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Mend your speech a little

[ 268 ] August 8, 2017 |

La Rochefoucauld’s aphorism that “we sometimes think we hate flattery, but what we hate is merely the way it is done” is obviously not a universal principle:

Twice a day since the beginning of the Trump administration, a special folder is prepared for the president. The first document is prepared around 9:30 a.m. and the follow-up, around 4:30 p.m. Former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and former Press Secretary Sean Spicer both wanted the privilege of delivering the 20-to-25-page packet to President Trump personally, White House sources say.

These sensitive papers, described to VICE News by three current and former White House officials, don’t contain top-secret intelligence or updates on legislative initiatives. Instead, the folders are filled with screenshots of positive cable news chyrons (those lower-third headlines and crawls), admiring tweets, transcripts of fawning TV interviews, praise-filled news stories, and sometimes just pictures of Trump on TV looking powerful.

What a pitiful excuse for a human being.

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  • John Griffone

    How the fuck did anyone ever fall for this imbecilic bullshit artist?

    • TheBrett

      Failure of imagination plus news bubble. I honestly do not think anyone anticipated just how . . . bad it was going to be, and most of the people who voted for him only hear news through the conservative media bubble filter and don’t know.

      • Daniel Elstner

        I think some people may actually have been too good at imagination. They actually imagined him to be a closet reasonable!

        • liberalrob

          Projection is a double-edged sword.

      • They still don’t. Do you know how well the whole “unemployment lowest ever” “stock market highest ever” and “I just brought 1000 jobs to x” works on these people? It boggles the mind that before (during Obama, never mind participation rates) as unemployment was going down they were claiming the numbers were made up but immediately seize them when it suits them. Not a hint of knowing exactly what they were claiming as false is now true. Seriously, it’spretty scary stuff. Assuming it’s all over for Dumdum is a mistake (as it always was)

        • humanoidpanda

          Given that his approval is about 35 percent, I seriously doubt if the people you describe are a very dominant block.

          • Incogneato

            How is 35% not a dominant bloc? That’s most of the way to a majority. That only leaves 15% of the voting population that needs to be fooled into voting with them.

            • YNWA40515

              Or scared into, or outraged into, etc.

            • Daniel Elstner

              Indeed. What makes me wary is that these numbers mirror the situation during the primaries. But despite their protests, in the end nearly all of the Republican rank-and-file voters folded in the general election. I don’t see why it couldn’t happen again.

          • How much of that includes likely voters. He had a low approval rating to begin with

    • TJ

      Ever hear of HL Mencken?

      • tsam100

        He was obviously from the future.

    • tsam100

      That’s a good question. If he didn’t peg all your bullshit meters from the first word out of his mouth, you need to reexamine your life and choices.

      • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

        I saw a sign (handmade and gigantic) in front of a farm in rural NJ saying “TRUMP / PENCE
        No more bull**it!!!”

        and remember thinking that exact thought.

        • liberalrob

          Instead, we got horse-puckey.

    • They, too, are imbeciles.

      • Thirtyish

        Also true.

      • deplorably so

    • Daniel Elstner

      Among other reasons: self-defeating cynicism. You won’t believe how many people told me, even after he won, that surely his entire personality and campaign was just an act, and he would definitely be more reasonable in office, or at least let the grown-ups take over.

      Some people are just too clever by half, and believe their undifferentiated cynicism to be wisdom.

      Trump actually campaigned directly on that notion. Everyone is corrupt! So why would you care if I may be corrupt too! Vote for me because I share your simplistic view of the political class!

      • humanoidpanda

        I’ve had numerous students tell me about that
        1. Trump is a moderate because he is pro gay and doesn’t care about abortion.
        2. It was ok not to vote because our state is so blue.

        3. We live in Pennsylvania.

        • Daniel Elstner

          Trump is a moderate because he […] doesn’t care about abortion

          Your students are probably right about that. What they failed to realize is that “not caring” cuts both ways. Same wrt gays.

          We live in Pennsylvania

          Ouch.

          • humanoidpanda

            Notably, the students were all men.. ( have no idea whether straight or not …)

            • Per our own rfm, using argument 3) with a straight face should merit the death penalty.

            • Stella Barbone

              I guessed that they were men.

              I was driving to work early one Saturday morning and passed a bunch of men milling about in a gynecologist’s parking lot. Without seeing their signs, I knew they were protesting abortion. It’s a guy thing.

        • Thirtyish

          I would love to know* what “pro-gay” means to them.

          *Not really

          • everstar

            I’m a straight woman, but at a guess, “pro-gay” means “Not Mike Pence.”

            • Origami Isopod

              “Won’t have them shot in the streets. What, they want more than that? SPECIAL TREATMENT!!

          • njorl

            Willing to ignore the existence of gays if it means making significantly more money.

          • DrS

            I’ve run in to plenty of pro Trump gays. They’re out there.

            • Origami Isopod

              And?

          • mattmcirvin

            What it meant to the Trump campaign was “Hates Muslims”.

      • JMP

        Who cares if Trump is an unstable narcissistic madman who is abusing the office to profit his own companies, all politicians are just the same, and Hillary was accused of doing something vaguely bad with her emails which makes her equally corrupt!

        • liberalrob

          Plus she gave speeches to Goldman Sachs, which shows she’s in the pocket of Wall Street.

          • JMP

            Luckily no one from Goldman Sachs has any influence in Trump’s administration!

            • Ithaqua

              I’m not actually sure that anyone has any influence in Trump’s administration, he just does whatever he feels like doing at the moment. Not saying that’s better, mind you…

      • everstar

        For me, the assumption that his entire personality/campaign was an act begged the question of why. (Also how, since I don’t think even classically trained actors can stay in character that long, especially in a situation as taxing as running for president.) What good would it do him? His base would almost certainly reject him if he turned into a regular politician, meaning he’d basically have to start over from scratch if he wanted to run for a second term. Seriously, what super-cool eleventh dimensional chess move am I overlooking in thinking it’d be a lot of effort for almost no gain?

        • Daniel Elstner

          They also somehow overlook that people usually aren’t like that. At least in my experience, most people are not able to hide their entire personality all the time, with flawless consistency.

          Maya Angelou: “If someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

          • everstar

            Exactly! Especially when they’re under a lot of stress, which is one of the hallmarks of a presidential campaign. The difficulties of running for office almost guaranteed that we were seeing Trump’s genuine character. Not that knowing he was going to be awful really makes it any better. I guess my Onion headline would be: “Local Woman Knew Face-Eating Leopards Party Was Bad Idea; Irked Her Face Will Be Eaten Regardless.”

          • YNWA40515

            But, see, that just means he’s authentic.

            The cynicism of many Americans is apparently so deeply conditioned that they would refuse to believe even the most virtuous candidate is not simply pretending/pandering. It’s already been pointed out ad infinitum with respect to the countless spurious allegations hurled at Obama by the RWNJs. We struggle to understand how anyone could believe so much evidence-free nonsense. Various strains of good old fashion tribalism no doubt are mostly to blame, but I think the persistence of belief in such nonsense can be explained by the fact that many of these people simply refuse to believe any politician wouldn’t be guilty of something.

            I don’t half-wonder if some percentage of the population would happily cast a vote for a serial killer–provided this person uttered the correct political shibboleths, and with the GOP’s “platform-by-bumpersticker” approach, that wouldn’t be too hard–simply because you already know the worst about a serial killer, and besides, those people probably had it coming. As long as you keep the various sharp things away from him going forward, he’ll do fine.

            So why not vote for a piece of human garbage like the current occupant? “Underneath all that awfulness there must be something that would make him a good choice, otherwise he wouldn’t be running for President. And all those other people seem okay with him, so really, why not? Hillary’s bound to be corrupt, if for no other reason than the fact that she refuses to admit it! Which means she’s probably just that much more corrupt.”

            • Daniel Elstner

              But, see, that just means he’s authentic.

              Yeah, that is kinda paradoxical. Because, in a certain sense, the statement is true: He’s an authentic imbecile bullshitter. But if you believe that (as I do), it would be insane to vote for him!

              Gleeful cynicism could make you do that. Stop worrying and love the Trump!

              • YNWA40515

                “Stop worrying and love the Trump!”

                Toss in a dash of “He hates the same people I do!” and I suspect you’d have the entirety of the psychology of over half of his base.

        • gyrfalcon

          (Also how, since I don’t think even classically trained actors
          can stay in character that long, especially in a situation as taxing as
          running for president.)

          Look, if Barack Hussein Superallah Obummer can spend eight years hiding his Kenyofascist Islamomarxism baby-eating behind the mannerisms of a well-spoken scandal-free President, then why can't Certified White* Guy Donald Trump spend eighteen months on the campaign trail playing the part of an incompetent foul-mouthed cretinous criminal boor, only to emerge as a True Statesman the moment he takes the oath of office?!?!? Answer me THAT, libs!

    • Aaron Morrow

      Given that the one constant among all the the random noise from Trump has been the explicit bigotry, I’d say he’s delivering the goods.

      If there was a more competent candidate who delivered the goods, he’d have won.

    • The Great God Pan

      It’s not like he ran on being humble. His admirers probably think this is great.

      • He ran on many things, said many words and it worked. He ran on being an insider who was tired of the bribes he was forced to make as a businessman and was here to change that.

      • N__B
    • LeeEsq

      Don’t know, yet they do. Its almost like a super villain power. Contractors know that Trump never pays but they line up to do work for his projects in hopes that they will be the one that gets paid. Its like Trump is sort of test sent by God to test humanity’s greed.

    • keta

      Let’s be honest. Trump is as American as baseball, apple pie and your Mom:

      I want to suggest something else entirely that helps explain the love for Republicans and Trump in the supposedly old-fashioned precincts of the South, Midwest and West. I want to suggest that beneath or beside these so-called “traditional” frontier values — which we ourselves promote so self-aggrandizingly — there’s another set of values, no less American, and probably much more so. According to some historians, they, too, were forged on the frontier as a form of survival.
      They have nothing to do with the Protestant ethic — quite the contrary. They are not values of virtue but of success, promoting deception and the fast con, easy cash, hustling and the love of money. If the first set of values might be called “Algeresque,” after Horatio Alger, the popular 19th-century American author who wrote stories about poor ragamuffins rising to great wealth through hard work, this second set might be called “Barnumesque,” after P. T. Barnum, the 19th-century promoter, hoaxster and circus impresario, who played on his countrymen’s gullibility.
      As Michael Winship wrote on this site recently in astutely pointing to Trump’s hucksterism, Trump is a chip off of P.T. Barnum’s block. I’d like to focus here on something else: Unfortunately, he isn’t the only one. For all our pieties about the benefits of hard work and decency, this is far more Barnum’s country than Alger’s, which may be the Democrats’ real problem. If anything, they are too virtuous for their own good, too beholden to moral values.

      Now it took a special set of circumstances to see Trump elected president of the United States, but let’s not anyone kid themselves that he’s some sort of American anomaly. To a regrettably large swath of the American electorate Trump represents all that they most admire about their country.

      • Thirtyish

        Yes. Even though I never in a trillion years thought he’d actually clinch the nomination, let alone be elected POTUS, back in the summer of 2015 I found myself trying to explain this to some relatives (in vain, as it turned out, as they didn’t believe/accept what I was saying). It hardly bears repeating at this point, but Trump coming along wasn’t an accident, and it can’t be entirely blamed on the mechanics of our electoral process, or basic Republican venality, that he was elected.

        • NicknotNick

          Absolutely not — Trump has to be looked on as a sign that at a fundamental level the mechanism we have for choosing our leaders is broken. He’s clearly not the best, in fact, probably close to the absolute worst we could have — a mechanism that chooses someone like him isn’t functioning.

      • JMP

        “They have nothing to do with the Protestant ethic — quite the contrary.
        They are not values of virtue but of success, promoting deception and
        the fast con, easy cash, hustling and the love of money.”

        I like the equivocation of the “Protestant ethic” with that of virtue, continuing the bigoted insistence that only Christians can be virtuous – and in this case, excluding Catholics and Orthodox Christians as well.

        • Princetonlawyer

          “Protestant work ethic” is a specific historiographical trope, and not necessarily complimentary to actual Protestants. In that context, “virtue” has a particularized meaning, as well, and does not mean that Protestants are more virtuous–“better,” or “more good”– in the generalized sense of the word. In fact, the Protestant “virtue” led men away from spirituality, from contentment, from an appreciation of all things other than gain for gain’s sake (i.e., to prove one’s predestiny).
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Protestant_Ethic_and_the_Spirit_of_Capitalism

        • Thirtyish

          I like the equivocation of the “Protestant ethic” with that of virtue, continuing the bigoted insistence that only Christians can be virtuous

          And not only that, but arguably the most smug, irritating, self-righteous brand of Christians there are.

      • I believe HST defined this group well when he covered Nixon: used car salesmen, or something to that effect

        • BiloSagdiyev

          “If the current polls are reliable… Nixon will be
          re-elected by a huge majority of Americans who feel he is not only more honest and more trustworthy than George McGovern, but also more likely to end the war in Vietnam. The polls also indicate that Nixon will get a comfortable majority of the Youth Vote. And that he might carry all fifty states… This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it — that we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable. The tragedy of all this is that George McGovern, for all his mistakes… understands what a fantastic monument to all the best instincts of the human race this country might have been, if we could have kept it out of the hands of greedy little hustlers like Richard Nixon. McGovern made some stupid mistakes, but in context they seem almost frivolous compared to the things Richard Nixon does every day of his life, on purpose… Jesus! Where will it end? How low do you have to stoop in this country to be President? ”

          – Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72

          While I have my qualms about the good doctor on a handful of issues, to include his suicide and how he went about it, I am glad that he didn’t have to see all of this.

          • Yes there it is. Thanks. Well his words would help right now

          • FlipYrWhig

            McGovern made some stupid mistakes, but in context they seem almost frivolous compared to the things Richard Nixon does every day of his life, on purpose

            This is probably the most astute take yet on… the 2016 election.

          • YNWA40515

            Never mind, didn’t see FlipYrWhig below.:)

          • Origami Isopod

            what a fantastic monument to all the best instincts of the human race this country might have been, if we could have kept it out of the hands of greedy little hustlers like Richard Nixon.

            This country was founded in great part by greedy little hustlers like Richard Nixon. “A shining city on a hill” is so much bullshit.

      • MikeG

        D. T. Barnum.

    • AlexSaltzberg

      The Republican party said he was good.

      They had many opportunities to fully reject him, but they wanted to play cute and keep the racists that he was bringing in.

      The media embraced Trump because it provided ratings.

      CNN could have kept with conservative commentators who said he was bad. But then they hired Jeffrey Lord and Trump’s campaign manager. Empty podiums were more exciting than talking about Trump’s policies. Trump drove coverage — the post-DNC and debate media was driven by pundits arguing about Trump’s reaction.

      The voting coalition he assembled was happy to vote for someone being honestly racist.

      This is the “in on the con” people. They knew he was a terrible person. But he was a terrible person who would make other people suffer. But, since racism is a bad thing, the American media conversation around Trump’s racism can’t exist unless he says a bad word.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        Yes. The absence of burning cross, funny costume or armband, or N word = Not a racist! Ugh.

    • Thirtyish

      Your average person is a gullible, gullible sap. I’m sorry, but it’s true. The voting public by and large does not pay attention to politics on any deep level, and when someone comes along and grabs their attention and purports to be one of them, they don’t often dig deeper until it’s too late.

      • econoclast

        I understand that about someone like George W. Bush, but Trump is obviously a fraud and a con artist. Used car salesmen have greater grace and subtlety. I don’t see how you can function day-to-day in the United States, which is chock full of frauds and con artists who want to take your money, and not see that.

        • NicknotNick

          Yeah, but consider the fact that used car salesmen, televangelists, and like types thrive in great numbers.

          • BiloSagdiyev

            Exactly. My working theory is that these methods may seem crude and obvious and pathetic, but the salesmen would abandon them if they weren’t working.

        • addicted4444

          Yeah, but he played a smart guy on TV.

          That is who Hillary was competing against.

        • aab84

          In all seriousness, I think most commentators massively, massively underestimate the importance of the Apprentice in all this. For a very large chunk of the population, the character he played on the show is (or at least was on election day) who he is in real life.

    • DN Nation

      I know a bunch of wingnut idiots who, if they had the means to hire someone to do it, and the fame to make it relevant, would totally be down with some flack handing them headlines about how awesome they were.

    • King Goat

      Most people don’t like Trump. He just had to more popular (well, electorally) than Hillary Clinton, which was a low bar.

      • Daniel Elstner

        The point is that it shouldn’t have been a low bar. Particularly not for him.

        • King Goat

          Politics isn’t much about ‘should/shouldn’t.’

          But my point should be an optimistic one. The nation’s not rotten. Trump only snuck in because we ran an unusually poor candidate against him. As long as we don’t do that again in 2020 we should send him back to his golf courses and Twitter.

          • Daniel Elstner

            But the question wasn’t about political maneuvering. It was about how people could fall for this imbecilic bullshit artist.

            • BigHank53

              Do you watch a lot of TV? I mean a LOT, like turn the thing on at 7 am and don’t turn it off until 11 pm. Because you might have seen Trump play an extremely talented and successful businessman* on a reality TV show. That’s what most low-information voters knew–hell, know–about Trump.

              *That’s what it says right on the label.

          • NicknotNick

            Jesus Christ, man, I didn’t like Clinton, but she wasn’t an unusually poor candidate! No worse than Kerry, Gore, Dukakis, Carter, Humphrey, etc. Sheesh.

            Many politicians are elected without being world-changing political talents, and the Democrats have a long history of running well-meaning clods who would make competent Presidents. Clinton is just a somewhat better-qualified version of your standard Dem. standard-bearer.

            • BiloSagdiyev

              A ladydemiclod?

            • King Goat

              I like that you list a bunch of losers (Carter, who squeaked by post-Watergate Ford the exception) to exonerate our offering this last time out.

              More importantly, she actually was historically bad in more or less objective terms. We’ve never ran someone with those unfavorables or who was under an active investigation as I detailed. Never. Those are facts.

              • WinningerR

                Get used to it. In today’s media environment, it may be a long time before we see another nominee from either party without such “historically high” negatives.

            • Daniel Elstner

              Many politicians are elected without being world-changing political talents, and the Democrats have a long history of running well-meaning clods who would make competent Presidents.

              So much this. It’s particularly odd from my German perspective, as we expect politicians to be kinda boring. Both Obama and Clinton are far more charismatic figures than, say, Angela Merkel, who appears to be cruising into her fourth term now.

          • JMP

            Ah yes, back to the “Trump only won because we ran a candidate who SUCK because even though she’s extremely smart, talented, dedicated, honest and ethical, she doesn’t have a penis plus I irrationally hate her which means everyone hates her, therefore she’s horrible!!”

            Hillary Clinton was awesome, she was not a poor candidate.

            • King Goat

              She had historically high unfavorable ratings from decades of attacks aimed at her, a history of bad relations between her/Bill and the press and was the subject of a felony investigation supervised by a lifelong official of the other party. Those are heavy albatrosses politically to hang around one’s neck.

              • NicknotNick

                Trump had higher unfavorability ratings, relations between himself and the press that were unprecedentedly hostile, and was the subject of official investigations into whether he was a Russian asset or not.

                • King Goat

                  Yes, and it was very close, wasn’t it? All the metrics show that both parties gambled with poorly liked candidates. But someone has to win even when the Jags play the 49ers… Oh, and the latter wasn’t known to the public until after the election, sadly.

                • NicknotNick

                  One of the reason that Clinton lost was a persistent narrative that the party had weighted the scales for her — what exactly are you proposing the party should have done, in order to defeat the candidate that was chosen by that party’s voters? Can you imagine the gigantic albatross that would have been to any other candidate?

                  “Yes, Mr. Sanders, I’m sure that you’d make a great President, not sure why, though, since you couldn’t even win your primary without the DNC sticking its long nose into mix. Ladies, I just want you to know that it makes me want to puke the way the Democrats dealt with the most qualified woman to ever run for President, shoot, the most qualified person, just because they couldn’t handle an actual popular contest. I defeated 16 different Republicans and the national party came crawling to me when I was done. Vote for me, I won’t sell you out like the DNC.”

                • King Goat

                  That Clinton had a lot of things that any sane person would recognize as political drawbacks is one thing. How to keep someone like that from being our nominee is another. One doesn’t have to prove anything on the latter to establish the former (no one seems to even be contesting the former, just saying how ‘unfair’ they all were. Well sure, I heartily agree! But what’s ‘fair’ and what’s politically smart are often two different things, we ignore that at our electoral peril).

                • NicknotNick

                  So your point is that the Democrats ran with the candidate who won their primaries, and there’s nothing to be done about that, but you didn’t think the candidate who won was good enough but you won’t recommend anything that can be done about that but you’re going to point out over and over and over and over and over and over and over that they weren’t good enough?

                • FlipYrWhig

                  No, the point is that people who liked Hillary Clinton and waited for her to run for 8 years should have put all that aside because by pretending not to like her someone else would run who would be better and they could vote for that person and be vindicated retroactively when that person won, which they should have known in advance Hillary Clinton wouldn’t, because she was bound to be less popular later, duh.

                • NicknotNick

                  I love the argument from anachronism

                • King Goat

                  All the problems with Clinton were obvious to anyone who wasn’t almost willfully closing their eyes to it. What’s amazing is now, after it was all confirmed with her historic loss is people here *still* closing their eyes!

                  Historic unfavourables and being the subject of an active felony investigation are general, abstract big time red flags regardless of the particular candidate. If that’s the best our nominating process can deliver then he’ll yes we need to think long and hard about what can fix that.

                • Daniel Elstner

                  All the problems with Clinton were obvious to anyone who wasn’t almost willfully closing their eyes to it. What’s amazing is now, after it was all confirmed with her historic loss is people here *still* closing their eyes!

                  You are essentially just swapping our bashing of Trump voters with your bashing of Democratic primary voters. What good does that do? It’s perilously close to the notion that only Democrats have agency.

                  Political calculation aside, I think that a large chunk of the electorate being barking mad is the elephant in the room that has been ignored for far too long already.

                • King Goat

                  We’re not the only ones with agency, but the only thing we can really change are our own processes and thinking. Why focus on the GOP processes and thinking? We can only bitch about that, not act.

                • Daniel Elstner

                  In the short term you are probably right about that, but I still think there is a larger cultural problem that definitely needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

                  Admittedly I have no idea how to do that. Obama was probably the best you could hope for if you deliberately set out to find a charismatic candidate with the intellect and the demeanor needed to heal American culture. And yet, it actually got worse despite his efforts.

                  I think it will be a long time until another Obama comes around, so you’ll have to find some other means besides a charismatic presidential candidate to fix this.

                • King Goat

                  I don’t buy that our culture is worse than it was in 92 when Clinton turned things around or even 2008 when Obama won. We just ran an unusually bad candidate.

                  It’s unfair, but Hillary just has had likability issues for a long time (remember Obama’s jibe about this). To our credit, the reasons she has these issues don’t resonate with most Democrat party members. But this had the unfortunate result of making her a candidate with much appeal to the party but little to the general electorate. When that happens we have to be smart and disciplined and think better outside our particular world views.

                • Daniel Elstner

                  Well, I’m not an American, so I need to tread carefully when judging your political culture. But it does seem to me that things have certainly come to a head since then.

                  The right openly characterizes this fight as a cultural war (Flight 93 election!), and I think they are unfortunately right about that.

                  There shouldn’t be so much at stake in every election. It’s unhealthy. I mean I never voted for Merkel, but I don’t think it’s the end of the world if she wins another term (sigh). It shouldn’t require a charismatic presidential candidate just so you can keep your healthcare.

                • Tehanu

                  “Historic unfavourables and being the subject of an active felony
                  investigation are general, abstract big time red flags regardless of the
                  particular candidate.”

                  The part you left out was, an investigation instigated by your political opponents that ended in failure to find anything. Just sayin’.

                • King Goat

                  I think Democratic voters can make really bad choices sometimes and they did so here. I mean, I can’t imagine you’re pleased with the results, are you?

                  I’m old enough to remember Democrats gleefully lining up behind Dukakis and Mondale. They were all the things (hardworking, competent, dedicated) people have inaptly pointed to in defending the choice, politically, of Clinton.

                  It was only after twelve years in the wilderness we smarted up and thought ‘well, Simon is dedicated, competent and liberal, but maybe this Bill guy from Arkansas with a different approach and actual charisma is the way to go.!

                • King Goat

                  Again, it’s like you think a Browns fan can’t complain about the terrible QB situation there because they started the best of the sorry QBs on the roster they ended up with. That’s goofy.

                • ColBatGuano

                  I like that you imagine a different Democratic candidate wouldn’t have been subjected to a shit ton of abuse to drive down their favorability ratings. I mean Dukakis and Kerry got the kid glove treatment right?

                • spork_incident

                  Given the current situation how about this: fuck off. Just leave. Now.

                  .

              • JMP

                She actually had extremely high favorability ratings before the attacks began again when she started running, and remember that the supposed felony investigation into her was obviously complete and total bullshit just like every single phony scandal Clinton, whose actual record is completely clean, has ever been accused of.

                But please, keep repeating the exact same bullshit constantly, that doesn’t get super tiresome at all. We know; it’s all the part of the Democratic voters for refusing to vote for some imaginary perfect candidate who didn’t run.

                • King Goat

                  1. Her unfavourables were consistently in the 50’s as far back as Oct 2015.

                  2. The ‘obviously bullshit’ really proves my point. Politics is about popular perception, not objective truth. You and I may have found it to be ‘obvious bullshit’ but most people did not, and that’s predictably so! It’s historic for a major party candidate to be under a publicly known felony investigation during their nomination.

          • Robbert

            I’d like to refer you to the Rude Pundit’s latest:
            http://rudepundit.blogspot.nl/2017/08/your-stupid-fight-about-whos-better.html

          • Helmut Monotreme

            She was only “unusually poor” if you ignore the existence of every other Democratic candidate. She was the most qualified candidate nominated by Democrats in decades. The reasons people give for her being ‘unusually poor’ apply to most every other Democratic candidate that ran, or could have gotten the nomination. The only thing that was unique to Hillary was the 30+ year campaign against her by the usual gang of idiots.

            • King Goat

              It’s hilarious that to the response that she was *politically* a bad choice people keep pointing to her objective credentials apart from popularity. WTF? We’ll never win an election again with this type of thinking.

              • NicknotNick

                How can she be a politically poor choice when she won a decent majority of all Democratic votes, and a majority of votes in the actual election?

                What is your definition of ‘political’?

                • King Goat

                  Jesus think about what you’re saying. By your logic here McGovern was ‘politically’ an excellent choice for the Dems in 72. You’re too smart to say that kind of thing.

                • NicknotNick

                  Did McGovern win a majority of votes in November? Why did you ignore that little detail about Clinton?

              • NicknotNick

                You know, King Goat, I didn’t particularly care for Clinton either. When she lost I was disappointed and blamed her. I still do, somewhat — I’m sure that she made tactical decisions and practical mistakes that could have altered the outcome. However, I also recognize that:

                – a LOT of people were disappointed in the outcome, and they don’t all agree on what she should have done. That means that my own confidence in my opinion is based on my own opinion of myself. Maybe everyone doesn’t want to hear my monomaniacal analysis over and over.

                – the counterfactual, like all counterfactuals, has LESS support than a simple opinion about what Clinton should have done. There is no reason at all to think that Sanders would have done better. Every strength of his over Clinton was balanced by a weakness.

                – skilled analysts — better than myself or you — have demonstrated that a true black swan event, the intervention of the FBI, was decisive. There was no reason at all to predict that this would happen.

                I’m just curious — are you able to understand that it is possible to think several things? That Clinton holds some responsibility for her defeat; that the FBI holds quite a bit more, by expert analysis; and that it is profoundly silly to expect voters to parse on the one hand the possibility of a poor decision being made by a candidate and on the other an unprecedented illegal intervention by an intelligence agency? Is it your opinion that you’re smart enough to have seen these in advance, and everyone else isn’t?

                • FlipYrWhig

                  I still can’t fathom why his argument isn’t “She shouldn’t have run in the first place” but instead something like “When she ran, the large number of people who liked her shouldn’t have voted for her.”

                • sibusisodan

                  You don’t get the same frisson from more-sorrow-than-angering the idea that an entire electorate should just retire from public life voluntarily.

                • humanoidpanda

                  Sorry to say, but this is a problematic argument. You don’t vote for the person who you like most. You vote for person most likely to win. And in retrospect, Hillarys weakness with young voters was a huge red flag that I know I missed.

                • FlipYrWhig

                  In the King Goat scenario Hillary shouldn’t be in the race because she’ll obviously lose, but Bernie Sanders shouldn’t be in the race either because _he’ll_ obviously lose, and then with neither one of them in the race someone else will get in and surge to the front and be popular with… somebody, maybe everyone? Who knows, it’s a dumb game. But as I’ve said before I’m old enough to remember when “electability” was supposed to be the most establishment-y sellout kind of logic there ever was. The Deaniacs particularly hated it. I don’t see why we’re supposed to keep outsmarting ourselves by playing card games based on what we think other people think, as though that never shifts.

                • Ithaqua

                  …and in retrospect, James Comey’s desire to placate the Republican Party at any cost was a huge red flag that I know I missed.

                • King Goat

                  Yeah, I didn’t. He was a lifelong Republican, donated to McCain, Romney…again, this was all public knowledge.

                • NicknotNick

                  Sure — and Sanders’s weakness with black voters was a huge red flag. Red flags abound. That doesn’t make them compelling arguments post-hoc.

                • King Goat

                  Why is it so strange for you to contemplate that a bunch of your fellow party members might have made a bad choice? I mean, is every candidate who wins every primary a good choice in your opinion?

                  The people who participate in primaries are a small subset of who eventually vote in generals. It’s not uncommon for them to pick a candidate who was not the best in the subsequent general that they could have.

                • FlipYrWhig

                  Oh, no, definitely, it makes perfect sense that the problem with Hillary Clinton’s candidacy was that she was too popular with primary voters, who should have pretended not to like her so that someone else would run. That’s how politics has always been transacted in America.

                • YNWA40515

                  Forget about it, it’s King Goat.

                • King Goat

                  It’s not about being smarter than anyone. There are lots of people here smarter than me here, I enjoy their comments daily. But even smart people can make bad decisions, and things like identifying with a candidate for reasons of the heart over the head are often to blame. The fact is that before Clinton lost I was saying she was a bad pick. Lots of others here ridiculed that. Now, they were wrong. And I could care less about *who* was wrong and right, but what amazes/dismays me is that the same people aren’t even thinking they were wrong *now!* That makes me think this kind of motivated reasoning is just going to continue with more bad choices and more electoral defeats until people learn in a very ‘hard way.’

              • addicted4444

                I wish Bernie Sanders is the next Democratic candidate so that the Republicans can paint him as a child sex fantasizer and he gets crushed by the opposing Rwpublican candidate and we can finally stop heading from some of his more deranged “supporters” (not really, since most of them were anti-Hillary more than they were pro Bernie).

                • Thirtyish

                  Oh, believe me, we would most certainly *not* stop hearing about him if that hypothetical came to pass. Bernie cannot fail, he etc.

            • FlipYrWhig

              Anyone who doubts whether Donald Trump could possibly be genuinely impervious to fact, logic, and argumentation, to the point where he just keeps repeating things that weren’t accurate or smart the first time and refuses to think differently because he’s just so sure of himself that the time for thinking has come and gone, could spend a day with King Goat.

              • jim, some guy in iowa

                always remember that when crunch time came King Goat wanted to relitigate the primaries. His own political judgment leaves *much* to be desired

                • King Goat

                  Jim here thought HRC was a winner.

                  I didn’t.

                  One of us was correct.

                  But it’s my political judgment that’s questioned…

              • NicknotNick

                Or, bases their entire thought on a simple tautology.

              • SatanicPanic

                I honestly don’t know why people bother

          • Peter Thomson

            Well, since 1980 you have been governed as President for around half the time by seriously incompetent people (one B grade movie actor with a history of selling out, one privileged frat boy, now Trump). It’s killed a lot of people. So maybe there’s something systemically rotten?

            • N__B

              I blame the democrats for running such terrible candidates as Reagan, W, and DJT.

            • bender

              OTOH, we haven’t had two seriously incompetent presidents in a row for nearly a hundred years. Might be dumb luck; might be some soundness in the system. Then again, we might get Pence as Trump’s successor.

    • kaydenpat

      Obama Derangement Syndrome.

    • farin

      They’re dimwitted racist trashgoblins who would literally rather see the world destroyed than let life for non-rednecks improve at all. And hell, no one’s going to bother nuking the inner-American fentanyl fields, so what do they care? Those city dwellers had it coming.

    • david spikes

      Because if they could be president this is how they would behave.
      As Trump so memorably said. . . “Who knew it would be this hard?”

  • Charles S

    “What pitiful excuses for human beings.” We must include Trump’s toadies in this equation.

  • The President of the United States–the most powerful man on Earth–needs constant reassurance of his greatness. And not just from his staff, as this story indicates. And not just from crowds of fawning Trumpen-mensch. He also needs to hear it from his own mouth, which is why we will be hearing about his amazing unprecedented overwhelming amazing fantastic gigantic electoral college win for the rest of his life.

  • PotemkinMetropolitanRegion

    ::barfs in mouth a bit::

  • TJ

    How do you spell narcissist?

    T-R-U-M-P

  • Sentient AI From The Future

    This fucking guy.

  • Sentient AI From The Future

    This means that Chris Cilizza is going to be promoted to the head of, I dont know, Reuters or something, doesn’t it.

  • Lost Left Coaster

    This same pitiful human being who needs his daily folders of leader worship is threatening North Korea with “fire and fury” today.

    I don’t know where this is going, but it is not a good place.

    • Rob in CT

      He effectively took a NK press release, ran it through google translate, swapped countries and tweeted it. This is where we are now.

      • No puppet. You’re the puppet!

        • NicknotNick

          No fire! You’re on fire!

          • No Fury! [points] They’re the Furies!

          • farin

            It’s Fine.

      • Lost Left Coaster

        Yeah, that’s it, in a nutshell.

        I wonder to myself if he consulted with South Korea’s leadership, or even US military leaders in South Korea, before making the “fire and fury” remark, but of course I already know the answer.

        • Hypersphrericalcow

          Considering that we *still* don’t have an appointed ambassador to South Korea, the smart money says “no”.

    • McAllen

      Dammit, who let TJ talk to Trump?

      • David Allan Poe

        Are we absolutely certain they aren’t the same person?

    • Philip

      Fortunately I will likely die in the initial blast when the nuclear toddler stumbles into a nuclear oopsie with the DPRK because he can’t be bothered to learn deterrence theory

      • Stella Barbone

        I’m trying to decide if I’m close enough to 32nd St. I want to be melted by the blast, not badly burned.

        • Philip

          Better either than radiation sickness, though. The people downwind probably have it the worst.

      • Drew

        I try to stay positive. Nuclear holocaust means no more billable hours, or student loans. Downside: radroaches, mirelurks, raiders, and Super Mutants.

    • DN Nation

      Can we strap every doughy mbut-Trump-is-actually-the-Peace-Candidate tub of intellectual goo to every rocket shot in the soon to be horrific conflict?

    • The Great God Pan

      Many people are saying MSNBC warmongers pushed Trump to threaten North Korea. Sad!

      https://twitter.com/adamjohnsonNYC/status/895009017491324932

      • Lost Left Coaster

        What in the hell…omnipotent MSNBC strikes again!

        • NicknotNick

          I dunno — there are normal standards of responsibility, and then there is what you do in a national crisis, and they aren’t the same. If I was an editor of a major news outlet, and I published material that Trump read, I think that I SHOULD have a responsibility to think about what his reaction to my stories might be. It doesn’t matter that I shouldn’t have to do that, the fact is, he’s crazy and my stories affect him, and whatever affects him affects the world.

          When he does something insane it won’t be my fault — but I’ll think about whether I was part of the chain of it happening.

      • McAllen

        “First you got mad when he ignored you being on fire, then you got mad when he started cutting your leg off. Make up your mind!”

  • MattF

    I suppose he keeps them all– they’re going to form the basis of the Trump Presidential Library, after all.

  • NeonTrotsky

    Trump may very well have run for the presidency solely for the title, to gain another plaque to hang on the wall in one of his golf resorts. We should all pause for a moment to let that sink in.

  • TheBrett

    Reminds me of how even keeping briefings to 5 minutes and using visual aids wasn’t enough to actually get him to pay attention in meetings – his aides had to sprinkle his name in there every so often.

  • “You are so beautiful, my Baron. Your skin — love to me. Your diseases — lovingly cared for for all eternity!” https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e8ae9eadcf0fbf38496a7253f6b3020f56c25e52103dc590eb9cfe701ebbced7.jpg

    • Hypersphrericalcow

      Upvoted, but not in an entirely good way.

      • When I thought of Priebus or Spicer fawning over this narcissistic, repugnant excuse for a human being, this was my first thought.

  • Steve LaBonne

    Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal
    officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress
    may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate
    and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written
    declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and
    duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the
    powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

    • You forgot the next part, though: “Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written
      declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and
      duties of his office…”

      If you think a 25th Amendment removal would last more than an hour, you’re delusional.

      (And the part after says the VP and majority of the Cabinet can counter Trump’s resumption of office, but that takes a 2/3 majority of both houses of Congress to confirm. Which isn’t going to happen.)

  • tsam100
    • Rob in CT

      Hands are too big.

      • wjts

        And the hair’s not stupid enough.

        • NicknotNick

          Colour not implausible enough.

    • LeeEsq

      Holy Greek mythology Batman, where is Heracles when we need him.

    • On days when there aren’t enough positive chyrons, communications staffers will ask the RNC staffers for flattering photos of the president.

      • wjts

        “Flattering photos? FLATTERING photos? HAVE YOU SEEN HIM?”

        “No one said the job was easy, son.”

        • The Great God Pan

          Must be old photos from his college days. They just add some orange and tell him they’re from the other day.

        • Hypersphrericalcow

          You know how some stars insist that they only be photographed from their “good angle”? To get a good angle on Trump, you would need to be using non-Euclidean geometry.

          • tsam100

            This is the real reason for another Mars mission? To plant a camera that will get good photos of Trump?

      • BiloSagdiyev

        And if they run out of those, some good photos of his favorite daughter.

      • tsam100

        To which they reply: LOL. K.

  • SomeTreasonBrewing

    Sometimes, on slow news days, the folder takes the form of a West Wing scavenger hunt, with clues and prizes along the way, usually in the form of framed photos of various Russian bank facades.

  • LeeEsq

    Most fascists are made of sterner stuff emotionally. Trump can’t even get that right.

    • Deborah Bender

      Most authoritarians can order giant statues of themselves erected all over the place. Trump has to content himself with phony Time Magazine covers.

  • howard

    what i can’t figure out is why i didn’t take it for granted that this was the case: it’s so trump.

  • i was hoping it would say “And in each folder is a special treat: a butterscotch, starlite mint or sometimes a watermelon Jolly Rancher.”

  • LeeEsq

    The Deep State (very concerned civil servants) moves against Trump but continues to fail miserably because the Gerrymander is a mighty beat protecting Republicans who protect Trump.

    • “Beware the Gerrymander, my son!
          The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
      Beware the Emolument bird, and shun
          The frumious Fillibuster!”

      • wjts

        “The claws that catch, the jaws that bluster” would preserve the rhyme.

      • LeeEsq

        Republicans will not move until they get their tax cut.

  • Bob Loblaw Lobs Law Bomb

    Everyday, it finds some way to get just a tiny bit worse.

    • NicknotNick

      You’re gonna look back with fondness on the days when it only got a tiny bit worse.

      • LeeEsq

        Hemingway’s comment about bankruptcy might also apply to fascism.

        • NicknotNick

          Or nuclear holocaust

    • JerryRich

      Here on Pacific Daylight Time, I can usually make it through the morning, but something always happens by PM to make me reach for the anti-depressants.

      • wherewhich the werewitch

        What are these take-as-needed antidepressants you’ve got at the ready? Mine all say take daily and wait 6-8 weeks for any kind of result.

        • The secret is taking 6-8 weeks’ worth of pills at once.

          • wherewhich the werewitch

            This is a strange sort of joke, the type only told by someone who by fortunate circumstance is neither personally nor familially familiar with what happens at the end of a 72-hour mandatory hold.

            Having put it that way, let me put it another: did you **intend** to make a “you oughtta commit suicide” joke to someone you barely know anything about, except that they take anti-depressants?

            • I made my comment as one with both personal and familial familiarity with the regrettable fact that there are no “take-as-needed antidepressants” (and that, often, after 6 to 8 weeks nothing has gotten better; so, on to the next one). I did make it on what appears to be the erroneous assumption that you were building on JerryRich’s (apparent) joke by further drawing out his (I assumed, and still assume) humorous hyperbole for what I took (wrongly) to be your own joking purposes. I did not make my comment as a “you ought to commit suicide” joke directed at you, or at him, or at any particular person; to my mind (and my ear) it was (and continues to be) an ultimate escalation of the hyperbole, along the lines of Humpty Dumpty’s reply to Alice:

              ‘I mean,’ she said, ‘that one ca’n’t help growing older.’

              One ca’n’t, perhaps,’ said Humpty Dumpty; ‘but two can. With proper assistance, you might have left off at seven.’

              I regret having triggered you.

        • Ithaqua

          Mine says “Courvoisier VS” on it.

          • wherewhich the werewitch

            *grins*

            Now see here, Lee, this is how you make a proper joke of it.

    • LeeEsq

      TrumpTV launched today and its apparently as bad as any other state-propaganda television channel. Putin at least had enough good taste not to name is propaganda after himself.

    • JMP

      Look on the bright side; Trump also just promised “fire and fury” against North Korea, so it may be about to get a lot worse, particularly for the people of Seoul.

    • TheBrett

      And in such a way that it swamps whatever came out before. Remember stuff like the Comey firing? It felt like it happened years ago.

  • One White House official said the only feedback the White House communications shop, which prepares the folder, has ever gotten in all these months is: “It needs to be more fucking positive.” That’s why some in the White House ruefully refer to the packet as “the propaganda document.”

    he is a great man.

    • NicknotNick

      god-damn this anonymous representative of the Deep State, undercutting Trump by commenting on his habits and intellect

      • i hope it’s Priebus, slowly dribbling out all the crap he had to deal with.

  • NicknotNick

    And now we all learn the lesson that needed to have been internalized prior to 2016 — namely, that stability and caution are virtues in a powerful State, whether it has a global rival or not; and that should it find itself without said rival, in a condition that may superficially appear to be that of Victory, it yet needs to maintain the prudence and common sense that it exercised while in conflict.

  • sibusisodan

    “What did you do in the Trump administration, dad?”

    “…Just…paperwork, son. Typical paperwork. Entirely normal. Now let us never speak of this again; hand me that bourbon.”

  • everstar

    Good Lord. Pavlov’s dogs didn’t need this much positive reinforcement. I wonder how much of it is spurious?

    • Thirtyish

      Pavlov’s dogs achieved object constancy, unlike Emperor Tangerine.

  • randykhan

    This comes as no surprise at all. I mean, c’mon, did anyone really think that Donald Trump, whose entire life has been built around getting people to tell him how great he is – who just as recently as this weekend crashed a wedding at one of his country clubs so that he could bask in adulation – wasn’t collecting all the positive stories about himself to confirm his greatness?
    Heck, I bet he keeps all of the folders somewhere special, so he can go back and look at them when he’s feeling down. The one for the day after his big speech to Congress probably is getting creased and worn by now.

    • Bob Loblaw Lobs Law Bomb

      I thought that guy who wrote his name on everything in giant capital letters would have been more even-keeled about himself once he got all the power in the world.

  • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

    In a previous life, I worked for an olderl high roller type (former sports agent) who was the most Donald Trump like person I’ll ever meet. He did this exact same thing. It’s called a clipping service, PR agencies do it, you can subscribe to it, it’s pretty common

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      a guy *does* like to think the President is either above this sort of thing or just too damned busy for it though

      • NicknotNick

        Yeah, a clipping service is for people whose work depends somewhat on their rep. Trump is President.

    • Hypersphrericalcow

      I used to work for a PR-related firm, and a big part of the modern “clipping service” is delivering *bad* news as quickly as possible, so that your PR team can react to it. If people are calling for a boycott on your product, you want to know about it! A CEO who insists on only hearing good news will usually drive his company into the ditch very quickly.

      • NicknotNick

        SO WHAT’S YOUR POINT?

  • NicknotNick

    I feel that we have absolutely no idea at all how much the systems that we rely upon to live depend on stability, and just as importantly, the assumption of stability. I can’t even express this thought adequately, because I don’t understand the underpinnings of all the things that I use and depend on — it’s the same feeling I get about an American default, which can be both insignificant in real terms but revolutionary as a ‘possibility’. So much of the world is based on an assumption of American stability, what happens now that we aren’t? I don’t think that there’s a good answer yet.

    Personally, I find Trump very destabilizing — just by existing as President, he makes a lot of the things I care about seem contingent or petty. Like now, with his threat to lay waste to North Korea, reading that causes my daily work to seem kind of trivial and pathetic, as if my time would be better spent building up my hoard of canned beans and peanut butter. The world is a stupid place, it’s as if we have the most expensive car but gave the keys to a baboon.

  • Bluesmank

    ‘Former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and former Press Secretary Sean Spicer both wanted the privilege of delivering the 20-to-25-page packet to President Trump personally, White House sources say.’

    Ok, Trump, POS. A known-known.

    How do you become one of the slack jawed sycophants who fight to deliver the ‘special folder’ to this…this… creature in the People’s House?

    • Robbert

      20 to 25 pages? His briefings on matters of world importance can’t exceed one page, including pictures, or he’ll tune out but once the subject is “hey, you’re so great!”, suddenly he does have an attention span after all?

      • sibusisodan

        Good spot. Ugh.

        • NicknotNick

          Large font, lots of space after pictures, big captions, just get four pages, then print them five times, put in nice clear plastic binder.

          • BigHank53

            Screen capture with a nice headline chyron uses a whole piece of paper, and five or six words is all he’s gonna read anyway.

      • Robbert

        Thinking about it some more, this can’t be right. 20 pages with positive news about Trump, twice a day? It just can’t be done.

        • Hogan

          It’s not like he’ll remember if they reuse stuff.

          • wjts

            He also wouldn’t realize that the Trumpton Tribune-Gazette isn’t a real newspaper.

        • JMP

          Fox “News” is on 24 hours a day, and places like Breitbart, The Daily Caller and Stormfront run new stories fairly often.

    • McAllen

      The best is that fighting over who got to be the slimiest toad helped neither of them.

    • DrS

      If anyone sees Priebus or Spicer, please point and laugh at them for me.

    • Daniel Elstner

      Simple. When it comes to Trump, you definitely want to be the bearer of good news.

  • NicknotNick

    Anyone here ever read A Swiftly Tilting Planet? This is like that, only it’s not some angry South American dictator, but us.

    • wjts

      Kennedy:Camelot::That man:Camazotz.

    • So we need to find a saintly underaged genius and pray for him?

      • Lurking Canadian

        Also a flying horse.

  • LeeEsq

    But her emails.

  • Bloix

    I’ve found that it’s hard to over-flatter. I have watched open-mouthed as people shamelessly toady in the grossest, most obvious ways to superiors who bask in it.
    Trump isn’t unusual because he enjoys flattery. What is rare about him is that he needs it, continuously, to the point that he commands it. This is not normal.

    • Daniel Elstner

      I don’t know. Part of what makes a good leader is to not be that easily manipulated. I am reminded of Maxine Waters recent reaction to Mnuchin’s attempt at flattery… “Reclaiming my time!”

  • SomeTreasonBrewing

    “The White House will not officially comment on the bombing of a Minnesota mosque because it may be a hate crime faked by a liberal, according to Trump national security adviser Sebastian Gorka.”

    https://thinkprogress.org/white-house-defends-silence-on-mosque-bombing-says-it-might-have-been-faked-by-liberals/

    they have an office full of people working all day on this stupid folder, but they can’t come up with a comment on an act of terrorism on US soil because the wrong type of people may be the perpetrators for the wrong type of reasons. we are in good hands.

    • McAllen

      The Infowars Presidency

    • farin

      As one would expect from someone as irredeemably stupid as Herr Doktor Professor Sebastian v Gorka, PhD, KKK, his excuse doesn’t even make sense on its own terms. They don’t want to condemn an act of terrorism because it might have been perpetrated by their political opponents? Ya, OK.

      • BigHank53

        Pretty sure a crime is a crime, and it’s not that hard to put out a statement condemning it, regardless of the suspect’s identity. Gorka won’t condemn it because he approves of the crime.

        • farin

          Right, but his damp-tissue-thin excuse is that he doesn’t want to condemn it because it might have been a false-flag operation to discredit his party. He apparently approves of bombing mosques so much that he won’t speak out against it even if he thinks it’s intended to hurt him. That’s dedication!

  • Mr__Neutron

    I love La Rochefoucauld, even if he drastically and single-handedly lowered my opinion of humanity by pointing out how so much of our behavior is based on vanity and amour-propre. The Oxford World’s Classics edition of his Maxims is the most complete collection in English. La Rochefoucauld also lead a fascinating, active life, battling against Cardinal Mazarin and the Queen during the Fronde. Sadly his complete memoirs remain untranslated, but Morris Bishop’s The Life & Adventures of La Rochefoucauld is a good biography and even incorporates the maxims into its text.

    • Van Buren

      My favorite has always been, ” One of the tragedies of life is the murder of a beautiful theory by a brutal gang of facts.”

  • kaydenpat

    This article would almost be funny if Trump wasn’t in such a powerful and consequential position. But we always knew that he was an egomaniac so there’s that.

    • NicknotNick

      It would almost be funny if it weren’t first horrifying, then after reflection, terrifying, then terrifying and horrifying together, then a mixture of these combined with mounting nausea followed by waves of overpowering despair.

      • Resistance Fighter Astraea

        The daily experience of the year 2017.

      • McAllen

        It’ll probably be funny to the sapient cockroaches in a few million years.

  • In unrelated news, the Wichita lineman just hung up the line.

    • Anna in PDX

      Just saw this. Expecting a Loomis post in the next day or so. :(

    • BiloSagdiyev

      His suffering is over, thank goodness.
      Unfortunately, the rest of us remain here…

  • Deborah Bender

    OK. Our elected President is irrational and stupid and might be suffering the early stages of senile dementia. He has to be managed like a spoiled child.

    Now that we are certain of that, what is to be done?

    • Aaron Morrow

      Fight to win some damn elections.

      2017: New Jersey and Virginia (possibly North Carolina, but unlikely)
      2018: mid-terms
      2019: Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia

  • BiloSagdiyev

    It’s 5:00 somewhere, so I’ll go Godwin, dammit!

    This is just a notch away from daily rushes of combat footage being flown from the Russian front so that Hitler could watch them and get off on it it in whatever way it was he got off on that stuff.
    (Somehow I suspect the thrill was gone at some point as the front kept moving west towards Berlin.)

  • mattmcirvin

    Particularly favored courtiers get to be present at Le Lever Du Soleil.

    • Lurking Canadian

      That’s exactly the image that came to me, too.

  • sibusisodan

    Imagine the scandal in five election cycle’s time when it turns out one of the nominees isn’t taking the Daily Narcissism Brief every day.

  • Bitter Scribe

    I don’t know what’s more pathetic–that Trump needs his ego stroked like that, or that Priebus and Spicer fought over doing the stroking.

  • Xer

    I remember my youth, when I was naive enough to believe that democracy protected countries from being run by lunatics like George III or Christian VII. But even Trump’s doctor is whackadoo!

    I give up on reality. From now on I’m going to pretend that this is all just the worst episode of I Claudius ever.

    • Daniel Elstner

      It usually works, but not if half the demo are themselves lunatics.

  • Synykyl

    … What a pitiful excuse for a human being …

    Not as pitiful as the people who put together that special folder for him.

  • david spikes

    This is what his Presidential Library will consist of; newspaper clippings, chryons and tweets.

  • rea

    La Rochefoucauld bears a strong physical resemblance to my college roommate from about 1973

  • Lee

    Back when W was president and he used to talk about how ‘only historians would be able to judge his presidency’ I used to say that if I had one wish it would be that for just one day I wish he was forced to have genuine self-awareness, I never thought I’d see a politician or frankly even a person more in need of the ability to critically self-assess and then along came Trump

    Maybe it’s a conservative thing, even the #neverTrump right are incapable of acknowledging their role in creating this monster

    • BiloSagdiyev

      I used to grit my teeth every time W. or his noise machine used that line. Yes, historians will judge you. Just like future carpenters will use tape measures before cutting 2×4’s. It’s what they do. Now let’s get back to your ignoring pre-9/11 intel because it had sissy Democrat cooties all over it and what you used 9/11 for and, of course, New Orleans. If you think future historians will overlook that, you’re dreamin’.

      Also, if you think getting us neck deep in the big sandy over oil will look wise in the distant future, that’s about as genius as overthrowing Pinochet because we’re going to need a lot of copper to link all of the computers of the world together. It seemed like the thing to do at at the time, eh?