Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media 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.

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Amanda Marcotte: Death Star blows itself up: Trump ran his campaign finances like his businesses — into the ground

It’s no surprise that Trump’s campaign is a giant grift. But will his donors keep pouring good money after bad?

The “Death Star”: At the beginning of this year, that’s what Donald Trump’s then-campaign manager, Brad Parscale, dubbed the billion-dollar fundraising operation at the heart of the Trump campaign.

The choice was a telling one, largely as a reminder that many Republicans in the Trump era are not only aware that they’re the bad guys, but are proud to align themselves with some of the notorious villains of pop culture history. But more than one commentator was also quick to point out that the Death Star isn’t just a symbol of evil, but of hubris, because it’s destroyed by the plucky heroes who may be outgunned but have the wit and courage to defeat the foolhardy tyrants of the Empire.  [..]

Life rarely plays out like a children’s sci-fi movie, but I am happy to say that the people who made Death Star jokes turned out to be right. The Trump campaign’s Death Star had its own version of the ray-shielded particle exhaust vent that allowed the Rebel Alliance to fly directly into its reactor core to blow up the entire apparatus: The greed and incompetence that defines Trump and everyone around him.

On Monday night, the New York Times published an article so satisfying that it felt almost pornographic, about how the Trump campaign has burned through most of that Death Star cash, with little to show for it — except, of course, when it comes to the bank accounts of the Trump family and their ancillary leeches.

Heather Digby Parton: Trump’s contempt for the military reveals his fatuous, bloated ego — and could finish him off

The president’s sadistic fantasy view of the world may finally be too much for those expected to obey his orders

You’d have to have been in a coma since last Thursday not to have heard about Jeffrey Goldberg’s big article for The Atlantic in which a number of anonymous former Trump administration figures reveal that the president has expressed total disdain for military service. The political world has talked of little else for the past five days, and all this chatter took place over a holiday weekend, when a lot of people who usually pay little attention to the news undoubtedly heard about it. [..]

On Monday, Trump held another of his campaign “briefings” at the White House in which he inexplicably added yet another insult to the litany:

I’m not saying the military’s in love with me — the soldiers are, the top people in the Pentagon probably aren’t because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy.

According to a recent poll of the military, even before this latest flap, while it’s true that officers dislike him even more than enlisted personnel, the latter aren’t “in love” with him either:

Katrina vanden HeuvelHow the Biden campaign can turn Trump’s ‘strength’ into a weakness

Political strategist Karl Rove famously advised attacking an opponent’s strength and turning it into a weakness. Joe Biden should take note.

Polls find President Trump leading Biden in one area. It isn’t character, competence or the coronavirus. It’s the economy. [..]

The Biden campaign should be pounding the reality of Trump’s economy over and over again while talking about what Biden would do to create jobs and lift wages. Instead, the Democratic convention focused largely on Trump’s lack of character and empathy. Biden traveled last week to Pennsylvania, where the jobless rate is 13.7 percent, and, as Jane McAlevey reported in the Nation (where I am editorial director), he talked about looting and violence rather than about jobs.

The press has tracked Trump’s lies and distortions, reporting on tell-all books from the president’s relatives and former lawyer. Former administration figures detail Trump’s ignorance and insults. Others — including Obama — bemoan the threat Trump poses to democratic norms. But too many Americans still give Trump unwarranted credit for the economy.

Too many working people believe that while Trump is a cad, he is their cad, on their side. That’s his strength — and it’s where Democrats should focus. Bringing down Trump won’t take lies or exaggerations. Just lay out the truth and hammer it over and over to turn Trump’s “strength” into a weakness.

Jennifer Rubin: The latest dumb Republican talking point on covid-19

Short of money, back on the defense for disparaging the military, responsible for bollixing up the response to the pandemic that has killed 186,000 people and desperate to use racial unrest to its advantage, the Trump camp now throws out one mindless talking point after another. The latest: Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) is going anti-vax on a covid-19 vaccine.

On its face, the claim is ludicrous. Sure enough, what she actually said was that she would not trust President Trump’s word on the readiness of a vaccine, which he promised — and then unpromised — would be ready by Election Day. Actually, she went further to say that “there’s very little that we can trust that … comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth.” Considering he has proffered more than 20,000 lies, she has a point, right? She is in good company, since a large percentage of voters do not trust Trump either.

What she did say is, “I would trust the word of public health experts and scientists, but not Donald Trump.” She further vouched for Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. [..]

Oh, so she did not disparage the vaccine. She disparaged Trump, who has proved his dishonesty, if not self-delusion, time and time again. So why do right-wing pols and pundits say such things? Defending Trump is impossible, so they resort to slamming the opposition even if they have to make up stuff.

Jean Guerrero: Trump’s re–election strategy is torn from white supremacist playbooks

Trump and Stephen Miller want to stoke panic about antiracist activists, even though white supremacists are the real threat to Americans

President Trump’s re-election strategy consists of convincing enough Americans that anyone who supports racial equality wants to destroy the US, while at the same time insisting that systemic racism is not real but rather a figment of the left’s imagination.

It’s a self-contradictory strategy only a cult leader could sustain, and it comes straight from the playbook of white supremacist propaganda, which Trump’s senior advisor and speechwriter Stephen Miller knows well, as I report in my book Hatemonger: Stephen Miller, Donald Trump and the White Nationalist Agenda.

One of the main recruiting tactics of white supremacists was popularized for the first time in the United States in Miller’s home state of California during the 90s. It’s the white genocide theory. Formerly articulated in terms of threats to the white race, the conspiracy theory is now frequently packaged in terms of threats to western heritage – to make it more palatable to average Americans who might be turned off by overt racism.