Tuesday, June 18, 2019

June 17, 2019
Right-wing television performers, a.k.a. news people (the real fake news) are wrong with regularity and most often annoyingly so, but now and again their nonsense provides comic relief.
Rush Limbaugh compared D Day to the “invasion” of illegal immigrants at the southern border.  The analogy would put the border patrol in the shoes of the Nazi defenders and the immigrants would be the liberating troops.  That probably wasn’t the image he had in mind, but nonstop bloviating is bound to confuse.
When Nancy Pelosi said she wanted to see Trump in jail, Sean Hannity responded in baffled horror: she "wants a political opponent locked up in prison? That happens in banana republics -- beyond despicable behavior."  Apparently that became despicable only recently; Hannity parroted “lock her up” over and over about Hillary Clinton’s alleged crimes.  Speaking of banana republics, has Sean noticed the trend of our nation’s character under Colonel Trump?
Ainsley Earhardt of Fox and Friends contributed this: “you can say whatever you want about the president, but his negotiation tactics are amazing.”  His skills are so formidable that he is conned by Putin and Kim, and this is her notion of his negotiating tactics: “he's sitting down with this delegation, he's got folks in D.C. right now that have been sitting down with these Mexican delegates that have come up to try to work out a deal.”  Sitting down! Impressive.
Her first phrase seems to admit that there is much on the debit side to say about Trump, again probably not the intended message.
Meanwhile, two things we can say about the President were confirmed: he isn’t bright, and he thinks that election-related collusion with foreign sources is just fine.  He has denied continuously  any collusion with Russia and twisted the Mueller Report to mean that there was none.  However, his and his campaign’s eager reception of ammunition against Hillary Clinton showed collusion, and now he’s underscored his willingness to repeat that pattern.  Asked whether he would accept politically damaging information from a foreign source, he said "I think you might want to listen, there isn't anything wrong with listening,"  As an example, "If somebody called from a country, Norway, [and said] ‘we have information on your opponent' -- oh, I think I'd want to hear it."  We might guess that the source would be a bit more sinister than Norway.        
In a tweeted attempt at damage control, Trump likened election interference to his conversations with such dignitaries as the Prince of Whales.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

June 4, 2019
Apparently it was necessary for Robert Mueller to deliver an address informing us that the report of his investigation meant what it said.  Following his recent public oral summary of the report, news media and various Democrats suddenly and dramatically announced their awareness of its message, including its reminder that Congress has the power to remove a president.
It is true that the report is bland, cautious and indirect.  However, Mueller’s recital was no less so.  The report is long, but its executive summaries made the same points that he made in his brief speech.  Perhaps Democrats and the media learn only aurally, in the case of the latter an ironic trait as they attempt to persuade people to read newspapers or web pages. 
Now that the reminder has been underscored, perhaps Nancy Pelosi’s somewhat puzzling reticence will be overcome.  Democrats shouldn’t fall for the argument that Trump is goading them into impeaching him, calculating that he can play the martyr on his way to reelection. He is afraid of impeachment, as he has been afraid of disclosures about virtually any aspect of his life.
Many Democrats and pundits think that impeaching Trump is not worth the political risk.  They may be worrying too much about 2020, and overstating the likelihood of Trump’s reelection.  Trump lost in 2016 by 2.8 million votes; only the peculiarity of the electoral system saved him, and that by fewer than 78,000 votes scattered over three states.  A focus on critical states, largely absent last time, could bring a different result.  As to the popular vote, it’s difficult to imagine that anti-Trump voters last time will vote for him next time around, and easy to think that a few of his backers have had enough.  Polls continue to show negative favorability and job performance numbers for Trump, and thus far straw polls show some of the Democratic candidates leading him for 2020.  All of that could change, but if Democrats can’t defeat a candidate as unqualified as Donald Trump, they may as well disband.
Why does Trump want to be reelected?  He has so little interest in governance and is so removed from any coherent philosophy that another run, which clearly is underway,  seems to have nothing to do with politics, in the usual sense.  True, he will advocate border control, but that is more opportunistic than principled.  He will support lower taxes, but that is a matter of private interest.  Winning again serves two needs: extending his immunity from prosecution, and caressing his ego.
That ego is fragile.  He reacts dramatically to any perceived slight.  At some level, Trump may know that he is a loser, and not only at the ballot box.  Treating him with caution is the wrong approach; he should be challenged, constantly and systematically, the latter best achieved through an impeachment proceeding.  The House Democrats should learn a lesson from the Mueller restatement: Trump’s unfitness has been public knowledge from the beginning, but it may take a formal, broadcast recital to drive the point home.  Televised impeachment hearings could be the vehicle.
When the House Judiciary Committee considered impeachment of Richard Nixon, it was criticized for conducting a compilation rather than an investigation.  A systematic, public, televised compilation of Trump’s abuse of his office is just what is needed now; many of the facts already are known; they need to be gathered and dramatically displayed.  (A good preliminary summary appeared in Dana Milbank’s Post column on June 3, but effective only for those who read). 
A cap spotted on a Trump doll in the anti-Trump protest in London read: “Make America Great Again. Impeach Me.”  Congress, there’s yet another hint.  (I liked “Build a wall to keep Trump out” too).
Posts © 2011-2012 by Gerald G. Day