Thursday addendum

  1. All he had to be was “not an idiot”
  2. The Charlottesville turning point
  3. Pit of Vipers
  4. Those of us who had so much hope for him are just exhausted
  5. The Left moved in for the kill
  6. Where are the Evangelicals?
  7. Falwell Jr. will have company

I have some enforced downtime today, and have used a portion to wallow in the continuing tragicomedy of America under Trump.

1

Trump doesn’t know how to shoot free throws. He would rather lob half-court shots under heavy zone coverage while whining about how the refs are unfair … Never mind the fact that it’s wrong to pretend there is some kind of moral equivalence between outside agitators, trying to subvert the decision of a duly elected city council with torches, swastikas, and guns, and college kids and old Methodist church ladies who oppose racism. You don’t even have to care about what’s right to be right here. All you have to be is not an idiot.

… His ill-informed speculations about the mixed motives of the crowd in Charlottesville are hard to square with his blanket assertions about Mexico sending us their rapists. Who does he think showed up at this thing? Paunchy suburban dads fresh from re-enacting the Battle of Fredericksburg clutching their signed copies of Shelby Foote’s Civil War trilogy? Sympathetic biographers of General Lee? The Daughters of the Confederacy? My grandmother whose favorite movie is Gone With the Wind? The protesters were Nazis and Klansmen (or Klansboys). They do not need the benefit of a doubt, Mr. President.

This week has been the lowest point of Trump’s presidency so far. But your humble oceanographer submits that a man willing to dive heedlessly into waters of such wretched brunneous impurity for no discernible reason has not discovered his Mariana Trench yet.

Things are probably going to get worse.

(Matthew Walther, How can Trump be so stupid?)

2

Everyone brought their phones to document the events, and the news media showed up too, drawn to the potential for conflict (and the fact that they could get there from Washington in a couple of hours). Had it not been for the photographs and video that were collected and disseminated, we would not be having this discussion. The shots of protesters with arms raised in Nazi salutes, their faces contorted in anger, that extraordinary photo of bodies flying through the air after being hit by a car driven by a neo-Nazi protester, video of the car shooting through the streets as people screamed — all of it made the truth of the event impossible to deny or ignore.

Well, maybe not for everyone. President Trump insisted that both sides were equally to blame, an interpretation belied by what people had seen on the news …

But he often seems surprised at how his words are received, which is why we’ll be left with another image from this week: that of President Trump standing in the gold-mirrored lobby of Trump Tower in New York, angrily insisting on a moral equivalence between the neo-Nazis who came to Charlottesville and the counter-protesters who met them there, snarling at the incredulous reporters while his aides grimaced in the background …

Judged by the number of people involved or even the loss of life, Charlottesville pales in comparison to many other key political moments in American history, protests or confrontations or outright massacres. But it looks like it will produce a profound shift, changing the seriousness with which we take the emboldened racist right, the divisions within the Republican Party, and the way Americans look at Donald Trump. It’s hard to know yet how far its impact will reach, but seen from today it appears that it’s something we’ll be talking about and referring to for years to come. As well we should.

(Paul Waldman, Why Charlottesville is a Turning Point)

3

Steve Bannon’s interview, like Anthony Scaramucci’s, shows what a pit of vipers the White House has become. One cannot remotely absolve POTUS of this, as his management style, reports say, has long been to sow discord, let staff fight for their views, and then pronounce His Majesty’s conclusion.

His next big conclusion is likely to be firing Bannon, who has so poisoned the well that somebody’s got to go, and God help us if it’s the few grownup patriots who endure Trump for the sake of the Republic.

The whole theory behind a successful Trump presidency was that he could unite conservative populists with mainstream, business-oriented Republicans, somehow managing to make the worst aspects of each group cancel each other out. The populists would check the greedy self-dealing of the business types, and the desire for respectability would prevent the populists from acting on their darkest animosities. This was always a pipe dream. It would have been impossible even if the man at the top was a political genius of great cunning and self-control. Instead, we have Trump, and almost the opposite case obtains: Our head of state is trying to micromanage the social opprobrium falling on neo-Nazis and all Republicans can think to do with their power on the Hill is cut taxes and social benefits.

The Trump administration is politically wounded in a serious way. Trump’s own decisions have now led him to the point where he must begin to choose between the moderates with money and the populists, when he’s always needed both. America’s silent majority, the “normies” who used to say that they work hard and play by the rules, are baffled by a president who can’t even do the easiest thing imaginable: read a script that says all the right things.

(Michael Brendan Dougherty)

4

Are Trump’s racially divisive remarks just another example of his impulsivity and propensity to be provocative, or do they represent an abiding tolerance of racist views?

He’s like this on nearly every issue, said Armstrong Williams, a conservative, African-American TV and radio talk show host and longtime supporter of Trump. If ousted FBI director James Comey or former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus “had been black, people would have called what he did to them racist,” Williams said. “You cannot isolate this to race. It’s just who he is. He’s undisciplined and he causes unnecessary pain with what he says, and he’s done it all his life. The president treats everybody the same, unfortunately.”

Williams said Trump should have left his Monday statement condemning white supremacists as his last word, “but he just can’t stop himself, so he goes off without understanding the history of neo-Nazism and white supremacy. And those of us who had so much hope for him are just exhausted, because this is every day. People see it as a betrayal. Soon, he won’t have anybody, because when you start talking about Nazis and supremacy, who’s going to defend him on that?”

(Marc Fisher, Washington Post)

5

Relenting momentarily from the faults of our reigning POTUS, be it remembered that the Democrats desperately need for the GOP to implode, and they may yet get that wish.

The current attack on Confederate monuments is only another front in the Left’s endless kulturkampf. The Left is committed to always being on the offense in the culture wars, and, with Donald Trump and his white-resentment politics installed in the White House and Republicans lined up queasily behind him, the choice of going after Confederate totems is clever. It brings out the kooks and the cranks, and some respectable conservatives feel obliged to defend them. Getting Republicans to relitigate the Civil War is a great victory for the Democrats, who were, after all, on the wrong side of it as a matter of historical fact …

Anti-Southern sentiment among Democrats has grown, predictably, with the migration of Southern voters to the Republican party … As the country moved politically in a more conservative direction, and as the locus of conservative power moved south, anti-Southern invective became more common among progressives who a generation or two before had been all too happy to do business with a William Fulbright or a Woodrow Wilson. National panics over Confederate revanchism, like New York Times crusades against homelessness, tend to coincide with Republican presidencies. That is not coincidence.

The war on statuary serves two purposes: The first is to humiliate Southerners in retribution for their support of Republican politicians and conservative causes, particularly religious and social causes. The second is to help Democrats win elections without white men ….

(Kevin D. Williamson)

6

If Evangelicals were doing their usual thing, they’d be assigning numerical values to “D O N A L D T R U M P” trying to make it add up to 666, not doubling-down on our electoral blunder.

7

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Qui tacet consentire videtur, ubi loqui debuit ac potuit.

There is no epistemological Switzerland. (Via Mars Hill Audio Journal Volume 134)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.

One thought on “Thursday addendum

  1. I would not have voted for Trump or Clinton had I lived in America because I see them as mirror images of each other and evil. Trump is a “right wing pagan” and Clinton is a “left wing pagan.” Having made my position clear, I believe that Donald Trump was correct when he said that there were violent elements in both opposing groups in Charlottesville (or words to that effect.) Sometimes even evil people state that which is true.

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