Trump is all that matters

Well, to Donald Trump, at least.  I love the Frank Bruni email newsletter, though I wish it were actually on-line at the same time it goes out to email.  So, you’ll have to trust that I’m copying and pasting accurately, as this is only the link to sign-up for it.  Anyway, loved this part of Bruni’s SOTU take:

I was struck, for example, by this snippet of the president’s remarks: “An economic miracle is taking place in the United States — and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics or ridiculous partisan investigations.”

Hmmm, ridiculous partisan investigations. That immediately brought to mind President Nixon’s statement, during his State of the Union speech in 1974, that “one year of Watergate is enough.” Obviously, Nixon couldn’t wish his troubles away. I suspect Trump can’t, either.

But his “economic miracle” argument boldly confirms his worldview and character. He’s basically saying: I’m an agent of prosperity — what else could matter? Would you really let ethics mess with money?

He wouldn’t and, in his own life, hasn’t, and it’s a facet of his narcissism that he expects others to make the same calculation.  [emphases mine]

He keeps coming back to this theme. In an interview with Bloomberg last August, he expressed doubt that Congress could impeach “somebody that’s doing a great job.” He made an identical claim in comments to reporters outside the White House in early January.

His “great job” seems always to boil down to wage growth, low unemployment and other economic indicators; how much credit he deserves for these is very open to dispute. But leaving that aside, is material comfort everything? No matter the route and no matter the person at the helm? And is it likely to last under the watch of someone so rash that he presided over the longest shutdown of the federal government in history? Interesting how that shutdown wasn’t expressly mentioned in Tuesday night’s speech.

Also, has any president so readily given himself such expansive compliments? I’ll never get used to that, nor to his zest for denigrating everyone else.

Good stuff.  Of course, it’s not actually very much open to dispute.  It is eminently clear that Trump is just riding a wave that started with Obama.  Drum has posted chart after chart that is pretty much this:


What you did 40 years ago should follow you forever

Clearly, that’s what all liberals believe.  That’s why we are fighting to perpetuate mass incarceration by giving ever longer sentences and emphasizing the impossibility of reform and rehabilitation for those in prison.

Oh, wait.  I guess that’s not true.  But, hey, if you were a stupid frat boy who wore blackface to a party in 1980, clearly, you are not fit for political office ever again.  The latest on the matter is that Virginia’s Attorney General has not admitted to this.  And it is particularly relevant, as Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor stands accused of a serious sexual offense.  The Post:

Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) said Wednesday he dressed in blackface during college, elevating the Capitol’s scandals to a new level that engulfed the entire executive branch of government.

Now, Herring, Gov. Ralph Northam and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax – the state’s three top Democrats – are each embroiled in separate scandals that threaten their careers. Also on Wednesday, the woman who has accused Fairfax of sexual assault made her first public statements, going into graphic detail of an alleged 2004 attack which Fairfax has vehemently denied.

Fairfax, who was presiding over the state Senate on Wednesday, quietly slipped out of the statehouse as the statement from Vanessa Tyson ricocheted around Capitol Square. It came just as the public was digesting an earlier statement from Herring, in which he admitted to darkening his skin to dress as rapper Kurtis Blow for a 1980 college party when he was 19.

So far, not every Democrat is calling for him to step down.  But that may well be because the next in line to succession to the VA governorship after him is actually a Republican.  I’d like to think it is because cooler heads have prevailed, but I suspect it is more political calculation.

Oh, and for the record, Northam has handled this abominably and I’m comfortable with him resigning as a result.  But what bothered me so much was the complete rush to judgement with no context of actions that happened decades ago.

To my ears, Herring has said all the right things.  And that should matter:

“It sounds ridiculous even now writing it,” Herring said in his statement. “But because of our ignorance and glib attitudes – and because we did not have an appreciation for the experiences and perspectives of others – we dressed up and put on wigs and brown makeup.”

Herring called it a “onetime occurrence” for which he accepted responsibility.

“That conduct clearly shows that, as a young man, I had a callous and inexcusable lack of awareness and insensitivity to the pain my behavior could inflict on others,” Herring said. “It was really a minimization of both people of color, and a minimization of a horrific history I knew well even then.”

And I really appreciated this statement of support:

Karl Racine, the attorney general of the District of Columbia, said Herring called him early Wednesday.

“He took full responsibility for his clear mistake and assured me that his political aspirations would take a backseat to what is in the best interest of Virginians,” Racine said in a statement to the Post.

Yes!  Again, I don’t know Northam’s history, but if Herring has a clear political history of actually fighting for racial justice, that seems to me that this fact far outweighs what he did as a stupid college kid in a very different environment.  In fact, we’re just going to see more and more of this from white men who went to college before 1990 or so.  Again, not all to say what they did was okay, or that it isn’t offensive or racist.  But if somebody has a whole adult life after that shows that’s not who they are, that should matter.  And, honestly, it should especially matter to liberals.
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