Political Theatre category archive
Dick Polman reflects on the Montana Republican candidate who attacked a reporter and muses on life in Trumplandia. A snippet:
Do please read the rest.
Seth Meyers discusses how Donald Trump’s budget proposal violates his campaign promises about about health care, social security, etc., and wonders what would happen if Donald Trump the candidate met Donald Trump the president.
It is quite possible, disturbingly well within the realm of possibility, that one of the dupes has been identified.
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.
Dick Polman has more. Here’s how he starts; follow the link for the rest:
It’s amazing how the Capitol Hill Republicans continue to beclown themselves in the service of Donald Trump. The more they try to minimize Kremlingate — as they did again yesterday, while questioning former CIA director John Brennan — the more they soil themselves.
Testifying before the House Intelligence Committee, Brennan gave us the fullest public accounting thus far of Russia’s “aggressive” and “multifaceted” penetration of the ’16 presidential election — and he spoke openly of Russia’s “contacts and interactions” with people in the Trump campaign. We should thank the Republican committee members for making that possible, because it was their hapless questioning that prompted Brennan’s candor.
Leonard Pitts, Jr., sums up contemporary “conservatism.”
One longs for an intellectually vibrant marketplace of ideas, but there is nothing intellectual or vibrant about what these days passes for conservatism. That once robust ideology has been shriveled by an intellectual dishonesty so profound that the same people who tirelessly investigated Barack Obama’s birth certificate and inveighed against his choice of mustard can look at the mountain of malfeasance rising from the White House and say with a shrug and all evident sincerity, “What evidence?”
The one constant in contemporary conservatism is adherence to what seems to be its core principle: Mean for the sake of mean.
Daniel Ruth points out that it’s easier for members of Marco Rubio’s constituency to find Waldo than it is for them to find Little Marco.
Der Spiegel takes a look at Donald Trump’s first three months in office. What they see is not pretty. A nugget (emphasis added):
On Wednesday, a few hours before the special counsel was set loose on him, Donald Trump was standing before the graduates of the Coast Guard Academy. He was supposed to hold an inspiring talk, to spread a positive message, as one does at graduation speeches. Instead, he once again spoke about himself. “Over the course of your life, you will find that things are not always fair,” he said to the graduating students. “Look at the way I’ve been treated, especially by the media,” Trump said. “No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly.
“No politician in history. Not Nelson Mandela. Not Mahatma Gandhi, not John F. Kennedy. Him. There stood a billionaire, inhabiting the most powerful office in the world, complaining about how unfair the world was. Because there seems to be one rule with Donald Trump: He is never to blame, even though almost everything currently happening to him is his fault.
Do read the rest.
Jill Abramson discerns a disturbing drift towards despotism. An excerpt:
America’s founding fathers were deathly afraid of centralised, absolute power. This is why the government they structured had three equal branches, and plenty of checks and balances. And the first amendment is first for a reason. Freedom of the press is guaranteed because the founders envisaged the press as a bulwark against absolute power. This goes to the heart of who we are, and what we might become.
This is American law for dummies, but Trump gives no indication of knowing its basic tenets. Fundamentals bear repeating. No one in the United States has absolute power or an absolute right to do anything that violates the constitution. But apparent violations seem to be occurring almost daily.
UC Berkeley professor Alison Gopnik takes issue with comparisons of Donald Trump to pre-school children.
Having researched child development intensely, she finds such comparisons insult the children. Here’s a bit:
Four-year-olds care deeply about the truth. They constantly try to seek out information and to figure out how the world works. Of course, 4-year-olds, as well as adults, occasionally lie. But Mr. Trump doesn’t just lie; he seems not even to care whether his statements are true.
Four-year-olds are insatiably curious. One study found that the average preschooler asks hundreds of questions per day. Just watch a toddler “getting into everything” — endangering his own safety to investigate interesting new objects like knives and toasters. Mr. Trump refuses to read and is bored by anything that doesn’t involve him personally.
Much more at the link.
Shaun Mullen explores the Russian connection. Here’s how he starts out:
Trump, the billionaire New York real estate mogul and reality television star, wanted even more power and money, while Putin, the autocratic Russian president, wanted even more power and influence. Trump fantasized about becoming president of the United States while Putin dreamed of returning the former Soviet Union to its Cold War glory and was willing to do whatever it took, most especially undermining America’s standing as the sole superpower.
Follow the link to see how he wraps up.
At The Charlotte Observer, historian David B. Parker finds a parallel to Donald Trump’s “oh, no, it’s not really a Muslim ban” ban. It’s not pretty. Here’s the gist:
It might be useful to consider a historical analogy.
In the late 19th century, Mississippi’s Democratic leaders were concerned about the state’s political future. Democrats had controlled Mississippi since the end of Reconstruction, but the black population was growing, and Republicans (at the time, the more civil rights-oriented party) had just gained control of both houses of Congress and the White House. How could Democrats ensure that they would stay on top?
If only there were some way to limit the black vote, they would be safe. If only they could pass a law that said, “Negroes may not vote in Mississippi,” that would settle it. But the Fifteenth Amendment prohibited states from denying anyone the right to vote “on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” So this is the problem that white Mississippians faced: how to cut out the black vote without looking like they were cutting out the black vote.
Rekha Basu marvels at how Donald Trump is compelled to prove over and over that he is a Real Big Man. A snippet:
Many of us have laughed at the size of Trump’s ego, especially during the presidential campaign, when it led him into some bizarre talk about the size of his hands. Of course the underpinning of narcissism can be insecurity which demands constant affirmation. But whatever we call it and however we try to analyze its source, there’s a pattern to Trump’s behavior that can no longer be tiptoed around in the context of his presidency. In deference to his ego needs, he seems willing to throw anything, anyone, any ally, any principle under the bus, including national security.