Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Laid Out for All to See

The leading candidate for the Republican nomination for President earlier this month referred to his political enemies as "vermin," thus continuing a long tradition of GOP politicians who vilified Democrats personally, usually in less crude or less blatant terms. Steve M notes that (parentheses mine) Ronald(6) Wilson(6) Reagan(6), George HW Bush, Rush Limbaugh, and Newt Gingrich were perhaps the most consequential Republicans whose delight in ad hominem attacks were generally dismissed as being within the boundaries of political norms.

The No More Mister Nice Guy guy cites Media Matters statistics demonstrating that the Big Three broadcast TV networks, the three major cable news networks, and the five highest circulating U.S. newspapers all gave far more coverage to Hillary Clinton's 2016 "basket of deplorables" comment than to Donald Trump's "vermin" comment.

Media Matters could have reinforced that point by noting that the "vermin" remark is disturbingly consistent with the authoritarian state the ex-President plans to form if he is able to remove the "ex" in fourteen months. In July, we learned from Government Executive

Former aides close to President Trump are working to revive and expand his signature proposal to upend the federal civil service, according to a new report, and are working in conjunction with the former commander in chief to quickly purge thousands of federal employees if he were to return to office.

The plan, as detailed to Axios and confirmed by Government Executive, would bring back Schedule F, a workforce initiative Trump pushed in the 11th hour of his term to politicize the federal bureaucracy. The former officials and current confidantes are, through a network of Trump-loyal think tanks and public policy organizations, creating lists of names to supplant existing civil servants. They have identified 50,000 current employees that could be dismissed under the new authority they seek to create, Axios reported and Government Executive confirmed, though they hope to only actually fire a fraction of that total and hope the resulting “chilling effect” will cause the rest to fall in line.

In October 2020, just before the presidential election, Trump signed his controversial executive order creating a new class of federal employees excepted from the competitive service.

Last December, slamming the election he had lost two years earlier, Trump tweeted on his ironically-named Truth Social "A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution, Our great ‘Founders’ did not want, and would not condone, False & Fraudulent Elections!”

In possibly (the day is still young) his most recent rant, Trump charged

MSNBC (MSDNC) uses FREE government approved airwaves, and yet it is nothing but a 24 hour hit job on Donald J. Trump and the Republican Party for purposes of ELECTION INTERFERENCE. Brian Roberts, its Chairman and CEO, is a slimeball who has been able to get away with these constant attacks for years," Trump wrote. "It is the world's biggest political contribution to the Radical Left Democrats who, by the way, are destroying our Country. Our so-called 'government' should come down hard on them and make them pay for their illegal political activity. Much more to come, watch!"

Did I say "rant?" It is less a rant than a statement of intent and warning.

Steve M. believes one of the primary reasons tasteless GOP cracks about Democrats are largely ignored while the media obsessed over Hillary Clinton's "deplorable gaffes" is that the media is, contrary to widespread opinion, not liberal.

However, there is another major reason that insults by Donald Trump, who regularly condemns his perceived opponents in the harshest, most extravagant ways, are given so little coverage. It is, ironically, that it is not an aberration, but rather in character.

Hillary Clinton's politically inept gaffe surprised, and shocked because it was so unlike a sane and sober and mainstream politician to say such a thing about a group of voters, even if, as we've learned from the 1/6/21 insurrection and its aftermath, is largely accurate.

By contrast, Donald Trump's remarks and statements of intent are part of a pattern. Nevertheless,  the attention paid to his plans is diminished by the attention paid by CNN and other outlets to the four criminal indictments lodged against the former President.

The fascination these matters hold for MSNBC is the most extreme example. The seemingly endless commentary  from pundits, and especially lawyers, about gag orders and other relative minutiae should merely highlight the twists and turns, turns and twists, which render such speculation immaterial.

All of which serves to reinforce the instinct to slam Trump as stupid, demented, self-destructive, unhinged, or out-of-control rather than dangerous. The 45th President probably is none of these, and two of his main advisors, Steve Bannon and Steve Miller, are surely none of these.  Donald Trump may be unable to produce a doctoral thesis describing in full his plans and schemes, but the will is there and the loyal confidantes he would bring in, coupled with those he would embed to replace current civil servants, would put into place the lawless autocracy he relishes.

But whatever the reasons, the media is generally neglecting Donald Trump's master plan, In an exception from a journalist I've bashed a few times, CNN's Dana Bash (beginning at 2:16 of the video below) states

You talk to historians like The Washington Post did and we just need to say for the record that the term "vermin" was really effectively used by Adolph Hitler and by Mussolini, who dehumanized people and encouraged heir followers to go after their opponents.

That was only a start, but it was a start.  With less than 12 months to go before the next presidential and congressional elections, much more is needed.


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