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Yesterday, Leonard Pitts published a bracing editorial in response to statements from Trumpistas:
Just last Sunday, senior policy adviser Stephen Miller declared on CBS’ “Face The Nation” that “our opponents, the media and the whole world will soon see as we begin to take further actions, that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.”
What you do “will not be questioned?” Lord, have mercy. That’s the kind of statement that, in another time and place, would have been greeted with an out-thrust palm and a hearty “Sieg heil!” Here in this time and place, however, it demands a different response:
Just who the hell do you think you are?
Yet you and your coterie of cartoon autocrats think you’re going to cow them into silence and compliance by ordering them to shut up and obey? Well, as a freeborn American, I can answer that in two syllables flat.
“Think of his wife. She’s a really fine person. Jeff has been here 20 years. He’s interchanged with almost all of us. Sometimes you agree with him and sometimes you don’t, but he’s always been a gentleman.”
And he’s a gentleman, so obviously that deeply troubling record in race is all just a . . .what? Misunderstanding?
Since Trumpster fire became president, I’ve seen all of these tactics being used.
Read the whole story – it’s worth the time.
Video from Washington Post.
The Tea-GOP stole a Supreme Court nomination away from President Obama. Trump should not be allowed to benefit from that theft. Dems need to shut it down. “Nuclear” option? Sure, fine, there is nothing to lose now! Trump won’t last a year, and the new rule is no SCOTUS appointments with less than a year to go.
Do not legitimize Trump. Today, the Tea-GOP senators had to break Senate rules to vote on Trump’s nominees in committee with no Dems present. Munchkin lied about robo-signing, he disqualified himself.
Bonus: Senator Orrin Hatch is going around complaining about too much partisanship in the Senate!
Democrats block confirmation votes for Sessions, Price and Mnuchin
GOP won’t rule out killing the filibuster for Supreme Court pick (Great, average Americans hate the filibuster)
After the Acting Attorney General refused to defend his Executive Order, Trump fired her.
President Donald Trump fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates on Monday night, hours after she said the Justice Department would not defendTrump’s executive order on immigration.
Yates had determined the order could not be defended in court. So Trump fired her.
This act is Nixonian at its worst.
Over the weekend, hundreds of lawyers showed up at America’s airports to provide free services to people trapped by the President’s truly stupid executive order. These lawyers showed up because some of them heard that help was needed through a listserv, others through facebook posts; still other attorneys showed up simply because they thought someone might need help and they were ready to offer it for free.
Damn good work!
On a related note:
Elected Democrats led protests at several key airports.
According to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday, 44 percent of respondents disapproved of Trump’s handling of his job as President thus far, while 36 percent approved. Nineteen percent of respondents were undecided.
Trump started out as the least-popular ever, and he is down 8 points in his first week. And that was before the sudden implementation of his idiotic and unconstitutional Muslim ban caused chaos at airports across the country. We now have a full-blown constitutional crisis because some federal employees – apparently on orders from the White House – are refusing to abide by a court order halting the Muslim ban.
So far the Dems are not putting up enough opposition to Trump, but the way things are going the Tea-GOP Congress is going to have to stop him or face losing the next election.
The political media may have stumbled in reporting on the 2016 campaign, failing to present actual policy. Yet, it’s impossible to argue that anyone consuming media in 2016 could have avoided a consistent pattern in which the media – liberal, conservative and mainstream – treated Trump brutally:
I do not believe, however, that the media went easy on Donald Trump during the campaign. I’ve actually never seen any politician get so savaged day after day as Trump was in the last election. Pretty much everything we know about Trump’s shortcomings came from articles written either by bigfoot reporters at our major newspapers or by longtime Trump-watching journalists in the New York area.
Trump lost the endorsement of dozens of newspapers that have endorsed Republicans in the past. In the end, in the entire country, he only won the endorsement of a single handful of metro newspapers. Even the right-wing media turned on him, including the National Review which opposed him with real fury. I could write a separate article about how Clinton was treated, but I want to stay on my topic.
Donald Trump was exposed by the media and people had access to all the information they needed to know about his fraudulent business practices, his dishonest and bullying litigiousness, his failure to honor contracts, his sordid personal life, his connections to prominent organized crime figures, his business failures, his record of racism, his foreign entanglements, and his almost unbelievable personal narcissism. Maybe the media actually helped Trump despite giving us all this information because they gave him so much attention and chased his every shocking move, but they didn’t give him a pass or fail to treat him with appropriate skepticism.
The post, by Martin Longman, goes on to observe:
We all learned something about the standing of the media when enough of the public shrugged it all off and supported him to make him our president. I think it’s clear that the media lost their credibility with much of the electorate, and we can debate how much they earned that loss of credibility. Yet, it’s clear to me, at least, that they lost more than they deserved to lose.
(The main point of Longman’s post is that Donald Trump is obviously mentally unbalanced but I’m intrigued by his observation about the media treatment of Trump.)
There’s an old saying – there’s no such thing as bad publicity (just spell my name right!). For many Trump supporters, the scorn of the media served to make him more appealing. They like the fact that the people they believe look down on them dislike Donald Trump. It makes Trump even more popular with his voters. The fact that almost the entire media and political establishment was running around with its hair on fire warning the Donald Trump was dangerously unsuited to the Presidency served to make him more, not less, popular with his supporters.
Years ago, there was a quip floating around – that so and so is a stupid person’s idea of what a smart person sounds like. Donald Trump is a weak and powerless person’s idea of a strong and powerful person acts like. As Trump supporters have mocked liberals as snowflakes, Trump himself is visibly withering under the flood of criticism coming is way. As liberals gird for four years of political battle, conservative legislators in North Carolina are trying to pass a law making it a crime to criticize public officials and conservative legislators in North Dakota are using a law intended for emergencies to override a new ethics law voted in by the people of the state. Donald Trump is a key example of someone for whom strength is dominating others and for whom power is “power over” – the ability to enforce his will on others. George W. Bush was praised for picking a course of action and not changing, and ultimately his inability to change led to ruin. Barack Obama was often excoriated for his often flexible policy positions and willingness to compromise on almost everything, but left office with high approval ratings.
The opposite of the will to dominate others is the desire to empower others. The opposite of forcing your will on others is respecting their agency. Donald Trump is a weak and powerless person’s idea of a strong and powerful leader. His obviously brittle ego is unlikely to stand up well to the brutal public assault that it must endure as president.
It’s not going to be pretty.
In a short article at the New Republic,
The global gag rule is just one policy, and it would’ve been odd if it drove a bunch of news cycles during the campaign. But to the extent that few reporters in Washington were surprised by this Trump executive order, it represents a broader failure on the part of the political press to convey the stakes of this past election clearly. Major policy differences between the two parties are second nature to much of the media, yet somehow weren’t laid out clearly before voters, which may be why the early days of the Trump era have been so disorienting—even for Trump’s supporters.
Trump’s positions are extreme – as are the positions of Congressional Republicans.
Most presidents sign orders that change executive branch policy shortly after they take office. When partisan control of the White House changes, the policy swings can be pretty severe. But they are generally well understood within the political class.
In this election more than in most, these shifts were not relayed to voters. This is nearly as true of more visible policy fights. Trump was able to run a populist campaign, in part, because his and Republicans’ undisguised desire to deregulate Wall Street was subordinate to a focus on Trump’s false promises to battle the global elite and Hillary Clinton’s speeches to financial companies. Trump promised to repeal Obamacare, but the fact that many of his supporters benefit from that law, and are now scared of what he might do, only became major news stories once his power to rescind their health insurance was locked in.
The political media has failed before – remember 2000? Yeah, when somehow the question “Which candidate would you have a beer with?” mattered.
However, and this is a big however, many Trump supporters, weaned on Fox and other right wing media, would have rejected the actual reporting from actual news. They wanted to believe Trump would swoop in and fix things. They wanted him to make things right for them. The fact that he’s a lying, two-faced narcissist with tiny hands with a well justified lack of self-esteem just means he’s going to screw them over even harder.
The dismal Trump inauguration has been eclipsed by today’s demonstrations against Trump. The crowd was estimated at 500,000 in Washington DC, while a total of 5 million came out in hundreds of marches in cities in all 50 states and around the world on all continents, including Antarctica. A record-setting example of People Power. Chelsea Handler led a march with 8,000 people in Park City.
I am encouraged because the spirit of the demonstrations has been festive and optimistic. Our Democracy isn’t finished yet! What a contrast to Trump’s dark and menacing “American carnage” speech yesterday.
As Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) said at the Atlanta rally, “Never give up! Never lose hope!”
Before he’d even been sworn in, the American right had declared war on Barack Obama. Republicans in Congress set out to make him a one-term president. They decided on a strategy of total obstruction. Throughout his 8 years in office, people on the right have described Barack Obama as everything from a power-mad dictator to an incompetent bumbler; they’ve denounced him as a secret Muslim in on breath while decrying his affiliation with the Christian Rev. Jeremiah Wright; they questioned his legitimacy in every way possible; they’ve described him as the teleprompter president, incapable of speaking without script. For 8 years, the American right has raged and ranted, shouted and screamed; if you wanted to see the American Id on display, the American right provided it in truly prodigious quantities.
Trump, the minority president who lost the popular vote and is only assuming office due to the electoral college, embodies the polar opposite of everything Barack Obama really is – in fact, Trump is the living embodiment of what the right says about Barack Obama.
Jonathan Chait, at NY Magazine, observes:
Trump does say something important about the Obama years . . . Republicans have spent eight years insisting Obama holds some or even all the blame for their refusal to negotiate with his policies. Why would a party that once advocated Keynesian stimulus and an individual mandate and cap and trade come to denounce all those ideas as ruinous socialism? The explanation offered by conservatives, and taken seriously by many fair-minded observers, held that the party had undertaken a serious process of ideological self-evaluation. Republicans had simply embraced deep-seated beliefs in stringent fiscal conservatism, Constitutional absolutism, and the principles of limited government.
The rise of Trump shows how false that explanation rings. Here is a candidate who makes a mockery of all those alleged principles. Trump reveals that the backlash against Obama was exactly what liberals said it was, racialized hysteria against social change, and that no negotiating strategy or policy concessions could have calmed the rage on the right.
Obama produced a tremendous amount of progress in spite of a backlash he could do nothing to stop. And he will leave the White House with peace and prosperity and an approval rating hovering around 60 percent. Trump belongs to the right. He is a product of the backlash against Obamaism, and the personal and ideological antithesis of the urbane, intellectual, sober, empirically minded 44th president. Trump is related to Obama only in that he is the perfect incarnation of the rage, bigotry, and ignorance that defined his opposition.
The American right created Donald Trump. He is their responsibility.