Jeeves Plays the Trump Card

I

“Jeeves!” I called from my gold-plated bathroom. It’s really a great bathroom, I tell you. The best in the world, truth be told. No one has a better bathroom. Gold fixtures — did I mention gold before? — and large, luminous letter “T”s everywhere. No doubt in anyone’s mind this is my bathroom. And it’s great.

“Sir?” Jeeves had oozed in, emerging from the fog like some rock star going on stage at a casino in Atlantic City. A really great casino, of course. The best one. Still, it was unnerving how Jeeves always manages to be in the precise place I want him precisely when I want him there. It’s uncanny. I wonder if I could patent and license that ability. I’d make a fortune. An even bigger fortune, I mean. I already have a great fortune. It’s huge, really — much bigger than those idiots at the financial magazines say. I’ve sued them already over their lies, those lyin’ liars. And I’d sue anyone who tries to infringe on my legal right to patent and license Jeeves’ abilities.

“Sir?” Jeeves repeated, interrupting my business planning. Most annoying.

“Ah, Jeeves,” I said with authority, as I say everything. “What’s on our plate today?”

“I confess I don’t know, sir. Shall I ring for the cook to ask?”

“Don’t test me Jeeves,” I replied firmly, as one must do with underlings.

“Yes, sir — you refer today’s agenda. Shall I read it to you, or would you prefer to peruse it yourself?”

“Read it, Jeeves,” I commanded in my commanding way, “while I do my hair.”

“It is a long agenda, sir, with a great many details.”

“Just like my hair. Isn’t my hair great, Jeeves?”

“I’ve never seen its equal, sir.”

“Damn right you haven’t. Proceed, Jeeves.”

For the next thirty or so minutes, all I heard was, “Blah, blah…Republican backlash…blah, blah…Hillary…blah, blah…campaign speech…blah, blah…poll numbers…blah, blah…Twitter blowing up…” I mean, how can a man concentrate on his very masculine hair with all that noise?

“Is that all, Jeeves?”

“Yes, sir.”

“I didn’t hear anything in there about suing anyone.”

“No, sir. There is nothing on the agenda today regarding any pending or ongoing litigation.”

“Must be slowing down,” I muttered to myself, then swiftly recovered. “I am not slowing down, Jeeves! Banish the thought!”

“It was banished before it occurred to me, sir.”

“And find me someone to sue. You know how I get when I’m not suing someone.”

“Right away, sir.”

II

“Jeeves,” I said, making the perfect knot in my power tie. I don’t have any other kind of tie, you know. Power. That’s what it’s all about. And making sure everyone knows it.

“Sir?” Again, Jeeves materialized out of the ether and stood at my side the instant I hailed him. I must confess, the man makes me a little nervous sometimes. But I’m not afraid. Never afraid!

“Where’s my hat, Jeeves?”

“Hat, sir?”

“Yes, Jeeves, my hat.” We had been through this before. Jeeves is a fantastic gentleman’s gentleman — the best. I only hire the best, you know. Nothing but the best for me! But he has peculiar tastes in clothes that I haven’t yet been able to break him of, scream and holler and assert myself as I might. That’s how you get things done — scream and holler and threaten. That’s leadership. And I’ve got it. In spades.

Jeeves looked at me, as if seeking guidance. I knew better, of course. He was trying to play his little game. And I was the umpire — too bad for him.

“My hat, Jeeves. You know the one. The only one I’ve been wearing lately.”

“Do you refer to the red one, sir, in the style of American baseball players and corn growers? With the large block letters on the front?”

“You test my patience, Jeeves. What have you done with it? I had it here by my suitcase so you wouldn’t forget to pack it.”

“Indeed, sir? Oh, yes — I do recall seeing it there earlier, but I removed it, assuming it had been placed there by your enemies.”

“Fetch it, Jeeves, with all haste. And just for that, I shall wear it as we go out today. I think it goes very well with my power tie and suit, don’t you?”

Jeeves is normally unflappable — I mean, that chap wouldn’t flap in a Category Five hurricane — but I’m certain I saw him turn several shades lighter — quite pale, really — for just a moment until he recovered himself.

“Sir, I…” he began, at an uncustomary loss for words. “Unsuitable, sir, if I may.”

“Unsuitable, Jeeves? Balderdash. I’m the most popular, most beloved person in this country — which I’m going to make great again! — and I say what’s suitable and what’s not. And I say that is the hat I wear, Jeeves. And there will be no more fuss about it.”

“As you say, sir.” I would say he even looked physically ill for a moment as he replied, but Jeeves, of course, is the picture of health. Not as healthy as me, of course, but healthy enough for a manservant.

And with that, we departed to see my loyal and adoring fans.

III

“Look at them, Jeeves!” I exclaimed from off-stage. “Great people! The best! I really have the smartest and best people for my followers, eh, Jeeves?”

“I have read recently in some of the more reputable outlets that academic surveys of your…followers…reveal that, on average, they fall one standard deviation below the…”

“A rhetorical comment, Jeeves. Since I am the greatest, so must my followers be. It’s only logical. Why is that so hard to understand?”

“Your logic is truly impenetrable, sir.”

“And enough of the academic this and reputable that and whatnot. What good have they done anyone? They keep saying I’ve got nothing to offer and wait for me to implode and yet, here I am, King of the Hill, Top of the Heap, as the song goes.”

“Song, sir?”

“Never mind. The point is that no matter what I do or say, I get more popular all the time, the polls and studies be damned. What the hell do they know?”

“You make a point, sir. I am consistently astounded at the inaccuracy of the prognosticators.”

“Yes, those lazy do-nothings. And of people who make predictions, too.”

“Indeed, sir.”

“So, what shall I say today, Jeeves? What do you think the unwashed masses want to hear from me?

“If I may suggest, sir, a certain unity of message that binds all your speeches together and therefore creates a fabric of continuity from one campaign stop to another has been shown to be an effective…”

“Stop blathering, Jeeves. I say what I feel like saying. In the moment, as it were. People come to hear me, not some ethereal ‘unity of message’, and whatever I say is what they want to hear, whether they know it ahead of time or not. That’s real leadership, Jeeves — give the people what I want. And I want to talk without any preconceived ideas of what I’m going to talk about. Authenticity, Jeeves — that’s what I’m all about.”

“Forgive me, sir, but it has come to my attention that there are those who feel your…authentic?…style is merely a mask for a platform not well-though-out and a more standardized message may help convince the as-yet-unconvinced of your sincerity.”

“My sincerity, Jeeves? No one is more sincere than me! And what am I sincere about? Me! I’m sincerely convinced that I am great and I alone can Make America Great Again. If that’s not sincere, I don’t know what is.”

“Indeed, sir, your sincerity is clearly unambiguous.”

“I’m glad you finally recognize that, Jeeves.”

“But, again sir, if I may — I might suggest a sincerity more along the line of great American leaders…”

“Like me?”

“Yes, sir, among others.”

“For instance?” I was getting impatient with Jeeves. I mean, really — who could compare to me in the leadership department? I have patience for Jeeves’ eccentric ideas, but only so much.

“Perhaps you could look to President Washington. Most say there were none greater than he.”

“Up until now, you mean.”

“Clearly, sir.”

“And what was so great about him? Isn’t he the sourpuss on the one dollar bill? Not that I ever use one dollar bills, but people talk, you hear things… If he’s that great, why is he only on the One? I intend to grace the face of the One Trillion Dollar Bill.”

“Sir, I regret to inform you that there is no One Trill…”

“Well, there’s going to be. I’ll see to it myself. My face and a big, yuuuuuge letter ‘T’ in the background.”

“’T’ for ‘trillion’, sir?”

“Don’t be obtuse, Jeeves. You see those ‘T’s all over my house and my jet and my boat and my hotels and my golf courses and my, well, everything.”

“Of course, sir. Obtuse, indeed.”

“Anyway, where were we, Jeeves?”

“Washington, sir?”

“No, Jeeves, we’re in New York. Where’s your sense of direction?”

“President Washington, sir — we were discussing his speeches and how you might use his example to your advantage. And if I may add, sir, you may want to consider your pledge to — what’s the word…’pivot’? — and act more presidential. The people have been waiting.”

“And just how do I act more presidential by looking backward at a guy who’s been dead for two hundred years? Look forward, Jeeves! That’s my message. Never look back — never apologize.”

“Words to live by, sir.”

“And I do.”

“Clearly, sir.”

“Fine. I’ll humor you a little, Jeeves. What sort of great things — and I only say great things! — did this Washington character say that made people think he was so great?”

“American mythology states that he never told a lie, first of all…”

“And neither have I, Jeeves! I say what I believe at the time I say it, and therefore, by definition, cannot be a lie. Ergo and ipso facto.”

“Sir?”

“Never mind. What else did this old, dead guy say?”

“If I may quote from his famous farewell address, sir, it might be instructive: …my feelings do not permit me to suspend the deep acknowledgment of that debt of gratitude which I owe to my beloved country for the many honors it has conferred upon me; still more for the steadfast confidence with which it has supported me; and for the opportunities I have thence enjoyed of manifesting my inviolable attachment, by services faithful and persevering, though in usefulness unequal to my zeal. If benefits have resulted to our country from these services, let it always be remembered to your praise.

“Good lord, Jeeves, wake me up when you’re done. What a load. Do you think he really talked like that?”

“To be precise, sir, the address was in fact written by Alexander Hamilton, also author of many of the Federalist Papers, the Secretary of the Treasury and Washington’s Aide-de Camp during the unfortunate events of 1776 and following…”

“1776, Jeeves? What’s that got to do with anything?”

“I prefer not to dwell on it, sir.”

“Well, it bored me to tears, No wonder I don’t use speech writers. A speech like that would send a TV audience to throwing bricks at the screen in boredom.”

“Sir, I don’t believe television was a…”

“It’s the most important thing, Jeeves! Without television, how can I get my message to the masses? Lessons from the past, indeed. Speak fast and loud and use small words so those simpletons out there will buy into it. Fire and brimstone, Jeeves — that’s what I’ll bring ‘em.”

I didn’t want to exhaust my store of fire and brimstone on Jeeves. Not that I could exhaust it. I’m inexhaustible. You can take that to the bank. Where I store my billions of dollars. Jeeves means well, I’m sure, but he just doesn’t understand human nature and how to use it to my advantage. Which is how everything should be used. To my advantage. To make the country great and so on…

I waited impatiently behind the curtain for my introduction. As if I need any introduction. Everyone knows me. And loves me. But for some reason, it has become expected that someone less important than I introduce me. Well, it had better be an introduction worthy of my stature.

“Who’s introducing me, Jeeves?” I asked with impatience. “Is it that funny little guy from Long Island who has the man-crush on me?”

“Sir?”

“You know the one. He’s got the TV show and is always drooling over me, which I would take as a compliment if I were a woman — and I’d be the world’s most beautiful woman, Jeeves, if that were the case — and I’d be a woman worthy of, well, me.”

“A stunning possibility to contemplate, sir.”

“Stunning, yes. That’s me. Anyway, is that toady going to introduce me, or what?”

“According to the program, yes, sir, Mr. Hannity of Long Island will shortly be making the announcement of your presence.”

“As if my presence hasn’t been announced enough. Wait, here it is…”

I strained to hear the voice of my salaried media outlet sycophant. So nice of him to give me all that free air time without any pesky questions from real reporters. Even if his admiration of me borders on creepy. Still, free air time is free air time — Art of the Deal and all that, what?

“Your cue, sir.”

I was so caught up in my own reverie that I nearly missed my entrance. Not that it would have mattered, since everyone was here to see me, anyway. Let them wait. They’ll forgive me. They always do, no matter what.

“Thank you, Jeeves, I was caught up in my own reverie.”

“Not at all, sir. I’ve become accustomed to…”

“And here we go!” I exclaimed and fairly leapt onto the stage, leaving Jeeves behind as he called out something about “Teleprompter” and “stay to the script” or some such rot. I say what I say and people love me for it. It doesn’t matter what I say or how I say it — they eat it up. And if someone doesn’t like it, hey, that’s what Twitter is for, right? A short, insincere non-apology and all is right in the World of Me. As it always is. Because I’m great. Just like I’m going to make America. Again.

IV

“Well, Jeeves,” I crowed, “that’s one for the record books, eh?” I had just finished my speech and, as always, the people ate it up. No matter what I said, they cheered and applauded and chanted my name. Of course.

“Mesmerizing, as always, sir. You never fail to surprise and astonish.”

“Keep ’em entertained, Jeeves. That’s the key. Why bother with all this policy stuff and Constitution trivia that the nerds like that guy from Texas who looks like Grandpa Munster keeps blabbering on about?”

“Senator Cruz, sir?”

“No, not him. Lyin’ Ted — that’s who I’m talking about. Drives me up a wall with his oh-so-smarter-than-you attitude.”

“To be fair, sir, he was a debate champion at University and argued successfully in front of the Supreme Court. When he was young, he memorized the Constitution and was top of his…”

“If he’s such a great lawyer, why doesn’t he work for me? Speaking of which, Jeeves, I’m bored. Have you found anyone to sue yet today? Don’t want to get out of practice, you know.”

“Not yet, sir, I regret to say. I know how important it is to you to assert your dominance by way of litigation.”

“Dash it, Jeeves, I give you one task…”

“My apologies, sir. But if I may make an observation, your remarks on the dais today about that particular religious group should motivate not a few people to challenge your intellect and your grasp of historical context.”

“And then I sue them for libel, Jeeves?”

“As always, sir. I expect you should be hearing from them within the hour.”

“News travels fast these days, eh, Jeeves?”

“Indeed, sir. The internet has allowed a more egalitarian, inclusive discourse throughout the world, allowing even the most remote regions access to…”

“A travesty, Jeeves. Do you suppose I could buy the internet? That’d show ’em. Not like the old days when guys like me could own all the newspapers and make them print whatever I want.”

“No, sir. With the advent of electronic communications and the world-wide web, it has become decidedly more difficult to control the message, as the consultants say.”

“Who have never done me a dashed bit of good, I might add. I listen to their advice, then I do the opposite, and look at where I am, Jeeves. Number One. Numero Uno. The Big Cheese. El Jefe, to those who would try to defeat my wall. That I’m going to build. And make them pay for. You don’t doubt me on that, do you, Jeeves?”

“I am consistently astounded at the things you do, sir.”

“As is everyone else. Because I — and only I! — can Make America Great Again, to use my trademarked phrase. Say, do you suppose I can pay myself a royalty for using that? Never miss a trick, Jeeves — that’s the key.”

“There is little that escapes my attention, sir.”

“You’re a good man, Jeeves.”

“I’m happy to have given satisfaction, sir.”