Thursday, September 10, 2020

Not So Stupid


Among the roughly 60% of us who do not approve of Donald Trump, this is nearly conventional wisdom:

So conventional, in fact, that former Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri can be seen below maintaining


 Strike two, he sits for eighteen interviews. O.K., who in their right mind who's running for office in a year- within the year- sits for eighteen interviews with a journalist. This is not a smart thing to do. This is beyond folly. This is ultimate stupidity.


 

Donald Trump, that's who.

President Trump may have believed for reasons outlined here by David Frum, that the novel coronavirus would be a thing of the past by Labor Day. If it had, he would have claimed credit for suppression of the virus, boasting "I knew it all along." Trump is a disciple of Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, who conned a lot of people for several decades with his "power of positive thinking," and whose influence in society tragically continues.

Moreover, leaks from the Woodward book came less than a week after the President

confronted a political crisis on Friday that could undercut badly needed support in the military community for his re-election campaign as he sought to dispute a report that he privately referred to American soldiers killed in combat as “losers” and “suckers.”

Mr. Trump, who has long portrayed himself as a champion of the armed forces and has boasted of rebuilding a military depleted after years of overseas wars, came under intense fire from Democrats and other opponents who said a report in The Atlantic demonstrated his actual contempt for those who serve their country in uniform.

Showing actual contempt for American soldiers is a big thing. It's unlikely that it would have seriously damaged Trump's standing with the public or his prospects for a victory in November. However, we don't know that- and now, probably never will.

We're unlikely to know because Woodward's tome drove off the front pages the Atlantic piece, as well as Michael Cohen's book, which hardly had enough time to garner attention.

The timing was propitious for Trump. That may have been dumb luck- or it could have been part of an understanding between author and subject, a matter none of Woodward's journalistic colleagues will directly raise with him. At best, someone will ask Woodward whether the lives of tens of thousands of Americans would have been spared had he not kept his mouth shut for 6-7 months.

When we learned that President Trump stood with John Kelly at the grave of the General's son, complained "what was in it for them" and Kelly refused to corroborate the report, it confirmed what many people already suspected. If credible individuals refuse to stand up and be counted, there will be little impact of Donald Trump's narcissism upon voters.

 

 

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