Delaware

The Open Thread for January 7, 2018

David Frum says yestereday’s insane rage tweeting recalls those words of Fredo Corleone’s in one of the most famous scenes from The Godfather:

“I can handle things. I’m smart! Not like everybody says, like dumb. I’m smart and I want respect!”

“Trump may imagine that he’s Michael Corleone, the tough and canny rightful heir—or even Sonny Corleone, the terrifyingly violent but at least powerful heir apparent—but after today he is Fredo forever.”  “There’s a key difference between film and reality, though: The Corleone family had the awareness and vigilance to exclude Fredo from power. The American political system did not do so well.”

Meanwhile, James Fallows looks at how actual smart people talk about themselves.

Michael Wolff told BBC radio that his conclusion in Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House — that Trump is not fit to do the job — was becoming a widespread view.

Said Wolff: “I think one of the interesting effects of the book so far is a very clear emperor-has-no-clothes effect. The story that I have told seems to present this presidency in such a way that it says he can’t do his job. Suddenly everywhere people are going ‘oh my God, it’s true, he has no clothes’. That’s the background to the perception and the understanding that will finally end … this presidency.”

“President Trump has begun telling advisers that it will likely be impossible to advance legislation this year to reduce welfare spending and enrollment — a priority he previously embraced with the backing of House Speaker Paul Ryan and a number of conservative activists,” the Washington Post reports.

“In conversations with aides and outside advisers in recent days, Trump has said his supporters would embrace the idea — but that it remains unlikely because the votes will not be there in Congress and it would be a difficult undertaking in an election year.”

Special counsel Robert Mueller “has recalled for questioning at least one participant in a controversial meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer at Trump Tower in June 2016, and is looking into President Trump’s misleading claim that the discussion focused on adoption, rather than an offer to provide damaging information about Hillary Clinton,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

“Investigators also are exploring the involvement of the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, who did not attend the half-hour sit-down on June 9, 2016, but briefly spoke with two of the participants, a Russian lawyer and a Russian-born Washington lobbyist. Details of the encounter were not previously known.”

Jeffrey Toobin: “Richard Nixon earned eternal disgrace for keeping a list of his political enemies, but he, at least, was ashamed enough of the practice to know that he had to keep it secret. Trump, in contrast, is openly calling for the Department of Justice, which he controls, to put his political opponents in jail. This kind of behavior is a trademark of the authoritarians he admires, like Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.”

“It’s another example of Trump’s disdain for the norms that have been observed by his predecessors. Trump’s Presidency may look like a series of chaotic lurches. But there is, alas, madness to his method.”

Josh Marshall: “For public purposes, clinical diagnoses are only relevant as predictors of behavior. If the President has a cognitive deficiency or mental illness that might cause him to act in unpredictable or dangerous ways or simply be unable to do the job, we need to know. But My God, we do know! We see him acting in these ways every day – and not just in multiple news reports from an abundance of different news organizations. We see it with our own eyes: in his public actions, his public statements, his tweets.”

“All the diagnosis of a mental illness could tell us is that Trump might be prone to act in ways that we literally see him acting in every day: impulsive, erratic, driven by petty aggressions and paranoia, showing poor impulsive control, an inability to moderate self-destructive behavior. He is frequently either frighteningly out of touch with reality or sufficiently pathological in his lying that it is impossible to tell. Both are very bad.”

Think Progress: GOP leaders happily stand by Trump as he becomes increasingly unhinged.

David Remnick: “A new book by Michael Wolff, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, amplifies, in lurid anecdote and quotation, what we have been learning elsewhere every day for the past year: Trump believed that he would lose the election, but would multiply his fame, his fortune, and his standing in American life. To near-universal shock, however, he won. And the consequences followed. Trump has no comprehension of policy and cares about it less. He surrounds himself with aides who are either wildly incompetent or utterly defeated in their attempts to domesticate the mulish and bizarre object of their attention. There are no lingering illusions about the President’s capacities: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump ‘a fucking moron’ and spared us a denial. Wolff’s book, which leans heavily on interviews with Steve Bannon, makes it plain that pretty much everyone in the President’s circle agrees that he is, in terms of character and intellect, fantastically limited. There is no loyalty or deliberation in the White House, only a savage ‘Lord of the Flies’ sort of chaos. Each day is at once preposterous, poisonous, and dangerous.”

“In the meantime, there is little doubt about who Donald Trump is, the harm he has done already, and the greater harm he threatens. He is unfit to hold any public office, much less the highest in the land. This is not merely an orthodoxy of the opposition; his panicked courtiers have been leaking word of it from his first weeks in office. The President of the United States has become a leading security threat to the United States.”

Roy Moore accuser Tina Johnson lost her home in a fire that is now under investigation by an arson task force, the Birmingham News reports.

“Tina Johnson, who first came to public notice for accusing Senate candidate Roy Moore of grabbing her in his office in the early 1990s, said her home… caught fire Tuesday morning… By the time the flames were extinguished, Johnson and her family had lost everything they owned.”

Steve Bannon was only minutes away from attacking Fire and Fury author Michael Wolff over quotes attributed to the former White House chief strategist, but he decided not to do so after President Trump attacked him after the release of excerpts from the book, CNN reports.

Politico: “The Republican leader still has a slate of brutal GOP primaries looming in the first half of this year that could jeopardize his party’s hold on the Senate — even with Bannon out of the picture, assuming that his breakup with President Trump and the wealthy Mercer family lasts.”

“Still, McConnell’s team believes — probably with good reason — that their job in 2018 is now significantly easier without Bannon to marshal insurgent forces against incumbent Republican senators and cost the party crucial Senate seats. That’s precisely what they blame him for doing in Alabama, where the party nominated Bannon-backed Roy Moore only to watch him blow a seemingly can’t-lose race.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

1 comment on “The Open Thread for January 7, 2018

  1. Actually Donnie Jr. was awarded the “Fredo” sobriquet years ago as he was the premier dumb ass of the family. Prefer Dotard for his dad. Notice that their trying desperately to rebrand Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security as “welfare” and using their favorite technique of constant repetition a la’ Goebbels and “The Big Lie”. Will not work and will join “The Job Creators” in the ash heap of history, after attracting ridicule and a sharp defeat in public opinion. On to the biggie! Tell all book or not the question is does Trump have dementia in it’s early stages. Used to be a firm no vote, but not now. He’s experiencing “cognitive difficulties”, literally he does not recognize people or what is going on. I’ve read that he’s prone to repeating the same phrases again and again, the mind is locked into a loop of the familiar. There is no medical test for this other than asking ten simple questions and evaluating the responses. No lab work, no litmus test, no nothing. Another part of it is personality change, in short he’s not “himself” and people around him begin to notice. If he has dementia it’s another test of the constitution to see what we do about it as there are no “men of good will ” around him to do the right thing. Just his fellow sharks.

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