One of the first books about politics that I remember seeing was written by a guy who, at the time, was a 26-year-old columnist for, ahem, the Philadelphia Inquirer. That author, Joe McGuiness, called his book "The Selling of the President 1968" -- it was a clever take-off on the best selling, weighty tomes by Theodore White that began with "The Making of the President 1960." (A star in the McGuiness book was a brilliant young Machiavellian campaign aide to Richard Nixon named Roger Ailes...not really sure what became of him.) Anyway, the book's main premise was that slick TV advertising values had overtaken serious political discourse; readers were shocked by how aides like Ailes fretted more about Nixon's eye makeup than any policy decisions.

McGuiness died in 2014. One can only wonder what the writer would have had to say about our current crisis, and the selling not only of the president -- in a two-year spectacle that would have made Dick Nixon blush, makeup or no makeup -- but, more importantly, of the presidency.

Much has been written -- some of it here, a lot more elsewhere -- about the myriad conflicts of interest involving President Trump, his company (The Trump Organization) that he still owns and isn't really in a blind trust, and his still-in-business family member/aides like daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner. One of the most blatant conflicts involves Trump's Palm Beach property, Mar-a-Lago, a private club where members (including a former owner of this news org...heh) get to mingle with the leader of the free world, and where the initiation fee was doubled to $200,000 as soon as the landlord was sworn in as president.

That's pretty bad -- but this is kind of shocking: Now the U.S. government is formally promoting Mar-a-Lago, the for-profit club owned by the president, all over the world:

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