Malacandra.me

Headline of the week. Quote of the day.

Headline of the week. Quote of the day.

by digby

You know when Abraham Lincoln made that Gettysburg Address speech, the great speech, you know he was ridiculed? And he was excoriated by the fake news. They had fake news then. They said it was a terrible, terrible speech. Fifty years after his death they said it may have been the greatest speech ever made in America. I have a feeling that's going to happen with us. In different ways, that's going to happen with us.

KellyAnne Conway's husband:

That headline goes with an essay by Michel Gerson, George W. Bush speechwriter:

Trump pursues no deep or subtle strategies. He does not even consistently seek his own interests. He responds like a child or a narcissist — but I repeat myself — to positive or negative stimulation. It is the reason a discussion on “Fox & Friends” can so often set the agenda of the president. It is the reason that Trump’s lawyers, in the end, can’t allow him to be interviewed by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. It would be like a 9-year-old defending a PhD dissertation. Or maybe a rabbit jumping into a buzz saw.

This lesson can’t be lost on foreign intelligence services, which can pre-order a comprehensive account of the president’s psychological and political vulnerabilities for $18 online. (Note: Woodward now owes me.) Here is the increasingly evident reality of the Trump era: We are a superpower run by a simpleton. From a foreign policy perspective, this is far worse than being run by a skilled liar. It is an invitation to manipulation and contempt.

Pointing to the polls is the main response of Trump and his supporters. Whatever the president is doing, most Republicans want more of it. As one apologist argues, “His personality is a feature, not a bug. Many Americans are comfortable with that.” Put another way, a motivated group of Americans — which largely controls the GOP nomination process — enjoys Trump’s reality-television version of presidential politics. And you can’t argue with the ratings.

I can and do. What we are finding from books, from insider leaks and from investigative journalism is that the rational actors who are closest to the president are frightened by his chaotic leadership style. They describe a total lack of intellectual curiosity, mental discipline and impulse control. Should the views of these establishment insiders really carry more weight than those of Uncle Clem in Scranton, Pa.? Why yes, in this case, they should. We should listen to the voices of American populism in determining public needs and in setting policy agendas — but not in determining political reality.

He's right about one thing. It's really about rational vs irrational. What's alarming isn't so much Trump. There have been Mad Kings before. It's that there are tens of millions of Americans living inside his delusion with him.