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A Stern warning

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Howard Stern is probably as close to an actual friend as Donald Trump has.  His take on why Trump ran for president and what he’s thinking about the whole thing now is no doubt a bit tongue in cheek, but I would bet there’s a lot of truth to it:

Howard Stern said on his program Wednesday that Trump will hate being president and the role will be detrimental to his mental health

Stern and Trump are long-time friends, with Trump making numerous appearances on Stern’s radio show over the years.

 “I personally wish that he had never run, I told him that, because I actually think this is something that is gonna be detrimental to his mental health too, because, he wants to be liked, he wants to be loved,” Stern said. “He wants people to cheer for him.”

“I don’t think it’s going to be a healthy experience. And by the way, he’s now on this anti-Hollywood kick. He loves Hollywood. First of all, he loves the press. He lives for it. He loves people in Hollywood. He only wants hobnob with them. All of this hatred and stuff directed towards him. It’s not good for him. It’s not good. There’s a reason every president who leaves the office has grey hair.”

. . .

Stern said he considers Trump a friend, but is opposed to his politics.

“I like Donald very much personally. I was shocked when he decided to run for president, and even more shocked that sort of, people took it seriously,” Stern said.

“I remember saying to him when he announced his presidency, I remember being quite amazed, because I remember him being for Hillary Clinton,” Stern added.

“And I remember him being very–I mean he was pro-abortion. So the new Donald Trump kind of surprised me.”

Stern said he doesn’t believe Trump has had a change of heart on issues like abortion, but is instead playing to his base.

The radio host said he also believed Trump ran for president solely to get a larger contract from NBC for “The Apprentice.”

“I think it started out as like a kinda cool, fun thing to do in order to get a couple more bucks out of NBC for The Apprentice, I actually do believe that,” Stern said.

“He just wanted a couple more bucks out of NBC, and that is why Donald is calling for voter fraud investigations. He’s pissed he won. He still wants Hillary Clinton to win. He’s so f—ing pissed, he’s hoping that he can find some voter fraud and hand it over to Hillary.”

Again some of this is probably a bit hyperbolic, but the idea that Trump’s presidential run was a publicity stunt that spun out of control remains plausible.  As is the idea that Trump almost literally can’t stand the criticism that comes with the job, given his extreme narcissism.   (That Trump is lying about issues like abortion is so obvious it doesn’t need to be argued).

On a related note, I think the best play for the anti-Trump movement right now is to hammer home relentlessly the message that Bannon is the real president, and that Trump is a puppet/empty ill-fitting suit.   Getting Bannon fired should be the top short-term priority, and there’s no way Trump can tolerate that message becoming the conventional wisdom.

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  • Merkwürdigliebe

    I think the best play for the anti-Trump movement right now is to hammer home relentlessly the message that Bannon is the real president, and that Trump is a puppet/empty ill-fitting suit.

    Aye.

    • wjts

      Agreed.

      • This means it’s up to SNL to save the Republic, doesn’t it? The only way that message gets through to Trump is if he sees it actually happening to Alec Baldwin.

        • wjts

          I’m reminded of the Peter Cook quote about the satirical Berlin cabarets that did so much to stop the rise of Hitler and prevent World War II.

          • Well, yes, but as far as we know, Hitler didn’t obsessively watch the cabaret shows and get pissed off at how they treated him. By contrast, we know perfectly well that Cheeto Benito obsesses over SNL, because he’s revealed as much on Twitter.

            Tom Lehrer made a similar observation, btw. I don’t know if he was echoing Cook or just made it independently.

          • JBC31187

            Yes, but Trump’s not Hitler. Which is not to say that Trump isn’t racist, and a sex offender, and ignorant, and stupidly aggressive with our allies and rivals. But Hitler had a vision of how he wanted the world to be, and so he had youth clubs and parks and public smoking bans to promote that vision. What is Trump’s vision? He gets to be president and then everyone has to say how awesome he is? Laughing at him denies him that, and I think that’s the only thing he really cares about.

            But you’re right that satire’s not enough. This whole mess started because a) half the American voters couldn’t be bothered to do the bare fucking minimum to keep this country afloat. And b) a not-insignificant number of (white) voters sided with the Republicans because they thought their ACA and Planned Parenthood wouldn’t be affected, hence #TrumpRegrets. I have nightmares that Bannon gets kicked out or Trump gets quieter, and all the people who came out to march get bored and leave.

          • NewishLawyer

            On the other hand, Orwell wrote that fascism did not take off in Britain because the British would just break out laughing at the site of Goosestepping.

            • Hells Littlest Angel

              The dedicated civil servants of the Ministry of Silly Walks beg to differ.

            • ThresherK (KadeKo)

              I’m reminded of the late, great Suck.com cartoon about the Nazis: So easy to make fun of because they sound funny, they dress funny, and they take themselves way too seriously.

              And that there are studies showing how Germans are deficient in humor (sorry, some of my ancestors) only backs this up.

              • LeeEsq

                The Germans can have a great sense of humor. It just takes a very particular form. There seems to be a bit of cruel, bitting streak in a lot of German humor, what we would call punch down rather than punch up or self-depreciating humor. In its low form, it takes the form of some rather grotesque slapstick and apparently the Nazis loved scatology comedy. The high form, the one associated with the Berlin cabarets in Weimar, were that of a cool artistic and intellectual bohemians looking down at all the earnest provincials that didn’t get it. At least thats what I gather from the historical record.

                English and American comedy had elements of this but there was also a gentler and kinder form of comedy that wasn’t actively cruel. Stuff you can laugh with rather than at.

                • The Dark God of Time

                  Dinner for One,10 also known by its German title ‘Der 90. Geburtstag’ (‘The 90th birthday’), is a just over 18-minute sketch filmed by the Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR)11 in 1963 and famous in Germany as screened, since the year of its existence, just under 300 times, chiefly as part of the German Silvester (New Year) celebrations. It is shown, in its original English, throughout the German speaking world and northern Europe during the festive season, although in Scandinavia it serves as a prelude to Christmas rather than New Year celebrations.12 The sketch itself dates back to the 1920’s and the pen of the British revue author Lauri Wylie. Its chief actor, Freddie Frinton, a British character comedian, purchased the rights from Wylie and refined the sketch in British revues over the course of the 50’s, until, in Blackpool in 1962, the sketch was taken up and shown in Frankenfeld’s variety show ‘Guten Abend, Peter Frankenfeld’ and the rest, if still largely inexplicable, is history.
                  Despite occasioning various references and parodies, from puppets to satirical rewrites,13 the sketch remains unknown in its country of origin. As such a précis of its contents seems necessary. It is worth pointing out that the sketch has no specific relation to New Year; in fact, Dinner for One depicts the 90th birthday party of ‘Miss Sophie’ (May Warden), an elderly lady of obvious means who is received at table by her butler James (Freddie Frinton) for a meal laid for four guests, Sir Toby, Admiral von Schneider, Mr. Pommeroy und Mr. Winterbottom. The hook of the sketch is that Miss Sophie is, as Heinz Piper14 puts it in the introduction in his fine German art, “nicht mehr die Jüngste”, and as such has outlived all her dinner guests. As such James is forced to simulate the toasting that marks the start each course and, due to a mixture of sherry, white wine, champagne and port served over the four courses, becomes gradually very drunk. And that, give or take a bit of comedy business with a tiger skin rug, is that – the sketch proceeds with metronomic regularity, with each course of the meal starting with the following exchange:
                  James: The same procedure as last year, Miss Sophie?
                  Miss Sophie: The same procedure as every year, James!
                  This exchange has become firmly established as a German national catchphrase and a sure ice breaker in any awkward German/Anglo cultural exchange15. It also serves to set up the sketch’s pay-off, where, escorting a retiring Miss. Sophie to bed, after one more repeat of the above, James blusters:
                  James: Well, I’ll do my very best!
                  Leaving the viewer to imagine what happens after the close of the sketch, without much difficulty.

                  http://research.ucc.ie/scenario/2007/02/ritchieharris/06/en

                  Lots of punching down going on there.

                  Danke Schöen, Herr Eulenspiegel.

                • When I studied German we had entire lectures on Deutsche Humor. It is, well, different.

                • ThresherK (KadeKo)

                  In a hostel in Montreal, an Irish lass (with one of those adorable laughs) and I found ourselves trying to explain to a German fellow why “Keeping Up Appearances” was funny.

                  I’m glad my Irish side informed my humor more than my German side.

                • Mike G

                  There seems to be a bit of cruel, bitting streak in a lot of German humor, what we would call punch down rather than punch up or self-depreciating humor.

                  So like a lot of Republicans, then. Listen to what Rush Limbaugh and his droolers think is ‘humor’, beating up on the powerless and enjoying their suffering.

                • The Pale Scot

                  Limbaugh and Drumpf,

                  Typical

                • Marek

                  Nonsense.

              • LNM_in_LA

                Somewhat recently (uh, 3? 4 years?), I was in Fry’s Electronics, which is a West Coast ‘supermarket of gadgetry’ – stocking everything from resistors to refrigerators, and I heard a guy asking a question of a salesperson. The salesgirl took note of the guy’s accent and said “hey, that’s COOL, are you German?”
                In response he said “No, I’m Dutch. We might sound like zee Germans, but we haff a sense of humor . . .”
                I couldn’t help but start laughing. In the words of Lily von Shtupp, “It’s twoo!, it’s twoo!”

                • JustRuss

                  Indeed. I have a few Dutch friends, and they have a terrificly subtle and sly since of humor.

            • LeeEsq

              Oswald Mosley had a good run at it but Orwell was probably right about the British and continental style fascism. They might go for a more subtle form of dictatorship though.

              • Richard Gadsden

                Farage found the way to do it.

                • FOARP

                  Farage found the way to do it.

                  In which of the seven times he tried to get elected to parliament and failed did he do that?

          • JonH

            There’s that, but the Berlin cabarets weren’t broadcast even into the hinterlands of Bavaria, with highlights shown again on various popular programs in the following days. Many Germans probably knew nothing about the cabarets apart from what Nazi propaganda said about them.

            • LeeEsq

              They knew plenty about the cabarets long before they started paying attention to the Nazis. The liberalism, libertinism and cultural experimentation of Weimar Germany was limited to Berlin and maybe a handful of other big cities. The rest of Germany including some very urban places where much more conservative in their values and society.

              • econoclast

                Evidence?

                • LeeEsq

                  Any history of the Weimar Republic.

        • Tyro

          That’s exactly what happened on SNL last night. Bannon (played by a guy in a Grim Reaper costume) tells Trump, “I want my desk back.” Trump gets up from the Oval Office desk and then sits down at a miniature desk next to it and starts playing with a desk toy.

    • Does Bannon believe in what Trump told Bill OReilly: “Putin’s a killer & so are we”?

      Thats a very refreshing and quite revolutionary attitude by a top member of the USA elite. I’m still puzzling over how neocons have been to penetrate both major party structures so easily. This of course makes the USA extremely vulnerable, because neocons and their democratic counterparts are so keen in starting wars. Trump is definitely a puzzle. And I wonder, is his rather complex attitude towards neocon-think his own, or is it Bannon’s?

      • wjts

        I’m still puzzling over how neocons have been to penetrate both major party structures so easily.

        Do you puzzle over many things that haven’t happened, or just the one?

        • N__B

          I slipped on the stairs at the Bowling Green station once. #NeverRemember!

        • I take it you haven’t noticed that democrats like Hillary Clinton backed the Iraq war, and are the noisiest firecrackers when it comes to raising hell about Russia? The war party controls their agenda, and both parties are warmongering gangs. Obama was a bit more measured, but he did yield to the reigning idiocy and pushed for the disasters in Lybia & Syria. He also backed the coup in Ukraine. One problem I see is that GOP backers are frankly pro war (except for real conservatives like Buchanan) but democrats tend to be just as bad but they can’t even notice their internal flaws (although I suspect this audience believes itself holier than thou peaceniks).

          • wjts

            I take it you don’t know that “neoconservative” is not a synonym for “hawkish”?

          • tsam

            Obama backed the coup in Ukraine?

            • Hogan

              He initiated it. Just like the civil wars in Libya and Syria.

              • tsam

                Ah. I still say he should have stood up to Hitler over Poland. Weak. Sad.

              • Merkwürdigliebe

                Because nothing ever happens unless America does it?

                • Hogan

                  Exactly so. The scholastics thought God was the Unmoved Mover. Turns out it’s the US.

                • N__B

                  I thought the scholastics thought it was too damned hard to distinguish Goofus from Gallant.

                • BiloSagdiyev

                  Gallant honors red lines in Syria… Goofus attacks wedding parties with an AC-130.

          • The Lorax

            You’re right. Obama’s foreign policy is just like Bush’s was.

            And this audience here is almost entirely holier-than-thou peaceniks. That’s why we voted for Stein rather than sully our moral characters with a vote for neoliberal Clinton.

          • timb

            Fernando is a Russian!

            What disaster in Syria did Obama push for?

            Why was saving the city of Benghazi a mistake?

            Hillary Clinton’s 14 yr old vote FOR the war cannot be context-less. It was wrong, but came after a decade of Dems who voted for the FIRST war getting hammered every election cycle

            Who wouldn’t have backed the coup in Ukraine? From an autocratic Russian puppet to a flawed democrat? Seems like a no-brainer

      • The Great God Pan

        Thats a very refreshing and quite revolutionary attitude by a top member of the USA elite.

        LOL. Yes, Trump is really a breath of fresh air. I predict he will have the True Left singing him hosannas by the end of the year. Greenwald & Co. were ecstatic over the “killers” line last night.

        • timb

          Was Glenn mad someone said bad about Putin? I mean, I would have imagined he would have been a glass half full kind of guy about that remark

      • q-tip

        You know that wasn’t a Chomskian critique, right? The Trump Doctrine = “MOAR KILLING”

  • ProgressiveLiberal

    Getting Bannon fired should be the top short-term priority, and there’s no way Trump can tolerate that message becoming the conventional wisdom.

    Exactly. This has been my thinking. We need to get the press talking about it, or better yet, to ask him directly.

    • ΧΤΠΔ

      Yes, permanently neutralizing Bannon should be our top priority in minimizing the damage the administation can do. (Kelly, Mattis & Tillerson actually contravened Bannon – and got the administration to stand down from the immigration ban – by stating they would only take direct orders from Donald).

      And regarding the mental health issue: Cracked presents A Day in the Life of Fuckface von Clownstick.

    • CrunchyFrog

      Well, the Bannon cover on Time apparently did cause a lot of negative Trump reaction per the daily leaks coming out of he white house. The longer that narrative persists in the media the worse it will be for Bannon.

      But there is a reasonable scenario that Bannon doesn’t last another month. The latest stream of leaks about the Muslim Ban (let’s call it what it is) is that there was a cabinet-level revolt against Bannon – basically telling Bannon that if he wanted the DHS to enforce the ban they needed an order from Trump and Trump refused to give one. On top of that, Trump apparently has listened to the same cabinet members and told Bannon to stop giving him EOs until they’ve been vetted. Trump has a long history of both listening to the last person to talk to him and firing people on short notice, often for disloyalty but also for outliving their usefulness. Bannon is a skilled manipulator and I suspect he is working hard now to repair his relationship with Trump, but by all reports the WH staffing situation is not stable (and it may never be).

      • CP

        Disloyalty, outliving their usefulness… and making him look bad.

        • CrunchyFrog

          The last is but the most common example of the first.

          • CP

            In his head, yes, not necessarily in fact. I suppose “perceived disloyalty” covers it all.

        • brewmn

          Speaking of which, has anybody seen Kellyanne Conway since the Bowling Green Massacre comments?

          • CrunchyFrog

            She’s made many appearances and comments. You’ll not be surprised to learn that the Bowling Green thing was a case of liberals making a big fuss over nothing and was liberal’s fault to begin with.

            • Thom

              Plus, it just shows liberals' lack of respect for the people who died in Bowling Green.

              • MAJeff

                I'm still pissed at the hippies who spit on me after I returned from protecting the survivors of the Bowling Green Massacre.

            • tsam

              IT WAS JUST ONE WORD YOU GUYS

    • CP

      Agreed.

      The Bush administration became, not good, but tolerable after it fired Rumsfeld and stopped listening to Cheney (who wanted a third war, with Iran). The sooner we can get Trump’s Cheney out of the way, the better.

      • JonH

        We also need to get Miller out, and he’s so quiet and colorless it might be hard to feature him on SNL.

        Bannon’s West Wing Wino look should be a gift to SNL.

        • Brad Nailer

          Wasn’t wild about Skeleton Bannon. I like the homeless-guy look better (which I assume he cultivates, him not being too poor to afford a fucking razor).

      • Manny Kant

        Well, also worth noting that this coincided with the Democrats taking Congress.

  • wjts

    (That Trump is lying about issues like abortion is so obvious that it doesn’t need to be argued).

    I guess, but bringing back and expanding the global rule shows that “what’s in his heart” doesn’t matter at all here.

    • randy khan

      True enough – he’s so consumed by wanting approval that he’s shown he’ll do basically anything that he thinks will make his fans happy.

    • Lamont Cranston

      …“what’s in his heart” doesn’t matter at all here.

      Absolutely right. For that matter, I have never seen or heard anything to make me think that he engages in any kind of moral thought – good or bad. I think he exists completely without morality, which seems to me infinitely worse than people whose morality I disagree with.

      As an aside, I would love to know how many abortions he has personally paid for.

      • Cheerfull

        It’s reasonable to think that he was for abortion rights when it benefitted him personally and indifferent when it didn’t. There’s nothing in his life I have ever seen reported that indicates an interest in anything other than himself. The fact that somewhere in the U.S. people believed that T was a “moderate” regarding abortion shows how politically illiterate people can be, and how incapable of judging character.

      • malraux

        Probably he’s paid for about as many abortions as the number of contractors he has paid promptly and in full. Likely he even sees his dalliances as similar to working with a contractor.

        • Karen24

          He was more than likely the cause of several abortions but never took responsibility for any of them, beyond demaning that they happen.

    • JonH

      Yes, this was always so obvious to me that I hate seeing people act as if Pence is somehow worse because he’s a fundamentalist. There’s no practical difference in how they would govern.

      Trump isn’t a “moderate Republican” on these issues, he’s a “two wet suits and a dildo” hypocrite Republican whose private behavior is different from his governing.

      • Murc

        Yes, this was always so obvious to me that I hate seeing people act as if Pence is somehow worse because he’s a fundamentalist.

        Pence would be worse, but not because he’s a fundamentalist. Because despite his shortcomings in government he’s massively more competent than Trump is, which means he’d do the same stuff but more effectively.

        • For all the Human Supremacist’s supposed competence, people often forget that a major reason he accepted Cheeto Benito’s offer to be his VP is that he was so unpopular in Indiana that he had no chance of winning re-election. The Human Supremacist is dumb. He’s better at coming across as reasonable on a television screen than Kim Jong Orange is, but he’s still not smart or particularly competent. Furthermore, if the short-fingered vulgarian were to be removed from office and the Human Supremacist were forced to replace him, he’d still be tainted with having been Combover Caligula’s vice president, the same way Ford was weakened having come after Nixon.

          It’s also worth pointing out that the Human Supremacist isn’t overtly racist, isn’t a self-admitted serial sex offender, and isn’t likely to be the sort of person around whom neo-Nazis rally. He’s more overtly queerphobic than the shitgibbon is, but I’m not honestly certain how much of a difference that will make since Tangerine Trujillo tends to sign off on whatever the Republicans want him to sign off on anyway. Beyond that, the Human Supremacist is also not as likely to start a nuclear war over an imagined Twitter slight or something equally frivolous.

          In short, I’m extremely unconvinced that the Human Supremacist would be more dangerous than the current occupant of the White House. It’s possible, but just because he isn’t as obviously dumb as the So-Called Ruler of the United States doesn’t necessarily make him more dangerous.

          • heckblazer

            Given the way Trump wants Jeff Sessions as AG and has hired some of Sessions’ proteges as high level advisers (Stephen Miller most notably), I doubt Pence would be much worse in practice.

    • tsam

      I don’t think there’s anything in his heart beyond what makes people like him. He’d support eating puppy brains for breakfast if thought it would get him a classy write up in some goddamn magazine

    • Hogan

      Never mind that what’s in his heart is a howling Lovecraftian hellscape that drives people to unholy madness. Just another reason not to go there.

      • tsam

        Me or Trump?

        • N__B

          I assume that what’s in your heart is a howling teddy bears’ picnic.

          • tsam

            I do love me a pic-a-nic basket!

  • I’ve always been at least half-convinced that he never actually wanted the presidency. I still haven’t seen any evidence that serves as a convincing rebuttal to this hypothesis; I think the idea that it was a publicity stunt that went horribly right has always been the most parsimonious explanation for most of his actions. I also wouldn’t be surprised if his erratic behaviour since attaining the office has been at least partially motivated by trying to get himself out of the job without actually having to resign (because, by resigning, he would be admitting defeat). Springtime for Hitler was an obvious comparison after the election results were announced, and it remains an obvious comparison today. I wouldn’t even be entirely surprised if Stern is correct that he’d secretly wanted Clinton to win the whole time.

    None of this helps us out of the mess we’re in, though. I suspect Stern’s analysis is largely accurate – there probably aren’t too many people on the planet who know Cheeto Benito better than he does. But I don’t know what knowing any of this does to help us.

    • malraux

      This seems to introspective for someone with narsasistic personality disorder.

      • Eh, I dunno. He can be a narcissist and still not actually want to be president. The presidency is work. Kim Jong Orange, before the election, had never actually done an honest day’s work in his life.

        • malraux

          He can be a narcissist and not run for president. But I have trouble with the idea that a narcissist can run for president, win and not want it. Sure, he might have started as the normal Republican Party book tour thing, as Ben Carson did, but once he started to win, I can’t imagine a narcissist not feeling like he should be president and change what he wanted.

          • He has looked pretty miserable in most of the pictures and footage I’ve seen of him since the election results came in. Not saying you’re definitely wrong, but he’s not acting like someone who really wants the job.

            • ExpatChad

              This. Watching from Asia, I’m struck by his public demeanor.

              • LosGatosCA

                Be careful what you wish for.

                Not the first person with delusions of grandeur that actually came true. (See Bush II).

                However, the first to realize he was a fool to have those delusions.

                • ExpatChad

                  I live under Duterte. I am getting very familiar with delusions.

                  Without ketchup, already.

            • so-in-so

              Wanting to “be President” and wanting to do the job of President are not necessarily one and the same. Especially for a basically dim bulb like Orangemandias.

              That he won enough that he couldn’t stop without harming his self-esteem is reasonable. Recall his handlers said when he was vetting VP candidates that he would off-load the work he didn’t want to the VP. I suspect he figured he could just keep holding rallies after he won, and enjoy the adulation while Pence did the drudge work.

          • wjts

            I can’t imagine a narcissist not feeling like he should be president and change what he wanted.

            I think he wants to be a sort of Fictional President, one of the ones in the movies who gives a big speech and everybody cheers and later there’s a parade and all the people love him. I don’t think he wants to be an Actual President, one of the ones in real life who has to eat bowl after bowl of shit every morning.

            • Karen24

              I think this is it. He thought of the presidency as a prize with parades, not as something anyone actually had to DO.

            • kvs

              This is backed up by Spicer saying the White House couldn’t be enjoyed because of all the negative press after his inauguration.

              But he also sees it as the biggest, most profitable grift.

              • LosGatosCA

                He hasn’t found the right angle on the grift yet, though. That’s his real struggle. How am I going to monetize this? is probably the biggest challenge he’s struggling with.

                But right now he’s probably not trusting himself to recognize which are the grifting opportunities he needs to manage himself or give to Kushner/the kids and what are not opportunities and can be delegated to non-family.

                His biggest fear right now is very likely that someone on his staff gets ahold of a scam his kids should be exploiting.

                Once he figures that out (he’s got plenty of willing partners, even if he doesn’t know/trust them just yet) , then the rest will come easily – just delegate, ignore, play golf, etc.

    • CP

      That and wanting to show up Obama for ridiculing him at the WH Correspondents Dinner.

      • smott999

        He never wanted to BE President.
        He wanted to be CALLED President.

        • ExpatChad

          +1!

        • tsam

          Perfect.

      • Dennis Orphen

        That was a face melting backfire.

  • “I think it started out as like a kinda cool, fun thing to do in order to get a couple more bucks out of NBC for The Apprentice, I actually do believe that,” Stern said.

    There is actually some corroborating evidence for that:

    Almost a year ago, recruited for my public relations and public policy expertise, I sat in Trump Tower being told that the goal was to get The Donald to poll in double digits and come in second in delegate count. That was it.

    We can and should bitch about Democrats who stayed home, and Stein voters, EMAILZ, and James Fucking Comey, but to me the real story of 2016 was the utter exposure of both the national political media and the Republican Party as hollow shells full of people who would suborn everything they supposedly believed in for a few Nielsen points and some votes. A candidate as nakedly unprepared and undisciplined as Trump could never have succeeded without them.

    • Since long before the election, I’d held that if Manhattan Mugabe won, the media would bear a large share of the blame for the outcome. I’ve seen nothing to change my opinion on this. Comey deserves every bit of infamy history will give him, but I don’t think he’d have been able to throw the election if the media hadn’t been such shameless fucking hacks.

    • We can and should bitch about Democrats who stayed home, and Stein voters, EMAILZ, and James Fucking Comey,

      Let’s not leave off of this list those who saw this publicity stunt and thought “yeah, that smart rich feller over there is perfect to be president. “

      • LNM_in_LA

        But it is at our peril that we proceed without realizing a good strong percentage of them what voted for him did so because of their sense, rightly or wrongly, that they had/have been effectively disenfranchised.
        Yes, I understand that the ‘deplorables'[as in racists] and the Randians [as in Eedjits] formed a significant/major part of the votes for him, but there were many people I talked to that felt they had lost ANY agency over their lives insofar as gummint.

        • sharonT

          This is what I call “The Fuck-It” vote. This may sound like both-siderism, but I’ve run into plenty of people over the years who feel that both parties have abandoned them. Most of these folks check out and stop voting, but obviously, there were enough of these folks out there who decided that Trump was their candidate.

          A bit off- topic, but I’m just finding out that the negative reaction to the uprising around Freddie Gray’s death pushed some former Democrats in Baltimore into the Trump camp. Trump’s “law and order” message closed the sale for these folks.

          • so-in-so

            Yes, “Democrat” and “racist” can still be a thing, especially in parts of the semi-South.

    • LosGatosCA

      It’s not a political party – it’s a cult.

      A con run by the 1% who have recruited Jay Gould’s Army, the racists, and the religious bigots in sufficient numbers to gain the presidency twice even with a minority of votes in two national elections.

      Of course, this base only gets them an outside, punchers chance in the national elections. But with the Democrats having the tremendous protruding glass jaw they have, it’s all the cult needs.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        you mean the glass jaw of real estate having more electoral clout than human beings?

        • LosGatosCA

          No more the glass jaw of Gore running away from Clinton, running with Joe Lieberman in 2000, Obama appointing Comey to the FBI, Hillary having to collect every last penny from Goldman Sachs, the Democrats having no credible national figures to run for president under the age of 69, not knowing the game they are in, as they parlay a 2008 landslide controlling the national government into a complete loss of all aspects of government in 2016, as well as losing the Supreme Court opportunity for two generations, etc.

          That’s the glass jaw I’m looking at.

          ETA – plenty more examples (like not showing up for midterms), that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

          Someone said ‘the will to win is overrated, the will to prepare to win is what counts’. also to ‘ninety percent of life is just showing up’ thoughts Democrats should take to heart the next time they have the chance to reappoint a Greenspan/Bernanke/Gates or appoint a Cohen/Comey/Hagel.

          • LosGatosCA

            If you want to see the EXACT opposite of a glass jaw watch McConnell on CNN glide right past Trump saying Russia is great, America is full of killers, etc.

            Completely ignores what Trump says, points out that Putin is an illegitimate leader (bonus points), and then defends not having any hearings on Garland by saying effectively, all politics is power politics so STFU. In very even tones, adding no emotion to the segment, staying on message at all times.

            These people are on offense 90% of the time and the other 10% when they have to play defense, they just deny that they are. They keep their eye on the ball and never take their head out of the game. Not for a single second.

            It’s impressive. You don’t have to support Republican evil to see what they do.

            1. the professional Republicans are always better prepared/disciplined than the professional Democrats (plenty of amateurs in both parties)
            – they don’t improvise on national TV
            2. the professional Republicans know their base and how to play to it
            – they never stop doing it.
            3. they always know the best path forward for themselves, even if it’s not a winning path.
            – because they know they’ll get their turn eventually,

            Basically, they get the game they’re in (money/power) they know how to sell the importance of that to their base (liberal evilness) and they just deny, deny, deny everything else.

            Ryan wants to destroy SS/medicare – no, he wants to save it
            McConnell wants to turn every last cent in the US Treasury over to the donor base – no, he wants to run the federal government like a business

            It’s as impressive as their goals are evil and cynical.

            • jim, some guy in iowa

              republicans are always going to do discipline better- they believe in it- and in authority- in ways democrats just don’t. It’s kind of a problem but it’s just as much from the bottom up as it is from the top down

              • LosGatosCA

                Can’t disagree with that – but the premise of the Democratic Party in this regard is just wrong.

                You can be just as determined, disciplined, and committed on issues that help people as the Republicans are in opposing those issues. Showing up for mid-term/off year elections doesn’t make you a conservative Republican.

                Having and insisting on leaders who stay disciplined and committed means that, of course, the base has to show up and vote for party candidates in primaries and all elections it means having people/plus backups on your team ready to go for every appointed position. Republicans do this, Democrats don’t and then moan about the results.

                If you aren’t showing up to vote locally, if the leadership can’t have a slate of candidates/backups ready to govern then you’re just a rabble that will get random results.

                And excusing the poor performance is really just lack of accountability which is not a political stance.

  • sibusisodan

    He still wants Hillary Clinton to win. He’s so f—ing pissed, he’s hoping that he can find some voter fraud and hand it over to Hillary

    This is worryingly plausible. It fits with everything with know of Trump’s ignorance of the mechanisms of governance.

    That said, I don’t totally buy this recasting of Trump as a tragic figure who just wants to be liked. Because: liked by who?

    It’s clear who he’s been courting. If he wants to be liked by Hollywood, by a broader subset of people, he’s choosing things which don’t exactly help with that.

    • humanoid.panda

      It’s clear who he’s been courting. If he wants to be liked by Hollywood, by a broader subset of people, he’s choosing things which don’t exactly help with that.

      Here’s the thing: it’s not that he wants people to like him, exactly. It’s that he wants people to think he is the greatest person who ever lived, and admire him, and “love him and despair.” Because he has a child-like grasp of the presidency, he thought becoming president means that Hollywood etc now HAS to love him. I think it’s reasonable to surmise that the failure to receive universal adoration is driving him nuts (notice how often Kellyane, her master’s voice, berates us for not respecting the great achievements of the White House). In a sense, there is tragedy here – but of a sickening, Richard the Third type..

      • CrunchyFrog

        Because he has a child-like grasp of the presidency, he thought becoming president means that Hollywood etc now HAS to love him

        Plausible. We know for a fact that he has no clue how government works – he assumed the President is all powerful and just says stuff and it automatically happens. He also blamed some Congresscritter (Was it Clinton when she was Senator? Or someone else?) for the unemployment rate in his/her state/district and clearly didn’t understand that Congresscritters aren’t autocrats over their own duchies. And the fact that those two notions contradict each other (the Prez can’t be all-powerful if the Senators are all-powerful over their duchies) clearly didn’t bother him.

        But did he also imagine because most of Hollywood was so enamored with Obama that it was entirely due to his being President, and had nothing to do with how he conducted himself? Yeah, that would very much fit with the other things he believes.

        • I don’t remember who he blamed for unemployment, but he did blame Clinton for not reforming the tax code while she was a senator.

          • brewmn

            That was part of his tweet critical of John Lewis.

          • ASV

            Not just as senator, but for the “30 years” she was in Washington.

          • He did blame Clinton for failing to create enough jobs in upstate New York when she was a senator.

        • sibusisodan

          But did he also imagine because most of Hollywood was so enamored with Obama that it was entirely due to his being President, and had nothing to do with how he conducted himself? Yeah, that would very much fit with the other things he believes.

          Much of the US right wing appears to be a cargo cult at this point.

        • NewishLawyer

          “Was it Clinton when she was Senator? Or someone else?) for the unemployment rate in his/her state/district and clearly didn’t understand that Congresscritters aren’t autocrats over their own duchies.”

          To be slightly fair, lots of voters do this too.

      • Origami Isopod

        In a sense, there is tragedy here – but of a sickening, Richard the Third type..

        Richard III got a bad rap.

        • wjts

          And he had better hair than that man.

        • LeeEsq

          Thanks to Henry VII and his granddaughter’s favorite playwright.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        A hairpiece, a hairpiece! My kingdom for a hairpiece!

        (OK, not technically accurate…)

    • LNM_in_LA

      Unfortunately, right now he isn’t a tragic, comic, or even tragicomic figure.
      What he is is a vehicle for serious damage to the progress we as a nation have achieved during my 60+ tears on the planet. And I’m at a loss to figure out what is the best course for personal action besides getting loud and opening up my pocketbook and starting targeted donating.
      I have the misfortune to have to relocate to Texas soon, for at least 3 years, and I plan on using that horrible event to try and ‘move the needle’ out there in whatever small (and frankly, safe) way I can.

      • joel hanes

        have to relocate to Texas

        Hope it’s Austin!

        Whether or not it is so, you will have allies.
        Read Juanita Jean’s blog, and The Texas Observer (which used to publish Molly Ivins).

        • Moondog von Superman

          Almost all of the bigger cities in Texas are blue.

          And liberals are everywhere, even in the places colored red on the map.

  • randy khan

    Overnight news: The Administration filed its appeal of the Washington district court decision on the immigration executive order and, several hours later, a request to stay that decision (a little strange to do file them separately, but there’s no rule against it). Within a couple of hours, the court denied the stay and set a very quick briefing schedule for the main appeal.

    The usual next step would be to ask the Supreme Court for a stay, but we’ll see. If not, the bottom line would be that the district court order would remain in effect probably at least until the middle of the week, if not longer, while the appeals court considers the appeal.

    • Cheerfull

      Kennedy is the justice responsible for the 9th Circuit, right? I wonder if they will apply to him?

      • randy khan

        Lately, it seems that the usual procedure is for someone to apply to the relevant Justice, who then refers it to the whole court. If I were the Administration, I’m not sure I’d want to risk having the stay denied by a 4-4 vote, but then again I’m more rational than they are.

        • Cheerfull

          I was thinking of the old days, when Justice Douglas would attempt to singlehandedly stop wars and was immediately overruled. I just wonder if the solitary Justice for the circuit would take any action at all to stay the order, independently, before making the referral to the full court.

          • randy khan

            If it were, oh, Alito, I could see it. Kennedy seems like too much of an institutionalist. But you never know, and it’s certainly within his power.

  • Woodrowfan

    Is set hairfuhrer in Dayton Ohio for one of his cheering fixes today. I’m eating breakfast in a hotel and a woman near me is telling her daughter they have to wait. Only those with VIP tickets get in now to see the president and she tried to get a VIP ticket but they were sold out. Happy to be flying back to DC today.

  • N__B

    Mentioned without comment:

    The plot of Libra is that, after the Bay of Pigs, the security state wanted a failed attempt on JFK’s life by a Cuban sympathizer and once the plan was in motion things got a bit confused.

    • CrunchyFrog

      Seems weird that I’ve never heard that particular scenario before. But given Operation Northwoods it’s barely plausible, if extremely unlikely (it’s possible for a scenario to be both). Given that JFK nixed Northwoods, it’s also plausible that he wasn’t in on the plot. (More plausible that the JCOS decided JFK was the problem to be dealt with, but that’s another story.)

      Fun speculation. I don’t believe it, any more than I believe Bush enlisted the mentally disturbed son of a close business associate to take out Reagan so that he could be President, but the fact that the assassination attempt WAS in fact from the son of a close business associate makes it interesting.

      • N__B

        Libra is, of course, fiction. But reality is catching up to fiction at the moment.

        • CrunchyFrog

          I read the summary on Wikipedia. As you say, it was fiction and intended as such, explicitly saying it wasn’t grounded in fact and bringing in non-existent characters. But fun speculation!

        • Thom

          The current plot seems very far-fetched.

        • tsam

          It’s approaching the point where we dive into fiction to get a toehold back into reality rather than escape it. So I’m just gonna watch a lot of Jason Bourne movies. And cartoons.

          • CP

            Until recently, I would have strongly recommended James Bond movies, as our ruling elites since Thatcher and Reagan seem to have been running on basic Bond villain rules – greedy megalomaniacs who don’t care how many human lives their scheming wrecks as long as it increases their personal fortune.

            Unfortunately, the world seems to be moving out of James Bond villain territory and into Indiana Jones villain territory, if you know what I mean.

            • tsam

              What’s disturbing is the worldwide rise of it. Osama Bin Ladin won this war.

        • Hob

          Well, it’s also just a stunning novel, regardless of the historical commentary; I’ve often been lukewarm on DeLillo, but his writing in Libra is so beautiful. I love the characterization of Oswald, and all the bizarre people inhabiting his orbit. It’s deeply sad while also being very funny at times.

          • DeLillo is almost worth reading for his prose alone, even when the storylines are kinda missable. Libra is definitely one of his best, though.

      • Dennis Orphen

        If you don’t believe in conspiracy theories you believe in coincidence theory. I moved from happenstance to enemy action a long time ago.

    • Woodrowfan

      The thing is that the CIA liked Kennedy and visa versa after October 1962. They gave him what he needed to turn down the Pentagon s plans to invade Cuba and start a war. People always quote Kennedya anger after the Bay of Pigs, but forget how the relationship improved after the missile crisis.

    • MacK

      I knew a guy who worked on the Kennedy investigation (he was a little spooky if you know what I mean), but bone fide not a fantasist. He explained part of the problem is that there were multiple plots to kill Kennedy, some of which shared at least peripherally some of the same dramatis personae, or they were with lesser or greater degrees of separation known to one another, and even that Oswald and Ruby kinda washed around in similar and related meliue. The result was a lot of confusion – did any of these plots succeed? Was Oswald acting alone or as part of one?

      One thing he said is that there were, depending on how you counted them 3-7 plots (did you count the Cuban émigrés and Batistas as a single or multiple plots; ditto the mob plots – were there 1 or 2? What about the strange stuff Castro was involved in – did it go any further? The right wing stuff never seems to have got very organised, but there was one or more of those too – and some of those guys had mob connections and Cuban connections.)

      Anyway his point was that there was evidence of a plot to kill Kennedy, because there were plots-plural, but no one every really managed to connect Oswald with one of the various plots.

    • Taylor

      Stephen King’s 11/22/63 at one point imagines a world where the JFK assassination was foiled.

      It is depressingly like the world might look like a few years after a Trump administration. Read Wallace for Trump/Bannon, and Curtis LeMay for Flynn.

    • Dennis Orphen

      You beat me to the Libra plug.

  • CP

    So Trump is a guy who desperately wants to be liked but is incapable of working to earn the liking.

    • N__B

      It’s like rai-ai-ain on your coup rally…

      • sibusisodan

        It’s like eighty thou-oo-hausend votes in three key electoral states, when all you need is a like.

        • N__B

          + 65,000,000

  • Fortunado

    I don’t know whether this bolsters Stern’s claim or discredits it, but Michael Moore publicly floated the same theory about Trump’s campaign being a vehicle to get a better contract for The Apprentice.

    In other words, Stern might have heard it from the same inside sources, or he might just be regurgitating what Moore said.

    • CrunchyFrog

      Whatever the motivation at the start of the campaign that certainly was the plan the last month of the campaign. Even the Trump campaign figured it was lost and was just trying to keep the margin respectable. They’d already started plans for Trump media and of course the next Apprentice. They were as shocked as everyone that they won (opposite of Romney) and of course hadn’t spent a minute thinking about the transition.

      • smott999

        They did not think it was lost in the late stages.

        Read this
        https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/big-data-cambridge-analytica-brexit-trump

        It’s startling in a nauseating sort of way

        • kvs

          That article, and CA’s conclusions about the future of communication, are snake oil. The effects of digital advertising and their canvassing tool aren’t large enough to explain the election results. They work at the margins but are subsumed by mass communication in the current environment.

          The interesting questions to ask are about whether they were in any way involved with Comey’s letter. Without that intervention, CA’s projects don’t matter.

  • Taylor

    “I remember saying to him when he announced his presidency, I remember being quite amazed, because I remember him being for Hillary Clinton,” Stern added.

    When they were asked in the Town Hall debate to say something good about each other, and Trump expressed admiration for Hillary’s tenacity (while she struggled to say something positive about him :-)), I thought at the time and still feel that there was genuine admiration there.

    Ironic that Trump probably has more admiration for Hillary Clinton than the Clinton-haters in the Democratic Party.

    • CrunchyFrog

      Yes, like any successful salesman he lies comfortably and says whatever the audience wants to hear with ease and it doesn’t really register with him whether he actually believes it. I felt with that answer in the debate that he dropped his usual bombastic audience-pleasing anti-Clinton rhetoric and said what he really felt.

      • That answer may actually have been the only honest thing he said during the entire campaign. (Well, that and maybe the thing about how he could shoot a guy and not lose support.)

    • humanoid.panda

      My theory about Trump is that he is the last and greatest of the PUMAs. We know he was a yuuge admirer of the Clintons, and that he thought she lost the 2008 primary because reverse racism. So he turns anti-Obama, starts watching Fox News, and then discovers that Hillary is an ally of the Obama beast, and then Benghazi and emails. Voila- a hardcore republican.

  • keta

    Of course Trump’s primary campaign was nothing more than a vanity project. I’m convinced nobody was more surprised than he that the more outrageous shit he voiced, the more traction his candidacy gained. And now here we all are.

    What’s ironic is that the man who claims he wants to “make America great again” has, with first his primary win and then his victory in the general, exposed and emboldened the very worst elements in America. His made-for-teevee antics have exposed a gormless, gutless, media; his nativism and racism has given fresh voice to all the haters, and given free licence to others who would normally remain circumspect; he’s fuelled ignorance and chaos as a viable alternative to thoughtful, sober leadership; and he’s provided calamitous cover for partisan Republicans to dismantle American government and place most levers of power into the greedy hands of the private sector.

    Make America great again? Trump’s pud-pulling is damaging the country in ways that will take decades to repair, if ever some of these things can be fixed. He’s gutted any idea that partisanship is attainable in modern America, and he’s a celebration of the darkest characteristics in the American id.

    All put in motion because of the outsized ego of one man.

    • LosGatosCA

      The motion was always there – he just jumped on it and rode it to see where it would take him.

      Trump simply exploited the opportunity he saw. I’ve said since last March that Trump is actually the Howard Stern of politics:

      1. He knows his audience
      2. He knows what they want
      3. He knows how to deliver what they want

      But he didn’t create the audience and he didn’t create their needs/wants for political incorrectness, bullying, and willful ignorance.

      He’s like a comedian that tried out new material (birtherism) and just kept expanding the material until he finally got a gig on HBO from Carnegie Hall which the critics all hated but ended up with a four year comedy series.

      • keta

        Agreed. He didn’t create, but he sure as hell exploited and made acceptable. He’s ripped off the mask and it’s not fucking pretty.

        • BiloSagdiyev

          Yes. King Ronnie was a perfect “aw shucks” mask for the monstrous machine that is the GOP.

          Donald is no mask at all. Or maybe a spray-tanned kabuki representation.

  • MacK

    Slightly off topic here, but.

    Assume Trump keeps this up through November 2018 – and now look at the situation in the primaries for 39 statehouses, the house and 1/3 of the senate. The core Trump supporters are so crazed, so in the bag, that in February-July 2018 any Republican candidate that in any way fails to declare utter obeisance and grovelling loyalty to the maximum orange shit-weasel cannot expect to get the nomination. They will have to declare their complete love and loyalty to Trump. But in November 2018 that will make it utterly impossible to distance themselves…..

    • joel hanes

      I have already done a screencap of the LGM front-page from 2 Feb
      Well this day is off to a lovely start, captioned it :

      You supported this. You endorsed this. You own this.

      and am sending it to House and Senate Rs who endorsed Trump.

    • JustRuss

      Yeah, I think there’s a real chance for Dems to pick up the House in ’18. Although I expect Republicans will ramp up the electoral shenanigans to 11.

  • MacK

    It will be very hard to get Trump to fire Bannon

    First, it would involve Trump admitting he was wrong. Second, it would require Trump to take the advice of people he knows despise him (and they do, does anyone think the Rience Priebut does not think Trump is a shit-weasel (it takes on to know one)), and he hates doing that. Third, Trump only takes information from sources like Breitbart and Fox – who are pretty unlikely to turn on Bannon. Fourth, Trump can ignore calls to can Bannon up to November 2020.

    I think Bannon could last a lot longer than people think.

    • All of this seems true, and yet, if Cheeto Benito thinks Stürmbannonführer is negatively impacting his popularity, that could be the only thing he needs to fire him. Narcissists will happily discard people when they think they are no longer useful to them.

    • N__B

      All true but…where’s Ernst Röhm these days?

      • tsam

        Buried under the largest pile of poetic justice in the galaxy.

    • wjts

      First, it would involve Trump admitting he was wrong.

      I don’t think that man thinks like that. He seemed perfectly happy to get rid of Lewandowski and Manafort.

      • N__B

        “I trusted him and he betrayed me. Sad.”

        • randy khan

          Bingo.

    • humanoid.panda

      First, it would involve Trump admitting he was wrong

      Not at all. In Trump’s mind, this would be just proof of how great of a manager he is.

  • thispaceforsale

    Bannon on the cover of Time was a good step. But the photo insert still labeled Trump the most powerful person. Outlets like that need to hammer that this is Bannon’s administration, and Trump’s figurehead presidency is wildly unpopular specifically because of Bannon.

    Getting him fired is critical, but then so much more still needs to follow to minimize the catastrophe we are in.

    • smott999

      Trump May Fire him for appearances but allow him influence anyway

  • jim, some guy in iowa

    damn, those are tiny hands. Makes Stern’s look like paws

    • The Lorax

      Hands too small. Can’t build the wall.

  • NewishLawyer

    I’ve said it before and will say it again but Trump’s appeal and frustrations all come from the fact that he is from Queens.

    Queens is starting to get popular especially places like LIC, Jackson Heights, Astoria, and Flushing (now a foodie destination for authentic Chinese food) but for a long time it was the joke of a borough. Never featured in any popular culture except All in the Family and known for being the home of Archie Bunker. Even Staten Island had a reputation for being where the Mafia lived and that gave it some cache. RUN-DMC were from Queens but that could not lift the profile of the place. Brooklyn had to really gentrify before young people moved to Queens.

    Garrison Kellior wrote about this over the summer when he theorized that Trump envied and awed Jewish Manhattanites who knew about art and championed civil rights and whose energy was spent in raising brilliant children. In Kellior’s essay, he wrote about how in Queens, blacks were nothing more than a threat to property values. Trump could never master the ways of rich Manhattanites who learned about art and had some intellectual pretensions.

    The Atlantic has a more recent essay on this:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/01/the-outer-borough-president/514673/

    In Trump’s version of the story, he eventually achieved his dream by crossing the river, conquering the island, and triumphantly erecting an eponymous skyscraper in the middle of town as a monument to his greatness.

    In truth, though, the city’s ruling class never did warm to his arrival, and they greeted every one of his ensuing accomplishments with a collective sneer. To them, it didn’t matter how many buildings he built, or books he sold, or tabloid covers he appeared on—Trump was a vulgar self-promoter, a new-money rube, a walking assault on good taste and manners. He was, in short, not one of them. And he knew it.

    Norman Podhoretz wrote in 1967, “One of the longest journeys in the world is the journey from Brooklyn to Manhattan.” In many ways, Trump still seems like he’s on that journey—convinced that there’s some destination he can reach, some victory he can achieve, that will finally silence the din of elite ridicule and win him entry into their ranks. It is when this fantasy collides most violently with reality that he tends to lash out.

    Now some of this has changed. Very few sneer at Brooklyn anymore. But for Trump’s (and my parents generation), the Outer Boroughs were places you fled from. My maternal grandparents fled to a modest house on Long Island because they knew poverty in the city. My paternal grandparents fled to Manhattan. It is sort of interesting that Trump’s dad decided to keep the family in Queens instead of moving to Westchester or one of the wealthy sections of Nassau County. When I was younger and before I moved West, my parents were shocked that people my age were moving to Brooklyn.

    But this also explains why Trump did well over the culturally leftout because they want to be loved by Hollywood and Manhattan while simultaneously hating the culture and ways of both places. Notice how many conservatives complain that Hollywood is always so liberal. I don’t think it is totally true but it is true in some really key ways that are likely to piss off right-wingers. You will never see a sympathetic argument against SSM or gay rights in a Hollywood TV show or movie. You will never see a show where the Second Amendment and a gun-rights person saves the day from a whack job on a killing spree. You will never see a young couple choose to wait until marriage before they have sex. Etc.

    Now Trump did none of these things too but they pick up on the fact that Trump is also an outsider.

    • Chip Daniels

      I don’t know the NYC/ Queens dynamic, but the way you describe Trump describes accurately nearly every Trump supporter I have read about, heard from or met.
      The sense of grievance and lost entitlement is the main unifying motivation.

      They don’t have any idea about economic policy, they don’t have any notion of what sort of society they would like to see, other than it is one where they are restored to their rightful place at the top.

      • humanoid.panda

        I had always thought that the moment that explains his campaign best is his mocking of the disabled Times journalist. There are tens of millions out there that pine for the days when normal people could make fun of freaks like that without any social sanction, and he gave them voice.

        • NewishLawyer

          Right. This is a good point. The people who voted for Trump want to go back to when you could make fun of minorities and have minorities just sit in silence. Now they are getting pushback.

      • NewishLawyer

        Kevin Drum marvels at how the Christian right could fall for Trump considering how obviously non-religious he is and how it is pretty obvious that he paid for women to get abortions.

        Yet they fall for him.

        • sibusisodan

          Because the alternative to falling for Trump would result in losing power.

          Power trumps righteousness every time. It’s in the bible. Book of Hezekiah, ch3.

      • N__B

        I spent the first seventeen years of my life in Flushing, scheming as to how to escape Queens. Archie Bunker was a mild version of the kind of militant stupidity that the borough was famous for back in the day. What’s happened since is that immigration has made it the most diverse county in the country and it’s improved immeasurably as a result. So Trump hates it twice over.

    • imwithher

      Totally disagree. Trump could quite easily have fitted in with the Manhattan and Hollywood elite, if he wanted to. All you have to do, if you have money, is give some of it to the right charities, pretend to care about art and the right causes, mouth the right platitudes, buy the right clothes, and vacation in the right places. Trump did none of that. Because he doesn’t care what the NY Times thinks of him. He wants the NY Post, and the people who read it, to love him. He wants to be Outer Borough culturally, while rich enough to live in a golden tower with his name on it in Manhattan. He wants to hobnob with supermodels, athletes and so on, not Mrs Astor and Barbra Streisand.

      • LeeEsq

        This is a lot like the attitude described in the Harvard Business Review article that appeared shortly after the Election. What the American working classes aspire to is to keep their lifestyle but with more money. They don’t want upper middle class habits and culture.

        • imwithher

          Exactly. Trump’s WWC fans see him as something like the John Goodman character in “King Ralph.” A working class version of what it would be like to be rich and famous. And Trump, it seems to me, is genuinely just that. He prefers hamburgers and fries to fancy food. A series of trophy wives is preferable to him over a real companion (even perhaps with a tactful affair on the side). Gaudy and tacky opulence over understated elegance. He wants to be just who is. Rich, powerful, famous. But not beholden to any set of expectations dictated by a cultural elite.

          • LeeEsq

            There have always been plenty of rich people like that. The elite of the First Gilded Age seemed more cultured because they were trying to imitate the gentry and peerage of the United Kingdom but even the ones they were trying to imitate could be rather uncultured. There was a passage from the turn of the 20th century where an English gentry women stated bluntly that Jews aren’t liked by the upper classes because of their brains.

          • Linnaeus

            A working class version of what it would be like to be rich and famous. And Trump, it seems to me, is genuinely just that. He prefers hamburgers and fries to fancy food. A series of trophy wives is preferable to him over a real companion (even perhaps with a tactful affair on the side). Gaudy and tacky opulence over understated elegance

            The problem I have with this is that it seems to assume an inherent crudeness in working class people and an inherent countervailing virtue in upper and upper middle class people.. Trump himself is a counterexample of working-class-person-as-boorish-rich-person, given his wealthy upbringing, his education in elite schools, etc.

            • NewishLawyer

              I concur and there are plenty of working-class people who are against Trump.

              That being said, there does seem to be pushback against the norms and values of the upper-middle class across the working class whether left or right. I’ve encountered left-wing working class people who have also told me stuff like “No one really likes…” and then you can insert various cultural activities and objects associated with the upper-middle class from modern/contemporary art to literary fiction to theatre to NPR to Herman Miller furniture to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, etc.

              I’ve also had plenty of people tell me that they think I sincerely like “high culture” whereas most “hipsters” just pretend to.

              I don’t know where these views or biases come from and it might not be economically based. I’ve had people from my upper-middle class town also say “Ewww..that’s a book they make you read in school” at some of my reading material.

              But I’ve received this reverse snobbery and it does cause me to shut in a little. Why is it hard to believe that people like modern art sincerely? Or that it is possible to read Mishima in your downtime for pleasure? Or see Cheek by Jowl perform the Winter’s Tale at BAM or Fun Home at the Curan instead of a Hollywood blockbuster?

              • Linnaeus

                I suspect that the pushback that you describe is a manifestation of a tension that’s long been present and may not be any greater now than it has been. It’s hard to draw generalizations when we talk about, for lack of a better term, the sociology of cultural preferences (if we’re not trained in it) because we’re informed so much, understandably, by personal experience.

                In terms of day-to-day living, I think the best that one can do is accept that these tensions exist and manage them as best one can. When I entered graduate school, I found myself in an environment that was in some ways culturally quite different than the one I was used to. There were certain assumptions and expectations about my cultural preferences and life experiences that I did not meet, and while I was glad for the overall experience, that mismatch was something that I learned to manage over time.

              • joel hanes

                Perhaps time to re-read Levine’s 1988 “Highbrow/Lowbrow” analysis, which I believe describes exactly this tension in an earlier America.

                Some of the shibboleths have changed (e.g., there really wasn’t any “reality TV” in1988) , but the tension remains the same

            • imwithher

              Oh, I agree. Certainly not all WC people are crude and boorish. And many do have good taste, appreciation of art, aspirations, including cultural ones, for themselves or their children, and so on. And, indeed, Trump was never actually working class himself.

              But plenty of WWC folks, including those who love Trump, want to stick it to the smarty pants, hoity toity, Bi Coastal elites, rather than want to be one of them, or crave their approval. Well, Trump did just that, back in the day, and even more so now that he beat Hillary. He doesn’t ape his “betters,” he mocks them. He infuriates them.

            • NewishLawyer

              My girlfriend is not American. She is Chinese from Singapore. A lot of her friends in the United States are Chinese from Singapore and/or Malaysia and grew up middle-class or upper-middle class in those countries. There parents thought it was very important for them to attend university in an English speaking country. Usually the UK or the USA.

              One of the things that I’ve wondered about is when does an interest in art and culture become something to encourage in your children. When do parents get a psychic benefit from saying their kids are interested in art, painting, writing, dance, etc?

              Because my girlfriend seems to be an outlier in that she studied philosophy, politics, and economics as an undergrad. The rest of her friends seemingly were told to study Math and Science, Match and Science, with more Match and Science. They have also expressed amazement that my parents let me study theatre as an undergrad and that American colleges and universities have theatre as a major.

              My parents tried briefly to get me into Science but quickly discovered I was an arts kid and then encouraged it. And I think they did get some psychic benefit by saying their son was in grad school for theatre directing. My mom loves that I have an MFA. I am not sure if the same could be said for any of my girlfriend’s friends parents.

              So when does the interest in the arts become an important class marker? My parents took us to museums and art fairs and classical music concerts a lot as a kids. And later theatre when I was interested in it.

              • Vance Maverick

                What do you mean, “when”? Serious question — having trouble working out an interpretation.

                I think the tension between practical/material and cultural learning is always there in all societies, most obviously when both are highly developed. Consider Buddenbrooks.

              • Chetsky

                Oh, I think this is really simple. Asian parents think of it this way:

                “math and science” == “doctor, engineer, scientist” == “good job, no danger of poverty”.

                It’s -that- simple. Everything else is gravy. I grew up in the US, but in India at the same time I was in high school, kids who didn’t get good grades on their high school exams were committing suicide, and students were rioting against proctoring of exams. It’s life-or-death there. Literal life-or-death. And I’m guessing that even in Singapore, the memory of those hard times hasn’t disappeared.

                I think Asian parents don’t look at education as something to help a child “find themselves”, but rather as a means to safe and secure life.

                Which brings me to the “tiger mom” thing. My mom tried to get us all to play piano too. What was that about? Simple: it’s well-understood that the “extracurricular activity” playbook is a way for the better colleges to select white folk instead of Jews (and now, Asians). So Asian parents think “for my child to have a secure life, they’ll need to -both- excel in math/science -and- have all these <>”.

                So, as I said, a very instrumental view of education. Sure, it’ll change after a few generations. But when you come from a culture where “the family jewels” means literally the jewels your family keeps, for that moment when you might need to flee, b/c they’re compact and portable (as my mother once explained to me), it takes a while to get used to the fat, fat, fat life of the West.

              • Chetsky

                My parents tried briefly to get me into Science but quickly discovered I was an arts kid and then encouraged it.

                Answering this part separately. Your parents loved you. They wanted what was best for you. And they -trusted- that the world was sufficiently gentle, that even if you didn’t have skills that were heavily in-demand, it wouldn’t chew you up and use you for hamburger. Heck, they had to be pretty much *certain*, didn’t they?

                I must say, that immigrant parents don’t think that way (by and large). At least, not immigrants from poor countries. We’ve seen too much ground human meat. Happiness is a secondary concern, and automatically takes second place to survival. And this is true even in doctors’ families. Because the mindset doesn’t go away in a single generation.

            • JonH

              “his education in elite schools”

              Well, you can lead an oaf to Wharton but you can’t make him learn.

              • Linnaeus

                True, but the point still stands – it’s easier for some folks to get in to places like Wharton than others.

            • LeeEsq

              Trump isn’t the only upper class person with showy tastes. There is a big market for flash among people that can afford it and lots of wealthy people, including multi-generation wealthy people, love flaunting their wealth.

      • wjts

        He wants to hobnob with supermodels, athletes and so on, not Mrs Astor and Barbra Streisand.

        My understanding is that he very much wanted (wants still?) for the likes of Mrs. Astor to want to hobnob with him.

        • imwithher

          Based on what? Again, if he had wanted that, why didn’t he just do the things I outlined above? It really isn’t hard, IF you have the money.

          • Yes, but that would require giving to charities, and I suspect the King in Yellow would sooner gnaw his own leg off.

            • NewishLawyer

              Even the Koch Brothers get off because they give to the right charities and know about art and wine.

              I wonder how Trump feels about Buffet because Buffet doesn’t seem to care about fancy things (from what I’ve read his diet is not very sophisticated or healthy) but he has the esteem of the Manhattanites somewhat to a lot.

              • N__B

                Buffet is not, by all accounts, a boor.

                • Since multiple timelines keep coming up in these discussions, I may as well mention (again?) that in this timeline Saul Kripke’s late father (a rabbi) was a lifelong friend of Buffet and an early investor in Berkshire Hathaway.

                • Unlike Cheeto Caligula, he’s also given several billion dollars to charity. (Most of his fortune, I believe.)

            • Chetsky

              There’s that story that went around some months ago, about Dampnut showing up at a charity gala, seating himself on the dais (in a chair reserved for a major, major contributor/hedge-fund-guy, who was -not- happy) and then, when it was all over, not giving a -dime-.

              • That was one of Fahrenthold’s, as I remember. Fantastic story. A shame that all of Fahrenthold’s work wasn’t enough to stop the tiny-fingered, Cheeto-faced, ferret-wearing shitgibbon from “winning” the presidency.

          • wjts

            I think the problem is he wanted it both ways: for Old Money (there’s probably a better term for what I mean) to embrace him without him having to change who he was or what he liked to do.

            • LeeEsq

              Blue Blood? Patrician?

          • NewishLawyer

            I think wjts is right here and possibly overlapping with what you and Lee are saying.

            A lot of right-wingers seem to want it both ways. They want the respect and esteem of the bourgeois and above but they fundamentally don’t want to change their ways and attitudes.

        • sharonT

          He does want to hob not with The Ators. He’s hosted the International Red Cross Ball at Mar-a-Lago for a number of years. And while he pockets the rental fee for the facilities from the charity, he also gets to put in white tails and play charming host. I stumbled onto photos of Trump hosting the 2015 event on the internets, and they’re pretty cringeworthy. Lots of creaky Palm Beach cosmetic surgery victims, squeezed into de la Renta frocks and unfortunate tie and cummerbund confections.

          Powering through the scores of photos made me want to take up knitting again.

    • The Dark God of Time

      Your comment about the lack of sympathetic arguments against SSM and gay rights in Hollywood productions overlooks the fact that aren’t any to be made in the first place.

      • NewishLawyer

        Of course there aren’t but perception is what is going on in their heads and not reality. A better argument is that a lot of mainstream culture especially primetime TV is largely vested in light-blue secular values. The characters tend to be upper-middle class professionals or aspirants to that class. They live in blue cities, etc.

        Maybe there is a better way in which a lot of TV shows and movies are soft blue in ways that enrage and alienate conservatives.

        • joel hanes

          On TV, one seldom sees an ostentatiously-pious evangelical/fundamentalist Protestant character in a positive role.

          This seems appropriate and accurate to me, but in the white South and in the upper Midwest states that Trump won, an awful lot of voters take ostentatiously-pious evangelical/fundamentalist Protestantism as a core identity, and as a base definition of what it means to be a good person.

          • NewishLawyer

            This is probably a better way of describing what I was talking about. Even shows like Friday Night Lights seem have heartland characters that seem more secular than the locations where they live.

            I am Jewish and grew up in the Jewish suburbs of Long Island. Christians in the area (which includes Queens because my house was ten minutes from the Nassau/Queens border( tended to be Irish or Italian Catholic, Asian Protestant, African-American protestants, or old-school mainline protestants. No Megachruches that I knew of. My high school switched from being 50-60 percent Jewish to 50 percent Asian since I graduated. Not a stereotypical American town basically.

            I know Jews who grew up in places like Fort Wayne, Indiana where people say “You are a Good Christian” and it means “You are a good person.” I’ve never lived in an area where Good Christian and Good Person were synonyms. Plenty of the Catholics on Long Island can be anti-Semitic* but they never displayed the kind of ostentatiously-pious side that you are describing.

            *Our sports teams would have a handful of incidents of anti-Semitic taunts and jeers when playing against teams from towns that were more Irish-Italian Catholic and usually more working class.

          • LeeEsq

            The market for ostentatiously-pious Protestant entertainment in a positive light seems limited.

            • The Dark God of Time

              As both Kevin Sorbo and Kirk Cameron have learned in recent years.

        • LeeEsq

          Even though London dominates British life more than New York or Los Angeles dominate American life, British television seems to strive to have geographical in addition to racial diversity on television more than American television. I wonder if that helps smooth out some culture war issues.

          • LosGatosCA

            Brexit certainly is proof of that.

  • Chip Daniels

    A bit off topic, but the protests are working:

    Republican Rep. McClintock exits with police escort after raucous town hall meeting in Roseville

    Inside the theater, McClintock took about a dozen audience questions. Some of the most passionate comments came from people who said they feared losing access to health care if Republicans press forward to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a clear replacement.
    “What do you expect seniors and people with disabilities with low income to do if you take away our Medicare and Medicaid that we rely on to literally stay alive?” asked Amanda Barnes, who said she was paralyzed from her waist down after a hit-and-run accident in a crosswalk five years ago.
    McClintock said his party did not yet have a replacement plan, but that there were several Republican-backed proposals still taking shape.

    This, in a heavily Republican district. The guy needs a police escort.

    Lets keep the heat on.

    • LeeEsq

      Putting the heat on Republicans in heavily Republican districts is about the only thing that will get them to back down from their plans.

      • Chip Daniels

        I think what we can draw courage from, is the fact that conservatives love liberal policies that benefit them.

        And most liberal policies do.
        Despite their fervent belief that 90% of the federal budget goes to welfare queens and foreign aid, any real Republican policy ends up screwing most of the base.

        Which is why the GOP is stalled in a perpetual loop of “We’re working on a replacement plan”.

        That can be said for Social Security (they’ve been working on an alternate plan since 1936).

        Or Medicare (they’ve been working on an alternate plan since 1965).

    • trollhattan

      McClintock is an odd duck, a termed out SoCal state assemblyman/senator turned NorCal carperbagger parachuting in to take the seat of John Doolittle who dropped out after one too many scandals. He’s a typical Republican belligerent loudmouth who will make sure any future events are well salted by camo-clad boors. Unluckily for them, California is NOT an open-carry state.

  • LeeEsq

    We can engage in informal psychoanalysis of Trump and his motivations for becoming President all we want. It doesn’t change that a dangerous man is in a very powerful public office and he will do a lot of damage. It doesn’t matter if he just wants to be liked or is really in it for the power and the money, which is my preferred explanation or if Putin made him do it because reasons. Just oppose him the best we can until he disappears in order to mitigate the harm that he does.

    • While I agree that overall his motivations don’t affect the harm he does to the country, it’s possible that understanding them will make it possible to oppose him more effectively, particularly if it gives us an angle we can exploit.

      • LeeEsq

        A combination of protests, law suits, phone calling, and oppositional politics from the Democratic Party seem to be working fine as of now. I think this would be the same regardless of Trump’s motives.

        • I dunno. If we can get him to melt down faster, that could be a yooge help. Understanding his motivations would make that easier to do.

  • MikeJake

    Stern, if you will recall, announced his candidacy for Governor of New York in 1994 on a platform of addressing highway traffic issues and then resigning. He never seriously ran, he just wanted to call attention to the traffic issue.

    Trump has never done anything without some kind of exit strategy in mind. If he can accomplish something related to immigration, trade, and deregulation, then I have a hard time seeing him stick around to be probed and ridiculed for a whole term. He’s not the type of person to commit to the dull responsibility of day-to-day leadership. He wants to make deals and get out.

    • MikeJake

      In that vein, I’m left pondering what a Mark Zuckerberg presidency will look like, and the ways it will be worse than Trump.

      • N__B

        what a Mark Zuckerberg presidency will look like, and the ways it will be worse than Trump.

        Online voting, but you have to login using Facebook.

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          christ! I’ll be disenfranchised

          • Dennis Orphen

            And that’s just the online part! Well, disincounted (maybe flipped) anyway.

        • ScottK

          You won’t need to vote. Facebook knows who you’d have voted for well enough.

    • NewishLawyer

      He also said he would reinstate the death penalty I believe but I was 13-14 at the time.

      The 1994 elections were my first experience with political disappointment.

      • LeeEsq

        I remember Stern arguing he wanted to restore the death penalty to.

    • LeeEsq

      A history of trolling in democratic politics and elections would be really fascinating.

  • LawDdaw

    BABABOOEY.

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