Paragraphs to Ponder

From David Brooks, moderate Republican, “Trump Ignites a War Within the Church“.*

“The split we are seeing is not theological or philosophical. It’s a division between those who have become detached from reality and those who, however right wing, are still in the real world.

Hence, it’s not an argument. You can’t argue with people who have their own separate made-up set of facts. You can’t have an argument with people who are deranged by the euphoric rage of what Erich Fromm called group narcissism — the thoughtless roar of those who believe their superior group is being polluted by alien groups.”

My new mantra, “You can’t argue with people who have their own separate made-up set of facts.”

*A reminder, you don’t have to subscribe to The New York Times to read my NYT links, but you do have to register.

Making History

Many people understate Trump’s accomplishments. He is the first president to lose the popular vote twice and to be impeached twice.

And one more thing, he received 74,222,593 votes. A lot, but not the 75 million nearly everyone is stating. In the interest of accuracy, can we stop rounding up? And for the record, Biden/Harris earned 81,281,502. Electoral college. . . 306 to 232.

Am I undercutting my own argument?

Pence’s Luck Runs Out

White House reporters say Trump is livid with Pence. The President’s public comments lend credence to that. And now we’re learning many Republicans in the White House and Congress are repulsed by the President’s treatment of the most loyal of Veeps.

But no one whose been paying even a little attention should be surprised. The surprise is that the political partnership lasted as long as it did. In Trumplandia, four years is forty.

What I find most fascinating about the President is the stories we never hear. Specifically, about close friends, whether childhood, college, or more recent. Sure, people partner with him in business and politics, and they appear chummy until they don’t. No one ever talks about him as a close, personal friend. When he said his older, overweight friend died from the ‘rona, I was left wondering how “his friend” would have described their relationship.

Friendship requires one to put other’s interests before their own on occasion. To listen, to help them move, to make them food, to celebrate their successes, to support them through difficult chapters of life. Most importantly, it requires reciprocity. Friendships mature as people learn to put other’s interests before their own.

More simply, narcissism is friendship kryptonite.

Just What We Need

Senior Trump advisers prepare to launch policy group.

White House domestic policy adviser Brooke Rollins and National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow are preparing to launch a nonprofit group to promote the president’s policies once he leaves office.

“The group, Rollins said, would promote the ‘legacy and consequences of this president’ and ensure ‘those ideas continue and are defended whether in one month or in four years from now.’”

What part of the legacy and consequences? The narcissism? The total disregard for the truth? The self-pitying and destruction of democratic traditions? The gross mismanagement of a devastating public health crisis? The demonizing of Democratic governors and mayors? The incessant talk of infrastructure? The dismantling of foreign alliances?

“’We’re really excited about it, we think it’s going to be a juggernaut,’” Rollins added.

Is juggernaut a fancy word for joke?

The Trump Virus Is Spreading

Loren Culp refuses to concede Washington State’s gubernatorial race despite losing by 545,000 votes, which is approximately 14% of the total. 

“So far, neither Gergen nor Culp have publicly produced evidence of voter fraud in Washington. But they say they are collecting proof, including evidence of voting by noncitizens and dead people, and double registrations.”

What Does Trump Get Out of Contesting Biden’s Win?

The title of Steve Coll’s New Yorker piece.

“Typically, the best way to understand Trump’s actions is to ask what’s in it for him. Four more years in the White House would extend his immunity from New York prosecutors conducting active investigations into possible criminal activity, ease pressure from bank creditors, and further enrich his family businesses: a win-win-win. Assuming that the President fails to rig a second term, he is fashioning a story about how corrupt Democrats foiled his reëlection, which might galvanize followers and donors after he leaves office. According to the Post, the President told advisers last week, ‘I’m just going to run in 2024. I’m just going to run again.’ His campaign has formed a political-action committee, called Save America, which appears designed as a means for him to raise money to influence the Republican Party after his Presidency ends. The pac is eligible to receive funds now for Trump’s ‘election defense,’ but much of that money would likely be spent on other causes and candidates. Leave it to Trump to manufacture a constitutional crisis that also incorporates a fund-raising con.”

Plausible, but ultimately, just speculation. Why should anyone believe Coll has inside knowledge of Trump’s mindset? I suspect Trump’s mania is largely unexplainable.