Late Night Open Thread: It Would Be Funnier If the Punchline Didn’t Involve Nuclear Weapons

A fine pigbladdering of a most deserving pig, by David Roth, for Deadspin“This Is All Donald Trump Has Left”:

This is more or less what Trump has always thought the news should be like: people with microphones clamoring for his opinion and asking him about himself. For decades the man has dreamed of reporters calling out “please, sir, what’s the latest on your personal feuds” or “sir, how did you achieve this amazing success?” while he delivers flirty winking answers. That this is not the way it goes now that he’s president clearly causes him great frustration. Watch these pissy helicopter-adjacent scrums and you may see a lumpy pink dope bellowing “we’re looking into that very strongly” in response to questions he transparently can’t answer and dispensing whatever thudding speculative idiocy he thinks will get him to the next question. Other people will see what Trump sees. The important thing for him is that the microphones are still pointed in the right direction.

The culture has been inching further and further into Trump’s gilded funhouse for years now, and you surely do not need me to tell you that it fucking sucks in there. But we are, by now, all the way in. Trump is nearly as ubiquitous in the culture as he has always believed he should be; the one deeply held belief that has been evident throughout his whole faithless disgrace of a life is people should be talking about Donald Trump more, on television, and he has just about seen that part through. All Trump wants, all he has ever wanted, is to be able to keep doing and taking and saying whatever he wants whenever he wants. He ran for president for this reason and this reason only.

His politics, to the extent that they’ve ever been legible, have always been off-the-rack big city tabloid bullshit—crudely racist exterminate the brutes/back the blue authoritarianism in the background and ruthless petty rich person squabbling in the front. His actions since becoming president have been those of a dim, cruel child playacting at being powerful—giving orders without quite knowing what they mean or how they might be carried out, taunting enemies, beating up the people he can afford to beat up without having to be called to account for it, lying as needed or just for yuks. He hasn’t changed a thing since graduating from punchline to president. It’s been clear for decades that Trump was both an asshole and a dummy; this is now a problem not just for the odd unlucky cocktail waitress and his staff of cheesy apparatchiks but literally every person on earth…

Trump won’t stop. He won’t stop because he’s never told the truth in his life and because this is all he has and all he has ever had. He wakes up every day to the mess he’s made and says and does whatever he must, at whatever cost, to get through the day. Like many in his generation, Trump has mistaken the end of his life for the end of the world. He can’t imagine, let alone care about, what will be left after he is gone, if only because no one who matters to him will be around for it. His politics, such as they exist, boil down to this: he is trying to hold on, and will spend the rest of his life trying not to be found out. Every day is like this now. He could do this forever—he talks often about serving for longer than one more term—but that’s mostly because he has so much invested in never stopping. He is over-leveraged as always; he can only ever do more…

63 replies
  1. 1
    MobiusKlein says:

    Ripcord number is 27.

  2. 2
  3. 3
    scav says:

    Does his number really matter if he’s confused English with metric on the descent?

  4. 4
    sukabi says:

    Don’t care what the ripcord number is, just hope it wraps itself around McConnell’s neck when it’s pulled.

  5. 5
    Raoul says:

    McConnell’s ripcord number is keyed in tightly with the Koch Bros and other top donors, not Trump.

  6. 6
    L85NJGT says:

    49 – then it’s off to where ever Bob Dole has been for the last 20 years.

  7. 7
    Ruckus says:

    @MobiusKlein:
    Good guess but I’d bet that he has no idea that exists as a measure of anything. Other than a big mac is cheaper.
    His number is whatever is in front of him when it finally dawns on him that he’s losing and there is absolutely no way out. It could be 74 it might be -12, it might be 0 Kelvin for all any of us know.
    I asked in the last post if anyone had ideas when this ends and and republican sanity is returned and got the honest and predictable answers of probably never. Nixon was a shit show and it really didn’t hurt them for long and it’s been downhill ever since. I’m thinking the entire party has to crash and burn. drumpf is doing his best to make that happen though. Will it be enough?

  8. 8
    Ruckus says:

    @scav:
    You think he knows what a metric is?

  9. 9
    scav says:

    @Ruckus: I”m rather hoping not.

  10. 10
    MobiusKlein says:

    @Ruckus: Ok. My new ripcord number for McConnell is 1.

    One more SCOTUS pick, and that’s all that is needed from Trump.

    Eta: McConnell is no dummy. He knows presidents come and go, after all.

  11. 11
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    I’m thinking he’s unconstrained because he’s decided not to run in 2020.

  12. 12
    Ruckus says:

    The end of that Deadspin story is maybe the best (and the worst) part.

    In the most basic sense, just in terms of getting off his ass to do the basic boring things presidents do, Trump can’t do the job. He can’t care and he won’t work and he never tells the truth both because he doesn’t know it and is afraid to know it. There is no reason to ask him or anyone who works for him questions—a half-truth isn’t true enough and even a half-lie is still a lie, and they will never do better than either. The work that needs doing, which Trump and his people cannot do or even see, is plain and urgent. It’s all much bigger than him.

    It’s all much bigger than him.
    This is what to remember. It’s bigger than him, it’s bigger than all of the people who are supposed to be helping him actually get anything, even anything wrong done. Put together.
    It really is a disaster, going on in front of us. Many of us will suffer greatly for and from this unnatural disaster.
    One of the big takeaways from this is that no one does it all. Every president has to trust his staff, all of the staff have to trust their staff and all of them have to make at least a half hearted attempt at doing it right. Nixon thought he was above the law. He wasn’t. drumpf thinks that he is the law. He isn’t.

  13. 13
    m0nty says:

    Where are all those takes about how the Republicans had no use for him and would dump him as soon as they realised that? Hurry up.

  14. 14
    West of the Rockies says:

    @sukabi:

    Oddly turtle-like neck…

  15. 15
    Ruckus says:

    @David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch:
    I don’t believe he’ll be alive by 2020. This level of stress is something he’s totally unprepared for. Sure he’s introduced stress into most situations he’s ever been in, but he always was able to walk away relatively unscathed. Every day he gets more and more scathed. Every day he fails worse than the day before. At some point even a massive narcissist can’t convince himself that everything is going his way. At some point all the failure is going to fall down upon him, poetically speaking. What he does at that point is anyone’s guess, but mine is that a HA/stroke is quite possible given his low, low BMI, his great eating habits, his delight at all the worthless people he’s surrounded himself with. He’s getting to the point of no return. Now when that will be is always a guess, but mine is in the next 2 years. I wonder if the faithful will try to hide the event? To carry on in crime.

  16. 16
    Aleta says:

    I wish I had a ripcord. I could stop hurtling through space. Is the point of no return psychological? chronological? I guess we always passing it anyway, every day. Why do sinus infections affect mood?

  17. 17
    Brachiator says:

    @Ruckus: The Deadspin piece is ultimately a tiresome return to pointless Trump bashing. Trump is petty, cruel and lies all the time. We know that. But he is still president of the United States, and revels in the power of the office.

    And while there are still federal employees who try to do their best, Trump surrounds himself with people who don’t care about getting it right. They just care about pleasing their boss.

    And Trump might just be above they law, as long as the GOP leadership has his back, and if a judicial system filled with right wing hacks always rule in Trump’s favor.

    One wild card. The GOP believe that Trump will always let them do as they please. But Trump’s dreams may not always coincide with Republican wet dreams. Trump is as much a racist as Sessions was, but Trump had no problem dumping his AG. Trump rates personal loyalty higher than allegiance to any policy or agenda.

    Unfortunately, we don’t know what Trump will do next. We just know that it will be cruel and petty, paved with lies, and self-serving, and self-aggrandizing.

  18. 18
    Aleta says:

    The first legal action (related to Whitaker) is being filed Tuesday, by the state of Maryland, challenging Whitaker’s status. It does not involve limits to asylum claims that Whitaker has already put into effect, nor any challenge involving the Mueller investigation of the president, which Whitaker has frequently criticized.
    No, the first blow involves the Affordable Care Act, and whether its provisions guaranteeing that people with previous medical conditions are entitled to health insurance rates similar to others in their state or community.
    Under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Trump administration had stopped defending key parts of the Affordable Care Act in court on the grounds that the law became unconstitutional when Congress repealed the tax penalty for individuals’ failure to buy health insurance.
    Maryland filed suit against Sessions challenging that position.
    But now that Sessions is no longer attorney general, Maryland is buttressing its argument. The state contends that Whitaker was unlawfully named acting attorney general, and so he has no authority to respond to their lawsuit.

    The state seeks a preliminary injunction that prevents the federal government from responding to the suit while Whitaker appears as acting attorney general. Instead, Maryland requests a declaration that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is the acting attorney general.
    The state contends that under the Attorney General Succession Act, the Deputy Attorney General, or other confirmed Justice Department officers in a designated order of succession, must serve as acting attorney general until a new person is confirmed for that position by the U.S. Senate.
    Maryland also argues that Whitaker’s appointment violates the Constitution, which requires that principal officers of the United States be appointed “with the Advice and Consent of the Senate.” Whitaker was not serving in a Senate-confirmed position when he was appointed.
    https://www.npr.org/2018/11/12/667180873/maryland-says-matthew-whitaker-appointment-as-acting-attorney-general-is-unlawfu?utm_campaign=storyshare&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social

  19. 19
    prostratedragon says:

    @Ruckus: Looked up Kagemusha and found an interesting article on political decoys.

  20. 20
    lgerard says:

    triumphal huffiness is a pretty apt phrase

    Here’s to more trump bashing

  21. 21
    The Dangerman says:

    What’s McConnell’s ripcord number I wonder?

    Not a poll number; it’s how deep Pence is in this mess. I think Trump is fucked, one way or another; it may be shorter term or longer term, but he’s fucked. This appointment of Whitaker was pure panic, it appears.

    If Pence is pure as the driven snow, McConnell can let this play out for a long, long time. If Pence is dirty. McConnell has to prevent President Pelosi.

  22. 22
    Ruckus says:

    @Brachiator:

    We know that.

    Here on this blog. But not in the real world. Granted a lot of his most rabid fans don’t care, as long as he spouts his crap. And most dems I’d bet are pretty sure they know him. That leaves a lot of delusional people that don’t know or don’t care. The more it’s out there, the stronger the story. Any large group of humans needs it spelled out. This is one more place and it pulls no punches.
    Sure we’ve all, including me, stated the obvious often enough. But it needs more public exposure, till it reaches the tipping point.

  23. 23

    @The Dangerman: If Trump goes and Pence is about to be forced out, Pence will appoint a new VP (with Congressional approval). That person in turn will appoint a VP.

  24. 24
    Mandalay says:

    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch:

    he’s decided not to run in 2020

    @Ruckus:

    I don’t believe he’ll be alive by 2020.

    @The Dangerman:

    President Pelosi

    This is the most optimistic thread I’ve seen in a long time. I’ll happily take any or all of the above.

  25. 25

    @Joseph A. Miller:

    Pence will appoint a new VP (with Congressional approval)

    Are you sure the House would go along with that? I’m not.

  26. 26
    The Dangerman says:

    @Joseph A. Miller:

    If Trump goes and Pence is about to be forced out…

    Well, in my nightmare for Republicans scenario, Pence goes first and Trump’s VP slot is vacated. I’m assuming all the stuff about how you can’t indict a President doesn’t apply to Pence. I have no idea if that’s true; we are so far beyond the looking glass it’s not even funny. I mean, I know we’ve said this before, many times, but can you imagine if Obama had dissed the war dead on the 100th Anniversary? Or blown off Arlington on Veteran’s Day?

    So, Pence goes down somehow and then you gotta get approval of both Houses of Congress for a replacement. Yeah, in this environment, good fucking luck pulling that off. I can’t think of a soul that would get placed in that scenario.

    ETA: Unless he’s dead or impeached, no way Trump doesn’t run in 2020.

  27. 27
    R-Jud says:

    Fintan O’Toole, like a lot of other Irish commentators, is excellent on the Morons of Brexit:

    And then there’s pig ignorance – the genuine hallmarked, unadulterated, slack-jawed, open-mouthed, village idiot variety in which the people who are in charge of the British state don’t know stuff that anyone off Gogglebox could tell them. The Brexiteer MP Nadine Dorries admitted in effect that she didn’t know what a customs union is. Her comrade Andrew Bridgen said last month: “As an English person, I do have the right to go over to Ireland and I believe that I can ask for a passport. Can’t I?”

    Just in case you thought gravity-warping levels of stupidity were exclusive to Republicans.

  28. 28
    opiejeanne says:

    @R-Jud: I don’t understand the stuff that Bridgen said. Please explain it to me. He’s talking about Northern Ireland, right? He wouldn’t need a passport to go there, would he? I am confused by his comments.

  29. 29
    R-Jud says:

    @opiejeanne: He was given the same benefit of the doubt you’re giving him, but alas, no: there are British people in government (as well as in the general population; I met one yesterday in the gym), who think the UK still has some kind of sovereignty over the Republic of Ireland.

  30. 30
    Brachiator says:

    @Ruckus:

    We know that.

    This blog is great, but not exceptional. Trump’s erratic behavior and thought processes are well known. And with the aid of the GOP leadership, he keeps getting what he wants.

    His base fully endorse his worst faults. We shall see if the new Congress makes a difference.

  31. 31
    tokyokie says:

    @opiejeanne: Citizens of EU states can move between countries within the EU without a passport. But once the U.K.’s exit from the EU is finalized, presumably, British citizens would need a passport to travel to Ireland.

  32. 32
    Platonailedit says:

    @Brachiator:

    The Deadspin piece is ultimately a tiresome return to pointless Trump bashing.

    Yeah, pointing out the thug’s actions is tiresome and pointless, unlike the thug’s actions themselves. Yeah, that’s the ticket to check the thug.

  33. 33
    Martin says:

    CA-45 down to a 1000 vote margin. Still 75,000 ballots to count. Porter will win this by 2%-3%.

  34. 34
    Amir Khalid says:

    @R-Jud:
    That must mean they don’t know there is a difference between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

  35. 35
    opiejeanne says:

    @R-Jud: You’re kidding.

    You’re not kidding.

    There are people here who don’t know that New Mexico is part of the US, and ask if they need a passport among other idiotic questions but they usually aren’t in government.

    ETA: After the Tea Party elected a bunch of dummies to congress maybe there are a lot of questions like that from people in power or near the levers of power.

  36. 36
    opiejeanne says:

    @Amir Khalid: Some people in the US who don’t know which one you mean unless you say Northern Ireland, and even then they’re a little unsure about there being two countries.

  37. 37
    R-Jud says:

    @opiejeanne: Yep, and people who think Alaska shares a land border with Russia. This, from O’Toole’s column, is also gobsmacking:

    Karen Bradley, the actual secretary of state for Northern Ireland, said:“I freely admit that when I started this job, I didn’t understand some of the deep-seated and deep-rooted issues that there are in Northern Ireland. I didn’t understand things like when elections are fought, for example, in Northern Ireland – people who are nationalists don’t vote for unionist parties and vice versa.”

  38. 38
    Sloane Ranger says:

    @opiejeanne: There has been a common travel area between the UK and the Irish Free State, the precursor of the Republic of Ireland, since it gained it’s independence in the 1920’s. This means British citizens don’t need a passport to travel to the Irish Republic and vice versa.

    If I’ve understood correctly, always a problem when dealing with such levels of willing ignorance, he seems to think that because of this any Brit can get an Irish passport.

    He may also be confused because the Good Friday agreement does allow anyone on the island of Ireland to get an Irish passport. This was so Republicans living in Northern Ireland could also be Irish citizens. I know for a fact that some Unionist politicians have been advising their constituents to get one, despite their own parties support for Brexit. Hypocrisy much?

  39. 39
    Sloane Ranger says:

    @tokyokie: Free movement between EU countries is a result of the Schenglen (sp?) Agreement, which the UK opted out of, so we still needed a passport to travel to another EU country and they needed one to come here. The exception is for citizens of the Irish Republic, see my comment at #38 as to why.

  40. 40
    Cleardale says:

    @The Dangerman: Pence is dirty, he was picked by Manafort. Remember the whole “plane needs repairs thing”?

  41. 41
    patrick II says:

    @m0nty:

    They want to dump him, but they want it to be at the hands of the democrats so they won’t have to betray Trump’s base (also the republican base ). I don’t think that is going to happen before 2020.

  42. 42
    satby says:

    I’m always surprised no one speculates on Drumpf quitting, but he’s quit everything else he’s ever done in his life. He’s not enjoying being president*, he knows on some level that it’s failing and people mock him, and he keeps getting thwarted when he tries to be dictatorial. If he thought he had a way to walk away without increasing his legal exposure, I think he’d already have quit.

  43. 43
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @satby:

    If he thought he had a way to walk away without increasing his legal exposure, I think he’d already have quit.

    I suspect that in his mind, he doesn’t have any legal exposure that he can’t buy/bully his way out of. He never has before and now he’s president too.

  44. 44
    Platonailedit says:

    via bbc, what an amazing journey

    Who is Kyrsten Sinema?
    42 years old, born in Tucson, Arizona
    Faced homelessness and poverty as a child
    Former social worker who became a lawyer
    Entered politics as a Green Party candidate
    Elected to House of Representatives as a Democrat in 2012
    Openly bisexual, she has campaigned for same-sex marriage

  45. 45
    JGabriel says:

    @MobiusKlein:

    27

    Of course. Isn’t it obvious?

    I would make a small technical correction though: below 27%.

    Mitch would probably hang in at 27%, because that’s roughly the GOP base. But at anything less than that, Trump’s unpopularity starts cutting into bone.

  46. 46
    satby says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: maybe. But the testy, pissy behavior that he used to be able to submerge under jocular bonhomie, at least occasionally, is now his full-time attitude. He’s frustrated and unhappy about everything. He was a big grifter on a smallish stage in NYC, now he’s getting scrutinized like never before and I think he senses the danger. Even if he refuses to admit it to himself.

  47. 47
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Clad in oversized coats, the two children twirl, giggle and whoop with joy as they experience a life milestone: their first snowfall. The brother and sister, who recently arrived in Toronto as refugees, had never before experienced an event most Canadians accept as an everyday part of life. A video capturing their delighted reaction was tweeted on Sunday by a Toronto resident Rebecca Davies, who is hosting the two Eritrean children and their family until they find permanent housing.
    ………………………..
    Prime minister Justin Trudeau has publicly welcomed families fleeing conflict – even helping to hand out winter jackets at the airport – in stark contrast to Donald Trump’s hostile attitude to refugees. On Monday, Trudeau retweeted Davies’ footage, with the comment: “Amazing – now convince them that shoveling is fun and you’re all set. Thank you for everything you do, Rebecca. #WelcomeToCanada”
    ………………………
    One Twitter user commented: “I hate snow. This makes me want to rethink my stance.”

    Davies replied: “I’m hoping it also makes others ‘rethink their stance’ on the topic of newcomers and immigration.”

    the video is worth the trip

  48. 48
    satby says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I saw that last night. It’s adorable how joyous they are. Those of us living where snow is a burden may acknowledge that it’s beautiful, but we forget what a wonder it is. I’ve been able to see that “first snow ever” reaction many times from exchange students from equatorial countries. In 2015, the teenaged girls were squealing almost as much as those two little ones in the video.

  49. 49
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @satby:

    I think he senses the danger. Even if he refuses to admit it to himself.

    Yes, and it is in the collapse of that falsity, when the lies no longer give him cover, that we find out just how fucked we truly are.

  50. 50
    raven says:

    @satby: Keep it.

  51. 51
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @satby: It put a smile on my face.

  52. 52
  53. 53
    satby says:

    @raven: much easier to deal with when you’re (semi) retired and don’t have to drive in it 😉

  54. 54
    JPL says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: We’re fucked. Trump encouraged the divisions that we have in the nation now, and I fear you can’t put the alt right back in the closet.

  55. 55
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JPL: I am hopeful. Not that things won’t be difficult, but I am hopeful that in the end my children and grandchildren will inherit a better country. I have to be hopeful.

  56. 56
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @raven: I’d take snow in a minute over summer in the South.

  57. 57
    zhena gogolia says:

    Stopped reading when I got to this:

    By the end, [Obama’s] presidency had the feeling of a prestige television show in its fifth season—handsomely produced and reliably well-performed but ultimately not really as sure what it was about as it first appeared to be.

  58. 58
    Another Scott says:

    @Ruckus: +1

    Well said.

    ‘morning everyone.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  59. 59
    BretH says:

    Better get your “Trumpy Bear” now:

    https://t.co/gGInt8BKhp

    And no, it doesn’t look like it’s satire…

  60. 60
    Platonailedit says:

    @zhena gogolia: Yeah, there was no daily drama and we fucking hated it because we were bored. Assholes.

  61. 61
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    What’s McConnell’s ripcord number I wonder?

    That’s still only 28% of the Republicans dislike Trump, the the 27% crazyification factor inverted; there is a hard 27% core of conservatives who won’t accept stupid.

  62. 62
    SFAW says:

    @opiejeanne:

    After the Tea Party elected a bunch of dummies to congress

    Picking nits: It was actually the Tea Baggers convincing one set of dummies to elect another set of dummies to Congress. The Tea Baggers themselves were not a large enough group to do it on their own.

  63. 63
    opiejeanne says:

    @tokyokie: I know about the free movement between EU states, and we thought it was great when we were traveling a few years ago. I assumed he meant Northern Ireland, for which he will not need a passport after Brexit is finalized.

    See the answer to me, just above yours.

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