U.S. President Donald Trump has been on a roll lately. Over the course of a few days, he endorsed a politician accused of sexual misconduct involving teenage girls, made a silly attack on the media and cluelessly insulted people who went to the White House expecting to be honoured by him.
A year ago, or even a month ago, these standard bits of repertoire from Mr. Trump's vaudevillian presidency would have sent his critics into a tailspin. But that isn't happening to the same degree this time.
Instead, Mr. Trump's most recent outrages somehow seem rather humdrum. Have we become bored with the predictability of the President's antics, so numbed by their sheer number that what used to shock us now only produces a minor tickle? Or are we finally on to him.
On Sunday, Mr. Trump reiterated his endorsement of Republican senate candidate Roy Moore, even as credible accusations of sexual impropriety against the former Alabama judge were piling up, and the Republican Party was withdrawing its support and funding for Mr. Moore's campaign.
On Monday, Mr. Trump tweeted, for no apparent reason, "We should have a contest as to which of the Networks, plus CNN and not including Fox, is the most dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted in its political coverage of your favourite President (me). They are all bad. Winner to receive the FAKE NEWS TROPHY!"
The tweet felt more tired than outlandish, like the stale material of a bad comic. The same day, Mr. Trump joked during a speech honouring native American war veterans that his nickname for Senator Elizabeth Warren is "Pocahontas," an insensitive remark that left the honorees feeling insulted, and Mr. Trump puzzled about what the problem was.
All of these were outrageous acts unworthy of the President of the United States. Opponents and pundits roundly and rightly criticized him. But on the whole it just didn't feel like a calamity. The world moved on.
Mr. Trump may well be on his way to becoming a new kind of lame-duck president. It's not that his term is coming to an end, which is the normal definition of a lame duck. It's that his schtick has worn off, and once that's gone all that is left is a below-average president in terms of political effectiveness, intelligence, credibility and approval ratings.
If this President loses his power to shock, then he has lost all of his power.