If anyone isn’t familiar with these words by now, the rock they’re living under needs a serious renovation:
“The root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making.
Although he was elected as a Republican, the president shows little affinity for ideals long espoused by conservatives: free minds, free markets and free people. At best, he has invoked these ideals in scripted settings. At worst, he has attacked them outright.
In addition to his mass-marketing of the notion that the press is the “enemy of the people,” President Trump’s impulses are generally anti-trade and anti-democratic.
Don’t get me wrong. There are bright spots that the near-ceaseless negative coverage of the administration fails to capture: effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more.
But these successes have come despite — not because of — the president’s leadership style, which is impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective.”
“I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration” | The New York Times | Anonymous | 09/05/2018
Because this is such an unprecedented moment in Presidential history, I have several comments:
1) No one of note (not even Sarah Huckabee Sanders) has said this op-ed is fake. Only an idiot thinks The New York Times would risk its reputation on producing a fake. That itself is as earth-shattering as the op-ed.
2) Which senior official wrote this op-ed is less important than the possibility that any senior official inside this administration could have written it. (I’ve speculated Dan Coates or Nikki Haley, but I also think John Huntsman could’ve penned it.) Meanwhile, Cabinet Secretaries lining up to say “I didn’t do it” like antsy first-graders adds yet another layer of paranoia and absurdity to the absurd paranoia that surely defines Trump’s White House.
3) So much of this feels…Nixony. There’s a very good Slate podcast called Slow Burn. Its first season is about Watergate. The parallels between Nixon and Trump are chilling. However, equally startling are the similarities between Nixon and Trump supporters. Listening to recordings of Nixonistas expressing why they supported that paranoid crook are as eerie as they are similar to what Trumpistas love about their dear leader. This reminds me of a study that “finds a correlation between white Americans’ intolerance, and support for authoritarian rule. In other words, when intolerant white people fear democracy may benefit marginalized people, they abandon their commitment to democracy.”
4) Senator Rand Paul advised the White House to use lie detectors on White House staffers with a security clearance. And he’s done this before! It’s a joke to think of him as a real civil libertarian.
5) My favorite line from a Washington Post story:
“Aides were analyzing language patterns to try to discern the author’s identity or at a minimum the part of the administration where the author works.”
6) In the wake of Times anonymous op-ed, the Jared and Ivanka vs. John Kelly war has flared up again:
“With Trump so far unable to execute a strategy to stanch the drip-drip-drip of damaging disclosures, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump have taken the lead in getting control of the crisis. (The Washington Post reported that Trump said the only people he could trust were his family.) Earlier this week, they told Trump they were deeply troubled by the accounts in Woodward’s book and blamed Chief of Staff John Kelly for many of the leaks, an outside adviser close to them told me. “‘He’s destroying your presidency,’” Ivanka told her father, the outside adviser, who was briefed on the conversation, said. Their hunt for the author of the Times op-ed may bring them into the final chapter of their long-running feud with Kelly.”
“”He’s Destroying Your Presidency”: In The Po-Ed Aftermath, Javanka Quickly Blamed John Kelly And His Deputy A New Suspect Emerges” | Vanity Fair | Gabriel Sherman | 09/07/2018
Much of the static between Kelly and Javanka has its origin in Kelly’s early days as Chief Of Staff, when he tried (and failed, it seems) to reign in access to the President and make all communication flow through him as all modern chiefs of staff have done.
7) In the face of what may be the beginning of an existential crisis for this administration, thus far no elected or appointed official has jumped ship from the Trump agenda. To quote John Heileman recently on Nicole Wallace’s MSNBC show, they are “Craven, weak-willed enablers.” One has to wonder
8) Yet again, President Trump told another lie responding to an article about how he lies so much. “Our poll numbers are great, and guess what? Nobody’s going to come even close to beating me in 2020,” he said, though his poll numbers are awful on just about any measure:
“In fact, Trump’s numbers are dropping to near the lowest point of his presidency. In the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, Trump’s approval rating is at 36 percent, and a majority of respondents strongly disapprove of his performance. An IBD/TIPP poll also puts the president at 36 percent, while the Economist shows him at 38 percent. Some others have him above 40 percent (Gallup’s latest is 41 percent), but not by much.
This isn’t a dramatic swing, but it is an identifiable downturn, especially since Trump’s approval ratings have been so stable over the course of his presidency. And if there was ever a moment when a small change could make a big difference, this is it.”
“Trump’s Dipping Approval Is Putting Republicans In Dangerous Territory” | The Washington Post | Paul Waldman | 09/06/2018
9) Lost in the sauce is just how much this anonymous senior official agrees with Trump’s agenda, including “effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military,” in an age of stagnant wages, the costs of healthcare, education, and housing spiraling out of control, and perpetual war.
The only thing worse than a mad king, are the sane courtiers who continue to support him. This is the sense in which a quiet resistance is no resistance at all.
IMAGE SOURCE: Dementia Warning Trump Donald (Creative Commons)