Monday, January 8, 2018


Update at bottom 1/8

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Looks like Rupert Murdoch is a little sorry about all the rude things he said about Trump to Michael Wolff: Not that this Michael Goodwin column in Murdoch's New York Post mentions any of them (for instance, "'What a fucking idiot,' said Murdoch, shrugging, as he got off the phone"); Goodwin focuses more on Stephen Bannon, and it's all good, anyway, because Bannon has only wrecked his own career. Trump will be more popular and successful than ever!
Bannon’s decision to go out in a blaze of personal attacks on the president and everybody else in the White House does Donald Trump and the GOP a giant favor. Bannon may live to fight another day, but, thankfully, Bannonism is dead.
But what of Trumpism? Is “Fire and Fury,” the Michael Wolff book where Bannon [not to mention Rupert Murdoch—ed.] leaks and vents, the beginning of the end of Trump’s presidency?
Maybe — but probably not. After all, every previous media-hair-on-fire moment has come to a forgettable dead end.
And think of how much worse things would be if Hillary Clinton were president! Sorry, Trumpism is Bannonism is Republicanism; they may fight among themselves, because power is the main thing, but the main theme is taking down the New Deal and the Great Society and the Obama presidency

Trump comes out a bit later to salute Goodwin's brave work:

OK, so I really hate it when people say, with reference to some Trump escapade, "Imagine if Barack Obama had..." because why should I imagine it?

But imagine if Barack Obama at the nadir of his career (Trump's Gallup approval rating hasn't gone above 39% since late last June, though it might be creeping upwards at the moment, if he doesn't commit some hideous blunder in the next couple of days, as I assume he will) had read some positive coverage of himself from some flunky and tweeted a lengthy excerpt from it—"Thank you, Chris Matthews!" (Of course there's no paid pandit, including Tweety, who didn't kick Obama when he was down, or insist he was down when he wasn't. so you can't imagine that in the first place.)

Bannon himself, after the Goodwin column and after five days of seclusion, has predictably shown up to express his "regret" for appearing to accuse Donald Jr. of treason, and for taking so long to produce the obligatory denial:
I am the only person to date to conduct a global effort to preach the message of Trump and Trumpism; and remain ready to stand in the breech for this president’s efforts to make America great again.... My comments were aimed at Paul Manafort, a seasoned campaign professional with experience and knowledge of how the Russians operate. He should have known they are duplicitous, cunning and not our friends. To reiterate, those comments were not aimed at Don Jr.
I regret that my delay in responding to the inaccurate reporting regarding Don Jr has diverted attention from the president’s historical accomplishments in the first year of his presidency.
I don't know if anybody else has noticed, but he also did not explain how he feels about his remarks that "The chance that Don Jr. did not walk these jumos up to his father’s office on the twenty-sixth floor is zero" or that "This is all about money laundering. Mueller chose [senior prosecutor Andrew] Weissmann first and he is a money-laundering guy. Their path to fucking Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr and Jared Kushner … It’s as plain as a hair on your face" (I'm in the party of those who believe Bannon said "jamoke", for the record) or how these comport with his current view that Junior is "both a patriot and a good man." We can't help thinking that the five-day delay was either him waiting to find out what kinds of threats and promises Camp Trump might hold out to him, or else he's started drinking again.

Either way, we're told it hasn't worked, Trump is still "furious", but I have no doubt that Bannon will have his own book coming out in due course with plenty of that honeyed language Trump loves to hear, and Trump—whose serious memory issues do sometimes serve as an advantage for him—will welcome that with fulsome quotations by tweet: "Thanks, Sloppy Steve!"

Addendum: The Consensual President

The first time Trump attempted to tweet the Goodwin column, he spelled "consequential" wrong in an amusing way, The Hill reports. I wonder if it was a Freudian connection with the subject matter of the Golden Globe awards ("No assault! No assault! It was a strictly consensual presidency!").

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