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Pierce writes: "Over the weekend, there was some slanging and banging on the electric Twitter machine over a very interesting topic: whether or not it is Good Journalism to continue to cover extensively the president*'s gin-up-the-rubes rallies, at which he says the same stuff, over and over again, as though there is any real news value in anything said by this moldy bag of old resentments."

Donald Trump. (photo: Getty Images)
Donald Trump. (photo: Getty Images)


This President* Never Deserves the Benefit of the Doubt

By Charles Pierce, Esquire

11 July 18

 

ver the weekend, there was some slanging and banging on the electric Twitter machine over a very interesting topic: whether or not it is Good Journalism to continue to cover extensively the president*’s gin-up-the-rubes rallies, at which he says the same stuff, over and over again, as though there is any real news value in anything said by this moldy bag of old resentments.

One side argued, with some logic, that, like it or not, the guy is the president* and what he says has inherent news value simply because he says it. The other side argued that he is still Donald Trump, and that, among our presidents, he is uniquely unqualified, uniquely uninformed, uniquely unoriginal, and, most important, uniquely compromised, although to what extent we won’t know until Robert Mueller unleashes the hounds this fall. Therefore, goes this line of thinking, covering this guy as though he were Dwight Eisenhower, or W.H. Taft, or James K. Polk—which is to say, giving him the benefit of the doubts that accrue to his office—is to obscure the unique threat to our institutions that this president* embodies with a cloud of dangerous political banality.

Any action taken by this president* while in office should be considered prima facie as either corrupt or incompetent until proven otherwise. Anybody hired by this administration* should be considered prima facie unqualified for the job given to them. And any judges nominated should be considered prima facie unworthy of having been nominated simply on the basis of the president* who nominated them.

The phrase is, “sui generis.” Get used to it.

I understand that, in practical terms, there are few ways to act on these assumptions. (Although I think it behooves major news organizations to rethink volunteering to get jerked around at the rallies week after week.) The government must be staffed. The courts must function. But we all must be aware that all of that is being done in the most radically different—and radically perilous—political context that the country has seen since the run-up to the Civil War, and we must insist that the institutions of government act on that awareness as best they possibly can. That means that every fight is worthy no matter how futile. Even if all you’re doing is creating a historical record, that’s worth doing. The institutions of government, and the people operating them, have to stand up just to stand up.

This is one way to do it: Doug Jones, the rookie Democratic senator from Alabama, declined the invitation to come to the White House and be one of the Democratic mooks standing with the president*. This is an even better way to do it, from Robert Casey, Jr., the pro-life Democratic senator from Pennsylvania:

I will oppose the nomination the president will makes tonight because it represents a corrupt bargain with the far right, big corporations, and Washington special interests.

Casey announced his opposition to whoever the candidate was, based on both the president* who nominated said candidate, and the political apparatus to which the president* had subcontracted the job. Period. That’s the real thing there.

Another horn of this dilemma is that it requires everyone to stop pretending that Trumpism is an aberration, a mutant form of Republicanism, instead of the perfectly predictable product of an evolutionary process deliberately begun in the late 1970s, when Republican conservatism absorbed the still-vital remnants of American apartheid and allied itself with newly politicized splinter Protestantism.

In this, the coming debate over the Supreme Court is utterly dispositive. The assault on reproductive rights, on voting rights, on environmental regulations, and on the rights of labor have been consistent Republican offensives for four decades. The legal underpinning of these assaults has been carefully developed and nurtured by a conservative legal establishment richly financed by corporate sugar parents. There is nothing being done as regards the judiciary by President* Trump that would not have been done by a President Cruz, a President Walker or, yes, a President Kasich.

This president* is nothing more than a grotesque exaggeration of processes that were underway long before he got to town. He merely built on a foundation already laid. He merely tapped into the energy that already was flowing. He merely shouted his slanders more crudely and through a bigger media megaphone than any ever granted to a politician of his era.

(Tell me, all you Bush Administration NeverTrumpers now d/b/a cable analysts, how loudly did you protest the slandering of John Kerry within the hierarchy of the 2004 re-election campaign? Thought so.)

However, all of that sad history does not mitigate the unique peril that this president* presents to the present and the future of the American republic. It has to stop, all of it, now, before it’s too late.


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+18 # tedrey 2018-07-11 12:53
Why don't the media give us all of Bernie Sanders' talks with the people in the public venues that Trump has vacated? We're getting the best of the kind since FDR Fireside Talks. Bernie is uniquely qualified, uniquely informed, uniquely original, and uniquely uncompromised. Best of all, he's even learned a lot since the last election, which is almost unheard of in a politician.

*Off topic, but consider it an unpaid political advertisement, from my heart.
 
 
+15 # pmargaret7 2018-07-11 13:13
Charlie - very masterfully put! I strongly remember the horrible lack of respect that was given to Kerry and how it was barely discussed by the "news" of the day! How the media has ramped up since then! I would hope that voters would see all this 'badness" today and rise up against it, but as long as the Kardashians have a show and Marvel Comics are made into blockbuster movies, the American brains have withered into raisinettes! Most people are now "amused" to death by their cell phones and video games and either don't know, care, or figure they can make a difference regarding the enormous privilege they have to vote this year! Getting out the vote is the only thing that can save us now!
 
 
+22 # worriedforusa 2018-07-11 13:25
Absolutely correct.

Because he is the POTUS, media should announce

"POTUS is holding one of his usual rallies again tonight in anytown usa. Since all of his rallies are basically the same, we won't be covering this one, especially since POTUS doesn't want the media there. We will, of course, let you know if POTUS does anything newsworthy."

No hype, no coverage, NO POINT!
 
 
+13 # ddd-rrr 2018-07-11 14:13
I agree.

And, if WE permit this nonsense to continue, we are all complicit
in the transformation of our governmental form into fascism.

This MUST NOT be permitted to happen!
 
 
+16 # Art947 2018-07-11 14:34
There is an old saying that "if you keep your mouth shut, people may think you a fool; open it and remove all doubt." Drumpf has proven over and over again that he is a fool. Unfortunately, Pres. Lincoln also told us that you can fool some of the people all the time -- hello Drumpf's base of supporters!

There are actions that can be taken to combat the oligarchists. Boycott the products that they sell, "get in their faces" and those of the members of their families. Treat them as the vile beasts that they are.

An item on one of the internet news feeds indicated how difficult it is for the young and women who work to DJT WH to "hook-up" with others. Keep up the pressure on these young "wrong wingers" by demonstrating no tolerance for their lack of same.

And yes, those who enable Drumpf to do his dirty work are just as guilty as he is. It is time to remove every Rethugnican from office and perhaps use civil forfeiture rules to remove them from their ill-gotten gains.
 
 
+3 # draypoker 2018-07-12 08:21
Trump is currently visiting Britain. The government has spent a lot of money mobilising police to protect him from demonstrators. He is carefully being directed away from London and will be placed in rural situations and usually transported by helicopters, to keep him off the streets.

If the Democrats win more seats in the Autumn I hope they will impeach him.
 

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