amash? That would be Congressman Amash, Republican of Michigan. Well, he was a Republican, until he announced in a July Fourth Washington Post opus that he’s leaving the party: “I’m asking you to join me in rejecting the partisan loyalties and rhetoric that divide and dehumanize us.”
Still don’t know who he is? He’ was the only GOP congressman who came out in support of President Trump’s impeachment. So he's certainly not at the top of the Donald Trump list of favorites. On Twitter, Trump called him “one of the dumbest & most disloyal men in Congress,” and added “A total loser” insult to the tweet, just to make sure that Independence Day wasn’t entirely blemished by class.
So where can Amash go? His district is Trump country, meaning he won’t get reelected. So he’ll run for president. If Marianne Williamson can do it, so can he.
Another spiffy segue. As you might know, Marianne Williamson is a New Age guru. (Or is she? Can one be “New Age” if she’s been guruing for ages?) She’s part of the Oprah Winfrey posse. For whatever reason, she joined the crowd of Democratic candidates. She closed out her debate appearance by addressing the president: “I’m going to harness love for political purposes. I will meet you on that field. And, sir, love will win.”
Which gets me to more crystal-balling: Williamson will not win the next presidential election, even if Americans still embrace Burt Bacharach's music, as in “What the World Needs Now (is Love).” Or the Beatles’ “All You Need is Love.” Those boomers will probably go for Joe Biden.
Of course, her emphasis on love is certainly a contrast with President Trump’s message of hate. So maybe I’ll hedge on the Marianne Williamson prediction a bit. If Biden sets himself on fire too many times and everyone else flames out, if her nuts and twigs message catches on, and Amash siphons enough Republican voters from the Trumpster and appeals to the “Never Trump” faction in the GOP, we could be entering a President Williamson's new Age of Aquarius.
As you can see, political forecasting can look easy but it's not. Can you imagine the problems for us if anyone paid attention?

© 2019 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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