Elliot: No hablo trade stuff

The Threatener in Chief thinks he’s a dealmaker, but he’s just full of hot air (and the “freedom gas” isn’t helping).


DI columnist Beau Elliot

Beau Elliot, Columnist

Say, Doc Grammar,

What say you about these Mexican tariffs? Loco o bueno?

Dear Say,

Say Hey. (In acknowledgment of the greatest baseball player of all time.) No hablo trade stuff.

But. Doesn’t it seem a wee bit, well, odd that if you’re the greatest, most magnificent and beautiful dealmaker in all human history, you would make a trade deal with another country and then immediately want to slap tariffs on that country?

Thus seemingly killing the trade deal your minions had worked out over several months?

Oh, well. Crisis averted. The U.S. and Mexico have reached a deal on the tariffs and trade (though they had seemed to have had a deal on trade already, but pay no attention to the man behind the curtain seems to be the motto of these days). The U.S. will forego the threatened tariffs — though the Threatener in Chief seems to love the things even more than he loves his golf courses — and Mexico will deploy its National Guard to do whatever with the thousands of Central American migrants. Newly formed National Guard, we might note.

So all’s well that ends in a well, as Shakespeare once wrote.

At least U.S. automakers can continue to play Ping-Pong across the Mexico border with their “American” cars in progress of being made. We love Ping-Pong. Cars, not so much.

The whole thing, frankly, seems faux. Trump declares a crisis with Mexico, bellows about tariffs. Business people and even some Republicans go, Oh, no. Trump comes rushing back from Europe and declares crisis over, and he averted it. He’s the hero. Again. Pretty good for a guy with five deferments during the Vietman War. Especially one who just witnessed ceremonies honoring real heroes.

Dear Doc Grammar,

Why don’t you ever speak about actual grammar?

Dear Actualist,

We do. All the time. It’s just that a large, inexplicable lard-brained event occurred in the upper atmosphere, and a warp was created in the space/time continuum, so that up is down, sideways is the other sideways, the crooked path is straight, and 2+2=5.

So they say.

Of course, they say a lot of things. Whoever they are.

Ah, yes “they.” Pretty soon, “they” will be the only allowable pronoun by law. They went to the store, but they were closed. That could be I went to the store, you went, we went, the dreaded he/she went — who knows? Not to mention who, or what, was closed.

It will be a better world then. They say so.

Doc Grammar,

Yanking you back to the present, what about natural gas in America?

Dear Present,

We’re simply going to ignore all the seventh-grade “humor” suddenly present in the air. Seventh grade, after all, wasn’t all that big a deal in the whatever size scheme of things. Though you be excused for wondering, from odd time to even time, who is doing all this scheming of things.

You’re spot on, so to speak, about natural gas; according to some reports, the U.S. has more natural-gas reserves than even Russia. And so, the U.S. is all ready to get up and go to send a great deal of natural gas to the world.

Only the Trump administration apparently prefers to call it “freedom gas.”

Or as Steven Winberg, assistant secretary for fossil energy, put it, “molecules of U.S. freedom to be exported to the world.”

Yes, this is what we’ve come to: “freedom molecules.”

Cynics might argue that the peoples of the world yearning to be free might prefer freedom to come somewhat more than by molecule. But that’s why we call them cynics.

Just wait; next we’ll hear about freedom electrons.

Doc Whatever,

Are you ever serious about anything?

Dear Serious,

Well, we’re not all that serious about money, but it turns out that money is serious about us.

Which we think that means you can Jekyll, but you can’t Hyde.

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