Tartarin of Washington

When I was in high school, like most of the French kids, I read a book by Alphonse Daudet, called Tartarin de Tarascon. And like anybody who read that book, I had a good laugh.

Yesterday, talking about the Florida shooting Tartarin of Washington told a gathering of US governors at the White House:

“You don’t know until you test it, but I think, I really believe I’d run in there, even if I didn’t have a weapon, and I think most of the people in this room would have done that too.”

Most of the people in America must have burst out laughing. This man has the uncanny ability to put his foot in his mouth.

As Stephen Colbert remarked in his monologue,

“There’s a lot in there that I doubt, but the part I really don’t believe is that he can run,” said Colbert. “Look, sir, we already know how you react to combat situations. You got five deferments from Vietnam.” 

Bragging is a risky occupation, especially when practically everything you do or say is recorded and cataloged. If you are not very careful, what you declared yesterday will swoop back like a boomerang and hit you hard in the derriere. It won’t kill you, but being laughed at is sometimes a fate worse than death.

Bragging is for people who wish they could but can’t. If you can do it, you don’t talk about it, you just do it.

European democracies have found a better system. They have a Prime Minister who does the talk… and takes the fall if the message does not resonate with the audience. The President then interferes and makes a presidential statement cleverly correcting what he told his right-hand man to say.

The limelight is like a tanning bed. It projects high-energy particles that can cause harmful radiation. The longer you stay in it and the more damaging it is to your health and your political career.


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