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Trump’s cognitive deficits

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Jon Chait flags yet another terrifying transcript of a Trump conversation, this one with the Prime Minster of Austria or Australia or one of them countries.

Tl;dr: PM tries to explain a very simple refugee policy that a 12-year-old of normal intelligence would understand after about 30 seconds of exposition. (This is not hyperbole). Then he tries again. And again. And again. Trump never gives any evidence of understanding anything he’s being told.

What’s the matter with this guy? Some possibilities (these are not of course mutually exclusive):

Trump is so narcissistic that he can’t focus on anything other than himself for more than a few seconds, unless it’s something in which he has a compelling pre-existing interest: a category which apparently includes golf, the genitalia of young women, and not much if anything else.

If we want to try to get technical, this itself comes across as a form of attention deficit disorder: specifically, he often gives the impression of having the attention span of a fruit fly, which of course makes it impossible for him to learn anything (Getting this guy to actually read a three-page executive summary is probably equivalent to trying to get Bart Simpson to do a book report on Being and Time).

There’s a powerful negative synergy at work here, in that his ADD is compounded by his impatience with any subject he doesn’t know much about, which again appears to be basically everything other than a couple or three topics, none of which are germane to the execution of his current job.

In addition, Trump’s narcissism, if that’s what underlies all this, manifests itself constantly as some sort of florid compensation for what appears to be a deep psychic wound or wounds, that he frantically tries to cover up with his continual, extraordinarily socially inappropriate insistence that he is the most talented, impressive, beloved, and admired person he has ever met. The Boy Scout convention incident is typical: Trump insists to reporters that he got a standing ovation that lasted five minutes after he left the stage. (Set a timer and try to applaud for five minutes. A friend of mine who is a historian of the Soviet Union tells me of the agonizing problem encountered by Soviet officials at the end of any Stalin speech, to wit, who was going to be the first person to stop applauding. No doubt North Korea’s elite faces a similar problem today).

If this wasn’t enough, he then invents a completely imaginary phone call from the head of the organization, in which he’s told it was the greatest speech ever given to its members. And this isn’t some one-off incident: Trump does and says things like this all the time.

Trump’s rambling, often incomprehensible style of speech has led to speculation that he may be suffering from early stage dementia (he’s 71, so this isn’t particularly improbable).

People sometimes compare Trump’s mental abilities and deficits to Reagan and Bush II, but this seems to me to be a radical understatement of the gravity of the situation. It’s true that Reagan did seem to manifest some serious cognitive slippage toward the end of his presidency, and that Bush the Lesser was intellectually incurious in the extreme. Peggy Noonan once celebrated the latter quality in a column that is perfect distillation of right-wing anti-intellectualism:

Mr. Bush is the triumph of the seemingly average American man. He’s normal. He thinks in a sort of common-sense way. He speaks the language of business and sports and politics. You know him. He’s not exotic. But if there’s a fire on the block, he’ll run out and help. He’ll help direct the rig to the right house and count the kids coming out and say, “Where’s Sally?” He’s responsible. He’s not an intellectual. Intellectuals start all the trouble in the world. And then when the fire comes they say, “I warned Joe about that furnace.” And, “Does Joe have children?” And “I saw a fire once. It spreads like syrup. No, it spreads like explosive syrup. No, it’s formidable and yet fleeting.” When the fire comes they talk. Bush ain’t that guy. Republicans love the guy who ain’t that guy. Americans love the guy who ain’t that guy.

Yet neither of these men ever exhibited anything close to the complete train wreck that is Trump’s mind, if you want to call it that.

This isn’t some snarky joke about stupid right-wingers: it’s a physiological-political crisis that is rapidly reaching, if it hasn’t already reached, levels that ought to bring the 25th amendment into play.

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  • twointimeofwar

    //which again appears to be basically everything other than a couple or three topics, none of which are germane to the execution of his current job.//

    If you were to ask the GOP, many would indicate that female genitalia are a large part of their job, what with all the regulating abortions and women’s health matters… not to mention whichever genitalia are permitted into the women’s bathrooms.

  • Xer

    Our president raises absolutely imperative questions that we must find the answer to:

    Who are the local milk people?
    Why does Malcolm Turnbull hate boats?
    Why does this whole thing make me think of the “he hates these cans” scene from The Jerk?

    • StrokeCityFC

      “Why does this whole thing make me think of the “he hates these cans” scene from The Jerk?”

      Woah. This the second time today (on a completely different website) I’ve seen this reference come when discussing this incident.

      Odd.

    • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

      He’s reliving his childhood. I’m > 10 years younger than Trump, and I can remember when we used to have home milk delivery. He thinks the milk delivery companies still exist and are hiring.

      • Thirtyish

        Then again, he also thinks that tweets are official policy and that he shouldn’t be bothered with overlooking legislation before he endorses it because reading’s such a drag, man.

        • Megalovanian

          Hey, he’s got things to do all right! Fox News ain’t gonna watch it self!

      • El Guapo

        They still deliver milk – we get weekly delivery of milk and dairy products from a great farm in MA. It really does taste better than store-bought.

    • The Great God Pan

      “The local milk people” seems to be some kind of Mayberry-esque fantasy of American life where you get milk dropped off on your front porch every day. Apparently his concept of American life outside of Manhattan and Mar-a-Lago is derived entirely from old TV shows, which is why he’s so alarmed by the idea of Latinos and Middle Easterners living amongst Normal Americans. How can Mayberry be Mayberry when there’s a taco truck on the corner and a halal butcher just opened up? And I overheard Mr. Willikers telling Norma Mae that the new milkman is some kind of Ay-rab from Australia?!?!

      (Yes, I know that milk delivery has made a comeback but it’s an expensive luxury service now).

      • wjts

        We had it when I was growing up in Denver 30-35 years ago. I suspect it was a little pricier than King Sooper’s, but not a luxury service.

      • Deborah Bender

        Back porch at our house. I remember what the cooler looked like.

        • We used to catch toads and put them in the milk-box. Milkman would put our order on top of the box.
          Don’t worry- we’d release the toads next day to be re-caught some evening.

        • TheoLib

          Back porch, too. But no cooler. We had a wire frame crate into which the milk *glass bottles* were placed. (1960s Maryland)

      • jackrabbitslim

        Mayberry with a taco truck and a halal butcher sounds pretty okay, actually.

    • Who are the local milk people?

      The local members of the white race, of course.

    • mattmcirvin

      The “why does he hate boats” thing is particularly telling. Turnbull had just concluded a lengthy explanation of exactly why he was discriminating against boats, which you could agree with or not, but at least it was an explanation. Trump seemingly paid no attention to this, asked the question that Turnbull had just answered at great length, then immediately answered it himself by jumping to the conclusion that Turnbull was just covering for a prudent discrimination against People From Certain Regions. (Which, for all I know, might actually be the deeper truth, but it wasn’t what Turnbull had just said or what a reasonable person would infer from his statements.) That was undoubtedly what Trump took from the conversation as the gist of what he was told.

  • Rob in CT

    Thanks to everyone who helped put this man in the Oval office. From voters (non-HRC) to non-voters to mediots to Russians to our glorious Founding Fathers. Fuck you all very much.

    • Ruby

      I agree with that about 90%, but I would specify “willful non-voters” and add “GOP politicians engaged in voter suppression”.

      No everyone that didn’t vote did so by choice and it is important to remember that.

      • Rob in CT

        Cheerfully accepted. I usually include that caveat.

        Honestly, though, while voter suppression is real and vile, the # of people who just went “eh, can’t be arsed” is much, much bigger than the number who didn’t vote because of Republican fuckery.

        • ColBatGuano

          Yeah, we can’t fool ourselves into believing that voter suppression is why 40% of the population didn’t vote. It needs to be opposed, but it doesn’t explain this.

  • howard

    People who have stronger stomachs than I do and who have watched footage of older Trump interviews say he used to sound somewhat coherent, so my money is on dementia

    • medrawt

      I genuinely believe that Trump is a lifelong con man, with a personality disorder, and dementia. I’ve experimented with trying to explain his behaviors with recourse to only one or even two of those factors and I always come up short.

      • DamnYankeesLGM

        I’m not even sure he counts as a con man. Con man need t be clever to get away with their stuff. Trump is simply a narcissistic liar who isn’t even good at it, but has been shielded from the consequences of his flaws due to his wealth, and now party polarization. He’s not even *trying* to be a good con man. He’s just a rich liar.

        • catbirdman

          He’s been shielded by having just about the most vicious, cut-throat attitude on earth, and the nastiest lawyers and mega-dollars to back it up. And when he ran out of American mega-dollars, he found more mega-dollars in the former Soviet Union, the Middle East, and wherever else dirty money yearns to be laundered. His implosion will be mighty.

        • Successful con men need to be clever, but there are plenty of stupid not-very-successful ones out there. I’ve met them. And probably a few are in jail.

          I’d say T-rump was the model of a failed con-man except for all the people bailing him out, tho he had to go lower & lower to get the cash he needed, Russian Mob being pretty far down there.

        • BiloSagdiyev

          Not so much a con man as a crude, blustering salesman. “It’s the greatest, you’re gonna love it, don’t you believe me? Why do you hate me? If you love your children, you’ll buy it, because they’re gonna die in that old heap you’re driving.”

      • njorl

        One of the things that goes when you suffer from dementia is restraint. The discipline you develop as a mature adult, which is necessary to overcome the faults each of us has, wanes and your faults shine through.

        • Lurker

          I beg to disagree. My grandmother, who was, as a healthy woman, a short-tempered and quarrelsome person, became soft-spoken, tender and caring during her Alzheimer’s early stages, and never lost those traits on the way to utter oblivion of mind. I also think that it was the loss of restraint, but for her, it showed her better self, not the worse self.

          • Julia Grey

            Wow, that’s…that could renew my faith in the concept that humans can be basically good. I have always felt the without the social restraints and empathy we have to so carefully teach and train into our kids, they would be rotten little jerks just because natural impulses are so selfish.

            I’m not sure how removing those restraints would sweeten a person’s nature, but I’m extremely pleased to be given evidence, anecdotal at least, that it could.

            • Ash

              Not dementia, but I recently had my first (and hopefully my last) episode of mania as a result of some mild brain inflammation (meningitis is no joke). Apparently when high, my deepest wishes are to fundraise for charity, write musicals, and buy lots of books. That’s been very reassuring to me as I returned to my baseline state.

              • Mona Williams

                Yeah, but, at least write musicals!

                • Ash

                  Ha! I’ll have to see if I can find my hastily scribbled notes for “Comey: A Washington Musical”, featuring such hits as “Three Waltzes and one Tango with Three Presidents”, “He’ll Die in Prison”, “SAD!”, and of course “The Room Where It Happened (Mueller Time!)”

    • FlipYrWhig

      I watched a clip of his talking to Tom Brokaw in the early 1980s after the Bonwit Teller building controversy. He did sound coherent, which surprised me, and he was also appearing to be trying to come across as serious, almost painfully so, and not as a sub-Don Rickles insult-comic act. He also was limiting his remarks to building renovations and money, which probably qualify as items on Paul’s list of topics in which he has a preexisting interest.

      • DN Nation

        Trump is Flanderization personified.

        • FlipYrWhig

          Okely dokely!

        • BiloSagdiyev

          I prescribe the Minnesota spanking protocol.

    • Captain Oblivious

      Trump has dementia.

      His narcissism, ignorance, and general
      stupidity muddle the picture, but he has dementia. There is no doubt in
      my mind. I watched my mother suffer and die from it.

      I will add
      that some studies have found a correlation between dementia and what I
      will call mental laziness and incuriosity (not the terms scientists use,
      obviously). Also correlations to high-carbohydrate diets and lack of
      exercise.

      • Mona Williams

        He can’t answer questions. Seriously.

      • smut clyde

        If there is betting yet on which kind of dementia, my money is on the frontotemporal kind.

        • BiloSagdiyev

          Do you think maybe he has suffered from a blow to the head? If he hasn’t, er… line forms here.

  • aab84

    I’m more terrified by how transparently insecure he is than I am by anything else. In addition to the boy scout thing you mention, Trump calls himself the “world’s greatest person” in the transcripts. I’ve met people like that, and they’re the kind of idiots who get into bar fights when they think someone called them effeminate. It’s that mindset that will get us into a catastrophic war. Or worse.

    • Vance Maverick

      To be fair, the line is “I am the world’s greatest person that does not want to let people into the country.” That is, he’s the strongest opponent of immigration. True, he resorts to the verbal formula “I’m the greatest”, but he does go on to specify the dimension.

      • . . . but he does go on to specify the dimension.
        If not the dementia.

      • FlipYrWhig

        Yeah, I think he was trying to say “I am the world’s biggest supporter” of restricting immigration, but it came out “I am the world’s greatest person.” Still imagine the cataclysm that would result from Obama or Hillary Clinton ever having been recorded saying “I am the world’s greatest person.” No one would ever forget it.

        • Thirtyish

          It’s telling how pervasive and extreme his psychological splitting is. It’s not enough that he supports restricting immigration, or that he sees himself as a good, upstanding person. No, he’s “the world’s biggest supporter (of restricting immigration)” or “the world’s greatest person.” Most people over age 10 or so don’t make such proclamations because they know that to do so is absurd (really, of all the 7.something billion people in this world, he’s not only the “world’s greatest supporter” but that he also somehow knows this to be true?). Donald Trump is one of the most primitive people ever put before the world stage.

        • Junipermo

          That was my read on it too, but it’s disconcerting that we have to parse and decipher Trump’s blathering this way. His predecessor, whom wingnuts and media dolts criticized for being professorial, was crystal clear when he spoke. Funny, or it would be, if Trump weren’t so horrifying.

        • BiloSagdiyev
      • aab84

        It’s Donald Trump. I don’t see any reason to assume the latter half is intended to modify the first. Especially when (1) “world’s greatest person” is not a synonym anyone has ever used for “strongest” before; and (2) he routinely talks about how something he did was the greatest ever (greatest speech ever given in Poland, greatest speech to the boy scouts, greatest early legislative successes ever, etc.).

        • stepped pyramids

          I parse it as “I’m the world’s greatest (person that does not want to let people into the country).”

    • Donalbain
  • Yixing’s Fluffer

    Trump doesn’t understand the difference between health insurance and life insurance. He also does not understand the difference between refugee camps and prisons, as he seemed to think Obama had agreed to take 2000 to 5000 convicts (actually 1,250 people). Turnbull couldn’t even make that much stick.

    • Yixing’s Fluffer

      Also, this: “I am the world’s greatest person that does not want to let people into the country.”

      What the fuck is that?

      • Paul Campos

        I think he’s trying to say that he’s the world’s most important advocate of an anti-immigration policy. But he no talk so pretty.

        • NonyNony

          We used to play a game with Google Translate where we’d write a sentence in English then translate it through six or seven different languages then back to English. That’s the kind of sentence that you could sometimes get when you did that.

          I just tried it and it turns out Google Translate has gotten too good at the game – it produces better sentences than what Trump spat out there.

          • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

            Yeah, I was disappointed a couple of week ago when someone (perhaps here, but I don’t remember) compared something Trump had said to a sentence translated from English into Russian, then Swahili, then Finnish, and then back to English*. I went directly to Google Translate and tried it, and damned if the resulting sentence wasn’t very close to the original, and much better than anything I’ve ever heard Trump come out with.

            —————————
            *those aren’t the actual languages the writer used, but you get the idea.

      • Domino

        He got that title from the local milk people.

      • so-in-so

        It’s where he starts thinking “I’m the strongest supporter of not…” and his narcissistic brain immediately rephrases as “I am the world’s greatest person…” before finishing off the rest of the sentence. He can’t NOT praise himself. Some where deep down inside he knows that when family and hirelings praise him, it is meaningless, and nobody else does, and he is trying very, very hard to make up the lack, and it hurts.
        At least, I really, REALLY hope the last bit.

    • FlipYrWhig

      As Chait or Drum pointed out, he’s filtering the whole thing through the Mariel boat lift. And IMHO adding a touch of Guantanamo.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        Hmm… so maybe he likes to snort a lot of cocaine _and_ he wants to fuck his sister?

        “First you get the money, so bigly, then you get the power, then you bray like a jackass.”

    • Kubricks_Rube

      That part with the number of refugees is amazing. After being corrected, Trump both increases his original number and acts like no one could possibly know the true number of refugees in the existing agreement anyway. And this is one of the lesser insanities of the transcript.

      Trump: And now I am agreeing to take 2,000 people and I agree I can vet them, but that puts me in a bad position. It makes me look so bad and I have only been here a week.

      Turnbull: With great respect, that is not right – It is not 2,000.

      Trump: Well, it is close. I have also heard like 5,000 as well.

      Turnbull: The given number in the agreement is 1,250 and it is entirely a matter of your vetting.

  • If he doesn’t suffer a massive stroke that takes him out first, I think we’ll see more and more evidence of Trump suffering “sunset syndrome” events. In severe cases, this can manifest as vivid hallucinations–I remember my father lying in his hospital bed convinced that there was a window in the ceiling through which people were observing him; or his more consistent one about cats and kittens climbing up onto his bed.
    What will Ryan and McConnell do if it’s clear Trump’s trolley has jumped the tracks, even if (or especially) it’s episodic? Unfortunately, I think they will simple excuse it all and refuse to take any action at all until Trump is either dead or continually non compos mentis.

    • Denverite

      The window hallucination is fairly common in mid-to-late stage dementia.

      • PotemkinMetropolitanRegion

        Really? Jesus that’s spooky

      • Darkrose

        Whoa…my mother had that. She was convinced that our 80-year-old cousin was climbing a ladder in a DC winter to spy on her through a second-story window. I didn’t realize it was common in people with dementia.

    • The Great God Pan

      If Trump begins showing undeniable signs of dementia, the GOP’s move will be to appropriate left-of-center rhetoric on ageism and disability rights to accuse his critics of being biased against senior citizens with dementia. I don’t think I’m joking.

      • medrawt

        “begins”

        Several months ago he appeared to not notice that Rudy Giuliani – well known to him for decades – was sitting four feet in front of him across a table and was turning his head from side to side saying “where’s Rudy?”

        • The Great God Pan

          I remember that but what is “undeniable” to you or me is apparently easily deniable to the general public because nobody cared. I’m thinking he will need to walk up to a podium and not know where he is or why everyone is staring at him.

        • Julia Grey

          Excuse for that (just saying): vision problems. Dry eyes can make your vision amazingly blurry for hours at a time. Dry eyes are common in older adults.

    • smut clyde

      a window in the ceiling through which people were observing him; or his more consistent one about cats and kittens

      Ceiling cat is watching you masturbate.

  • HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA LOOK AT THESE CARNOTAURUS HANDS
    https://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/2017-08-03-1.png

    • hands of a government man

  • Good god, I had mercifully buried every having read any Noonan at all including that giant pile of crap.

    God damn but pundits are terrible.

    • Solar System Wolf

      Yeah, thanks for reminding me yet again how much I hate Peggy Noonan. Of course as a liberal intellectual I’d never help anyone with anything, ever. Whereas conservatives never do things like ask why people who don’t have much money had all those kids, or whether they should pay for people who were so irresponsible as to let their house catch on fire.

      • Van Buren

        Or if they had granite countertops.

      • The Great God Pan

        What the fuck would Peggy Noonan do if someone’s house was on fire, anyway? Pray for the Virgin Mary to send rescue dolphins?

    • BiloSagdiyev

      Alas, I did remember that paragraph of hers. Rereading it was mighty unpleasant. Fuck her.

  • Mike in DC

    I think there’s a reason why Ivanka is frequently hovering around. He’s slowly deteriorating, and both he and his inner circle know it. If this is a form of dementia, then at some point he will decline to the point they can’t risk any prolonged public or media exposure for him.

    • medrawt

      Exactly. John Rogers (screenwriter/producer, popularizer of the “27% crazification factor”) has been on this since the campaign.

    • Edit: I read it again and didn’t like my comment.

      • TJ

        Please oh please let it happen during the next State of the Union.

        • so-in-so

          Careful, his followers will then all start doing it in support.

          • Philip

            I think I speak for all of us when I say that I would be very, very angry if Trump supporters took to crapping their pants on a regular basis. Just outraged.

            • Would you call it “deplorable”?

              • BiloSagdiyev

                (shrug) Depends.

      • Snarki, child of Loki

        “He’s gonna shit himself in public at some point.”

        Already happened.

        The shit just spewed out of his mouth, so was expected.

      • smut clyde

        “Given a last chance, [Tank Girl] was ordered to race to an international trade conference and deliver colostomy bags to President Hogan, the decrepit (and incontinent) Australian Head of State; a monster attack delayed her arrival, resulting in Hogan soiling and embarassing himself, and Tank Girl was declared a fugitive, complete with a price on her head.”

      • Robert Trombetta

        At some point? Oh, you mean literally.

    • FlipYrWhig

      AFAICT he needs Ivanka to explain complicated things to him. And I have a hunch that Kushner noticed that long ago and used it to make himself indispensable.

      • Mona Williams

        She “popped into” his WSJ interview and he asked her to stay.

    • Yixing’s Fluffer

      She knew before he announced his candidacy. His whole family knew. Nobody stopped him.

      • so-in-so

        “Spare the nation the possibility of a demented executive leader (and probably get cut out of the will for doing it), or reap huge financial and social rewards by possibly becoming First Family and selling the resulting access to as many contacts as possible… hmm”.

      • NicknotNick

        This was probably a rational choice at the time. If I was one of his children, and had to weigh “chance of getting cut out of the will” against “likelihood Dad will actually win the Presidency”, I’m pretty sure I’d come down on the former. Not that that excuses subsequent behaviour.

      • I think it started out as a publicity stunt, in the Trump family’s minds, at least.

  • right now it’s just exasperating and baffling.

    one of these days, something serious is going to happen and instead of being a goddamned adult leader, Trump is going to handle it by talking about his EC victory. that’s when we can talk about the 25th A.

    • DN Nation

      I mean, you hear about all these people after the hurricane who still think that I’m going to make it great, and you know, I had to really deal with Obama and Hillary, how they got rid of FEMA, but I brought it back, and we’re bringing all of the coal back, and people are really happy. And these people in the flood, they were cheering me and saying it was the best response they had ever seen, it was just terrific and you put me up with Lincoln, and you know, some people don’t realize this, but the Civil War didn’t kill that many people. It’s sad, so sad.

      That’ll be this bloated moron’s response to a storm crisis. Just watch.

      • Yixing’s Fluffer

        ‘They’re saying that maybe 250-300 people died. And it’s a real tragedy, because I got 306 votes in the Electoral College and here this storm (they called it a super storm, can you believe it?) couldn’t even match me. So we’re all doing great and I think you’re going to be pleasantly surprised by the stuff coming up. I’m handling it so well; I hear it all the time: he really handles it. It’ll get handled so fast, believe me.’

      • Domino

        “This has been, I’ve been told by many people, the greatest response to any crisis in the country’s history. And I’ve got a lot on my plate, people. I gave the farmers their land back, the coal miners their coal mines back. There are people in towns cheering for the administration from open windows. You know there were a bunch of people who said I had no shot at winning the election? The Media, who, by the way, was all in to elect Crooked Hillary. All in to elect her. So unfair, that’s why most of them are fake news now a days.”

        Note people who’ve seen a few of these I’ve done – there’s a reason I keep bringing up the election in my made up Trump speeches.

      • Kevin

        I love how easily you, Yixing’s Fluffer, and Domino do Trump speak, and then a Pulitzer winner like Maureen Dowd just has no ability at this at all, no matter how many times she tries.

        • farin

          Maureen Dowd just has no ability at all.

    • petesh

      Robert Reich has a friend who used to be a Republican Representative (et tu, Bob?!) and still has contacts. Where A is Matthew Rozsa at Salon, B is Reich, etc: According to A, according to B, according to C, at least D, E and F (and possibly G through Z) are considering the 25th Amendment remedy. “Trump is out of his gourd,” was the money quote, from D via C, B and A. I believe the quote, which seems irrefutable, but there’s a long way to go before I really think the 25th is going to be invoked.

      • Kevin

        Can you draw me a diagram of all that?

        • N__B

          [MIKADO]
          See how the Fates their gifts allot
          For A is happy, B is not
          Yet B is worthy, I dare say
          Of more prosperity than A

          [KO-KO, POOH-BAH, & PITTI-SONG]
          Is B more worthy?

          [KATISHA]
          I should say
          He’s worth a great deal more than A

          [QUINTET]
          Yet A is happy!
          Oh, so happy!
          Laughing, Ha! ha!
          Chaffing, Ha! ha!
          Nectar quaffing, Ha! ha! ha!
          Ever joyous, ever gay
          Happy, undeserving A!

          [KO-KO, POOH-BAH, & PITTI-SONG]
          If I were Fortune which I’m not
          B should enjoy A’s happy lot
          And A should die in miserie
          That is, assuming I am B

          [MIKADO & KATISHA]
          But should A perish?

          [KO-KO, POOH-BAH, & PITTI-SONG]
          That should he
          Of course, assuming I am B

          [QUINTET]
          B should be happy!
          Oh, so happy!
          Laughing, Ha! ha!
          Chaffing, Ha! ha!
          Nectar quaffing, Ha! ha! ha!
          But condemned to die is he
          Wretched meritorious B!

        • Hogan

          During the night, A, though sleeping with B, dreams of C. C stands at the furthest extremity or (if the image is considered two‐dimensionally) the apogee of a curved driveway, perhaps a dream‐refraction of the driveway of the house that had once been their shared home. Her figure, though small in the perspective, is vivid, clad in a tomato‐red summer dress; her head is thrown back, her hands are on her hips, and her legs have taken a wide, confident stance. She is flaunting herself, perhaps laughing; his impression is of intense female vitality, his emotion is of longing. He awakes troubled. The sleep of B beside him is not disturbed; she rests in the certainty that A loves her. Indeed, he has left C for her, to prove it.

          PROBLEM: Which has A more profoundly betrayed, B or C?

      • humanoidpanda

        Based on his facebook feed, Reich is a Trump level fantasist.

  • sleepyirv

    “I am the world’s greatest person that does not want to let people into the country” is the perfect distillation of this. Trying to get across the idea of “I’m the poster boy for xenophobia, so it would be bad for me to allow refugees,” Trump has to emphasize his “greatness” and cannot think of any quicker way to get his thoughts understood than pure jabbering. Even at the level of incompetence his office is being run, you have to wonder who’s truly making the decisions right now.

    • sigaba

      Mattis is running the military, Kelly and Sessions are Ministry of Interior, the Mercers are handling media, everyone else has some autonomy but new ideas have to be run by the Kochs.

  • Ruby

    IIRC Trump’s father had dementia (or Alzheimer), so he’s also genetically predisposed.

    Also, we never did see any genuine medical records from him.

    • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

      I can state unequivocally that Dr. Bornstein is the best-qualified medical professional ever to vouch for a presidential candidate’s health.

    • farin

      I guess that explains his doctor’s blase attitude toward Trump dying in office: He realized just how little would be lost.

  • Robert Levine

    The contrast with the Trump of 20-30 years ago (several clips on Youtube) is scary. He was a despicable person back then, of course, but he didn’t come across as stupid, or even as obsessively narcissistic.

    It’s really hard to believe that, once upon a time, he didn’t understand how health insurance works. His company must have had group health insurance for at least a small favored group of employees/family.

    • Kevin

      I think the narcissism was always there. I mean, who takes their family to Aspen on vacation, and brings along his mistress so she can fight his wife in front of everyone? A guy who wants everyone to know how manly and desirable he is. “Look, two blonde models are arguing and fighting over me, aren’t I great?”

      • Thirtyish

        Right. Narcissism doesn’t happen out of the blue; it’s a lifelong character/personality trait. In order to be officially diagnosed as having narcissistic personality disorder, for instance, one has to have consistently displayed the required traits going back to age 15.

      • Robert Levine

        Agreed. It just seems like it’s all he can talk about now, which didn’t seem to have been the case back in the day.

  • humanoidpanda

    “People sometimes compare Trump’s mental abilities and deficits to Reagan and Bush II, but this seems to me to be a radical understatement of the gravity of the situation. It’s true that Reagan did seem to manifest some serious cognitive slippage toward the end of his presidency, and that Bush the Lesser was intellectually incurious in the extreme. Peggy Noonan once celebrated the latter quality in a column that is perfect distillation of right-wing anti-intellectualism:

    To take an example from my own field. Reagan was an arch anti-Communist his whole life, and totally freaked out to the verge of a nuclear war in his first 3 years. Then, he was profoundly shocked by a TV movie he saw (The Day After Tommorrow), and decided that maybe war was a bad idea. So his advisors found a popular historian of Russia, Susan Massie ,with whom he connected and started figure out ways on how to reassure the Soviets, basically based on what she told him about the mysterious Russian soul. In other words, he was a middling man of a middling intellect, but somewhat aware of the outside world and his own limitations. That makes him a moral and intellectual giant compared to Trump.

    • JMP

      It’s still hard to believe that Reagan’s intellect was such that there’s a good chance we have a TV movie to thank that he didn’t end human civilization.

    • Nigel Tufnel

      I did not know that. The movie was “The Day After,” “The Day After Tomorrow” is different.

      • humanoidpanda

        Thanks!

  • PotemkinMetropolitanRegion

    I just want to say how box-of-rocks dumb that Noon piece is. It puts on a nauseatingly false and affected air of ‘common man.’ The syrup shit is pure “Is something wrong with you?”

    • FlipYrWhig

      I remember how weird it was at the time, because the stuff Noonan writes to caricature how intellectuals think _sounds just like Peggy Noonan_. It’s all weird metaphors and an unearthly cadence that harmonizes with her greatest hits like “It would be irresponsible not to speculate” and “wagging merrily on a hassock.”

    • Rob in CT

      I just read it. It’s unbelievably bad.

      It’s nasty as fuck, too, for all those who think all our problems are caused by liberals being meanies.

  • markefield

    Both my mother and my mother in law went through significant cognitive decline. I’ve been telling my wife since the election that there’s something wrong with Trump beyond his narcissism, dishonesty, etc.

    His extremely poor diet and exercise habits, combined with his obesity, put him at serious risk of cognitive decline if he’s not there already.

    • Yixing’s Fluffer

      Physical activity is an essential way to stave off Alzheimer’s. Trump rides his golf cart across the green.

      • JMP

        Fuck, he rode a golf cart half a mile while the other six G7 leaders walked it; and somehow didn’t realize how ridiculously weak and lazy that made him look.

        • BiloSagdiyev

          American, too.

    • Karen

      If he ate the occasional vegetable and got regular exercise, then he could be obese and not have such a problem. Even if he woke up tomorrow morning at 145 pounds, he would still be at risk of health problems because he eats junk and never moves if he can avoid it.

      • Cheap Wino

        Cannot be true. I’ve been assured by a medical doctor that Trump is the healthiest person ever to take office.

  • MikeG

    But if there’s a fire on the block, he’ll run out and help. He’ll help direct the rig to the right house and count the kids coming out and say, “Where’s Sally?”

    One of Drinky McMagicDolphin’s more infamous doses of ipecac.
    GW Bush always struck me as the kind of frat-jerk who in that situation would cut the fire hose as a prank to impress his buddies and snigger as the water went everywhere.

  • Craigo

    This is the part where we soberly reflect on the fact that the three most prominent 2016 candidates and four most prominent 2020 candidates are all over the age of 70.

    • Dennis Orphen

      70 is the new 35.

    • Yixing’s Fluffer

      Most (if not all) have better diet, exercise, and reading habits than Trump. They also get regular physicals from real doctors.

    • DamnYankeesLGM

      Who are the 4 most prominent 2020 candidates? Trump and Bernie are over 70. But Pence is only 58. Who else were you thinking about?

      • N__B

        Nixon. Tanned, rested, and ready.

        • Ash

          Nixon/Elvis 2020: Embalmed, rested, and ready!

      • JKTH

        I’m guessing Warren? I disagree with her being one of the most prominent candidates (as well as Pence). Anybody else on the Democratic side is definitely under 70.

        • Paul Campos

          There’s been some talk of Jerry Brown, which is insane.

          • DamnYankeesLGM

            I mean, I think we need to adjust our conception of what an “insane” Presidential candidate is now.

            Would people here actually dislike Brown as President? Or is everyone just convinced he couldn’t win?

            • MikeG

              Jerry Brown will be 82 in 2020 and has made firm statements about retiring.
              If not for his age I think he’d make a solid POTUS.

              • spearmint66

                Yes, that’s an absurd age to begin a presidency.

                • BiloSagdiyev

                  In related news, Barack Obama turned 56 today.

              • petesh

                I campaigned (locally) for Brown vs Clinton, W., in 1992. Still wish he’d won. Glad he came back as Gov. But in practice I’d restrict the age range to about 45–60 unless someone demonstrates a really good reason to go outside that range. And not 22 years outside, for sure!

                • paul1970

                  Didn’t he run on the flat tax, with advice from Laffer and Moore?

                • Aaron Morrow

                  yes

            • N__B

              He’d be fine* on policy. He can’t win.

              * I.e., better than any R.

            • SatanicPanic

              He’d be a great president if we had use of a time machine.

            • Paul Campos

              Jerry Brown would make a fine president IMO but nominating anyone in their 80s should be an absolute non-starter. The dementia thing is an enormous risk at that point. (Based on the idea that a 15% chance of a catastrophe is the political equivalent of Russian Roulette).

              • Craigo

                15% is the prevalence for Americans over 70. For octogenarians, it’s presumably higher, though I don’t have the exact figure.

              • so-in-so

                “Russian”, ha!

      • Craigo

        Trump, Sanders, Biden, and Warren (who will be over 70 by then – I cheated a little).

        • farin

          Biden doesn’t qualify under any useful definition of ‘prominent’. I guess he’s the person who hasn’t totally ruled out running who has the highest-profile past job, but he’s definitely not winning the nom and circumstances argue against his running at all.

          • rea

            the person who hasn’t totally ruled out running who has the highest-profile past job

            Jimmy Carter and Bush I are still eligible for a term each.

          • Craigo

            Yeah, this is kind of total bullshit.

            https://morningconsult.com/2017/06/17/popular-2020-democratic-prospect-not-named-joe-biden/

            Biden is widely recognized and and has high approval among Democrats. Sanders wasn’t polled, but he’s obviously in that tier as well. Of the rest only Warren has majority favorability among Dems. The idea that a popular former VP is not “prominent” is just asinine.

            • farin

              True. Biden’s definitely prominent. My statement was technically correct (the best kind), then, iff no definition of ‘prominent’ is useful to talking about presidential primaries three years in the future, which I think is true.

    • Joe Paulson

      As of now, don’t see Warren being a leading candidate in 2020 & don’t think Bernie is going to wind up being the frontrunner (I would be a bit surprised if he is a serious candidate). The leading likely options on the Democratic side therefore are happily younger (Gillibrand, Harris, Booker etc.). Remains to be seen on the Republican side other than Trump (Pence or challenger, which I think is fairly possible — some Never Trump type).

      Do think the age of the 2016 candidates is somewhat of a concern as a whole.

      • don’t think Bernie is going to wind up being the frontrunner (I would be a bit surprised if he is a serious candidate)

        i hope he sits it out. barring a long series of face-plants by better candidates, Sanders isn’t going to win the nomination. and his inevitable defeat will just send the dingbats into paroxysms of misplaced rage against whoever does win.

      • M.

        Ben Sasse, which will test my gag reflex to the limit as the media rushes to slobber all over this Republican return to dignity and normality.

    • Deborah Bender

      The next three years will be eventful, and not in a good way. There is a good chance that somebody who is a minor figure now will deal with a crisis in a way that makes them a major figure and a viable presidential candidate.

      • Nigel Tufnel

        Sadly, I think you’re right. Call it the “Giuliani Effect.”

  • DamnYankeesLGM

    It’s intersting watching a certain segment of the commentariat, including real liberals, be so dismayed that the transcripts leaked. Like that’s the issue. I feel like this has been a constant refrain that we’ve been over the past 10 years – a hushed worry that norms are being broken *without noticing why*. You saw this when Reid nuked the filibuster for executive appointments – a certain portion of the population was stunned and dismayed he’d do this, completely ignoring the crisis which caused him to do it in the first place.

    I can’t help but feel its the same thing here. In a normal situation would a leak of a transcript be bad for nat sec? Yes of course. But this is not a normal fucking situation. When you have someone like Trump in the White House, these norms end up *protecting him*. I know its cliche at this point, but it really is an emperor’s new clothes situation. There’s no point in keeping a norm of deference when the guy is walking around naked. Might there be a future king who wears nice clothes that you wouldn’t want to criticize? Sure. But that’s not the fucking situation!

    Trump is a dangerous, narcissitic lunatic with a possibly ill functioning brain. There is no fucking “norm” more important than remedying this emergency.

    • RBHolb

      Charlie Pierce noted this morning that someone in the White House thought the public should know about these conversations. Someone close enough to the President to get his/her hands on the transcripts decided that they should not be secret.

      That says a lot.

      • DamnYankeesLGM

        I haven’t been following the news on this point – how do we know the transcript came from someone on the US side and not on the Aussie side? I presume they have their own transcripts.

        • so-in-so

          The Aussies don’t have the Mexican transcript, and vice-versa, and I doubt they both become public at once by chance.
          And the same week as his “I call leaders all the time, and ask them ‘how big is your country'” quote.

        • RBHolb

          There was also a transcript of the call with Peña Nieto.

        • Hogan

          There’s also a transcript of a phone call with the president of Mexico around the same time.

      • JDM

        The CPMP (Committee to Promote Mike Pence) did it.

      • Yixing’s Fluffer

        Someone on the NSC or someone who works directly for someone who is, most likely. If one of them is freaking out…

      • Deborah Bender

        I think that letting people in other countries understand what this president is may actually protect the United States a little. Many of these countries have experienced bad rulers. If we demonstrate that we are a democracy and are trying to get rid of the guy or at least hem him in, they will cut us some slack until 2020.

    • Van Buren

      What does it say about America that 62 million people listened to him and thought that it was great.

      • DamnYankeesLGM

        They really fucking hated Hillary.

        • Junipermo

          Definitely that.

          Additionally, there are also a lot of people who actually think that it’s a plus that the president be “a regular guy” like them. I want the president to be significantly more intelligent, thoughtful, and knowledgeable than I am, given the enormity of the job. But there are a lot of people who feel threatened by people who are clearly smarter than they are, particularly if that person is non-male and/or nonwhite.

          • VMink

            Which is utterly Bizzaro-World levels of self-delusion. There is nothing about Trump that makes him a ‘regular guy.’ His penthouse…. actually, he has a penthouse. And it looks like a tacky version of Versaille.

            • Hogan

              I think the theory is “if I had his money that’s the penthouse I’d live in.”

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          first of all you got something like 40 to 45 % of the people are gonna vote for my dog if she runs as an R. The evangelicals knew trump would make the right people judges. He was the tool at hand and they weren’t too proud to use him. Then you get the low information voters who don’t take either set of high information voters seriously and think, what the hell, let’s roll the dice. And *then* you get to the trolls and nazi wannabes who *like* what he has to say

          edit: meant as reply to Van Buren but I guess it fits well enough here

        • note: Hillary won the popular vote

        • JMP

          And that a hell of a lot of white people in America are racist, though the vast majority of them will deny it.

        • Aaron Morrow

          Trump is a more charismatic version of Nixon than Nixon (who won twice!) was. Also, the economy was too weak to help the incumbent party.

      • Deborah Bender

        What Abraham Lincoln said about fooling the people.

    • SatanicPanic

      This sort of relates to the question of “should people who oppose violent behavior consider it acceptable to punch Nazis?” Yes. There is an exception to almost everything.

    • farin

      I basically agree with you, but there are plenty of norms more important than keeping Trump from wrecking everything. Like, we should still maintain that a military coup is worse than four years of an ergot-yam in charge; it wouldn’t be better on balance if every Republican in the line of succession were murdered; massive voter fraud to ensure a Democratic Congress next year would be a cure worse than the disease. I think a lot of liberals, finding themselves instinctively attracted to that sort of solution, over-correct away from it.

    • Ruby

      It is worrying though, that once these norms are broken, there’s less chance of them returning once someone competent is back in office.

      Or vice versa. Is it really a good thing we couldn’t filibuster *Trump’s* appointments?

      In many cases, these norms and practices existed for a reason. So there’s good reason to be alarmed in principal when they’re violated, even if the situation at the time warrants it.

      • If Trumpism is not destroyed soon, there won’t be any norms left worth saving.

    • blackbox

      I find it ver amusing that more than one of the top news results for this story (Fox is one of them) are warning about the evils of leaking and essentially implying nobody should read or acknowledge the transcripts because their leaking was illegal. Just months ago, the RWNJs of the Internet were mocking this exact rhetoric as used by commentators about WikiLeaks’ DNC e-mails and similar.

  • I know nothing about the speed at which dementia progresses, but these conversations happened over 6 months ago.

    At this point, the “This Is Fine” dog is looking for the exits.

    • Unemployed_Northeastern

      I knew a fellow who went from “slightly forgetful about recent events” to dying from Alzheimer’s in about two years.

      • My grandmother also died of Alzheimers, but it took over a decade from when she was diagnosed.

        • Unemployed_Northeastern

          This poor individual declined shockingly quickly.

  • njorl

    It could all be an elaborate charade a la Vincent Gigante – a pre-planned defense of mental incompetence in case he gets caught doing any of the nefarious things he does.

    • Hogan

      “Lord Julius always said that insanity is the last line of defense for the master bureaucrat.”

      “I don’t get it.”

      “It’s hard to get a refund when the salesman is sniffing at your crotch and baying at the moon.”

      “Oh . . . I get it now.”

      “Insanity is a virtually impregnable gambit, but you have to lay the groundwork early in the same.”

    • dogboy

      Even the currently troubled Donald Trump has allegedly paid his Genovese dues, perhaps unwittingly. Last month Trump took the stand in Manhattan’s federal court to deny that he knowingly hired 200 illegal Polish aliens to demolish a building in Manhattan in 1980 to make way for his glittering Trump Tower. Members of Housewreckers Local 95, who also accuse their own president in the scheme, allege that Trump was able to avoid making payments that would now total $1 million (including interest) into the union’s pension funds. % “You can bet there was a wise guy somewhere in the background,” says an FBI specialist on the Genovese family. Says labor consultant Daniel Sullivan, an FBI source on the Mob who has testified in the case: “It’s a classic Mob relationship. Trump or his people had to have a deal to get such a sweetheart contract.” – June 24, 2001
      http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,155417,00.html

      • Deborah Bender

        Who knew that there was a Housewreckers Local 95?

      • farin

        That article is literally incredible. As I’m reading it, I can’t convince myself it isn’t parody.

  • mortimer2000

    With Trump, our democracy is finally faced with what Islamic terrorism, Saddam Hussein, WMD, ISIS, North Korea, Iran’s nuclear arsenal, and much else was claimed to be but never was: an existential threat. And thanks to the mercenary spinelessness of the Republican party, all we can do is watch it happen.

    • CP

      I like to note that right wing politics have already nearly destroyed the republic at least three times; once through open revolution (the Civil War), once through disastrous economic mismanagement (the Great Depression), and once through fifteen years of ever-escalating Red Scare rhetoric that ultimately set the stage for a nuclear standoff that could very well have led to actual nuclear war (the Cuban missile crisis). Existential threat indeed.

    • Deborah Bender

      We can do and are doing more than watch it happen.

  • WinningerR

    It’s not just the short attention span, it’s the need to dominate. The minute you start listening to someone else, you’re admitting that they know more than you, and that’s tantamount to admitting that you’re weak. Better to bluff, bluster, and bullshit your way toward controlling the conversation. Whatever the subject at hand, you know more about it than anyone–always. Trump actually believes he’s *good* at this, and it’s the secret to his success. The narcissism blinds him to the fact that he’s never actually been that successful.

    • Julia Grey

      He’s blind to social cues that would inform him that people think he’s a blowhard. Lots of blowhards are blind that way. They think they’re impressing people with their bragging or their bluster, and meanwhile people are just giggling behind their hands because he thinks people actually believe his stupid stories and buy his swaggering performances.

      If you’re a fraud, people know. If you think you’re getting away with it because people are acting all deferential and breathless and wide-eyed when speak (à la PR babe Kellyanne), you might want to think again.

      Nothing fails like fake.

  • I’m pretty sure that Trump meets the clinical criteria as a certifiable madman.

  • how_bout_never

    So how many wishes do the Republicans have left on the monkey’s paw? Finally getting the resurrection of Saint Ronnie doesn’t look like it will end well for anyone.

  • Joe Paulson

    We are now getting concerned noises that leaking transcripts of conversations with foreign leaders is a dangerous violation of norms. I find this a tad overblown but do think it can be a concern. OTOH, when you deal with a threat like Trump, the responses are going to be more severe, including things that for a more normal opponent that you simply would avoid.

  • Just_Dropping_By

    People sometimes compare Trump’s mental abilities and deficits to Reagan and Bush II, but this seems to me to be a radical understatement of the gravity of the situation. It’s true that Reagan did seem to manifest some serious cognitive slippage toward the end of his presidency, and that Bush the Lesser was intellectually incurious in the extreme. * * * Yet neither of these men ever exhibited anything close to the complete train wreck that is Trump’s mind, if you want to call it that. * * * This isn’t some snarky joke about stupid right-wingers: it’s a physiological-political crisis that is rapidly reaching, if it hasn’t already reached, levels that ought to bring the 25th amendment into play.

    I agree that everything you say there is 100% true, but you’re not going to get anyone to care who doesn’t already dislike Trump because people on the left have so thoroughly shit the bed on the issue of Republican presidents’ intellectual capacity and alleged mental degeneration (see, e.g., http://www.salon.com/2004/09/14/bush_dementia/) that it’s all-but impossible for most people to perceive such criticism as anything but a “snarky joke about stupid right-wingers.” This is just like Trump’s authoritarianism — Trump is probably the single most authoritarian-inclined president of modern American history — but when Democrats have labeled literally every single Republican presidential candidate since Wendell Willkie as a “fascist,” “Nazi,” “Hitler,” etc. (see summary here: http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/262157/every-republican-presidential-candidate-hitler-daniel-greenfield) why should the accusation get any more traction?

    • NicknotNick

      So your point is that Democrats have been basically correct in pointing out Nixon’s criminality, Reagan’s cognitive decline, Bush’s stupidity, and because of this, Republicans aren’t going to listen to them when we point out that Trump is an authoritarian suffering from some strange and dangerous combination of dementia, narcissism, and lack of control?

      You have odd criteria for listening to facts . . .

      • Denverite

        But here’s the thing. The Democrats didn’t really point out Reagan’s cognitive decline, at least not until well into his second term. Almost all of that was ex post.

        And Bush really wasn’t *stupid* per se. He was incredibly intellectually incurious, and it would have been much more productive for the Democrats to attack him along those lines (usually with a “he’s not stupid, but…” caveat).

        • JMP

          He was stupid though.

          • Denverite

            He was stupid though.

            I actually don’t think he was. IIRC, he got a 1200 on the SAT (pre-recentering), which is consistent with someone with an above average (but not much more than that) intelligence. I bet if you gave him an IQ test, he’d end up in the 110-115 range. He could carry on conversations in a logical and coherent manner, and while he didn’t know much, my understanding is that he would be the first to admit it.

            JDP’s point is that after spending eight years portraying Bush as Ruprecht from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, we kind of cried wolf on the whole “dear god, the president is a demented moron” point.

            • Rob in CT

              Dubya *was* bad (though I’ve always been in the “not stupid, per se, but incurious and therefore very unwise” camp). It’s just that Trump is much, much worse.

              This is not our fault. This is on Republicans for eating this shit up.

              • Denverite

                Oh, sure, he was horrible. But in retrospect, he wasn’t horrible because he was an idiot. He was horrible because he had no desire to learn about 95% of what his job was and just did what other people told him to do (ETA: and many of those people were evil).

                • Rob in CT

                  Really, how many people do you really believe care about the distinction between “stupid!” and “foolish” ?

                  Dubya was a fool. Not because he was actually intellectually disabled or something… but you know, we don’t reserve “stupid” for that.

                  And this is my point. He was a person who didn’t have to be stupid, but functionally HE WAS.

                  Which is what matters, btw.

                • Craigo

                  Bush II is what happens when you put a man of average intelligence in the White House, and surround him with mendacious advisors.

            • SatanicPanic

              I feel like this is a distinction without a difference. “he doesn’t know stuff cuz he can’t” and “he doesn’t know stuff cuz he doesn’t care” isn’t going to matter so much when you’re assessing the intelligence of, say, the guy holding up the line for subway tickets. I don’t know why a president would be held to a different standard.

              • Rob in CT

                EXACTLY.

            • After spending six years portraying Nixon as a shady used car salesman, did Democrats kind of cry wolf on the whole “dear god, the president is a crook” point?

          • farin

            Only compared to smart people, particularly the Rhodes Scholars and Nobel laureates Democrats elected president.

            Trump is stupid compared to stupid people.

        • Just_Dropping_By

          The Democrats didn’t really point out Reagan’s cognitive decline, at least not until well into his second term.

          Yes, but there was an awful lot of “Reagan is too old” and “Reagan is stupid” criticism from the 1980 race. I think criticism about suffering from Alzheimer’s just seems like a hybrid of those talking points.

          • Denverite

            I’ll take your word. I was five.

          • DJ

            Oh goodness, people claiming during a campaign that the other side’s candidate is stupid? Say it ain’t so!

            Most certainly Republicans would never do such a thing. Only liberals would.

            • Just_Dropping_By

              Other than Barack Obama, where the criticism was obviously a racist dogwhistle, I can’t recall any Democratic presidential candidate since Jimmy Carter being routinely characterized as stupid by Republicans.

              • DJ

                Oh for god sakes.

                Sep 27, 2016 – Rudy Giuliani said Hillary Clinton was “too stupid” to be president

                First Google hit. And it’s Rudy fucking Giuliani.

                Of course, I’m actually the stupid one here, for feeding the troll.

              • Usually it has been more along the lines of “They hate America!”

      • Just_Dropping_By

        Thank you for proving my point so crisply and perfectly.

        • If your point is that you’re an obtuse concern troll, all NickNot Nick did was shine a light. The credit belongs to you sir.

          • NicknotNick

            No need to thank me, just doing my bit

    • Denverite

      I agree with this as a practical matter, which means that this all lies in the hands of the GOP. I do think that the acrimony between Trump and the party is rising to a sufficiently high level, and his popularity is dropping to a sufficiently low level, that it’s possible but not probable.

    • Rob in CT

      Whatever, Johnson voter.

      Trump is the culmination of an existing trend. He’s much worse, but it’s a difference of degree. The GOP has a real anti-knowledge/expertise thing going on, and it’s not new. Dubya wasn’t *stupid* in that if he’d bothered to try he could’ve been more informed and handled some things better. He was averagish and made himself “stupid” via incuriosity. Which lots of average to smart people do.

      If you think this fine distinction would’ve mattered to real ‘muricans, I can only laugh. It would still have come across as “libruls callin’ you stoopid!”

    • JMP

      “people on the left have so thoroughly shit the bed on the issue of Republican presidents’ intellectual capacity and alleged mental degeneration”

      The only Republican President ‘liberals’ have said that about before was Reagan, who actually had Alzheimer’s.

      “when Democrats have labeled literally every single Republican presidential candidate since Wendell Willkie as a “fascist,” “Nazi,” “Hitler,”

      No, that is completely not true. And when you try to back that up with a citation to the piece of trash by notorious hardcore white supremacist David fucking Horowitz, that kind of undermines your point.

      • Cheap Wino

        frontpagemag. Linking to this is essentially the final proof that jdb is a paid troll.

        • JMP

          And while I’m not giving a page view and ad dollars to that racist garbage magazine, what do you think the chances are that the alleged examples are all from random college students and anonymous internet commenters, not actual elected Democratic politicians or important left-leaning media figures? Yet we can find all sorts of examples of heinous statements about Obama and Clinton from actual elected Republican members of Congress and all over Fox “News” and talk radio; fuck they’ve made a man who spread the racist birther conspiracy theory Predisent.

          • Cheap Wino

            Seconding the don’t click.

            And really, the whole discussion is worthless. The last three Democratic presidents were the youngest nuclear submarine captain in Navy history, a Rhodes Scholar, and the editor of the Harvard Law Review. In the same span the Republicans have had Reagan, Bush II and now Trump (nod to Bush I for being credibly intelligent). This is not a discussion worth having.

            • JMP

              Yeah, the past two Republican Presidents are people who never accomplished anything themselves, but owe everything they have to who their daddies are/were; while every Democratic President in my lifetime came from humble backgrounds and were completely self-made.

        • farin

          I was momentarily concerned that my impression on Frontpage was radically wrong, but lolnope.

        • Just_Dropping_By

          It’s a compilation of quotes — either they are accurate or they are not regardless of what the website is that hosts it. And I sure wish I was getting paid to hang around here.

      • Just_Dropping_By

        The only Republican President ‘liberals’ have said that about before was Reagan, who actually had Alzheimer’s.

        You didn’t read the Salon link apparently.

        No, that is completely not true. And when you try to back that up with a citation to the piece of trash by notorious hardcore white supremacist David fucking Horowitz, that kind of undermines your point.

        I don’t like Horowitz or his website, but that article stands or falls on the accuracy of the quotes in it, not the website that hosts it. If you’d like, I’ll find independent sources for every single one of those quotes.

        • JMP

          Good job nutpicking, “one article on Salon said this” is not at all the same thing as “Democrats say this”.

          And the website that hosts that list definitely does undermine it. You’re fucking right that you need independent sources to confirm anything that trash runs; plus decent people should never look at that site, because that raises revenue for white supremacists.

          Plus, who are the alleged quoted from? If they’re just from random people, not actual Democratic politicians or major media figures, then they don’t count.

          The simple fact is, your claim is based on complete lies, and appears to be totally disingenuous.

          • spencer_e9876

            “And the website that hosts that list definitely does undermine it.”

            This, absolutely. Horowitz has a history of lies and distortions, so anything with his name attached to it is tainted.

        • Ruby

          (I clicked the link an got a page not found error.)

        • Aaron Morrow

          “I don’t like Horowitz or his website”

          You cited it, so that can’t actually be a true statement.

    • your concern has been noted

    • JustRuss

      but when Democrats have labeled literally every single Republican presidential candidate since Wendell Willkie as a “fascist,” “Nazi,” “Hitler,” etc. (see summary here: http://www.frontpagemag.com… why should the accusation get any more traction?

      Great point, if those accusations were baseless. But I give you:
      Eisenhower: I’m highly skeptical that any prominent Democrat called him a Nazi.
      Nixon: sabotaged peace talks in ’68, and of course Watergate
      Reagan: sabotaged Iran hostage negotiations, Iran-Contra
      Bush 2: lied us into Iraq, and of course the Patriot Act

      Democrats call Republican presidents fascist authoritarians when they act like fascist authoritarians. Anyone who can’t see that doesn’t want to..

      • JMP

        Now be fair; Bush also ordered the military and the CIA to commit torture, opened up a gulag where detainees were held indefinitely without trial and invented a bullshit category of “enemy combatants” to avoid treating them as either POWs protected by the Geneva Convention or criminal defendants protected by the Constitution, gave us wiretapping without a warrant and other illegal domestic surveillance, and let New Orleans drown because George Bush doesn’t care about black people.

    • NicknotNick

      A corrupt research program is when you understand what results you need, and tailor your experimental approach to produce them.

      A corrupt political program is when you define yourself negatively with respect to another faction, and tailor your policy, actions, and viewpoints accordingly.

      “Trump is probably the single most authoritarian-inclined president of modern American history — but when Democrats have labeled literally every single Republican presidential candidate since Wendell Willkie as a “fascist,” “Nazi,” “Hitler,” etc. . . why should the accusation get any more traction?”

      Can you read that and understand that people who think in this manner have no business being part of the country’s leadership? It’s as if some weird manner of cognitive decline has overtaken large swathes of the nation. “I WANT to eat the pudding but can’t because Liberals said it tasted good!”

    • Technocrat

      This is a classic example of the “Only Democrats Have Agency” mindset.

      Democrats, despite being the cohort who voted *against* the insane Candidate, are now responsible for convincing those who *did* vote for him. Any credibility gap in this messaging merely compounds the Democrat’s culpability.

      America = The Democratic Party + 200 million recalcitrant toddlers.

  • JamesWimberley

    One big problem with the 25th Amendment is security in the conspiracy. Trump has just made another general his chief of staff. Soldiers are usually good at keeping secrets. The odds are still long – Pence, Ryan and McConnell all have to be on board, as well as half the Cabinet plus one – but have just improved.

    • paul1970

      I don’t understand the interest in the 25th amendment. It’s clearly designed for a temporary emergency, as Trump himself could declare himself fit at any time afterwards. Plus, if the votes are there for a 25th amendment solution, the votes are there for impeachment.

      • JMP

        A temporary emergency, or a Wilson-like situation where the President is medically incapable of fulfilling their duties or even resigning, but is still alive. It’s a weird pipe dream, particularly as impeachment is a hell of a lot easier than invoking the 25th in situations that don’t involve medical incapacity.

        Maybe people think about how it was used in the second season of 24? There it was a conspiracy of sinister cabinet members to get rid of the President because he refused to invade a fictional Middle Eastern Nation in retaliation for a terrorist attack without proof they were actually involved with that attack (that plot was in 2003); but then the next season Palmer was back in office without explanation – and it was as completely ludicrous as almost everything else in 24.

  • Unemployed_Northeastern

    “Yet neither of these men [Reagan, Bush II] ever exhibited anything close to the complete train wreck that is Trump’s mind, if you want to call it that.”

    Obligatory reminder that at the end of Trump’s Bigly Inauguration Rant, Bush 43 was reported to have said “That was some weird shit.”

    • farin

      That’s far and away the best thing the man ever said.

    • paul1970

      One thing I wonder, there are 5 living presidents, and all of them are clearly saner than Trump. We know even the Bushes have a very low opinion of the man. Shouldn’t they make a joint statement, that in their collective lifetimes, they have never witnessed anyone, of either party, so palpably unfit for office?
      Yes, I know it wouldn’t make any difference. I just sort-of-feel that this is what ex-presidents are for.

  • bulbul

    Once again, yes, of course that fucker ain’t right in the head. But this isn’t a proof of that. As God is my witness, I’ve been in many business calls with otherwise (seemingly) compos mentis people who absolutely positively failed to grasp the simplest details of a business transaction or process, even though it had been explained to them several times in the span of twenty minutes.

  • Jesse Ewiak

    Bush II was a guy, who if he was born George W. Smith would’ve been a perfectly fine VP of a regional bank. Unfortunately, he became POTUS. But, I have no doubt he got policy, even if the details might’ve had to be explained to him and they were explained by evil men.

    I mean, hell, not that even Bush’s policy got better when the FP leading lights turned from Rumsfeld & Cheney to Rice & Powell post-2006 GOP beatdown.

  • Crusty

    How the fuck did this guy become president?

  • Lt. Fred

    In defence of Trump (never thought I’d say that) Australia’s refugee program is genuinely irrational, and it’s difficult to understand exactly how or why or the motivations behind it unless you have a deep understanding of the Australian mode of racism.

  • bekabot

    Yet neither of these men ever exhibited anything close to the complete train wreck that is Trump’s mind, if you want to call it that.

    He’s not an intellectual. Intellectuals start all the trouble in the world. And then when the fire comes they say, ‘I warned Joe about that furnace.’ And, ‘Does Joe have children?’ And ‘I saw a fire once. It spreads like syrup. No, it spreads like explosive syrup. No, it’s formidable and yet fleeting.’ When the fire comes they talk. Bush ain’t that guy. Republicans love the guy who ain’t that guy. Americans love the guy who ain’t that guy.

    Okay, so neither Bush II nor Reagan were or are as dumb as Donald Trump — but I think Peggy Noonan might come close.

  • Pathological narcissism and Alzheimer’s makes for a great combination. It’s what’s needed to MAGA.
    Thanks god Donald J. Trump is presnit.

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