The sauropod in the room

Elephant seems a little small.

Great piece from Jamelle Bouie summing up what we know about Trump’s breathtaking level of incompetence and our political system’s disturbing inability to act on the obvious:

Questions of credibility surround both Wolff’s and Manigault Newman’s accounts. But more traditional reporting, including that from Woodward, seems to bolster their claims that the White House is consumed by turmoil, all of it induced by Donald Trump, his compulsions, impulses, and appetites. Together, all of these accounts paint a clear picture: Unable to execute his duties for reasons of temperament, ignorance, and mental decline, President Trump has been sidelined by his aides, who work to mitigate his behavior and keep him from steering the country into catastrophe… [emphases mine]

Trump is far from transparent, and yet with reported work and inside accounts, we have a remarkably full picture of the “breakdown” in and around the president. And if anything described by Wolff, Manigault, or Woodward is true, then the United States is currently in the midst of an acute political crisis, beset with a functionally incapacitated president and a government branch run on an ad hoc basis…

Washington may understand and acknowledge the fundamental dysfunction of the Trump White House, but the relevant power brokers—congressional Republicans and their allies—have shown no desire to act upon this slow-motion collapse of the executive branch. Their reasons are narrowly self-interested: Trump may be incapable of effectively carrying out the duties of the presidency, but there is enough of a working policymaking apparatus to accomplish key goals like crippling the regulatory state and building a durable conservative majority on the federal judiciary.

Jeff Flake (and fellow Trump critic Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska) may see the president as a danger to the very stability of American constitutional government, but their commitment to conservative ideology means they will likely confirm the president’s second nominee for the Supreme Court, even if that nominee rejects legal accountability for presidential lawbreaking, thus jeopardizing their own efforts to defend the Constitution.

More than the public nature of President Trump’s deterioration, it’s the inaction and complicity of the majority party that truly differentiates the present situation from those of Woodrow Wilson and Richard Nixon. Like them, Trump has a cadre of aides and advisers essentially acting in his stead as president, working around him and circumventing his worst impulses. But unlike those presidents, Trump is also insulated by a political movement that ranks pursuit of its ideological goals above all else, including the integrity of the presidency.

This is not good.  And my dead horse till November is that far and away the best hope for our democracy relies in Republicans losing bigly.

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