Open Thread: The Wingnut Wurlitzer Falls Into the Pit It Has Dug

Any time during the last forty years, a New York reporter looking for a few quick column inches could check whatever atrocity property developer and short-fingered vulgarian Donald Trump had most recently become involved with. Any time in the last twenty years, a national entertainment reporter could always examine Trump’s latest “reality show”, studded with wanna-be celebrities and sociopaths, for going-to-hell-in-a-handbasket filler. Mocking rich jerks with ambitions of seriousness has been a trope since long before the classical Greeks codified the “look at this putz, he thinks he can buy respect” playbook.

Then generally inoffensive reporter McKay Coppins wrote up a Buzzfeed interview mocking Trump’s presidential “ambitions”, it took off on The Nets, and the intersection of wounded plutocracy and the well-honed rightwing media machine produced… a monster. Per Mr. Coppins, at the Washington Post:

… Trump’s dominance in this year’s presidential primary race has often been described as a mysterious natural phenomenon: the Donald riding a wild, unpredictable tsunami of conservative populist anger that just now happens to be crashing down on the Republican establishment. But in fact, Trump spent years methodically building and buying support for himself in a vast, right-wing counter-establishment — one that exists entirely outside the old party infrastructure and is quickly becoming just as powerful.

These forces have asserted themselves repeatedly in the fight over the future of the Republican Party. But Trump came to understand their power earlier than most. When no one was watching, he was assuming command of this Fringe Establishment, building an army of activists and avatars that he would eventually deploy in his scorched-earth assault on the GOP’s old guard, on his rivals in the primary field — and, as an early test case in the winter of 2014, on me…

… An entire right-wing media ecosystem has sprung up, where journalist-warriors flood social media with rumors of sharia law coming to suburbia and hype a fast-approaching “race war” in America targeting whites. The Republican establishment — a loose coalition of party committees, moderate donors and business interests — once hoped to harness this tremendous new energy to recapture the White House.

Instead, the Fringe Establishment is the one doing the harnessing…

Trump came to operate the levers of this new right-wing apparatus slowly. He accumulated key allies at niche media outlets and headlined far-flung fundraisers for conservative candidates and county parties. He privately schmoozed anti-establishment icons such as Sarah Palin and publicly went to bat for her in the media…

He spent his birthday in 2013 speaking at a gathering of conservative Christians and has contributed generously to a variety of right-wing outfits — particularly organizations that host political conferences populated by TV cameras…

Trump also worked to win over Breitbart, a crusading right-wing Web site that wields tremendous influence within a certain hyper-aggrieved class of conservative activists. (Its unofficial mission statement: #WAR.) Trump turned the site into a source of loyal coverage by showering it with access and possibly more. Employees there have privately complained to me that management is turning the outlet into a Donald Trump fan site, with some even speculating that the billionaire has an undisclosed financial interest in the company that explains the fawning coverage. Breitbart, which is privately held, doesn’t make the sources of its financial backing public, and the company’s chairman, Steve Bannon, denies that it has any financial relationship with Trump.

In either case, there’s no questioning the authenticity of the hordes of right-wing readers the site has transformed into Trump die-hards. I learned about this first-hand…

Trump was displeased with [Coppins’ Buzzfeed] story, which mused about the “journalistic indignity” suffered by political reporters made to cover him seriously, called his 25-year flirtation with running for office as “a long con” (oops) and quoted him blowing off his wedding anniversary to fly to Florida. (“There are a lot of good-looking women here,” he leaned in and told me during a poolside lunch.)

Trump’s crusade against me started out simply enough, with tweets denouncing me as a “slimebag reporter” and “true garbage with no credibility.” Soon, his followers were also hurling angry, all-caps insults my way. In one admirably economical missive, Carl Paladino, the Republican nominee in New York’s 2010 gubernatorial race, e-mailed me: “Big joke. F— you, a–hole.” Every political reporter has felt the online wrath of a candidate’s angered supporters. But Trump added a nice touch by sending me an addendum to the $850 bill BuzzFeed had already paid for my stay at Mar-a-Lago, claiming that he neglected to tack on the cost of the flight: $10,000.

Then Trump turned to the Fringe Establishment, and I got a glimpse of what would eventually propel his candidacy. First, a Buffalo-based public relations pro with ties to Trump named Michael Caputo began circulating an e-mail to Republican press secretaries, accusing me of being a “partisan flibbertigibbet” and warning that I was not to be trusted. Then Trump went to Breitbart, which began publishing stories about me, including a 2,100-word alternate-reality version of our trip to Mar-a-Lago: “Exclusive — Trump: ‘Scumbag’ BuzzFeed blogger ogled women while he ate bison at my resort.”…

The #WAR soon expanded into real life. Two months later, I was turned away at the door of a conservative conference in New Hampshire I’d come to cover. Trump would be speaking, I was told, and he didn’t want me there. The episode repeated itself nine months later at another confab, in Iowa. When I asked a Republican source to intervene on my behalf, the organizer resisted. “Did you see that stuff on Breitbart about him?” he asked, referring to the site’s less-than-accurate portrait of me as a nefarious left-wing hack. Trump’s fantastical perspective was being accepted as reality in the Fringe Establishment, and the consequences were real…

In other words, Trump discovered he could synergize marketing platforms for his tv shows / books / paid appearances by flying around in his private jet and talking about his magnificent self and his very classy philosophies in front of adoring audiences. Instead of scrawling the face of a dog!!! on a NYTimes op-ed and mailing it to the offending reporter (Gail Collins has used that clipping as a punchline ever since), for the cost of a few dozen paid standees and some interns retweeting his brilliant wit and his new fans’ semi-coherent attaguys, he’s become an Actual Potential President. Now the hated media have to give him free publicity, every day, like it or not. He’s YUUUUGE!

Congratulations, Roger Ailes, David Frum, Ari Fleischer! You carefully nutured an “alternative” media where all the haterz and luzerz could vent their little bigotries and vast paranoia, on the assumption that they’d never get above themselves and go searching for louder, shinier propagandists to hallow.
what i want to know is
how do you like your blue-eyed boy
Mister Death






68 replies
  1. 1
    Punchy says:

    Trump moves too fast from Bullshit Statement #1 to Bullshit Statement #2 to allow the MSM to keep up. Nothing’s ever properly debunked b/c he’s always got a fresh new lie to debunk. He truly is a Master Bullshitter.

  2. 2
    redshirt says:

    I was just listening (randomly) to a Lou Reed song from his incredible album New York. I don’t know the name of the song though. It had a Trump reference.

    And I remember Spy Magazine, with its Trump focus.

    The Donald has been with us for a long time, but always a chortle, or a “hey there look at that rich guy” kinda vibe, nothing too bad but plenty of mockable material.

    And now he’s American Mussolini and it’s starting to edge into “not funny”. Though I am sure Hillary would destroy him in the general, and the Democrats would take the Senate and gain seats in the House. It would be a complete Democratic victory if Trump is the (R).

    But do you have the guts to risk the chance it’s not?

  3. 3
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    This country is headed to civil war.

  4. 4
    redshirt says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: A fascist could avoid the civil war though by taking over the country via elections. And then an emergency temporary suspension of elections….

    I was legit scared it was going to happen in 2008.

  5. 5
    pat says:

    So Trump has been working up to this for years??

    But in fact, Trump spent years methodically building and buying support for himself in a vast, right-wing counter-establishment — one that exists entirely outside the old party infrastructure and is quickly becoming just as powerful.

    Hmm, someone tell me this is not the way Hitler started…. I actually don’t know that, but it will get the conversation going.

  6. 6
    mclaren says:

    We’rel literally living in a cartoon — The Simpsons predicted a Trump candidacy in an episode of their cartoon that aired in the year 2000…and it didn’t end well for America.

  7. 7
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Punchy: We should get the Gish Gallop into the lexicon… unless it’s about to be relabelled the Trump Truthiness Tramp?

  8. 8
    mainmata says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Don’t think we are going to have a civil war redux. I think a greater likelihood is the dystopia envisioned in that great novel “Snow Crash”, in which the US is reduced to a large number of ideologically-organized states and regions and enclave communities with an entire underground economy. Certainly, a large minority of people and virtually all the Conservatives want to see an end to federalism in this country.

  9. 9
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @redshirt:

    A couple of months ago I was in Chicago for a family reunion, and we took the Chicago Architectural Boat Tour. It is fantastic except for the fact that Trump Tower Chicago is so blatant and pervasive (of course with TRUMP all over it!) that it’s hard to unsee, even when the boat has moved north and out of sight of the building.

    It’s a good metaphor for the Donald himself, though.

  10. 10
    mclaren says:

    @pat:

    Hmm, someone tell me this is not the way Hitler started…. I actually don’t know that, but it will get the conversation going.

    Hitler’s alternative establishment, the SA, was violent, armed, and made up largely of ex-military resentful of losing the Great War.

    So, no, this is not the way Hitler did it. At least, not so far.

    [The Sturmabteilung] played a significant role in Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s. Their primary purposes were providing protection for Nazi rallies and assemblies, disrupting the meetings of opposing parties, fighting against the paramilitary units of the opposing parties, especially the Red Front Fighters League of the German Communist Party (KPD), and intimidating Slavic and Romani citizens, unionists, and Jews – for instance, during the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses. (..)

    The precursor to the SA had acted informally and on an ad hoc basis for some time before this. Hitler, with an eye always to helping the party to grow through propaganda, convinced the leadership committee to invest in an advertisement in the Münchener Beobachter (later renamed the Völkischer Beobachter) for a mass meeting in the Hofbräuhaus, to be held on 16 October 1919. Some 70 people attended, and a second such meeting was advertised for 13 November in the Eberlbrau beer hall. Some 130 people attended; there were hecklers, but Hitler’s military friends promptly ejected them by force, and the agitators “flew down the stairs with gashed heads.” The next year, on 24 February, he announced the party’s Twenty-Five Point program at a mass meeting of some 2000 persons at the Hofbräuhaus. Protesters tried to shout Hitler down, but his army friends, armed with rubber truncheons, ejected the dissenters. The basis for the SA had been formed.

    Source: Wikipedia article for Sturmabteilung.

    If Trump supporters start beating up and ejecting people who dissent (Oy! We’ve already got that one!), or if Trump supporters show up at opposing political rallies and break them up by force, or show up at polling places with rifles and intimidate people into not voting, then, yeah, that would be like Germany in the 1930s…

    But not quite yet.

  11. 11
    Mike J says:

    @redshirt:
    They ordained the Trumps and then he got the mumps
    And died being treated at Mt. Sinal
    And my best friend Bill died from a poison pill
    Some wired doctor prescribed for stress

  12. 12
    mainmata says:

    @pat: No Hitler didn’t spend years building a counter-party establishment through infiltration. His rise was rather quick taking advantage of the ruination of Germany from the reparations and the loss of WW I. He actually took advantage of a legitimacy vacuum during the Weimar Republic. Of course, the white resentment part is similar.

  13. 13
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    The Republican establishment — a loose coalition of party committees, moderate donors and business interests — once hoped to harness this tremendous new energy to recapture the White House.

    So they figure hate and paranoia is going to bring the liberal whites on board to Trump can capture some incredible percentage of the white vote over Hilary Clinton, er what?

  14. 14
    Srv says:

    This new generation trivial pursuit thinks New Guinea is 420 square miles.

    @mainmata: My burbclave has dronez

  15. 15
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @pat:

    Hmm, someone tell me this is not the way Hitler started…. I actually don’t know that, but it will get the conversation going.

    Mussolini was the original Fascist and Hitler was such a fan boi he was writing Mussolini for his autograph. The Germans like to pretend Hitler was some monster that no one could see coming, but he was just the guy who ended up leading a social movement that had been going on for a while.

  16. 16

    Tinfoil brigade is out in full force. Trump hasn’t won a single primary yet. No need to start behaving like he has won the damned general election.

  17. 17
    mclaren says:

    @mainmata:

    More likely, America will simply degenerate into worse and worse gridlock, more and more militarization, with all the money getting sucked up by the oligarchs and our dysfunctional military, and more and more of the infrastructure decaying and collapsing as the rich people stash their cash overseas, until the entire nation-state finally just falls apart.

    In other words, America will probably end like the Soviet Union. Not with a bang, but a whimper. We’re already well on the way to duplicating Russia’s post-Soviet-collapse skyrocketing alcoholism and suicide rates.

    Compare the London Times article “Alcohol and suicide to halve crisis-hit Russian population” with the Princeton University report “Quiet ‘epidemic’ of drugs, alcohol and suicide has killed half a million middle-aged white Americans.”

  18. 18
    Baud says:

    @Srv:

    You know what’s a huge country. Kazakhstan. Look at it on a map sometimes. It’s gigantic.

  19. 19
    Anya says:

    You know what, I am so annoyed with the news media and their so called experts for focusing on the “bravery” of law enforcement officers. What about the healthcare providers & other PP staff who do this work knowing the risk involved, specially in the face of terrorists and extremists in places like Colorado Springs. I am so sick of our worshipping of folks on uniform.

  20. 20
    mclaren says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:

    So they figure hate and paranoia is going to bring the liberal whites on board to Trump can capture some incredible percentage of the white vote over Hilary Clinton, er what?

    Why not?

    In 1980, hate and paranoia brought the liberal whites on board to Reagan and captured an incredible percentage of the white vote over Jimmy Carter. And he was an incumbent president running for a second term, with advantages Hillary doesn’t have.

    Just be thankful there’s no Republican with the dark sociopathic genius of Ronald Reagan running for president today — a sinister figure who can make people love him even while he destroys their lives with grotesquely regressive policies.

  21. 21
    p.a. says:

    Congratulations, Roger Ailes, David Frum, Ari Fleischer! You carefully nutured an “alternative” media where all the haterz and luzerz could vent their little bigotries and vast paranoia, on the assumption that they’d never get above themselves and go searching for louder, shinier propagandists to hallow.
    what i want to know is
    how do you like your blue-eyed boy
    Mister Death

    I’m sorry to attack, but we’ve called these people (the enablers not just the rabble) fascists, they are fascists, and you imply you think they’re feeling worry or guilt? Maybe, but only if they think the filth should have stayed underground until after a winning election.

  22. 22
    catclub says:

    management is turning the outlet into a Donald Trump fan site, with some even speculating that the billionaire has an undisclosed financial interest in the company that explains the fawning coverage.

    I find this interesting. I have posted that one huge difference between Trump and Berlusconi is that Berlusconi owns a huge fraction of Italian media, while Trump has to earn free media by continuing to be outrageous. The US media _Could_ turn on trump in ways the media in Italy could not turn on Berlusconi.

    On the other hand, the media is getting fed huge gobs of money by covering everything Trump says, so they have little motivation to actually come down on him just because he lies a lot.

  23. 23
  24. 24
    redshirt says:

    @Anya: Bravo.

    Wearing a uniform makes no one a hero by default.

    Your deeds make you a hero, or not.

  25. 25
    catclub says:

    @mclaren: The economic fundamentals in 1980 were VERY bad – economy down 5%. Carter basically performed as well as anyone could under those circumstances. If the economy is down 5% in 2016 that would be very bad. I do not see it happening.

    Hitler was put in power ( he still had not even won a majority) with unemployment at 47%.
    I do not think we are there.

  26. 26
    mclaren says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    You are correct, sir. Nate Silver has a great piece about this over at Five Thirty Eight called “Dear Media, Stop Freaking Out About Donald Trump’s Polls.”

    Quite often, however, the Trump’s-really-got-a-chance! case is rooted almost entirely in polls. If nothing Trump has said so far has harmed his standing with Republicans, the argument goes, why should we expect him to fade later on?

    One problem with this is that it’s not enough for Trump to merely avoid fading. Right now, he has 25 to 30 percent of the vote in polls among the roughly 25 percent of Americans who identify as Republican. (That’s something like 6 to 8 percent of the electorate overall, or about the same share of people who think the Apollo moon landings were faked.) As the rest of the field consolidates around him, Trump will need to gain additional support to win the nomination. That might not be easy, since some Trump actions that appeal to a faction of the Republican electorate may alienate the rest of it. Trump’s favorability ratings are middling among Republicans (and awful among the broader electorate).

    Trump will also have to get that 25 or 30 percent to go to the polls. (..)

    But there’s another, more fundamental problem. That 25 or 30 percent of the vote isn’t really Donald Trump’s for the keeping. In fact, it doesn’t belong to any candidate. If past nomination races are any guide, the vast majority of eventual Republican voters haven’t made up their minds yet.

    Nate Silver, op. cit., 23 November 2015.

  27. 27
    p.a. says:

    @mainmata: Nazis allied with German conservative parties once their own electoral successes seemed to plateau.

  28. 28
    mclaren says:

    @catclub:

    If the economy is down 5% in 2016 that would be very bad. I do not see it happening.

    Nobody saw the 2009 economic crash until it hit.

    The next crisis is bound to involve the Too Big To Fail Banks that have highly leveraged their hold on 68% of the banking industry’s deposits. As Federal Reserve Board Vice-Chairman Stanley Fischer has put it, “We should never allow ourselves the complacency to believe we have put an end to TBTF.” (..)

    No one understands the derivative risk positions of the Too Big To Fail Banks, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley. There is presently no way to measure the risks involved in the leverage, quantity of collateral, or stability of counter-parties for these major institutions. (..)

    The Dodd-Frank legislation does not reform Wall Street. Rather it preserves the system that existed prior to the 2008 crisis, according to Martin Wolf of the Financial Times of London. According to former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, “The goal of financial reform was to make the system safe for failure. It wasn’t to prevent the failure of individual firms that take on too much risk, but to make the aftershocks of failure less threatening to the system as a whole.” Most importantly, Dodd-Frank amended the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 to prohibit the central bank from bailing out an insolvent financial institution on the verge of bankruptcy. It can only lend or inject capital if the bank is solvent. According to Harvard economist Larry Summers the Fed is simply not capable of understanding even when a member bank becomes insolvent.

    Source: “The Ten Reasons Why There Will Be Another Systemic Financial Crisis,” Forbes, Robert Lenzner, 8 December 2014.

  29. 29
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Baud:

    Look at it on a map sometimes. It’s gigantic YOOOGE.

    Fix’d.

  30. 30
    p.a. says:

    @mclaren:

    But there’s another, more fundamental problem. That 25 or 30 percent of the vote isn’t really Donald Trump’s for the keeping. In fact, it doesn’t belong to any candidate. If past nomination races are any guide, the vast majority of eventual Republican voters haven’t made up their minds yet.

    And it’s not as if Trumps lumps will disappear; they’ll just shuffle over to the next best Führer, giving him/her a leg up.

  31. 31
    Baud says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Hey, that’s just fascist talk.

  32. 32
  33. 33
    Honus says:

    “how do you like your blue-eyed boy
    Mister Death”

    I love that line. Harry Crews had it tattooed on his biceps.

  34. 34
    The Republic of Stupity says:

    @Punchy: Personally, I think he’s simply baiting people…

    And yes, he’s really, really good at it… which i guess makes him a Master Baiter…

  35. 35
    Baud says:

    @efgoldman: I bought Silver’s audiobook. About 15 minutes into it, and I’m not liking it much so far. I wish you had written a book.

  36. 36
    catclub says:

    @efgoldman: So given that he had a fractured party behind him, and a terrible economy, I guess the advantage Mclaren is referring to is that he had a year long overseas hostage situation..

  37. 37
    Baud says:

    @catclub: And high gas prices!

  38. 38
    p.a. says:

    @efgoldman: Is this a bleg? I think you need your own page for that.

  39. 39
    mdblanche says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: The Republican establishment’s first mistake was to bring over a Mr. S. Baldrick from England to take charge of their cunning plans.

    @p.a.: Don’t expect them to feel guilt but they should feel worry. Their creation no longer has any need for them. Why then should it share power with them, or even keep them around at all?

  40. 40
    Honus says:

    @Baud: and the mortgage interest rate was something like 21%. Gasoline was close to two dollars a gallon, and I made $7/hr as a lead carpenter, which was the going rate in the DC area in those days.

  41. 41
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Anya: Worshiping folks in uniform has a long tradition in Germany, which Hitler fully exploited.

  42. 42
    p.a. says:

    @efgoldman: If you included flipping real estate you would have had me. Or inside info on Hapsburg gold sales.

  43. 43
  44. 44
    David Koch says:

    This is pretty funny

    Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) said Wednesday in a radio interview that he would file a lawsuit challenging Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) presidential candidacy if he won the Republican nomination because Cruz was born in Canada.

    Grayson made the comment while discussing Cruz’s rise in recent polls during an interview with Fox News’ Alan Colmes. Grayson said Cruz was “technically not an American,” according to a transcript, to which Colmes noted that “like Obama” Cruz’s mother was born in the United States.

    ***

    “I don’t know, the Constitution says natural born Americans, so now we’re counting Canadians as natural born Americans? How does that work?” Grayson responded. “I’m waiting for the moment that he gets the nomination and then I will file that beautiful lawsuit saying that he’s unqualified for the job because he’s in eligible [sic].”

  45. 45
    redshirt says:

    I won’t name an informant if you won’t.

    #2016Valentines

  46. 46
    mclaren says:

    @efgoldman:

    Wrong audience. The Republican voters are the ones who fall for those swindles.

    Read Rick Perlstein’s “The Long Con” in The Baffler.

  47. 47
    redshirt says:

    @efgoldman: Make it 220 pages interspersed with some photos and I bet you could sell 1K within a week.

  48. 48
    hugely says:

    @redshirt: Lt Calley wore a uniform IIRC

  49. 49
    redshirt says:

    @David Koch: I like that he’s bringing it up. Just talking, right? Want to be thorough.

  50. 50
    mclaren says:

    @The Republic of Stupity:

    How dare you say that!

    Trump is just polishing his…er, image.

  51. 51
    mclaren says:

    @catclub:

    So given that he had a fractured party behind him, and a terrible economy, I guess the advantage Mclaren is referring to is that he had a year long overseas hostage situation.

    Take a look at how many incumbent president lost when running for re-election and get back to me.

    Take all the time you need. You’ll figure it out.

  52. 52
    mclaren says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    YOOGE and classy!

  53. 53
    redshirt says:

    The host has turned our posts to mud. 59

  54. 54
    cmorenc says:

    @redshirt:

    Though I am sure Hillary would destroy him in the general, and the Democrats would take the Senate and gain seats in the House. It would be a complete Democratic victory if Trump is the (R).

    But do you have the guts to risk the chance it’s not?

    Well, if your presumption that this country’s electorate will take Hillary over Trump by a clear margin does turn out to be wrong, this country’s already on the quick path to unavoidable dystopian disaster.

  55. 55
    mclaren says:

    @cmorenc:

    As opposed to the unavoidable utopian disaster. I much prefer utopian disasters. Everyone lolling around, perishing from too much happiness.

  56. 56
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @mclaren: In the last 50 years…Let’s see, Johnson, Ford, Carter, and Bush. That’s 4 out of 9 Presidents.

  57. 57
    Eolirin says:

    @mclaren: Almost all of the incumbents who have had the misfortune to run when the economy is trending downward in the year before the election have lost; I believe Truman is the only exception, or at least the only one in the last 100 years, and that was a real upset victory.

    Granted, very small sample, but it’s been a much better predictor than incumbency.

  58. 58
    David Koch says:

    @redshirt: I’m not questioning the patriotism of my foreign born Canadian colleague, that would be wrong, but people are wondering who would he side with in a conflict with between America and his native born country Canada.

  59. 59
    Stella B says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA: Also Grover Cleveland, Chester Arthur, Benjamin Harrison (who didn’t campaign as his wife was dying), John Adams, John Quincy Adams. I don’t believe that James Polk wanted to run for a second so he doesn’t count. Millard Fillmore and James Buchanan also were one term presidents (no wonder), but I’m too lazy to look up whether they ran for the second term.

  60. 60
    mdblanche says:

    @mclaren: “Happiness is a hard master—particularly other people’s happiness.”

  61. 61
    Althea says:

    @efgoldman: ‘Scuse me, but that would be “Uzbekibekibekistan.” You left out a beki.

  62. 62
    Barry says:

    @efgoldman: “ETA: Carter was one of the most decent people ever to be president, but he was. frankly, in over his head as a politician – way over his head.”

    What could anybody else have done? BTW, another fact is that Volcker deliberately crushed the economy to crush inflation.

  63. 63
    shell says:

    Why do I think that that top photo will be one of t he most shared today?

  64. 64
    Chris says:

    The Republican establishment — a loose coalition of party committees, moderate donors and business interests — once hoped to harness this tremendous new energy to recapture the White House.

    Eh?

  65. 65
    Chris says:

    @mclaren:
    In other words, America will probably end like the Soviet Union. Not with a bang, but a whimper. We’re already well on the way to duplicating Russia’s post-Soviet-collapse skyrocketing alcoholism and suicide rates.

    Actually, I can totally see that.

    Say, ever read this one?

    “… many of the problems that sunk the Soviet Union are now endangering the United States as well. Such as a huge, well-equipped, very expensive military, with no clear mission, bogged down in fighting Muslim insurgents. Such as energy shortfalls linked to peaking oil production. Such as a persistently unfavorable trade balance, resulting in runaway foreign debt. Add to that a delusional self-image, an inflexible ideology, and an unresponsive political system.”

  66. 66
    Chris says:

    @Anya:
    I am so sick of our worshipping of folks on uniform.

    Yes. Most definitely this.

  67. 67
    sigaba says:

    @Chris: By “moderate Republican donor” they usually mean rich white-shoe finance/lawyer guys, guys in the Midwest that own a chain of auto dealerships, prosperous merchant-class types. These people were always supposed to be the people who kept the Republican Party “sane” by always bringing the focus back to lowering taxes, eliminating regulation, and making sure the nominee could actually win.

    The billionaire-types like Foster Freiss and Paul Singer used to be the people who would fill this niche in the reporting, back when we didn’t really know who these people were, and before people customarily poured a billion dollars into campaigns. But all these supposed party Wise Men have all revealed themselves to be Breitbart-reading crackpots, so the reporters have moved on to the “Silent Majority” concept, whereby there’s all these anonymous millionaires who are rational and sane and will, any day now, make the Republican primary race into something decent.

  68. 68
    Space Oddity says:

    Also Grover Cleveland, Chester Arthur, Benjamin Harrison (who didn’t campaign as his wife was dying), John Adams, John Quincy Adams. I don’t believe that James Polk wanted to run for a second so he doesn’t count. Millard Fillmore and James Buchanan also were one term presidents (no wonder), but I’m too lazy to look up whether they ran for the second term.

    Does no one remember Franklin Pierce, Buchanan’s predecessor who is the ONLY standing president to lose his party’s nomination AND see that party go on to win the election anyways? (The only person to come close to equaling the feat is fellow one-and-doner Rutherford B. Hayes, who’d promised not to run for a second term in the first place, and was of course followed by fellow Republican James Garfield.)

    And to answer–Millard Filmore and James Buchanan both failed to gain nominations by their own party, though not, in Filmore’s case from a lack of ambition. Filmore later ran with the Know-Nothings.

    So, yes, he was teh suck.

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