Trump is guilty of exactly what he accuses others of

One of the remarkable things about President Trump is that he’s guilty of exactly what he accuses others of.

The publishers of the Atlantic, in their October edition, are publishing a story that details how Trump is planning to steal the election. His plans include:

  • Slowing down delivery of mail-in ballots by the Post Office.
  • Hiring 50,000 volunteers to challenge voters at polling places.
  • Declaring victory on November 3rd long before mail-in ballots have all been counted.
  • Having state legislatures declare Democratic slates tainted by voter fraud.
  • Throwing the election results to the Supreme Court (where Trump will have a 6-3 majority once he gets his new Justice).

Trump keeps complaining that the election will be rigged. He is correct: it will be rigged. But what is already absolutely clear is that it will be rigged from his side.

The same thing is, of course, true with respect to “fake news.” We are, indeed, awash in fake news. But almost all of it is coming from his side. The people cataloging Trump’s lies, half-truths, exaggerations and misstatements, have already cataloged over 20,000 examples. For those doing the math, that works out to almost 14 per day.

Fourteen per day!

Every day!

I believe that Trump will be trounced on election day. The fight over the Supreme Court will galvanize our side in a way that wasn’t true before, and all the talk of Trump stealing the election will cause more people to come out on our side than ever before.

And, of course, I could be wrong.

I’ve been wrong before.

But if I’m right, then democracy survives, because at some point even Trump can’t overcome all the people voting against him.

If not, we’re going to be in a period of American history like we’ve never seen before.

In the middle of a pandemic.

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Republicans who think Brett Kavanaugh was the victim of a character assassination are living in a kind of “Opposite Day.”

I’m just fascinated, I must confess, by the Republicans who think that Brett Kavanuagh was the victim of some kind of character assassination. And that picking a new justice to succeed Ruth Bader Ginsberg is some kind of “payback.”


First of all, let me point out that Kavanaugh was confirmed.

Secondly, let me point out that there were three women who accused Kavanugh of sexual impropriety: Christine Blasey-Ford, Deborah Ramirez, and Julie Swetnick.[1]

Now, when confronted with Blasey-Ford’s allegations, Kavanaugh went to the “mistaken identity” defense, which is highly unlikely. As someone who has done investigations professionally, let me explain why.

Imagine a scenario in which as a high school boy, you were kicked in the balls so hard by someone you considered a friend that you had to be brought to the hospital to have your balls examined. In that scenario:

  • You might not remember exactly what led up to your friend kicking you in the balls;
  • You might not remember who brought you to the hospital;
  • You might not remember exactly how you and your friend resolved (or failed to resolve) your conflict;
  • But, you’d sure as hell remember who kicked you in the balls.

If Brett Kavanaugh had come before the committee and said that he didn’t remember his interaction with Blasey-Ford the same way, that the times were different, that she might have misinterpreted his actions, or even that he was too drunk to remember clearly, I might have accepted that (grudgingly, I confess) as an explanation.

But again, he went with the “mistaken identity” defense. In the most histrionic performance ever witnessed at a confirmation hearing.[2]

Kavanaugh claimed that he believed that Blasey-Ford had indeed been sexually assaulted, but by someone else.

So, Democrats didn’t engage in some kind of character assassination. They followed up on a credible allegation of sexual wrongdoing that, if you look at the weight of the evidence, is quite likely to have been true. And Kavanaugh was confirmed anyway.

But we’re now living in a permanent kind of “opposite day,” where Republicans just turn upside-down what should be obvious to everyone else. Their pretension that the rule that McConnell set up for the Merrick Garland nomination suddenly shouldn’t apply now is hypocrisy at its finest, and even they know it to be true.

[1] Swetnick’s allegations were the last credible, and should maybe just count as half an allegation – since she eventually conceded that she didn’t actually witness some of the “spiked drink” allegations that she had made.

[2] It was more histrionic that Clarence Thomas’ a “high tech lynching” of an “uppity” black man performance.

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Our Hypocrisy is not like theirs, part 24

It wasn’t in the least bit unexpected, but the speed at which Mitch McConnell overthrew his alleged principles really was breath-taking. He wasn’t the only one. We also had Senator Lindsay Graham, who in 2016 invited us to hold his words against him.

Lindsay Graham on the nomination of Merrick Garland.

Okay, invitation accepted.

Let’s journey back to 2016 for a moment and refresh our recollection. On March 16, 2016, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland, then (as now) the Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to succeed Antonin Scalia shortly after his death. For 293 days (or almost 10 months), Mitch McConnell refused to even meet with Judge Garland, on the alleged theory that the voters needed to be given a chance to weigh in on the next Supreme Court justice first.

At the time, the Republicans tried to invoke the so-called “Biden Rule,” derived from a speech that Biden gave in 1992, arguing that President George H. W. Bush (the elder) should not appoint a replacement if there were a Supreme Court nomination in the summer of the year before the November election.[1]

No one was buying it then, and no one is buying it now.

Mitch McConnell is trying to make the completely indefensible distinction that the Republicans hold both the Senate and the Presidency now, and that somehow overrides the rule he established for Merrick Garland’s nomination.

If that were true, then when the Democrats next have the Senate and the Republicans have the White House, the Democrats could block all nominations for four years . . . just because they can.

That is obviously not what “advise and consent” was intended to do. Advise and consent requires, inherent in its nature, that one taken some kind of action.

There are now pundits who are saying that if this is how the Republicans want to play, the Democrats (the next time they have the Senate and the White House) should just increase the size of the court from nine to eleven and appoint two new justices (known as “court packing”).

There is no rule in the Constitution that prevents that.

In fact, President Franklin D. Roosevelt tried to do just that with his Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937, which would have increased the size of the court to 15, because he was tired of losing legal challenges at the Supreme Court to his “New Deal” legislation.[2] His effort eventually failed because of political reasons,[3] but not because there was anything in the Constitution that prevented it.

If the Democrats did take such a step, that would be putting more fire on the fuel of a furious partisan divide, and there would theoretically be nothing preventing the Republicans, when they’re next in power, from increasing the size of the court even more. But it’s a dangerous game the Republicans are playing right now, if they want to engage in such blatant hypocrisy.[4] This is what happens when you no longer adhere to long-established rules of fair play.

[1] As it happens, there was no such vacancy in the summer of 1992, so there was no such precedent set. The whole argument was premised on a speech that Biden had given 24 years earlier.

[2] The Supreme Court ruled unanimously against Roosevelt in the cases of Humphrey’s Executor v. United States, Louisville Joint Stock Land Bank v. Radford, and Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States, and Roosevelt had additional judicial setbacks as well.

[3] The bill was held up in the Senate Judiciary Committee by committee chair Henry F. Ashurst for 165 days, and was further undermined by the untimely death of its chief advocate, Senate Majority Leader Joseph T. Robinson.

[4] There are four Republicans who have been identified as potentially voting against McConnell, and those are Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Mitch Romney and Chucky Grassley. But whether they actually do vote off or not would be anyone’s guess.

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Donald Trump keeps arguing with his own scientists about when a coronavirus vaccine will be ready

My father was born in 1927 in pre-Hitler Germany.  In 1939, when he was 12, he decided he wanted to be a physicist.[1] I always found his choice of profession to be fascinating, because physics is probably the least political choice he could have made. Within physics he found a safe bubble where the world made sense. The “laws” of physics are what they are, without any political aspect to them.[2] In fact, as I wrote back in 2016 when he passed away, physics was a “venue” that allowed him to befriend a survivor of the Krakow ghetto, where both men could pursue their common search for “objective” truths.[3]

Cut to Donald Trump.

Donald Trump, as many of you know, is very proud of his uncle, Dr. John G. Trump, formerly of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. And Indeed, Dr. Trump had a rather impressive career, which included receiving the National Medal of Science, developing rotational radiation therapy,  and helping to develop one of the first million-volt X-ray generators.

The Donald frequently cites his uncle as proof that he comes from a family with very “intelligent” genes.

Dr. Trump must be rolling over in his grave these days.

His nephew, our President of the United States, has claimed all of the following during his presidency, among other things:

  • That windmills cause cancer.
  • That “raking” forests would prevent forest fires and that trees can spontaneously combust.
  • That one could use a nuclear bomb to defuse a hurricane.
  • The ingesting cleaning supplies Clorox could cure the Coronavirus.

Anyone who has graduated from high school should be more scientifically literate than the Donald has proven himself to be.

More recently, the Donald has, of course, argued with his own CDC about when a Covid vaccine is likely to be available. The Donald keeps trying to convince us that a vaccine will be ready for mass distribution right before the November 3rd election.

He couldn’t even be any more obvious if he tried.

This is, of course, the same man who told Bob Woodward as early as February 7th that he knew the virus was airborne and much more dangerous than the flu, while he was lying to us same exactly the opposite thing.

This is the same man who tried to open the United States back up at a point in time when he knew clearly that we were not ready.

And now he’s arguing with his CDC Director, Robert Redfield, who (like just about every other expert) has opined that one (or more) vaccines will probably be ready for mass distribution to the general public by the summer of 2021.

[1] Hitler came to power in 1933, and the Second World War is generally considered to have begun on September 1, 1939, when Germany invaded Poland.

[2] This is less true, for example, in biology, where scientific racism has been used to justify different treatment of different races.

[3] See “The Story of My Father and Zev.”

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What’s the meaning of the “Abraham Accords” normalizing relations between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain?

Yesterday we had the spectacle of the signing of the “Abraham Accords” – which is the full normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates on the one hand, and also separately the full normalization of relations between Israel and Bahrain.

Trump loyalists would have you believe this is like the Camp David Accords, during which Jimmy Carter spent 12 days at Camp David with Menachem Begin  and Anwar Sadat, giving everything he had to help produce the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt signed in 1978.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

As far as I can tell, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain already had very robust relations with Israel, bonded by their joint opposition to Iran. The full normalization changes very little.

Certainly this is largely good news, and makes sense. (It’s time for Arab nations to give up the fiction that Israel shouldn’t be recognized, since Israel is clearly here to stay.) The Palestinians, of course, feel betrayed, but they’ve been mismanaging their own political situation for a long time. They can’t even agree on who should administer the territories that they do have, with Fatah administering the West Bank and Hamas administering the Gaza Strip.

The point is, as far as I can tell the Trump administration did absolutely nothing to make this happen.

Why is it happening now?

I’m still waiting for some Middle East expert to provide me with an answer.

Maybe the UAE and Bahrain wanted to provide the Trump administration with a win, as they might believe that Trump will be a more implacable foe to their joint enemy in Iran.

Jared Kushner is strutting around like he made it happen, but as far as I can tell, he didn’t do anything either.

Anyway, Trump is sure to try to reignite the argument that he too should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

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The Susan Rice, Samantha Power and Michael Cohen autobiographies underscore the difference between Obama and Trump

Over the last week, while on vacation, I happened to read the autobiographies of Susan Rice, Samantha Power, and Michael D. Cohen.

  • Susan Rice, as most people know, was on Joe Biden’s short list for Vice-President.  A national security “Wunderkind,” she was a high-ranking national security official in the Clinton administration at a very young age, and was eventually the American Ambassador to the United Nations and the National Security Advisor in the Obama administration.
  • The Irish-born Samantha Power first became a war-correspondent and then wrote the Pulitzer-prize winning book “A Problem from Hell.”  She succeeded Susan rice as the American Ambassador to the United Nations under Obama.
  • Michael (Dean) Cohen, an attorney who made his millions trading in NYC taxi medallions, and who became Donald Trump’s “fixer” for about a decade before Trump threw him under the bus for helping to arrange the payoffs for Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels while Trump was running for President.

One of the things the Rice and Power autobiographies reminded me of is what a good human being Barack Obama was (and still is).  Regardless of what you think of his Presidency – and I think he was a good but not necessarily great President – the man is clearly a good human being. A very good human being. One can see that in all the little ways that his relationship to both Rice and Power grew, and how he supported them, and how they came to be important members of his administration.

And then we have Donald Trump.

Cohen’s book is interesting primarily for the detail he provides in illustrating how Trump operates, and what he was asked to do on Trump’s behalf.[1] One of the stories that I found telling was a story about the Doral Golf Club, which Trump acquired in February 2012 by purchasing it out of bankruptcy.[2] In any case, to save money, Trump directed the contractors repainting the Doral hotel to use the cheapest paint possible, which the contractors strongly advised against. When (sure enough) the paint did not stand up to the high volume use at the Doral Hotel, Trump demanded that Cohen “fix it” without ever acknowledging that he himself at been at fault for the choice of the paint. Cohen eventually browbeat the executives at Benjamin Moore, the manufacturer of the paint, for so long that the company provided enough paint to repaint the hotel for free.[3]

As Cohen makes patently clear, it is not that Trump couldn’t afford to pay his contractors, it’s that he could get away with not paying them. That was simply his way of doing business.[4]

By now it’s obvious that there are two groups that generally support Donald Trump:

  1. Traditional Republicans who like what he has achieved in lowering taxes, eliminating regulations, appointing conservative judges, and extricating the United States from international agreements, and who are willing to hold their nose to vote for him in order to achieve these policy results.
  2. Trump enthusiasts who support him because he is the “fuck you” President who gives it to the “libtards,” where (as one journalist recently wrote) the cruelty is the point.

For the Trump enthusiasts, it doesn’t matter what he does. They will support him until the end because “he hates the same people that they hate.” For traditional Republicans and the “how bad can he be” crowd,” some inroads have already been made and will likely continue to be made. At least so long as Trump does things like call the enlisted military “suckers” and “losers” and admits (to people like Bob Woodward on the record) that he straight out lied about how dangerous the coronavirus really is.[5]

I’ve said repeatedly and will continue to say that once Trump is out of office – it will either be in 2021 or 2025 – there will be an enormous reckoning for the Republican party. They are effectively losing an entire generation of voters. But the amount of damage Trump could do in the meantime is immeasurable. So it had better be now, this November, and 2021.

[1] Some Trump supporters don’t believe Cohen because he perjured himself before Congress on Trump’s behalf. I should point out, however, that once he chose to cooperate in the Mueller investigation, the attorneys there reported that everything that Cohen told them checked out, and they made a note of this in their report.

[2] Yes, my friends, this was an occasion where, instead of making something bankrupt, Trump actually purchased something which was already bankrupt.

[3] And yet, Trump still stiffed the paint contractors even though he had advised against the choice of paint. Eventually, a court in Miami ordered the Trump National Doral Miami to be foreclosed unless the Trump Organization paid $32,800 to a Miami paint supply company.

[4] I personally know the principals of an architectural provider that was stiffed by the Trump organization for the very same reason, which is that they could. This group chose not to sue Trump, as the costs of litigation were likely to outweigh the reward.

[5] Just a few days ago Trump’s CDC was outed for falsifying public health data in order to help the President’s re-election chances.

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Did President Drumpf really call military veterans “suckers” and “losers?”

An article published in the Atlantic on September 3, 2020, made the explosive charges that President Drumpf had called military veterans, including deceased military veterans “suckers” and “losers” over the course of the last few years.

Why is this information coming out now?

Not really sure. The author, Jeffrey Goldberg, is “the editor in chief of The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting.” I’m guessing he’s been tracking the story for a while.

Can I prove that Drumpf said these things?

Certainly not. Drumpf has, of course, denied all of it.

But here’s the thing: it sounds so like Drumpf. Let’s remember that on the campaign trail in 2015, Drumpf said of Senator John McCain, who was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for five and a half years, that “He’s not a war hero. I like people who weren’t captured.”[1]

It’s also well known that Drumpf canceled a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018, claiming both that his helicopter could not fly and that the secret service could not drive him there, both allegations that have repeatedly been denied. In any case, Goldberg’s article, among other things:

  • Alleges that Drumpf said at the time of the cancellation of the Aisne-Marne visit described the dead veterans in the cemetery as “losers.”[2]
  • Alleges that Drumpf said, in a conversation on the same trip, that the the more than 1,800 marines who gave up their lives at Belleau Wood were “suckers.”
  • Alleges that on a visit to the gravesite of (former Chief of Staff John Kelly’s son) Robert Kelly, Drumpf turned to Kelly and said of his son and fellow veterans, “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?”[3]
  • Alleges that Drumpf referred to former President George H. W. Bush as a “loser” for being shot down by the Japanese as a Navy pilot in World War II.
  • Alleges that Drumpf was apoplectic when flags were flown at half-staff after McCain’s death.
  • Alleges that after a White House briefing given by the then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joe Dunford, Drumpf turned to aides and said, “That guy is smart. Why did he join the military?”

Again, it would be hard to believe that the putatively pro-military Drumpf would say such things with respect to the military and veterans but for the disclosures about what he is already on record having said about McCain. And, that it is well-known that Drumpf views the world entirely in “transactional” terms.[4]

There was a poll published recently suggesting that military servicemen — who tend to skew politically conservative — are leaning in Biden’s direction in surprisingly large numbers. These allegations certainly won’t help Drumpf.

Shoot yourself in the foot, why don’t you, Captain Bonespurs? It certainly is the most appropriate place for you to shoot yourself.

[1]That was one of many times in 2015 that I thought Drumpf’s campaign was dead in the water.

[2] Drumpf rejected the visit because (1) he feared his hair would become disheveled in the rain, and (2) he did not believe it important to honor American war dead. This, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion that day.

[3]According to sources, Kelly initially believed that Drumpf “was making a ham-handed reference to the selflessness of America’s all-volunteer force,” before realized that Drumpf genuinely does not understand why someone would make such a sacrifice.

[4] McCain, of course, paid Drumpf back by being the final vote in the Senate to block the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, shortly before he died.

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Republican are drooling crazy mad because Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a hair appointment in San Francisco this week

Republican are drooling crazy mad because Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a hair appointment in San Francisco this week.

So let’s get this out of the way: was that a mistake?

Sure it was.

Pelosi should have known better.

If she wanted her hair done she should have hired someone to come to her house and do it there.1

But just this week the Donald did all of the following:

  • He ordered that the United States will not cooperate with the World Health Organization in developing a coronavirus vaccine because he’s still pissed that WHO didn’t condemn China in more partisan terms. 2
  • He told the people of North Carolina that they should vote by mail and then also try to vote in person.
  • He said about veterans who died in wars that they were “suckers” and “losers.”
  • He required his CDC to announce that they would begin distributing a covid vaccine on November 1, or two days before the election.

The Republican party has become like the guy who can’t get over the fact that the Speaker got a parking ticket while their guy ran over six motorcyclists in a meth-fueled rage, but should be excused because he was high.

They’re still fixated on Hillary Clinton’s emails and whether the Obama administration “spun” the events in Benghazi. They gave up on any sense or recognition of proportionality a long time ago.

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Jacob Blake vs. Kyle Rittenhouse (see any difference?)

As most people know by now, a man named Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back in Kenosha, Wisconsin on the afternoon of Sunday, August 23, 2020. Then, on Tuesday night, August 25, 2020 Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year old vigilante from Antioch Ohio, shot and killed two protesters and wounded a third.

Video of Jacob Blake getting shot

In the Context of George Floyd

The Jacob Blake shooting occurred in the context of the post-George Floyd era. (Floyd, for those who don’t remember, was suffocated to death on Sunday, May 25, 2020) Ever since then there have essentially been twin crises in the United States: the coronavirus, and the needed racial reckoning.

Why did the George Floyd incident move the needle when other videos of black men (and occasionally black women) getting shot had not? Primarily because of the brazeness of the George Floyd incident. We now know:

  • That there were people agitating with the cops the whole time to let Floyd breathe.
  • There was an off-duty firefighter who was pleading with the cops to let Floyd breathe.

And of course, watching Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for eight fucking minutes made it absolutely clear that Chauvin did not think that Floyd’s life matters.

In the three months since the death of George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter have been largely unrelenting. People want change.

Jacob Blake Incident

There are things we know about the Blake shooting and plenty that we don’t. In brief, what we know so far includes the following:

  • Police responded to a domestic violence call at around 5:10 PM.
  • Blake had a warrant for his arrest from July, based on charges of third-degree sexual assault related to a domestic violence incident.
  • Police tried to arrest Blake without much success. They apparently tried to tase him twice, and he may have put one in a headlock.
  • Police follow Blake while he returns to his car, and as he has the door open to get in, the officer shoots him from behind. Seven times.

Now, people who have been around law enforcement know that domestic violence situations can be messy. And difficult. It appears to be the case that the cops at least had the right to arrest Blake, and that he was uncooperative.

That, however, is not a reason to shoot someone in the black seven times.

Even if you could make the argument (and I don’t believe you can) that the cops were entitled to shoot him once, there is no justification for shooting him six times, and paralyzing him for life.

Once again, these cops clearly did not believe that Jacob Blake’s life mattered.

Kyle Rittenhouse Incident

Kyle Rittenhouse is the 17-year old little fucker from Antioch Ohio, who shot and killed two protesters and wounded a third. His story is also an evolving story, and will continue to evolve over time. But here is what we know so far:

  • Kyle was driven the 35 miles or so from Antioch to Kenosha by his mother, who clearly knew that he 17 year old son wasn’t allowed to carry an AR-15 style assault rifle around in public.
  • None of the various law enforcement officers who encountered Kyle – 5’3″, 135 lbs, and looks like he might be 13 — bothered to card him or take his gun. Instead they welcomed him to the city and gave him water.
  • Some of the protesters decided to descend on Kyle even though he was armed with a fucking assault rifle.
  • Kyle shot the first protester (Joseph Rosenbaum, 36) after Rosenbaum threw a plastic bag1 at Rittenhouse.
  • Having shot Rosenbaum, Kyle began to retreat with a crowd of people chasing after him. During the chase Kyle stumbled and fell. Still clutching his assault rifle, Kyle was assaulted by Anthony Huber, 26, with a skate board, among other things.
  • From his sitting position, Kyle shot Huber dead.
  • Then, Kyle’s final victim (Gaige Grosskreutz, 26) drew a pistol on him, causing Kyle to shoot in in the bicep. (Grosskreutz survived.)
  • Kyle ran away a third time and tries to give himself up to the police, who just ignore him.
  • A day later, Kyle is arrested at home.

An article on (Anatomy of a Catastrophe) makes the argument that almost everyone, from Kyle’s mother to the victims to the police, were criminally stupid in this clusterfracas. The authors are not wrong.

It should also be noted that all three victims had felony convictions and that there is evidence to suggest that they too were behaving quite provocatively2. I’m not into victim shaming, and having a felony record is not an invitation to be shot. The point here is that there is an argument to be made that all three victims attempted to assault a teenager with a fucking assault rifle.

The Difference between Jacob and Kyle

It doesn’t take a homicide investigator to see the remarkable difference between how Jacob Blake and Kyle Rittenhouse were treated by the police. Whatever his faults may have been and however much the police might have been entitled to arrest Blake, there is simply no excuse for shooting him in the back at point blank range while he’s trying to get into his car.

Seven times.

In front of his three sons.

And there is no excuse for welcoming an armed 17 year old vigilante into a highly disorganized protest scene where the possession of the assault rifle by itself was a crime.

For those people who don’t think that there is structural racism in policing, one really shouldn’t have to go much further than this single example to disprove that theory.3

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What’s at stake in this election: Decency vs. Indecency

We’ve now had the Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention, and it’s pretty clear what is at stake: decency vs. indecency.

John Oliver on the RNC

The Democratic National Convention

The DNC was basically selling Joe Biden as a nice guy, a human being, a mensch, someone with compassion. We also know Joe’s limitation: he’s not particularly inspiring. But there are a lot of things I like about Biden

  • I like that he had to overcome stuttering as a young man.
  • I like that he really does understand heartbreak, having lost his wife and daughter in a car accident just after becoming a Senator.
  • I like that he found love again with Dr. Jill.
  • And I know that he experienced heartbreak again when his son Beau died from cancer.

These things don’t necessarily qualify him to be President of course. They qualify him as a human being. There are other things that qualify him to be President, including his 36 years in the Senate and his 8 years as Vice President.

Biden wasn’t my first choice this year, but he is a very decent choice. His Presidency is likely to be kind of an Obama Presidency, Part II. And that would be plenty good enough for me.

We have to right the ship before we can turn it left.

The Republican National Convention

As many commentators have noted, the Republican National Convention took place in an alternate reality. Trying to humanize Donald Trump and make him seem like a competent, compassionate person who cares about our lives is problematic when we’ve had the chance to observe him for almost four years, and have had access to his Twitter feed.

This is man who, when the pandemic first hit, cared more about the television ratings for his daily briefing than he did about the American lives being lost.

Let me say that again: this is man who, when the pandemic first hit, cared more about the television ratings for his daily briefing than he did about the American lives being lost.

  • By now we know all about his dog-whistle racism and that he only plays to his base and literally doesn’t care about the Americans who don’t support him.
  • The people who’ve worked him the most closely almost uniformly describe him as a idiot who is too lazy to do his job.
  • Our “law and order” President gave his acceptance speech on the White House lawn while flagrantly violating the Hatch Act.
  • He doesn’t care about law and order. He only cares about the kind of disorder that can be blamed on on minorities and urbanites and other types of people that he does not like.

At some point in time an alternate reality becomes so extreme that even gullible people have a hard time swallowing it. We might be getting close to that inflection point right now.

The Choice

It’s been pretty well established that there are two substantial groups of people who support Donald Trump (1) people who really like the policies he has implemented (especially deregulation and the appointment of conservative judges) and (2) those who love that he is the “FU” President, the President who hates the same people that they do. Trump “owns the liberals” (whatever the fuck that means); he is the personification of “grievance politics.”

The United States is probably the most divided it’s been since the civil war, and that division has been exacerbated by 25 years of Fox News and right wing talk radio (and now various Internet-outlets). And now by this malignant President.

Joe Biden would not take us back to any “radical” America. At most he would take us back to a centrist “normative” America, and potentially a bridge to something much more substantial. He isn’t Hillary Clinton — whom large swaths of Americans detested with a passion (for reasons that frankly still elude me) — and so he doesn’t engender the kind of antipathy that she did. But to paint him as some kind of “radical” who is going to dismember the suburbs is just laughable, and any thinking person knows that.

Michael Moore has emphasized that he sees a lot of enthusiasm for Trump in certain parts of the country. For the most part, these are the parts of the country where people love to hate the rest of us more than they love their own people. I don’t take this threat lightly. I realize that Donald Trump — who should have an approval rating in the single digits and should be facing an electoral college slaughter worse than Walter Mondale — could actually be re-elected.

My faith in this country has already been broken. But if that were to happen, whatever is left of my faith would be crushed to smithereens. And yet, it could happen.

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