1. Opinion

Ruth: How to call a $916 million loss a success story

Donald Trump suffered $916 million in losses but still preens about his business acumen.
Donald Trump suffered $916 million in losses but still preens about his business acumen.
Published Oct. 5, 2016

Consider this a much-needed intervention, especially if you are burdened with having the occasional coherent thought.

Perhaps you are wondering how it is that a presidential candidate can be revealed to have incurred $916 million in losses and still preen and boast of his savvy business acumen.

Or it could be that you are puzzled how that same candidate could spend at least five years gleefully spreading a long-debunked conspiratorial lie that Barack Obama was an illegitimate president by virtue of a fake birth certificate.

Maybe you are confounded how a human circus peanut who has bragged about his numerous sexual affairs and infidelities can get all morally huffy over former President Bill Clinton's countless coo-coo-ca-choos. With a straight face no less.

Ah, but there is an answer to this conundrum. Here is your problem, gentle reader. You are rational.

Donald Trump is more, much more than the Republican Party's presidential nominee. He is the crown prince-designate of the Planet Kalidnoid 7.

To appreciate how a presidential candidate can so blithely dismiss a nearly billion-dollar loss as proof positive of his Andrew Carnegie bona fides, let us go back to the golden age of willful governmental delusion and the administration of Dick Cheney.

In October 2004, reporter Ron Suskind, writing in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, quoted a then-unnamed official who later turned out to be George Bush's Renfield, Karl Rove, explaining why the White House wasn't interested in talking to scribblers of his ilk.

"Guys like me (Suskind) were in what 'we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who believe that solutions emerge from 'your judicious study of discernible reality,' " Suskind wrote, adding this Roveian gem: "We're an empire now and when we act, we create our own reality."

And now Trump has taken Rove's existential claptrap to an entirely new level of Jibber-Jabberwocky.

To great cheers from his supporters, Trump has bragged of his genius in using $916 million in gushing red ink to exploit the nation's complex tax laws.

So through a series of errors, misjudgments and missteps, Trump is still hailed as a Caesar of commerce who has managed to transform a $916 million loss as the raison d'etre to oversee the nation's economic future. Wouldn't this be like putting Barney Fife in charge of the FBI?

Any man who blows $916 million possesses unique skills. And his followers, who so admire Trump's glancing familiarity with verisimilitude, have to be credited with first-class attention deficit disorder.

Since 2011, the Obama administration has been vilified over the collapse of Solyndra, a solar panel company that received federal government assistance as part of the White House's economic stimulus efforts.

The failure of Solyndra has been held up as prima facie evidence of Obama's naive incompetence in his stewardship of the economy, not to mention a colossal waste of taxpayer money.

And just what were Solyndra's losses? By the time the company defaulted on its federal loans, Solyndra had indeed blown through an $535 million in taxpayer money. To be sure, this was hardly a high-water mark of fiscal due diligence.

Yet while Obama has been repeatedly slapped around for Solyndra's $535 million loss, Trump is heralded as the Midas of Manhattan after — ahem — misplacing $916 million, or $381 million more than the Solyndra debacle.

Or perhaps the "reality-based community" simply isn't supposed to take notice of the obvious estrangement of Trump's tenuous hold on the here and now. So many of his fellow travelers certainly don't care their parallel universe candidate is so wrong about so much.

Wrong on the birther blather? They don't care.

An addled 3 a.m. Twitter feud with a Miss Universe from 20 years ago? They don't care.

Engaged in a faux holier-than-thou attack on the sexual escapades of his opponent's spouse when his own marital history has had its randy episodes? They don't care.

Bromance air-kisses to Russia's Vladimir Putin? They don't care.

Bankruptcies, lawsuits, an avalanche of unpaid bills and gazillions in failed business dealings? They don't care.

Karl Rove may have been on to something after all.

In the faraway empire of Trump World, up is down, red is black, and $916 million down a hole rates as pure genius.


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