Genuflecting To The Right

In large part, Trump’s 2016 upset of Hillary Clinton was attributed to his personal bravado. His supporters liked how he repeatedly said crass things that paralleled their thinking. Finally, a politician who just shoots from the hip, focus groups and polls be damned.

If there’s any truth to that analysis, how do you explain the contents of this article, “Trump Keeps Rejecting Pleas From Allies for Pro-Vax Campaign”?

Paragraphs to ponder:

“More than 400,000 Americans had died of coronavirus when Trump left office, and the death count has swelled to more than 600,000 since. But as Trump has settled into a post-presidency defined largely by prolonging his anti-democratic crusade and settling scores with Republicans who crossed him, the former president has privately dropped hints about why, exactly, he has been so derelict.

According to two of the sources who have spoken to Trump about this, he has occasionally referenced polling and other indicators—such as what he’s seen on TV—that show how the vaccines are unpopular with many of his supporters. This has left the impression with some of those close to Trump that he doesn’t want to push too hard on the subject, so as to not ‘piss off his base,’ one of the two people said.”

Maybe Trump was never that distinctive of a politician. Or the ‘swamp’ changed him. Add ‘being too busy assessing which way the political winds were blowing to help us get the upper hand on the ‘rona’ to his legacy.

Sentence To Ponder

“. . . the former president has not only managed to squelch any dissent within his party but has persuaded most of the G.O.P. to make a gigantic bet: that the surest way to regain power is to embrace his pugilistic style, racial divisiveness and beyond-the-pale conspiracy theories rather than to court the suburban swing voters who cost the party the White House and who might be looking for substantive policies on the pandemic, the economy and other issues.”

Lisa Lerer in the New York Times.

An Evangelical ‘Earthquake’

Beth Moore, “one of the most prominent white evangelical women in the United States” is breaking with the Southern Baptist Convention.

In an excellent article, Ruth Graham and explain:

“Moore cites the ‘staggering’ disorientation of seeing its leaders support Mr. Trump, and the cultural and spiritual fallout from that support.

‘There comes a time when you have to say, this is not who I am. I am still a Baptist, but I can no longer identify with Southern Baptists.’

Her stature in the movement poses a serious challenge for the Southern Baptist Convention, which has already been embroiled for years in debates not just about Mr. Trump, but about racism, misogyny and the handling of sexual abuse cases. Its membership is in decline.”

Joy Beth Smith, a fan of Moore’s said:

“She has given us permission to leave those broken institutions.”

If you own shares in the Southern Baptist Convention, sell them. The left will rip Moore for taking so long. Not me. I will just celebrate the fact that she has acted so publicly and boldly.

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?