August 27, 2017

"Caligula, a narcissist and megalomaniac, became increasingly unhinged."

"He supposedly rolled around on a huge pile of gold coins, and he engaged in conversations with the moon, which he would invite into his bed. He replaced the heads of some statues of gods with his own head, and he occasionally appeared in public dressed as a god. He was referred to as a god in certain circumstances, and he set up a temple where he could be worshiped."

That's Nicholas Kristof in the NYT in "There Once Was a Great Nation With an Unstable Leader." I think he's trying to make us think of an American president. Obama?

141 comments:

traditionalguy said...

No, Obama was Nero. Trump is the only sane one.

BillyTalley said...

And VDH wrote a an article about Claudius, comparing him to Trump. I, Claudius. What a great series.

rehajm said...

Thankfully we're slowly recovering from an unstable ruler. It's the megalomaniacal media what become increasingly unhinged.

Matthew Sablan said...

I don't think his column considered Obama's columns.

MadisonMan said...

I guess this means the 'Trump is a Nazi' theme isn't working

Bay Area Guy said...

I have several anti-Trump friends who, in the early primaries mockingly advised that Trump was a joke, and was going nowhere.

After Trump started winning primaries, my anti-Trump Frieda frantically warned that nominating Trump would be a "disaster" that would split the GOP and guarantee Hillary's ascent to the throne.

After Trump won, these same friends frantically warned that President Trump was a "disaster" who was splitting the country in 2 and would guarantee some liberal's ascent to the throne in 2020, if he wasn't impeached before.

I dunno -I'm getting the impression that my anti-Trump friends tend to make predictions that don't come to pass.

Nick Kristoff? Who cares what he thinks.

Hagar said...

Just saw a Deep Space 9 re-run with a Dr. Bashir story, and all I could think of was "Nicholas Kristof."

But Star Trek is fiction.

Rick said...

I guess this means the 'Trump is a Nazi' theme isn't working

Trump is a Nazi will work on some people, Trump is Caligula will work on others. Why limit the attacks to a consistent theme? The mark of exceptional ideologues is to concurrently hold contradictory beliefs.

gilbar said...

well, at least trump beat Livia Drusilla!

Virgil Hilts said...

Caligula is to Obama as Incitatus is to Valerie Jarrett

Meade said...

"I guess this means the 'Trump is a Nazi' theme isn't working"

That's why they've moved on to 'Trump is a Confederate statue'.

Fernandinande said...

Don't knock Trump Temple until you've been there - the piles of gold coins are all that big.

And you get a free taco bowl if you buy a hat!

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Dude, the Godhood thing was not limited to Caligula. All the Roman Emperors did this, and if you didn't worship them as Divus, well, it was the lions for you. Hence the fate of a lot of early Christians.

Known Unknown said...

The reactions to Trump have been disproportionate to his actions.

Matthew Sablan said...

"The reactions to Trump have been disproportionate to his actions."

-- Any Republican president would be facing much the same backlash. They just might not feed into/fight it as much as Trump is doing.

MadisonMan said...

@gilbar at 9:13... that was really excellent! (laugh)

The Godfather said...

Can someone remind me: When was it Trump said he could stop the rise of the seas? Pretty darned godlike if you ask me.

jwl said...

"Caligula, a narcissist and megalomaniac ...... Obama?"


President Obama - " .... this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal ..."

Valerie Jarrett - “I think Barack knew that he had God-given talents that were extraordinary. He knows exactly how smart he is. … He knows how perceptive he is. He knows what a good reader of people he is. And he knows that he has the ability — the extraordinary, uncanny ability — to take a thousand different perspectives, digest them and make sense out of them, and I think that he has never really been challenged intellectually .... "

roesch/voltaire said...

There are so many memes to describe Trump, many generated by himself, that you can pick any number of them on a given day. Several that seem to stick are that he is an egotist and pathological liar.

Ray said...

The only thing Trump and Caligula have in common is their opinion of the senate. The horse Caligula installed as a Senator

Quayle said...

Kristoff and all of 'em. So many middlemen and intermediaries that, with the internet, aren't needed any more. How sad and pathetic their professional lives must be. They are the walking dead.

Ray said...

Because Trump slimes them right back, and they can't take a punch.

>The reactions to Trump have been disproportionate to his actions.

Angel-Dyne said...

Hey, in Kristof's defense, at least this dumb, ludicrously strained attempt at punditry references a historical figure and historical period that is not Hitler or 1930s Europe.

tcrosse said...

The horse Caligula installed as a Senator

At least Caligula appointed the whole horse. Trump has to deal with the hind parts.

rhhardin said...

Several that seem to stick are that he is an egotist and pathological liar.

What would you say if I asked if this is the way to the village?

It's surprising that the media don't know this trick.

Hari said...

It seems to me to be the media that is becoming increasingly unhinged.

Hari said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Whose apartment in New York looks like it came out of the Palace at Versailles? Gilded thrones for chairs. Gold, gold, gold everywhere you look, portraits of himself in gilded frames. He says the White House is a " dump", it just needs more gilded thrones!

"Only I can fix it!" Who said that?

rhhardin said...

For a good Obama analogy you need to find a historical leader who was a piece of shit.

tcrosse said...

Seems to me to be the media that is becoming increasingly unhinged.

You can say that again.

rhhardin said...

The "Caligula!" campaign signs were the winner.

cronus titan said...

Obama: "I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.”

Self-awareness is not the long suit of the NYT (or nearly all other MSM). MSM hatred of Trump is personal, and visceral so they say ridiculous things like Kristof did.

Sebastian said...

"he set up a temple where he could be worshiped." AKA the Obama Presidential Center--including a library without papers, which would only detract from the worship activities.

D. B. Light said...

I can't read the NYT any more -- so very much unbridled hate. Yes, I know hatred of America has long been a feature of its coverage, but lately it has risen to intolerable levels.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Meanwhile, Drudge has scary clowns on his front page.
Scary clowns!

Narayanan Subramanian said...

Taking advice from Osama Trump should find strong horses for the Senate.

How to find them??!!

cronus titan said...

Modern politics demands dangerously ambitious and self-absorbed people like Obama and Trump. We have become too good at the dark arts of politics. Normal people would never put themselves and, more importantly, their families, through the media meat grinder.

traditionalguy said...

I see DaTrump as as Emperor Theodocian. He means it.

Narayanan Subramanian said...

Taking advice from Osama Trump should find strong horses for the Senate.

How to find them??!!

Paddy O said...

Clinton was certainly the most Caligulan of recent US Presidents. I'm not a fan of Obama's policies, but he seems like a good family man.

Rob said...

If Caligula could put a horse in the senate, then the Clintons can do the same with Chelsea. She's being groomed.

Laslo Spatula said...

"...Caligula, a narcissist and megalomaniac..."

Is it possible to be a megalomaniac without being a narcissist?

Is it possible to be a Juggalo without liking the Insane Clown Posse?

Fucking Magnets: how do they work?

I am Laslo.

Quayle said...

If we're going to insist we're dealing with crazy people, I think the more apt analogy is that Trump is Randle McMurphy leading the ward against Nurse Ratched.

Rob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
robother said...

That Lyin' Tacitus was the CNN of Second Century Rome.

BADuBois said...

Perhaps we need to update Godwin's Law to Caesar's Law for this new era of ours.

Michael K said...

"He says the White House is a " dump",

And then they fixed all the stuff that was deteriorated after Obama.

exiledonmainstreet said...

tcrosse beat me to it.

There is no reason for Trump to install a horse in the Senate when Congress already has more horse's patoots than Churchill Downs on Derby day.

Bay Area Guy said...

The "Get Trump" crowd is clueless, but persistent. They will shift theories and memes in a heartbeat.,

Comanche Voter said...

I have a little black rescue dog who loves to chase a feather lure on a string at the end of a pole. She can and will run round and round after it (occasionally catching and biting it) for as long as I'm willing. Trump is like that--he tosses something out and the press chases its tail endlessly, and breathlessly pursuing the little feathered or shiny object. Every once in a while, the press will actually catch it (the lure) and bite it.

Now when I'm playing with my dog, I finally end the play, say "that's all" and put the lure up.

Trump hasn't figured out how to tell the baying pack of press hounds "that's all". So he keeps on tossing the lure, and they keep on chasing it.

Comanche Voter said...

I have a little black rescue dog who loves to chase a feather lure on a string at the end of a pole. She can and will run round and round after it (occasionally catching and biting it) for as long as I'm willing. Trump is like that--he tosses something out and the press chases its tail endlessly, and breathlessly pursuing the little feathered or shiny object. Every once in a while, the press will actually catch it (the lure) and bite it.

Now when I'm playing with my dog, I finally end the play, say "that's all" and put the lure up.

Trump hasn't figured out how to tell the baying pack of press hounds "that's all". So he keeps on tossing the lure, and they keep on chasing it.

sunsong said...

Dear America:
"You are waking up, as Germany once did to the awareness
That 1/3rd of your people would kill another 1/3rd
While 1/3rd watches."

~ Werner Twertzog

Bob Boyd said...

There's one thing Trump really does have in common with Caligula.

Caligula would also have beaten Hillary.

brylun said...

Isn't Kristoff the one who promoted a sex trafficking organization, in Cambodia I think?

buwaya said...

Indeed, Sunsong, I agree.
But which 3rd is which?

David Begley said...

All of this is cumulative. I think it will work. Hello President Howard Schultz.

Brookzene said...

Isn't Kristoff the one who promoted a sex trafficking organization, in Cambodia I think?

Are they willing to smear anyone with anything? There's a good chance that's a Trump supporter.

Bob Boyd said...

If they really want to hurt Trump they should start writing about how much he is like Obama.

Henry said...

Get back to me when the Senate replaces one of its asses wth a horse.

Henry said...

You could make a case that Obama was more Nero, fiddling while Rome burned. If Trump is Caligula, then history does repeat itself, but in reverse.

Narayanan Subramanian said...

@Comanche ... You love your dog, don't want to run it to death.

Trump and the Press ... No love there.

Henry said...

It didn't take long for the Flavians to show up.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Trump could certainly use the services of a good poisoner.

Mary Beth said...

Narayanan Subramanian said...

Taking advice from Osama Trump should find strong horses for the Senate.

How to find them??!!

8/27/17, 10:02 AM


There's a horse named Traveler in California that might be out of a job soon.

Darrell said...

The Left and its captive Media is committing suicide. A moment of silence, please.

hstad said...

Blogger roesch/voltaire said...
".....Several that seem to stick are that he is an egotist and pathological liar....."

8/27/17, 9:38 AM

Interesting comment? You've described almost 99% of all politicians! Not much thinking put into your comment.

Fernandinande said...

Twertzog has a lot of melodramatic nonsense in his tweeters.

"It is Friday night, and I am in the rural American Midwest. All around us, the sound of guns. Some of them automatic weapons. Normal."

What a sleazy little dork.

JSF said...

Calling a Republican President "Caligula," is not new:

See Krugman, Paul (Enron Advisor) in the NYT (which hasn't endorsed a Republican for President since Eisenhower's second term):

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/03/07/opinion/let-them-hate-as-long-as-they-fear.html
(2003!)

Daily Kos, 2006 (multiple articles here)
https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2006/10/29/263450/-

What does it mean?

The Left never changes, all to Right are Evil, while we on the Right think the Left are flawed.

So it goes.

Molly said...

Dana Milbank, Washington Post May 9, 2009 "On the 105th Day..."

"Maybe Barack Obama really is The One. Yesterday's news was good -- almost supernaturally so. The economy? Recovering. The markets? Rallying. Swine flu? Abating. Drought? Ending."

JSF said...

Let's be honest.

The MSM (NYT, Washington Post, LA Times, etc and the networks excluding Fox) are the Democratic Party's Praetorian Guard. They want to install a Didius Julianus and Hillary was that person....till the public caught a whiff of the arrogance.

As long as the Left and their allies insult the voters (and shame them for wrongthink), supporting the Republicans is the rebellious act.

Achilles said...

Blogger sunsong said...
"Dear America:
"You are waking up, as Germany once did to the awareness
That 1/3rd of your people would kill another 1/3rd
While 1/3rd watches."
~ Werner Twertzog"

It took us a while to wake up and notice you people.

You shouldn't have a bunch of thugs running around in black masks shooting up softball teams.

wildswan said...

The idea seems to be to recycle all world history into an attack on Donald Trump - He is a slave owner, he is a Confederate, He is a KKK, he is a Hitler, He is a KGB, He is a Nixon, He is a man; he is a heterosexual, he is an American, he is a corrupt Roman Emperor. If it was The Bad it is the Donald. And his opposition is The Good. So that's nice and simple.

Plus we can see what is coming. There aren't many safe-bad cartoons left. Safe-bad cartoons do not apply directly to any minority group or any designated victims. We now have to go into history to get fresh safe-bads for clickbait. Roman Emperor was good. But what about Neanderthal, British Colonialist, slave trader?

Meanwhile, Flyover into Beyond Memeland

Trump's policies and those of Governor Walker brought Foxconn to Wisconsin. It is the policy of the Wisconsin Democrats to oppose Foxconn, to oppose 22,000 good jobs in the facility of a global manufacturing leader who could show Americans how to win in the global market as the same time as the company trains and pays 22,000 American workers. The Democrats don't want this, they don't want jobs for American workers and they don't want to know how Democratic party policies destroy the possibility of Americans competing globally. So they throw out memes in place of developing policies to enable America to compete globally from inside the USA. Because Democrats think American workers can live on imaginary memes as if workers were twinkle, twinkle media stars. Even Mitch McConnell is not as bad as that.

DavidD said...

sunsong said...
Dear America:
"You are waking up, as Germany once did to the awareness
That 1/3rd of your people would kill another 1/3rd
While 1/3rd watches."
~ Werner Twertzog

8/27/17, 10:31 AM

Been there; done that.

We called it the Revolutionary War.

Real American said...

Remember when Trump inserted himself into the White House website biographies of all of the previous presidents? Oh, right. That was the previous occupant of the office

The Cracker Emcee Activist said...

"- Any Republican president would be facing much the same backlash. They just might not feed into/fight it as much as Trump is doing."

Very true. Remember, for four years Hillary's election was presented as a certainty. When their reality gets rocked that hard it isn't surprising that people lash out hysterically. The fact that it was Trump (and no one is more gobsmacked by this than myself) just amps the hysterics.

exiledonmainstreet said...

" we on the Right think the Left are flawed. "

No. Some Leftists are just naive or stupid, but some are downright evil. The leftist elites who promote open borders and globalism and gin up these dumb controversies about things like Confederate statues are evil. Their ultimate goal is the destruction of the West and Western values. Their laptop followers are simpletons.

chuck said...

"Werner Twertzog"? That's a new one. But I think we need to hear from the SS here, was there no suitable quote from Gunter Grass?

Molly said...

(Eaglebeak)

I notice that Kristof is careful to be vague and soothing about the fact that Caligula was murdered by his Praetorian Guard (as Kristof says, "a path I would never condone").

But the entire article leading up to the bit on the death of Caligula is self-serving claptrap of the variety of [b]Hitler loved dogs, so if George W. loves dogs, he must be like Hitler.[/b]

Considering the lapses of logic, errors in fact, and overall silliness of the rest of the article, I conclude that this is just more stupid Kristof/Times propaganda against Trump--except for Kristof's taking care to say that he would "never condone" that particular final path....

That brief aside makes the whole article creepy, as noted even by some of the Times readers whose remarks appear in the comments, and who say, in effect, Gee, if I were Trump I'd stay away from Kristof, and certainly from Kristof if he ever visits Capitol Hill.

Friedrich Engels' Barber said...

Does anyone have more ego than sculptors? Given that Pablo Picasso was an avowed supporter of Communism (which killed 4x more people than the Nazis, but is otherwise difficult in its essentials to distinguish from Nazism, both being subsequent steps beyond Progressivism, and both being variants of what might be termed post industrial revolution mass produced slavery), and thus gave support and must share responsibility for those deaths, do we now have cultural and political permission, or indeed obligation, to take a can of spray paint to our local museum’s proud Picasso collection?

Molly said...

(Eaglebeak)

Sorry--I notice I misquoted Kristof on the key sentence--he actually wrote "not a path I would ever condone."

However he framed it, it's eerie.

Talk about a dog whistle!

mezzrow said...

“The New York Times is becoming the Turner Diaries for progressive crackpots…” - some guy I heard this past week.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

I don't think his column considered Obama's columns.

No, it was actually focused on conduct - which apparently doesn't concern the Trump apologists in the slightest.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

The leftist elites who promote open borders and globalism and gin up these dumb controversies about things like Confederate statues are evil. Their ultimate goal is the destruction of the West and Western values. Their laptop followers are simpletons.

"Hi! My name is (Trump Apologist #X5991sxxxse etc.) and I think it's swell if Trump waives the silly and strict VISA entry requirements for the benefit of his own personal clean-up crew at Mar-A-Lago. And that is because I am a blind ideologue who doesn't actually believe what I say and therefore don't mind if Trump doesn't either. Plus I am a follower and all glory must be given to our king. All privilege and anything he wants shall be forked over. Lowering his own taxes is the most glorious goal for our president.

(Shudders, in a breathy voice): Grab! my pussy...."

End scene.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Is Werner Twertzog any relation to Werner Herzog, or is it Herzog's nom de plume when he gets drunk and says stupid things that strike illiterates as being profound?

brylun said...

Hey Brookzene, here's what you called a "smear" on Kristof. It appears in the Washington Postin an article by Erik Wemple, an unlikely Trump supporter.

Feste said...

Breitbart having x/3 fun with 2/3 who voted and playing maybe to 1/3 who did not vote (WaPo, conservative estimate).

“There is no difference between Republicans and Democrats. Put them together. They are the swamp.”

Breitbart, “The Slow Death of the Republican Party.”

No Praetorian Guard needed to initiate all-in swamp suicides - much of the article concerns suicidal national debt that will swamp 3/3.

n.n said...

There is no difference between Republicans and Democrats

Overlapping and convergent interests.

SukieTawdry said...

I say when Trump starts feeding prisoners to wild beasts and conversing with the moon, we start to worry.

I guess this means the 'Trump is a Nazi' theme isn't working.

Whatever happened to the 'Trump is a Russian agent' meme?

I, Claudius. What a great series.

I thought it was, too, when it originally aired. I tried watching it again not too long ago and was bored to death.

Trumpit said...

I once hired a Jamaican lady to do a needlepoint portrait of Obama following a pattern that I bought. She didn't like the dark complexion, so she lightened it a couple of shades without telling me by changing to a thread of her own that was not in the kit. I was upset, but didn't tell her. I decided that she was prejudiced against dark complected people even though she wasn't so light-skinned herself.

SukieTawdry said...

RealAmerican said...Remember when Trump inserted himself into the White House website biographies of all of the previous presidents? Oh, right. That was the previous occupant of the office.

Or when he "honored" others with images of himself? He honored Rosa Parks, for example, with a picture of himself sitting on an empty bus and Neil Armstrong with a picture of himself gazing at the moon. He was quite a guy.

exiledonmainstreet said...

"a needlepoint portrait of Obama"

Please, please send a picture of this to Althouse. It would be perfect for a "Questionable Art Cafe" post.

exiledonmainstreet said...

"(Shudders, in a breathy voice): Grab! my pussy...."

As compared to Obama, who bent America over and invited the world to fuck us in the ass.

Drago said...

Trumpit: "I decided that she was prejudiced against dark complected people..."

"I decided..."

Perfectly leftist.

Perfectly.

eddie willers said...

well, at least trump beat Livia Drusilla!

Thread winner.

That Lyin' Tacitus was the CNN of Second Century Rome.

Second place.

Fernandinande said...

exiledonmainstreet said...
Is Werner Twertzog any relation to Werner Herzog,


Sadly, no.

Twertzog: "To tweet (verb) or a tweet (noun) in a dark, German style that seems erudite, absurd, and possibly morbid."

Jim at said...

"Several that seem to stick are that he is an egotist and pathological liar."

I dunno.

The one that seems to stick the best is President of the United States.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

As compared to Obama, who bent America over and invited the world to fuck us in the ass.

Oh, I get it! You're talking metaphorically!

Cool.

Don't worry. When it comes to learning the difference between metaphorical vs. real assaults and gropings from politicians, as well as entry sites, I'll make sure to consult my expert friend on the matter: exiledonmainstreet.

buwaya said...

Rolling about in piles of gold is not as much fun as one would think. I tried that once, with my own pile, and I suppose you need the right personality for it, more whimsical perhaps.

Or, maybe, a much larger pile of gold.

Oh, and buy gold.

Temujin said...

This 'Trump as Caligula' won't work with the Left. They dumped Western Civilization and Classics studies years ago. Won't find Caligula mentioned in Critical Thinking curricula. None of them know who Caligula was. They'll need to get back to 'Trump as Hitler' very quickly.
"Caligula? That's that hormone-free detergent, isn't it?"

KJE said...

Wake me when they make the "Trump as Idi Amin" comparison.

Ray said...

The scene where Livia discusses poisons with a poisoner was pricelessin iClaudias.

Livia had the ambition of Clinton, but was smarter and prettier.

furious_a said...

"He supposedly rolled around on a huge pile of gold coins...

IOW, Kristof is uneducated in the Classics. He's also thinking of Scrooge McDuck.

"Tacitus" and "Flavians" -- thank you, thank you so much.

furious_a said...

BTW, which Roman Emperor hit from the Ladies' Tee like Chicago Jesus does?

furious_a said...

"There once was..." a Timesman named Kristof,
who when Trump won became very pissed off.
He penned silly screeds,
Which all had the same ledes,
That he cribbed every day from Journolistof.

BDNYC said...

Three of our last four presidents have been narcissistic assholes. It amazes me sometimes how the Left criticizes and psychoanalyzes Trump. Did they not live through the Clinton and Obama presidencies? Trump is a less polished liar and the MSM despises him, but other than that he and those two are of the same blood.

Whatever his faults, George W. Bush was at least an honest, decent man. Humble, even. My criticisms of his personal style are that he's a little too "big-hearted" for a conservative, he's too loyal to his guys, he's naively trusting sometimes ... if he could've just been a little tougher and a little more ruthless, he would've been a much better president. But I'd take his flaws in a heartbeat.

I really wish we had more like him in politics. As much as I dislike dynastic politics, I think his peculiar advantages as the son of POTUS enabled him to achieve success in politics despite not having a personality disorder. I'm not sure a good person without those advantages could ever be elected President.

walter said...

Gotta love the new and improved, post election re-calibrated NY-Times.

narciso said...

Margaret George along with national geographic apparently think nero got a bad rap, his interest in public works and accessubilty to the people should rate over the prosecution of Jews and Christians.

walter said...

Valerie Jarrett - “I think Barack knew that he had God-given talents....
<
..and I think that he has never really been challenged intellectually .... "
--
The latter creating the first.

donald said...

Bullshit, Kristoff would be dancing in a hotel room with two underage male prostitutes, some Korbel and cocaine.

Jupiter said...

"There Once Was A Great Nation ..."

Great Nation? Doesn't little Nicky Kristoff know that the Romans kept *slaves*?!?

Paul said...

I understand Obama and Biden used to do the same games as Caligula. In fact Biden used to 'touch' children in pretty much the same way.

Jupiter said...

Blogger Trumpit said...

"I once hired a Jamaican lady to do a needlepoint portrait of Obama following a pattern that I bought."

Oh Christ! That's choice, Trumpit! Life size, or larger?

"She didn't like the dark complexion, so she lightened it a couple of shades without telling me by changing to a thread of her own that was not in the kit. I was upset, but didn't tell her. I decided that she was prejudiced against dark complected people even though she wasn't so light-skinned herself."

Turmpit, who are you to judge the life experiences of a POC? Especially one identifying as female! Take him away for regrooving!

William Chadwick said...

Il Dufe? Narcissitic? You've got the wrong president!

Angel-Dyne said...

Ray: Livia had the ambition of Clinton, but was smarter and prettier.

Livia was totes slandered by Suetonius. Still, one must admit, dude knew how to generate clickbait.

Eric said...

I get the feeling that the NYT brain trust thinks they've been too subtle. Really.

gadfly said...

In the March 2016 edition of a journal called Middle East North Africa Newspaper comes "Caligula Trumps the GOP, which is considerably more prescient than the NYT article.

For students of Roman history, the name Caligula dredges up images of the ultimate spoiled tyrant. He ruled Rome for three years, starting in A.D. 37. Like Nero, he delighted in causing destruction, even to his own people. Soon after coming to office he decided he was a god and started to dress like one. He even wanted a statue of his godness erected in Jerusalem’s Temple.

He is known for being the ultimate royal gigolo, sleeping with married women and bragging about it. It is even said that he once attended the famous games where criminals were thrown to the lions, got bored, and had his guards throw an entire part of the crowd into the ring. Now that Super Tuesday is behind us, with Donald Trump paving the yellow brick road to win the GOP nomination, it seems that the emperor Caligula has returned in the 21st century.

Trump is the kind of publicity-craving surreal estate mogul who has always believed himself to be godlike. I am not sure if Israel’s Netanyahu would agree to put up a statue of him in Jerusalem, although both might be pleased to sponsor rebuilding of Solomon’s Temple after bulldozing away the current Muslim shrines. I have no idea how many women Trump has slept with, apart from his three wives, but I suspect it is more than zero. And he does seem to be the kind of person who gets easily bored. If the Wall between the U.S. and Mexico does not keep out all the Mexicans, perhaps he can order them taken to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans and have them thrown to the lions.

It must have been rough for serious Roman citizens at the height of the empire to realize they were being ruled by lunatics. It was after all the mightiest empire on earth at the time with several centuries yet to go. The prospect of a Trump victory as the standard bearer of the Republic Party heralds a similar political nightmare some two millennia after Caligula. The United States is the major super power of the day. Although winning the presidency would seem to be a long shot for Trump, the fact that so many Republicans are willing to drink poison tea in the primaries is somewhat alarming, especially since the establishment of the GOP is desperately trying to disown him.

The problem is that Trump is a creature of the media. No matter who he manages to offend, from women to Mexicans to Muslim Americans to the Pope to his rivals and to just about anyone who pops out of his run-amuck mouth, there are enough people out there to egg him on (rather than throwing eggs at the podium where he is speaking). It is significant that his most ardent supporters are rabid racists (such as the KKK), think that slavery was not so bad after all, don’t believe there is any climate change to worry about, prefer a literal Adam and Eve some 6,000 years ago to modern science, and other idiocies of the extreme American right. They are having their moment in the sun, primary after primary, thanks in part to the rest of the circus candidates who split the majority of the vote time after time. Fortunately, the American population overall is not that crazy (just too lazy to vote that often); there is still some sanity in New York, New England and California. But the spotlight remains on Trump as he blasphemes his way by taking a wrecking ball to the remnants of the Republican Party. Caligula would be proud of his successor, but then Caligula was insane.

walter said...

" It is significant that his most ardent supporters are rabid racists (such as the KKK), think that slavery was not so bad after all, don’t believe there is any climate change to worry about"

Oh..this piece surely comes from an objective mind...
Thank God you didn't vote for him Gadfly..or anyone of any relevance.
Hands clean!

Rob McLean said...

"It is Friday night, and I am in a large city, Chicago or maybe Detroit, in the American Midwest. All around us, the sound of guns. Some of them automatic weapons. Normal."

Fixed.

Achilles said...

Blogger The Toothless Revolutionary said...
As compared to Obama, who bent America over and invited the world to fuck us in the ass.

Oh, I get it! You're talking metaphorically!

Cool.

Don't worry. When it comes to learning the difference between metaphorical vs. real assaults and gropings from politicians, as well as entry sites, I'll make sure to consult my expert friend on the matter: exiledonmainstreet.


Considering Trump was talking metaphorically as well you are just continuing your losing streak of just being/looking stupid. Unless you were talking about bill the rapist.

Quaestor said...

Rob wrote: If Caligula could put a horse in the senate, then the Clintons can do the same with Chelsea.

Apples and oranges. Incitatus was a horse. Chelsea is a cow.

Todd Roberson said...

Yes Chelsea is a complete nincompoop but I can't go along with the constant harping on her looks by the Althouse commenters.

I gotta tell ya - I'd definitely hit that. Especially if you ignore the face. The rest ... Not bad ...

Robert Cook said...

"The reactions to Trump have been disproportionate to his actions."

They are proportionate to his intemperate manner and reckless, not to mention, childish and narcissistic tweets and statements, which suggest the actions he might take or consequences he might cause in the future.

Michael K said...

"It is Friday night, and I am in a large city, Chicago or maybe Detroit, in the American Midwest. All around us, the sound of guns. Some of them automatic weapons. Normal."

My son, when he was going to USC in downtown LA, told me he heard automatic weapons fire every night.

Michael K said...

"They are proportionate to his intemperate manner "

Cookie likes those quiet Socialists who rob you quietly.

Chavez's daughter comes to mind. Not a sound and billions stolen.

Robert Cook said...

"For a good Obama analogy you need to find a historical leader who was a piece of shit."

Well, there's Trump.

Michael K said...

"For a good Obama analogy you need to find a historical leader who was a piece of shit."

Well, there's Trump.


Cookie likes Bernie and his 3 houses. What do you think they paid him to ease up on Hillary's crimes ?

Robert Cook said...

Cookie likes Bernie and his 3 houses. What do you think they paid him to ease up on Hillary's crimes ?"

You presume wrong. I don't like Bernie, a fake who talks a good game but is a loyal Democrat and a loyal servant of the ruling elite.

Known Unknown said...

"Sadly, no.

Twertzog: "To tweet (verb) or a tweet (noun) in a dark, German style that seems erudite, absurd, and possibly morbid."

Do you honestly think Werner Twertzog would exist if not for Werner Herzog?

I want to create a Kickstarter that would send me looking for Werner Herzog to give him a hug.

Known Unknown said...

I can imagine Cook is quite frustrated when heading to the voting booth.

Drago said...

Known Unknown: "I can imagine Cook is quite frustrated when heading to the voting booth"

Most leftists are quite frustrated that voting booths still exist.

Michael K said...

I guess Cookie is down to Venezuela's Hugo Chavez for heroes. Castro is dead.

donald said...

Bernie Sanders will tell you right now that he is not and never was a democrat. He is a communist, who calls himself a socialist for whatever reason.

Course he isn't bright enough to understand there is now no difference between the labels.

Robert Cook said...

"I can imagine Cook is quite frustrated when heading to the voting booth."

Not at all. I just vote for the third party candidate most consonant with my views. I would be quite frustrated if I felt compelled to vote for any of the major party candidates, all of whom can be counted on to carry out the agenda of the ruling elites. Even Trump, for all his infantile braying and tweeting, will do what the ruling elites want, as Obama did.

Robert Cook said...

"I guess Cookie is down to Venezuela's Hugo Chavez for heroes. Castro is dead."

Even I looked to either of them as heroes, (which I do not), Chavez is also dead. Haven't paid much attention to the news in a few years, Michael K.?

Segesta said...

Obama is more like Commodus, who broke the Roman treasury with reckless spending and donatives to unions, er, I mean the Praetorian Guards.

I re-read Gibbon's Decline and Fall recently. A key to the empire's success was that ordinary people, including former barbarians, could rise in the system if they embraced Roman culture and ways. A key to its later destruction was when those barbarians decided not to be Roman.
Seems like a lesson to be learned in there.

MPH said...

The amount of insecure projection in these comments is incredible.

MPH said...

Michael K - "My son, when he was going to USC in downtown LA, told me he heard automatic weapons fire every night."

Your son went to school in the 80s or 90s. It's nothing like that now.

Caligula said...

Short memories: has everyone already forgotten Obama's Greek Temple?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1050017/Obama-God-Democrats-build-temple-Barack.html

Todd said...

Known Unknown said...
I can imagine Cook is quite frustrated when heading to the voting booth.

8/27/17, 8:55 PM


To be truthful, aren't we all?

Caligula said...

"Caligula, a narcissist and megalomaniac, became increasingly unhinged."

Who, me? Did you ever consider that perhaps it's you, Mr. Kristof, who's the narcissistic megalomaniac!

Eric Landgraf said...

Lead poisoning tends to bring out these behavior traits in wealthy Romans. Pewter dishes will get you every time.