Tr-mp’s Speech: “You Ain’t Seen The Las’ Of Ernest T. Bass!”

The early episodes of The Andy Griffith Show (which first aired in 1960) were filled with wonderful characters. One was Ernest T. Bass, which Wikipedia describes as “an ignorant and rowdy mountain man with a penchant for troublemaking, which wreaks havoc on the otherwise sedate town of Mayberry.” Now, Tr-mp is a different kind of mountain man—Tr-mp Tower is a Manhattan mountain—but he is as ignorant and rowdy as Ernest T. Bass. And he shares other traits. Here’s more from Wikipedia on Bass:

When threatened with the law, Ernest T. is adept at eluding Sheriff Taylor and Deputy Fife. He taunts the two lawmen with his famous catchphrase, “You ain’t seen the las’ of Ernest T. Bass!” Ernest T. loves breaking windows with rocks and prides himself on being “the best rock thrower in the county.” He is notoriously importunate with the women he desires, and regularly uses this tactic to get their attention. He also tries to impress people by informing them that he is saving up for a gold tooth. He once boasted that he had lifted a mule onto his shoulders and “tote’ her five miles to the doctor,” an impressive feat of strength (if true).

His behavior is summed up succinctly (and repeatedly) by Deputy Fife: “He’s a nut!

Besides the obvious comparisons in personalities, I bring up Ernst T. in the context of Tr-mp’s speech last night because of one of my favorite Andy Griffith episodes ever, “My Fair Ernest T. Bass.” Andy and Barney dress up Ernest T. and try to teach him some manners so they can pass him off at a social gathering as Andy’s cousin from the big city of Raleigh. Ernest T. was looking for a woman he could marry. Here are a few seconds of how Andy was teaching him to speak to Mrs. Wiley, a socialite of Mayberry:


I thought about Ernest T. last night, just after all the gushing praise for Tr-mp’s speech came rolling in from cable television pundits and on Twitter. CNN’s instant poll, which admittedly was skewed toward those inclined to favor Tr-mp, showed “57% who tuned in saying they had a very positive reaction to the speech.” That was a good night for Tr-mp. A lot of Mrs. Wiley’s were impressed with his manners.

But it was the pundits on television last night, those who should know better, who got to me. I admit it. They got to me. The consensus was pretty much this: “Tr-mp looked presidential tonight.” After all we have seen, after all we have heard, after all the rock-throwing, Tr-mp stands up there and does the equivalent of “How do you do, Mrs. Wiley” and suddenly we have us a bona fide president on our hands.

There were the usual suspects, of course. Fox’s Chris Wallace said, “It was one of the best speeches in that setting I’ve heard any president give.” If that wasn’t enough, he added, “I feel like tonight Donald Tr-mp became the President.” One expects such puke-producing pap from a Fox host. But what one doesn’t expect is David Axelrod, former chief strategist for Obama, saying on CNN, “you’d have to be dead not to appreciate the moment, the change we just saw.” Well, I guess I’m dead. Or I passed on to an alternate universe. Or, maybe, I just happen to know who Ernest T. Bass really is.

Perhaps the worst offense of the night was committed by Van Jones, normally a sensible left-of-center voice on CNN. But not last night. Unbelievably, Jones fell in love with Tr-mp’s exploitation of the grief of Carryn Owens, wife of fallen Navy SEAL Ryan Owens, whose dad is not happy with Tr-mp and the dubious mission he authorized that got his son killed. Jones said on the air:

He became President of the United States in that moment, period. There are a lot of people who have a lot of reasons to be frustrated with him, to be fearful of him, to be mad at him. But that was one of the most extraordinary moments you have ever seen in American politics, period.

And for people who have been hoping that he would become unifying, hoping that he might find some way to become presidential, they should be happy with that moment. For people who have been hoping that he would remain a divisive cartoon, which he often finds a way to do, they should begin to become a little bit worried tonight. Because that thing you just saw him do–if he can find a way to do that over and over again, he’s going to be there for eight years.

I can’t conjure up the words this early in the morning to describe such fruity analysis. Fortunately, Slate’s Will Oremus has already said it better than I ever could have:

While it’s fair to note that Trump had set himself a low bar going in, it’s also true that he delivered a strong-sounding speech quite convincingly and that he successfully orchestrated a wickedly effective bit of political theater by hitching his wagon to a dead sailor whom he cast as a hero.

Still, it takes a nasty case of recency bias for a political analyst to toss aside everything Trump has said and and done in his career to date and declare him “presidential” on the basis of a single impressive speech. It takes thick blinders to watch him move a war widow to tears and not see the hypocrisy at work in Trump’s willingness to profit politically from her husband’s death—even as he evades responsibility for it. And it takes a combination of shallowness and smarm that is peculiar to the mainstream media’s pundit class to ignore the rank xenophobia and fearmongering that characterized Trump’s speech and focus almost exclusively on his oratorical virtuosity. Then again, there are few things cable pundits relish more than an opportunity to declare that a candidate has attained that mythical quality of being “presidential.”

What’s remarkable is that CNN’s panel reverted to this sort of empty-headed boosterism even in response to a president who has repeatedly and strategically branded them as “fake news” in order to cover for his own bare-faced lies. It shows how deeply ingrained the old frameworks of judging a commander in chief remain and how uncomfortable the network must be with its new, unasked-for role as a truth-telling counterweight to a president whose habitual buffoonery makes it impossible to accord him the dignity of the office. By acting like a president for a night, Trump gave CNN license to act like CNN.

Needless to say, Ernest T. Bass eventually reverted to his old ways in that Andy Griffith episode. He just couldn’t maintain his newly-acquired manners. He started throwing rocks again. And Will Oremus perfectly captured that inevitablity with our own Ernest Tr-mp:

The good news—or the bad news, if you somehow found yourself persuaded along with Jones that Trump became a fundamentally different person Tuesday night—is that none of this will last. What the talking heads failed to properly emphasize was that Trump was different Tuesday night largely because he was reading word-for-word from a carefully prepared script. That’s something he very rarely does and is not likely to do again anytime soon. The moment he’s back at his Twitter feed, the unfiltered Trump will re-emerge, his fountain of falsehoods will burble back to life, and Van Jones’ grand pronouncement will have marked him as only the latest of the many suckers to fall for one of Trump’s cons.

Exactly. We ain’t seen the las’ of Ernest T. Bass.



  1. Anonymous

     /  March 1, 2017


    With all Trump’s talk of how immigrants are “pouring” across the border in record numbers (although numbers are at the lowest level since 1972), and how drugs are coming into America across the border (when in fact, most of the drugs responsible for the opiod epidemic are prescription by doctors). Therefore we must build a wall to stop the “criminal” Mexicans reminded me of another Ernest T. episode where he had to box the English butler Malcolm because Ernest’s mama was Irish and he was to always fight the English.

    I don’t know if Trump’s mama is responsible for his hatred of Mexicans, or it is of his own sociopathic tendacies, but it is no less ridiculous. To alienate our neighbors to the south, and see them look to our enemies for trade and business is not “helping Americans”. I couldn’t even finish his speech after this diatribe and left the room. A pig with lipstick was what his handlers offered, and I doubt that today Trump can recall any part of the speech.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have a deep character flaw I must confess. I do not suffer fools gladly. Or at all, even. Therefore, to avoid damage to my LED TV, I did not watch Tr-mp’s speech last night. I probably should engage, just so I know first-hand what the man is up to.

    But I did not.

    After 40-some years, I have forced myself to watch Jane Fonda sometimes. Not much, but sometimes. I still do not watch “60 Minutes”; when I try, I find myself doubting every moment of the broadcast because of what I posted on your last article. I try not to carry grudges, because I know that they harm me, not the entity against which I hold them. But some (right now, at least) are easier to carry than to put down.

    I’m working on it.

    Thank you, Duane, for all you do in keeping us informed. I appreciate you and your efforts. Most of all, I appreciate your viewpoint.


  3. King Beauregard

     /  March 2, 2017

    If there’s one bit of good news, the pundits that are bending over for Trump all of a sudden are on the receiving end of a lot of criticism. Probably they’ll bounce over to framing Trump as “controversial”, the non-committal way of dealing with being unable to please both Trump and intelligent people.


    • Anything short of labeling him mentally disturbed misses the mark, of course. But I don’t expect them to do that. I do expect them to, routinely, call him a) a liar or b) delusional. If they aren’t willing to do that, then they should STFU.


  4. ansonburlingame

     /  March 3, 2017


    I am breaking my “why bother oath” and comment herein simply because I have some time on my hands.

    MY impression of “the speech” addressed herein was first time I ever saw him act reasonably and even to a degree “presidential”, whatever that really means. I like the positive vision statements rather than “all is dark” from the Jan 20 speech. My only concern, as always was “how will you pay for THAT, or cut THOSE PROGRAMS??”.

    I particularly liked how he stated some “fundamental objectives” for such things as new HC, etc. Bet you and yours can’t remember what they were (I can’t either right now) but when I heard them they made sense to me in terms of principles or objectives to shoot for.

    You and yours and at least half or more of the country fully expect HIM to return to campaign style rhetoric. If he does and sticks to his guns, God help us all.

    Now I look forward to what you have to say about Sessions, et al. My view there is if they try to cover anything up (Russian contacts) we will have another Watergate on our hands that MIGHT just reach to the Oval Office, again.

    Bet you and yours can’t wait for that to happen, right!!



    • Anonymous

       /  March 4, 2017


      That certainly didn’t last long…Now our Weasel-in-Chief is blaming Obama for wiretapping Chump Towers, with zero evidence. I cannot believe the majority of our neighbors were ignorant enough to vote for this con man.


  5. ansonburlingame

     /  March 4, 2017

    Duane again,

    No reply herein needed but I sure want to see your thoughts on the new “Watergate” allegation from Trump!!

    One thing he has accomplished is to increase the readership of Breightbart!! I read the WaPost story this AM (Sat) and found the following in a linked BB column.

    “In summary: the Obama administration sought, and eventually obtained, authorization to eavesdrop on the Trump campaign; continued monitoring the Trump team even when no evidence of wrongdoing was found; then relaxed the NSA rules to allow evidence to be shared widely within the government, virtually ensuring that the information, including the conversations of private citizens, would be leaked to the media.”

    In that same BB column there is a timeline of NYT stories and federal government attempts to get a FISA warrant to monitor “U S people” involved in the Trump organization/campaign. True or not, I have not idea but obviously with the right security clearances and legal access to warrant requests such COULD be proven.

    But of course to have a sitting president make such allegations against a past president is just beyond the pale. Who the hell knows where this will lead and I certainly cannot make any predictions at this point in a real, emerging crisis. God only knows how this will turn out and I am amazed and yes, scared for our country.



  6. ansonburlingame

     /  March 4, 2017

    You may well be right and there Is NO evidence to support the claim. BUT consider if you can these points:

    I am sure EVERY FICA warrant application is on file with the court. I am also fairly sure they are classified and only “law enforcement” (read FBI, intel services and DOJ) has full access to them. It should be that way until charges are then filed thus defense councils must see the warrants and validate the legality of same. If a case can be made or attempted that such warrants were illegal then that info becomes public in a trial.

    WHO exactly signed such possible warrant requests, by name, rank and organization? Where did he/she get the info to request a warrant? Did that signer “get permission from higher authority to apply for the warrant? If “higher authority” approved (but did not sign the application) then who did HE get HIS information from. In other words “pull the string” all the way back to who provided the info that began to investigation and then, later the warrant need determined.

    All federal law agencies should also be asked if any other warrants were requested, approve, or denied by ANY other court, federal or state, to support any investigation related to the topic of “contact with Russia”, “hack the election by anyone,” etc.

    Was the application approved or disapproved, for each and every application ever submitted since FISA was “invented”. If disapproved, why? I later revised and then approved, why? When those questions are answer then say “show me the warrant and all related paper”.

    To issue a warrant I assume there must be a CRIMINAL investigation already going by ANY law enforcement investigation. Ask specifically “what investigation and why was it initiated and by whom (name, rank and organization).

    Is it legal for any law enforcement agency (read CIA) to apply for a warrant listing “U.S. people,” particularly if such “people” are living in the US? CAN the CIA conduct such an investigation IN the U.S. when targets of such an investigation are American citizens. ONLY the FBI can do that is my assumption.

    OK, after a warrant was approved and “wire tapping” began what was found? Was what was found a violation of federal law? If violation of federal law was found then obviously charges must be filed. Wonder if the FBI (or other intel service) actually found legal violations in such taps? If they did then DOJ would certainly have been brought into the loop to consider charges, right? Ask all AGs that question “Did you or your organization consider such charges?”

    To answer all those questions of mine (and I would hope you) who has the range of authority and access to just go “look at the records” in FISA (or any other court of law in America) to start, then FBI, CIA and DOJ to then answer those questions. Also by “authority”, none of this “we don’t comment on ……”. I want someone to ask the questions with the full and complete authority to do so. I want a video (with sound) of ever question asked and all the answers with everyone subject to the full weight of law to be prosecuted for perjury of the worst sort.

    No spin, no I forgot, no nothing but the FULL and honest truth. And no answers saying “you don’t have the clearance or legal right to such answers”.

    Then classify that damned video with every stamp you can find. NO ONE sees it except the people in the room so participating. That way the “full truth” will be on that tape, unless someone lies through their teeth. As well because this is a political investigation NO ONE gets to use the 5th amendment as the video could never be used in a court of law.

    KNOW who I would put in the room to ask all the questions, right now? President Trump and former President Obama, alone, no aids, no note takers now nothing.

    I would go so far as to demand Trump have pardons ready to sign if anyone tries the 5th. Trump himself should sign a pardon for Obama, just in case. And Pence should swear an oath to sign one for Trump if he is impeached for such matters..

    Arrayed before them would be one man (with a telephone so he could call each agency to get an answer immediately if he honestly doesn’t know the answer) from each “agency” (FBI, CIA, FISA (judge in charge or whatever), White House COS (whoever they were from June 2016 up to today), Director of Homeland Security, and Director of NSA. You might want to add others.

    I have no idea how old Anonymous might be but I was “in my prime” (age wise) during Watergate. Never again would I hope this country would have to go through such again. But now here we are, headed right down that path.

    These are very, very grave and very very serious charges and the American people need to know both the basis of them and the validity of them based not on “briefings or press conferences” but based on WRITTEN FACTS, signed by competent authorities, or spoken on some “tape” by same.

    You know who really knew most of the “truth” before we the people found out. Bob Woodward and Deep Throat. Must we wait now for “them” to be recreated with the country torn apart for a year or more as politicians try to one up each other with only half truths, at best.



    • Anonymous

       /  March 4, 2017


      ) I see you put a lot of thought into your answer, thank you for that. I suspect when you have an attorney general nominee that doesn’t give the truth, the WHOLE truth, and nothing but the truth, then of course there will be falsehoods. Sessions did just that when asked had he communicated with the Russians prior to the election. Flynn did it and lied to his own VP.

      I truly believe if Obama signed off on surveillance, it was based on intel given to him by intelligence agencies, probably as a result of monitoring the Russian ambassador’s or known operatives phones. This scenario would be justified. We will see develops, but things don’t look rosy for DJT.


  7. ansonburlingame

     /  March 6, 2017


    Yes I have been thinking very hard about these matters since the “Watergate tweet” by Trump. I am now more scared for my country than ever before in my life. That fear is NOT just because of Trump as well. I am equally concerned about the backlash from the left against Trump. The whole Sessions mess is part of that fear as well, but only a small part.

    In the past I have engaged in emails exchanges with Bob Woodward over the last almost 30 years. I emailed him late last week saying he and deep throat need to come to the aid of America again. His reply was “tne news biz is not going to General Quarters”.

    It is my hope that when battle stations are manned their target will not just be Trump. There are so many rumors, innuendo, leaks, lies, spin, you name flying from both sides now that it seems impossible to find out the full truth on just about anything, contacts with Russia, nature of such contacts, Sessions, Flynn, Trump himself and his family, all the potential Democrat shenaigans attempting to show themselves as only “pure” individuals, etc. etc.

    I have no idea where this will all wind up but for sure it is all leading to, again, a Watergate-like atmosphere with grave, grave consequences for America. Did Nixon alone cause Watergate and did it all stop with him? No to the first and obviously now absolutely NO to the latter. Political dirty tricks are as rampant today as in 1973, probably worse today.

    Hope all of you reading this read George Will’s column in Sunday Globe. I am downloading that book (The Mandibles) to read.



  8. ansonburlingame

     /  March 6, 2017

    Mistyped the Woodward quote above. He said “……. NOW going to GQ….”



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