Bob Schwartz

Respected Political Journalist John Heilemann Calls Trump a Lunatic


You lock the door
And throw away the key
There’s someone in my head but it’s not me

John Heilemann is one of the most respected, talented and fair-minded political journalists in America.

He and his partner Mark Halperin  have written two of the most insightful and entertaining presidential campaign books of all time: Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime  and Double Down: Game Change 2012. They are the Managing Editors of Bloomberg Politics. They have a weekly show about the campaign on Showtime called The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth. They have a daily show for Bloomberg Politics that airs on MSNBC called With All Due Respect.

It was on that show that something extraordinary happened yesterday. It was a tiny moment, one that could go unnoticed and unremarked. Talking about Donald Trump and the week he has had, Heilemann called Trump a lunatic.

One possibility is that despite the overwhelming evidence of a career marked by even-handed reporting, Heilemann has all along been a substandard journalist with a secret partisan agenda. The other possibility is that Heilemann is a great professional journalist who just finally had enough and could not avoid speaking the obvious.

In the event, hearing the word brought to mind the song I think about any time the word lunatic pops up, Pink Floyd’s Brain Damage from Dark Side of the Moon. It is the penultimate track on the album, leading into the closing Eclipse. The song is inspired in part by the tragic story of original Pink Floyd member Syd Barrett, whose genius was paired with and compromised by mental illness.

This may have absolutely nothing to do with the presidential campaign and election. Then again…

The lunatic is on the grass
The lunatic is on the grass
Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs
Got to keep the loonies on the path

The lunatic is in the hall
The lunatics are in my hall
The paper holds their folded faces to the floor
And every day the paper boy brings more

And if the dam breaks open many years too soon
And if there is no room upon the hill
And if your head explodes with dark forebodings too
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon

The lunatic is in my head
The lunatic is in my head
You raise the blade, you make the change
You re-arrange me ’til I’m sane
You lock the door
And throw away the key
There’s someone in my head but it’s not me

And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear
You shout and no one seems to hear
And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon


Delayed Autumn

Dawn Trees - Bob Schwartz

Dawn Trees – Bob Schwartz

Delayed Autumn

Still green trees
Still a fresh memory of summer.
Am I fooled by the colors
Thinking red leaves are flowers?
They are only
Splendidly dying.

The trick is to be no more caught up in the autumn and winter of autumn and winter than in the spring and summer of spring and summer. Hard, hard.