Time to move 'The Art of the Deal' to the fiction section

032217_rooster_1200
A giant inflatable rooster widely perceived in China to resemble U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is inflated at a factory in Jiaxing near Shanghai, Friday, Jan. 13, 2017.

I'm finding it harder and harder to watch the TV news these days. I know that sounds odd -- as an avowed anti-Trumper, I should be overjoyed by the non-stop reports of the president's foibles and his growing list of scandals. The problem is that pundits spend hour after hour debating things that aren't really even subject to debate anymore.

You want all of the news? Here goes. Most of what President Trump says is either a lie or incoherent, and ditto for Sean Spicer. President Obama didn't bug Trump Tower; that's only something that Trump picked up from a crackpot website. Of course, people close to Trump were taking money and getting too cozy with Russian interests, and we won't know how bad it was until we get some of the bad guys under oath. The health care bill and Trump's budget are a) important, because they show how warped GOP priorities have become and b) not so important, because there is no way in hell that either will become law.

There! What was that, 30 seconds? 45 seconds, tops? Anyway, the one thing that fascinates me is how much attention the TV pundits pay to Trump's alleged remarkable abilities as a dealmaker. This is the man who became famous, after all, writing (not really) a book called The Art of the Deal! And so much of his 2016 presidential campaign was predicated on the notion that America makes lousy deals, and he was going to fix that. What better chance to show off that skill than the most complicated issue there is, health care?

Seriously? Apparently these pundits haven't paid that much attention to Trump's career since the book was published in 1987. After some good timing to get into Manhattan real estate market in the early 1980s right when it was poised to rebound, The Donald has shown -- best-seller notwithstanding -- that he has no deal-making skills whatsoever. Instead, Trump's business acumen has consisted of a) getting bankers to throw money at him because of his over-inflated reputation b) losing a ton of money (even in the casino business, for crying out loud) because of such large indebtedness c) stiffing all the contractors d) filing Chapter 11 and e) suing everybody involved.

Somehow, remarkably, that doesn't translate to enacting complex legislation in the United States Congress. And now everyone is shocked, shocked that America's self-proclaimed greatest dealmaker can't get 216 votes for a package that throws 24 million people off their health care insurance and raises premiums for elderly middle class folks while giving a massive tax cut to millionaires and billionaires. Dale Carnegie couldn't sell this piece of crapola.

You can usually mark the end of someone's presidency when either they can't get a major piece of legislation passed (George W. Bush's Social Security overhaul in 2005, Jimmy Carter's energy bills) or by a major scandal (Watergate, Iran-Contra, Monica). Trump is on the brink of both. He's been in office for only nine weeks. To channel Jimmy Breslin channeling Casey Stengel, can't anybody here play this game?