|Does this Rattus rattus creeping down the guy rope have a hint of red hair? (Can't get a good credit for the image.)|
HE won’t pivot. So I have to.Time was, she was certain Trump wasn't the apotheosis of evil:
Having seen Donald Trump as a braggadocious but benign celebrity in New York for decades, I did not regard him as the apotheosis of evil.That's right, benign. Now she's not so sure. Maybe he is the apotheosis of evil. We just don't know. Who can say? Maureen's never been wrong before.
I certainly never would have predicted that the Trump name would be uttered in the same breath as Hitler, Mussolini and scary menace, even on such pop culture staples as “The Bachelorette.”The Bachelorette brouhaha also involved a sweet potato. And George Bush. Dan told Chad hanging out with him (Chad) would be dangerous for his (Dan's) reputation, in the same way as hanging out with Hitler, Mussolini, Trump, or Bush.
This is not stuff I'm familiar with, I got it from the Washington Post. Maureen didn't mention the Bush part. Chad has absolutely volunteered for Trump's vice presidential short list, but I don't know if Trump has responded.
Maureen was not discouraged when Trump "jumped into the race with an explosion of bigotry," because hey, "privately, he assured people that these were merely opening bids in the negotiation." He would presumably work his way down to paroxysms of bigotry, blasts or bursts, eventually nothing but the occasional pop or flare.
Incidentally I've always wondered about that aspect of Trump's Art of the Deal, the way he makes some outrageous proposal and then explains that it's just his opening bid. When he says he's going to slap China with a 45% tariff on whatever product it is, and the experts tell him that this would be a bad thing, and he tells them not to worry because that's merely his opening bid in the negotiation, does he or does he not realize that he is tipping off his whole strategy? Does he not know they have television in China, or people who know English? Now when President Trump tells China he's going to put the duties up to 45% they're going to laugh in his face. "No you are not, Chump Trump. You cannot bluff the Chinese people, who are up to your silly tricks. Sad!"
But then Maureen wasn't worried about that kind of thing. She couldn't help admiring how original and sharp he was on policy issues, and capable of coming up at least once in a while with a positive move:
He has made some fair points. A lot of our allies do take advantage of us. Our trade deals have left swaths of America devastated. And it was a positive move to propose a meeting with the N.R.A. on gun control for people on the terrorist watch list.Well, he came up with one on Wednesday. And the racism had its good side, too, in the provision of teachable moments:
His obnoxious use of ethnicity only exposed the fact that Republicans had been using bigotry against minorities and gays to whip up voters for decades.I mean who wouldn't want to vote for somebody who exposed the Republican use of bigotry? You wouldn't? Just because he's a bigot himself? Isn't that kind of small-minded? I mean he's performing a valuable public service here.
And he had such great personal qualities that he was deploying in the race, from the Dowdian standpoint. He
was applying his business cunning, Twitter snarkiness and bendy relationship with the truth to his new role as a Republican polagainst his "unappetizing" rivals. And he
was blunt about how cheaply you could buy and sell politicians in both parties, [which] made this town squirm.What did Maureen care about the fact that she knew he was continuously lying, or the implicit acknowledgment, or boast, that he'd made a career out of buying and selling politicians himself? He'd probably done it with benign intentions, am I right?
And though he sounded hostile to the press sometimes, Maureen knew better:
Even though he ranted about the press, he was also far more available to the media than the cloaked Hillary Clinton, who has yet to give a news conference this year.Why, he gave Maureen alone five interviews (by Steve M's count) between mid-August and mid-May! Of course she took the trouble to dress nicely and listen to him attentively, unlike that bitch Megyn Kelly. Men like that. He told her some pretty hot stuff, like
“I have fun with life and I understand life and I want to make life better for people”and
he could act like the toniest member of high society when he wanted, and he would as soon as he dispatched his G.O.P. rivals. He said his narcissism would not hinder him as he morphed into a leader."No, Maureen, of course not. I'll have that narcissism totally under control by April, May at the latest!" So where did it all go wrong, Maureen?
Well, at some undetermined point
his campaign became infused with racial grievance, victimhood and violence.... Seduced by the roar of the angry crowd, Trump kept dishing out racially offensive comments...The explosion of bigotry softened, but not into a splat: it just permeated the pool, like the essential oils in the tea leaf. Everybody else was hearing that last fall, from Willard Mitt Romney on down, but Maureen only caught onto it a couple of weeks ago, with "my African American" and the rest?
his fair points are getting outnumbered by egregious statements and nutty insinuations, like suggesting that President Obama is tolerant of ISIS attacks, an echo of the kooky birther campaign that he led, suggesting that Obama wasn’t qualified to be president.
Now Trump’s own behavior is casting serious doubt on whether he’s qualified to be president.His fair points were always outnumbered by his contradictions of them, as when he balanced his praise of a tax increase on certain kinds of high income with one of the most regressive tax proposals in the stable, or his dovish attitude to Middle Eastern wars with furiously belligerent statements on Iraq or Palestinians along with his plans to encourage more nuclear powers around the world, from Saudi Arabia to Japan. As for the Alex Jones–type insinuations, he really did stop those when he started campaigning last summer. That turns out to have been the presidential pivot he was talking about, where he was going to look more dignified and less crazy. Now, as he looks worse and worse, he's just pivoting back to his normal heedless self.
But the looking worse and worse part is what it's really about, for Dowd:
Trump has made his campaign all about his ability to win. So if he stops winning, what’s his raison d’être?Sorry, Donald, Maureen only goes out with winners. (No, the fact that she only just now realized he's a loser does not speak all that well of her.) But don't despair! You've still got Halperin!
What would happen if Trump picked a popular, qualified vp, started talking only abt need to change DC, middle class, Hillary=status quo?— Mark Halperin (@MarkHalperin) June 19, 2016
Cross-posted at No More Mister Nice Blog.