Home / General / Trump’s Campaign Innovation: Lying Your Ass Off

Trump’s Campaign Innovation: Lying Your Ass Off

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Trump_HardHat_620_AP-1

Somewhat counterintuitively, campaign promises made by presidential candidates are a fairly reliable guide to how they’ll govern. But Donald Trump is the exception to a lot of political science rules, and:

Donald Trump’s embrace of the American Health Care Act, authored by Paul Ryan and other House Republicans seemingly in collaboration with establishment-minded members of his administration, represents a massive betrayal of his own clear and repeated promises to the American people.

To an extent, sophisticated political journalists always knew Trump was likely to break those promises. And his embrace of conventional, conservative House Republicans such as Mick Mulvaney to run the Office of Management and Budget and Tom Price to run the Department of Health and Human Services was a clear indication that he intended to break them. But it would be a mistake to simply gloss over this breach of faith.

Trump’s embrace of more centrist positions on health care and retirement security was a crucial aspect of his campaign, and there was enough campaign-season tension between Trump and the GOP leadership that a voter could be forgiven for assuming Trump meant what he was saying.

He did not. Trump ran and won promising to cover everyone, avoid Medicaid cuts, and boost funding for opioid abuse treatment. He is now lobbying Congress to pass a bill that does none of those things. Instead, millions will lose insurance and Medicaid spending will be sacrificed on the altar of tax cuts for the rich.

[…]

While cutting financial assistance overall to ensure that most people are worse off, the American Health Care Act also specifically advantages and disadvantages certain groups of people relative to the ACA. In particular, residents of rural areas where the cost of health insurance is inherently higher due to reduced competition will get less help under the AHCA. Older Americans will also face drastically higher premiums due to laxer regulation of insurance companies.

This means that not only will Trump be betraying his promises in general, but, as Nate Cohn writes for the New York Times, he’ll be specifically harming people who voted for him the most.

One might expect the media to have pushed back on these lies, but something like the opposite happened. To the extremely limited extent the media covered policy at all, it tended to focus on Trump’s alleged breaks from Republican orthodoxy.

It’s tempting to blame marginal Trump voters for voting for policies that will brutalize them in particular. And, well, they have agency. But Trump was saying he would protect their most cherished benefits, the media amplified this message rather than countering it, and expecting the typical marginal voter to understand that Paul Ryan would be setting the agenda and his agenda is “funnel as much money to the rich as possible” is probably unrealistic. Like a lot of Republican norm violations, Trump’s completely shameless lying was very shrewd politics, although it will be harder for him to pull it off as an incumbent.

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  • Davis X. Machina

    What he wasn’t lying about was that he was going to put the screws to the people his voters hate.

    That they heard, and they knew he wasn’t lying about that.

    • tsam

      Seems worth losing your health insurance over. MAGA

      • Josh Marshall is running a contest for the best Trump campaign promise about health insurance. Current front-runner:

        The new plan is good. It’s going to be inexpensive. It’s going to be much better for the people at the bottom, people that don’t have any money. We’re going to take care of them through maybe concepts of Medicare. Now, some people would say, “that’s not a very Republican thing to say.” That’s not single payer, by the way. That’s called heart. We gotta take care of people that can’t take care of themselves.” CNN GOP Townhall, 2/17-18/16. TPM Reader BS.

        • PeteW

          Hey give the guy a break. Who knew it was going to be so complicated? BTW I’m still waiting for my free pony!

          • los

            still waiting for my free pony

            and pick up your free “Made in China Mug of Liberal Tears.” at the end of the soup kitchen counter. (Don’t analyze the ingredients.)

          • los

            Altcucks are always losers, and get a participation trophy (as red hat) for altcucking themselves.

        • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

          There are going to be some pretty blistering “Donald Trump SAID… But Donald Trump DID: ” ads.

          And the ones with Paul Ryan’s “coverage beauty pageant” quote with grainy B&W footage of a despondent family sitting at the kitchen table with a pile of medical bills.

      • Davis X. Machina

        This is the new social contract:

        “We could harness the power of the state to make your life better. But we won’t. Not can’t — just don’t want to.

        How’s about we make other people’s lives worse and let you watch? Would that be good enough? That we can do.”

        60 million of us said “Sure. Deal. Git ‘er done.”

        • Sev

          The Colisseum was well attended, I understand.

          • The policy was described as “panem et circenses”: bread and circuses. The emperors delivered on the free bread part to urban Romans. It would have been dangerous not to. But then, poor first-century Romans appear not to have been gullible idiots.

          • los

            Colisseum was well attended

            by greedy welfare lions.

            “hey, the welfare lions are buying christians with those food stamps.”

        • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

          It seems pretty clear most of the “economic anxiety” was less about inequality and NAFTA and more of the form, “I’m deeply worried that minorities are recovering from the recession faster than we are.” Having a legitimate basis to be aggrieved is not the same as having a legitimate grievance.

      • If you can convince the lowest white man that even the best colored man and immigrant will suffer, he won’t notice you’re lying to him.

    • aturner339

      And he expolited decades of work conservatives have put in teaching the American public that by harming those they hate they can regain their “lost” glory.

      I agree the hate was primary but I’ve come to understand that for the vast majority of voters the hate can’t be separated from the hope. They’ve been told that the “others” took all their stuff.

      • hickes01

        Amen. The “others took my shit” myth runs very strong through Trump voters. I had this discussion with an old HS buddy, who has a modest income and was wondering “where does all the money go?”. When I tried to explain to him the cost of a Carrier Battle Group he looked at me like I was nuts. He’s convinced all the brown people in the cities are spending all his tax money. (and he barely pays taxes) Republicans have been very good at creating boogymen while stealing everything that isn’t nailed down.

        • FlipYrWhig

          It’s rather distressing to realize how few people understand taxation, filing, refunds, and so forth. The result is that they think of themselves as paying scads of taxes because it comes out of their paycheck, and then they think of their tax refund as some wholly separate thing to trick the government into giving them something back. This is why I think having a box on the tax form that tells you your effective tax rate would make a huge difference in the psychology of the experience.

          • Rob in CT

            I want this to happen too, but “huge difference” is asking too much. It might make a small difference, and as such would be worth doing, but huge? Nah. So much of this ignorance is willful.

        • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

          Don’t forget our vast crippling foreign aid budget.

        • StellaB

          Yep. I do tax preparation as a volunteer. Last year a guy started out by showing me a cartoon* from some right-wing publication that showed all of the taxes going to various darker-skinned groups. I did his taxes and, of course, he was eligible for an EIC as well as a credit on his wife’s ACA premiums.

          * “Cartoon” as the style of drawing, not that it came anywhere close to humor.

        • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

          Kevin Drum had a great post recently about polls that showed basically everyone vastly overestimates the size of the foreign aid budget by like 10-100x.

          There’s something similar happening with the inheritance tax, the national debt…

          • sibusisodan

            Our government brought in an interesting innovation a couple of years back: everyone whose tax is deducted at source gets a yearly summary of how much tax they paid, and how it gets allocated by govt function.

            So you can see in one glance you paid so much tax, and £x goes to pensions and £y to healthcare.

            There’s even a pie chart for total govt spending so you can see that foreign aid is >1% of spending.

            I thought it was a gimmick at first, but it may turn out to be useful.

            • los

              gimmick backfires… until the Tories (?) begin faking the data.

          • PeteW

            Trying to help out with my in-law’s will: Sister in-law, very concerned about the gov taking all their money. In-laws on a small pension and probably worth $100k total. I asked her what the heck she was talking about. She said the inheritance tax. I bit my tongue and told her they were orders of magnitude away from an inheritance tax! Holy cow! Yes, she voted for Trump, good business man you know.

            • los

              Trump, good business man

              who uses many 0-taxation methods to art of the steal from people.

  • jim, some guy in iowa

    wasn’t as if those marginal trump voters weren’t *warned*, though

    • los

      those weren’t real warnings, because facts are “fake news”

      /altcucks on twitter

  • Joe_JP

    Raul Ryan would be setting the agenda

    I believe that’s spelled “Raúl.”

  • LeeEsq

    Dishonest politicians are having their moment right now. There is a lot of general anxiety about the way the world is going and a variety of economic, social, and political trends. The honest politicians across the political spectrum tend to have answers like “we really don’t have solutions let alone good and easy solutions to any of these issues. We just have to muddle through them the best we can.” The more dishonest politicians can lie and pretend to have solutions. Many voters prefer the latter obviously.

    • JMP

      The best illustration of how honesty in politicians is punished may have been when Hillary Clinton told the hard truth that coal mining jobs lost to automation will never come back, and that was twisted into “Hillary wants to destroy all the coal mining jobs!”.

      • brewmn

        The distortion of that quote is even worse then your comment implies. The entire “those jobs aren’t coming back” quote was preceded by a lengthy statement about the need to prepare coal miners for other lines of work, because those jobs aren’t coming back.

        In other words, a statement in both substance and in intent the exact opposite of how it was interpreted. Heckuva job again, media.

        • jamesepowell

          Turning Hillary’s quotes against her was exactly what the press/media set out to do. It was the same thing they did to Al Gore. But sure, they’re liberal, right?

        • los

          RWNJ MSM wreaked the same context-exclusion upon Obama’s “you didn’t build that (common infrastructure doesn’t build itself)”

          same RWNJ MSM SOP wreaked upon Pelosi’s (exploitably worded) “vote .. see what’s in it” (as i’ve read, Pelosi referred to House committee process.)

      • los

        how honesty in politicians is punished

        RWNJ MSM goes jihad when politician or pundit actually “tells it like it is”.

  • georgekaplan

    I have to congratulate the Republicans for figuring out they could, to a large if not complete extent, separate promise from policy. Not much has changed, in a way, because the GOP has all along been struggling with increasing difficulty to maintain the flimsy pretence that really they want everyone happy and prosperous, really they do, and robbing money and security from poor people is their sincere attempt to make this happen. The difficulty hitherto has been finding GOP politicians who actually look and behave like they want to help people and not just help them starve. The “we’re doing this for your own good” act has been getting harder and harder to sustain. In Trump they finally found someone who can utter the empty promises with complete conviction because Trump will never, ever care that the promises don’t line up with reality of policy.

    • No Longer Middle Aged Man

      Trump is more vicious and overt about it, but the holy triumverate of Republican promises since at least Reagan has always been a lie:
      1. cut taxes
      2. increase military spending
      3. balance the budget (or at a minimum reduce the deficit)

      The lie plus some flourishes still worked for W but not for McCain or Romney. So Trump has introduced the not-unrelated innovations of anti-globalism and stating “we’ll go after the people you don’t like” very loud.

      • aturner339

        Which at heart of what globalism actually means in popular politics. People are not angry at “global capitalism.” They just don’t like foreigners.

        • los

          altcucks on twitter: russian globalists are excellent, if they are associated with polonium man.

      • Mike G

        Rmoney was a shameless liar.
        Trump turbocharged the shameless lying and added raw aggression and hate.

        • hickes01

          Oh Gawd Romney. I saw an interview where a reporter busted him for saying his father walked with MLK during Civil Rights marches, when it wasn’t true. Without batting an eye Romney said, “I meant metaphorically”.

          • patrick II

            The reporter should have told him that he was going to call Romney a liar in his story, “but I only mean it metaphorically”.

        • efgoldman

          Rmoney was a shameless liar.
          Trump turbocharged the shameless lying

          Mittser, though was an honest liar. He knew he was lying, and he stuck with the lie and tried to back it up.
          Peach Pustule is a whole other matter. He does not know or care that he’s lying; he means what he says when he says it; he repeats the lies that get him applause and adulation, exactly for that reason. If a lie doesn’t work, or someone calls him on it personally, he either denies he ever said it or makes up a different lie (“I heard it somewhere”). He can’t not do it – like the scorpion it’s in his nature.
          He doesn’t know the details of Granny Starver’s plan any more than your cat does; he’s just repeating the lie he’s been told. – probably by Fox.

  • sigaba

    It’s tempting to blame marginal Trump voters for voting for policies that will brutalize them in particular. And, well, they have agency.

    Liberals believe in agency. Not sure if Trump voters do, I think a lot of them just assume that things were going to go downhill regardless of who was in charge but at least MY vicarious asshole won.

    A vote for Trump is an affirmative surrendering of one’s own agency, his faults are mine, his lies are mine, because I am weak and he is strong.

    • Trump voters’ belief in agency is fluid. When good things happen to them it’s solely through their efforts. When bad things happen to other people, those people brought it on themselves. When bad things things happen to them it’s those damn liberals’ fault.

  • Stan McGee

    Yet Democrats and other “liberals” still insist on bringing knives to gunfights. Hillary was too busy running on her high heels, and “liberals” were too busy sticking their noses down at real workers who lived in the wrong zip codes to actually wage a real class war– the only war that matters. And you’re doing it still.

    We need a real Alternative Left, not milquetoast global capitalism plus identity politics.

    Let me ask y’all a question: are you ready for some Marxism?

    • Davis X. Machina

      We need a real Alternative Left, not milquetoast global capitalism plus identity politics.

      Which of the many splendid mountain ranges in our country are you and your plucky guerrilla band going to withdraw into? I want to be able to send parcels and stuff.

      • Stan McGee

        How about we nominate a candidate who wants to tax the ever-living fuck out of the plutocrats and build a robust socialist democracy rather than candidates who suck off tech billionaires in Silicon valley and tell us all to go get fucked in the ass by Wall Street.

        But don’t worry, “liberal” politicians will be sure to ensure that there’s lots of diversity in who is doing the assfucking, and some of them will be lesbians wearing strap-ons! Diversity! Happy Days are Here Again!

        • Davis X. Machina

          I look forward to the 60-seat Senate majority you’re going to deliver.

          • Stan McGee

            Win a majority and abolish the filibuster. Tell the Senate traditionilists to go get fucked.

          • Hogan

            I look forward to his having ten votes in the Senate, but I ain’t gonna live that long.

            • jamesepowell

              The agenda he describes will never get one single solitary congress-creature, let alone a senator. What’s the bluest district in the country? Let’s run an openly socialist candidate. See what happens.

        • Q.E.Dumbass

          [Withdrawn]

          • Q.E.Dumbass

            Actually, please forget that last comment.

          • Scott Lemieux

            Or “there must be a Patreon niche for people who like Cumtown but would prefer their misogyny straight-up rather than ironic-on-the-square.”

            • Q.E.Dumbass

              I realized about two minutes after posting how offensive that statement ended up being. Apologies.

              • Joe_JP

                I realized about two minutes after posting how offensive that statement ended up being. Apologies.

                used to have a five minute editing window, but recently, it isn’t available for me

              • Scott Lemieux

                That was actually directed at Stan; your more mildly offensive comment edited out to avoid confusion!

                • Q.E.Dumbass

                  It was supposed to be a riff on how anti-identitarians seem to always be obsessed with the last person their exes left them for. Probably a moderately less offensive phrasing of the sentiment would to say that Stan thinks the above scenario is the only reason for the restraining orders.

                • los

                  So-called “anti-identitarian” identity politics!
                  “So-called” anti-identitarian “identity politics”!

                • los

                  True Contrarians buck the contrarian sheeple trend!
                  Trendy sheeple buckles the contrarian sheeple-bucking trend!

                • los

                  The Man sticks it to The Man…
                  who is sticking it to The Man shticking it to The Man sticking it to The Man sticking it to The Manshticking it to The Mansticking it to TheManshticking it to TheMansticking ittoTheManshtickingittoTheMan

        • How about we nominate a candidate who wants to tax the ever-living fuck out of the plutocrats and build a robust socialist democracy

          How about you run, mate? Or perhaps you want to nominate someone. It’s very easy to say that people should do this, and should do that, but who’s going to do the hard work of making such candidates available to the primary voter, let alone making a convincing argument that they and their policies are what this country needs?

          But don’t worry, “liberal” politicians will be sure to ensure that there’s lots of diversity in who is doing the assfucking, and some of them will be lesbians wearing strap-ons! Diversity! Happy Days are Here Again!

          Do you want to talk about this preoccupation you seem to have with getting fucked in the ass by a “diverse population”?

        • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

          Even better, let’s hold a *series* of smaller mini-elections where Candidate Awesome can kick that Silicon Valley/Wall Street candidate’s ass across all 50 states!

        • France is a more left-wing country than the USA; de Gaulle nationalised the banks in 1945. The two-stage presidential election, generous public financing, and a low requirement for getting on the ballot, mean that there is always at least one far-left candidate. In 2012, Mélenchon got a fairly typical 11% of the vote. A similar candidate would do far worse in the USA, even under the same rules.

      • aturner339

        I’m thinking the care packages folks sent the last set of freedom fighters in Oregon would be appropriate.

        • los

          Ah, another FOIA shopping list is on order.

    • Q.E.Dumbass

      Black Panther could totally kick Batman’s ass.

    • helkamet

      Hell yes

    • Hillary was too busy running on her high heels

      Not at all sexist, that.

      “liberals” were too busy sticking their noses down at real workers who lived in the wrong zip codes to actually wage a real class war

      Who are these “real” workers, and how does one distinguish them from “fake” ones? Wouldn’t have anything to do with skin color, would it?

      a real class war– the only war that matters

      The struggle for justice has many facets, not just class struggle.

      We need a real Alternative Left, not milquetoast global capitalism plus identity politics

      All together now: all politics is identity politics. Calling for class warfare entails calling on people to identify their interests as class interests – for workers to identify primarily as workers and as belonging to a class that is in conflict with the capitalist class. That’s identity politics.

      Let me ask y’all a question: are you ready for some Marxism?

      I’m ready to rock. Marxism is a useful tool for analyzing and critiquing certain aspects of capitalist economics. It is not particularly useful when turned into a religion.

      • jamesepowell

        Or a political agenda.

        However much they might bitch & moan about the rich, the corporations, or whatever, nearly every American really likes the products & services, not just the toys & games, that capitalism makes available to them.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Hillary was too busy running on her high heels

      Saying the quiet parts loud is certainly appropriate to the age of Trump.

      • trollhattan

        My takeaway: we should have nominated Gail Devers.

      • jamesepowell

        It’s gotta be the shoes.

    • JMP

      “Hillary was too busy running on her high heels,”

      Tell me again the part where you ludicrously claim your hatred of Hillary Clinton isn’t because she is a woman.

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

      Let me ask y’all a question: are you ready for some Marxism?

      Reg Shoe, is that you?

      • A zombie? I might have guessed.

      • Davis X. Machina

        It was either Marxism, or game theory.

        Hobson’s choice, that.

    • Hogan

      Let me ask y’all a question: are you ready for some Marxism?

      Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder

    • efgoldman

      Ah, a new allegedly leftie troll.
      He lives where the unicorns and ponies all have tattoos of Marx on their butts; he probably does, too.
      Sorry, pal, the rest of us actually have to live in, and try to fix, the country we actually have.

    • Calling Poe. This is a parody troll. By the laws governing blogotopia, you must now unmask and pay me my five pounds.

      • Redwood Rhiadra

        He’s not a parody. This is all too common rhetoric from the Sanders wing of the party, including the Marxism. (Which seems to be becoming increasingly popular among white millenials who don’t remember what *actual* Communist countries were like – and a fair number of older folks who should remember but have forgotten…)

    • Morbo

      I’ve heard the YPG could use a hand right now.

    • Chetsky

      Stan: you had me until that last line. Well done, well done!

      • Chetsky

        daayum, after reading the thread, I’m no longer sure this is a parody troll (pace stepped pyramids). Maybe Stan really does believe this drivel. Amazing to see Poe’s Law so up-close.

    • CP

      Communism is just a red herring.

  • smott999
  • ploeg

    Politicians who run for high office typically have occupied some prior post of public trust, and their ability to lie to the public during the campaign is constrained by the record that they make while occupying that post.

    The issue here is that Trump’s main qualification for office was that he was a successful businessman with no political experience (though Trump has left a long trail of contradictory political statements over the years). One might shine some light on how successful a businessman Trump truly was, and one might reach back into the archive to see how Trump has been all over the map politically. For reasonable people, the complete absence of a political record is an instant disqualifier for high public office, since this gives the candidate licence to lie about anything and everything. But for Trump supporters, who have heard ceaselessly for decades that professional politicians don’t know anything about how life works and about how businessmen like Trump know so much better, these things that should have disqualified Trump were an absolute boon. And of course, Trump has used the media for decades to convey the impression about how successful a businessman he is.

    So the media bears a great responsibility for Trump, but President Trump has been decades in the making.

    • Gareth

      “No person shall serve as President or Vice-President of the United States who has not first been elected to another public office by at least one thousand Americian citizens, and served a term of at least two years without recall, impeachment, or resignation.”

      There’s already a majority of Democrats who’ll vote for this, and soon there’ll be a majority of Republicans. It’s not really partisan either.

      • Derelict

        I’ll bet you cash money that there’s not even a minority of Republicans who either presently or soon will vote for such a thing. One common thread among Trump voters was “He’s NOT a politician!” Their great hope is that lack of qualifications is somehow a qualification in and of itself. This was also the sentiment that propelled many Tea Party candidates into office.

        Rational people might look at the results such “non-politician” politicians produce, and based on those results decide that experience and qualifications are good things. Instead, what you get in the real world is, “I voted for Joe Schmoe because he wasn’t a politician, and all Joe been able to do is cash his paycheck and hand out jobs to his friends and relatives because all those OTHER politicians have been blocking him!

        • kenkohl

          Reminds me of a conversation I had with a brother-in-law a few years ago, just after McCain picked Palin as running mate.

          ME: Jesuschrist, what is McCain thinking?!
          BIL: I think she’s a great pick!
          ME: Why?
          BIL: It shows that anyone can be Pres-Vice Pres.
          ME: I don’t fcking want anyone to be Pres-Vice Pres. I want someone who knows what the hell they’re doing.

          I think you’re correct, Derelict: to some people, lack of qualification is an endearing qualification.

          • I was going to say that Palin would have qualified under the proposed amendment, but it turns out that she only got just over 900 votes for her reelection as Mayor of Wasilla. She served just over 2 years as Governor of Alaska, but I’m assuming resigning partway through the term negates that term entirely.

            • Gareth

              1,000 is just a nice round number, I didn’t mean to specifically rule out Palin. She’s not a great example of the problem – Game Change says that the McCain campaign was specifically looking for female politicians when they chose her, not just random blowhards. They even checked whether she believed in evolution.

              • Ask Me Gently

                If I remember correctly, Palin was little-known but generally well-regarded by the mainstream before McCain’s call-up. The crazy cluelessnous didn’t really come out until after the big vice-presidential spotlight was turned on her.

          • los

            kenkohl says:

            to some people, lack of qualification is an endearing qualification.

            After gaining voting experience by voting once, those “qualified” voters must never vote again.

        • efgoldman

          Their great hope is that lack of qualifications is somehow a qualification in and of itself.

          And when they need their appendix or gall bladder out, they’ll call… a plumber? A real estate thief?

          • N__B

            Duh. A barber.

          • tsam

            Ghostbusters, obviously

      • bender

        If you substituted “Governor” for “President or Vice President” and circulated it as an initiative to put on the California ballot, I’d sign your petition.

        • Gareth

          Thanks.

    • Hogan

      The issue here is that Trump’s main qualification for office was that he was a successful businessman

      Which was also a lie.

      • Ask Me Gently

        Two lies:

        1. That Trump is a successful businessman.

        2. That businessmen somehow make better politicians.

    • los

      Trump’s hyuuge political experience was his long practice of bribing politicians.

  • JMP

    I’ll have to say, I’m guiltily looking forward to cuts in treatment for opioid addiction. It’s devastating rural communities which are filled with Trump voters, and now that they’ve elected an actual Nazi as President I’ve lost the sympathy I used to have for them. Does that make me a bad person?

    • tsam

      Yes. A shitload of collateral damage involved with this.

      • I feel bad for the ones who voted for Clinton, and Clinton-voting family members of ones who didn’t vote for Clinton. The ones who had a chance to vote for Clinton and didn’t? Fuck ’em. They had their chance to stop fascism and didn’t stop it. I’m too busy expending sympathy for people who don’t share culpability for the election of the shitgibbon to spend much time feeling sorry for his supporters.

        • tsam

          I don’t feel sorry for them, but opioids don’t care about politics, and they routinely kill people.

          • Well, yes, and people with opiate addictions who had a chance to stop the election of someone who had announced his intention to appoint Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III as Attorney General kind of shot themselves in the foot there. Given the increase in anti-Semitism and queerphobia since the election, I’m afraid my first reaction to these people isn’t sympathy.

        • Hogan

          My sympathy neither breaks any bones nor butters any bread, so I don’t see the point in broadcasting it. I do what I do; it doesn’t matter much to me whether it helps people I don’t approve of.

          • N__B

            It seems you need harder and/or more butyraceous sympathy.

            • Hogan

              That’ll teach me to buy off the rack.

            • FlipYrWhig

              “Butyraceous Sympathy” is the BEST Destiny’s Child / Stones mashup.

    • The Professional Left podcast this week was talking about rural white communities where opioids have become de facto currency, with the residents gaming the system with sleazy doctors who are willing to make money of the pharma parts of Medicare and Medicaid.

    • tsam

      This sort of thing is an echo of the crack epidemic. There’s a constant set of victims in substance abuse and they’re powerless to do anything about it–kids.

      • To be fair, some of the reporting on the crack epidemic has completely unraveled. Remember crack babies and what a load of horseshit that turned out to be? Opiates are proving to be quite deadly, though, and I hold pharmaceuticals manufacturers as culpable as anyone else in the supply chain (somehow their complicity often gets omitted from narratives about it).

        • tsam

          I mean kids dealing with parents lost in addiction. It’s daily suffering for them. The echoes are the indifference and assumption that addicts are just weak scumbags who choose to be that way. I have a history with drugs that still follows me around, so I guess it’s kind of a touchy subject for me.

          • I’m not disagreeing, just venting frustration at the way drug epidemics have been reported in the past. Might not have made that clear in my initial post.

        • Cheap Wino

          I hold pharmaceuticals manufacturers as culpable as anyone else in the supply chain (somehow their complicity often gets omitted from narratives about it).

          I hope you’re not going to advocate for more government regulation. Surely the Pharmaceutical companies will self regulate in order to curb the opioid epidemic any day now. Capitalism can never fail to be the highest good.

  • justsomeguy

    The policy positions, beliefs and track records of Republicans are well known. But the media, late night hosts, SNL etc consistently focus on individuals and personality quirks. Democrats (not to mention actual progressives) will get nowhere until they focus on Republicanism rather than Trump, GW Bush, Spicer, Conway etc. Moreover, they should focus on policies of justice, economic justice, compassion, fairness, environment, clean food, air & water etc and CONTRAST their positions with the Republican policies that are the opposite – and are the opposite of the teachings of Christ (and I say this as an atheist). Bernie was very good about framing things this way.

    • hickes01

      This comment deserves more appreciation.

    • jamesepowell

      I was with you till that last sentence.

      Please. Accept it. Bernie lost. It wasn’t very close. If he was good at running for office, he would have won. Accept it. Please.

      • Eh. It’s possible to be good at framing issues and not be a particularly successful politician for other reasons. I tend to think of myself as being in this category. I didn’t read the above post as saying Bernie should’ve been the nominee, just that we can learn things from how he frames issues.

    • The Lorax

      It absolutely is the case that our media does focus on personality details (Gore’s sighing, Dean’s scream, Bush’s malapropisms) rather than policy. I don’t think they’re smart enough to do policy, and in cases where they are, assume we aren’t. And when they aren’t doing that, they’re doing a priori sociology (or as Krugman puts it, bad theater criticism). If you ask them why they’re doing personality-quirk journalism, they’ll tell you they can’t not talk about it. Everyone else is talking about it. It’s a story!

      What really angers me. Well, one thing that does is that the moronic media who brought this upon us won’t be affected by it. I suppose that NPR might, but that’ll hit the rural stations and not the terrible folks at NPR News.

    • Mutombo

      Boring. You’re boring everyone, at least everyone who watches cable news.

    • TopsyJane

      But the media, late night hosts, SNL etc consistently focus on individuals and personality quirks. Democrats (not to mention actual progressives) will get nowhere until they focus on Republicanism rather than Trump, GW Bush, Spicer, Conway etc.

      “Personality quirks”? Is that really the right term?

    • Ask Me Gently

      You don’t really expect policy discussions on SNL, do you?

  • Captain Oblivious

    Yes, the media spun Trump’s obvious lies as something refreshing and tasty, but I think most everyone is still faiing to grasp the key reasons Trump won, and continuing to blame the media, whose influence over marginal voters is minimal, is a distraction from the real issues, which are:

    (a) The Electoral College.

    (b) The Dems’ shitty, often non-existent local and state organizations.*

    (c) Gerrymandering and voter suppression as a result of (b).

    (d) Dems too cozy with big biz and the banksters.**

    *This is why I think the DNC election is more important than many people think, and why Perez’s administrative experience is more valuable in this position that Ellison’s congressional experience. The DNC is supposed to be setting strategy and coordinating activities at all levels. That’s its charter. It hasn’t been doing that. Dean tried but got his 50-state strategy got kneecapped by Obama for reasons I will never understand. Perez is an activist and will make shit happen.

    **They may be learning, thanks to Bernie and, to a lesser extent, Obama fucking up big-time with the TPP, TARP, and not prosecuting the banksters, but we still have Schumer(D-Wall Street) as minority leader, and those optics are not good.

    • DamnYankees

      I think most everyone is still faiing to grasp the key reasons Trump won, and continuing to blame the media, whose influence over marginal voters is minimal, is a distraction from the real issues, which are:

      I really don’t think this is true. What possible explanation is there for polling results where Trump was seen as more honest than Clinton other than as an utter failure of media?

      I remember talking to my parents during the election – my mom is a moderate Democrat, my dad a mainstream Republican. They don’t watch Fox News (or any cable news) and they don’t read political stuff other than the headlines they see on CNN.com and stuff like that. Neither voted for Trump, but my mom would routinely ask me, in very serious and worried tones, about Clinton’s email scandal. She didn’t know a lot about it, but she knew it was “serious” and “important” and made Clinton not trustworthy.

      My parents are wealthy, educated people. This shit clearly effects people. For my parents, who are Jewish and educated, it wasn’t enough to push them to vote for Trump. But it made them incredibly ambivalent. You apply that sort of pressure to someone without that background and it’s very easy to see how this happens.

      • Davis X. Machina

        Control the background noise, and you control the election.

        • DamnYankees

          Basically this.

          • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

            Amen

      • Solar System Wolf

        Your mom sounds a lot like my dad. And my dad was also taken in by the media hype around Obama as the great progressive hope during his first campaign. I liked Obama, but I never mistook him for a leftist, either. Seriously, during that race I thought Dad might be losing his marbles. I’m used to him being more shrewd than that. Now he’s terribly disappointed in Obama, whereas I’m not because my expectations were lower.

        • The Lorax

          I was in Sweden in the summer of 08, and people would ask me about Obama. I told them that he’s not a Swedish social democrat. He’s to the right of that. He’ll probably still be a good president if he gets elected.

          But I know a lot of people projected onto him their own desires (not unlike Trump) and then were disappointed.

          • FlipYrWhig

            The amount of people who thought Obama was too conservative is very, very, very, VERY small.

            • efgoldman

              The amount of people who thought Obama was too conservative is very, very, very, VERY small.

              But very, very, VERY noisy.

            • Chetsky

              Lolwut? If you mean

              (a) “the # of people who thought Obama campaigned as too conservative is v.v.v. small” (let’s stipulate, amongst Obama voters) then sure, of course. His campaign was shrewd in casting him as further to the left than is actual stated positions.

              But (b) if you nmean “the # of people who thought Obama governed as too conservative is v.v.v. small” (again, amonst Dem voters), then …

              GET THE F**K OUTTA HERE. You’re a loony.

              Maybe you could look up “green lantern” and “Obama”. Or “Didn’t. Even. Try.”

              EVERYBODY and their kid sister thought Obama governed to conservatively. It is only in hindsight (and honestly, with the careful arguments of political scientists like the FPers) that some have come to realize that while he did some things that were deplorable, he mostly did the best he could with the tools he had (Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson, ffs).

              • FlipYrWhig

                As with most of the most heated blogosphere arguments, though, the number of actual human beings who hold the opinion in question is infinitesimal. The biggest mistake people are making in analyzing the Democratic primaries is assuming that everyone who voted for Sanders did it to take a stand against Obama’s neoliberal perfidy.

                • Chetsky

                  I myself had to unfriend a guy who consistently accused me (and other liberals) of being on my knees servicing Obama.

                  So no, it happens IRL, in addition to not just the blogosphere, but pundits galore.

                  Your memory’s playing up — maybe up the meds?

                • Your memory’s playing up — maybe up the meds?

                  This isn’t OK. Why would you think this is an appropriate response?

              • The polling shows that about 10% of Democrats thought Obama was too conservative, fewer than those who thought he was too liberal. There are other polls that showed this being fairly consistent over time. That 10% is disproportionately represented in the liberal blogosphere, for what should be obvious reasons.

      • The Lorax

        Exactly. “The media is spending more time on it than any other scandal, Trump or Clinton. It must be serious!”

        In reality, the media is spending time on it because Both Sides Do It and are relatively equal, and God forbid someone accuse the media of being liberal. So, for each Trump “scandal” (really, calling them “scandals” understates how serious these were–“more controversy this week on the Trump campaign”–no it’s not “controversy”; he just said he wanted to ban Muslims from entering the country!) the Clinton scandal got coverage.

        I sometimes think, “Eventually the American people will learn what a clusterfuck all this is, and they’ll vote the GOP out of office.” Then I think, “Oh yeah, right, our media. Fucking people at #nerdprom (these people are not nerds. They’re slightly better than Enquirier reporters and are driven by the same need to dig up gossip); people will never find out what a clusterfuck this (except when it is directly happening to them, which it will for tens of millions of us).

    • Derelict

      Others’ replies notwithstanding, your (b) is also worth repeating. I have told the story here before about trying to get funding for candidates who were competitive but were not guaranteed wins. No funding would be made available unless it was a 100% lock.

      That has to change if Democrats are to ever retake state legislatures. It also has to change if the party wants to develop any kind of bench.

      • bender

        What is even the point of having a spending policy like that? If the candidate is a 100% lock, they’ll get all the campaign money they need from the usual corporate sources and special interests. The Party funds ought to be used to give candidates an edge.

        • DamnYankees

          It makes your stats look good – so you can say that you’re a genius and never spend your money on losers. It lets you argue in a way which reverses causation, “when I spend we win”, and put high success rates in marketing materials.

    • FlipYrWhig

      Re: (d), the only people who care about bankers and corporations are the left. Taking more about bankers and corporations will not win back “marginal voters.” People who crave economic opportunity would be more than happy to accept it from corporations. When Trump gave Carrier everything it wanted in exchange for a handful of jobs, it was the biggest PR coup since the election. Nobody cares who Chuck Schumer is or what interests he represents. I have no faith in this working at any level.

  • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

    Trump’s embrace of more centrist positions on health care and retirement security was a crucial aspect of his campaign, and there was enough campaign-season tension between Trump and the GOP leadership that a voter could be forgiven for assuming Trump meant what he was saying.

    No, any voter who couldn’t see that Trump is a con man is a mark.

    Like a lot of Republican norm violations, Trump’s completely shameless lying was very shrewd politics, although it will be harder for him to pull it off as an incumbent.

    No harder. Trump is continuing to lie about RyanDon’tCare. If the plan doesn’t totally destroy the health care business within a few days after its passage (passage looks increasingly likely to me), the marks will assume that Trump told the truth and Democrats lied. In a few months/years when their healthcare is gone, most won’t remember that Republicans passed the bill this month. And the ones that do won’t be able to connect what’s happening to them then with the passage of the bill now.

    Rarely is the question asked, “Is our marks learning”. Because if they did, they wouldn’t be marks.

    • DamnYankees

      No, any voter who couldn’t see that Trump is a con man is a mark.

      I vacillate on this. Becuase I think a lot of the blame here is really on the GOP party leadership. If you are a conservative who doesn’t pay attention to politics very much, what source of information did you have to really let you know that Trump was psychotic? Sure, if you look into it, you might realize it. But most people don’t look into it. You need party leadership to send signals.

      They all failed. Whether because they were marks or in on the con, they failed. The story of Trump is, in my view, the story of a political party leadership so overtaken by craven, stupid and evil men that they failed to see what was in front of their noses.

      • keta

        The story of Trump is, in my view, the story of a political party leadership so overtaken by craven, stupid and evil men that they failed to see what was in front of their noses.

        Oh, they recognized Trump for exactly who he is. They just decided their own success is paramount to that of the nation. Craven, calculated and evil.

        • DamnYankees

          I would say about 20-25% of the GOP elected are calculated. 80-85% is just genuinely dumb and/or apathetic about civic institutions.

          • The Lorax

            I don’t know where to put the percentages here, or how to think of many particular cases.

      • Chetsky

        I vacillate on this.

        I’m with GBWR. They say that an essential part of a confidence trick, is a mark who thinks they’re getting somethin for nothing. The mark has to think they’re in on it. Well, certainly from the point where we learned that

        (a) he was a rapist

        (b) he was a tax evader on a massive scale

        any Trump voter could ONLY conclude “well, I wouldn’t leave him alone with my daughters or my wallet, but hey, he’ll screw THE OTHER GUY”.

        That is the essence of being a mark. THE ESSENCE. “I’m in on the con.”

        GBWR is 100% on the money here.

  • I am weak and he is strong.

    Donald loves me, this I know,
    Art of the Deal tells me so,
    Little onewhites to him belong,
    I am weak but he is strong!

    • sibusisodan

      I want this comment for a sunbeam.

    • Sev

      It put me in mind of ‘Nixon fucks us…’ but I couldn’t find the lyrics.

  • DamnYankees

    The thing about Trump’s lying that people don’t seem to take note is that it’s not that he lies a lot for a politician – he lies a lot for any human on Earth. The lies he tells aren’t political lies – he lies about insane, non-political stuff.

    Trump got his start in this last round of politics by completely fabricating an utter lie about Barack Obama’s place of birth. Remember, not only did he say he thought Obama was born in Kenya, he said he had proof. He said he had sources. He said he literally hired people to find evidence and they gave it to him. It was all lies. He is just a complete, utter liar.

    To steal from a post I saw on Reddit (hat tip CaspianX2), people like Clinton, who was widely believed to be liar, change their opinions like a politician, shaping the message for their audience and moderating the message as needed. You can hate it if you want, but when you’re trying to appease diverse groups of people across the country, sometimes you need to water down your language, pander, or play semantics, and sometimes playing a complex game like that catches up to you.

    Trump doesn’t lie like a politician, Trump lies like a compulsive liar. He says the first thing that enters his head, and refuses to admit when he’s clearly wrong, even if the thing he just said completely and totally contradicts something he said earlier. He doesn’t just twist the truth, he invents it out of whole cloth, and often for no apparent reason.

    No one really makes a big deal about this distinction. But it’s really different.

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

      Trump goes beyond the Costanza meme of “It’s not a lie if you believe it’s true.”

      Trump doesn’t bother to believe what he’s saying. In fact, he can’t be bothered to believe anything beyond his own greatness in every way.

      Trump has transcended mere lying to reach a place where words literally mean nothing beyond their emotional impact upon his audience.

      • Harry Frankfurt’s distinction between lies and bullshit seems crucial here. Ordinary politicians lie. The president-asterisk bullshits.

        • It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction. A person who lies is thereby responding to the truth, and he is to that extent respectful of it. When an honest man speaks, he says only what he believes to be true; and for the liar, it is correspondingly indispensable that he considers his statements to be false. For the bullshitter, however, all these bets are off: he is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false. His eye is not on the facts at all, as the eyes of the honest man and of the liar are, except insofar as they may be pertinent to his interest in getting away with what he says. He does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose.

          One of the most uncannily accurate descriptions of the shitgibbon I’ve ever read. I’d suggest he’d read Frankfurt and decided to use this as a political strategy, but we all know he can’t read. Maybe Bannonazi explained the idea to him.

    • trollhattan

      Completely agree except fabricating birtherism. Recalling Trump is as lazy as he is dishonest, he glommed onto someone else’s idea and ran with it.

      • DamnYankees

        He may have glommed on to the idea of birthirism in general, but he’s the one who made up insane specific lies about having sources and sending people out to find proof. He couldn’t have been confused by that, or been the mark of someone else – those are personal, specific lies about his own activities.

        • trollhattan

          Oh yes, applying the usual Trumpian “11” to everything he touches/grabs.

      • nemdam

        Right he glommed onto HILLARY’S IDEA!

    • ploeg

      Remember back when Trump took the Republican position on abortion to its logical conclusion, and then backed off? The point is that Trump lies to make his audience happy and get them to sign on that line. That’s what Trump did with the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. That’s what Trump did with the GSA with regards to the Old Post Office. That’s what Trump did with the Republican electorate, and what I presume he’s doing with the Republican Congress.

    • Warren Terra

      The thing about Trump’s lying that people don’t seem to take note is that it’s not that he lies a lot for a politician – he lies a lot for any human on Earth. The lies he tells aren’t political lies – he lies about insane, non-political stuff.

      I think this ties into my deeply depressing theory about the Republican electorate: that they have become divorced from the real world, utterly enveloped in an all-encompassing and largely deliberately engineered cocoon of myths, lies, and promises that inculcate a self-reinforcing system of absurdities, falsehoods, resentment, and bigotry.

      In this context, lying to them constantly – doing it when there’s no need to lie, when the truth would serve your argument just as well, when the lying appears to be a completely unnecessary extra effort – is just sound practice. The goal isn’t just to convince them, it’s to distance them from the real world and so make it impossible for anyone whose arguments are grounded in the real world even to communicate with them effectively. The lies eventually serve as a shibboleth: anyone not sharing the lies is an outsider and not to be trusted.

      • DamnYankees

        The question then arises – is the only way to break out of this for there to be genuine catastrophe which shakes these people from their bubble? If not, what do we do about it? And if so, is that desirable?

        It took an ever mounting series of complete disasters for Bush to lose his popularity – Iraq, Katrina, the financial crises, torture, the US attorney firings, etc. Lots and lots and lots of shit. It took utterly disastrous governance with real world consequences. The result was the Democrats won the Presidency (by not that much, frankly), and then the GOP swept back into power just 2 years later. Even when the lesson was learned, it was very quickly forgotten.

        I just don’t have much hope.

      • efgoldman

        The goal isn’t just to convince them, it’s to distance them from the real world and so make it impossible for anyone whose arguments are grounded

        That’s true for Granny Starver and the other completely cynical RWNJ pols.
        Not for Apricot Asshole, though. He doesn’t think strategically; he doesn’t have any long term goals except grifting for maximum income; as I said above, when he tells a lie he believes it’s true – to him it’s just another applause line.

      • Derelict

        The goal isn’t just to convince them, it’s to distance them from the real world and so make it impossible for anyone whose arguments are grounded in the real world even to communicate with them effectively. The lies eventually serve as a shibboleth: anyone not sharing the lies is an outsider and not to be trusted.

        This will continue to work quite well until Grandma get the “balance bill” for her chemotherapy, grandpa’s Social Security gets slashed, and Mr. and Mrs. Fox Viewer discover they can no longer buy health insurance at any price.

        In other words, these are people for whom their own personal reality has to be a complete catastrophe that is directly traceable to GOP politicians and policies. Until they’re living in a cardboard box, they’ll be content to let Ryan’s band of vandals loot everything in the name of “freedom.”

        • Warren Terra

          I wouldn’t count on it. They’ll put the blame on the Democrats, or the Blacks or the Muslims, or on the Martians if need be. Or they’ll believe they have problems but they’re being saved from the worse problems some hated Others have.

          • guthrie

            That’s where the democrats have to have a history of opposing and saying what is wrong with the republican ideas, long and loud and clear.
            If they do like new labour in the UK, and say oh we’ll cut the deficit a bit slower and basically repeat the same economic nonsense as the tories but with a bit of caring for people on top, nobody will vote for them.

  • keta

    Yes, a known con-man lied his ass off, lied from dawn to dusk and then some more on Twiddler in the wee hours. Lies, lies, lies, an unremitting litany of mendacity. We all know how we got here.

    The much bigger question is – what now? Will the electorate, the people getting royally screwed after buying the big lies, say “geez, those guys are full of shit and my life is worse. Maybe I should consider my options here”? Or, will they buy into the lies stacked onto lies the Trumpites are employing to explain away the shortcomings of earlier promises? And who really speaks truth, anyhow?

    Waldman has a piece in the WaPo about pointing out how Trump and the Republicans are actively tearing down what he calls “neutral authority”:

    What’s the larger context here? This is straight out of President Trump’s playbook, one that tries to convince everyone that there’s no such thing as a neutral authority on anything. If the CBO might say your bill will have problematic effects, then the answer is not to rebut its particular critique, but to attack the institution itself as fundamentally illegitimate. If the news media report things that don’t reflect well on you, then they’re “the enemy of the American People.” If polls show you with a low approval rating, then “any negative polls are fake news.” If a court issues a ruling you don’t like, then it’s a “so-called judge” who has no right to constrain you.
    To Trump and increasingly to his Republican allies, there are only two kinds of people in the world: the ones who agree with them (who are the best people, fantastic, believe me) and the ones who don’t (who are losers and haters). There is no in-between and no such thing as neutrality.

    So yeah, a big fat liar won the presidency on the back of his big fat lies. That part’s fait accompli. The focus now should be addressing the rise of a “post-fact” nation the right is intent on making popular and normal. That’s what’s most fucking scary right now, and that’s what could fuck the US not just for an election cycle or two, but for much, much longer.

    • DamnYankees

      While I agree this is worrisome, it’s frankly too late. The attack on “neutral authority” has been happening for decades. This isn’t something new to Trump. The GOP has attacked courts, scientists, journalists, administrators, etc. for decades. The GOP base has no faith in those institutions. It’s not that Trump caused that – Trump is the result of that.

      • keta

        Yes, it’s been going on for decades. What I’m highlighting is the buy-in from the electorate. This Trump administration is going to establish whether Americans prefer to live in reality, or in a post-fact world.

        It’s obscene, and it’s unfolding before our eyes.

        • DamnYankees

          My only argument would be to say that I don’t actually think the electorate is all that different. Trump got a barely higher proportion of the voting public than McCain did. The question is whether or not the degradation to those institution is irreparable, but to me that’s an institutional question, not one about its effect on the electorate.

          • keta

            Good point. Maybe I’m confusing the further entrenchment of the credulous as expansion. Maybe.

            I do wish I could see some things that offered a glimmer of optimism, but it’s getting harder as time goes on.

            • DamnYankees

              I think the first opportunity for that will be the GA-6 special election. We’ll see what happens.

            • guthrie

              Judging by the number of people who didn’t vote, there’s a huge constituency of people who think the current system doesn’t have a chance of changing anything in their lives.
              Of course some have been vote suppressed, and others are so nearly destitute and busy and stressed that they can’t really work out who to vote for. But most would probably vote for some party or group of people who actually could change their lives for the better.

    • efgoldman

      The focus now should be addressing the rise of a “post-fact” nation

      Saw a short (time constrained) discussion the other nite, contrasting NBC’s both-sides broderism with CBS’ nightly reporting, no holds barred, on the lies.
      [They didn’t include Fox’ active mendacity, but it’s obviously out there, too).
      CBS is our news network of choice; silly me, I assumed they were all doing it.

  • jamesepowell

    Trump’s completely shameless lying was very shrewd politics, although it will be harder for him to pull it off as an incumbent.

    It’s not really that hard. All he has to do is run against a Democrat. That gives him an unshakable base of about 45%, plus the 3-5% that will vote for the Greens because there’s no difference.

    • In fact the Greens got just over 1% of the vote in 2016, and have never reached 3% in a presidential election, let alone 5%. Nader did get a hair under 3% in 2000. The idea that they will somehow break through in 2020 after four years of Trump seems a tad farfetched.

      • jamesepowell

        It’s hyperbole born of bitterness.

  • Joe_JP

    Ongoing: New York federal prosecutor Preet Bharara fired by Trump administration. Bharara early on was actually reportedly asked to stay on, but he was on a list of 46 prosecutors asked to leave.

    Preet Bharara‏Verified account @PreetBharara

    I did not resign. Moments ago I was fired. Being the US Attorney in SDNY will forever be the greatest honor of my professional life.

    The early request was confusing in that it looked like the Trump Administration made a good call. This is on that level reassuring.

    • Warren Terra

      Asking the outgoing administration’s US attorneys to leave is completely normal practice (indeed, I seem to recall a minor stink when a US attorney appointed by GW Bush initially refused to leave).

      That said: demanding they clear their desks by morning, with no successors named, is decidedly abnormal. It’s just bad administrative practice. Doing it the day after Sean Hannity demands it is, at the very least, not a reassuring sign.

      The stuff with Bharara in particular is just weird – but as a dedicated enemy of Wall Street corrupt practices he was never going to be a good fit.

      • Joe_JP

        Yes.

        See also, one of the diplomatic corps who retired after not being asked to stay on noting to Rachel Maddow that normal practice is to leave some people in until new people come in.

        But, since people don’t really know the inside baseball here, it looks worse how they did it here. And, this guy very well might not have made things public if he didn’t feel like he was being specifically screwed over.

        As you say, probably better for him personally to leave.

        • Sev

          This is all in line with the discussion above on destroying neutral authority as they plan on doing with all government agencies and what as much f the civil service so alarmed.

      • efgoldman

        It’s just bad administrative practice.

        Highly predictable after the last several weeks.
        I wonder if he’s going to allow Evil Leprechaun to appoint new ones, or just leave them vacant as he’s doing at state and elsewhere.

      • erick

        Yeah, the president will generally replace all the US attorneys but the usual way is to appoint the successors and as they are approved they take over.

        Having no US attorney’s in these offices is gungvti be chaos

      • TopsyJane

        The stuff with Bharara in particular is just weird – but as a dedicated enemy of Wall Street corrupt practices he was never going to be a good fit

        Bharara seems to have thought he’d fit, but he was plainly mistaken. He was probably asked to keep on because he was investigating Democrats, but now Trump is pissed at Bharara’s old boss and also Bharara is looking into Fox News – and maybe, in future, the Trump Organization.

        The Hannity timing is interesting and probably not coincidental, but at this point you have to consider that a pattern is developing – the same treatment was meted out to the ambassadors. As somebody told the Daily Beast, every Saturday is a Saturday Night Massacre for the Trumpistas.

  • nemdam

    It’s true that you could give voters a bit of a pass in not knowing that Trump’s policy agenda would align with the standard GOP agenda. But that means voters thought Trump was telling the truth, and there is no reason to give someone a pass for believing that.

    • efgoldman

      But that means voters thought Trump was telling the truth

      Some of that, certainly. There also seems, anecdotally, to have been a hell of a lot of “I didn’t think he really meant it.”

      • nemdam

        Which is even more inexcusable. “Sure this guy is a liar, but I can tell what he really means when he lies.”

  • Frank Wilhoit

    “…And, well, they have agency….”

    Yes, but they have surrendered their agency to a propaganda machine. Once anyone does that, they never get their agency back. This is not an excuse, as giving up one’s agency is at least as grave a moral crime as any particular use that one might make of one’s agency.

  • Downpuppy

    To make everyone feel better, somebody decided to try and collect an old debt from Cambodia.

  • Area Man

    To an extent, sophisticated political journalists always knew Trump was likely to break those promises.

    Apologies if this has been said, but…sophisticated? I’m neither a journalist nor highly sophisticated, but I could have told you that to the extent Trump kept any of his promises, it would only be either by accident or because doing so benefited the immediate interests of Donald Trump. A dead give away was that his promises were often contradictory, impossible to fulfill, and in many cases failed to make basic sense. Almost as if the guy making them didn’t know shit and simply promoted himself as a miracle worker.

  • e.a.foster

    he told them they were going to make American white again and deport all those Mexicans who came in illegally, who were such bad guys. Well he is working on that and deporting people who aren’t “bad guys”/ Then he got busy with eliminating health care they have been enjoying. They only heard what they wanted to hear. They didn’t think they were going to take away their health care only the health care of those who didn’t deserve it. So now they know, they aren’t in the club after all. He made them feel like they were part of his club, but not so much. they served their purpose and now they are welcome to die of whatever they can’t have treated by a doctor or hospital because they can’t afford it.

    it is amazing that a whole group of people in a country can be led to do something which is not in their own best interest so millionaires can keep even more of every body’s money. Oh, well next time, if they’re still alive, they may decide to vote for someone who might keep them in health care. those angry white voters are going to be even more angry when their grandchildren start dying because they don’t have health care any more.

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