Three Cheers for “Baseless”

Whether Donald Trump’s behavior on January 6 actually meets the legal definition of “coup” or “insurrection,” or merely represents the umpteenth “triggering” of Democrats eager to benefit from the latest whirlwind of Trumpian chaos, remains to be seen.

While this weighty matter is sorted out, perhaps we can take a moment to reflect on the bright side of having had Donald Trump as president. One thing we ought to appreciate is that his fast-flowing river of verbal bullshit has finally persuaded the media to call out a presidential assertion for being “baseless.” This constitutes a long-overdue advance in our national political vocabulary, one that should be applied to previous occupants of the Oval Office in the following manner:

George W. Bush’s baseless claim of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq led directly to killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

Barack Obama’s baseless view that Wikileaks publishing accurate information constituted an attack on the United States means that journalism is actually treason in his mind.

Bill Clinton’s baseless notion that blowjobs are not sex raises the possibility that Gore Vidal died a virgin.

George Herbert Walker Bush’s baseless claim that Saddam Hussein’s troops disconnected babies from incubators and left them on the cold floor to die was used to invade Iraq and kill 200,000 people (Pentagon estimate).

Ronald Reagan advanced the laughably baseless claim that tiny Nicaragua posed a national security threat to the United States.

Born Again Jimmy Carter promoted the baseless view that Bronze Age religious legends are an appropriate real estate guide to the contemporary Middle East.

Richard Nixon stuck to his baseless view that lowering U.S. troop deployments while carrying out technological extermination of hundreds of thousands of people throughout Indochina constituted a policy of peace and honor.

Gerald Ford claimed without evidence that pardoning Richard Nixon’s criminal conduct and papering over wholesale extermination in Vietnam was a form of national healing.

Lyndon Johnson’s baseless allegation of “open aggression on the high seas” by North Vietnam was a transparent attempt to justify his own far broader aggression in Indochina.

In order to invade the island, John F. Kennedy baselessly claimed that Cuba was a “dagger” pointed at the United States.

President Eisenhower baselessly accused Julius and Ethel Rosenberg of causing the Korean War.

Harry Truman claimed without evidence that sit-in protesters at lunch counters in Greensboro, North Carolina were Communist-controlled.

Franklin Roosevelt baselessly claimed that Benito Mussolini was an “admirable Italian gentleman” in a letter to a friend.

James Polk claimed without evidence that Mexico “shed American blood on the American soil” after U.S. soldiers invaded Mexico in 1846.

Teddy Roosevelt baselessly claimed that the Anglo Saxon annihilation of Indian nations was an act of world benefaction, in that it replaced a “savage” race by a “virile” race.

In 1783, George Washington said baselessly that wolves and Indians were both “beasts of prey,” differing “in shape,” but not substance.

Andrew Jackson baselessly asserted that “civilized” white settlers could not be bound by “treaties with the Indians,” who he insisted were savages.

Abraham Lincoln baselessly claimed that “there is a physical difference between the white and black races” that prevents social and political equality.

Thomas Jefferson never overcame his baseless view that black people were intellectually inferior to whites.

Woodrow Wilson enthusiastically endorsed the baseless KKK view (depicted in D. W. Griffiths’s “Birth of a Nation”) that elected black legislators were glorified apes, black house servants doddering idiots, and all black men racially programmed to rape white women.

While replacing Spanish colonial rule with U.S. imperial rule, William McKinley baselessly claimed that “the spirit of all our acts” in Cuba “has been an earnest and unselfish desire for peace and prosperity.”

The consistent adoption of this single word to take note of our presidents’ endless parade of lies, distortions, and absurdities could transform American political life from top to bottom. Instead of regarding them as exceptionally meritorious “public servants” devoted to wise stewardship of the nation, which view cannot begin to account for our present circumstances, we might – by consistently calling out the empirical bankruptcy of their views – more accurately see them as pathological liars and conceited frauds whose dedication to profit, flag, and anthem directly undermines “the general welfare” the Constitution supposedly obligates them to promote. At that point the indignation currently targeting Donald Trump for trying to overturn a single election might more appropriately be directed at the entire political class and its lapdogs in the corporate media, whose accomplishments in successfully rigging electoral outcomes on behalf of rich moral imbeciles vastly exceed Donald Trump’s most ambitious imaginings.

Michael K. Smith is the author of The Madness of King George from Common Courage Press. He co-blogs with Frank Scott at Read other articles by Michael.