Monday, March 26, 2018

Trump’s Sense Of Self-Liberation Comes At A Dangerous Moment For Him-- And Therefor For The Rest Of Us


"The functional importance of the ego is manifested in the fact that normally control over the approaches to motility devolves upon it. Thus in its relation to the id it is like a man on horseback, who has to hold in check the superior strength of the horse; with this difference, that the rider tries to do so with his own strength while the ego uses borrowed forces. The analogy may be carried a little further. Often a rider, if he is not to be parted from his horse, is obliged to guide it where it wants to go; so in the same way the ego is in the habit of transforming the id's will into action as if it were its own."
-Sigmund Freud
Yesterday the NYTimes reported that Señor Trumpanzee "has decided not to hire two lawyers who were announced last week as new additions to his legal team, leaving him with a shrinking stable of lawyers as the investigation by the special counsel, Robert Mueller, enters an intense phase." They were referring to the bizarre husband/wife team of lunatic right crackpots Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing. Earlier in the morning Señor T was whining on twitter that he was having no trouble finding lawyers to represent him, although there's certain chance any reputable attorney would ever agree to be on a legal team that included sociopaths like diGenova and Toensing.

Last week, noted Trumpanzee watcher Gabriel Sherman reported for Vanity Fair that Putin's man in the Oval Office has decided to return to the seat-of-the-pants decision-making that he believes won him the presidency. "Trump," he wrote, "seems to be loving his new freedom. 'He was fucking excited and jubilant,' said one Trump friend who spoke to him in recent days. 'He was like, everything’s great and these fuckers in the media are beside themselves.' But Trump’s self-liberation comes at a dangerous moment, with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation reaching closer and closer, stoking Trump’s impulses to go to war. Earlier this month, Mueller crossed one of Trump’s stated 'red lines' when he subpoenaed Trump Organization business records. According to four Republicans in regular contact with the White House, the move spurred Trump to lose patience with his team of feuding lawyers. 'Trump hit the roof,' one source said. Today, Trump’s personal lawyer John Dowd resigned under pressure from Trump... In private, Trump friends and outside advisers have been stoking his desire to go on the offensive for months. Trump has heard that his lawyers are 'idiots'; that Mueller’s probe is a 'coup d’etat'; and that Trump’s only crime is having 'won the election.'... [N]o heavy-hitting white-shoe law firm seems to want to represent him."

What a mad house! And it's worth revisiting a Jeffrey Goldberg feature in The Atlantic from earlier in the year, Trump's Tweets Are a 'Narnian Wardrobe to His Lizard Brain'. Jeffrey Goldberg, in way of introduction to sad right-wing loon Jonah Goldberg that some of the most interesting people in the world to him at the time were "the homeless conservatives, that not-so-merry band of right-leaning ideologues and idealists who reject Donald Trump’s takeover of the Republican Party and who find it more pleasurable to stand outside Mar-a-Lago and throw rocks than to make believe that what is happening inside is normal. One of the most important of these homeless conservatives is Jonah Goldberg, who has been a stalwart anti-liberal voice for a generation. But Goldberg, a senior editor at the National Review (which is itself a kind of shelter for Never Trumpers) has seen many of his friends accommodate themselves to the new reality. 'The slow takeover of the right by the Trumpets is akin to Invasion of the Body Snatchers,' he told me on a recent episode of  our podcast, The Atlantic Interview."

Jonah: "What we’ve seen in the last couple of years is the Republican Party get either dragged along or leap ahead into essentially a cult of personality. A cult of personality is somewhat misleading because it’s only a handful of people who really think that Comrade Trump will deliver the greatest wheat harvest the Urals have ever seen... A year and a half ago, at Fox and other places on the right, I remember being so unbelievably disheartened by how many pundits and commentators-- not just at Fox, but talk radio, all over the place-- lied. They would say, 'Trump is fantastic. Trump is awesome. Trump is a genius. He’s a businessman.' All this stuff. And then the camera goes off, and the microphone goes off, and then they would say, 'I can’t believe I have to defend this guy.' ...[T]he problem with Trump’s Twitter feed is that it is like the Narnian wardrobe to his lizard brain. It just vomits out whatever his raging sphincterless id has got going at the given moment. It gets him into an enormous amount of trouble."
Jeffrey:  Let me ask you how a person who is non-conservative, completely transactional, has no higher thoughts about America and its role in the world, and has no ideological thoughts per se-- how did he so easily take over an entire party?

Jonah: There are a thousand different variables. One was simply the structural, game-theory nature of a 16-person race, which was a huge problem. I think, in terms of important long-term trends, there was a certain psychic break that occurred with the tea parties. The general thrust of the tea parties was exactly the kind of response that I would want from Americans-- back to basics, back to the Constitution, limited government, living within our means. They were wholesale written off as racists and bigots. People overlooked the fact that many of the leaders of the Tea Party, their preferred candidates, were African Americans-- Herman Cain, Ben Carson. That was a tell. That was them saying, “We don’t like being called racists.”

A lot of people, including some serious intellectuals, said, “Well that project doesn’t work. We’re heading towards tribalism, so we might as well develop our own kind of tribalism.”

Two other factors are here. One is, Trump broke the blood-brain barrier of entertainment into politics.

Jeffrey: We needed 15 years of reality TV to bring about this shift.

Jonah: I think that’s right. A lot of Hollywood liberals were encroaching on politics for a very long time, chipping away at this barrier. It’s just ironic that Donald Trump was the first one over the fence. This is why I think in the long term, this is bad news for the left. The Republican celebrities-- our bench is mighty thin-- Kid Rock, Scott Baio. But meanwhile, I think in the summer of 2016, if Oprah, George Clooney, Tom Hanks jumped in...

Jeffrey: Well, Oprah very well might.

Jonah: She might! The last thing is hugely important, and it’s lost on big chunks of the right and of the left, is that people did not like Hillary Clinton. They just didn’t like her. And whatever you thought of Bill Clinton-- Lord knows I wasn’t a fan-- everyone could recognize his political skills. I mean, that guy, you could pull him off an intern, slap him with a flounder, and say, “Give me 45 minutes on intellectual property rights in the Third World,” and he could just go. Hillary Clinton’s idea of extemporaneous speaking was leaping from her prepared remarks to prepared notecards. She’s the lady who says no eating in the library. She was also seen as much more left wing than her husband. Fair or not... [W]hat Trump doesn’t understand, what Steve Bannon doesn’t understand, is that Donald Trump’s mandate was: Don’t be Hillary Clinton. He accomplished that on Day One. Some part of his brain understands that, which is why I guarantee you that in the last 48 hours, Donald Trump has tweeted something about Hillary Clinton. Sean Hannity has done some raging scandal about Hillary Clinton. Psychologically, one of the things these guys have to do to justify their support for Trump is to remind people constantly, “You could have had Hillary.”

You hear echoes of this all over the place. I was on a National Review cruise three months after the election, and this person was asked, “How’s Trump doing?” And they said, “I judge it entirely by how much better this is than what Hillary would have done.” You hear this all over the place on the right. To me, this is a profoundly screwed up way of thinking about things. I don’t know of any other Republican or Democratic president that we said, six months into their presidency, “Well, Bush is making some mistakes but at least he’s not John Kerry.” That’s meaningless. Just one click better than the person that you thought would have ruined the country?

...Jeffrey: Which party is going to disintegrate first, the Democratic Party or Republican Party?

Jonah: I think probably the Republican Party. All the problems that we’ve been talking about that gave us Trump—they’re all made worse by more dysfunction on the right. If serious people don’t think seriously about immigration and deal with people’s legitimate frustrations with it, then unserious and irresponsible people will step in and take up the issue. I think Trump definitely proves that. If Washington does not get anything done anyway, why not treat it like a circus?

Jeffrey: The Republicans are spiraling down faster?

Jonah: They’re spiraling down faster. But a huge part of the reason for the Democratic Party and the Republican Party’s existence is to not be the other party. You take away the Republican Party, and you can get a catalytic effect where they can overtake each other in their dysfunction.

Jeffrey: What replaces the Republican Party if it disintegrates?

Jonah: I think we could be heading into some 1948-style election where you have a four-way race. Game theory says the more entrants you have, the less you need to be the winner. You can see all sorts of independent kind of runs. But let me put it this way: If the Republican Party goes first, I think what we know is the Democratic Party is soon to follow.

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At 5:49 PM, Blogger Mf Lehman said...

Trump became inevitable once Reagan 'made it over the fence.' The four major reasons for Trump taking over the Republican Party: 1) Winner-take-all Republican primaries, where about 1/3 of the vote was enough to win the nomination; 2) Billions of dollars of free media on TV in the "liberal media" (see Les Moonves); 3) Decades of "moderate Republicans" successfully riding the tiger of racism etc. and then being unable to figure out how to get down; 4) He won the presidency.

At 8:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mf L, you left out the biggest reason for trump: obamanation and democraps spent their FDR congress refusing to act on the voters' mandate; and then obamanation spent his entire 2 terms refusing to enforce the law. And he is black. In some order, these add up to the biggest reason. Nobody ever remedies anything that is wrong.

"People overlooked the fact that many of the leaders of the Tea Party, their preferred candidates, were African Americans-- Herman Cain, Ben Carson. That was a tell."

Horseshit! First, you named all the black teabaggers. And they are both nucking futs. Two (!) black insane dipshits does not make "many" and the only tell was that the teabaggers attract the dumbest motherfuckers on earth.

The teabagger movement was stupid whites' hysterical reaction to a black man in the white house (and his far too tepid "Stim"). It's Occam's Razor again. period.

"But a huge part of the reason for the Democratic Party and the Republican Party’s existence is to not be the other party."

Finally someone boils America down to its simplest state. There are only 2 colors/kinds and if you're not one, you're the other. This ignores the fact that both "parties" are funded by the same money, enact policy to fellate that money, are either indifferent or openly hostile to all the rest, lie to voters, defraud elections, fail/refuse to enforce the constitution and laws and, recently, hate (insert scapegoat demo).

The R party has to continually veer further right to maintain the charade of "different than the Ds". Fortunately for them, since the Ds are still considered the party of nonwhites, the Rs' voters will go with them wherever they go. Nazis are stupid and they hate. The hate is their single-issue and as long as the Rs don't go soft on racism, misogyny, homophobia and nonchristian-phobia, they're all in.

making: "(republicans) are spiraling down faster." TOTAL horseshit.

There is about 1/3 of the American public (white, mostly male, stupid, older, ignorant and massively xenophobic) that will ALWAYS vote for republicans no matter what ocean of pig shit they run. Easy to prove: Louis Gomert; Michelle Bachman; Ted Cruz; James Inhofe; Regina King; Kansas; Tx; Ok; Al; WV; and, of course, trump.
The list seems endless...

The republicans proved by their resurrection after cheney/bush that they cannot be killed for the simple reason that their voters will never stray. They truly have nowhere to go.

The democraps, otoh, ARE destined to disintegrate. They are utterly corrupt, inept, feckless and without guile. The more they refuse to be the party of FDR, JFK, LBJ (or even of HST), the more they'll lose the voting left. We voters on the left WILL tire of their lies, betrayals, fascism and increasing appeals to hate. Remember the 15 million who were so disgusted they stayed home in 2010.

The only reasons Rs can win elections today are:
1) Gerrymandering, which they COULD do in 2010 because of the 15 million who obamanation and democraps inspired to stay home.
2) half of the 2 in 3 voters who are not NAZIS always stay home because the democraps are such shit.

If/when the democraps become dust in the wind, a new truly left party can coalesce again. If that ever happens, and the us is not a historical footnote by then, it would draw a lot of the dormant voters out and could mean a permanent-ish majority... as long as the Nazi demographic doesn't expand too much.

Point is... the republicans aren't going to go away or shrink. If either party implodes, it'll be the democraps.

At 8:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

and the sooner the better.


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