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Congress & the Goldilocks Presidency

[ 266 ] December 6, 2016 |

According to the Weekly Standard it would be a good thing if T. Rump is not engaged, but not too not engaged, but not too engaged either. Or something.

Indeed, for many on the right, Donald Trump’s inattentiveness presents not just a possible silver lining to his tenure but a best-case scenario. An unengaged president who is vaguely amenable to conservatism on the policy front could make it possible for congressional leaders, working with administration appointees and mobilized activist groups, to achieve many of the goals conservatives have been pursuing for years (far longer than Trump has been a Republican).

Exceptionalism means never having to be sorry that your side elected a president who is overdrawn at the First Bank of Fucks and has the attention span of a dog at a squirrel farm. In fact, it means being glad about it. After all, he’ll sign anything we give him. Just tell him it’s an autograph for a fashion model who really digs yams, hooray!

But wait, maybe not Hooray, because it turns out that a lot of work goes into getting to the point where there is something for him to sign.

The process of enacting big reforms, after all, requires a great deal of time and energy. In each case, key congressional committees would hold hearings, administration and Hill staffers would negotiate details between the branches, the two chambers, and hundreds of members’ offices, and White House personnel would juggle countless decisions. This means there are multiple points of entry for good proposals, but also that there are endless demands on the attention of all involved.

So like … maybe? Congress could like? Do more? Of the? Heavy? Lifting?

In the absence of an opinionated final arbiter who could always be brought in, the policy process can easily become far less, rather than more, productive. If President Trump is indeed to remain above the details, and if the executive branch is unlikely to be able to compensate for his relative apathy or absence, congressional leaders may have to think very differently about their own role in the policy process. That might make for some opportunities, but only if members of Congress are prepared for what to many of them will be an unfamiliar and challenging task.

I.e., the jobs they were elected to do. Minus standing around and shouting No! to anything President Obama proposes and producing Plans for a Better Future that are thee parts stock photos and graphics, one part chili farts. Thank God for lobbyists. The can do all of that stuff, provided they produce a sound bites version that Rep. Talking Head can recite.

This would be a good thing, to be sure. That presidents have been so central in the policy process—which ought to be, after all, a fundamentally legislative process—is a historical reality but not a constitutional imperative. On the contrary, it is a function of Congress’s willful ceding of authority over decades. A recovery of that authority would be most welcome,

Indeed. And to be sure. Where the hell’s Wm. de Worde when you need him?

but it would require a conscious decision by members of Congress,

Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Oh wait, there’s more.

rooted in a recognition of its necessity. Simply assuming a disengaged president will serve their policy interests is not nearly enough. Conservatives in Congress would need to restructure some fundamental processes and rules—above all the budget process—to make them more friendly to how Congress functions and less dependent on an assertive and engaged executive. And they would need to want and seek the responsibility to set priorities.

When I think of today’s GOP the phrase Want and seek responsibility completely fails to spring to mind. I mean, the entire essay is about what Congress should do because the next president doesn’t care about his job.

What Republicans will want and seek are some Democrats they can hide behind. At which point Democrats ought to check to make sure they still have their wallets and say No, get thee in front of me.

Making that the norm would be no easy feat, especially in the service of not just one large piece of legislation but the management of a more extended and varied agenda involving numerous separate policy areas, committee jurisdictions, and interest groups. It would require members of Congress to agree among themselves without presidential pressure, prioritize among their preferences, and demonstrate enough discipline and confidence in their leaders to enable them to make deals that would stick.

Indeed and to be sure, Republicans are good at lockstep marching. Getting them to line up behind Ryan and What’s-his-face won’t be a problem. But the authors overlook (by accident, surely!) the fact that Trump isn’t Corporal the Right Honorable Lord C.W. St. John Nobbs and he won’t be content to wave during public appearances and eat pig feet.

Trump is a vindictive and temperamental asshole who is going to assert his authority (real or imagined) whenever the mood strikes. I’m not sure what Ryan and that other guy will be able to do when this happens, but I’d pay to watch the film. The authors want to believe (or at least want the readers to believe) that this will be like planning party for adults when there’s a teenager who just wants to sit in her room playing video games in the house. In reality this is planning a party when there’s a practicing alcoholic in the house. She’s going to barge in like an escapee from the cast of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? or worse, but no one knows when. (The key difference being the party planners deserve our sympathy and the Republicans deserve our laughter.)

A disengaged chief executive therefore should not be seen as a boon to conservative policy-making or constitutional restoration. It may well be that a disengaged Donald Trump is better than an engaged one, from the point of view of conservative governance. But to think of disengagement as above all a silver lining is to be far too sanguine about its implications. That doesn’t mean conservatives should want Trump to be hyper-engaged, but it does mean we should be realistic about what is achievable in the coming years.

And I threw this in because it supports my theory that Jonah Goldberg leases out his unpaid interns.


Comments (266)

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  1. C.V. Danes says:

    Yeah, who needs those pesky checks and balances that an engaged president brings to the table.

  2. Cervantes says:

    I’ll be interested to see what happens with The Wall and the 35% tariff. Might even be time to stock up on the Orville Redenbacher.

    • C.V. Danes says:

      The Wall has already been downgraded to The Fence.

      • Morbo says:

        The Fence has also been downgraded to the vicious river.

        • CP says:

          A year from now, I half expect Trump to do a photo op on the Rio Grande and try to convince everyone that it’s a moat he built that’ll keep Mexicans out forever. Yooge moat! The best! Believe him!

          • mds says:

            I half expect Trump to do a photo op on the Rio Grande and try to successfully convince everyone that it’s a moat he built that’ll keep Mexicans out forever.

        • CrunchyFrog says:

          I loved that. Now, if you look at Google Maps satellite view you’ll find that the “river” is actually more of a creek for most of the Texas border due to water extracted for farming and residential use. During spring run-off there are places in New Mexico where the river is pretty “vicious” looking – I’m sure Trump can do his photo-op there and the press won’t bother to point out that this isn’t a border and those “Mexicans” on the other side of the river are actually Native Americans.

          • carolannie says:

            There is always the fact that most “Mexicans” are Native Americans, too.

            • CrunchyFrog says:

              True, true. Layers of complexity. But you get the point. Like with the Mission Accomplished stunt or the Katrina stunt where Bush showed up for a photo op in front of a station handing out supplies – only the station was set up for the photo op and closed immediately afterward leaving all those people without help – the press will just cover it up to help the GOP.

      • N__B says:

        I’m thinking of the umpteen sitcom episodes where someone draws a line down the middle of a living room. “This is your side…”

  3. Dilan Esper says:

    Can we stop with the “T. Rump” stuff? Calling people by the name they prefer is a fundamental principle of liberalism, and at any event, it’s not like these are brilliant insults. They are basically just the equivalent of the USC and UCLA football fans who call each other “SUC” and the “bRuins”. It’s not intelligent, or cutting. It just looks childish.

    • Morbo says:

      They’re good dogs, Dylan.

    • C.V. Danes says:

      Well, it gets tiring to spell ASSHOLE in all caps all the time, so we do need something different.

    • Shakezula says:

      I can’t speak for anyone else but I’ll make you a deal: You stop being a creep quite so often and I’ll consider stopping with the T. Rump stuff.

      • Ben Murphy says:

        So T. Rump forever then?

      • Dilan Esper says:

        In other words, you defend insulting one person by insulting another.

        You are acting like a six year old.

        Showing your fellow humans basic respect isn’t negotiable or conditional, Shake.

        • Nobdy says:

          What’s so great about being mature anyway?

          You take this blog too seriously, man. Yes, Shakezula is being juvenile but it seems cathartic for her and you have yet to prove any harm to anyone (I assume your own feelings are not hurt because you keep coming around despite people heaping abuse on you.)

          And there is a benefit to only giving people respect when they have earned it. Mocking and disrespecting vile people is actually important in many ways. The tangerine turd must not be permitted to cloak his odiousness in the respect given to the office.

          The orange god emporer has no clothes and fake hair!!

          • Dilan Esper says:

            My feelings aren’t hurt.

            But i do think liberal discourse suffers when we throw playground insults at Trump. And that is harmful, in whatever small way anything on a blog cam be harmful.

            For instance, you mention orange hair. We are supposed to be the people who defend folks like Lena Dunham who don’t conform to societal expectations as to how they look….

            • Nobdy says:

              I mentioned the orange skin.

              Trump is vain and insulting his looks is one of the things that gets under his skin. The powerless have always sought ways to get at the powerful. It is a way of evening the scales a bit.

              Dunham is a different issue. She is being attacked BECAUSE she is perceived as unattractive and thus doesn’t belong on screen.

              Do you really not understand the difference between punching up and punching down.

              I mean you SEEM smart but also have these gaping blind spots…

              • Dilan Esper says:

                I know what the punching down argument is.

                But it’s an unworkable principle. (For instance, Dunham is a big star with a lot of money. How do you determine that the punch is down and not up?)

                • Nobdy says:

                  It is the basis of the insult. A rich powerful individual can be punched down on if the BASIS of the insult is to attack their membership in a marginalized group (Muslims for Jabbar, “frumpy” women for Lena Dunham, African Americans for Obama.)

                  Trump is not being attacked for his membership in an outgroup, but on a purely personal basis. That is why it is like “Slick Willy.”

                • Dilan Esper says:

                  If it’s the basis of the insult, “orange hair” would be a punch down.

                  And making fun of his name would have to be sideways or down.

                  And that doesn’t work. Any punch at Trump obviously is up.

                  As I said, it doesn’t actually work. There IS a kernel of truth to it (black comics should be able to say the n-word, while white comics need to be very careful, for instance). But it doesn’t actually work as a guide to behavior.

                • Nobdy says:

                  How is “Orange skin” a punch down? (His hair is no longer orange. He is an orange man with fake blond hair.)

                  Trump chooses as a matter of personal style to have skin the color of Tang. Weirdo billionaires who like being painted orange are not a descriminated against group.

                  Insulting a person’s chosen style has always been fair game. It would be punching downish to call him bald but we don’t. We just point out that he looks like a circus peanut with a dab of cotton candy affixed to the top of his head.

                  I do not agree that the punching up vs punching down distinction doesn’t give clear rules to follow. There is gray at the margins but there is always gray at the margins.

                • Dilan Esper says:

                  It’s a punch down, by your definition, because it is the same thing as insulting Lena Dunham for wearing a supposedly hideous outfit that shows her body fat.

                • Nobdy says:

                  Dunham is being attacked for being a woman who is not a size 2 (for the record I don’t think she is fat or ugly but my opinion is not relevant) who puts herself on screen, not only on screen but having sex with sexy men! Forbidden! Taboo violated! Frumpy women must only be on screen as like moms or supporting characters.

                  There is no similar social taboo in place for Trump. I don’t get how this isn’t obvious.

                  If someone just said “I think Lena Dunham wore an ugly dress in episode X” that would be a different issue (unless they meant that it was ugly because she tried to present her non size 2 body as sexy.)

                • UserGoogol says:

                  Nobdy: Considering the relevant label to be “weirdo billionaires who like being painted orange” is kind of cheating. People with unconventional aesthetic preferences are an extremely discriminated against group! Saying that people shouldn’t modify their appearance in ways which is “tacky” hurts all sorts of people who aren’t billionaires. For instance gender-noncomforming people.

                • Nobdy says:

                  Trump doesn’t perceive himself as having unconventional aesthetic preferences, he is just a rich dude trying to look young, only he is stubborn and has a bad stylist.

                  Rich dudes who try to look young through spray tan and fake hair are not an oppressed group.

              • DrDick says:

                Nah, Shake is right, Dilan is a creep.

            • BartletForGallifrey says:

              But i do think liberal discourse suffers

              Jesus fuck, Dilan. There are Nazis in the White House. You think liberal discourse is going to save us?

        • Shakezula says:

          No Dilan, you really are a creep. If you don’t want me to call you a creep, stop being one.

        • DrDick says:

          Looked in the mirror lately?

      • Nick never Nick says:

        I agree with both sides, here. Dilan is correct that this is irritating, like when Republicans insist on referring to the Democrat party — but it’s irritating when done by officials.

        This is a blog, it owes Trump no respect — we come here to insult him, along with reading some analysis. That’s fine. Everyone knows what Shakezula thinks about Trump, and how she wants to express that stylistically is her business.

    • Rob in CT says:

      Oh for fuck’s sake.

      I’ll call him Trumpolini (or Il Douche) if I want to, Dilan.

    • Nobdy says:

      How is calling people by the name they prefer a fundamental principle of liberalism? I find this claim baffling…

      • Dilan Esper says:

        Think about what segments of society say Cassius Clay, Lew Alcindor, Bruce Jenner, Barry Obama, etc.

        • Nobdy says:

          Yeah, nobody likes being called by a name they don’t like, but that is not a fundamental tenet of liberalism it is a tenet of politeness and respect.

          Shak is being deliberately impolite and disrespectful. She is thumbing her nose at a tyrant.

      • medrawt says:

        Before it’s a fundamental principle of liberalism I think it’s a matter of basic politeness; you call people by their preferred names, with perhaps caveats for circumstances which make that difficult or unpalatable for some reason. If you prefer to be addressed as Nobdy and someone always said “Nobby,” I’d find them inconsiderate at best; since I care about this sort of thing, when I do it I’m being deliberately rude.

        When there’s something beyond interpersonal dynamics at play, it often looks like a kind of bullying that tracks with liberal politics. Three examples: insisting on calling Muhammad Ali Cassius Clay after he changed his name; insisting on calling Caitlyn Jenner Bruce, after she indicated her preferred nomenclature; calling someone with a “foreign” name who has indicated that they prefer to be addressed as such by some bowdlerized American version. All of these smack of an illiberal intolerance. Despite the strong evidence that Caitlyn Jenner is not a particularly good person, we shouldn’t refer to her as Bruce, except perhaps for clarity when referring to events which took place when that was the name she used.

        Also, we object when “Democrat” is used when our preferred form is “Democratic”, a much more grammatically subtle form of insult/preference. Trump is vastly worth insulting, but I actually agree with Dilan that habitually denying him his name is a level of pettiness that is a little too close to stuff we would otherwise protest.

        To be clear, I don’t think this means we should abandon insulting nicknames for him. It’s the actual process of distorting his name that I don’t care for.

        • Nobdy says:

          Politeness benefits the powerful. The difference here is between punching up and punching down. Most of the examples you mention are people using misnaming to deny a fundamental aspect of identity whether it be Ali being a Muslim or Jenner being a woman.

          Calling Trump T. Rump is different. It is more like calling Bill Clinton “Slick Willy.” Maybe not nice or polite but not bigoted in the way calling Caitlyn Jenner Bruce is.

          And to resist we need to be impolite. We cannot let them dictate the rules of engagement.

          • Dilan Esper says:

            Oh no, really? Do you really think people were punching down on Kareem Abdul Jabbar?

            And if this form of punching up is OK, you have just justified every right wing insult of Obama. He’s the President and they are punching up by calling him Barry or capitalizing HUSSEIN.

            The punching down thing really needs to be retired. It yields no consistently applicable ethical principle.

            • jim, some guy in iowa says:

              this is all coming down to showing respect for our betters, isn’t it

              • bender says:

                No it does not.

                I find the constant, reflexive use by some people on this blog of profanity and mocking nicknames tedious and irritating. I come here for information, analysis and the occasional, delightful runs of literate wordplay. I put up with the macho language for the sake of the content, but the repetition of mindless insults is wearing on me and I’m getting close to bailing on this blog.

                Intelligent people with a good command of language can deliver devastating insults without using a single word that would be amiss in a Victorian drawing room.

                • jim, some guy in iowa says:

                  points taken. I agree more than I realized with them. I also still believe that Esper’s motivations come primarily from his desire to be seen as an Authority

                • BartletForGallifrey says:

                  dammit ignore stupid mouse

                • Nobdy says:

                  The very lack of effort in the insult is an integral part of it. It is much more disrespectful and dismissive to say “T. Rump” than to go on a long witty rant.

                  Sometimes you just want to show your buttocks to a tyrant to demonstrate that you do not and will not respect them even enough to come up with a clever term of disrespect.

                  You are free not to like it but it is a meaningful rhetorical choice.

                • BartletForGallifrey says:

                  I put up with the macho language for the sake of the content, but the repetition of mindless insults is wearing on me and I’m getting close to bailing on this blog.

                  Bye, Felicia.

                  Oh, sorry, was that too flip and mindless? Let me try again.

                  If you don’t enjoy a particular poster or commenter, the simple, mature solution is to not read that poster or commenter. Lecturing everyone and threatening to run away and take your devastating insights with you is childish and irritating.

                  The implication that people who use such insults and/or–heaven forfend!–profanity are unintelligent and/or don’t have a good command of language is both absurd–there are more fancy degrees on this blog than at the average…meeting of people with fancy degrees okay I couldn’t come up with something there–and insulting.

                  And I do believe “rump” would be the appropriate word in a Victorian drawing room. It’s not like Shake talked about grabbing his pussy or something truly terrible.

                • N__B says:

                  The implication that people who use such insults and/or–heaven forfend!–profanity are unintelligent and/or don’t have a good command of language is both absurd–there are more fancy degrees on this blog than at the average…meeting of people with fancy degrees okay I couldn’t come up with something there–and insulting.

                  Fuckin-A bubba.

                  Also, those of us who like to curse have Mark Twain on our side.

                • DrDick says:

                  BartletForGallifrey –

                  Thank you!

                • Origami Isopod says:

                  Clutch those pearls a little tighter.

                  Oh, excuse me — clutch those pearls a little fucking tighter.

                  Also, fuck you, fuck your tone trolling, and fuck your outdated and classist concept of “intelligence.” And don’t let the screen door hit you in the ass on your way out.

                • BartletForGallifrey says:

                  Ily OI.

                • (((Hogan))) says:

                  I may have fucked up my life flatter’n hammered shit, but I stand here before you today beholden to no human cocksucker.

                • JMP says:

                  I really do love the obsession with fucking profanity. We’re talking about words that are not actually offensive, and which every single goddamn adult in the country uses every day of their lives. Pretending that one is a weird Victorian prude who never says fuck or shit and that somehow makes you superior like your shit doesn’t stink just makes no sense.

            • Ben Murphy says:

              The punching down thing really needs to be retired. It yields no consistently applicable legal principle.

              So that’s the criteria now, everything (including blog posts and comments) must yield a consistently applicable legal principle?

            • Nobdy says:

              Height joke acknowledged. Substantive response up thread.

            • DrDick says:

              It is punching down in those cases because both men are members of a marginalized ethnic group and these are attempts to delegitimate them and their accomplishments. I realize you are all about kissing up, but some of us prefer pitchforks and torches.

            • Karen24 says:

              Trump is a billionaire and the President God Have Mercy On Us All – Elect. ANY insult to him is by definition punching up.

              There is no point to having principles if you never ever ever consider violating them. We insult Trump because he is a vile monster who is going to destroy everything that makes me love my country and will do so without even thinking about it. Other people, horrible as they may be, don’t pose a threat to me and my family. I will continue to use cheap stupid insults against the monster because that’s what I need to keep fighting back. And you don’t get the right to tell me to be civil to the man who wants to kill me.

          • medrawt says:

            Your name is a fundamental aspect of your identity! To quote a moderately well regarded television show, “My name is my name!”

            There may be an irresolvable philosophical difference here. Trump the man is worthy of insult, but I consider it important that the office of the President be treated with respect. Trump’s occupation of that seat is a massive challenge to that form of thinking, because he is not a figure either worthy of respect or who gives it to others. His very status as POTUS (elect) diminishes the dignity of the office. But mangling the guy’s name in playground-level insulting ways accelerates that diminishment, in my opinion, which I think is unhealthy for the whole. I don’t consider choosing not to take that particular route to be ceding the rules of engagement. I don’t pretend to know what’s in Dilan’s mind, but I’m not against insulting him, or using insulting terms for him. But I consider respecting a person’s name to be a really basic aspect of identity. (My actual first name is widely nicknamed, and I have a strong preference to NOT go by that nickname, which may be driving some of my attitude here.)

            For reference, I also don’t like (and didn’t with GWBush) “not my President” type messaging. He IS my President (elect), and that’s awful, but if I don’t believe in that principle I don’t have anything else to believe in. Like I said, I suspect this is a philosophical disagreement: I think Trump wins when we degrade the office*, and I think treating him with what I consider to be the most basic level of disrespect degrades the office. If you think the office cannot be any more degraded than it already is by his presence, and you want to puncture the perceived authority it bestows on him, you’ll feel differently.

            * I believe Trump generally benefits from cynicism about politicians. He benefits from the idea that he’s not a special kind of bastard, he’s just a kind of bastard that the “elites” don’t like.

            • Nobdy says:

              Sorry, I am from the “Fuck Tha Police” generation. Respect has to be earned. Contempt for authority is good and necessary.

              Disrespect SHOULD be a price of power. It keeps it in check.

              Trump will be my president but I will NEVER respect him. He doesn’t deserve it.

              Respecting a POS authoritarian just empowers them.

              • DrDick says:

                Even though I am a child of the 60s, I agree completely.

              • Lost Left Coaster says:

                I’m from the George W. Bush generation. And we learned that this notion that “you must respect the president” can be weaponized into a machine that mows down hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and leaves America forever damaged.

                So no, I do not simply accord respect to a president as if he were some kind of king. Hair Furor respects no one, and no one should respect him.

            • BartletForGallifrey says:

              He IS my President (elect), and that’s awful, but if I don’t believe in that principle I don’t have anything else to believe in.

              Correct. Welcome to 2016.

            • Nick never Nick says:

              I guess I don’t understand why the office of the Presidency deserves this level of respect. Is the President in the same category as a serious artist, where you can respect the effort even if the art sucks? Not really — Presidents are usually politicians, military people, or businessmen, where we certainly don’t automatically respect members who aren’t President. Is the President famed for being a good person? Not at all, there have been many awful Presidents. Should the President be respected because a majority of citizens chose them as leader? First off, we don’t apply that to anyone else; secondly, Trump was chosen by a minority.

              Why should Trump be respected when his deeds and person strongly suggest he doesn’t deserve it? ‘His office’ is a weak answer — and to write that if you can’t respect Trump then you have nothing to believe in, well — you are nuts! How about believing that the qualities Trump doesn’t have — empathy, compassion, honesty — are valuable, and respecting people who demonstrate them?

              • BartletForGallifrey says:

                Should the President be respected because a majority of citizens chose them as leader?

                I think that’s a reasonable thing, actually. A majority of the people choose someone to be the leader, and we should respect that decision even if we hate the person. Not the “office,” whatever the hell that is, but the decision. Democracy. We respect the will of the majority.

                Consequently, I will continue to respect Hillary Clinton.

                • Nick never Nick says:

                  I guess I see it differently. You can tell me to ‘observe’ the will of the majority, like I observe most laws; but you can’t tell me to ‘respect’ it, that’s getting down to the level of informing me of what I think.

                  But yeah, ‘will of the majority, peacefully expressed’ is as close a justification as I can find for ‘respecting’ the office of the President. Not quite good enough, though.

              • DrDick says:

                I think that there are contexts in which we should respect the office, like not yelling “you lie” during the SOTU speech, but I refuse to respect someone like Trump in my own life. He does not warrant it and disgraces the office he will soon hold (provided he can stay out of jail long enough to take office).

                • BartletForGallifrey says:

                  What about paying for “you lie” to trend on twitter during the SOTU?

                • Nick never Nick says:

                  Yes, I agree too — ‘not respect’ doesn’t mean be actively rude in a situation like that.

                  Would I be rude to Trump if he and I ran into each other? I don’t think so. Would I be rude to Trump if he invited himself into my house? Probably not, I’d likely fall back on some stiff conversation like “you and I have fundamental differences, I’d appreciate it if you’d leave blah blah“, but later on I would wish that I’d shrieked something disrespectful and inappropriate.

                • Stag Party Palin says:

                  Yes, let’s remember that respecting the office can mean, among other things, impeaching a president for cause. IOW, the president himself has to respect the office. Good luck on that.

                  Disrespecting Trump does NOT mean we disrespect the office. They are two different things.

              • medrawt says:

                The office of the Presidency deserves a certain level of respect because the country as we know it is partially dependent on the idea that when half the country decides they hate the current occupant they stew on it until the next election instead of trying to settle the matter with rifles. It’s not because the wisdom of the Founding Fathers is bestowed upon the new President like unto a visitation from the Holy Ghost and he lives within that sanctified aura for four years. It’s because for the country to function properly and, frankly, safely, we need to have respect for the basic institutions of government beyond their current occupants. A sitting member of Congress standing up and shouting “You lie!” at POTUS during a State of the Union was an assault on this principle. Calling Trump T. Rump or Drumpf or whatever is a pebble against that boulder, but I personally believe that the effects are cumulative; there’s an accretion of evidence that you don’t need to respect our political leaders unless they’re Your Guy. And to be clear, I don’t mean “respect” as in “show obeisance and supplication to,” I mean “respect” as in “I accept that he is empowered to act with Constitutionally-derived authority in relevant matters.”

                And if you think I wrote that “if [I] can’t respect Trump then [I] have nothing to believe in” you’re having trouble with your reading. I was referring not to respecting the man, but to accepting the fact that he is the President, mine as well as his voters, in specific reference to my disagreeing with the messaging of “not my President”.

                • SatanicPanic says:

                  It’s because for the country to function properly and, frankly, safely, we need to have respect for the basic institutions of government beyond their current occupants.

                  Kind of feel like we’re past the point of no return on this.

                • rea says:

                  Well, thee is a certain sense in which the president, being head of state as well as head of government (both queen and prime minister) is entitled to the respect due to a symbol of the nation, like the flag.

                  So, let’s set him on fire.

                • (((Hogan))) says:

                  Or run him up to the top of a pole on the end of a rope.

            • randy khan says:

              The whole “my President” thing gets on my nerves. He will be “the President,” just like Obama, G.W. Bush, Clinton and all the ones before them. I don’t really have any ownership in any of them, or any claim to them. (I mean, yes, as a citizen, the President owes certain duties to me, but none of that is particular to me alone.) So none of them are mine or, for that matter, someone else’s.

      • Lost Left Coaster says:

        How is calling people by the name they prefer a fundamental principle of liberalism?

        This is one of those principles stored mainly in the rectum of the person who asserts it, pulled out freshly when needed.

      • rhino says:

        Like calling trans people trans, not ‘tranny’. Or African american and not ‘nigger’. It’s bad to use a person’s immutable characteristics to make fun of them, and they get to define how those immutable characteristics are used to describe them as an extension.

        I still don’t see how it applies to mutable characteristics like wilful stupidity (i.e. trumpism), bigotry (i.e. alt-right vs ‘neo nazi’) or calling The Rapey Orange Shitgibbon orange, since he chooses to spray himself that colour.

    • The Temporary Name says:

      I’ve got a 50% chance of typing the right name. Don’t fault me for the mistakes.

    • The short fingered orange despot
      Cheeto Benito
      Tangerine Shitgibbon
      Fuckface Von Clownstick
      Putin’s Bitch
      Don the Con
      Dickface Destroyer of Democracy
      America’s Wealthiest Hemorrhoid (John Oliver)
      Il Douche
      Hair Furor
      Id Vicious
      Cheeto Jesus
      Voldemoron (John Cole)
      Orange Julius Caesar (Lewis Black)
      Angry Circus Peanut
      T.A. (That Asshole in the White House)
      The Nazi Cheeto (or Cheeto Nazi)
      The Trumpanzee
      The Vulgar Talking Yam (Charlie Pierce)
      El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago (Charlie Pierce)
      Der FUBARer
      He, Trump
      Accident-Elect Smallgloves (or Littlefingers)
      The Drumpf
      Trumpty Dumpty
      Tangelo Tyrant
      Tangerine Nightmare
      Ambulatory pilonoidal cyst
      Tangerini Mussolini
      The Pussygrabbing Potentate

      Feel free to add to the list.

    • Murc says:

      Calling people by the name they prefer is a fundamental principle of liberalism

      No, it isn’t. It’s a fundamental principle of politeness and respect.

      I call Trump “Il Douche” as a deliberate gesture of contempt and disrespect.

      People didn’t complain about the folks who called Barack Obama “Barry Soweto” or “Obambi” or Hillary Clinton “$hillary KKKlinton” because they felt the people doing so were violating long-held tenets of liberalism or some political notion of reasoned discourse. We complained about it because they were revealing themselves as idiots by denigrating people not worthy of denigration. (Or, in the former case, because they were attempting to de-legitimate him as an American citizen.)

      I have limits on this. I would never misgender Trump, for example. But I’m going to call him insulting names that imply he’s an incompetent fascist crook, because I mean to insult him and to insult him accurately.

      You’re looking for a principle violation where none exists. This boils down entirely to “our insults are accurate, and deserved; the ones we have received in the past are not.” There’s not a double standard at play here.

      • Dilan Esper says:

        FYI, I did complain about right wingers who called Obama, Hillary, and other Democrats nasty names. I have been especially vociferous with respect to sexist insults of HRC, precisely because I was not a fan of her on the merits and felt and still feel that all the sexist garbage thrown at her discredits anyone who wants to criticize her.

        The thing is, I want my side to be better than the right.

        • John not McCain says:

          I want my side to win, by any means necessary.

          • Dilan Esper says:

            I doubt this sort of thing helps us strategically either (insulting Obama and Clinton didn’t help the right).

            • BartletForGallifrey says:

              I doubt this sort of thing helps us strategically either (insulting Obama and Clinton didn’t help the right).

              PPEOTUS’s willingness to insult Obama and Clinton is literally why people voted for him. Do you really not get that? “Fuck political correctness” has in fact worked extremely well for the right.

              • Murc says:

                We’re appealing to not-entirely-but-largely-different voters, tho, aren’t we?

                • BartletForGallifrey says:

                  I wasn’t necessarily arguing that it would help us, but Dilan’s claim that it didn’t help the right is patently ridiculous.

                • Murc says:

                  That’s fair, yeah.

                • DrDick says:

                  Dilan’s claim that it didn’t help the right is patently ridiculous.

                  Generally true for most of his claims.

                • Moondog von Superman says:

                  Murc, this is why the correct way to refer to PEOTUS is T***p — a la Joyce Carol Oates.

                • njorl says:

                  At no time should we ever relent on the notion that Donald Trump is a comical horror. If name-calling reinforces that notion, it is an unadulterated good. All of the marginally engaged people who didn’t vote for Clinton in 2016 should go to the polls in 2018 and 2020 with the notion firmly established in their minds that they have to do something to protect their country from that comical horror. Whatever we can do to penetrate their disinterest should be done.

        • Murc says:

          The thing is, I want my side to be better than the right.

          As do I! I’ve been having fights all week here and elsewhere with people who are all “we need to win by any means necessary” and I will again.

          Thing is, this in no way lowers us to their level, tho. Their insults were bad because they were inaccurate and unwarranted.

          Ours are both accurate AND warranted.

          • DrDick says:

            I very much want my side to be better than the right, as well. But what I am concerned with is policies, equal treatment for all (if you are a tangerine fuckturd, I will call you that, regardless of who you are), helping the less fortunate, and otherwise making the world better. Civility is the first refuge of scoundrels and fuckweasels. Fuck civility and fuck the tone police. I will respect you until you demonstrate that you are not worthy of respect. The Tangerine Turd has done so with every breath he takes.

            • Murc says:

              Speaking as someone who is a big booster of civility… it’s so massively context and situation specific it is hard to generate general-use rules for it.

              Like, I wouldn’t call Trump Fuckface von Clownstick if we were both, say, at a funeral or a wedding.

            • Stag Party Palin says:

              In my life as a mucky-muck for a certain green organization, politeness was a weapon used against me many times. It is a weapon of the powerful, and we have been so well trained by our mothers that we find it very difficult to fight back.

              I’m over that now.

        • Gee Suss says:

          I’m sure you call out TJ when he dismissively calls Clinton “Hill”.

    • wengler says:

      You’re right. I’ve been calling him Orange Fascist Clown for awhile now instead.

    • BartletForGallifrey says:

      Calling people by the name they prefer is a fundamental principle of liberalism

      This is why we lose.

      He referred to every one of his opponents with an added insult. He refers to a senator with a racial slur. You know he uses slurs to refer to every racial/religious/ethnic group under the sun. I’m still amazed he didn’t call Secretary Clinton a bitch. (Just “nasty woman.”) But you want us to respect him.

      I’ll show him exactly as much respect as he deserves: Fucking. None.

      • Dilan Esper says:

        This seems wrong. He won despite the playground insults, not because of them.

        • eclare says:

          I disagree with this assessment.

        • BartletForGallifrey says:

          You have literally no idea what happened over the last 18 months, do you.

          • DrDick says:

            Nope and never has.

          • Nick never Nick says:

            Now hold on! Give Dilan a break. Simply take Trump’s campaign, subtract the playground insults, overt rhetorical violence, and constant othering of huge groups of Americans, and it becomes clear that he was elected because of his wide array of detailed policy prescriptions on the earned income tax cred . . .

            Ah, screw it, I concur, Dilan has literally no idea what happened over the last 18 months.

        • veleda_k says:

          This is a very stupid statement.

        • njorl says:

          The slurs and insults were assets for him. That’s what his supporters mean when they call him “honest”, “willing to tell the truth” and “willing to speak his mind” – that he was willing to be a rude bigot.

        • tsam says:

          You’re confusing people on the right who jeer and insult based on things like gender, race, etc.

          Donald Trump, the ferret-wearing ShitGibbon CHOOSES to be a petulant, stupid, racist, ignorant, trollable, asshole piece of shit who needs to fucking die–along with his scumbag advisor Bannon.

          Don’t turn being a shit and being disrespectful toward shits into a both sides do it false equivalence. It’s not the same thing, not even close.

      • Murc says:

        I’ll show him exactly as much respect as he deserves: Fucking. None.

        I’ll show Trump the basic respect any human being deserves, no matter how vile; that is, I don’t want him to be, you know, tortured to death or anything.

        Anything else is fair game.

    • Crusty says:

      Trump stands outside the circle of people who give and receive ordinary courtesy and politeness. So call him orangefaced nutsack if you like.

      But I don’t think Dilan should be called a creep.

    • eclare says:

      I haven’t thought this through completely, but I think there’s a fundamental difference between dead-naming someone and outright insulting them. Dead-naming a person has the effect, either intentionally or otherwise, of denying that person one of the most fundamental aspects of their identity. Calling someone a mean name is, well, just calling them a mean name.

      To be fair, I try not to engage in either (although I make an exception for straightforward, gender-, race-, and sexuality-neutral insults like asshole and jerk), but I think there is a real difference between the two, even though I can’t yet describe exactly what it is. I have to think on it further.

    • randy khan says:

      I’m going to follow my personal rule and always refer to him by his proper name, the same thing I did during the G.W. Bush Administration. Partly that’s because I want to respect the office (difficult though it may be while he’s in it) and partly because I find it easier to engage people who don’t agree with me if I always use the more respectful form.

      But I don’t really care if anyone else does what I do and, certainly, on a blog where the audience POV is pretty well understood and in synch, I don’t see any particular reason not to use whatever reference the writer wants.

    • Lost Left Coaster says:

      I thought this was a joke at first, then I realized it wasn’t. Oh god. I’m unable to decide what I hate the most about this comment: the condescension or the mansplaining or the general concern trollery or the fact that someone genuinely seems to be offended that Trump has been given a mildly insulting nickname.

      Sweet Jesus.

    • Origami Isopod says:

      Good job, D’Espair, derailing most of the thread with this pointless, pissy comment.

    • Pseudonym says:

      Whatever you say, Alder Penis.

  4. steve Rodent says:

    Yes, it’s tacky to poke fun at the fascist.

  5. CP says:

    Exceptionalism means never having to be sorry that your side elected a president who is overdrawn at the First Bank of Fucks and has the attention span of a dog at a squirrel farm. In fact, it means being glad about it. After all, he’ll sign anything we give him. Just tell him it’s an autograph for a fashion model who really digs yams, hooray!

    See also Reagan, Ronald, and Bush, George W.

  6. CP says:

    Trump is a vindictive and temperamental asshole who is going to assert his authority (real or imagined) whenever the mood strikes.

    Scarily, this is our best hope for the next four/eight years.

  7. Linnaeus says:

    If we’re going to have a parliament, let’s just have one instead of this bullshit.

  8. Peterr says:

    Trump is beginning to remind me of the hot rookie Nuke LaLoosh at the beginning of Bull Durham, when he waves off the pitch called by Crash Davis because he wants to “announce my presence with authority.”

    This did not end well for Nuke, as Davis told the batter what pitch was coming, and the batter proceeded to park it over the fence.

  9. Nobdy says:

    Nobody knows what this administration is going to look like (besides horrific trainwreck) because nobody this transparently unqualified and incompetent has been elected. Even Dubya had been a governor for 8 years AND had daddy’s cronies behind the scenes guiding things.

    We all said this during the campaign. Trump can’t do this job and also is temperamentally incapable of yielding power to more experienced and smarter people.

    We’re all just kind of guessing at this point. Based on the transition so far it looks like Trump will push whatever policies are advocated by those he considers loyal. So insofar as Ryan and McConnell can stay on his good side and not interfere with his gift and Michael Flynn’s rabid blood thirst I think they will get their way, but he could also turn on a dime and do something crazy.

    I almost feel for Reine Preibus, because he is wrangling one giant ill-tempered cat, but also fuck that guy, he is fucking evil.

    • randy khan says:

      I feel no sorrow for Preibus. He actually came out much better from the campaign than he had any right to expect, even if he has to make sure that he’s always the guy he enters the room as Bannon leaves.

  10. CrunchyFrog says:

    I wonder how this kind of stuff is going to go down:

    It’s one thing to shake down business leaders to pay open bribes to Trump, Inc. The GOP is fine with that. But the Boeing example shows just how complicated this can be. Here is the sequence:

    8:30 am ET Chicago Tribune published article in which Boeing CEO expressing concern about Trump’s China policy and the impact to Boeing’s extensive business selling to China.
    8:52 am ET Trump tweets that the Boing Air Force 1 contract is way overpriced and needs to be cancelled. As usual, his numbers are a lie (way overstated).

    Trump’s plan is simple: Get Boeing’s CEO to apologize and throw some millions at Trump, Inc. then all is forgiven. But the problem is Boeing’s CEO has a real concern – if the extremists continue to push pro-Taiwan foreign policy Boeing will see a huge drop in orders. Begging for Trump forgiveness doesn’t address that. On top of that Trump doesn’t have an option. The two Air Force One planes are 26 years old and it takes nearly a decade to get new ones custom designed and built, a process that is underway now and due to complete in 2023. They need new planes and they have no options given that the Boeing-MCD merger was approved and the only viable competitor is Airbus.

    I’m sure this is just one of about a million problems that Trump’s Mafia Don-style of management will cause.

    • Rob in CT says:

      8:30 am ET Chicago Tribune published article in which Boeing CEO expressing concern about Trump’s China policy and the impact to Boeing’s extensive business selling to China.
      8:52 am ET Trump tweets that the Boing Air Force 1 contract is way overpriced and needs to be cancelled. As usual, his numbers are a lie (way overstated).

      This fuckin’ guy.

      • JustRuss says:


      • N__B says:

        This fuckin’ guy.

        My pearls, they are clutched.

        And no, my hands are not in my lap.

        • Rob in CT says:


          Oh, the profanity!

          General comment: I swear like a sailor. If people find this off-putting, I understand. That was my father’s stance (“profanity shows a poor vocabulary” was his line), and I did manage not to swear in his presence. None of you are my father.

          • DrDick says:

            Same here, except it was my mother who objected. My father was a sailor (CB, actually) during WWII and also swore like one, though he tried to restrain himself around my mother. She actually did not get too worked up, as her father swore constantly (about every third word out of his mouth was “sonofabitch”).

            • Rob in CT says:

              My father was actually the sailor! Well, not quite. He was a junior officer in the British Merchant Marine. But the man was born in 1925 to an upper-middle-class family. So no swearing.

              My mother, on the other hand, was born in Brooklyn in the 40s and her dad was a 2nd-gen Sicilian American who never made it past 8th grade. She’d let things slip out from time to time, side-eye from dad notwithstanding.

              My potty mouth is the fault of the other kids on the school bus, frankly.

          • veleda_k says:

            “profanity shows a poor vocabulary” was his line

            I don’t know, I know a lot of swear words. (Though I tend to use “fuck” like punctuation, so maybe he has a point with me.)

    • CaptainBringdown says:

      By 2023, Dune Buggy One might be a more useful vehicle than an airplane.

    • No Longer Middle Aged Man says:

      I just posted but didn’t show that lead article on NYTimes website at the moment is news that Trump “out of the blue” tweeted about cancelling the new AF1. And they wonder why journalists don’t get more respect.

      • CrunchyFrog says:

        Even hours after the fact the MSM is avoiding documenting the linkage. Instead a bunch of “he said she said” articles with the major focus being that Trump is trying to save taxpayer’s money.

        When the 2030 version of the Nuremburg Trials are held every one of the editors in the MSM will need to be included.

        • No Longer Middle Aged Man says:

          I wrote the author of the NYTimes article hours ago, then the managing editor, the executive editor and the publisher. They remain ensconced in their cocoon that if The Times didn’t report it, it didn’t happen. They’ve long since forfeited any claim to our respect.

    • wengler says:

      I like that 22 minutes was probably the amount of time it took for Trump’s aides to print it out and hand it to him, because other than Twitter Trump’s interaction with computers or ‘the cyber’ appears to be nil.

      • CrunchyFrog says:

        Well, the Trump team certainly has a feed of all articles mentioning Trump because we’ve seen rapid tweeting like this in response to articles before. And lots of people have mentioned how obsessed he is with any news coverage of himself.

    • Shakezula says:

      Petty B.S. like this is what the Disengaged President will be doing when he isn’t getting under Congress’ feet. And there’s a less than 0% chance that he’ll try to Do Something about the contract.

      • BigHank53 says:

        How long until the grownups start ignoring the President? And how many minutes after that does the President fuck something up so hard he can’t be ignored?

        Christ, it’s going to be four years of constant trainwreck.

        • Captain C says:

          Christ, it’s going to be four years of constant trainwreck.

          Assuming he lasts four years. Between his apparent poor physical fitness, his habit of walking away when things get tough and he can’t bully his way to a favorable outcome, and the powerful enemies he’ll make both in and out of the U.S., this is not a given.

          Of course, Pence will be a disaster in his own right if he has to take over.

        • Shakezula says:

          Absolutely. I think ignoring him – to avoid confrontation, because they’re busy, whatever – will be something Congress will try. And as you note, he’ll show them.

          There’s also the issue of his supporters. If I were going to feel sorry for a Republican Congressperson, I’d feel sorry for the one who gets on the wrong side of that vicious pack of goat stranglers because Dear Leader has thrown a Tweeter tantrum.

          • BigHank53 says:

            Oh hell yes. I’m willing to wager that the first time we see a Second Amendment solution applied to an elected official, it’ll be a GOP target. And a devoted InfoWars reader behind the trigger.

    • Captain C says:

      Trump’s Mafia Don-style of management

      And the sad thing is that Trump seems to be modeling his style after John Gotti, a flamboyant loudmouth who made himself a target, and was apparently a terrible businessman as far as Mafia leaders go.

      At least if we’re going to have that style of leader, they should try to emulate Meyer Lansky or Carlo Gambino or suchlike, who were at least competent earners and knew the value of discretion.

    • Nick never Nick says:

      Slate published an article suggesting that Trump’s budget figure isn’t that far off (though I know that isn’t the main implication of this story).

      • CrunchyFrog says:

        Very possible for 2 AF ones after all of the customizations. If they use the latest 747 as the basis they start at $350M for barebones and add tens of millions to make it into a passenger plane with lots of first and business class seating. I would have guessed closer to $1-1.2B when all of the DoD and Secret Service customizations are added. However, the whole program, including the DoD costs to support the program including acceptance testing, etc., could hit $4B. But Boeing wouldn’t pocket all of that.

  11. Bitter Scribe says:

    Does anyone else remember Calvin Trillin’s essay on Ronald Reagan, the “disengaged” president? It featured him working out with disengagedbells and using a disengagedwaiter. There may also have been a “disengaged blonde” joke in there, I don’t remember.

    • postmodulator says:

      This has been a theme with three Republican presidents now; the chattering classes trying to find ways to avoid saying “He’s not that bright.”

      • No Longer Middle Aged Man says:

        This is one problem with a certain segment of liberal opinion — the idea that “brightness” as it might be defined by SAT scores is a big thing. Get over it, it’s not high school anymore. Nixon and Carter certainly were “bright” according to this metric. And unsuccessful presidents. Reagan was enormously successful if success is measured by achieving a good portion of what he set out to achieve. Clinton too. Frankfurter’s comment on FDR was “second rate intellect, first rate temperament.” One of our greatest presidents. This “not very bright” shit is just smug self-satisfaction.

        • Mayur says:

          Nah not conceding this point.

          A) Bill Clinton is one of the smartest people I have ever encountered in my life. As in, eidetic memory, encyclopedic command of facts, incredibly articulate, and to all accounts (since obviously I can’t know this having only worked briefly in his campaign office and seen him speak) very analytically bright.

          B) I’m not clear to this day whether Reagan was anything g other than a pawn. His BACKERS certainly got their agenda accomplished with massive success (and a lot of those people were manifestly intelligent) but the man himself doesn’t appear to have demonstrated anything better than an ability to look good on TV and mouth a bunch of platitudes. Which BTW is pretty much all you need to be president under a conservative model of governance.

          • No Longer Middle Aged Man says:

            Don’t confuse aging and borderline a bit senile late Reagan with the guy who’d been on the public stage for the preceding 30 years. Against considerable odds he defeated an incumbent governor and an incumbent USA president. He won massive re-election both times. He consistently enunciated what his policies were and by and large he got them enacted. I don’t question that he had a disengaged management style and was not thoughtful (in the sense that much of what he said was bromides, lies and simplistic “solutions”) but the “he was just a dumb puppet” canard is what self-annointed “smart” people told themselves as he cleaned their (our, in fact, because I was one of them at the time) clocks time after time.

        • steve Rodent says:

          Bill Clinton was a Rhodes Scholar.

          • No Longer Middle Aged Man says:

            That’s rather my point. Reagan wasn’t. They both were very successful (by my previous definition) presidents. Which suggests that other stuff mattered much more than the “not so bright” silliness. It’s the liberal version of the conservative dumbass comment “if you’re so smart how come you aren’t rich.”

        • Origami Isopod says:

          Get over it, it’s not high school anymore.

          LOL, high school is all about popularity, not grades.

          And, nah, stupid people deserve to be called stupid. I don’t mean reasonably intelligent people like FDR who simply aren’t scholars, I mean utter fuckwits like Drumpf.

        • randy khan says:

          A few thoughts on this:

          1. Brightness alone is not determinative of success, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important to a lot of jobs. When G.W.B. proposed Harriett Mier for the Supreme Court, I told people at the time that I thought she was a bad choice because any Justice ought to be obviously smarter than me. I feel a little bit that way about Presidents, but it’s also not the only important characteristic. (I’m not actually sure, for instance, that Hillary Clinton is smarter than me, but I am confident that she is one of the most thorough and prepared people around.)

          2. My personal issue with G.W. Bush was not so much raw intelligence as a lack of curiosity or, put differently, interest in understanding the complexities of an issue. G.W.B. was very much someone who was unwilling to reconsider his initial opinions because he wasn’t interested in getting more information that would affect his world view. Trump seems to be that way to me.

          3. One way that politics is like high school is that the brightest people aren’t typically the ones who are most successful socially. Every once in a while the brightest kid is really popular, but he or she needs to play football or do something else that isn’t related to academics.

  12. Crusty says:

    I don’t know if this is optimistic or what, but I don’t see Trump lasting four years. That’s not to say he’ll resign or be impeached in less than his full term, but I see him delegating bigly, and the hope is that eventually some of his more loony appointments also tire of their public service and the government eventually winds up in the hands of competent bureaucrats. Now, that’s quite problematic itself. For starters, it isn’t really democracy.

    But anyway, I don’t see Donald wanting to spend years 70-74 of his overweight non-exercising, poor dieting life fully engaged in a boring job, away from his golf courses and his beloved business deals. And perhaps someone like Mnuchin will be the same way- he’s got a hedge fund to run and hollywood deals to make. After he gets his name on the money and gets a tax cut through, is it really worth it? Now, there are other people within the Trump circle, like Bannon and Flynn, who seem power hungry and will hold on for dear life and will do whatever they have to to prop up their puppet. But Trump will check out and then the question becomes whether he cedes things to McConnell and Ryan, or whether something else happens for some other reason. Not sure exactly how or why that would happen, but perhaps if there’s a trade war, and americans have to go back to paying thousdands for new tv’s from Walmart, people will realize that the whole thing (both a trade war and the more general election of an incompetent hack asshole) was a terrible idea, Mitt Romney will be made some kind of defacto manager and the dems will be running against Mike Pence in 2020 as Pence vows to keep America great. Trump will have extended border fence by ten feet, point to that and Carrier and declare that because he accomplished more than any other president ever in just one term, there is no need for a second.

    • CP says:

      I don’t know if this is optimistic or what, but I don’t see Trump lasting four years. That’s not to say he’ll resign or be impeached in less than his full term, but I see him delegating bigly, and the hope is that eventually some of his more loony appointments also tire of their public service and the government eventually winds up in the hands of competent bureaucrats. Now, that’s quite problematic itself. For starters, it isn’t really democracy.

      I don’t see any scenario in which he becomes delegator-in-chief that doesn’t involve Republican establishment operatives taking over the driver’s seat. Which is terrifying in its own right, because as we saw in the Bush years, these guys are if anything more disconnected than the average Bush/Trump level dumbass.

    • eclare says:

      I used to think this, but now I think that as long as he can continue to use the Presidency to make money he’ll be happy to stick with it.

      • Crusty says:

        Yes, there is that. Stay away from his businesses- I’m the naive one. But I also think that this remains the strongest avenue for a scandal or impeachment. I understand how the GOP is now accepting his corruption as smart, good for America, etc., but I hold out hope that if they replace Obamacare with something that says that every American is required to purchase health insurance from the company owned by his son-in-law’s brother, there might be some push back.

        • los says:

          the GOP is now accepting his corruption as smart,

          Corruption has openly been a conservative virtue, since at least (during) Reagan,

          good for America, etc.

          … in the “What’s good for United Technologies[1] is…” sense.

          1. Peter Thiel, Robert Mercer, David Koch, Vladimir Putin, et al.

      • CP says:

        Besides, he’s in the spotlight as long as he’s in the White House. That’s totally what he craves.

    • Rob in CT says:

      I don’t know if this is optimistic or what, but I don’t see Trump lasting four years.

      I don’t really know why people say this. We’re stuck with him for four years, minimum. Possibly 8.

      • Crusty says:

        Well, the reasons I say it are 1) he seemed to have run for president on a whim/as a publicity stunt, 2) he has the world’s shortest attention span, 3) it seems the only thing he’s truly interested in is his business, i.e., decorating his hotels, 4) people dislike wars, both trade wars and actual wars and I see him getting us into both.

        But you make a good point. He now has power, which people like, and adulation, which he seems to crave. Frankly, I see him dropping dead about five minutes after he’s president and the crowds go away.

        But as for eight, bite your tongue.

        • CP says:

          None of the things you listed are incompatible with being president, though. Yes, he ran on a whim, but that doesn’t mean he won’t enjoy the perks. Yes, he has the world’s shortest attention span… but he’s not going to be doing much nitty-gritty details-oriented governing anyway. He has people who’ll do it for him, except the things that grab his attention. Yes, he cares about his business, and you can bet he’ll use the White House to shovel money at it, bail it out, protect it from regulations, and screw any competitors. No, people don’t dislike wars, at least not initially – they just get tired of them over time, but initially, it tends to be more of a boost (it’s why Desert Storm was the perfectly calculated media war). And even if the public turns against him, he won’t quit the job for so little.

          • Crusty says:

            Interesting comment about desert storm as the perfectly calculated media war. The thing is though, the fervor died down early enough for Bush I to lose to Clinton. When Bush II sent us in to Iraq, I thought to myself, there’s know way he’s ending this war as soon as his father did, he knows he still needs people out there with the yellow ribbons chanting USA, USA all the way up to the election.

        • Rob in CT says:

          I think of it this way.

          Being a good President (by which I mean both fairly effective at advancing your agenda and making sure your agenda is actually useful to The People) is hard. Really hard.

          Being President the way Trump will be (reality TV show host POTUS) on the other hand… well, it’s probably not *easy* but it’s not guaranteed to wear on him. He may even thoroughly enjoy it. He’s the shit-stirrer in Chief (or will be, come 1/20/17).

    • Nick never Nick says:

      Trump is going to find aspects of the Presidency that he enjoys and that fulfill him — I wouldn’t be optimistic that these turn out to be ceremonial. If there is one thing his history suggests, it’s that he enjoys exercising power.

      The campaign has left him with a huge list of people, institutions, organizations, and regions to take revenge on.

  13. LeeEsq says:

    The sub-thread on what to call Trump is why separating the offices of head of state and head of government is always a good idea. The head of state is supposed to represent the entire nation and people are generally supposed to have some sort of respect for the person holding the office. When dealing with constitutional monarchy, feelings of respect often become warm fuzzy feelings of admiration. “Our monarch” is a national parent or fun sibling of parent figure depending on the monarch’s personality. Democracy requires people to disrespect politicians if they think a particular politician is a big dunderhead. When you combine head of state and head of government into one office you get this confusing situation where the President is supposed to inspire admiration/warm fuzsies but might also be a dunderhead to tens of millions of people.

    • JohnT says:

      Exactly. The European constitutional monarchy is underappreciated as a way of solving this exact problem. You show the monarch a kind of notional, genial respect, secure in the knowledge that they haven’t got a meaningful mandate and don’t deserve such respect except as the symbol of historical traditions.
      The Prime Minister meanwhile has all the power but you can call him/her whatever you like because they’re officially just a lackey of the monarch

  14. Bruce B. says:

    I strongly dislike renaming-type humor, and for a simple reason: it was used against me all the time when I was a kid, and sometimes it hurt a lot.

    I really like clever nicknames. “Orange shitgibbon” isn’t passing itself as his name like “Drumpf” or whatever does. It’s a description, and a good one. It would make me happier if more folks went with descriptions than renaming.

  15. JohnT says:

    God bless shakezula for the Pratchett references! The Pterry flame must be kept alight

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