Friday, July 21, 2017

The Divine Right of Kings––The Trump Version

Trump seems to fancy himself an absolute monarch on the old European model. Which means he doesn’t know what the American Revolution was about.

Jonathan Chait compares Trump to the French monarchs who were deposed by the French Revolution.

Millions of Americans voted for the Trump they saw on television. Trump the tyrant. Trump the bully. Trump the tough guy. Trump the “nobody’s fool.” Trump the guy who nobody pushes around, the guy who will not take orders from anyone.

It has become clear Trump is what Hillary said he was: an obedient and craven puppet of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. (We need a list of the major policies he has refashioned to please the Russians. The latest being his reversals on Syria.)

Vanity Fair examines how Trump has been played by a better con-man than himself.

If we lacked evidence before (we didn’t) the NYTimes interview proves President Trump is astonishingly ignorant, foolish, petulant, self-centered, vindictive, paranoid, and mentally deranged. With nuclear missiles.

Slate's Will Saletan parses the bizarre NYTimes Trump interview.

VOX does its own analysis of the interview.

Trump believes the presidency he won became his personal tool, his power to use and abuse as he saw fit. And with Trump all power is there to benefit Trump and only Trump. All power is also there to punish his opponents, critics and enemies, a list that now includes everyone who doesn’t share his concept of presidential power, who doesn’t believe we live in a dictatorship.

The New Republic looks at the authoritarian potential of the Trump juggernaut.

This is nothing like Watergate, it’s far worse. There were things Nixon would not do, like pardoning his aides and himself. Also Nixon hired his burglars in America, he didn’t bring in the Russian spy agencies. Nixon let his major donors buy his California spread for him but he wasn’t bailed out of bankruptcy by Russian mobsters. Key differences. Nixon was on the hook to entrenched powers here in America but he also resented and opposed those entrenched powers, the Eastern Establishment. Trump hates the same Establishment for not admiring and accepting him so he outsourced his power base to a foreign dictatorship and its powerful criminal allies.

Comparisons are also being made with Clinton and Whitewater. No comparison. Clinton did not interfere or threaten or obstruct that investigation. The first Whitewater special counsel, a lifelong Republican, was fired for not being sufficiently ideological. They fired him for failing to find evidence of guilt and appointed a super-ideologue in Ken Starr who promised to find Clinton guilty of something. Eventually he had to rely on stories from the anti-Clinton Mellon-Scaiffe nexus to devise a trap, which eventually got the president to dissemble about his affair with Monica Lewinsky, which the inquisitors already knew about and had rigged testimony to turn any Clinton denial into perjury. The offhand total of dissembles/lies/perjuries by the current president runs into four digits and his deputies multiply that.

Michael Tomasky reminds us of how partisan the Clinton prosecution was. The Mueller investigation is one of the most urgent and necessary investigations our nation has ever seen. It's not trivial. Just as Trump is less trivial and amusing than he seems.

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