Feb 07 2018

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

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Robert Reich: Trump’s Divide-and-Conquer Strategy

If Robert Mueller finds that Trump colluded with Russia to fix the 2016 election, or even if Trump fires Mueller before he makes such a finding, Trump’s supporters will protect Trump from any political fallout.

Trump’s base will stand by him not because they believe Trump is on their side, but because they define themselves as being on his side.

Trump has intentionally cleaved America into two warring camps: pro-Trump and anti-Trump. And he has convinced the pro-Trumps that his enemy is their enemy.

Most Americans are not passionate conservatives or liberals, Republicans or Democrats. But they have become impassioned Trump supporters or Trump haters.

Polls say 37 percent of Americans approve of him, and most disapprove. These numbers are the tips of two vast icebergs of intensity.

Trump has forced all of us to take sides, and to despise those on the other. There’s no middle ground.

Rick Wilson: Donald Trump Cracks the Seal on Talk of Treason

One thing we’ve learned in the last two years is that no legal, moral, or cultural strictures bind Trump and that he is immune to the better angels of human nature. The moral event horizon around him consumes the good in anyone who becomes one of his vassals. There is no better version of Trump, ever. He can only degrade and destroy everything he touches, but Monday was remarkable, even for him.

Monday’s simpering, prissy, self-indulgent performance in Ohio was just another raree-show with our Kentucky Fried Nero fiddling while the stock market burned. Then came the moment where he broke another seal, and cracked another seam in the foundation of our Republic.

That was when Trump, in his typical sneering, sniggling, purse-lipped way said of the Democrats watching his State of the Union speech: “They were like death. And un-American. Un-American. Somebody said ‘treasonous.’ I mean, yeah, I guess, why not? Can we call that treason? Why not? I mean they certainly didn’t seem to love our country very much.”

Even for Trump, on an endless quest to define American decency down, this was a new low. His followers and congressional cheering section will love it, of course. A few Republicans in Congress may furrow a brow or intone some anodyne statement like, “I wouldn’t have put it that way, but…”

Trump lacks the mental capacity to see where this very slippery slope leads, but the political arsonists around him do. With that, prepare to reap the whirlwind.

Michael Winship: Take a Memo, Devin Nunes

Watching the saga of the Nunes Memo and the constant Republican attempts to protect and cover for Donald Trump and his minions, no matter how great the purported crime, I keep thinking back to a 2004 movie that didn’t get the attention it deserved.

“Millions,” directed by Danny Boyle (“Trainspotting,” “Slumdog Millionaire”) and written by Frank Cottrell Boyce, is the story of two British boys who find themselves in possession of a fortune when bags of money from a train robbery accidentally fall into their hands. Damian, the younger and more devout of the two, tries to do good deeds with the cash while his older, more venal brother Anthony spends it to bribe other kids at school.

Twists and turns ensue and as the movie nears its climax, a new family friend takes Damian with her so the two of them can try to spend some of the remaining loot. Resentful, Anthony says to his father, “She’ll kidnap him, hold him to ransom for the rest of the money,” and his father calmly replies, “No, Anthony, that’s what you would do.”

So every time I hear the GOP deny any and all allegations about collusion or obstruction of justice involving Trump, every time they accuse Democrats—or the media, the Department of Justice, the FBI or the alleged “Deep State”—of pretzel-twisting the truth and sabotaging the republic, I think of that movie and say to myself, “No sir, that’s what you would do.”

Call it projection, call it a monumental lack of self-awareness, call it just plain stupidity, but the proclivity of the right, the kneejerk reflex that lashes out with false accusations and distortions that perfectly mirror what they themselves seem to be doing for real is mindboggling.

Jay Mchaelson: Pennsylvania’s Baby Trump Wants to Impeach Judges He Doesn’t Like

It’s no secret that Donald Trump has a problem with the rule of law: undermining the FBI, wanting to have the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals “broken up,” possibly obstructing justice himself, and recently accusing Democrats lawmakers of treason.

But for every dictator, there are petty dictators: baby versions with some of the bark and none of the bite. Take the otherwise unremarkable Cris Dush, currently serving his second term as a Pennsylvania state representative. In most Februarys, Dush’s greatest claim to fame is that his district includes the town of Punxsutawney, home of Groundhog Day.

But Monday, Dush grabbed headlines for proposing to impeach five justices of Pennsylvania’s state supreme court, for the audacious crime of ruling a way he didn’t like.

Now, as with many such politicians, it’s hard to know how seriously to take Dush. On the one hand, he may simply be pandering to his base, sending a ridiculous memo to his colleagues in legislature as a way of garnering press coverage like this article, and of bragging about it in the next election cycle.

On the other hand, maybe Dush actually believes what he’s saying. Maybe he’s not a canny opportunist but an angry white man who watches Fox & Friends every morning and has no clear understanding of the rule of law, the separation of powers, and the way democracy works. Sound familiar?