What’s Donald got against wind power? One might assume that it’s simply because he’s in the pocket of the coal and oil lobbyists, and if all he was doing was quietly signing executive orders and getting the EPA to pass regulations making it prohibitively expensive to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy, that might be a viable explanation. The way he rants and carries on, though, suggests something more, some deeply-held grievance or ingrained phobia. Is he worried that big windmills might one day spoil the view at Mar-a-Lago, or loom menacingly over some of his golf courses, spoiling the putts of patrons with their distracting rotation? Does he think they lower adjacent property values? Do the huge spinning blades make him afraid? Maybe they strike his brainstem as being in the same family as lawnmower blades, helicopter rotors, and other things that can slice and dice you something wicked? What’s it about? It can’t be owing to some sort of nasty childhood incident, they didn’t even have the sorts of wind turbines he’s barking about back when he was a kid. It’s like that, though. You get the feeling he has nightmares about big scary windmills.
Listen to him in the clip above as he slurs his sundowning way through several different lines of incoherent argument; it’s like he’s throwing stuff at the wall to see what’ll stick, desperate to convince the audience. Windmills are so bad for so many reasons. Of course he’s studied them thoroughly, better than anybody else, naturally, and listen, they’re expensive, and manufacturing them spews huge amounts of gasses into the air – you know we have a world, and it’s smaller than the universe, right? – and they kill bald eagles! You want to see a bird graveyard, go find a windmill! In other speeches he’s riffed on wind power’s purported unreliability, screeching such role-playing bon mots as Dear, I want to watch television, is the wind blowing? He’s even claimed that they give off a sound that causes cancer. Next time he’s on about them, don’t be surprised if he tells us they sneak around at night, and hunt in packs.
Then there’s appliances. Especially the ones that use water. If there’s one thing that sets him off, its the new-fangled devices that are designed to use less water than before, frigging things. You have to flush the crapper, like, 14 times! You turn on the tap and water just drips out! And then there’s those goddam dishwashers:
Look, every performer needs a schtick, and clearly the yokels are eating it up, I mean, look at the guys over his left shoulder:
They agree. You can tell. Nothing worse than taps and showers and toilets and dishwashers these days, for sure, you bet. (Just as an aside, these two look so much like the Platonic ideal of Trump supporters that I bet I could have just posted the picture without comment and you’d have guessed they were at one of Donald’s rallies. Especially buddy on the right). Yet there seems to be more than crowd-pleasing patter going on here. Donald spares his most consistent and scathing ridicule for the things that frighten him, and clearly he perceives some sort of existential threat in mechanisms that mitigate inefficiency and waste.
Maybe it’s just modernity in all its forms that scares him, all these new ideas and technologies that force old white guys like him to do lots of things differently, and stop doing lots of other things, and be sensitive all the time instead of just doing what they want, and worry about politically correct bullshit like recycling, and all that “green” crapola. Maybe it’s because things like windmills and appliances that waste less water are just the sort of smug liberal totems beloved by everybody he hates – perhaps electric cars and solar panels are next. Maybe he’s just the presidential version of Grandpa Simpson, and the next thing he comes out with will be when I was learning the ropes, rich men wore spats, as was the fashion in those days, and you could ride in the rumble seat of your dad’s Model A, oh, a beautiful machine that Model A, and nobody gave you grief about what came out of the tailpipe!
Or maybe it’s dementia. Actually, yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s dementia. Don’t worry, though, we’ve had demented presidents before, and I’m sure all the good folk around him will keep Donald out of any serious mischief, just like Nancy did with Ronnie those last two or three years of his second term, and besides, it’s not as easy to unleash America’s vast nuclear arsenal as people let on. Not at all! There is no “red button”. That’s a myth. You have to summon a guy with a suitcase full of electronics, and then punch in a bunch of authentication codes, it’s a real hassle, and the thing won’t work at all if you can’t find that laminated card with all the codes printed on it, which you’re supposed to carry around at all times if you’re the president, and what do you bet Donny lost his? Dollars to doughnuts that card is buried in a sand trap at Doral, or lodged beneath the seat of a golf cart. Safe as milk.
Post script: Chris Hayes reported the other night that Trump’s antipathy towards wind turbines probably has its roots in a lawsuit which he lost, trying to prevent the installation of the devices off shore near one of his golf resorts in Scotland. It may, after all, be all about botched putts – or just about holding a grudge, as ever.