Trump, Richelieu and the Day of the Dupes

How could all the media be so desperately, inconceivably, simultaneously wrong?

Philippe de Champaigne and workshop, ‘Triple Portrait of Cardinal de Richelieu’ (c. 1642)
Philippe de Champaigne and workshop, ‘Triple Portrait of Cardinal de Richelieu’ (c. 1642) (photo: Screenshot)

Today is the Day of the Dupes.

The word "dupes" is derived from the Latin word upupa which refers to the hoopoe (Upupa epops), a bird the ancient Romans believed to be exceedingly stupid―roughly reflecting how modern Americans would describe such birdbrains as the turkey, the dodo, the cuckoo and the loon.

November 10, 1630 is referred to as the "Day of the Dupes." It’s the day on which Armand Jean du Plessis, also known as Cardinal-Duke of Richelieu and of Fronsac (1585-1642), or simply Cardinal Richelieu, was nearly ruined by Marie de Médicis, the Queen-mother of France. She loathed the prelate with an incredible passion. But, against all odds, King Louis XIII took the Cardinal's side over that of his mother…one of the Dupes celebrated today on the Day of the Dupes. Richelieu's enemies mistakenly believed they had succeeded in persuading Louis XIII, King of France, to dismiss the Cardinal from power.

It was a political and diplomatic turning point in Louis XIII's reign,

By way of introduction for those unfamiliar with 17th century Versailles politics, Richelieu was a French clergyman, nobleman, diplomat and statesman elevated to bishop in 1607 and appointed Foreign Secretary in 1616. He became a cardinal in 1622 and King Louis XIII's chief minister in 1624. Richelieu remained in office until his death in 1642.

In September 1630, Marie de Médicis, the Italian-born queen-mother, taking advantage of a serious illness which nearly killed her, demanded her son fire Cardinal de Richelieu from his position as Chief Minister―mostly because if his unpopular foreign policy during the Thirty Years War. The King acquiesced because, after all, it was his mom and Italian moms know how get what they want from their sons.

In November, the completely recovered Marie stormed into the Château de Versailles and reminded the king of the promise she extricated from him two months earlier. Louis was just about to give in to his mom's demands when the Cardinal appeared unexpectedly. The queen roundly and passionately denounced both men.

When the king hesitated to accede to her demands, she gave him the ultimate ultimatum: "either the Cardinal goes or she does."

One needs to be very careful while playing poker to not overplay one's hand.

The king, feeling overwhelmed, politely removed himself from the confrontation and retired to his hunting lodge in Versailles. Richelieu naturally presumed his political career was over and his enemies made a great show at celebrating his downfall in the apartments of the Luxembourg Palace.

Imagine Marie's shock when the king reasserted his respect and admiration for the Cardinal, thereby sacrificing his own mother. He ordered her to leave Paris for Compiègne and never saw her again.

The Cardinal was made a duke and peer of the realm.

The haughty Marie lived her remaining years in luxury and splendor all the while plotting with the Duc d'Orléans against Richelieu. The French nobility also remained powerless. However, Henri, Duc de Montmorency, rebelled against the throne — but Richelieu suppressed the uprising. He sentenced the Duke to be executed, thus securing the Cardinal's power. The Cardinal also developed a wide-ranging network of spies within France and, indeed, throughout Europe.

The Day of the Dupes marks the complete restoration of the Cardinal to royal favor and the true beginning of Richelieu's ministry.

I think Marie et. al. weren't the only ones duped on this day.

I'm not one for conspiracy theories and I actively avoid those who unthinkingly indulge in them. This is not to say that I don’t believe that bad people don’t gather and plan bad things together. The recent e-mail revelations of Hillary Clinton's top aide and campaign chairman John Podesta — who claims to be a "devout Catholic" while foolishly writing down his personal plans for taking down the Church — shows that plots can and do exist. I simply don’t like it when people presume their paranoia is somehow "better" than actual proof and insist we trust their rambling intuitions.

If nothing else, I wish the self-professed enemies of the Church would take a bit of advice from George Santayana: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Trotsky, Pol Pot, Mao, Tito, Mussolini, Che Guevara, Ho Chi Minh, Deng Xiaoping, Plutarco Elías Calles, Nathan Bedford Forrest, George Gordon, William Joseph Simmons, Lewis Charles Levin, Kim Il-sung, Slobodan Milosevic, Nicolae Ceaușescu, Ataturk, Napoleon, Mohammad, Tamerlane, Genghis Khan, Attila the Hun, Saddam Hussein, Domitian, Septimius Severus, Caracalla, Elagabalus, Nero, Caligula and Diocletian all wanted to destroy the Catholic Church. They were all genocidists and their inflated narcissism blessed their violence against Christians. Now, they and all those who supported them rest six feet under and their names are anathema. And here we are, praying for them.

It's amazing to think how any of these monsters thought they could destroy God's own Church. God Himself assured us that not even the Gates of Hell could vanquish her (Matthew 16:18)


Apparently, left-wing activist Sandy Newman asked Podesta for his advice on how to "plant the seeds of the revolution [within the Catholic Church]." Podesta admitted he was on the job by having already created two fake "Catholic" organizations―Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United―with the sole intention of overthrowing the Catholic Church. it was his intention to pretend many Catholics supported abortion and same-sex "so-called" marriage.

The Catholic League's Bill Donohue specifically pointed out that had a Christian Republican, on any level, plotted to destroy Islam or Judaism by setting up faux religious organizations, such as Transsexual Bestialists for Islamic Change, plattered heads would have been called for. But when secularists seek to plot against the Catholic Church, the media is indifferent or supportive.

The similarities between the original Day of the Dupes and what had transpired over the past political year is stunning and, frankly, a bit creepy.

I had no problem believing the media when it quoted polls stating that most Americans believed Trump's behavior was abysmal and that Clinton was winning. Why wouldn't I? Why wouldn't anyone? I don’t believe in conspiracies and I don’t care for the company of those who thrive in the paranoid solipsistic worlds of their own making.

Apparently, the polls suggesting that 75% of people are biased against Trump were incorrect, or otherwise had no real effect on the voting habits of those polled.

University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato insisted in his most recent article that Hillary would "win big" and the Senate would be split evenly between Republicans and Democrats. News agencies stumbled over themselves insisting that Clinton had a "90-percent chance of winning" (Reuters). Huffington Post insisted that Clinton had a 98% chance of winning. Even ABC's poll of early voters predicted 51-43 percent Clinton win.

I’m just grateful none of these pundits are brain surgeons. Their predictive abilities are on the par with the average meteorologist. (Technically, a failed meteorologist is called a meteorologaster.)

Only Helmut Norpoth, a professor of political science at Stony Brook University, was correct in his assessment. He insisted that his statistical model predicted a 97% to 99% chance Trump would win the 2016 presidential election. 

Norpoth's model correctly predicted all but one of the presidential elections since 1912. His only error was the Nixon-Kennedy election cycle. The professor's model used the candidate’s performance in their party’s primary coupled with electoral cycle patterns to determine the likely outcome of the general election. Interesting, this model was rejected by, which instead predicted Clinton's win.

How could all the media be so desperately, inconceivably wrong, simultaneously?

Perhaps they didn't take the opinions of those with whom they disagree seriously. Perhaps they don’t like the Catholic Church which represents values different form their own. Perhaps the Old Gray Lady (the New York Times) ain't what she use to be.

I admit that the media is biased against the Catholic Church. If not, they'd show the yearly footage of the March for Life and would highlight rabbis and imams who apparently abuse children with media impunity/support. If the media were fair, it would investigate the fact that children in US public schools are much more likely to be sexually abused than children in Catholic schools. Further, they'd investigate actor Corey Feldman's 2011 accusations of what he called "the number one problem in Hollywood" to wit: the sexual abuse of child actors by industry managers, publicists and agents. In fact, Feldman blamed the troubled life and early death of his best friend, fellow child actor Corey Haim, on the latter's having been raped by a Hollywood mogul.

We can sit here and blame many things for Trump's ascendancy and Clinton's opprobrious defeat but the truth is, Clinton would have won had she not allied herself with the extreme left, or maintained an illegal mail server in her basement, or showed depraved indifference with the safety of Americans serving in Benghazi, etc.

This election has shown that self-appointed political experts aren’t as clearly and rationally thinking as they would have us believe. I dislike being duped — and, once burned, I'm twice shy.