Monday, March 06, 2017


In a brief post about our rage-filled president's weekend rewrite of the Russia narrative, Axios's Mike Allen writes this:
Towergate is a fascinating test of Trump's great gamble that he can do the job of president in a totally new way: largely improvisational, driven by whims, moods and obsessions; thinly staffed, like his campaign, and with poorly enforced process, not taking advantage of the massive safety net available to him; heavily reliant on family; and unconstrained by manners, rituals or precedent.
Allen also writes this:
But the risk is that there'll be a day of reckoning — perhaps after documents are subpoenaed and testimony demanded — when a Republican Congress embarrasses the White House by saying the president was flat wrong when he accused his predecessor of a crime.
But a Republican Congress is never going to embarrass Trump by saying he was wrong -- not as long as 87% of Republicans approve of the way Trump is handling his job (that's the number in a new CNN poll; of that number, 69% approve "strongly"). Trump made baseless allegations about wiretapping, and now the House Intelligence Conmmittee under Trump fanboy Devin Nunes is going to get right on an investigation. The Murdoch press is falling in line: The editorial board of the New York Post is saying it's perfectly reasonable that Trump would be suspicious:
... Team Obama has a record of abusing power for political gain, as when the IRS targeted conservative groups.

At this point, it’s hard to know for sure if Trump Tower was actually bugged, and if so, who authorized the tapping and why. But given Team Obama’s record — and the never-ending bid to overturn the election — there’s little doubt why Trump might think the worst.
And Fox is giving airtime to folks such as congenital liar Ed Klein, who thinks the wiretap was probably ordered not by President Obama himself but a new right-wing bogeyman, and by (naturally) the woman right-wingers believe is the source of all evil in the universe:
[Obama] must have known about it, but it's my guess -- and I don't know how you feel about it, but -- that it's more likely that it was Valerie Jarrett and Ben Rhodes who were part of this, and Obama -- or the architects of this, and Obama was informed. You know, Obama is not exactly the most engaged guy when it comes to these kind of details. I mean, he spends an awful lot of time watching ESPN and reading books.

Over the weekend, a lot of people watched what was going on and said, Omigod! The president is the United States is spreading conspiracy theories and distortions of the facts! But isn't that what the right-wing press and congressional Republicans have been doing for years? Is a congressional investigation of this nonsense going to be any less reality-based than the endless Benghazi inquisitions? Is Fox News more divorced from reality than it's normally been over the past several years?

To get back to Mike Allen's point: No, the Trump White House doesn't have enough staff and professionalism to grind out a lot of legislation -- and God help us if there's an international crisis. The most this White House can seem to do is deregulate and oppress black and brown people (though that's hardly nothing).

But this president seems to want to be, first and foremost, the head of an opposition research organization, with a mission to denigrate (a) enemies of himself and (b) enemies of conservatism as it's currently defined. After years watching Fox, and with the ex-head of Breitbart as his top adviser, he's got those two categories in alignment. He doesn't need a big staff to run an administration whose policy position on most issues is "Democrats suck!" He'll get plenty of help from Congress and the conservative media. Not much will get done, but he'll retain the loyalty of heartland white America. And that seems to be all that matters to him.

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