Crazytown

It’s unlikely that Bob Woodward’s new book will move public opinion. The country is so polarized between people who are appalled by Donald Trump and dispirited by the unwillingness of the Congressional GOP to meaningfully confront him, on the one hand, and his white supremcist “base” on the other, that it is hard to see the added documentation doing much to change the political dynamic.

For me, the most difficult aspect of the last few years has been the need to accept an ugly reality: approximately 35% of my fellow Americans enthusiastically support a racist, and are willing to ignore every other distasteful and disgraceful thing about him, in return for his constant reassurance that– despite all the evidence to the contrary–their pigment makes them superior.

Woodward’s book won’t penetrate that. At best, assuming America survives this descent into tribal hatefulness, it will join the growing mountain of evidence available to future historians and psychiatrists.

As CNN describes the book,

Woodward’s 448-page book, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” provides an unprecedented inside-the-room look through the eyes of the President’s inner circle. From the Oval Office to the Situation Room to the White House residence, Woodward uses confidential background interviews to illustrate how some of the President’s top advisers view him as a danger to national security and have sought to circumvent the commander in chief.

Many of the feuds and daily clashes have been well documented, but the picture painted by Trump’s confidants, senior staff and Cabinet officials reveal that many of them see an even more alarming situation — worse than previously known or understood.

Actually, those of us who have been glued to news sources since November of 2016 do understand how alarming this Presidency is, and how utterly pathetic a man-child Trump is. It really isn’t necessary to get confirmation from anonymous sources–every day, Trump tweets his lack of even the most superficial understanding of the government he heads or the Constitution and laws that constrain it.

Let’s be honest. Trump owes his (very slim) electoral success to Barack Obama. Trump’s votes came largely from the white people (mostly men, but plenty of women) who couldn’t abide the presence of a black family in the White House. For eight years, they seethed, exchanging racist emails and sharing racist posts, looking for anything they could criticize publicly, and inventing things when the pickings were slim.

When Trump proved willing to say publicly the things they’d been thinking and saying privately–when he was willing to re-label civility as “political correctness,” and to “tell it like (they believe) it is,” they were his. Woodward’s book won’t change that; it is doubtful that many of them will read it.

 

I know that many good people, good citizens, good Americans will cringe at what I’ve just written. It’s too close to name-calling, too uncivil, paints with too broad a brush. President Obama himself, in his recent speech, took the higher road.

We won’t win people over by calling them names or dismissing entire chunks of the country as racist or sexist or homophobic. When I say bring people together, I mean all of our people. This whole notion that has sprung up recently about Democrats needing to choose between trying to appeal to white working-class voters or voters of color and women and LGBT Americans, that’s nonsense. I don’t buy that. I got votes from every demographic. We won by reaching out to everybody and competing everywhere and by fighting for every vote.

I understand what he is saying, and I absolutely understand that candidates cannot be as accusatory as I have been. But as Zach Beauchamp wrote after sharing that paragraph  in a perceptive article for  Vox 

There’s a part of this that feels like it’s ignoring reality. Political science research on the 2016 election suggests that Trump won because a huge chunk of voters responded positively to his racism and sexism. Voters who scored high on tests of racial resentment were unusually likely to support Trump, as were voters who scored high on measures of hostile sexism. These voters did not tend to be particularly stressed economically; this wasn’t displaced economic resentment. Rather, they seem to genuinely share the current president’s values, agreeing that the way to “Make America Great Again” is to slow or even roll back social change.

My hopes are pinned on the midterm elections. I do believe that most Americans are better than the base for whom “Crazytown” is just fine so long as they see it vindicating their white privilege. This is one election where every blue vote will count–whether it elects someone or not–because it will be, and will be seen as, a vote against tribalism, racism, sexism and the pervasive corruption of Crazytown.

30 thoughts on “Crazytown

  1. I’m elated. I have hope for the BLUE WAVE and better government in November.
    But let’s not put the blinders back on…
    Keep up the effort to flip the majorities in the House AND the Senate
    Instead of switching money to ICE, why not, Mr. Trump, instead of your call to “print more money”, move to reverse the recent disgusting tax cuts?
    Betting on another natural DISASTER pounding at our door??

  2. It’s great to be a large tent, but in reality as we’re seeing, we will not win those 35% over to the D side. Our hope is to get non-registered and non-voters to cast their ballots Blue.

  3. Sheila’s message this morning underscores for me how important vetting is now for the Democrat inner circles to develop compelling candidates who can unite a diverse base sufficient to mobilize a decisive win in the Electoral College.

  4. “was in doc’s office yesterday and woman said trump would fix al the insurance problems for country and I started laughing and couldn’t stop. i must have laughed a good five minutes and she asked what was so funny. i said well i do not discuss politics in public but i will say that the t person you mentioned won’t be in office long enough to understand the insurance problems in this country. she started to get all pissy and i just started laughing again.”

    The copied and pasted quote above is from an E-mail I received yesterday from a years long friend who is also a commenter on this blog. The fact that a stranger would offer unsolicited support for Trump in a doctor’s office is a good example of his staunch (stubborn) supporters. Those in my neighborhood, formerly did occasionally talk briefly with me (never about politics) but now often look away as I pass. They are the ones who had Trump yard signs in 2016; the first time in the 13 years I have lived here that any of them posted political signs as opposed to my Democratic support signs in every election. I try to convince myself they ignore me due to embarrassment for being part of the cause of our current situation; but I know better.

    “It’s unlikely that Bob Woodward’s new book will move public opinion.”

    Sheila’s comment above it truthful; we have all probably personally experienced dealing with those Republican “immovable objects” And they have, to me at least, become “objects” minus any former sense of humanistic feelings or beliefs. But; I don’t think we should concentrate any efforts on changing their politics or their racism. In this last less than two months before the mid-year elections our efforts – and it will take great effort – need to be concentrated on supporting the Democratic party candidates we can vote for on November 6th. President Obama in his speech said that in his own words when he told us a few days ago, “Do not look for a Messiah.” We need to accept them, warts and all, to increase our numbers at state levels and in Congress. Warty growths can be addressed after they have been elected, not before; we are in a “numbers game” – maybe better termed a “numbers racket” – at this time.

    Bob Woodward’s book alone may not change public opinion; but remember his legacy from the Nixon administration and add it to “The Dangerous Case Of Donald Trump” (written by 27 Psychiatrists and mental health experts); “Fire and Fury” by Michael Wolff, “Why Angels Weep: America And Donald Trump” by our own Vernon Turner, the op-ed from someone from the White House inside Resistance and what we see daily with our own eyes, hear with our own ears and read in all forms of media. Circumstantial evidence, to be sure. We need to look at the results on paychecks for that great Trump “tax reform” benefit, our rising grocery bills, medical bills, gas prices, and all additional new taxes plus increased regular taxes on our personal monthly bills. Direct evidence, the required “smoking gun”.

    VOTE BLUE!

  5. And now we have this:

    “Don’t you think people look through the fact that you can write a sensational, nonsense book, CNN will definitely have you on there because they love to trash the president,” Eric Trump said on Wednesday’s “Fox and Friends,” the network’s morning show, when asked about Woodward’s book.

    “It will mean you sell three extra books, you make three extra shekels,” Eric added.

  6. Sorry I omitted Omarosa from the above list; she may (probably) has ulterior motives for “outing” herself as former Trump/White House “insider”, but her words and tapes need to be added to the list of those in a position to report facts.

    VOTE BLUE!

  7. Oh, in case Eric’s comment isn’t understood:

    The shekel is the currency used in both ancient and modern-day Israel. Keegan Hankes, senior research analyst at the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project, which tracks hate groups, noted that the term also can be used as a slur.

    “Shekels is a derogatory term used by white supremacists that ties into the myth that Jewish people only care about money,” Hankes told HuffPost. The term is tied to the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that Jews control the financial system, she said, and is “used constantly by the extreme right and particularly neo-Nazis.”

  8. Need Talking Points? GOP list of Trump scandals:
    Trump Tax Returns
    Trump Family Businesses
    Trump Dealings with Russia
    Trump Payments to Stormy Daniels
    Trump Firing James Comey
    Trump Firing U.S. Attorneys
    Trump Proposed Transgender Ban for U.S. Military
    Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s Business Scandals
    White House Staff Personal Email Usage
    Cabinet Secretary Travel, Office Expenses, Misused Perks
    Trump Discussion of Classified Info at Mar-a-Lago
    Jared Kushner’s Ethics Laws Compliance
    Trump Dismissal of Members of EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors
    Trump Travel Ban
    Trump Family Separation Policy
    Hurricane Response in Puerto Rico
    Election Security and Hacking Attempts
    White House Security Clearances

  9. We must not forget that the anti-liberal revolution began more than 50 years ago. Leaders of that revolution failed to gain traction with what became the Moral Majority until they discovered that abortion would provide the spark to ignite the wildfire among a large minority of citizens. With that self-righteous and venomous base, Richard Viguerie, dubbed “the funding father” of modern conservative strategy, and the likes of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson birthed the mess we have today. (Did you read Robertson’s demand that Hurricane Florence turn away from VA!). Vote Blue, yes, and remember this history. Even a tsunami of progressive votes will not change the thinking of the successors of Viguerie. Falwell, Robertson, Franklin Graham, et al, and their flock.

  10. I watched Chris Hayes last night. He featured a young man who didn’t vote in 2016 and who says he’ll vote in 2018, if he gets a candidate that excites him. The business of government is NOT exciting. It is hard work. If the younger generation thinks they need to be entertained by their potential future leaders, then we have lost not just the battle, but the war.

    Some times great candidates are not eloquent. Some times great candidates are inartful. All the time great candidates are flawed. As a former great candidate warned last week, don’t expect a Messiah to come and save us. I remind the children, we are all only too human.

    VOTE BLUE!

  11. I hope and pray that the much talked about “Blue Wave” actually does materialize and that the Democrats do not zig far left and alienate independent voters that are more closely connected with the middle and, as a result, a landslides in their favor do in fact materialize. Is obviously needs to happen for us so that some sense of normalcy can be restored to Washington, DC but also for this country’s image abroad.
    Our Allies, particularly those in Western Europe, are visibly rattled by the incoherence and incompetence of this current administration and that’s going to be there until the full that currently occupies the Oval Office is go and the sooner the better. He has done so much damage already and Bob Woodward’s book will had you been more clarity to the damage that he is done and how his ineptitude and incompetence has thrown a monkey wrench into how all the most powerful political leader on the planet interacts with both friends and foes alike. The disaster the has caused and is causing is already full blown and even if he left office tomorrow there will be smoking wreckage left behind four years while trust is reestablished an international agreements that he has shunned are fully back on line again.

    While that cauldron is bubbling over full force this fool has the gall to boast about his Administration’s performance in regard to hurricane relief in Puerto Rico which, by all measures, was an abysmal failure. Now the Carolinas are going to be slammed with another huge storm that is likely going to require a large amount of recovery effort to restore power and to protect people from the tidal surges and the flooding from the torrential rain they’re about to receive.

    The question is I guess, as Bob Woodward has asked himself, when will the American people finally wake up to the full magnitude of the disaster that this man is inflicting upon this country each and every day and that 28% of us still applaud? What will that end up requiring?

    We can only go over the cliff one time.

  12. I believe there is a message for the family and friends of the 35%. It’s history, German history, and the result of using anti-Semitism as a political weapon in the 20th and 21st century; It’s, probably, best called by one word: EVENTUAL BLOWBACK.

    There needs to be a message along with VOTING BLUE and I, strongly, suggest that this should be the MESSAGE, plain and simple.

    From John: “The shekel is the currency used in both ancient and modern-day Israel. Keegan Hankes, senior research analyst at the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project, which tracks hate groups, noted that the term also can be used as a slur.”

    It’s important to understand that the Southern Poverty Law Center’s INTELLIGENCE gathering is limited to hate groups, some of which could be best described as the militant arms of evangelical Christianity. The SPLC’s intelligence Project has little or nothing to do with the RACIST OLIGARCHY, EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANITY, THE DEEP POLITICAL SYSTEM, or most importantly, at the moment, DONALD TRUMP or MIKE PENCE.

    From “Intelligence Analysis: A Target-Centric Approach” by Robert M. Clark (CQ Press, Washington, D.C., 2010) p. 58:

    “Intelligence analysis must support operations and policy across the spectrum of conflict. The type of analysis and the speed with which it must be prepared and delivered to customer vary accordingly. Analysis to support STRATEGIC intelligence tends to be long-term research focused on capabilities and plans and tends to consider many SCENARIOS. [See my website for The Political Epidemiology Institute at http://www.StrategicPower.org].”

    “I skate to where the puck is gonna be, not where it has been.” ~Wayne Gretzky

    The above quote, best explains, the difference between The Political Epidemiology Institute and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Both are needed.

  13. During and after WW II, as the holocaust was exposed to the world, bit by bit, there was a core of Americans who basically wrote off the Jews being persecuted and killed as a “so what” part of the struggle. Those same Americans lobbied FDR to NOT accept Jews fleeing for their lives and literally turned the ships around at our ports. There are still, today, groups that claim the holocaust was a hoax. To these pathetic people, everything that doesn’t conform to their very narrow understanding of the world is a hoax. These hard-core prejudicial people will always be in the mix.

    On the other hand, the liberal values that Bernie and today’s progressive candidates are espousing are favored by over 60% of those polled as being their values. As Michael Moore pointed out last night, the majority of our “elected” officials are Republicans who do not fully embrace those values. The lying, cheating and distortion of our laws and election processes by Republicans is the only way they can win power. Republicanism is, of course, funded by corporate/banking America. It doesn’t take a genius to see that the roots of our misrepresentation in government grow in the manure piles of capitalistic greed. Why else would they be so eager to have regulations removed? The one-trick pony of capitalism is profit. Profit by any means necessary is all that drives it. Now, the moguls of profit drive a political party that wishes to enslave us all for profit and nothing but profit….for the few, the moguls, the oligarchs. From these roots grows the stems and branches of tribalism, prejudice, hate and racism. Trump, as Obama said, is the symptom of all this. The cause is runaway capitalism.

    THAT is what we need to vote out of office.

  14. Some mentioned Germany , WWII, the “Final Solution”
    Something that has always bothered me:
    Why on earth did WE not blow up the extermination camps
    We blew up a lot of things in Germany
    But NOT the extermination complexes

  15. Vernon,

    “Now, the moguls of profit drive a political party that wishes to enslave us all for profit and nothing but profit….for the few, the moguls, the oligarchs. From these roots grows the stems and branches of tribalism, prejudice, hate and racism. Trump, as Obama said, is the symptom of all this. The cause is runaway capitalism.

    THAT is what we need to vote out of office.”

    I agree with you on the ROOTS to the problem. But Republicans are now in control through the UNCONTESTED use of anti-Semitism, in order to destroy our democracy with, virtually, the same game plan, that was used to destroy Germany’s democracy.

    I would suggest, RUNAWAY CAPITALISM is not the cause but the effect.

    The SPLC’s longtime partner, the ADL, started out CAPITULATING to the leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention and, eventually, became COLLABORATORS, to insure the constant support for financial aid to the State of Israel. This isn’t about blame but REALITY. It was a MODUS VIVENDI: AID IN EXCHANGE FOR HATRED. It’s as simple as that.

    RUNAWAY ANTI-SEMITISM, WITH ITS ACCOMPANIED RACISM, HOMOPHOBIA, AND MORE , IS THE CAUSE. The Germans failed to deal with it, and by the time they tried, IT WAS TOO LATE.

  16. Many of us work hard to stay current. Things change fast and everything new needs some study and learning and to me that’s a rewarding challenge.

    But then I think of some others who grew up in modest villages and neighborhoods, learned a trade that’s since gone obsolete and watched as what they knew as a comfortable place to grow up became occupied by poorer and poorer more desperate people and deterioration set in. In fact closer examination might reveal that those new people aren’t living much differently then we did in the “old” days but expectations are different today.

    So progress can leave in its wake people energized by change and people who have become very angry about it; people who want more vs people who want to return to the comfortable past.

    From that cultural Petri dish our dysfunctional politics grew in a medium of media; entertainment that makes the angry angrier and the curious more interested.

    The only question is where it goes from here.

  17. The author anonymous in the NYT Op-Ed has been described as Hero, Traitor, or a Coward. What is disturbing about the Op-Ed is the anonymous person has stated:

    “We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous. There are bright spots that the near-ceaseless negative coverage of the administration fails to capture: effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more.”
    *************************
    Anonymous, is no friend of the Left by any means and the author freely admits that. The author is perfectly happy with the Reactionary Right Wing, Bible Thumping. The concern by Anonymous is that President Agent Orange’s and Pastor Pence has become a lightening rod of opposition.

    My hope would be if there is a Blue Wave and the Democrats take back the House, Pelosi steps aside. Also I would prefer that Impeachment Efforts are put on hold for the reason there needs to be an investigation into the financial corruption of the President Agent Orange Pastor Pence Regime to set the ground work for any Impeachment Proceedings. The Senate still would need to vote to actually convict President Agent Orange and with out a majority of Democrats, Impeachment is dead in the water.

    The hard core Trumpter’s are not going to be convinced, it is the belief that counts which is why the Bible Thumper’s provide President Agent Orange and Pastor Pence with fanatical loyalty.

  18. patmcc,

    “Some mentioned Germany , WWII, the “Final Solution”
    Something that has always bothered me:
    Why on earth did WE not blow up the extermination camps
    We blew up a lot of things in Germany
    But NOT the extermination complexes”

    One excuse has been that it was too risky. It was. Similarly, those in the Southern Baptist Convention knew as far back as the early 80’s, that their leaders were MASKING their extreme anti-Semitism with Christianity. But they decided it was too risky to go public. It would divide both family and friends, which was true. So approximately 40% , did the next best thing, they divided up into two groups: ultra-conservative and conservative, but they never tackled the underlying anti-Semitism.

    Bill Moyers, who is from a Southern Baptist background, attempted to expose the modus vivendi in the late 80’s, but was attacked and defamed in the “New Republic Magazine.” He learned his lesson the hard way, like a few others, myself included. See http://www.KillingtheMessenger.info.

  19. Marv,

    Re: Southern Poverty Law Center

    I agree. I became deeply disillusioned with them in the 1990s for multiple reasons , including ones you name, and gave up my membership.

    I have argued with friends asserting the Trump deep seated anti-semitism. Eric is a chip off the old block.

    John

  20. The 35% who support Trump are themselves delusional in thinking that the multiracial society we have fashioned will somehow go away and we will come alive to a return of a Norman Rockwell existence with little girls skipping down the sidewalk in dainty attire with their Easter baskets in hand and that such can be attained with a return to plantation politics. They are wrong. As I have written elsewhere, the real problem is that (and we need not be a Nostradamus to see this reality) we must accommodate such change rather than resist it.

    Such a delusion is, of course, financed by the superrich who want the status quo to go on forever as we approach the economic cliff of terminal capitalism. Thus Citizens United and Trump and other such deviates are not necessarily causes of our decline but rather symptomatic of a process already in place dating from, roughly, about the time of Reagan when financiers took over our economy and its stakeholders (especially labor) became collateral damage.

    In my opinion, there are two major corrections to be made to set us back on track as a functioning and prosperous democracy > (1) Public financing of elections, and (2) A return to New Deal policies (as amended by interim events) where the Dow and wage equality
    rise in tandem, neither of which is going to happen with finger-pointing and name-calling.
    Such changes can only be effected at the polls, beginning November 6, so let’s do the necessary.

  21. patmcc and Marv; if we had blown up the extermination camps wouldn’t we have been killing the Jewish and other ethnic minorities FOR the Nazis? Or did you mean post war? If so; they should have been maintained, as some were, as constant reminders of the Holocaust. “Man’s inhumanity to man” has come to America; what are we doing to clear out the immigrants and separated children in our own concentration camps today? A neoHolocaust in our own back yards. Will we destroy or maintain them for other uses IF the current immigration Holocaust can be resolved? Just askin’

  22. Sheila, your blog this morning is excellent, as a former 45 year active Republican, I can not express how disappointed in the GOP’s both voter and elected individuals complete lack of decorum, courage to stand up for what republicans have claimed for decades as socially right, their fiscally responsable and intrnationally prudent relations.
    The GOP of today is totally unreconizable from the organization I was an active member of and a political operative of for decades. I don’t believe I’m alone in my feelings and like you feel betrayed by all things Republican I believed to be America’s cord values. Trump symbolizes for republicans their fall from what I believe America should be and what American governance and leadership in the world must be. Trump and his GOP are a failed state.

  23. JoAnn,

    patmcc and Marv; if we had blown up the extermination camps wouldn’t we have been killing the Jewish and other ethnic minorities FOR the Nazis?

    Good question. The old question about bombing the extermination camps, has to do with the crematoriums. They could have been bombed without annihilating most of the Jews in the camps.

    That’s where the risk came in. It meant the need for low level TARGETED bombing which probably would have meant the loss of one or more planes and their crews, due to anti-aircraft fire. Saving thousands of Jews, just weren’t worth that loss.

  24. Ray – You are right in abandoning a party that is headed for Whigdom (as I often write). The GOP of today, led by a delusional man who lives in a narcissistic Otherworld, is not recognizable as the party of Eisenhower or even Nixon and certainly not that of Lincoln. It has become an ATM for the rich in a world of uncaring deception totally divorced from any conception of the common good. Welcome!

  25. John,

    “I have argued with friends asserting the Trump deep seated anti-semitism. Eric is a chip off the old block.”

    Great observation. Trump’s anti-semitism is about as deep as it can get. Most everyone seems to forget [like that will make it go away], he began his campaign with anti-Semitic remarks that set off a major boycott by the Move-On organization, which is financed by George Soros, the Jewish billionaire. He created the furor, and his strategy worked like a charm. It solidified him with his RABID BASE.

    He flicked Move-On away like they were a “bunch of flies.” I hate to give Trump credit for anything, but when it comes to anti-Semitism he is an EXPERIENCED PRO.

  26. Wayne Moss wrote: “We must not forget that the anti-liberal revolution began more than 50 years ago.”

    Right—Adlai Stevenson was branded an “egghead,” signaling America’s willingness to accept representative government as dumb or dumber that itself. Those administrations—witness just Nixon and Reagan—have proven conservative, corrupt, and entirely self-serving. Throw in a couple more endless wars and the current horror infesting the White House, and you make LBJ’s Vietnam debacle look like a drop in the bucket.

  27. patmcc The Germans themselves blew up the extermination facilities at Auschwiz before they left. The SS running the various concentration camps mostly either surrendered or ran off and left the prisoners to the mercies of the victors. There were HUNDREDS of them, the main ones we’ve all heard about and various satellite operations of a few dozen to a few hundred inmates. Many of the camps were in Soviet territory. It turns out (surprise!) that they had use for these ready-made facilities, and it wasn’t up to us to destroy stuff in the territory of our nominal allies.

    Some of the larger ones have been preserved as memorials (I felt sick to my stomach passing through the gate at Buchenwald earlier this year). They serve a valuable function for the Germans and the rest of the world in that capacity.

  28. Warren; it has been a while since I asked others here to watch the movie, “Downfall”. A German/Austrian production, released in 2012 I think, which depicts Hitler’s last 10 days in the bunker. Being a German/Austrian production and many of their sources are from records and documents found in the bunker by the Russians as well as a documentary of recent interviews with people close to Hitler, including some of his generals, it is almost like being there. The parallels between Hitler himself and Trump; those who remained with him to the end and Trump’s closest appointees is scary. Being a German/Austrian production; this is NOT a Hollywood production. Well worth finding and watching; I saw it on one of the cable movie channels.

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