In a recent thread, Anne Laurie expressed a wish that I share: that engaging in blatant hypocrisy was physically painful. In that ideal world, posting these tweets yesterday evening would have caused Mango Mussolini to writhe in agony and bellow like a ruptured wildebeest:
Politico managed to cover that pair of tweets without mentioning that racism is as central to Trump’s brand as the “golden arches” are to McDonald’s. It also neglected to mention that Trump called for the execution of the Central Park 5 and continued to advocate for their lynching even after the men were exonerated in a court of law.
It’s weird how impervious Beltway hacks are to the siren call of “both sides” when there’s a “Dems in Disarray” angle to exploit. The Politico piece notes that some Democrats have problems with Biden’s work on the crime bill, specifically 2020 rivals Harris and de Blasio, who called it “a huge mistake.”
As we now know, Russian trolls operating fake accounts pushed the “super predator” line relentlessly against Hillary Clinton in 2016 and blamed her for the crime bill, even though she wasn’t a senator back then and was thus not eligible to vote on it. Was that line of attack effective? I don’t know.
I’m not making excuses for Biden, but it’s a lot easier to criticize that bill in hindsight, and if Twitter had been a thing in 1994, Trump would have been one of the biggest loudmouths on the platform, blasting the crime bill as weak sauce. That said, Biden will have to account for his advocacy and vote to an electorate that includes many voters who either weren’t alive in 1994 or were too young to remember the prevailing sense at the time that crime was spiraling out of control. Will that matter? I don’t know.
Trump’s astoundingly cynical and hypocritical tweets signal his 2020 “strategy,” which is the same strategy he’s employed every minute of his worthless public life: divide and conquer through a boundless capacity for projection and shamelessness and a willingness to accept help from malignant actors (including foreign autocrats) who want to weaken and destroy the country.
And Politico’s hackery in this instance is yet another signal that the Beltway media will be as worthless and destructive in 2020 as it was four years back. So, we’re on our own, with the stakes even higher.
I’m not sure how we (as a party) address it. At the risk of igniting a salvo of anti-Buttigieg trollery, here’s a clip of a recent interview in which Buttigieg addresses Trump’s “strategy” vis-à-vis opponents and how to push back on it, which he called a “crazy uncle management” approach:
TL;DR summary: call out Trump’s lies and point out when he’s wrong, but don’t let him make everything about himself because attention of any kind feeds Trump’s gigantic ego and media dominance. Maybe that’s the answer, but I’m not so sure. Whether the person Trump is lying about in any given comment punches back or not, the media hacks will broadcast the lies.
Toward the end of the clip, Costa (WaPo interviewer and former NR wingnut) asks Buttigieg if Cadet Bonespurs should have gone to Vietnam, and Buttigieg gives a pretty good answer:
“If he were a conscientious objector? I’d admire that. But this is someone who — I think it’s fairly obvious to most of us — took advantage of the fact that he was the child of a multimillionaire in order to pretend to be disabled so that somebody could go to war in his place. And I know that that dredges up old wounds from a complicated time during a complicated war, but I’m also old enough to remember when conservatives talked about character as something that mattered in the presidency.”
That’s a response with a point that is larger than Trump. Maybe that’s an effective approach. I honestly don’t know. It seems like a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation, as Hillary Clinton found out the hard way. She focused on policy and took on Trump, but people (including Buttigieg!) interpret her loss as a failure to follow their own as-yet untested prescription for defeating the Tang Tyrant.
My guess is there’s no magic formula, and whoever wins the Democratic Party’s nomination will win the general election and be hailed in the media as a genius for their approach to dealing with Trump. But the truth will be that all but the hardcore cultists are just sick and tired of the Ochre Ogre and are ready to change the fucking channel already.