Home / General / The Trump Administration: It’s as Bad as it Looks

The Trump Administration: It’s as Bad as it Looks

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It will take about six minutes to watch Colin Kahl, former Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor to the Vice President, explain why:

  • Sean Spicer lied in his attempt to shift culpability onto the Obama Administration for the US raid in Yemen that killed an American serviceman and multiple civilians, as well as destroyed an MV-22 Osprey; and
  • The conditions under which Trump authorized that raid—a dinner conversation with his son-in-law, the Defense Secretary, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a few others—was, shall we say, unusual for a major escalation in American military operations.

Those six minutes are worth your while. Having a President who is temperamentally, intellectually, and otherwise completely unqualified for his position entails real costs. Those costs are only magnified when his core advisors are total amateurs mainly interested in power, profit, or pushing extreme ideological agendas.

So far, everything this administration touches turns into a disaster of epic proportions. Its half-baked, selective “Muslim Ban” fails on its own terms—it has no relationship to the goal of reducing the risk of terrorist violence from people entering the country. Independent of that mismatch, the overwhelming scholarly evidence suggests that Trump’s approach to violent jihadism will make us less safe—including by undermining counter-terrorism cooperation with key partners.

Moreover, so little thought was placed into implementing this rushed, crayon-scrawled order that the Pentagon has had to scramble to continue to train Iraqi pilots. The examples of barely controlled chaos are simply too long to chronicle here, but all of this came to a depressing punchline yesterday when the former Norwegian Prime Minister—traveling on a Diplomatic Passport—found himself detained for an hour because of his past travel to Iran.

To make matters worse, in slow-walking compliance with judicial injunctions, the administration appears to be laying solid grounds for future impeachment. It’s also starting to channel Andrew Jackson much faster than I expected.

Moreover, Trump is shredding American leadership and prestige.

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Trump’s petulance and narcissism—along with his lack of intellectual and physical stamina—have created completely unnecessary diplomatic kerfuffles. Such unforced errors are par for the course in new administrations. Skilled officials can easily repair them. But, at some point, Trump is going to get the United States into trouble.

The second thing to note is that the import of the call isn’t just limited to Australia. Generally, presidents follow through on promises made by their predecessors. Without this principle, countries have no way of knowing whether they can make durable bargains with the United States.

Trump is blithely calling this into question. Even if he ends up following through on his end of the bargain, publicly questioning it undermines other countries’ faith in the deals they made with past administrations. Countries that thought they could depend on the United States on issues ranging from security to trade might start thinking about the need to look to other partners — like, say, China.

The Trump Administration is running out of time to get its act together, bring in some professionals, and right its own ship.  Trump and his family remains a walking conflict-of-interest nightmare. It’s taken him two weeks to build up a record that a GOP congress would happily impeach a Democratic President for. Given all this, we’re staring down an abyss of damage to American institutions and international order that will be very difficult to recover from.

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  • I’m so old that I can remember when the Press (and the Republican Party) were just normalizing Bush II’s statement that Social Security IOU’s were just “stuff in a file drawer” with no “full faith and backing of the US” behind them. This is nothing new. The complete repudiation of everything that any democratic administration has ever done is nothing new.

    • CrunchyFrog

      Yes, they got a lot of practice in the Cheney/Rove administration repeating conservative lies. But complete repudiation? No, there were more policies that remained unchanged than changed in the transition from Bush to Clinton. However, the Cheney/Rove administration did create the foundation for everything that Trump is doing now.

      • Brad Nailer

        I always feel like we lucked out with Social Security back during Bush II because President Lamebrain was too stupid to explain how the new program was supposed to work and how it would be better than what we have now.

        If you get a cadre of reasonably articulate spokespersons to dangle a 10 or 12 percent return in front of a lot of people–look how much better that is than the measly 2 percent you’re getting now!–despite the fact that that’s probably a fantasy over the long term, especially for people in their 40s and 50s and especially given who’s actually running the Wall Street casino, we may be in big trouble.

    • Derelict

      As I noted to one of my Trump-supporting friends when he was talking about how great it is that Trump’s kids are so closely involved in policy and decision-making, “Would you be saying that if it was Chelsea Clinton doing the same things in a Clinton White House?”

      Double standard? We’re now at a place where Republicans have no standards to which they are held.

      • Colin Day

        The phrase “Presidential Advisor Jenna Bush” doesn’t make me feel safe.

        • rhino

          The phrase ‘Actual President Jenna Bush’ makes me feel safer than what we have now.

      • CrunchyFrog

        This has been true for 20+ years, but now it’s as obvious as possible. To a GOP Trumper, it’s not hypocritical to attack Obama for EOs and support Trump for far worse EOs, nor is it hypocritical to foam at the mouth about the Clinton Foundation and give Trump’s open graft and corruption a pass. You, see, the situations are different. The GOP Trumper will have trouble explaining it, but if you spend the time talking nicely it comes down to the the key idea that Trump is fighting for GOP causes so that gives him a free pass. (This by the way, is also why they were okay with Gingrich et al’s marital infidelity but not Clinton’s – or why they basically forgive any transgression from one of their own.)

        But what are those GOP causes that are more important than the other principles? Oh you know, the usual slogans – freedom, lower taxes, stronger defense, blah blah blah … by which they really mean “crack down on the non-whites”. Keep the blahs in the ghettos and out of our schools, except the few tokens that make us feel non-racist. Ban all languages not English. Send all the darkies from foreign lands back to the foreign lands – and if you can get rid of the ones we got stuck with after the civil and Indian wars. And get rid of those weirdo whites with their funny accents from Eastern Europe, too (but we like english accents from the Commonweath countries, even if most GOP doesn’t know what “Commonwealth” means in that context).

        And when you unravel all that the upshot is: 1) The GOP has no principles despite what they say, because 2) all principles can be sacrificed as long as white nationalism is being advanced. In short, white nationalism is the *only* really GOP principle.

        • Lamont Cranston

          … even if most GOP doesn’t know what “Commonwealth” means in that context

          I’m pretty sure the median republican pol throws up in his mouth when he hears about “Common Wealth.”

          • Richard Gadsden

            The vast majority of Commonwealth citizens are brown or black, of course.

            • N__B

              The vast majority of republicans would be shocked to find that out.

      • No Longer Middle Aged Man

        People love their kids. Campaign adviser Karenna Gore left me unimpressed. One of Reagan’s better points was his apparent indifference toward his children — two of them clearly wanted to ride the political gravy grift train but were limited to talk radio.

      • twointimeofwar

        “Trump-supporting friends”? You must be very patient. Or very loyal. Or both.

        • Chetsky

          With infinite seas of forgiveness and decency. I sure can’t manage it. Not even for one of my closest and best friends.

          In all seriousness, he’s a far, far, far better man than I or some I know.

  • Yes, well, the Republican congress will not impeach him. So whether he’s building grounds for it is of no consequence.

    • CrunchyFrog

      They can’t because the majority of the GOP base is rallying behind Trump – even a lot of those who voted against him in the primaries. And with right wing media going full pro-Trump any attempt by the GOP to oust him would cause a revolt in the next primary elections. However, should Trump lose the support of the GOP base the GOP establishment will have him impeached or – more likely – ousted by the 25th amendment within 2 weeks.

      I’ve given up thinking that anyone in the GOP except Bannon is playing a long game. I think they are all just going along for the ride and hoping to cash in big time. If he starts nuclear war with China they’ll still support him. If he opens internment camps they’ll still support him. If the stock market crashes they’ll still support him.

      • Karen24

        The interesting thing is going to be when the Money Men get angry. Losing regulations on the financial industry is great for them; trade wars decidedly less so. Also, these are the people who like long vacations in the nicer part of Europe and won’t enjoy being shunned at parties. The Republican base doesn’t have enough cash to replace the loss of Europe and China as a market and are, well, really stupid and uncouth. Republican officeholders need money and they don’t have it, but they do have votes. That is the conflict I want to see.

        Also, don’t believe that Trump is getting more popular. He’s really terrible at his job and that is, daily, becoming more apparent. My Facebook feed no longer has a lot of “Rah rah Trump” stuff. They’ve switched to “Icky protesters” but not even so much of that. Really, the success of the Women’s March and the airport protests has had an effect.

        • CrunchyFrog

          Here’s what I’ve noted in Wingnazitopia: The Trump fans – except his most extreme ones – have shut up. They even go along with basic jokes about him and what he’s done. *Except* if they think you agree they’ll confide in you that they really think the Muslim ban and the anti-environmental EOs and sticking it to China are good ideas, and they figure after a few months Trump will stop making these rookie mistakes so it’ll all turn out well.

          However, on the business side the GOPers I know are very much having the “Christian Scientist with Appendicitis” dilemma. And the more their business involves foreign trade partners the worse it is for them. But do understand that numerically the GOP business leaders are a small segment of their overall voting base – a lot of those people have defected to the Democrats.

          • Karen24

            It will be interesting — in the fake Chinese proverb sense of ‘interesting’ — to see what happens when the rookie mistakes keep on happening, or when the actual, real effect in the world of such things becomes apparent. When the dollar starts falling because enough countries drop it as reserve currency, or when we default on the debt because Trump is a fool.

            One thing that makes me happy is that the Dems are already putting staffers in for the midterms.

            • Nobdy

              The scary thing is that initially the money men did unite against Trump, and it got them nowhere. They only came on board when the choice was him or the most progressive platform in Democratic history.

              The money men may not be in charge anymore. They have influence but it’s Steve Bannon calling the shots, not Rex Tillerson.

      • gmack

        They can’t because the majority of the GOP base is rallying behind Trump – even a lot of those who voted against him in the primaries. And with right wing media going full pro-Trump any attempt by the GOP to oust him would cause a revolt in the next primary elections. However, should Trump lose the support of the GOP base the GOP establishment will have him impeached or – more likely – ousted by the 25th amendment within 2 weeks.

        Right. For now, the Republican coalition is holding together. But it’s not hard to imagine a scenario in which it falls apart. To wit: Some Republicans appear to be resisting Trump’s idea of building the wall on the border with Mexico; there is also evidence suggesting that they might not end up repealing the ACA. It’s not hard to imagine major cleavages developing over either of these events. If Republicans don’t appropriate money for the wall, for instance, it’s easy to imagine Trump lashing out at them in much the same way he just did against the Australian PM. (Indeed, it’s not hard to imagine Trump picking fights with Republican leaders in Congress over the most idiotic crap imaginable). By the same token, if the Republicans can’t get organize to actually overturn the ACA, it’s not hard to imagine a revolt among their own base, and I have no idea what the outcome of that would be.

        I don’t know that either outcome would lead to impeachment; I do think it’s entirely possible, however, that the Republican leadership will not be able to coordinate sufficiently to fulfill the nightmare scenarios with regard to legislative action (e.g., overturning the ACA, privatizing Medicare, and other things of that nature).

      • efgoldman

        I’ve given up thinking that anyone in the GOP except Bannon is playing a long game.

        Congress is playing the, well, medium game, “medium” being the next election.
        About a year from now, if it looks like the RWNJs are going to get slaughtered electorally – which may happen from their own actions if Granny Starver gets his way – they’ll run away from him at record pace.

    • RepubAnon

      The only thing a Republican Congress would impeach a President for is the high crime of winning an election while being a Democrat. As long as Trump signs whatever is put in front of him, and the Republican base doesn’t hate him, Republicans won’t impeach Trump.

      Whatever disaster Trump pulls off, it’ll all be blamed on ObamaCare, Clinton, Jimmy Carter… never the Republicans. They are, after all, the party of personal irresponsibility.

  • tsam

    When they said Make America Great Again, I wondered what they meant.

    • Cheerfull

      Things are going to slide (slide) in all directions
      Won’t be nothing (won’t be)
      Nothing you can measure anymore
      The blizzard, the blizzard of the administration
      Has crossed the threshold
      And it has overturned
      The order of the soul

      or something like that.

  • Scott P.

    Video player doesn’t work. Is there a direct link?

    • dnexon

      It works for me when I click the ▶️ button.

      • Scott P.

        Yes, I get an endless loading screen. I have Flash disabled, but on the original page I’d likely get an option to turn it on for this video.

        • Chetsky

          when this happens (and it used to happen regularly/invariably in the past, even though nothing was different on my laptop (Ubuntu + Chromium)) I would search with Google using the text, e.g. “RACHEL MADDOW 02/03/17
          Trump tries rewriting history on disastrous raid’s planning”. Usually that got me to a video at msnbc that worked.

  • This sounds like the national equivalent of:

    “Hey y’all! Hold mah beer and watch this!”

  • sibusisodan

    In addition to all the horrible things done, in progress and yet to be contemplated…no one is going to reflect and repent when the negative consequences get unignorable.

    It’s like a one way ratchet: screw things up really badly, weaken the country and lower the bar for bad governance even further, then just throw your point man down the memory hole (‘Him? He was a RINO. And he was never President’), rinse and repeat.

    How to counter this I have no idea.

    • Nobdy

      These people are incapable of reflecting and repenting. They are capable only of getting angry and blaming. If they were capable of reflection they would quickly become Democrats. On occasion you do see a little bit of reflection and recognition of obvious facts (like when Avik Roy realized “Oh yeah, the Republican party is built on racism. How about that?”) but it either clears up pretty quickly, or the host drifts away from the Republican party over time.

      The Republican party no longer has deep thinkers. It has some people who can sort of write, and some people who can sort of do intellectual technical work like (mostly bad) economics, but that’s basically it.

      Occasionally a Republican associated person will write something that sort of seems like it recognizes an obvious fact and a lot of liberals will get very excited because they think that reality is finally dawning, but like a winter’s day in Alaska dawn don’t last too long and night comes back real quick.

      • Dennis Orphen

        but like a winter’s day in Alaska dawn don’t last too long and night comes back real quick

        There’s a solution for that.

        We’re all going to end up either in Boulder or Vegas. Take your pick.

    • Joe_JP

      reflect and repent when the negative consequences get unignorable

      Yup. And, when the other side thinks about a strong response, they are told not to do “tit for tat” or some other harsh unreasonable sounding phrasing. See, e.g., how some are characterizing the idea of filibustering Gorsuch.

  • keta

    The only real question left is: will Republicans attempt to reel in their disastrous president and his cabinet of horrors, or will they continue to meekly stand by as long as their policy dreams come true?

    On the one hand, you have a complete meltdown of American values and standing in the world, and on the other you have a loss of standing in the world and a complete meltdown of American values.

    It’s quite a shitshow, but some of the punters enjoy a show full of shit, so at least they’re happy.

    • Nobdy

      Republicans aren’t equipped to reel in the disastrous president. For one thing a huge number of the rank and file congresspeople are knownothing tea partiers who don’t understand the basics of government or international relations any better than Trump. For another their primary mode of thinking is partisanship, and reeling Trump in would require working with Democrats against a Republican president, which just doesn’t compute for them. They will follow him all the way down because they don’t know how to do anything else.

      The only hope we have, and it’s too slim to be any more than a dream, is for some senators to flip parties out of some sense of loyalty to the country or just personal desire to have their grandkids grow up in a safe and secure environment. Of course at the point where that happens, if it does, who knows where the rule of law will even be. Constitutional crises are coming and they are coming fast.

      This is all part of the asymmetrical nature of politics these days. We know that if a Democratic president with a Democratic congress tried to be even 1/3rd as radical as Trump that he would be reeled in. Hell Barack Obama gave them the Heritage Healthcare Plan and still had to make a bunch of compromises to shove it through.

      The Republican party loyalty and discipline is good for winning elections and terrible for governance. Their way around that is to claim that good governance is impossible and sort of throw their hands up. It’s kind of brilliant in a nihilistic way until you realize that they have to live in this country too, at which point it becomes obviously very stupid.

      • keta

        Their way around that is to claim that good governance is impossible and sort of throw their hands up. It’s kind of brilliant in a nihilistic way until you realize that they have to live in this country too, at which point it becomes obviously very stupid.

        But they want to live in a country that is run by corporations making a profit on absolutely every-fucking-thing, so it will never be stupid. At least not to them that’s making the dough.

        • Nobdy

          Living in a fascist country has costs even for the powerful. For one thing, everyone’s gotta breathe the air and drink the water. For another, things can turn on you. Ask Kim Jong-un’s uncle who got shot with an anti-air gun if the North-Korean state of affairs is so great.

          • mds

            For one thing, everyone’s gotta breathe the air and drink the water.

            “Dumping coal mining waste in the water? Making sure that happens again is a priority.” So apparently these miserable fuckers don’t think they have to breathe air or drink water. (I’m inclined to agree, but probably not in the way they have in mind.)

  • Derelict

    Remember that for Trump voters who were not primarily motivated by the racism or sexism, Trump’s big appeal was that “he’s not a politician” and “he’ll shake things up.” I heard this from a number of Trump voters both before and immediately after the election.

    Now that Trump is demolishing most of what this country has stood for, what I hear from those same voters is a litany of increasingly lame excuses–including “the media isn’t reporting any of the good things he’s doing.” (What are those good things? Can’t say because the media won’t report them.)

    As long as Republicans control the House, Trump will never be impeached no matter what he does. And Republicans will go along with anything Trump proposes. Unfortunately, one of the things he’ll be proposing is federal-level voter suppression laws. And Gorsuch will make certain the Supreme Court upholds those laws. Indeed, I would not be surprised if we found Jim Crow declared constitutional–many conservatives believe Brown v Board was wrongly decided, just like Roe v Wade and Griswold v CT.

    • Sentient AI from the Future

      …for Trump voters who were not primarily motivated by the racism or sexism…

      All six of them.

    • CrunchyFrog

      A lot of Trump voters are openly racist and are proud of it. But yes, there are also Trump voters who deny they have racist feelings and give other reasons – commonly economic in security – for voting Trump. But dig in and you’ll find that there is a racist/sexist core for any issue they bring up. “Why do you think they economy isn’t working for you.” “Obummer gave all my taxes to the freeloaders (read: blacks, Mexicans, etc.) and besides, these days women and minorities have all of the advantages and we white males are at the bottom of the totem pole.” I’ll bet every Trump voter believed a portion of that answer if not all of it. The problem, as they see it, is that liberals have given preferences to the non-workers making life much harder for the real workers.

      So, yes, they LOVE the policies even if a number of them disapprove of how he’s going about it. The GOP establishment has been feeding this resentment for many decades but they never actually acted on it. Trump was open about who he thought was at fault and how he was going to fix it. That’s why they rallied around him.

      • Nobdy

        he GOP establishment has been feeding this resentment for many decades but they never actually acted on it.

        This is untrue. They acted on it (mass incarceration is in some ways just a big gift to racists) but they were constrained. They promised red meat but fed the base turkey burger.

        Trump is breaking out the (well done ketchup slathered) steak.

        • CrunchyFrog

          Ok, fair correction. They sorta acted on it. But not a full bore war-on-darkies like Trump is waging.

  • ProgressiveLiberal

    If this doesn’t radicalize every democrat, I dont know what will.

  • georgekaplan

    A friend of mine suggested a hypothesis compelling to me about Trump: he suggested that Trump is actually quite aware that he’s regarded as a joke, and his defence mechanism is to get so far out in front of the wave of scorn and ridicule that his actions inevitably cause, piling on fresh bluster and fresh scandals, that he overwhelms the ridicule by sheer volume. I keep thinking of his repeated refrain during the campaign that “the world is laughing at us”. Perhaps that’s a bit of paradoxical honesty from Trump? Perhaps he knows that the world laughs at him? His answer is not to give us time or space to collect ourselves to laugh at him, because by then he’s moved on to commit a dozen new outrages.

    • Hob

      That’s a good idea for a fictional character, but I don’t think it’s accurate about Trump. His behavior for decades when he was just a rich asshole in New York was entirely consistent with him just being an insecure idiot who can’t ever admit error. I seriously doubt that he’s acquired any new clever psychological insights since then.

  • At this point in time, are we really that sure that Mexico wouldn’t kick our ass if we tried to go across the border and take care of those hombres?

    • Wapiti

      Mexico’s population in 2000 was about four times that of Iraq. I’d suggest that an invasion would go smoothly, but the occupation would go at least four times as bad. General Shinseki might recommend that we need 2 million soldiers for the occupation force.

      • David Allan Poe

        It would also be trivial for the cartels, whom we could assume would be at least the initial leaders of the Mexican resistance, to carry their insurgency into the US. Daily bombings in Houston, Phoenix, and San Diego sound fun?

      • CrunchyFrog

        Invasion would be easier than Iraq. Iraq had some military left over from when Saddam was on the Most Favored Dictators list whereas Mexico doesn’t even bother. Mexico knows that they can’t resist a US invasion so aren’t going to try, but also knows that no one else will try to invade them because the US would intervene (not out of kindness of heart or because of any treaty, but because of the threat to the US).

        (Canada, by contrast, does invest in military so that they can be a player in NATO and the UN and – thinking long term – so that they aren’t dependent on a US which might one day elect a nazi nut who takes orders from Russia – and boy did that turn out to be a good idea.)

        Occupation would be very different than Iraq. In some ways easier. Iraqis were very familiar with guerrilla warfare and resistance tactics due to their recent history – Mexico is not. Iraq had shitloads of weapons lying around ready to be adapted to IEDs and other uses – Mexico much less so (yes, lots of gang weapons, but nothing like the same scale). Iraq had bordering neighbors with lots of oil wealth willing to fund the ongoing resistance movement – Mexico won’t. The US would also be able to align with established wealthy Mexicans to become Vichy Mexicans and support the occupation.

        But in some ways harder. Iraqis are long used to being occupied, and when not being occupied by a foreign power being effectively rules by a corrupt brutal dictator. Mexicans are not – and the most shameful part of Mexican history is the stealing of Texas by the US which started with an unofficial occupation by “settlers” and is some Mexicans would be loathe to repeat. Censorship would be much harder to achieve, both within Mexico and info coming out of Mexico. Old-timers remember the Riverbend blog from Baghdad during the occupation – otherwise not much info got out. But in 2017 communications are more ubiquitous and as a result everyone in the US would hear about every atrocity committed by US troops as soon as it happened, often in real time. It’s one thing to impose tight shutdowns of communications in a place like Gaza, but quite another in a large country like Mexico.

        The US has a shitload of foot soldiers but we are protecting so many US corporation’s interests in so many places throughout the globe (as they say during football games – US troops in 175 countries world wide) that the majority of those are already committed. Even the reserves and national guard wouldn’t be enough to occupy Mexico. Dumsfeld and Cheney tried to address this as any Republican would – via hiring of low cost foreign contractors. The marketing pukes at the Pentagon gave the Afghan warlords the euphemism “Northern Alliance” and they were horrible at what they did, and in Iraq things got so bad that the US troops basically walled themselves in at a few bases and let whatever happened in the cities happen. Well, think worse in Mexico. Americans loves them some wars when only 1% of the population actually enlists in the military (basically the permacaste military plus the economic hardship foot soldiers) but if there was an attempt to bring back the draft enthusiasm will drop like a rock.

        Nope, can’t see this working out for Bannon or Trump – but that doesn’t mean they won’t try. Elder Bush tried to warn his son about occupying Iraq and was ignored, that could happen again.

        • There is another significant difference from Iraq: we share a rather large border with Mexico.

      • Dennis Orphen

        And the war would quickly spread up the west coast, triggering the next American Civil War.

        • silvery

          Out of a lot of stupid actions, a war with Mexico would make the short-list of highest threats to our security. I’m sure China or Russia would happily help Mexico out to resist their U.S. oppressors.

  • King Goat

    Can you imagine if that failed raid had occurred during a Clinton administration? Fox and the right wing media would blow that story up bigger than !!!Benghazi!!!! Innuendo, hyperbole, accusations would be flying.

    • Nobdy

      Come to think of it Clinton did win the popular vote and really should be president, so if you squint hard enough and catch the light juuuuust right, this is all her fault.

    • CrunchyFrog

      Fox would have done a 48 hour wake for the fallen solider and offered the parents $$ to come on and condemn Clinton. The GOP in both houses would be talking impeachment.

      But worse, imagine their response if under Clinton:
      1) Russia invaded Belarus
      2) Iran conducted a missle test
      3) Clinton issued executive orders in the first week that were overturned by the courts
      4) Clinton’s advisor imagined a terrorist event to justify the same orders.
      5) Clinton threatened war with 3 countries.
      6) Clinton’s family were employed in the white house, participated in all major decisions, and were running businesses simultaneously that were doing business with foreign leaders.

      • Dennis Orphen

        We need to always hammer those points home on everything the GOP does, in perpetuity. It won’t change anything, but it might shut up the base for a few minutes and I’ll take anything I can get there.

      • ColBatGuano

        Bill running the Clinton Foundation out of the residence would have had Fox News heads exploding on an hourly basis.

  • howard

    It doesn’t matter whether the Trump administration has time to “right itself;” as long as Trump is in charge, there is zero chance.

    • keta

      Exactly. And the Trumpies have been so spectacularly fucking terrible right out of the gate that IF there’s any easing of clusterfuckification, any teeny tiny bit less bumbling bum-sniffing disguised as governance, the media will celebrate Trump’s presidential pivot (finally!) and all thank Bog he found his true leader-like mien.

      But that’s not gonna’ happen, so we’ve got that going for us.

      • smott999

        I was at first skittish about a Pres Pence or even Ryan, but no longer.

        Trump is simply mentally ill, and is more an existential danger to the nation than Pence would be.
        He’s mentally ill and he has to go.

        No idea how that could happen, but I actually hope Mattis hangs in there because I sense he could be a voice for it (Kelly too).

        Trump’s sick. He has to go. Even if it’s President Pence.

        No longer a close call for me.

        • howard

          my bet is that mattis and kelly think they have to stay because there need to be some adults in the room, and my further bet is that they will live to regret that because no adults are allowed in this administration.

          • Joe_JP

            Dawn Johnsen’s Slate piece on blocking Gorsuch suggests the importance of confirming someone to head OLC:

            “This president is in desperate need of good legal advice.”

            And, a lot of other things. Figure generals might have some influence on someone like Trump up to a point including doing everyday things while he postures.

            • j_doc

              I imagine this is exactly why Bannon had himself replace the Chairman of the JCS on the national security council. A step to isolate Trump’s key decision making from miltary voices.

        • sibusisodan

          (Hopefully friendly) amendment: mental illness is not by itself a cause for unfitness. Lincoln would seem to have had what we would nowadays characterise as something on the depressive spectrum.

          Mental illness is not Trump’s problem. Rather, it’s his maladjusted temperament, which means he does not even consider whether his judgement is sufficient to the office.

          He is simply not fit for the role he occupies as a result of his character.

          • Hob

            Whether it’s right to informally diagnose Trump as “mentally ill” is certainly open to debate. But come on – smott’s comment was obviously talking about poorly controlled mental illness causing dangerous functional impairment. As someone with multiple fairly serious mental illnesses, I don’t take the slightest offense to the correct notion that I would be unfit to serve as President if my conditions were so consistently active and severe as to cause the kind of behavior we’ve seen from Trump over the last month.

  • Joe_JP

    From a NYT article on the Yemen raid:

    The death of Chief Petty Officer William Owens came after a chain of mishaps and misjudgments that plunged the elite commandos into a ferocious 50-minute firefight that also left three others wounded and a $75 million aircraft deliberately destroyed. There are allegations — which the Pentagon acknowledged on Wednesday night are most likely correct — that the mission also killed several civilians, including some children. The dead include, by the account of Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen, the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born Qaeda leader who was killed in a targeted drone strike in 2011.

    Huh. Well, I’m sure deep House investigations will be occur now with death of one of our heroes in uniform, mishaps/misjudgments and killing of civilians. The killing of Anwar al-Awlaki’s daughter [which other sources including FOX News also report] is … well smh.

    FOX News
    has this bit:

    A U.S. official told Reuters that surveillance of the compound was “minimal, at best.”

    “The decision was made … to leave it to the incoming administration, partly in the hope that more and better intelligence could be collected,” that official said.

    No comment on that addendum.

    • smott999

      Yes I’m taking up a chair in anticipation of Chavetz’s investigation. I’m sure it will begin any second now.

      I love Kelly telling Bannon to Get Fucked BTW.

      • howard

        sorry, where’s the reference to kelly telling bannon to get fucked? i skimmed through the fox article (i’d already read the times one when it came out) but didn’t see it.

    • David Allan Poe

      At least now that a bidnessman is in the White House he will do what bidnessmen everywhere always do and take responsibility for actions undertaken under his authority.

  • DamnYankees

    I fear the reality of the Trump administration is going to be the same as the Trump campaign – so many bad things will be happening all the time that none will get traction and none will bring him down. In every aspect of how our government works – substantive policy, competence, corruption, transparency, generosity, etc. – every single one, we are getting worse. And so we will not focus on any specifically, as we keep bouncing from outrage to outrage. People will become numb to it – literally any of 50 things that is happening in the Trump administration would be *the most unacceptable* scandal to have happened to Obama. But since they will all be happening all the time, people will lose the ability to see them in proper proportion. Trump will settle in with a 35-40% approval rating, and that will be that. In 4 years, we’ll have a chance to remove him, but not before.

    Nothing Trump can do will change this dynamic, I don’t think. The only things which can change it are exogenous events – a huge recession, a terrorist attack or some kind of nuclear event.

    I’m as pessimistic as ever, I’m afraid.

  • Chetsky

    whoa: http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/02/entertainment/matthew-mcconaughey-trump/index.html

    Looks like I got another actor on my do-not-watch list.

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