The Mike Bloomberg Factor

This past week seems as bad as can be for the Democrats according to many commentators.  I say let things settle down before judging.  How many weeks of Trump have been declared terrible for him, yet look were he is.  Polls show a 49% job approval rating, his best yet.

The Democrats’ big problem is an inability to become unified while there are so many candidates offering shades of difference.  I found the Democratic debate last night tiresome.  I’ve heard all their arguments.  Personality-wise, undergirded by a solid enough resume for this crew, Amy Klobuchar impresses me most.  Her debate performances get improving reviews.  I think Dems might be able to unify behind her.  But since she remains a long shot, I’ll leave it at that for now.

I am glad Michael Bloomberg is in the picture.  If Dems don’t want him then they need to get together before the March 3 Super Primary (16 states).  If they still seem to be squabbling over issues like differences in their health care plans then Bloomberg figures to look all the better.

As old as he is, he is a fresh face in this primary process.  Also, he seems what Trump pretends to be – tough, smart and super successful.  You might think of Bloomberg as that little guy on the playground who has what it takes to slap the big bully around.

A figure who seems capable of handling the no-holds-barred Trump.  A champion to handle their bully.  It goes against a democratic sensibility, but Trump is not a normal candidate and beating him will require an unorthodox strategy.  He is lawless, and must be battled as the outlaw that he is.

I believe Bloomberg when he says he doesn’t want to splinter the Democrat party.   He just wants to beat Trump.  He and his billions will be invested in whatever he believes will work best to displace our budding dictator Don.

If it is not to be him, one of the other candidates will need to make Bloomberg believe it is him or her.

Tackling the Lord of Chaos, i. e. Donald Trump

It has been almost a month since I have posted.  Trump has become such a master of muddling our minds, that it is tough to find something simple to say that matters.  For months now, with the help of, among others, the evilly reincarnated version of the once respected Mayor of New York, Wack-Job Rudi, Trump has managed to create a version of reality that has successfully challenged a traditional version of one based on facts…..not perfectly, of course, but with a respect for the truth, a concept Trump cares nothing about.

Why bother to learn the truth when you can so easily make up your own story?  And many people believe you.  Even when you are proven wrong, you just keep repeating the lie and like spaghetti tossed at a wall, some of it sticks.

Meanwhile those who feel compelled by that north star rational ideal feel forced to combat you factually, in the midst of which Trump spins another fable or two.  It only takes a minute or two.  The press exhausts itself trying to keep up.

Months ago, his mistress of spin, Kelly Anne Conway lifted up the curtain of this pint sized Oz when introducing the notion of “alternative facts”.   Normally excellent at evasion, Kelly Anne accidentally revealed the mind set of her boss in stark terms.   A view of reality based on alternative facts, ones that he just makes up.

Donald Trump has told thousands of lies, the more the merrier over the course of his presidency, but to call him a liar underestimates his deepest epistemological sin.  That is he just makes shit up.  Constantly.   And he keeps repeating his fables.  His biggest sin is that he is a fabulist.  He invents elaborate dishonest stories about the nature of things and who is to blame for what’s wrong.

He creates his own Trumptopia, attractive to those who resent and fear and want others to blame for their unhappy situations.  Even when Trump does not replace a fact base sense of reality, he manages to confuse us enough to the point he creates such fatigue in trying to sort out fact from fiction, that most of us tend to just give up.

Not Msnbc’s Rachel Madow and her ilk, of course, which might include many of you.  Rachel is obviously very bright and extremely hard working, but here is the rub.  Lengthy analyses of current political events only make dyed in the wool liberals smarter.  It makes the rest of us want to learn less.

Liberals place too much faith in the lingering Age of the Enlightenment when it comes to politics where irrationality plays a much bigger roll than liberals seem to concede.  Especially among 5 – 10% of those undecideds who will tip the electoral scale next November.

I used to read serious books about politics, but have stopped.  Why bother?  An increased knowledge, including important nuances, only means something to those who already share most of my political mind set.  People who still have faith in well reasoned argument.

I’m not much motivated to speak to the choir, even though my imagined readership seems more likely to sing hallelujah than not.

I’m here mostly to try to sort out some political facts and fictions.   Here amidst my muddle, I’m simply trying to make the point that two views of political reality are now in contention, two narratives.   One based largely on facts.   The other based on alternative facts that Trump either makes up or twists or exaggerates.

Not that I think that conclusion is a surprise to most.  But I think it deserves being delved into more.  And I plan to.

If Trump is Abnormal, Why Do we Respond to him Normally?

In a press conference today prompted by a visit of the Finnish president, the TV press displayed their habitual fecklessness by asking a few questions which only set the stage for yet another Trump rant.

Given the opportunity, Trump just railed on about his conspiracy theories and his delusions of grandeur about his great accomplishments, greater than any previous presidents.  Only he, Mr. pipsqueak president could have accomplished so much.

Coverage-wise it’s time to do something radical.  Like pressing Trump to tell the truth about something, the truth about almost anything for a change.  Keep asking questions when you are not supposed to.  I realize that is likely suicidal career-wise, but, hey, you’re always pressing politicians to come clean, how about yourselves.

Be still your ecstasy at scooping another news source.  Often only by hours, if not minutes.  Only you, the news obsessed, preen for getting the news out first when it usually comes down to a matter of minutes.

It is time to start working together a bit.

Every day I hear someone comment on the abnormality of Trump shaped politics.  Well, if it’s abnormal, shouldn’t the coverage become abnormal as well in order to combat it.  What do I mean?  I don’t know.  You tell me.  It’s your job.  I’m not getting paid for this.

You are.

Trump Impeachment Finds New Life

Those who have been reading my posts for a few months know that I have disdained the frequent calls by the liberal left for the impeachment of Trump and have been thankful that Speaker Nancy Pelozi has resisted the idea.   When less than half the nation seemed to want impeachment, it was crazy to push the idea especially when we knew how the story would end.  The Republican controlled Senate would have given a thumbs down to the House’s decision and Trump would have used it as further proof of his innocence.

To all those who have argued that this is above politics and our national duty to “hold Trump accountable”, I say a Democratic controlled House voting to impeach is not above politics.  It is a fat part of it.  Here is what is most important:  Trump not being reelected. Anything that jeopardizes that goal is a misstep.  Talk about historians looking back?  If Trump wins there may be a cadre of his propagandists writing that history.

Those who have made it seem a duty to impeach despite the fact the nation is tired of complex investigations with little taste for more of the same, have been silly.  The duty of every citizen is to work at removing Trump from office, not going through the show of impeachment.

I was in favor of Pelozi’s approach of House committees continuing to investigate and seeing where they lead.   If the calls to impeach faded as the election loomed larger and larger, that was all right with me.  Again, winning the election is the goal.

Those months of investigations of the president and the liberal press’ never ending scrutiny,  while thrilling many liberals, has worn out most of the rest of us.  Like those oft repeated latest developments of that meeting in Trump Tower, with Donald Jr. and some Russians.  All things considered, it deserved only a fraction of the attention it got.  It really was kind of a “nothing burgher.”  But the liberal press kept gnawing on it like a dog in hopes of making that old bone more tasty.

Enter the whistle blower, a real game changer.  Suddenly this isn’t tired old stuff, but something new and shocking if the initial picture becomes substantiated.   And unlike the clutter of other investigations, this seems understandable by the normal brain.  If the seeming information pans out, Trump clearly put his own interests above those of the nation regarding the Ukraine.  And has been caught red handed, not just in the eyes of some of us but of a majority.

I believe Trump will not wriggle out of this and a large part of my optimism is that Speaker Pelosi is at the helm of this investigation.  Just as she skillfully kept the hot heads at bay when they were not in a good position to impeach, she will flip the switch and go full speed in the opposite direction.

Dear Lord, that is my prayer.

The Trumpification of the Fourth of July

Remember the good old days when the Fourth of July was a moment of family barbecues and general celebration of our nation’s independence from England back in 1776?    Presidents have stayed out of it and let the rest of us celebrate as we may.  Even last year was that way, but Trump had barely begun to mark his territory by pissing on everything.

As NPR has stated:  “For this Fourth of July, President Trump has added an address from the Lincoln Memorial, tanks stationed in the area, an extended fireworks display and military aircraft flyovers.”

The tanks had to be hauled in on trains because they are too heavy for the Washington roads to handle.  They figure to have the look of props in a play.  Immobile, they aren’t all that impressive.  Silly even when compared with the rows and rows of moving vehicles most other autocrats display.

NPR mentioned the added cost of Trump’s celebration.   I wouldn’t quibble about that if it were somehow a unifying effort but instead it is simply the latest  Trump try to celebrate himself and divide the rest of us.  If that were not the case there would not be a VIP section close to the stage filled by Republican donors and dignitaries and hardly anyone else.

Of course, Trump will say something about honoring our founding fathers and our military, but as usual translate that in reverse to say he is there to honor himself.  As the Wall Street Journal has put it:  “President Trump will take on a starring role in the capital’s Fourth of July festivities with a speech from the Lincoln Memorial that aides are pitching as a patriotic salute to the military but his critics fear could inject politics into a typically nonpartisan celebration.”

In order to stomach this so I can dissect the performance later, I will pretend to be playing a game of Where’s Waldo.   Looking for how many ways Trump will pretend to honor others and play the unifier while actually focusing attention on himself and his achievements, while swiping at the Dems wherever convenient.

Survivor Politics: Kamala Harris’ Ambush of Joe Biden

The way to the White House for the herd of Democrat contenders goes through Joe Biden and Kamala Harris showed she knows that in the so-called debate Thursday.  I say “so called” because these shows bear more resemblance to the TV show Survivor than to a debate.  There is no time for any real debate, only for zingers.  The whole point is to survive to the next round which means others must be weakened while you impress.

Congressman Eric Swalwell is a good example of a loser in that his zingers fell flat, so the minimal support he has drummed up so far is destined to become minimaler.

In contrast Harris was impressive throwing Biden for a loop.  Several articles noted much planning went into this, including one generated by the LA Times.  But Harris also was a bit lucky.  When the race issue came up and a moderator tried to reign her in, she made clear as the only black person on the stage she was not going to be shut up, and she wasn’t.  She played that race card masterfully.

This gave her the chance to focus on statements Biden made back in the 1970’s opposing some forms of busing – it’s complicated but Harris made it simple, Biden was anti-busing and that was bad……..   And – surprise, surprise – nobody knew the value of busing better than she, one who actually was bused and obviously benefited from it.  Another trump card well played.

While the show was still going on her staff were tweeting pictures of her, the little black girl who already looked determined.  Soon they were selling T-shirts with the picture, too.  Frankly I thought that was all too cute by half, so blatantly showing how well they planned this hit job.  And what a hit job it was.  But I hear her campaign pulled in two million dollars after the show, and the polls figure to show a nice bump up, so she was the winner all right.

And Biden needs to regroup.  After the debate he bemoaned being mischaracterized and wished he would have been able to talk about the future.  The downside of having such an impressive resume with 40 years in politics, is there is plenty to pick at as Kamala Harris illustrated last Thursday in her time travel back to the 70s.

Biden is in a tough spot.  Being defensive is a bad look, but with so many other candidates attacking him, it is hard to avoid that response and point to the future.

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P. S. –  While what I wrote above may look like a hit job on Ms. Harris, it is actually complimentary.  Part of her campaign is as former prosecutor she will be the one to prosecute Donald Trump.  It was risky to attack popular front runner good old Joe, but  the attack was well planned and well performed and it worked.  She showed a combination of skills suggesting she could take on bully boy Trump if given the chance.

Thoughts about the Democratic Primary Food Fight so Far

First of all, nobody stole the show in last night’s first “debate” in my opinion.  Other than Elizabeth Warren, those doing best in the polls battle tonight, so she was the favorite in the betting, so to speak.   As such, she had the most to lose, and I think she held up well enough.

This is mostly a wait and see for me.  Wait and see who the polls show got a bump and who got a trip, like to stumble.   The long shot candidate that caught my eye (as well as that of my friend Tom located at a separate viewing site) was Tulsi Gabbard.  She had a confident presence on the stage, especially when Middle East policy came up. Deployed twice in the area when in the National Guard, the Hawaii congresswoman looked formidable despite only getting about seven minutes of talk time (Cory Booker got the most, 10 minutes).

I wanted to hear more from her, which wasn’t my reaction to most.

As it turns out, the sample size impressed by Gabbard was much larger than Tom and I.   According to Fox News she was the most googled of the candidates nationally after the show, while Warren had been most googled prior to the performance.

Another point of interest was how much more male candidates interrupted others to speak.    That gave the boys more speaking time, which prompted David Leonardt of the New York Times to criticize the panelists for letting the men get away with it.

It makes me ponder how much we interpret rudeness and bullying as strength (anybody in particular come to mind?)  I also wonder how Kamala Harris, a former district attorney not shy to interrupt, will handle that tonight.

As for this evening’s round of candidate promos, Charlie Sykes, a conservative with a conscience, sums up the likely plot with admiral succinctness:

“This is Joe Biden’s debate and race to lose.   He must come off not doddering, not vague and not defensive.”