Home / General / Is Having a President With the Knowledge and Temperament of a Dim, Petulant Second Grader a Problem?

Is Having a President With the Knowledge and Temperament of a Dim, Petulant Second Grader a Problem?

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One of the more persuasive critiques of the Clinton campaign was its decision — particularly late in the campaign, when Trump’s high negatives were well-established and it was becoming increasingly clear that Republican voters were almost all coming home — to focus its advertising on Trump’s character rather than Clinton’s proposals and/or negative advertising based on Trump’s extremely unpopular agenda. I have no idea if a different approach would have worked, but I started to cringe when I saw the kids-watching-Trump ads late in the campaign.

While, with big assists from the 18th century slave power and our benevolent national security overlords, the focus on Trump’s gross unfitness for office didn’t work, the underlying claim certainly wasn’t wrong. Item A:

Instead, President Trump blasted Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over a refu­gee agreement and boasted about the magnitude of his electoral college win, according to senior U.S. officials briefed on the Saturday exchange. Then, 25 minutes into what was expected to be an hour-long call, Trump abruptly ended it.

At one point Trump informed Turnbull that he had spoken with four other world leaders that day — including Russian President Vladi­mir Putin — and that “This was the worst call by far.

Trump’s behavior suggests that he is capable of subjecting world leaders, including close allies, to a version of the vitriol he frequently employs against political adversaries and news organizations in speeches and on Twitter.

Item B:

President Donald Trump threatened in a phone call with his Mexican counterpart to send U.S. troops to stop “bad hombres down there” unless the Mexican military does more to control them, according to an excerpt of a transcript of the conversation obtained by The Associated Press.

The excerpt of the call did not detail who exactly Trump considered “bad hombres,” nor did it make clear the tone and context of the remark, made in a Friday morning phone call between the leaders. It also did not contain Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto’s response. Mexico denies that Trump made the threat.

Still, the excerpt offers a rare and striking look at how the new president is conducting diplomacy behind closed doors. Trump’s remarks suggest he is using the same tough and blunt talk with world leaders that he used to rally crowds on the campaign trail.

There is a constitutional remedy for removing a demented person from the office. Alas, there is no chance it will be exercised as long as Trump remains useful to Republican efforts to slash upper-class taxes and the welfare state while attacking voting, labor and civil rights and coercing as many women as possible to carry pregnancies to term.

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  • science_goy

    The problem with getting rid of Trump is the replacements aren’t fundamentally all that much better. Plus, once we get into that territory, it’s not unimaginable that Bannon could house-of-cards his way into the Presidency.

    • humanoid.panda

      Basically, the only way for him to do that would be to poison Pence and/or Ryan, and get himself nominated as their successor. Which I don’t think is very plausible.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      if Trump implodes does Bannon even have a place in the Pence administration? Seems to me outside of Trump’s own flaws said implosion would be largely his fault

      • humanoid.panda

        Honestly, with all the talk of #Presidentbannon, I’d be surprised iff he survives long in the Trump administration. Narcissits don’t like someone overshadowing them.

        • JMP

          If anyone speaks that it is Bannon who truly rules the realm, will Donald order their tongue pulled out with hot pincers?

          • Manju

            Bannon has great hair.

            Perhaps not as great as Stalin’s or Ditka’s, but it has a that John Calhoun unruliness that Trump so wants to emulate but can’t…no matter how much he plugs away.

            This, I think, answers your question.

            • no matter how much he plugs away.

              The Hair Club for Men sees what you did there.

              • BiloSagdiyev

                He’s not just the president, he’s also a member. Also, he’s a dick.

                • humanoid.panda

                  BTW, Time reports that Trump is now demoting Bannon and promoting Priebus. As I said above, I’d be surprised if Bannon is member of staff in early 2018.

                • twbb

                  You have a link? That would be great news.

                • DrDick

                  SPeaking for the Dicks of the world, we reject him. He is, in fact, an asshole.

                • ΧΤΠΔ

                  He’s actually an insult to assholes around the world, too; in fact, “he is the only douche that needs to be fired.”

              • Kathleen

                Hair Hair!

        • MAJeff

          I only wonder if the Republic will survive until 20 July.

          • DrDick

            Optimist!

          • benjoya

            is that the date that the aliens are supposed to come save us?

      • science_goy

        Order-of-operations would be Pence resigns or is forced out, Trump nominates Bannon to replace him, and at some point Trump is removed via 25th amendment. Not likely, but the fact that this is technically possible is frightening enough.

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          hmm. I guess I don’t see that as being politically possible. Pence isn’t going anywhere

        • JMP

          The 25th Amendment requires Congressional approval of both houses of Congress, however; and an open white supremacist like Bannon should probably be too toxic even for the current GOP. Trump had reason to name him to a position that didn’t require Senate approval.

          • cpinva

            “and an open white supremacist like Bannon should probably be too toxic even for the current GOP.”

            really? what causes you to believe that? there are all kinds of reasons to not approve Bannon, for any office requiring said approval, his overt racism isn’t one of them, with this GOP collection. take an even mildly close look at that motley crew, and I think you’ll be forced to agree with me.

        • DamnYankees

          The Senate would not approve Bannon as Vice President. If you’re a GOP Senator, why on earth would you do that? Even if you were ok with white supremacism, there are other, better options who are more devoted to the GOP as a party (like Jeff Sessions). And if there weren’t, then Paul Ryan would be next in line.

        • SIS1

          Why on Earth would the Senate confirm Bannon? What impetus would Republicans have to vote him above the numerous other more popular choices?

    • DamnYankees

      The problem with getting rid of Trump is the replacements aren’t fundamentally all that much better.

      Yes they are. They sadly are.

      I think one of the things that Trump has shown me, and hopefully shown us, is that as much as we hate Republicans in normal times, there’s something worse than a normal Republican. Trump is genuinely expanding the horizon of horrors beyond what I would have thought plausible.

      • Phil Perspective

        Have you paid attention at all to what Pence did as Governor? He basically tried to set up his own media shop. Like Breitbart but employed by the state of Indiana specifically to fluff him. Luckily cooler heads prevailed. But that’s just one example of many how Pence is damn awful.

        • DamnYankees

          Still better than trump.

          • It’s a shame that “doesn’t seem likely to blow up the world in a nuclear war” is a positive that can be stated of anyone in comparison the current president-asterisk of the United States, but it’s true for almost any Republican. Clearly, we are in the Darkest Timeline.

            • brad

              I’ve made paper goatees for those of you not yet bearded.

              And yes. At this point we all have to work hard to make a Pence Presidency, then work hard to stop it.

            • rhino

              I really don’t see Trump as being likely to start a nuclear war. Mainly because even if he did nuke NK or Tehran, nobody is launching at the US in return because none of the other people with their fingers on planet-destroying fleets of missiles are stupid enough to do that.

              Even if Trump doesn’t understand that nobody wins a nuclear war, all the other people capable of waging one understand it very well. And I simply do not believe Trump could order a general launch and have that order obeyed. I KNOW that the people who do the actual job have already figured out what to do if the president is a nut bar, and I believe them to be capable of preventing catastrophe. Not least because we’ve managed 60 years without catastrophe. Trump may be the worst, but that system is robust, IMO.

              In every other calculation, Pence is *worse* than Trump. His agenda is worse, and he is a smart guy who knows how the system works and who has solid allies (as opposed to opportunists) in his corner. His presidency will efficiently accomplish the same goals Trump is bungling and failing at.

              The longer we can stretch the reign of the Shitgibbon, the less damage will be done to the country. Aside from our reputation, which is taking a huge hit, of course.

              I don’t think it’s beyond question the Shitgibbon might park 5megatons on the Ayatollah’s private garden… And that’s an awful thought, but I think Pence would send in the Army to fight a war of occupation that would be far more likely to cause the very conflagration you fear.

              • Bri2k

                This reminds me of the Joint Chiefs being told to order forces not to follow a Nixon launch order unless Haig verified it was legit.

          • cpinva

            “Still better than trump.”

            by that low bar, both of my cats qualify, except they aren’t old enough. they are both, however, smarter than Trump. neither of them would threaten to send troops into Mexico, having read what happened the last time a president did that.

            • rea

              Your cats read about the Pershing expedition?

              • BiloSagdiyev

                Really, just implausible! My cats haven’t even made it through Gibbon and Toynbee yet. (Mostly they just scratch up the pages and pee on them.)

                • I don’t see the point in starting that far back. If that’s the argument you are making, did you start your cats off with the epic of Gilgamesh? I started my cat off with what is known about Göbekli Tepe, but I’m not trying to give her any kind of grounding for a career in government.

        • efgoldman

          Have you paid attention at all to what Pence did as Governor?

          His popularity had also cratered so badly that his political career would be over if Mango Malignancy hadn’t rescued him. If a very red state can hate him, surely most of the country is capable of it, too.

          • artem1s

            Yep. Kind of like Ashcroft.

        • Arouet

          Again, you ironically need some perspective. The bar right now is “unlikely to get us all killed in WWIII. Pence clears that bar, whatever his other flaws. When you’re facing that possibility, the other flaws don’t matter.

          • rea

            get us all killed in WWIII.

            Does Australia even have nukes?

            • Hogan

              Worse. They have sharks.

            • rhino

              No, but they have funnel web spiders. Personally, I’m not in a primary target…

      • CP

        I think one of the things that Trump has shown me, and hopefully shown us, is that as much as we hate Republicans in normal times, there’s something worse than a normal Republican. Trump is genuinely expanding the horizon of horrors beyond what I would have thought plausible.

        The problem with this logic is that every Republican phase of White House control in the last half century has expanded the horizon of horrors beyond what was previously through plausible. Reagan broadened Nixon’s horizon by declaring war on the New Deal, a war that’s gone on ever since at the expense of a lot of poor and working Americans. Bush broadened Reagan’s horizon by completely destroying a Middle Eastern country and ending any stability in the region, letting an American city drown, and bringing on the worst economic crash since the Great Depression, all things we’re still dealing with.

        Trump is now, predictably, continuing to broaden that horizon. The ultimate problem isn’t Trump, it’s a voter base that demands him or someone like him and that demands that continually broadening horizon. With the perpetual Two-Minutes-Hate frenzy that Fox News and the rest keep them in, sooner or later we’d either have had someone exactly like Donald Trump as the GOP candidate, or a Republican candidate who would’ve been under unbearable pressure to govern that way.

        The number of people celebrating every clusterfuck he causes is the proof.

        • pseudalicious

          Yeah. The former Confederacy needs a big come to Jesus. I don’t know how the fuck you achieve this.

          • artem1s

            Clone William Tecumseh Sherman?

          • I think Jesus, (or more to the point their understanding of him) may be making the problem worse. I’d like to see a getting the hell away from (their backward misogynist authoritarian) Jesus moment.

      • DrDick

        On policy, they are as bad or worse. They are, however, reasonably sane, if completely evil, so I will give you that.

        • so-in-so

          “Lawful-Evil” vs. “Chaotic-Evil”.

          Seems a long standing question has been answered.

    • In Pence’s defence, while he would be a horror on the local front, I don’t think he would be inclined to start WWIII, whether from ideology, brashness, or stupidity.

      That being said, I don’t think Trump being controlled by Bannon is necessarily the worst case scenario. The worst case will be when Trump gets confident enough in his power that he decides he can go it alone. Call it Trump Unchained.

      • mds

        Well, maybe not ideology or brashness.

        “The larger issue, however, is that Mike Pence is a moron, and any movement that would hold the guy up as a hero is bankrupt. You can see my colleague Amanda Terkel for more of the specifics on this, but I would refer you to this post from September about the earth-shattering ignorance and stupidity of Mike Pence. He has no grasp, whatsoever, of public policy issues.”
        –Matthew Yglesias [I know, I know], January 2009

        Yglesias walked this sentiment back just a few months ago, noting that he’s since realized that what’s really surprising is to find a member of Congress who isn’t ignorant about virtually everything to do with policy. But honestly, we’re talking about a racist, bigoted bag of sewage with an “R” after his name who became unpopular in Indiana. Indiana. That takes a special kind of incompetence.

        Of course, that also means that between the “betrayal” of Trump’s base, and Pence being so politically unappetizing, it could help Democratic fortunes. But in the meantime, we’d have a stupid homophobic anti-choice racist with better impulse control in charge. Which could still have a lot of fallout, just probably not the literal kind. He still might try to bomb Iran, though.

        • Domino

          I know most people who comment here don’t have twitter, but Yglesias has been relentless in his criticism of Republicans for many, many, months.

    • Arouet

      That’s simply not true. Pence is terrible, terrible, terrible on policy, but he won’t literally get hundreds of millions of people killed through sheer incompetence. Hundreds of thousands, at most. The difference matters.

  • Lt. Fred

    Australian here.

    I’m pretty sure this is going to mean a change of government in Australia. Turnbull backed Trump pretty heavily over the Muslims ban, at the instigation of his party (he was pretty much the only int’ politician to do this – it was a Big Deal in Oz and he took a huge political hit). The idea was he’d get this deal in return, which was secretly negotiated for months with Obama. He had his phone call, and then leaked Trump’s acceptance of the deal, widely read as a big win for Turnbull. Today it all unravelled in about two hours just before the nightly news. Also breaking today: Turnbull donated $1.75m to his own re-election campaign last year. He’s already way down in the polls. I think a coup is a matter of time.

    Notch on the belt for the Donald maybe.

    • Murc

      My understanding is that the WH has already flipped back and indicated the deal will be honored.

      • ploeg

        Yes, the deal would be honored, in Trump’s inimitable way:

        During the phone conversation Saturday, Turnbull told Trump that to honor the agreement, the United States would not have to accept all of the refugees but only to allow each through the normal vetting procedures. At that, Trump vowed to subject each refu­gee to “extreme vetting,” the senior U.S. official said.

        So in the end, whad’ya bet that the refugees would be extreme vetted down to nil?

        • Darkrose

          Was this before or after the shitgibbon’s tweet today calling it “a dumb deal” and blaming Obama?

          • Bufflars

            While simultaneously conflating refugees with “illegal immigrants”.

        • Mike G

          Trump vowed to subject each refu­gee to “extreme vetting,”

          Too bad Republicans didn’t do the same with all their presidential candidates.

    • Markos Valaris

      Another Aussie resident here. I have to say that Turnbull’s humiliation is richly, deeply deserved. As Josh Marshall said, Trump doesn’t take your dignity if you don’t hand it to him. Turnbull and his government went out of their way to very pointedly not condemn Trump’s Muslim ban. In fact, and hilariously, when asked about it Turnbull’s response was this: “I don’t run public commentary on foreign leaders, I prefer to discuss any criticisms in private with them.”

      • N__B

        So is Turnbull dumb or did he just not recognize that Trump likes ignoring the rules?

        • Markos Valaris

          Turnbull has a reputation for being smart, but, honestly, I think he is pretty dumb.

          Fundamentally, though, his problem is that he is a center-right neoliberal leader, at a time when much of his party has embraced Republican-style culture-wars-everywhere politics. This type of politics does not (yet!) play well with the general public, and Turnbull knows it, so he is desperately trying to square this circle. He can neither denounce nor openly embrace Trump’s racism.

          On this particular issue, however, I sincerely hope that the deal goes through. These are people who have been found to be genuine refugees, but because of their mode of travel (they arrived by boat, rather than through Australia’s official refugee intake program) have been locked up in indefinite detention for years, with both major parties vowing they will never be settled in Australia. So, much as I enjoy seeing Trunbull humiliated, getting these people out of the camps is urgent.

      • tsam

        hilariously, when asked about it Turnbull’s response was this: “I don’t run public commentary on foreign leaders, I prefer to discuss any criticisms in private with them.”

        I suppose this is the best new go-to example of being careful what you wish for…

  • Brett

    I’d bet dollars to fucking doughnuts that this was Trump doing his usual belligerent “listen to the last man who spoke to me” schtick, which in his case is usually going to be Bannion. Christ, it almost really is like he’s deliberately trying to tank all the good US foreign policy relationships on behalf of Putin.

    At least we have the hilarity of Trump being so goddamn insecure that he’s still running around trying to brag about his inauguration crowd size and supposed victory margin. We got to keep bringing that up over and over again, since it clearly gets under his skin all the time.

    • Phil Perspective

      Christ, it almost really is like he’s deliberately trying to tank all the good US foreign policy relationships on behalf of Putin.

      It really has nothing to do with Putin. Bannon is like the Heath Ledger Joker. He just wants to see it all burn. And Cheeto is the perfect vehicle for that.

      • so-in-so

        Plus, DT didn’t make all those existing “deals”, so obviously they are bad and the new “deals” he makes will be soooooo much better.

      • Aaron Morrow

        I don’t know, Bannon sounds like he wants to build Norsefire order out of the chaos, so I don’t think he’s nihilist.

        • JohnT

          It can be a bit of both. I’m pretty sure Hitler’s priority set was along the lines of:

          Thousand-Year Reich > Burn Europe (including Germany) to the ground > Let the old order stand.

          He had an endpoint in mind, but failing that, just burning was still OK.

      • JohnT

        Mildly surprised that Trump is willing to go along with quite such an insanely nihilistic approach to diplomacy (in the sense that even Joe Sixpack would know that just yelling at every foreign country is not so smart). I guess that’s where the mental health worries come in.

        • so-in-so

          His whole deal is “you’re fired”. He can’t actually do that to foreign leaders, so yelling at them and calling them names is the best he can do. The people who liked him will eat it up, right until the mushroom cloud…

  • humanoid.panda

    Even 48 hours ago, I’d have agree with you 100% about republicans never removing him from office. But, between those conversations, his clear mental lapses caught on camera, and the fact he just plain looks unhealthy (he had visibly added a lot of weight between the summer and now, and the official WH explanation to his Australian outburst is that he was tired), I’m no longer 100% positive. Neither him nor the country can survive 4 years of this.

    • permafrost

      Well, Germany survived Kaiser Wilhelm.

      • humanoid.panda

        As I said on the other thread, difference is that at some point, his ministers convinced Wilhelm to stay away from politics.

      • ASV

        The land abides. As to the things living on it, let’s put pin in that.

      • Nathan Goldwag

        Not entirely a fair comparison. For all his bombast, ol’ Willy had a habit of backing down at the last minute in crises. A lot of the dynamic in July 1914 was his more militant advisors (Von Moltke, etc) trying to maneuver things so he couldn’t pull back.

        • dwreck

          In my German history course, we’re covering Wilhelmine Germany, and the parallels between Trump and Wilhelm II are astonishing. I assigned Martin Kitchen’s textbook to the students, and it has some real gems that could easily have been ripped from Oval Office leaks published in the Washington Post:

          “Nevertheless, careers depended on royal favoritism. This in turn encouraged an atmposhere of lick-spitting opportunism at court, a groveling search for the favor of the All Highest. The kaiser’s men, from the chancellor Bülow down, did their outmost to shield him from criticism and unpleasant reality, and were able to influence and even manipulate him […] he was given to making grotesquely reactionary statements and to swearing that at the next crisis he would not cave in, but would lead the nation into war–all this in a pathetic attempt to show his entourage that he was a real man.”

      • JohnT

        Not as a geographically contiguous entity, it didn’t.

      • Bri2k

        And did not make it through Hindenburg government.

    • Murc

      But, between those conversations, his clear mental lapses caught on camera, and the fact he just plain looks unhealthy (he had visibly added a lot of weight between the summer and now, and the official WH explanation to his Australian outburst is that he was tired),

      Don’t forget the fact that the first major covert op he just approved in Yemen has gone seriously sideways. Not quite “Black Hawk Down” sideways but “aircraft destroyed, dead serviceman, dead civilians” sideways.

      • humanoid.panda

        Right. Pretty much the only scenario I can predict in which the GOP swallows the pill is that things spin out of control so much that he enters “W after Katrina” territory. At this point, hard to see that NOT happening.

      • benjoya

        pretty sure to that man, “dead civilians” means exactly zero if they’re not white americans

        • rea

          Well, the kid WAS an American, although Trump would probably characterize her as non-White

      • Rob in CT

        We’re going to see IOKIYAR tested, over and over and over again.

      • mds

        Don’t forget the fact that the first major covert op he just approved in Yemen has gone seriously sideways.

        Yeah, but according to a bunch of the people on Twitter, that was Obama’s fault. No, I’m not kidding.

        • tsam

          The Great Recession and NOW THIS? Man that guy was a fuckup.

        • Hogan

          So when does Trump start being president?

          • N__B

            When Bannon steps down.

        • farin

          It turns out the Pentagon had planned the mission under Obama, but he refused to authorize it because he thought it was too risky. Too bad he wasn’t daring enough to take credit for such a great success!

    • McAllen

      Republicans have to figure Pence would be much better for them than Trump, right? Less like to spark international incidents, probably more popular with voters in 2020. Probably worried about pissing off Trump’s base, though.

      • Schadenboner

        Pissing off the Trumpite base is about the only thing that could turn the dogshit 2018 map good for us (although probably not even then).

      • mds

        probably more popular with voters in 2020.

        Stupidity and bigotry without the blustering charisma and alpha-dog vibe? Fewer showy symbolic deals about jobs to offset the effects of Republican policies on the economy? I’m slightly skeptical as to his popularity. It’s been noted elsewhere in this thread, but Mike Pence had a fairly good chance of losing re-election as governor of Indiana. That took some doing.

    • Darkrose

      He was tired? He’s been in office less than two weeks and he’s already tired to the point where he’s lashing out at our allies?

      Gods help us all.

      • Don’t you think he looks tired?

        • Keaaukane

          He’s tired. Tired of being admired.
          Tired of grift uninspired

          • patrick II

            So tired of winning.

        • Nice

        • alexceres

          Your Dr Who reference is lost upon this group.

        • erlking

          If this is a Tenth Doctor reference, I’m in love.

        • so-in-so

          Sadly, not The Doctor.

        • mds

          Don’t you think he looks tired?

          So, in this scenario, who’s Harold Saxon?

        • Well played!

      • Dr. Acula

        He was “tired and emotional”, to borrow a phrase from Private Eye.

        • georgekaplan

          “Emotional as a newt,” if I may refer to “Yes, Minister” (I still favor the idea that Trump’s intoxicated a lot, on booze or something else.)

      • dwreck

        This development was too easy to predict: Clinton’s supposed lack of stamina turns out to be yet another example of everything being projection.

      • tsam

        He’s not tired. Even if he is, that’s not why he was being a Kong Dong to Turnbull. He just found a compliant little man who would put up with his bullying, so of course he exploited that weakness.

        “I’m a scorpion. It’s what I do.”

        I’m convinced that Trump really thinks that this is how “diplomacy” is done–the same way you bark at contractors when they are behind on your project, and then you set them up to steal final payment and retention from them. Off to Florida for another vacation paid for by people you hired to do a job.

    • DamnYankees

      I just don’t see how this happens without a single truly horrifying event or revelation. Either something comes out about Trump being compromised in a way that’s genuinely undeniable, or he drops a nuke out of the blue or something.

      I don’t think a slow drip of stuff – or even a torrent like we’ve seen for the last 12 days – is enough. If the last 12 days just repeats over and over and over again, nothing will happen. There need to be something truly insane – not just to liberals, but to everyone – to catalyze action.

      • Darkrose

        I suspect it will take him literally melting down on live TV.

        • DamnYankees

          That already happened. In the second and third debates. Didn’t matter.

          • Maybe he drops the C-bomb or passed the ni*CLANG!* event horizon on live television? I suspect he uses both words in casual conversation.

            • DamnYankees

              I don’t think either of those things causes him to resign or be impeached. Also, for some reason I don’t actually think he speaks that way. His vulgarity is oddly lacking in profanity; his vulgarity is that of tone, insults and position, not bad words.

              • random

                his vulgarity is that of tone, insults and position, not bad words.

                Literally his most famous quote is ‘grab them by the pussy’.

                Previously we would all now ridicule you for forgetting that fact. But at this point nobody else can keep track of how horrible this guy is either.

                • rhino

                  Dude, ‘Pussy’ isn’t a bad word. It’s likely the most common name women use refer to their vulva and vagina. I have literally never dated or even spoken to a woman who raised an eyebrow at that word. My mother, well into her 80s and prudish as hell, uses that word.

                  If he’d said ‘grab them by the stench-trench’, ‘fish-hole’, or ‘cock-socket’, your point would be valid. I could go on, there being many offensive words for the female genitals in use by assholes and mysogynists, but that should convey the gist.

                  ‘Pussy’ simply isn’t a vulgar expression to anyone I have ever met. At most it would be the wrong word to use in a technical discussion of anatomy in medical school. Not vulgar or offensive, just insufficiently specific for the context.

          • so-in-so

            No, a REAL melt down, as in screaming and crying or physically assaulting someone on live TV.

            Even then, unless he assaults Ryan or McConnell, I give it 50/50.

        • socraticsilence

          Someone pulls a much-deserved Joe Wilson during the SOTU and Trump tries his “incite crowd to violence” gambit?

          • mds

            Given that right now, I suspect that incitement to violence would work on the Congressional GOP, it might be worth a try. Might as well get the republic over with in one agonizing rip, rather than a long series of excruciating tugs.

            • so-in-so

              We survived Preston Brooks.

              • mds

                Yeah, but I don’t know if we’d survive virtually every member of the majority party trying to stomp every member of the minority party to death. Followed by the media hand-wringing about how the Democrats started it.

          • JKTH

            No, then the media would hand-wring about how rude the Democrats are.

      • efgoldman

        I just don’t see how this happens without a single truly horrifying event or revelation.

        Unfortunately, I think it’s going to take a complete failure or maybe even making things worse, with a huge loss of life and property splashed all over the TV and cable for days, Katrina style.
        And even more unfortunately, it will probably require that the loss of life and property involve lots of white people.
        Yes, that’s how cynical I am. And I hope I’m wrong.

        • Jay

          Trump tries to “solve” Chicago’s gang violence issue, but accidentally bombs Schaumburg instead of the South Side.

          • kg

            ruh roh guess I’d better start digging out that shelter.

          • ΧΤΠΔ

            The Big One causes Seattle to fall into the ocean and Neon Nguema’s relief “efforts” don’t even rise to the level of Katrina-esque.

            Or, the Wabash Valley and or New Madrid Seismic Zones eat southern IL & IN, and the relief “efforts” don’t even rise to the level of Katrina-esque.

            Or, worst-case, he gets us into a war with Mexico that turns large swathes of Arizona & Texas into glass parking lots.

            (Would include “triggers Yellowstone,” but then the party line would be that he cured global warming [h/t Frisky Dingo]).

            • What if he sits on his goddamn hands while Russia conquers Ukraine?

            • Origami Isopod

              large swathes of Arizona & Texas into glass parking lots.

              “Worst” case?

              • ΧΤΠΔ

                “Worst case” in the sense of what it’d take for his base to turn on him, yes.

            • rhino

              I missed when Mexico became a nuclear power, it would seem.

      • twbb

        A bad recession would do it.

    • TopsyJane

      The Republicans will make no move against Trump, if they ever do, before the ACA is dismantled and their tax program is through, at the very least. News reports say that Ryan and McConnell are prepared to swallow pretty much anything Trump says or does for the sake of The Agenda.

      If Trump starts to lose the Republican base, or his conduct endangers The Agenda, that could be a different story.

  • humanoid.panda

    Off topic, but this is A+ level trolling from the Times.

    In general, the media earned every epithet we gave it during the campaign. Still, I have to concede they have upped their game since Trump became president.

    • Murc

      Let’s not be overly fair; the media have upped their game for the same reason they came at Bill Clinton, because they perceive Trump as vulgar, uncouth, and generally lowering the tone.

      I mean. I’ll take what I can get. But let’s not kid ourselves as to what their motivations are here. If Trump is overthrown, you can bet your bottom dollar every media outlet in the country will trip all over themselves to fellate the “brave, patriotic adult Republicans” who made it happen, and will pat themselves on the back due to their role in it, while President Pence implements Dominionist policies that are relegated to page 12, below the fold.

      • humanoid.panda

        https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/01/world/europe/vladimir-putin-donald-trump-terrorism.html

        Maybe. For my money, the Muslim ban is what really broke the levee. Hard to find any professional urbanite who doesn’t have immigrant friends/co-workers, and journalists are professional urbanites. Shit got real for them.

        • JMP

          Spicer’s lashing out about the inauguration crowd had a big effect too; for the new Press Secretary to start off on his first day angrily insisting on something that was so obviously false and over such a ridiculously petty issue immediately sent the message that the emperor really doesn’t have any clothes, and they actually started calling the administration’s false statements lies.

        • DamnYankees

          Maybe. For my money, the Muslim ban is what really broke the levee. Hard to find any professional urbanite who doesn’t have immigrant friends/co-workers, and journalists are professional urbanites. Shit got real for them.

          The Muslim ban is popular. More approve than disapprove. I agree this broke the levee in terms of catalyzing liberal opposition. It did not break the levee of destroying his presidency.

          • howard

            i would not yet take the first poll as dispositive (although it may turn out to be): given the lags, i’m only interested in the polling that picks up this week, as the story got attention.

          • humanoid.panda

            I didn’t say the levee broke in terms of destroying his presidency (with the exception of Trump molesting Ivanka on camera, hard to see how anything destroys it in first few months). I said that the Muslim ban seems to have made the media much less reluctant to be seen as unbalanced in the way it approaches Trump.

            • mds

              (with the exception of Trump molesting Ivanka on camera, hard to see how anything destroys it in first few months)

      • Phil Perspective

        If Trump is overthrown, you can bet your bottom dollar every media outlet in the country will trip all over themselves to fellate the “brave, patriotic adult Republicans” who made it happen, and will pat themselves on the back due to their role in it, while President Pence implements Dominionist policies that are relegated to page 12, below the fold.

        Yup! You nailed it.

      • Amadan

        As I have said before, that is why the Dems have to stake out the Art 25 ground before the GOP gets there.

        Make them deny that Trump is showing signs of instability. Make them own his erratic behaviour.

        It won’t stop the media treating them like the adults in the room when they eventually pull the plug, but it will slow their momentum and give the Dems an important rallying point for 2018 and 2020.

        Every tweet about the latest Trump enormity must use the ‘#25theAmendmentSolution’ hashtag (thank you, DC Sessions!)

      • Marshall_timbers

        As long as Pence doesn’t live tweet WW3 with China, I’d rather be alive to oppose those policies.

    • Yep, once that horse got out, ran down the road & was rendered by a semi, they bought a lock for the barn door & shut it tight!

      • Nobdy

        It almost makes it worse. If they continued to take a principled stance against the horrors of EMAILS and ignore Trump’s obvious unfitness then at least they would be consistent. Watching the press pat itself on the back for its strength in “speaking truth to power” over the next 4 years will be unbearable. I swear they’re going to give Liz Spayd an award for bravely representing the interests of readers and I am going to DIE of an aneurysm.

      • humanoid.panda

        https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/01/world/europe/vladimir-putin-donald-trump-terrorism.html

        Let’s keep in mind thought that a month ago, many predicted that the media would be too cowed to cover the Trump administration aggressively.

  • efgoldman

    Holy shit!
    Virginia’s Solicitor General alleges Trump is in contempt of court, ignoring order on Muslim ban

    ETA: I’m pretty sure, under the constitution this is meaningless, but it sure is a volley across the bow.

    (For those that don’t know, Dulles Airport is in VA.)

    • rm

      At least whoever is in the Dulles border security needs to be pulled out and held in contempt. For fuck’s sake.

      • Redwood Rhiadra

        The Marshals Service is siding with Trump and refusing to arrest anyone for contempt. Which means the judges are helpless and the entire judicial branch is now a dead letter.

        • rhino

          Citation? I’ve heard this in several places and never seen a credible source. Considering that CNN and their brethren have been quick to cover all of the Shitgibbon’s other assholery, I find it hard to believe they wouldn’t report this.

  • There is a constitutional remedy for removing a demented person from the office.

    Yeah, but how do you remove 65 million demented voters who installed this demented president into office in the first place?

    • efgoldman

      how do you remove 65 million demented voters

      Free meth?

      • Nobdy

        Heroin and fentanyl are probably better choices, and are decimating some of these populations already.

        Of course the actual answer is that we need to figure out a way to unbrainwash some percentage of them. There was a movie recently called “The Brainwashing of my Dad” that explains how these people got demented in the first place. *SPOILERS* in the end the filmmaker finds a way to change her dad’s media diet and he comes around politically.

        If Mark Zuckerberg actually cared about humanity he could solve a lot of this by improving Facebook and its news algorithm. He would make a little less money though (for example he might have to employ expensive humans to root out fake news) so he ain’t gonna do it.

        • I saw the trailer, but never saw the movie. Worth watching?

          the filmmaker finds a way to change her dad’s media diet

          How did she do it? And is her solution scalable? Maybe I should watch it. :)

          • msmarjoribanks

            I had the same thought. My sister is going after my dad lately for getting all his news from FOX (24/7, ugh) and worse sources, and it seems to be leading only to major family strife. (My response has been “don’t engage and remember he lives in Washington state so it doesn’t matter” but she–more admirably–insists he is better than this and that she can fix him.)

            Anyway, had missed the existence of that and am interested.

        • gmack

          Just a couple of reminders:

          Most of the people who voted for Trump are not addicted to opiates; as has been noted many times, Trump voters are generally much wealthier than the rest of the population.

          The people who are addicted to opiates are in fact people (for the record, one of them is my sister), and they do not deserve the mockery/scorn that they often receive.

          There is also no reason to think that the goal should be to “unbrainwash” some percentage of Trump voters. The “brainwashed” ones are his hardcore support, but they do not make up a particularly large part of the electorate (most Republicans voted for someone other than Trump during the primary). The largest share of Trump voters were ordinary Republicans, many of whom did not like him much but who supported him out of some combination of partisan loyalty and hope that he would advance their ideological agenda. There is also a smaller portion of soft Trump voters in the rust belt states who voted for him because they wanted a “change,” or some such. If the Trump presidency turns out as bad as most of us think it will be, there will be little need to convince them to vote against him and his party.

          • ΧΤΠΔ

            One of the Balloon Juice regulars, Kay, actually lives in Ohio’s Trump country; her observations are that voting patterns seem to bolster the Marcotte hypothesis — a large portion of Trumpists voted for him because they thought they were well-off enough to indulge their racism — and regretted it pretty much immediately.

      • Call Heisenberg! We’re gonna need a bigger blue bin!

    • rm

      Yeah, there are a lot of people, like my mother-in-law and a lot of my neighbors, whose response to everything so far is “hell, yeah.”

      • Brad Nailer

        “Hell, yeah! He’s doing what he said he would do during the campaign.”

        I’ve seen that twenty times in the last two weeks.

      • I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: we’re fighting literally every villain in our nation’s history right now: aristocracy, slave power, the KKK, the Nazis, the Russians. And half the country — including members of my own family — is cheering for the bad guys.

    • D.N. Nation

      Send Baby Boomers to the glue factory and make Appalachia/Midwestern White Worship punishable by execution.

      • so-in-so

        Some of us are boomers, and we are’t the ones in the position to be deciding who goes to the ovens.

        I sometimes share the sentiment, but really becoming them in this way isn’t a good plan.

    • sergiol652

      62.5 million

  • DamnYankees

    When I read stuff like this, I have a variety of thoughts:

    First, it’s just flatly terrifying. When you read stuff like this article, it just hits home that there are no sane people in the room. It’s not like Trump is saying crazy shit while experienced diplomats are standing around who know how insane it is and will try to clean up the damage or say “actually Mr. President, the situation is X.” It’s just Trump, Flynn, Bannon and Spicer. That’s it. Everyone around the table is batshit crazy. There’s no safety net. As scared as people are right now, I don’t think they are remotely scared enough.

    Secondly – does anyone care? Like, genuinely, does anyone care? Is the position of the average voter – or at least if not the average, then the percentile of voter it takes to make this unacceptable – that this is ok? Or is just that people don’t pay attention to this stuff and so no one knows about it?

    Thirdly – this administration is turning out to be the literal worst case scenario. I’m not kidding when I think I might pick literally any Republican in Congress over him as President. Any one at all. Like, between him and Louie Gohmert it might be close. But Trump is providing the literal worst possible combination of attributes. People thought before the election that it might be possible that Trump’s vanity and ignorance and relative heterodoxy made it possible he might be somewhat moderate in office and just let the normal government run. It’s turning out to be literally the opposite. On the stuff where Trump doesn’t care, he’s outsourcing the government to the absolute worst portions of the GOP, like on the Supreme Court pick, the Justice Department, the EPA, etc. No Republican could possibly make worst picks than this. But beyond that, in places where he does care, his ego is destroying everything – he is letting neo-Nazis run the government while he insults our allies.

    This is a genuine worst case scenario situation. And what’s the most pushback we’ve seen from the institutional GOP? 2 GOP Senators have said they won’t vote for a Secretary of Education. That’s it.

    I try not to be hyporbolic. I try not to freak out too much. But I just have a constant pit in my stomach that this government is being destroyed from the inside. And no one seems to care. I can’t live like this for the next 4 years. How the hell can this continue?

    • Hob

      When you read stuff like this article, it just hits home that there are no sane people in the room.

      I don’t know, it’s somewhat encouraging to me that someone in the room was sane enough to go telling tales to a reporter. If everyone in the administration was cool with this, I don’t think we’d be seeing these stories.

      • DamnYankees

        I don’t know, it’s somewhat encouraging to me that someone in the room was sane enough to go telling tales to a reporter. If everyone in the administration was cool with this, I don’t think we’d be seeing these stories.

        True. I guess I had an implied “with the ability to make decisions or advise the President” after the phrase “sane people”.

    • Schadenboner

      People thought before the election that it might be possible that Trump’s vanity and ignorance and relative heterodoxy made it possible he might be somewhat moderate in office and just let the normal government run.

      No one thought this. Some of the Broderite High Priests among the village press might have *said* this, but there’s no goddamn way they good-faith thought this.

      • DamnYankees

        Lots of liberals thought Trump would be better than Cruz or Rubio.

        • Darkrose

          As a candidate, because the idea was that he was so awful he couldn’t possibly win a general election.

          We were so very wrong.

        • liberal

          I thought it was possible as a thin tail, accompanied by a fat tail involving really bad shit.

        • twbb

          I thought this and was profoundly wrong.

      • JKTH

        No there was plenty of “Trump won’t actually do what he says he’ll do” before he took office and not just from Villagers.

      • Arouet

        No, tons of people thought this. I know because they’ve come back to me and admitted I was right.

    • liberal

      Great analysis. Trump’s indeed the worst of both worlds.

    • S. Oelek

      When I read you say, “I think I might pick literally any Republican in Congress over him as President”

      I immediately thought: “Jeez, even Gohmert?”

      And then just a few words later… “Like, between him and Louie Gohmert it might be close”

      Sadly, I’m in total agreement. This ain’t gonna last, I don’t think. The only question is how horrifying will the road be between there and here.

  • DamnYankees

    At this point I’m honestly expecting the major leaders of the Western democracies to get on international TV, all in one room together, and talk into the camera saying something like “Americans – we speak to you as friends and allies – your president is a dangerous, ignorant lunatic who will get us all killed; you need to do something now.”

    Or at least do this and send it to every member of Congress.

    • Abbey Bartlet

      Or they’ll just do what America would do in this situation.

      • JohnT

        Kill people? Rig elections? Sanctions? Support the opposition? America does a lot of things in these situations, many of them not entirely applicable to a country with a demented populace, thousands of nukes and a gargantuan navy and air force.

        • Incontinentia Buttocks

          At this point, the EU rigging our elections would not be anything like the worst possible outcome, sad to say.

          • sonamib

            The EU can hardly agree on anything, imagine them agreeing on a plan as insane as rigging US elections? And this would have to be somehow secretive? I’m guessing there won’t be an EU summit on “Rigging the Next American Elections”.

            Also, some politicians here love Trump. For instance, our very own Belgian Secretary for Immigration (Theo Francken), who is an absolute asshole. He went on a personal vendetta to deny a visa to a specific family from Aleppo, during the siege. He even defied a court order to do that. And lots of politicians in Eastern Europe have adopted even “tougher” stances on immigration.

        • Abbey Bartlet

          Any of those would be preferable to the current situation.

    • sergiol652

      That will make Donald more popular.

  • keta

    The problem is that where you and me and anyone else with a modicum of common sense sees a broken, demented narcissist in the oval office, an alarmingly large faction of the US electorate sees a saviour that is finally going to restore America to her former glory.

    There are many, many people in the United States who are proud of their ignorance. There are many, many people in the US who are beaming to hear Trump talks smack to other world leaders. There are many, many Americans that care not a whit about diplomacy, or global economics, or the health of the environment, or even the laws and institutions that allow them to live in a society more or less ordered and free. What these folks do care about is America! Fuck Yeah!, and Trump gives them that in spades.

    I say this…gently…but Trump is, in many ways, the very apotheosis of the worst traits of Americanism. He’s enthralled by money, and believes it is the only true marker of worthiness. He believes other people, especially women and people of colour, are naturally inferior. He believes he’s always right. He’s transfixed by his own image, mistakes his ignorance for superior intellect, believes might proves righteousness and that America is the rightful ruler of the world. He’s the very epitome of the braying, boasting boorish American the rest of the world has seen visit. Trump is, in many, many ways as American as an apple pie served by your mom during a baseball game.

    Trump is the Ugly American. And far, far too many Americans embody all or most of the characteristics that form this ghastly contingent, these uber-nationalists who think of themselves as America the Beautiful.

    So, “is having a president with the knowledge and temperament of a petulant second grader a problem?” Not to his cohorts, it’s not. Sadly, it’s a badge of fucking honour.

    • DamnYankees

      The problem is that where you and me and anyone else with a modicum of common sense sees a broken, demented narcissist in the oval office, an alarmingly large faction of the US electorate sees a saviour that is finally going to restore America to her former glory.

      This is why leadership is important. Part of the reason they see Trump this way is that no one they trust told them otherwise. Which is important. People don’t pay attention to politics. It’s not their job. For most people, we take signals from those we trust. I think a lot of people have an intuition – if not fully conscious – that goes something like “if this guy was actually dangerous, people would be saying something”. But other than a few mushy mouthed statements from Romney, the GOP leadership fucking lined up. And they knew. They fucking knew who this man was. Utter goddam cowards.

      And this isn’t just for conservatives. Plenty of liberals and moderates saw the utter, utter barrage of negative Hillary stories and “EMAILS!” crap and couldn’t differentiate sufficiently between the options. Which is batshit insane.

      • keta

        I disagree. Even given the wretched apathy of the average American voter the dullards had ample opportunity to witness Trump, with their own eyes and ears, and take in his uncouth, con-man fulsomeness on the campaign trail. They liked his dumbfuckery. He fired them up. And the more others warned them off, the more attractive Trump became.

        The other big factor was, I believe, that only one of the presidential candidates sported a dick.

        As for “utter goddamned cowards” today, I wholeheartedly agree with you elsewhere on this thread that the GOP is currently populated by the most opportunistic poltroons ever to sit in elected office. It’s beyond fucking disgraceful.

        • DamnYankees

          I’m not saying America didn’t notice him or see how uncouth he was. I’m saying people did not seriously equate his flaws with danger or genuine instability; they thought he was an asshole, but a competent asshole who could accomplish stuff. That’s staggering.

          • Incontinentia Buttocks

            This to me is fascinating. Because most fascist movements succeed as fascism, that is they denounce democracy itself quite openly. But this is one thing that Trump didn’t — and doesn’t — do. His followers and surprisingly many self-described centrists, seem to think that those of us who see him as deeply antidemocratic, a fascist, or a threat to the continuing existence of the US are just hysterical losers. And, to be fair, we’ve been treated to two decades of crying wolf on these matters. The right treated Bill Clinton and Barack Obama as existential threats. And far too many people on the left called W a fascist, which he really wasn’t (despite being a historically terrible president and a reactionary). At any rate, I think it’s a fringe even among Trump followers who are knowingly and actively hostile to our system of government as such. And I guess the good news is that there is probably a tranch of Trump supporters who would flip if they came to realize that he was.

          • Chetsky

            100% unadulterated b.s. Not a one of those homeland salt-of-the-heart (dropped-on-their-heads) Real Murkins would have left their children (neither sons nor daughters) with Cheeto Bandito for -one- minute. Ditto their adult wimminfolk.

            They know he’s a danger. They just think “oh, a danger to people we hate and hold in contempt; win-win!”

          • Gabriel Ratchet

            Unfortunately, a nontrivial part of the electorate thought, and probably still thinks, of Trump as their Tony Stark: a brash egomaniac with enough fuck-you money to ignore social niceties and do things his own way. Sure he might make a pass at your wife or daughter, insult people to their face, and break a few things on the way, but he’ll still get shit done.

            Too bad for them it’s not gonna be the shit that actually needs to get done.

            • Ahuitzotl

              Tony Stark as Trashcan Man, not Iron Man

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      you say all that as if you think you’re *surprising* us or something

      • keta

        No, certainly not that. But absolutely damning of a lot of American culture, and I wanted to make sure I wasn’t pissing indiscriminately.

    • Nobdy

      Their pride in ignorance rests on comfort. They may hyuck and hurghaderg with pleasure as Trump sends America’s relationship with Australia counterclockwise down the drain, but they will howl when gasoline is $4 a gallon again, or when they see more American soldiers die in a series of botched military expeditions (already starting to happen.) And they will like it even less when the layoffs start hitting and Paul Ryan blocks unemployment relief.

      This is a pattern that Amanda Marcotte and others have pointed out. The rednecks will vote Democrat, even for a black one, when things are bad because they implicitly know that the Democrats are adults and will clean up the mess, but when things are going decently well they can’t wait to indulge themselves by breaking shit with a ‘Publican.

      The problem is that this time the one they selected may break shit so badly that not even Kristin Gillibrand or Corey Booker or whoever the designated maid is will be able to fix it, if Steve Bannon and his brownshirts even let them take power.

      • efgoldman

        or when they see more American soldiers die in a series of botched military expeditions (already starting to happen.) And they will like it even less when the layoffs start hitting and Paul Ryan blocks unemployment relief

        This.
        For the most part, it isn’t the kids of liberal Dems who are the grunts in the Army or Marines. And if he and his boss, Bannonazi, decide they’re going to war in Iran, it will make W’s desert adventure seem like a game.
        Also, my understanding is several Army brigades are well under strength.

        • Nobdy

          Trump has talked about going back to Iraq to “get the oil.”

          This guy isn’t even qualified to be a caller on a local right wing talk radio show.

          He damned sure isn’t articulate enough.

          • humanoid.panda

            A lot of people presume that Trump is going to use war to boost his popularity. I strongly doubt that would work for him, unless the war is preceded by 9/11 event. War weariness is real, as well as the people who voted for him because Hawkish Hillary.

    • RedState spins it for the rubes:

      If that excerpt of the call is accurate, it shows that Trump continues to handle foreign policy quite differently than his predecessor. A good relationship with Mexico is necessary, given all of the issues on which the two countries cooperate. But for too long the Mexican government has been okay with unnecessarily allowing their people to live in squalor. Their nation is rich in natural resources and has a prime geographic location. It should be an economic powerhouse, not an exporter of labor.

      One big key to stopping the illegal immigration problem is to incentivize the Mexican government to build its economy. If it takes Donald Trump having tough-guy calls with their president, that might not be such a bad thing.

      • Nobdy

        How come the IMF and Worldbank never include “Have an orange-hued buffoon threaten to violate your sovereignty” in their economic improvement plans for troubled countries.

        Also looking at Mexico’s economic issues as a function of its government “allowing” its population to “live in squalor” without talking about how U.S. policy has affected things is…very Red State.

        • Incontinentia Buttocks

          How come the IMF and Worldbank never include “Have an orange-hued buffoon threaten to violate your sovereignty” in their economic improvement plans for troubled countries.

          Trumpland answer: Because the IMF and World Bank are not smart people. They don’t understand the economy or how to negotiate. Unlike Trump, the only man in America who does!

        • Mayur

          And painfully ironic, given how much immiseration the average Redstater desires to inflict on children, the elderly, and other vulnerable populations instead of letting Democrats use the nstion’s power and resources to provide those populations with a safety net barely comparable to that of the average OECD nation.

      • Schadenboner

        I am loathe to praise Red State of all places, but what is “wrong” here, exactly?

        But for too long the Mexican government has been okay with unnecessarily allowing their people to live in squalor. Their nation is rich in natural resources and has a prime geographic location. It should be an economic powerhouse, not an exporter of labor.

        They’ve omitted the fact that drugs and violence (and the money criminalization provides to narcotraficantes* as a de facto U.S. subsidy for them) is a distortion especially along the border, but this is an omission, not a counter-argument. Mexico is a poorly governed resource-trap country and the export of their proletarians acts as a social pressure-release valve (and the money sent back by those exported laborers as a subsidy) to avoid having to actually improve anything in terms of governance or civil society.

        *: I’ll be wholly honest, one of the main reasons I wrote this post was so I could say the word “narcotraficante” when I read through my post before submitting. It’s a seriously fun word to say, try it. I also like italics.

        E: changed arrangement of first sentence to correct weird [blockquote] nesting.

        • bw

          Mexico has its problems, but not markedly worse ones than any of its smaller neighbors. It’s not like the whole country is Tijuana. Things are actually getting quite a bit better there since they started diversifying their economy away from the oil sector.

          Immigration and remittances will still be a factor even when Mexican GDP rises by, say, 50%. They live next to an economic 800-pound gorilla, and there’s opportunity in feeding that gorilla.

          The RS analysis is just dumb. “Their nation is rich in natural resources”? Since fucking when do countries that go all-in on exploiting those actually become stable, democratic economic powerhouses rather than backward petrostates or sub-Saharan disasters? Mexico can’t be the UAE or Norway. It has 20x as many people to spread that wealth to.

        • Sebastian_h

          As of last year Mexico was in the top 15 economies in the world and was ahead of Russia…

          • so-in-so

            As of last year Mexico was in the top 15 economies in the world and was ahead of Russia…

            Isn’t this a big part of the problem? You can be a top-ranked economy, yet most of the money funnels to a tiny subset of the population. Addressing THAT would bring more sanity.

            • JKTH

              Red State doesn’t have a problem with that being the case here.

          • mds

            Well, to be fair, I’m sure RedState supports Trump’s tougher line with Russia, too. Oh, wait.

        • Hob

          Besides what bw said, the main thing that’s wrong with the Red State article isn’t just that they said the thing you quoted, but that they pretended this was somehow Trump’s point. As if his weird outburst about “bad hombres” was really an analysis of how working people are poorly served by Mexican politics. That’s a hilarious stretch, and it’s implausible that even a Red State writer actually believes it (or gives any more of a shit about the Mexican people than Trump does, other than as a rhetorical prop).

        • humanoid.panda

          This RS spin ignores a quite large elephant in the room: Trump came to power on an explicit promise to make Mexico poorer.

        • CP

          I am loathe to praise Red State of all places, but what is “wrong” here, exactly?

          The fact that they’re trying to pretend that Trump’s phone call was a tough-love message that was part of a Cunning Plan to turn Mexico into an economic powerhouse. As opposed to pointless bluster done so that the bigots who voted for him could revel in watching him put the chief wetback in his place.

          This is what they did with Sarah Palin for years, too: pretend that every incoherent blathering that came out of her mouth was really a pearl of wisdom that had been unjustly twisted to seem stupid by the Biased Liberal Media. When listening to her for just a few seconds confirmed that no, she really was just shit-stupid.

    • UncleEbeneezer

      I say this…gently…but Trump is, in many ways, the very apotheosis of the worst traits of Americanism. He’s enthralled by money, and believes it is the only true marker of worthiness. He believes other people, especially women and people of colour, are naturally inferior. He believes he’s always right. He’s transfixed by his own image, mistakes his ignorance for superior intellect, believes might proves righteousness and that America is the rightful ruler of the world. He’s the very epitome of the braying, boasting boorish American the rest of the world has seen visit. Trump is, in many, many ways as American as an apple pie served by your mom during a baseball game.

      Trump is the Ugly American. And far, far too many Americans embody all or most of the characteristics that form this ghastly contingent, these uber-nationalists who think of themselves as America the Beautiful.

      I was thinking this the other day. Trump is not your typical GOP politician, he’s the typical GOP voter. You’re right that it can be extended even to American’s as a whole, but his denial of facts, living in a bubble, posturing, anger, racism, resentment etc., are all typical of way too many people we all know and work with. He is that uncle who sends you racist anti-Obama emails because he thinks they are funny and says “Feminazi” without irony. Ugh…

      • Trump is not your typical GOP politician, he’s the typical GOP voter.

        Is there any evidence that Trump has ever, in fact, voted? It doesn’t seem like the sort of thing he’d be able, ready, or willing to do.

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          remember the photos of him looking over at Melania as they prepared to vote on election day? Cows on ice look more comfortable with what they’re doing

  • DamnYankees

    The people I still blame for this, maybe more than anyone else, is GOP leadership. Trump’s psychotic narcisissim and utter sociopathy were completely evident from day 1. It remains completely unconscionable that people like Bush, Romney, McCain – and yes, Ryan – didn’t come out and say “this man is dangerous, you need to vote for Clinton.”

    The mushy mouth crap that people like Romney did, while better than most, was still staggeringly insufficient and an act of utter cowardice.

    • Nobdy

      It didn’t even have to be “vote for Clinton.” They could have lined up behind Evan McMullin clearly and loudly and that would have been enough. Instead they did the most cowardly thing possible and put their stupid little jobs ahead of not just America but the world. Not one of them has the bravery of Sally Yates. Not one.

      And some of them in the senate weren’t even up for election (or like Romney weren’t actively in politics.) The whole Republican party has been hollowed out with rot by its extremely successful but ultimately nihilistic “win at all costs, winning is all that matters” philosophy.

      By the way, it’s seeming more and more likely to me that Evan McMullin was a CIA plant intended as a counter-op against Putin. McMullin worked in the CIA, nobody ever heard of him before the election (which makes him a fairly crazy choice as a presidential candidate since he has no record whatsoever) and the CIA plainly hates Trump (as well they should.) I guess it isn’t important whether he is or isn’t, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about as I think about the ways this catastrophe could have been averted.

      • DamnYankees

        he whole Republican party has been hollowed out with rot by its extremely successful but ultimately nihilistic “win at all costs, winning is all that matters” philosophy.

        Nihilism is one word for it. Another is that this entire party has just been swallowed by their hatred. They hate liberals and democrats so much that their opposition is what defines them. More than any positive vision for America, what defines them is that they oppose liberals. That’s what made it impossible for anyone to break ranks no matter how dangerous, and it is also why trump won the primary – if the party is just defined by who can be the best opposite of a liberal, then trump – by being just an open ass and completely ignorant of everything – proved his bona rides; liberals hated him the most, which made him the best.

        • joel hanes

          they hate liberals

          This.

          In short, it’s Cleek’s Law all the way down.

          • Brad Nailer

            You read it every day: “Liberalism is at the root of all of society’s evils.” The fact that liberalism has taken western society from feudalism and the divine right of kings to democracy and the inalienable rights of the individual doesn’t seem to register with these people.

            Liberals have screwed the pooch on numerous occasions. That doesn’t mean the whole philosophy is wrong.

            • so-in-so

              has taken western society from feudalism and the divine right of kings to democracy

              You assume they don’t prefer these things, as long as they get to be near the top of the heap.

              • BigHank53

                They won’t even mind being further down in the heap, as long as the blacks and women are below them. Feudalism is so easy–you know exactly which asses to kiss and who you can kick, and as long as they get a steady supply of kickees, the kissing is something they can accept.

        • Snarki, child of Loki

          So, spiteful GOPers, how is the ongoing nose-ectomy going?

          • Hogan

            Sources close to the face say that the spiting is well under way.

    • Darkrose

      I used to think that Romney was, if nothing else, not a complete idiot. However, the way he groveled to trmp, only to have the shitgibbon publicly humiliate him, was incredibly stupid. Did he honestly think trmp was going to forget Romney dissing him during the campaign, forgive him and then reward him by making him Secretary of State? Romney might have actually been able to position himself as the principled GOP alternative, but he blew it by crawling for him in exchange for nothing.

      • Nobdy

        Part of me thinks he knew it probably wouldn’t happen but thought that if he could convince Trump he could do some good for the country by keeping the state department from becoming a total shambles.

        The actual truth is probably that he is so pathetically desperate for power that he saw Secretary of State as a way to have some glory even if he couldn’t be president. Sort of like both John Kerry and Hillary Clinton taking the Secretary of State gig after losing presidential bids. Of course Kerry and Clinton only had to cozy up to Obama, so they didn’t have to sell out their honor and dignity to accept the consolation prize.

        • DamnYankees

          Did Hillary cozy up to Obama? I thought he called her, recognizing she’d be a good fit.

          • Nobdy

            One presumes that when they were negotiating the job she had to at least say reasonably nice things to him. I don’t think she necessarily had to suck up like a Trump appointee, but I’m sure they had to make sure they would have a comfortable working relationship.

            Which I’m sure isn’t very hard with Obama, who is a warm, charismatic, guy.

      • corporatecake

        I don’t like to defend Mitt Romney, but it’s been observed that one of the reasons malignant narcissists are so hard to deal with is because the people around them expect them to behave like normal people and they don’t. Romney probably expected Trump to behave like a normal person trying to bridge some divides for the good of the country.

        “This person is not normal and never will be normal” can take a very long time to learn.

        • Darkrose

          Nothing about Trump’s history indicates that he’s the kind of person who forgets a slight, and Romney said some harsh things about him during the campaign.

        • DamnYankees

          Donald Trump is one of the most famous and well documented people of the last 40 years. Who he is is not a secret, something that needs to be quickly learned. Anyone who expected anything other than this is an idiot.

          • Abso-fuggin-lutely. Been watching a lot of Law & Order (all three series) repeats lately (as if one could escape from them) & there are many references to Trump, even in the ’90s episodes. None of them complimentary, either.

            I think my active dislike of Trump began as a result of Darrell Hammond mocking Trump on S.N.L. sometime in the ’90s.

            • Gabriel Ratchet

              For me it was SPY magazine: he’ll always be the short-fingered vulgarian to me.

              • Woodrowfan

                Doonesbury has made fun of him for years…

            • Caepan

              Trump was dead to me from the time he ruined the USFL in the mid-1980s.

              Dammit, we could have had year ’round pro football! But no – Trump thought he was so smart that only he could make a deal with guys who were even more greedy, reactionary and vindictive than him – NFL owners.

              • Ahuitzotl

                On the upside, Trump wont have forgotten or forgiven the NFL owners, they’re on the list & will get theirs … if he doesnt run out of time

          • Brad Nailer

            David Cay Johnston published a fucking book about him in 2016, fer crissakes. I’m sure a lot of journalists are reading it now, rather than a year ago when it might have made a difference.

  • encephalopath

    The Clinton campaign strategy presumed an innate decency and a capacity for shame that turned out not to be present in an unexpectedly large portion of the electorate.

    White folk in this country are far more spiteful than anyone imagined. Trump isn’t going to do anything useful for anyone other than to stuff his own pockets, and his supporters don’t care particularly if the stuff Trump does hurts them as long as “those people” over there get the boot.

    • Nobdy

      White folk in this country are far more spiteful than anyone imagined.

      Careful with that word. A lot of African Americans predicted Trump would win because they knew that white people were shameless and short-sighted.

      • encephalopath

        I concede the point, though it’s interesting that the polling couldn’t suss this out and show it somehow.

        • Nobdy

          I’m talking more about pundits and writers I read at the time than a general tendency among the population.

        • sonamib

          When will this meme that “POLLS FAILED!!1!!!” die? They missed the correct national vote margin by only 2 points, which is in line with historical polling accuracy. Polls did pick up that Pennsylvania was a swing state, despite PA liberals deluding themselves thinking they were not. And there were lots of undecided voters late in the race, which increases uncertainty. It just so happens that the election was very close and the Electoral College gives disproportionate power to rural whites. If you took all of that into account, as 538 did, you ended up with a non-insignificant probability for a Trump win. 30%. That’s like playing Russian roulette with 2 bullets in the barrel. Would you be confident enough to play it, even just the once?

          What failed in this election was conventional wisdom, which held that Clinton had a “blue wall” and thus an advantage in the EC.

          • humanoid.panda

            You are exaggerating things quite a bit here. There was not a single poll of either Wisconsin or Michigan that had Trump on Top. In Ohio, he had 2-4% polling advantage in the polls, but won by 10%. PA, ironically was smaller miss.

            The overall picture is basically that people who were polling the Midwest missed a significant turnout shift – and that’s a polling failure.

            • liberal

              He lost VA and MN, but I’m pretty sure he overperformed vs what the polls were predicting in those states, too.

              • ΧΤΠΔ

                He does seem to have overperformed in Minnesota; I’ve seen polls that’ve indicated it only went blue because of McMullin’s candidacy.

                “Why Your Team Sucks 2017” is going to be hilarious.

              • Woodrowfan

                she carried VA because the dems in the northern part of the state turned out to vote. In Arlington, for example, Clinton beat Trump by 92,000 to 20,000. Obama beat Romney here in 2012 by 81,000 to 34,000.

              • JKTH

                I think VA was pretty close to what the polls said. Minnesota, though, ended up being very close without any indication of that in the polls.

    • CrunchyFrog

      In the final days before the election many wingnuts I know were blaming Clinton for all of the ads showing Trump saying all of those nasty things. They have the ability to rationalize *anything* – literally – in order to justify a vote for the Republican.

      I do suppose the focus groups said that those ads were the ones with the most emotional impact. And I believe that. But what the Democratic election consultants (whose track record these days is horrible) completely missed is that so many voters used those emotions of disgust and turned them against Clinton – “How DARE you put all of those awful quotes on TV while my family is watching a football game!”

      I don’t know that another strategy would have switched enough voters to make a difference. I’m skeptical that TV ads by themselves change much, especially in the last weeks. But the go-negative-based-mostly-on-women’s-and-children’s-issues strategy failed with Udall vs. Gardner and failed with Clinton vs. Trump. They might want to find another strategy.

      • humanoid.panda

        I do suppose the focus groups said that those ads were the ones with the most emotional impact. And I believe that. But what the Democratic election consultants (whose track record these days is horrible) completely missed is that so many voters used those emotions of disgust and turned them against Clinton – “How DARE you put all of those awful quotes on TV while my family is watching a football game!”

        Let’s just keep in mind that the same set of strategists were considered invincible geniuses as far back as 2012, when their go negative all the time on Romney seemed to have work. Most likely, their work didn’t have much to do with outcome either time..

        • humanoid.panda

          And FWIW, Hillary did do better than Obama with the suburban crowd to whom those ads were intended. Where she went wrong, in my opinion, is to fail to supplement them with more “Trump is a thief and scammer” content for more downwardly mobile people.

    • Rob in CT

      Yes to this (with the fair caveat that some people did see it coming). I actually thought that there was just enough decency in the electorate to hang on. I was disgusted that it was even close, as in a truly decent nation he’d have gotten curb-stomped. But still, I thought surely they can see…

      They did see, and they liked what they saw.

  • Nick never Nick

    People make a lot of comparisons to other late-stage empires, and I don’t know if those are valid or not. Personally, I think that the moral mistakes of the last 70 years, and the way that the country has framed and assimilated those, have led to Trump. We haven’t come to terms with what we did in country after country — we so much haven’t come to terms with that that our elections are framed as ‘what should we do to solve the problem’ of various issues abroad; to suggest that maybe we can’t solve the problem, or that we should stand by and provide simple help and no bombs, isn’t a popular topic for discussion.

    Think about the Iraq war — it is constantly described as a ‘mistake’, by Democrats (and ignored by Republicans, excluding Trump), and not a ghastly moral crime. I have a friend from the Middle East (up here in Canada) — originally he didn’t care much about the difference between Trump and Clinton; his reason was that if your primary issue is not bombing Arabs, American politics don’t offer you much choice. Now I think he’s more pessimistic . . .

    After decades of this, is it any wonder that American voters are confused enough in a basic moral sense to elect Trump? They haven’t been taught that the government should do things for them; their understanding of it is that it is for kicking ass abroad. Clinton is guilty of this too, with her “We came, he died,” crack. Obama is as well, with his constant drone warfare against helpless populations in failed states.

    One effect of all the war has been the militarization of our cops; is it any wonder that it also coarsens our voters?

    • Linnaeus

      Americans also don’t have a deep collective experience of war, in large part because the population, outside of those who have fought in America’s wars, hasn’t suffered many direct effects of war. The US also hasn’t had an utter defeat in war, one that seriously eroded its status as a great power. In that light, it’s easier to ignore or neglect the history that you allude to.

      • efgoldman

        The US also hasn’t had an utter defeat in war,

        I wouldn’t call Vietnam a win. It’s true that since the War of Treason in Defense of Slavery there hasn’t been a war and concomitant destruction on US soil.

        • Nobdy

          Looks like the only thing that will save us is a repeat of the war of 1812.

          Canada, lace up your skates and get that order of poutine to go. You’re needed down south.

          • Snarki, child of Loki

            “Canada, lace up your skates and get that order of poutine to go. You’re needed down south.”

            Canadians are far more patient and deliberate in their planning.

            The invasion of the NE USA by Tim Horton’s continues apace.

            • BigHank53

              I have to admit this perplexes me. New England is already cluttered with Dunkin’ Donuts; what earthly use do they have for another dispenser of second-rate coffee and donuts?

              • Scott Lemieux

                Tim Horton’s >>>>>>>>>> Dunkin’ Donuts.

                • Linnaeus

                  Agreed.

        • Linnaeus

          No, Vietnam wasn’t a win for the US, but I wouldn’t call it a crushing defeat, either. If you buy Tom Englehart’s “end of victory culture” argument, you could say that it was significant in that Vietnam was a blow to US triumphalism that informed a lot of Americans’ views of the world. I think that there’s something to that, but at the same time, Vietnam didn’t fundamentally change the place of the US in the global order.

          • so-in-so

            Probably Korea as well.

            Really, we have failed a lot more post-war than we have accomplished our objectives.

            We sure did whip Grenada though…

      • LeeEsq

        The Americans are belligerent because they lack a deep collective experience of war never made sense to me as an analysis. The other British derived countries experienced war more like Americans than Europeans but are less belligerent and they were proudly part of one of the biggest empires of mankind. There are places outside of Europe that experience war on their soil but still have big parts of the population that seem more like war happy Americans than peaceful Europeans. Britain and France were also involved in many military conflicts after World War II with France nearly ripping itself apart over Algeria.

        • CP

          I agree. I don’t believe the “lack of war experience makes them more belligerent” idea anyway.

          If anything, it’s the opposite. Being constantly exposed to wars forces people to place an inordinate amount of power into the hands of the military, thus an increased military role for society and tendency to turn to the man on the white horse… etc. Seems at least as likely that the Anglo-Saxon world’s relative sheltering from that experience is what made it possible for them to have a less militarized and more democratic society.

          • tsam

            cf; John McCain. POW, neck deep in the worst experience of war. Still has never met a potential war he wasn’t out in front of getting it rolling.

            • CP

              Or just generally the non-trivial number of veterans who vote Republican, have never seen a war they wouldn’t defend, and hate liberals because they’re all pinko peaceniks.

        • Linnaeus

          The Americans are belligerent because they lack a deep collective experience of war never made sense to me as an analysis.

          I’m not saying that this is the cause, and it’s certainly arguable as to how much of a factor it is. I could be off-base here. Maybe it’s not a factor at all.

          I’m reminded, though, of the explicit comparisons to Vietnam after Gulf War I and the declarations from some corners that the US had “kicked” the “Vietnam syndrome”. The notion that the repercussions of America’s failure in Vietnam constituted some kind of disorder that had to be cured suggested a desire, perhaps, to return to the “victory culture” of the pre-Vietnam years and to achieve this through victory in war, in this case, a short one that didn’t require much from the population at large.

          James Fallows makes a point worth considering here:

          Too much complacency regarding our military, and too weak a tragic imagination about the consequences if the next engagement goes wrong, have been part of Americans’ willingness to wade into conflict after conflict, blithely assuming we would win. “Did we have the sense that America cared how we were doing? We did not,” Seth Moulton told me about his experience as a marine during the Iraq War. Moulton became a Marine Corps officer after graduating from Harvard in 2001, believing (as he told me) that when many classmates were heading to Wall Street it was useful to set an example of public service. He opposed the decision to invade Iraq but ended up serving four tours there out of a sense of duty to his comrades. “America was very disconnected. We were proud to serve, but we knew it was a little group of people doing the country’s work.”

          Yes, it’s true that there are other nations whose experiences with war are closer to those of the United States. Those nations don’t have, or at least have not developed, the military capabilities that the US has, nor do they seem to have the messianic vision of their role in the world that the US has had, particularly since the 20th century.

    • Darkrose

      After decades of this, is it any wonder that American voters are confused enough in a basic moral sense to elect Trump?

      The problem with your argument is that a majority of American voters–and specifically, a majority of American voters who aren’t white–did not elect Trump. So then the question becomes, why did 94% of black women and 88% of black men get it, but white people don’t?

      Hmm…I wonder…

      • BobBobNewhartNewhartSpecial

        why did 94% of black women and 88% of black men get it

        Because the AA vote always goes to the Dem in high numbers.

      • LeeEsq

        Because voting for most people including people of color is tribal and the African-American tribe is the Democratic Party. Before FDR, those that could vote gave a similar percentage of their vote to the Republican Party. Based on post-campaing interviews that I’ve read, the average African-American voter might not have liked Trump but they didn’t see him as any more of a historic threat than any other politician.

        • benjoya

          also, if there’s one thing the GOP is united on, it’s preventing black people from voting.

        • TopsyJane

          Based on post-campaing interviews that I’ve read, the average African-American voter might not have liked Trump but they didn’t see him as any more of a historic threat than any other politician.

          Oops.

      • Why African-Americans consistently vote for the candidates who are against oppression is indeed a puzzle to some.

        • Ithaqua

          Yes, a remarkable coincidence that.

    • LeeEsq

      This vastly overstates how much of a leftist interpretation of European history that the average European believes in. The might on a whole be slightly more to the left than the average American but most of them still perceive the history of their country through a patriotic lens including some glorification of the bad parts.

    • CP

      Personally, I think that the moral mistakes of the last 70 years, and the way that the country has framed and assimilated those, have led to Trump.

      I think the uncomfortable feeling of being forced to reckon with the moral mistakes of the country has been fueling the backlash for half a century, yes.

      My general theory is that the sixties and seventies were the time when events put every ugly aspect of American life – racial segregation and not just in the South, American war crimes overseas, the government repeatedly lying to us about Vietnam, the FBI behaving as a rogue agency deliberately attacking American civil society – front and center, so much that it was exploding everyone’s idealized visions of flag and apple pie.

      And instead of working through the problems so that the country would be closer to its imagined self-image, a ton of people simply reacted by being angry that the fantasy had been destroyed and blaming the people who’d made them aware of the facts. Along comes Reagan and tells everyone that it’s okay, the fantasy was totally real, it’s just that the mean liberal media is lying to you about everything… And that meme’s been powering our politics ever since.

  • JohnT

    It is certainly a weird foreign policy that’s emerging. The only other comparator is that of ISIS. ‘Lemme see, the Aussies are still on side – how can I piss them off?’.

    I think the current Trump allies list is

    the UK (who have to do what they’re told ‘cos Brexit).
    South Korea (but give it time)
    Taiwan
    Russia. Maybe. If the GOP let him

    New enemies list

    China (not smart, Trump)
    Germany (why??)
    Mexico (why???)
    Australia (oh please god, why????)

    Going on the Enemies list as soon as Trump gets round to it, because they either run a trade surplus with the US or otherwise offend him:

    Japan
    France
    Canada
    India (once he pulls the H1B programme)
    etc…

    Seriously, we have a problem. The whole Western international order is in trouble.

    NB. There is a cheat code on many strategy games that makes every computer player declare war on you simultaneously. It’s going to be renamed ‘the Trump option’.

    • alexceres

      You answer your own question. Bannon wants to burn the entire western international order down. He’s a Nazi. Literally. Of course he wants to tear down the world order built by the allies.

      Plus he’s flat out said he wants to burn the establishment himself.

      • Snarki, child of Loki

        “Plus [Bannon] flat out said he wants to burn the establishment himself.”

        Can’t get much more “establishment” than being in the WH.

        Could Bannon please hurry up with the self-immolation? These marshmallows aren’t going to toast themselves, y’know.

    • Asteroid_Strike_Brexit

      There’s still time to form a strategic alliance with ISIS. Trump has no issue with the Islamist despotism in Saudi Arabia, and ISIS fight Iranian troops and militias in Syria and Iraq. ISIS can reach a smart deal with him – perhaps let him build a TRUMP branded torture chamber in exchange for oil?

    • Aussie

      Trump agrees, then backs off. Trump came, he saw, he stiffed. However, the deal Australia brokered with the 1200 refugees was always morally bankrupt. They are in our off-shore prison camps in Nauru and Manus Island but the conservative government doesn’t want to resettle them in Australia because it will just “encourage others to come”. Hence the “one-off” deal. Appalling.

      • Gregor Sansa

        Oh, definitely, no question. But it wasn’t evil from the US side. Yes, Obama was enabling Australian racists, but it’s worth it to let a thousand people out of a hellish limbo.

        I’ve just been reading “The Magic Pudding” to my daughter. For a book of it’s era and style, it’s actually surprisingly non-racist. Even class distinctions, though obvious, are less important than friendship (and gluttony and wrath). And the people who got stuck on a tiny Pacific island are the good guys.

        If you’re not living up to your own early-20th-century kids classics… Meanwhile, over on our side, we’re living down to “The Wizard Of Oz” (or at least, to the “Wicked” series) pretty faithfully.

        • CHD

          Wow. I thought I was the only American to have read that book, close to 50 years ago.

      • Mike G

        the conservative government doesn’t want to resettle them in Australia because it will just “encourage others to come”.

        Now they end up with a chance (admittedly slim now that Kim Jong Orange is in the WH) at being resettled in the US. Not exactly a discouragement.

        • Aussie

          True, I don’t understand it, but that’s what passes as “reason” in debate these days.
          Get this though, in a presser “Spicer appeared to twice mispronounce Turnbull’s name during the press conference, calling him “Mr Trunbull” or “Mr Trumbull”. Just an easy way to haze on the way through. What a dickhead.

  • elm

    The second quote appears to have been a bad reproduction by a staffer of the conversation. Mexico says it never happened that way and other leaks from within the WH say that Trump was offering to send the US military to help Mexico fight their drug lords not that he’d send them without Mexican approval. This is still pretty unhinged but not quite “invade your neighbor” unhinged.

    • Yeah. I’m sure he thought it was a joke. He was emasculating the Mexican military.im sure that part wasn’t a joke and was taken as an insult.

  • Monty

    One must cannot help but respond by asking: if they were alive today, who would throw up first: Hammurabi, Jesus Christ, Abraham Lincoln or Hannah Arendt?

    • Snarki, child of Loki

      If Barbara Tuchmann were alive today, she’d be busy writing a sequel to “The March of Folly”

      • CL Minou

        “The Double-Quicktime Gallop to Folly”

    • Woodrowfan

      Jesus would be redoing his “drive them from the temple with a bullwhip” routine…

  • Gregor Sansa

    Trump is coming so unhinged that he’s losing his ability to even schmooze his potential allies. I hope he does minimum damage to the country, and maximum damage to his party (but I repeat myself), as he flames out.

    • Nick never Nick

      I think that the basic history of Trump’s dealings, with everyone, is that all sides are degraded by contact with Trump. I would expect maximum destruction to both nation and party.

  • nemdam

    Say what you want about Clinton’s strategy, (I think the idea that attacking the most unpopular presidential nominee on his negatives is a failed strategy when it worked for her opponent is incorrect. But YMMV.) but she was 100% right about everything. Everything she said about Trump was not hyperbole, but factual.

    • Hob

      It’s hard for me to even judge it as strategy now, because I think it’s likely that Clinton, just due to the position she was in and the fact of having been in the same room as the guy in more off-camera moments than most of us, got to see how batshit he is in a way that most of us didn’t fully get until recently.

      I mean, it’s one thing to think the guy is a clown with a horrible right-wing movement behind him, and sort of abstractly know that putting him in power would be really bad news. But it’s another thing to see the way he talks when serious business is at hand, and really get that this is one of the most dysfunctional people you’ll ever meet. During the transition period, I saw a lot of comment about how various leaders had come out of their first in-depth meetings with Trump looking kind of stunned, like “Holy fuck, that was worse than I could have imagined.” I think Clinton (and Obama) were probably at that point already a while back.

      And I can’t help but think that that makes it hard to see things in terms of “strategy”. I mean, if I could travel back in time and run the 2016 campaign over, would I really be able to restrain myself from screaming at everyone that Trump is even more dangerous than they think, even if that might be politically counter-productive somehow? I don’t know.

  • rewenzo

    I know this is a small thing, but what I continue to find very bizarre is that Trump is bragging to other foreign leaders, at least some of whom have presumably actually won their elections, about his historical landslide election victory. This being despite the fact that:

    (a) he lost the popular vote by millions

    (b) he won a relatively narrow electoral college victory

    (c) he only won the EC vote because of narrow wins he eked out in several states where he didn’t even win a majority

    (d) he knows people are making fun of him for this stuff

    (e) he’s alleged that his election was riddled with millions of fraudulent votes, and he’s called for an investigation, albeit one structured to only find fraud in blue states

    And contra the official who thinks Trump is doing this to demonstrate to world leaders that he has a mandate, all this does it demonstrate to world leaders that Trump is (a) delusional; (b) lacking in self awareness; and (c) the President of a country with a bizarre method for selecting its head of state.

    And on top of that, he also brags about the audience at his inaugural?!? It’s like Hitler bragging about his mustache and haircut, I don’t get it.

  • ErsatzMossback

    There is a constitutional remedy for removing a demented person from the office. Alas, there is no chance it will be exercised as long as Trump remains useful to Republican efforts to slash upper-class taxes and the welfare state while attacking voting, labor and civil rights and coercing as many women as possible to carry pregnancies to term.

    This is why we obstruct. To make Trump less useful, to increase the cost of using him, and to give time for the drip-drip-drip of Trump’s Republic-destroying insanity to accumulate while progress on the grandma-starving dream is stalled.

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