Today’s Impromptus is headed “Down the hatch, &c.” I begin with war criminals who succeed in killing themselves, such as the Balkan guy the other day. Then there are those who try and fail — such as Tojo. (We nursed him back to health, then hanged him.) (Well, we tried him first — I should have said that.)
I also talk about the power of the U.S. president — which includes symbolic power, and the power to boost causes. Reagan, for example, boosted the cause of Solidarity in Poland. (By the way, he is the only union leader to become president.) He lit a candle in a White House window on Christmas Eve 1981. He encouraged other Americans to follow suit.
This might have seemed small — it meant a lot to a lot of people.
In recent days, Trump has retweeted MAGAPILL and Britain First. This gives those organizations a mighty boost. It matters. It is Christmas morning for those groups, a bonanza.
Moreover, the president has hinted, darkly, that a TV host had a hand in a young woman’s death, years ago. This, too, matters.
If you’re umpiring the Trump administration — calling balls and strikes — what do you do with that? Is that a normal ball or strike, like this executive order or that? Umpiring has its limits, I think. I wonder whether it can capture what is most important about a presidency.
Last month, I asked a question here on the Corner: What is the most representative state, of the 50 American states? What is nearest a microcosm of America? I myself was plumping for Ohio, thinking that their slogan, “The Heart of It All,” had merit. Readers sent in ideas of their own. There were more votes for Missouri than I would have guessed. (Also, Florida is a fascinating state, a fascinating peninsula — a huge variety of people there.)
In any event, I publish some mail, about states, in Impromptus. See what you think.