"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"It is impossible for me to say in my book one word about all that music has meant in my life. How then can I hope to be understood?--Ludwig Wittgenstein

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Friday, April 13, 2018

But until then.....

I'll admit that, next to Donald Trump, anybody looks better, even James Comey.  But despite this news:

Via CNN’s Jason Morrell, a source close to Trump has told CNN’s Gloria Borger that the president is “pissed, flailing and upset” and that his anger right now is “beyond what anyone can imagine.”

Another source similarly told Borger that Trump’s anger has become “unmanageable” and that he was currently in “lash out” mode.

I stand by my analysis:  Trump won't do anything that creates responsibility for Trump.  Of course he's pissed; of course he's flailing.  Ineffectual people talk; they rant, they rave, they swear (with apologies to Poe).  What they don't do, is get anything done.

Who is Trump "lashing out" at?

Trump this week has angrily attacked a multitude of targets on his Twitter account, including the New York Times, the Mueller probe, deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Syrian leader Bashar al Assad, the FBI, and Hillary Clinton.

Can he do anything to any of them?  He can't shut down the NYT or the Mueller probe.  Even if he fires Mueller the investigation, which was going on before Mueller was assigned to it, will continue.  He can fire Rosenstein, but that's when the shit hits the fan.  He can't remove Assad from power, dissolve the FBI, or lock up Hillary Clinton.  What he can do is yell at White House staff and watch TeeVee.  Which is all he is doing.

The Journal spoke with two people who claim they have spoken to the president this week and said they felt Trump is close to booting both Sessions and Rosenstein in a purge of the Justice Department, setting the stage for shutting down the Mueller investigation.

“It’s a matter of when, not if,” admitted one Trump confidante, with another one stating, “Eventually, it will happen.”

Sure, sure; and the sun will come up in the morning.  One of these things is sure to happen; the other is quite a bit less likely.  Say he fires Sessions and Rosenstein.   He has to go back to the Senate to replace them both.  There's talk now Pompeo might not be on the cakewalk to the State Department; what chance do you think Trump has of replacing Sessions with a lickspittle who will protect him?  1/3rd of the Senate is in play and even Ted Cruz is starting to sweat.  Who is going to bat for Trump in his bid to be Imperious Leader?  Hell, Trump doesn't even want that job:  too much responsibility.  He just wants people to praise him.  Remember the Cabinet meetings where he had everyone lick his boots on camera?  Recall the ceremony after that tax bill passed, and he forced Mitch McConnell to lead off with what a great leader Trump was?  And how much leadership did he show in getting that one major piece of legislation passed?  His next feat was to poutingly sign the spending bill because he got heat from FauxNews over it after it passed but before he put his pen to it.  Even then he couldn't take responsibility for letting it fail.  He signed because he couldn't do otherwise.  He won't even take responsibility for trying to save the farmer from his trade war with China.  And if he does start firing people to stop the investigation, how much of the DOJ will he have to put on the streets?  How much of it can he actually fire?  Not enough to do what he wants to do, if that's the way he wants to go.

Trump is interested in one thing, and that's praise of Trump.  The worst thing he's going to do is undermine the rule of law and the traditions of government, and while we'd be some time recovering from that, it might also teach us that those things exist because We the People insist on them, not because they are the guardians of our indifference and inattention.  Valerie Plame is right:  the pardon of Scooter Libby is aimed at Manafort and Flynn and Kushner.*  But if they think New York State is likely to go after them (even Cohen could face a state investigation), what good does that do?  Jail is jail, whether it's federal or state, and the POTUS can't pardon state crimes.  He will undermine the rule of law as much as he is able, which is why the blue wave is building and will hopefully crest in November with the stables of Washington swept a bit more clean than they are right now (2/3rds of the Senate will remain, but control is all).

I mean, stop and look at it:  we're nearly 18 months in, and what has Donald Trump done in that time?  Played a record amount of golf for a sitting President; and issued a record number of tweets for a sitting President.  And those are about the only two records he's set.  He is a disastrously incompetent buffoon of a President, and should be removed from office (legally!) post-haste.  But he's not about to grab the reins and drive the team by himself.  Nixon might have wished to do that; Trump is too afraid of the responsibility, and completely incapable of knowing how to drive the wagon.

And if he proves me wrong and starts nuking the DOJ, his Administration won't last to the end of it's first term.  Either way it's heads, the country wins, tails and Trump loses.


As if to prove my thesis just in time:

In the report, the DOJ’s internal watchdog accused McCabe of exhibiting behavior that “lacks candor” (a fireable offense within the department) on four occasions. The IG also said the former deputy director issued unauthorized disclosures of internal information that went against the department’s “public interest.” The report said McCabe’s disclosure, which was made to the Wall Street Journal, was done “in a manner designed to advance his personal interests at the expense of department leadership.”

Not really the same thing at all, and no mention of Comey whatsoever.  There is something very unhinged about that tweet, and that is never a good look in a leader.  But Trump rages publicly, not privately; and he does nothing with his anger except blame others for what he does (a "den of thieves and lowlifes"?  Projection is not just for the movie theater, eh?)  If he was really planning to take action, wouldn't he do it?  And if he does, is this the tweet of a man with a plan?

*Charlie Pierce sez "Au contraire!"  He's sure it was done at the behest of Joe DiGenova and Victoria Toensing, who were partisans for Libby from way back.  So it's a consolation prize for not hiring them, and a reason to expect an effusive thank-you note from Libby.  Sure, why not?  It proves my thesis that Trump has yet to pardon anyone that would land any responsibility on him.  He knew people would love/hate his pardon of Arpaio, and as Pierce says Trump probably wouldn't know Libby if Scooter sat in Trump's lap.  Trump got a campaign rally or two out of the Arpaio pardon; by now he's settling for the private tongue baths of FoxNews "stars."  He's still not showing the spine a real leader needs; or a real despot, for that matter.


Blogger The Thought Criminal said...

I wish I'd read this before I went to bed last night. I might have slept better.

9:17 AM  

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