Mark Sumner had a spot on piece here yesterday:
For the first time since Trump took office, most of the columns this week … are about the same thing that was at the core of the columns last week. Ordinarily, the idea that people were continuing to rail against a problem because it had not been solved would be disappointing. But it’s not. It’s amazing. Seeing that it is possible to return to the same story day after day, even when Trump is running his distract-o-matic at maximum, is not just the first step toward real change, but definitely something that should be celebrated—right after we celebrate the end of Trump’s disastrous zero tolerance policy.
Rick Wilson/Daily Beast:
This Was the Week That Finally Broke Trump’s Spell
He was defeated by the two things he hates most: immigrants, and the media.
Once a president who stood astride the media narrative like an orange god, simultaneously captivating and revolting the nation’s press corps, Trump was no match for images of crying children torn from their mothers. His seemingly magical ability to change the subject vanished, and the arsenal of his weapons of mass distraction were duds. Everyone in Washington noticed. One House member spoke to me on background Wednesday night and said, “This mistake broke the spell.”
Trump Loses His Superpower
The president’s tweets have been powerless against images of migrant children in the news media.
Donald Trump is good at many things, but his greatest gift may be his ability to distract the newshounds by shouting “Squirrel!” and sending them sniffing for a new story. But this week, the dogs wouldn’t stop gnawing on the president’s leg, no matter what he said….
But when the border story took over, two things happened. Just as Cosby, North Korea and the border saved Pruitt by pushing him out of his top news ranking, the border story nullified Trump’s howling about the IG report and the evil James Comey. Nobody wanted to hear about the IG anymore; they wanted to hear Trump justify the border policy. Trump was now facing a story that couldn’t be diluted or contaminated with Twitter truculence…
But what he really did was surrender while declaring victory. For all his constant talk about strength, Trump came off weak and depleted. After he went to Capitol Hill to sell his version of the immigration bill, it failed. And his intervention in the furor over Melania’s jacket—in which he contradicted her office’s explanation of what the jacket slogan meant—came off as doddering and hopeless.
John Stoehr (my bold):
Trump's Greatest Con: Believe Me, I'm Strong
Caving on his sadist border policy did something new. It exposed Trump's base to his profound weakness.
The president fears nothing more than appearing weak. This is not (only) about ego. This is about utility. How do you inspire enough confidence in someone to get them to hand over their money, trust, and votes? Appearing strong is more important to the con artist than actually being strong. Appearances are truly all that matter.
The appearance of strength has been Trump’s greatest political asset, but that has always depended on television media playing along. TV media stopped playing along—could not continue to play along—when images and audio emerged of toddlers wailing inconsolably for their moms and dads. Once the TV media stopped playing along, the president was on his own. The president—surprise!—looked isolated and weak.
And he did all on his own...
I have argued a few times that the president’s weakness will be his undoing. The appearance of strength is the truly only thing that matters to his constituency. They don’t care that he’s a fraud. They don’t care that he’s corrupt. They don’t care about budgets. That don’t care about values. They don’t care about threats to democracy.
They do care about the president punishing people whom they believe do not belong in the American franchise, people whom they believe threaten the privilege, status and power that generally come from being white. This week, they saw something new: Their Great White Hope was not only bloodied. He was knocked out cold.
This is an important idea. The chipping away at the base happens after the knee jerk tribal reaction and over time, as the actions sink in (again, because media is staying on this story). Like the Mueller story, Americans know it’s serious. It won’t be immediate (see the huffPost poll) but it will happen (see the Rick Wilson piece.)
Don’t look for a collapse. Look for losses.
Listen, I get it. The notion of shunning or excluding or heckling can devolve into philosophical hair-splitting as to whether someone has engaged in normal public service or whether they’ve strayed outside the bounds of decent behavior. Each to his own method of expressing disdain and fury, I suppose.
Nevertheless, it is not altogether a bad thing to show those who think they’re exempt from personal responsibility that their actions bring scorn, exclusion and rejection. If you don’t want to provoke wrath, don’t continue to work for someone whose cruel and inhumane treatment of others rivals the internment of U.S. citizens and noncitizens of Japanese descent during World War II. And yes, I’d have hollered at then-California Attorney General Earl Warren, who pushed for the roundup of people of Japanese ancestry, even American citizens.
See, if I were the owner, I’d serve Sarah myself. I’d explain in a loud voice staff refuses. Might take a while. I have to cook, serve and clean up. So, sorry for the delay.
More Americans Blame Undocumented Parents Than Trump For Family Separations
The White House has managed to dodge a lot of blame for a deeply unpopular policy.
The concept of family separation does remain deeply unpopular. The latest survey, in line with past polling, found that fewer than a third of the public considered separations to be acceptable.
There was little consensus among Americans on who bears responsibility for the separations. Just 36 percent thought the Trump administration bore at least some responsibility, several points less than the 44 percent who put at least some of the blame on undocumented parents. Slightly over a third judged the parents to hold the most responsibility; slightly under a third said the Trump administration was most responsible.
There will be more clarity over time, especially as Trump, forced to pander to his racist base, clarifies who is responsible. He can’t help himself and has to take “credit”.
On Friday, Mr. Trump only added fuel to the fire when he threatened in a tweet to impose a 20 percent tariff on all European cars coming into the United States if the European Union did not remove its auto tariffs. “Build them here!” the president wrote.
Mr. Trump, who campaigned on a get-tough approach to trade, has said his tariffs would make trade pacts more fair and ultimately help American workers, farmers, manufacturers and other. But the situation could soon become politically perilous to Mr. Trump, whose trade policies are starting to inflict economic pain across the country, including in areas that are home to the voters who helped him win election.
Nick Anderson, whose cartoon is a the top, writes about another cartoonist for CNN:
Rob Rogers' firing is a frightening omen
A number of Americans are justifiably outraged by Rob's firing (disclosure: we're friends). It's a form of censorship. Rob's firing occurred after what he described to The New York Times
as months of pressure from his editor. "When I had lunch with my new boss a few months ago, he informed me that the paper's publisher believed that the editorial cartoonist was akin to an editorial writer, and that his views should reflect the philosophy of the newspaper," according to him.
There were 19 cartoons killed in that span -- six in a single week. Rob went public on Facebook
that week after the fourth one -- an image of someone in a Klan outfit asking a doctor, in a reference to Roseanne Barr's attempt to explain her racist tweets, "Could it be the Ambien?" -- was killed.
Here’s a must see political ad from Texas and MJ Hegar, TX-31 (North Austin, Fort Hood):
The dark history behind Trump’s inflammatory language
It is worth noting how often the president repeatedly conflates refugees with illegal immigrants and MS-13 gang members. This is not an accident: He has targeted a group and given them characteristics — they are violent, they are rapists, they are gang members — that don’t belong to most of them. He then describes them with dehumanizing language. Democrats, he has tweeted, “want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our country, like MS-13.” The image of “infestation” evokes, again, vermin and lice. A few weeks earlier, he spoke of MS-13 as “animals,” once again making it unclear whether he meant actual gang members or simply those who distantly resemble them.
A brief (fascist) history of ‘I don’t care’
This article was sparked by the jacket that Melania Trump wore as she travelled to a detention camp for migrant children, but my intent isn’t to argue that she or her staff chose that jacket in order to send a coded message to the president’s far-right followers. It is, rather, to highlight some of the historical echoes of that phrase – ‘I don’t care’.
The echoes of which someone ought to have been aware, especially in an administration that includes – to put it mildly – several far-right sympathisers. And also to show that the attitude, the theatrical ‘not caring’, was an explicit character trait of Fascism.
Which, at the very least, seems a troubling coincidence.
Red cross denied access? Media denied access? Why?
And now for a lesson about condescension: