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The American Political Order Is In Great Shape

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Your daily reminder that the President of the United States is a stereotypical Fox News watcher/premium lead for conservative spam marketers:

Trump advisers and confidants describe the president as increasingly angry over the investigation, yelling at television sets in the White House carrying coverage and insisting he is the target of a conspiracy to discredit — and potentially end — his presidency. Some of his ire is aimed at Rosenstein and investigative special counsel Robert Mueller, both of whom the president believes are biased against him, associates say.

Dianne Feinstein, top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said she was “increasingly concerned” that Trump will fire both Mueller and Rosenstein.

“The message the president is sending through his tweets is that he believes the rule of law doesn’t apply to him and that anyone who thinks otherwise will be fired,” Feinstein said. “That’s undemocratic on its face and a blatant violation of the president’s oath of office.”

Aides have counseled the president to stay off Twitter and focus on other aspects of his job. They have tried to highlight the positive reviews he received Wednesday when he made a statesman-like appearance in the White House to address the nation after Rep. Steve Scalise was shot during a congressional baseball practice.

Yet Trump’s angry tweets on Friday underscored the near-impossible challenge his advisers and legal team have in trying to get him to avoid weighing in on an active probe.

The man actually TiVos morning cable news wankfests so he can watch and yell at them in the evening. James Comey may think that standing up to Trump ex post facto means history will remember him fondly. but he’s dead wrong.

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  • dsidhe

    I gather he doesn’t think this way as a businessman, either, but someone might let Trump know that you have to earn credit before you can be discredited.

  • LeeEsq

    Somebody should just give Trump a bunch of pot brownies. It might improve things a lot.

    • dsidhe

      Trump? It’d just make him more paranoid. Pence, maybe, could use some.

      • LeeEsq

        Morphine works just as well.

        • dogboy

          Morphine suppositories.

          • Brad Nailer

            Administered by female nurses. At least until he knows how to do it himself.

    • Sly

      Hey, it’s how we got detente.

  • LosGatosCA

    And yet, 45% of the voters in this country voted for this evil, hateful POS moron.

    You are absolutely right on what should happen with Comey. Obama tarnished his own reputation as well.

    There’s really no good way to go forward from here. We can only hope RBG, Breyer, and Kennedy can stay alive and on the court until 2021.

    In the meantime resist as much as possible and hope 3 Republicans senators grow a social conscience.

    ETA: I realize the extremely low odds on the conscience thing

    • NewishLawyer

      And his popularity/approval rating hovers around 40-45 percent as well often enough.

      • JasonGWB

        …his approval has actually ticked up a bit this week.

        • humanoid.panda

          … and he is still a newly elected president with a good economy and a member of his party shit for political reasons mired in below 40 approval..

          • Q.E.Dumbass

            SUCH PWNÈD ALL WE

          • sharculese

            Seriously man, you need a new phone.

            • humanoid.panda

              Ok I think I am done posting for today..

          • farin

            a member of his party shit for political reasons

            I guess it’s a relief that they were doing it for political reasons, given some of the alternatives.

    • D. C. Sessions

      There’s really no good way to go forward from here. We can only hope RBG, Breyer, and Kennedy can stay alive and on the court until 2021.

      At the earliest. Remember, the Senate will also have to flip (assuming that the current Senate, just prior to turning over control, doesn’t reinstitute a full 2/3 vote to invoke cloture for judicial appointments.)

      • Murc

        assuming that the current Senate, just prior to turning over control, doesn’t reinstitute a full 2/3 vote to invoke cloture for judicial appointments.)

        They can’t do this.

        Well, I mean, they can, but it’d do them no good. The Senate decides on its rules at the start of every new Senate (that is, every two years) and those are always decided by majority vote.

        • D. C. Sessions

          The Senate decides on its rules at the start of every new Senate (that is, every two years) and those are always decided by majority vote.

          And for how long did the Democrats in the Senate long for the olden days of gentlemanly debate except for extraordinary issues which, very rarely, demanded the extreme resort to a filibuster?

          If the outgoing Republican majority reinstates the filibuster of yore, they’ll not only get a bunch of Democratic votes but also lots of Democratic votes to keep it that way when the Senate reconvenes in January.

          • wjts

            And they’ll probably keep McConnell as majority leader. You know those spineless Democrats are.

          • humanoid.panda

            LOL, no.

            • D. C. Sessions

              I’m glad you can laugh.

  • aturner339

    When Scott Adams was going on about persuasive genius my thought was always that Trump isn’t particularly skilled at persuasion but an ethos savant. He doesn’t manipulated his base.
    He is his base.

    • NewishLawyer

      And that is really dangerous considering the furor over the Public’s production of Julius Cesar which is a play about the ironic dangers of political violence. The conspirators murder Cesar to save the Republic but their actions end up hastening the demise of the Republic.

      All we have seen from the past few months is an escalation of the right-wing persecution complex and increasing amounts of butthurt. Plus craveness from the MSM with things like NBC giving Alex Jones the spotlight.

      What comes after Trump seriously worries me.

      • sharonT

        Tell me about it. I thought that Trump went up to, and then blew right past the line, using white nationalist rhetoric during the campaign. The other traditional GOP candidates were tagged as squishes because they couldn’t compete with DJT’s nonsense. Well, that base that ate that up will still be there in 2020, and they’ll probably be even more agitated because unified Republican governance still won’t deliver for them.

        I can’t imagine who’ll crawl out from the swamp to pitch his/her candidacy to them in the summer of 2019.

        • twbb

          “that base that ate that up will still be there in 2020”

          It will be smaller. Demographics won’t save us on its own, but it will be an increasingly important advantage going forward.

          It’s interesting that if you look at “what demographics change will mean for politics” stories over the past several years, most of them — well before Donald Trump was even considered as a candidate — tended to focus on 2020 rather than 2016.

          • D. C. Sessions

            It’s interesting that if you look at “what demographics change will mean for politics” stories over the past several years, most of them — well before Donald Trump was even considered as a candidate — tended to focus on 2020 rather than 2016.

            They also assumed that the actual voting population reflected the overall population. That is, to put it mildly, not clear.

            • humanoid.panda

              They assumed no such thing..

              • D. C. Sessions

                The changes in the overall demographics won’t matter if the nominally eligible population aren’t permitted to vote (one way or another.)

                • twbb

                  Vote suppression as it can be practiced in the current system is certainly a thing, but there are limits to what it can accomplish.

        • bender

          That would have been true even if Trump had been in contention for the GOP nomination until late in the process but had lost out to someone else, or if he had won the nomination but lost the general by a narrow margin. Trump demonstrated that a more disciplined candidate can use the same tactics to win in 2020. That is one of the most significant things Trump has done to date. Such a candidate, especially if he or she has a political program that goes beyond self-aggrandizement and corruption, and prepares for the campaign by putting together organized paramilitary support, might have and may still result in the election of an actual Fascist as president.

          Trump’s flailing attempts to exert power, and the way he is making enemies of a lot of interests that could have been enlisted to support him, may put off the It Can Happen Here scenario a few years beyond 2020. There is nothing inevitable about fascism taking over this country. We aren’t immune to its attractions, but we have countervailing values and institutions.

          More broadly, I have been wishing since the Berlin Wall came down that the end of the Cold War would give our nation an opportunity to retire the imperial presidency and become a normal republic with ordinary politicians occupying the White House, instead of figures whom journalists and other politicians routinely refer to as Commander-in-Chief and Leader of the Free World. There is no way that our culture and our electoral system can produce people every four years who can live up to what those roles require if they are more than ceremonial. What we have a right to expect is on average, mediocrity, with some presidents being a lot worse and a few being a lot better.

          So, be careful what you wish for. We have a president who is accelerating the inevitable relative decline of America’s power and influence in the world. I hope that the next elected president will be a graceful and canny realist, not an emulator of Mussolini or Putin.

          • twbb

            “Trump demonstrated that a more disciplined candidate can use the same tactics to win in 2020”

            I don’t know about that. Trump’s tactics are in large part a function of his lack of discipline. I don’t think it can be extracted out; if someone said the kinds of things he did as an intentional strategy I think it would backfire on them.

        • I can’t imagine who’ll crawl out from the swamp to pitch his/her candidacy to them in the summer of 2019.

          I wouldn’t be too surprised if Donald Jr., Eric, or Ivanka run. Wouldn’t be too surprised if one of them gets the nomination.

          I could also see David Duke and Alex Jones running. For the Republicans, the future belongs to nutbags, Nazis, and the Trumps.

      • What comes after Trump seriously worries me.

        What should be coming after Trump is the Erinyes.

        • bender

          I hear the beat of their wings.

        • Hogan

          Is Mueller investigating whether Trump has shed the blood of kin? Because that would be good to know.

      • Woodrowfan

        Think of a party of Corey Stewarts (the guy who almost pulled off getting the repub nomination in Virginia.)

    • Trump is not his base. His base is best represented by Ted Nugent. Trump is just the best they could get into office.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        Somewhere out there, Sarah Palin pines for more attention right now.

  • Derelict

    Trump does not believe the rule of law applies to him. And he’s right. As long as the GOP controls Congress, there is nothing he can do that will trigger impeachment.

    Republicans basically decided “eh, fuck this Constitution bullshit” back during Dubya’s reign of error. With Trump in office, they’re proving that the current GOP philosophy is “eh, fuck America. Burn this motherfucker down, then strip the shell of plumbing and wiring to sell to the salvage yard.”

    • Burn this motherfucker down, then strip the shell of plumbing and wiring to sell to the salvage yard.

      Huh. In my former bucolic corner of Massachusetts, more often it went the other way: strip plumbing and wiring from anywhere you can, then maybe (if it’s actually unoccupied) somebody will burn it down. This occasionally led to timely arrests, as when a couple of insufficiently local lads started stripping metal from atop one of the local schools without noticing that there were people up and about just across the street. Then there was that time some other lads somehow removed some rails from a local, not retired-from-service, railroad siding, managed to lug them to the local scrap dealer, and found out that there isn’t exactly a brisk retail market in such things.

      Who said today’s youth aren’t willing to put their back into their work?

      But, yeah, burning first does have its fans.

      • Happy Jack

        In Ohio they’re not smart enough to shut the power off before stripping the wiring. Naturally, this leads to unfortunate circumstances.

      • efgoldman

        when a couple of insufficiently local lads started stripping metal from atop one of the local schools without noticing that there were people up and about just across the street.

        The great Ed McBain (87th precinct novels) wrote many times that it’s a good thing criminals are so stupid, or none of them would ever get caught.

      • Davis X. Machina

        The Church of the Presidents (Quincy, MA) had boyos trying to strip the metal off the roof any number of times.

        Not easy to do given its location. On a triangular traffic island, in the middle of Quincy Square. St. Martin’s in the Fields-ish, for those of you who know London better than Quiny.

      • Colin Day

        But as Burt the Barbarian would say: Remember kids, pillage first and then burn.

  • Joe_JP

    Guy disgusts me but those who enabled him including by saying “yeah can’t vote for him, but Clinton is as bad, so I’ll feel special and vote for that bald dude instead” and these days are “concerned” and just continue to aid and abet him at the end of the day are sorta worse.

    • twbb

      If he gets bad enough, and Democrats offer a candidate who is portrayed even slightly to the economic left of Clinton (whether they are or not) I think a lot of those people will vote against Trump. As long as you give them an option that lets them remain the hero in the story in their mind.

      Cognitive dissonance is a hell of a drug.

      • D. C. Sessions

        If he gets bad enough, and Democrats offer a candidate who is portrayed even slightly to the economic left of Clinton

        Or to the right, north, east, west, south, clockwise, counterclockwise, or otherwise: is not Clinton

        Which isn’t to say that Clinton Derangement Syndrome isn’t transferable. Events of 17 years ago suggest that it is, and that a good bit of what favorable press Obama got was a direct result of him opposing Clinton.

        • wjts

          Which isn’t to say that Clinton Derangement Syndrome isn’t transferable.

          On the left, I absolutely suspect it will transfer to her adopted daughter Kirsten G. Clinton.

          • farin

            You’ve heard about Hillary’s black baby, right? I think she’s from another country, too.

            • efgoldman

              I think she’s from another country, too.

              Another planet or a parallel universe, more likely.

            • econoclast

              You mean Kamala H. Clinton?

              • farin

                The similarities are too strong to be ignored!

        • twbb

          Yes, but if they have a fig leaf — some thing they can point to that lets them say “hey, my vote for Trump was perfectly valid, now look at me voting for a better Democrat than Hillary, see smart guy?” — then that helps a lot.

      • FlipYrWhig

        I really don’t think it’s a matter of the “economic left.” What Democrats mostly need is a candidate who can’t be caricatured as shady or corrupt. The problem is that Republican media _machers_ are uniquely able to depict Democrats as shady or corrupt, as happened to Gore, Kerry, and Hillary Clinton. It also happened to Bill Clinton and Obama, but they both ran on youth and hope. Even Carter, to a degree, ran on being clean and hopeful. Kennedy DEFINITELY ran on that. Take that all together and it looks like the winning strategy is for Democrats to run on symbolism and youthful enthusiasm. I don’t think anyone has won an election on economic messages or vision since the Depression.

        • humanoid.panda

          FDR most resolutely didn’t win his first election on the basis of economic vision …

        • Phil Perspective

          I really don’t think it’s a matter of the “economic left.” What Democrats mostly need is a candidate who can’t be caricatured as shady or corrupt. The problem is that Republican media _machers_ are uniquely able to depict Democrats as shady or corrupt, as happened to Gore, Kerry, and Hillary Clinton. It also happened to Bill Clinton …

          When you have hangers-on like Rahm Emanuel, James Carville and T-Mac, it’s pretty easy to do. You’re forgetting the lessons of the U.K. though. The press there, including the left-leaning ones like The Guardian, were brutal to Corbyn for two years. Ever since he won the Labour leader job. Corbyn’s approval ratings were in the shitter as a result. And then May decided to call a snap election. What happened? May’s approvals took a nose dive and Corbyn’s went up sharply. Why? People saw Corbyn on the campaign trail and found out the caricature was inaccurate. In fact I’d venture to say that Corbyn is almost a natural campaigner. It helped as well that May avoided everyone but Tory donors. Anyway, the point is that it’s possible to overcome the GOP’s/Tories caricatures of Democrats/Labour politicians.

          • SNF

            Corbyn lost the election though. More people voted Tory than Labour.

            He just didn’t lose as bad as people thought he would.

      • cleek

        i don’t think Trump voters actually care about how left/right their candidate’s policies are. they don’t even know what the policies are. they just want to stick it to liberals because they think liberals ruined everything.

        • they don’t even know what the policies are“policy” is.

          Fixed.

        • D. C. Sessions

          they just want to stick it to liberals because they think liberals ruined everything.

          Of course liberals ruined everything. It wasn’t conservatives, because they’re conservatives. Which leaves liberals.

          • farin

            That’s science we can believe in!

  • furikawari

    Who made that image? I’m pretty sure that’s a logo for Goldline the curling supply company. Note the curling stone under the name…

    • Shantanu Saha

      Indeed. I wonder if the graphic designer who put those two images together understood that he(she?) was unwittingly committing an act of war on Canada?

  • D. C. Sessions

    James Comey may think that standing up to Trump ex post facto means history will remember him fondly. but he’s dead wrong.

    I make no pretense of being a historian, but I have never read of anyone who, having set a nation on the course to ruin, was treated kindly because of his later regrets.

    • farin

      The man’s dubious situational awareness has been noted on previous occasions.

    • Lev

      Hey, George W. Bush was mainly responsible for saving the economy he wrecked, so…best president ever?

    • jeer9

      There’s no way Comey comes out of this looking like anything but a tool. He broke well-established norms to push the Clinton E-MAILZ! nonsense, and he repeatedly behaved like a spineless twit in the meetings with Trump, refusing to act like the law enforcement officer he was, even though he acknowledges from the outset that he understood who Donald was and what he was capable of. He wanted to protect the office of President, even though it’s current occupant is an over-privileged, narcissistic child.

      And if Donald doesn’t threateningly tweet that he has a tape of their conversation, his usual bullying “I’ll make this unintentionally worse” approach, Comey probably doesn’t leak his contemporaneous memos which precipitate his firing and the hiring of a special counsel. The inquiry into Flynn and perhaps Kushner becomes a long drawn-out, sordid, tangled affair in which the President’s Mafia Don loyalty requests get forgotten by the investigator who’d really prefer to limit the scope of perceived wrongdoing and the incompetence of the person whom he helped get elected.

      But Donald is a FUCKING MORON and he won’t stop meddling and bitching and prodding others into actions they don’t want to take (GOP impeachment) until he’s managed to reveal everything illegal that he’s ever done in his entire life. It’s only fitting that the breathtakingly “new” information Comey received about Clinton that he felt needed to be publicized immediately has been followed by large swathes of suspected malfeasance that he’d prefer to have been left in the shadows. His reputation for rectitude is a mythology without a comprehensible narrative.

    • Gabriel Ratchet

      Just ask Colin Powell how well that turned out.

      • farin

        Powell then continued to run interference for the crooks he enabled, so he doesn’t even have the dubious claim to redemption that Comey does.

        e: And his email-related behavior last year was beyond contemptible.

  • Q.E.Dumbass
    • humanoid.panda

      Um, how would a random Twitter reform rabbi/ y re expert know what Trump is doing in Camp David ?

      • Q.E.Dumbass

        The news says he’s going there for the Father’s Day weekend. I couldn’t find a citation for the “no appointments for 60 hours,” but posted the link here, because, um…SHUT UP!!! (throws pocket sand in humanoid.panda’s eyes, scuttles away)

        • “but posted the link here, because, um…”

          Q.E. Dumbass is Louis Mensch’s LGM handle?

          • Q.E.Dumbass

            Of course not

  • wengler

    statesman-like appearance

    Is this what we call grandpa when he can go a couple hours without looking like a raving lunatic?

    • humanoid.panda

      The biggest irony in American life is that by far most prominent version of PC Policing is media making heroic efforts to pretend that neither Trump nor his supporters are delusional paranoid idiots

      • LosGatosCA

        delusional paranoid idiots And racist misogynistic POS

        That’s completely key to the “both siderism. ”

        The narrative breaks down if the press points out that one side wants to honor immigrants who helped build this country while the other side is equally compassionate in building a wall to keep out Mexican rapists with calves as big as cantaloupes. Just doesn’t resonate.

        OTOH, loud obnoxious students who don’t want to have their graduation celebrated with speeches from unindicted war criminals or campus invaded by neo-nazis – exactly the same as senile old white racists who want the gubbermint out of their Medicare.

  • ThresherK

    Wait, age of “stereotypical Fox News viewer” intersects with “person able to use TiVo”?

    • Hogan

      I think Bannon operates the TiVo. Or maybe one of Ivanka’s kids.

      • efgoldman

        Bannon operates the TiVo. Or maybe one of Ivanka’s kids.

        Wait! President Bannonazi operates Ivanka’s kids?
        Wott?

    • wjts

      He has staff for that sort of thing. He may not have a Secretary of the Army or Navy, but the White House TiVo Buttmonkey was there on Day One.

    • ThresherK

      Okay, I can believe either/both of those.

    • swaninabox

      My grandmother died almost 10 years ago, at the age of 86. And she loved her Tivo like she loved few things. I still have it, a series 2 sitting on my shelf with her last episodes of Oprah on it.

      Skipping commercials is a powerful drug.

  • Harkov311

    Maybe it’s just because I’m on of those darn kids these days (34 years old), but good God, I can’t imagine watching any of that cable news ranting without having that Clockwork Orange device holding my eyes open. The idea that so many people actually want to watch that nonsense kind of depresses me. Even if it were liberal-biased ranting I still wouldn’t want to watch it.

    • In theory I should enjoy Maddow’s show but my reaction is always basically just the Monty Python “Get on with it!” segment. I think her target audience is people who don’t follow politics as obsessively as most of this blog’s regular commenters do, though.

      • farin

        In the same way, the Food Network is for people who never cook and Home & Garden viewers are mostly not flipping houses.

      • Brad Nailer

        Maybe so, but I’m obsessed with politics and I like her drawn-out intros because I know she’s going to make a point, eventually, that nobody else is making. What makes her show different is that she’s not afraid of background and she assumes her audience isn’t either.

    • LosGatosCA

      The typical Trump voter is a physical or mental shut in. Faux news keeps them comfortable in a reverse Truman Show experience. Don’t leave your bubble, don’t change the channel, don’t go outside because the angry blacks, bitchy women, immigrant rapists, PC police, coastal elites are just waiting to steal your money, take your guns, make you pretend to be a kind human being, you know really nasty stuff.

      Not much else besides cable and Springer to keep the final synapses misfiring without causing a complete electro-chemical meltdown. For example, those white folks in Indiana voting for Trump are emotional 12 year olds going on 85. Passing by emotional maturity, meaningful experience, acquired wisdom and arriving straight at pre-mature senility.

  • howard

    every so often i try to step back and compare the current situation with the nixon decline and fall from sweeping victory in 11/72 to resignation in 8/74.

    what strikes me the most currently is that during most of that period, despite the enormous stress of lying and covering up illegality, nixon was, in fact, able to govern. it wasn’t until the very end that he started to round the bend.

    but now we have trump going round the bend already, without any intervening period of at least governing, and as a result, the government is completely adrift already.

    and then i decide to stop thinking about it.

    • D. C. Sessions

      and then i decide to stop thinking about it.

      Odd — that’s the most comforting thought I have today.

    • efgoldman

      we have trump going round the bend already, without any intervening period of at least governing,

      Would we expect him to run a hundred-meter dash? To replace a faucet? To gap and insert a spark plug? To write a novel (actually write, not ghost write)? To make a painting like Picasso’s? To write a score like John Williams or Leonard Bernstein?

      Of course not. He doesn’t have the skill, knowledge, talent, or brains to do any of those things.

      Why, then, would you expect him to govern?

      Whatever Tricksie Dicksie was, he was a hugely talented and experienced politician, with two decades (more or less) of experience in government when he was elected president.

      • Colin Day

        In D & D terms, was Nixon Lawful Evil and Trump Chaotic Evil?

        • farin

          Like the self-consciously clownish player who insists on his character punching horses and breaking windows, Trump is Chaotic Stupid.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        Bur Donald makes onnnne non-ranting teleprompter speech and all of a sudden he “Donald the Presidenr” for the rest of his life!

    • CD

      Finally a President to make us nostalgic for RMN, who was at least ashamed to be a crook.

  • Q.E.Dumbass
  • MDrew

    I mean, who’s to say what “history” remembers? It gets it wrong, we might say, all the time. You can write what you want on your blog and by doing so, who’s to say that’s not what “history” is remembering?

    But broadly, no, I don’t think history is going to remember James Comey as responsible for Trump becoming president.

    • Barry_D

      “But broadly, no, I don’t think history is going to remember James Comey as responsible for Trump becoming president.”

      Remember, there’ll be a lot of people who can’t allow that to be remembered. Starting with 100% of Republicans, most of the MSM, and a fair number of Democrats.

      Collectively, *we* don’t want to admit that the Federal Police quite deliberately swung an election.

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