Sunday, October 06, 2019

Whatever happened to "no collusion"?

Funny how fast the "no collusion" slogan evaporated after the recent revelations about Trump trying to shake down the president of Ukraine to fabricate a smear campaign about Joe Biden.  Two years of hand-wringing about the Mueller report are suddenly moot.  Instead of "no collusion" it's now, "Sure I colluded, but it was for a good cause.  Collusion with a foreign government is perfectly acceptable if it is done in the name of rooting our corruption.  Oh, and it's just a coincidence that the most egregious corruption in the entire U.S. -- indeed the only such example that merits the enlistment of a foreign power to help ferret it out -- just happens to be my leading political opponent.

Somehow, if the polls are to be believed, over a third of the country actually buys that narrative.

When Trump was first elected there were some who hoped that he would "grow into the office" and become less Trumpy, that with some "adults in the room" to reign him in, disaster might be averted.  I wonder how much worse things have to get before the last holdouts realize that this is not going to happen.  Whenever Trump gets away with something his response is not, "Whew, that was close, I'd better be more careful next time."  Instead it's, "Well, that was cool, I wonder how much more I can get away with?"  In a scant two years we've gone from, "I never talked to the Russians" to "Sure, I use the power of the presidency to coerce a foreign government to interfere in our domestic politics.  So what?"  We've gone from pussy grabbing to concentration camps where children are forcibly separated from their families.  Do we really need to march all the way to the gas chambers before the Republican party wakes up and realizes that Donald Trump will lead them through the gates of hell if they give him even half a chance?  And for what, to overturn Roe v. Wade?  To wreak righteous vengeance against the spotted owl?

Seriously, if you're still a Trump supporter at this point (I'm looking at you, Publius) I really want you to explain this to me.  What is it that Trump is offering at this point that is worth the price of the nation's soul?

6 comments:

Peter Donis said...

the recent revelations about Trump trying to shake down the president of Ukraine to fabricate a smear campaign about Joe Biden

I've read the transcript of the call. Trump didn't ask the president of Ukraine to fabricate anything. And the Ukraine was already investigating the company Biden's son worked for anyway.

Virtually all of the media coverage I see about this is not talking about what Trump actually said. It's talking about what various Democrats and media talking heads want us to think he said.

Ron said...

> Trump didn't ask the president of Ukraine to fabricate anything.

Of course he did. Here is what Trump said:

"I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine ... there’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it ... It sounds horrible to me."

Not only is Trump asking Zelensky to fabricate a smear campaign, he is telling Zelensky exactly what the smear campaign should consist of.

Oh, and you should read this.

> Ukraine was already investigating the company Biden's son worked for anyway.

So what? That investigation was clearly bogus. But even if it wasn't, there's a *huge* difference between a country investigating wrongdoing within its own borders, and the president of the U.S. pressuring a foreign leader to conduct (or in this case, revive) such an investigation against the president's leading political opponent.

> Virtually all of the media coverage I see about this is not talking about what Trump actually said.

Well, this isn't "all the media", this is Rondam Ramblings, and I've just quoted what Trump actually said. I think you have to be ridiculously naive not to recognize what he said as being exactly how I characterized it. And I'm not the only one. John Bolton thinks so too. (You know it's a cold day in hell when John Bolton and I agree about anything.)

Ron said...

@Publius: in case you're wondering why your comments aren't appearing, it's because they are being blocked by Google's spam filter, and they are so odious that I am not inclined to override it despite my general desire to support free speech. FYI2, I am a descendant of holocaust survivors, to to accuse me of holocaust denial is not going to be well received.

Peter Donis said...

< Here is what Trump said

I know what he said. I said I had read the transcript. He never asked the president of Ukraine to fabricate anything. He asks him to get to the bottom of something that the Ukraine was already investigating anyway.

That investigation was clearly bogus.

I disagree.

I've just quoted what Trump actually said.

You quoted what he actually said in your comment. You didn't quote it in your post. In your post you claimed Trump tried "to shake down the president of Ukraine to fabricate a smear campaign about Joe Biden". That is not what Trump actually said, nor is it a fair description of what he actually said. If you think it is, then I'll just bow out of this discussion since you and I clearly don't speak the same version of the English language.

I think you have to be ridiculously naive not to recognize what he said as being exactly how I characterized it

That's not quoting what he said, or even reporting and paraphrasing what he said, that's putting your own interpretation on what he said. And failing to distinguish those two actions is a big part of the problem I have with all of the media these days. I am disappointed in you for falling prey to it.

I'm not the only one. John Bolton thinks so too.

So does pretty much every Democrat in Congress and every talking head on every major media channel except Fox News. So what? I don't give any credibility to any of them on anything else; why should I on this?

Peter Donis said...

I think you have to be ridiculously naive not to recognize what he said as being exactly how I characterized it

To respond to the substance of this as opposed to the form (which I responded to in my last post just now) will end up being somewhat long, so it might go over the character limit and take more than one post. I offer this simply as my observations for whatever they're worth, not just of the current kerfluffle but of the last few years in something of a historical perspective.

Let's suppose that the Democratic and media characterization of the Trump administration is entirely justified. (I don't think it actually is, but let's assume it is for the sake of argument.) Even given that, the claim that this is somehow the greatest threat to civilization ever and we need to impeach Trump right now, is the sort of hyperbole I expect from Trump, not his critics. Basically, the Democratic and media picture of the Trump administration is of a garden variety late 19th century kleptocracy, not much different from, say, the Hayes or Cleveland or McKinley administrations. Or, for that matter, the Democratic political machines that have been running Chicago for about two centuries now, and New York for longer than that. None of this is new and none of it is a dire emergency that can't wait for the 2020 elections to be fixed.

The promise of the progressive movement in politics, which has been championed mainly by the Democrats for the last century or so (but not always--for example, at the time of the Civil War the Republicans were the progressives and the Democrats were the reactionaries), was to move us beyond that to a less corrupt government that would serve the people better. And the problem the Democrats have right now is that they are failing, as a party, to offer anything to the people along those lines. The progressive wing of the party right now isn't trying to protect civil rights and free speech; they're trying to police thought crime. They aren't protecting the safety of citizens; they're openly refusing to incarcerate violent criminals who happen to be subject to deportation and whom they refuse to turn over to ICE. (I would have no problem if they refused on principle to turn them over and kept them in prison; what I have a problem with is doing neither, and then talking as if they have some sort of moral high ground.) They aren't rooting out corruption; they're just exercising different preferences on who benefits from it. A hundred years ago, or even fifty years ago, the Democrats could get away with saying they were genuinely working for a better society; but now they've been caught out too many times for that message to be received.

(Continued in next post.)

Peter Donis said...

(Continued from previous post.)

What's more, the Democrats are failing to understand that all of the above is the reason Trump won in 2016--not foreign interference or collusion. When the Democratic party machine nominated Hillary Clinton instead of Bernie Sanders, it was clear to anyone who was paying attention that whatever genuine concern for the people existed in the Democratic party was no longer in control of the party, and therefore did not matter. The cynical view of this is simple: if we're going to have a kleptocracy either way, at least let's have one that's honest about it instead of trying to cloak it in a veneer of public service. I don't know how much of a factor that viewpoint actually was in 2016, but I think it's going to be more of a factor in 2020, and that is only going to hurt the Democrats.

And for extra fun, the Democrats seem committed to courses of action that have no realistic chance of success. Even if the House impeaches Trump, the Senate is not going to vote two-thirds for conviction. And I don't think any of the current Democratic Presidential candidates have a chance of beating Trump. I would have given Biden a fair chance a while back, but he seems to be past it. I would have given Sanders something of a chance, but he's farther left than anyone else in the field, which makes it harder for him to capture independents, and now he seems to have health problems. Any of the rest of them, I think Trump will simply eat for breakfast during an actual campaign. None of them have had to deal with anything like what Trump will throw at them, and none of them seem up to it. And I strongly suspect that's because all of them grew up politically in an echo chamber, where no dissenting points of view were ever expressed and no hard questions were ever asked--which makes them less fit for the actual office of President anyway.

None of this makes the Republicans (even apart from Trump) an attractive choice. That's the problem: it's not that we have one halfway decent party and one not so decent party. We have two corrupt and inadequate parties, and no realistic way for a third party of any higher quality to emerge. Trump is a symptom of that, but he's not the root problem.