Cold Grey Pre-Dawn Open Thread: Trump and His ‘Base’ Rally Each Other

Dave Roth, at Deadspin:

Donald Trump believes that everything he says is made true by virtue of him having said it, and once he begins believing something he is incapable of not believing it. This is why he says things more than once. The challenge is figuring out how he says things for the first time.

So: Trump got it into his head that he had received a Michigan Man Of The Year Award, and despite some complicating factors—he didn’t, for one, and also such an award does not appear to exist—he has continued to bring it up whenever the mood strikes him. There’s a whole story around it, and as is his custom he tends to retell it with more additions of the words “very” and “sir” as the years go by. “I’ve been fighting for the car industry for years,” Trump said the first time he told the story, in Michigan and two days before the 2016 Presidential election. “I was honored five years ago. Man of the Year in Michigan. That was a great honor for me.” As Trump told and has since re-told the story, he was criticized for giving a speech in which he talked about “what Mexico and these other countries are doing to us. And especially what they’re doing to Michigan.” …

What is useful about this, and what would be beautiful about it if everything around it was not so luridly toxic, is how plain it all is. Trump is a being of pure reaction and grievance and avarice, and as such is never really very difficult to parse. When he lies about money it’s because he wants people to think he has more of it than he does; when he lies about golf it’s because he wants people to think he’s a better golfer than he is. Those lies tell you something about how Trump wants to be seen, but they’re incidental to the bigger questions of who and what he is. Stranger lies like the Michigan Man one reveal more about how he sees the world and understands his relationship to the other people in it, which is fundamentally as someone cleaning up at an endless televised awards show.

Most of the idiocies at the core of Trump’s being were created in the same way that pearls are—an irritant lodges itself in the spongy matter of his mind years ago, actively or passively, and then is worried into something bright and very hard. In this case, though, we can watch this accretive work happening in real time—some dumb speech, long forgotten, grows into a great honor bestowed by strangers who admired him, and then into a controversial stand for which he was criticized but for which he boldly refused to apologize. And now it is something he can bring up, whenever he is feeling under-appreciated or anxious or when nothing else will come. He stalls and sputters and his pale eyelids flutter and suddenly then there it is, glistening on the dais in front of him—that time that Charles Woodson called to concede victory in the Michigan Man Of The Year Award, a few years ago or whenever it was. “Sir,” the Heisman Trophy winner said through his tears to Donald Trump, “you deserve this more than anyone.” What a beautiful memory.






51 replies
  1. 1
    HalfAssedHomesteader says:

    Soon the rallies will just be him reading from the Mueller report a al Lenny Bruce.

  2. 2
    NotMax says:

    so luridly toxic

    The ideal epitaph for his stone.

  3. 3
    HeleninEire says:

    From the comments at the Deadspin article.

    “And then one time he says “If you rake forests, forest fires are finished.” then the next time it’s “Raking forests is why the Finnish never have forest fires.” then the next it’s “I was talking to the President of Finland – great leader, they love me in Finland – and he told me that they don’t have forest fires because they rake the forests.” Next time it will be “I was talking to the President of Wake Forest. He told me their basketball team reminds him of me because they’re firey winners.” Then the time after that he will have played center for the Chicago Fire.

    He’s playing a game of telephone with his own addled brain.”

  4. 4
    Comrade Colette Collaboratrice says:

    @NotMax: Just the words won’t be enough. His stone will need to visually, even viscerally, convey lurid toxicity – kind of like the design concepts for nuclear waste sites meant to signal danger to future generations who may not speak any current language or communicate in words at all.

  5. 5
    David Evans says:

    I am reminded of Walter Mitty. also of Snoopy.

  6. 6
    NotMax says:

    @Comrade Colette Collaboratrice

    And in place of an eternal flame, an eternal klaxon.

  7. 7
    Quinerly says:

    @HeleninEire: this is perfect.

  8. 8
    cain says:

    I’m wondering what his base must be thinking with such messaging. It truly is a cult if after all this they still cling to him as God’s representative on earth. Crikey, these people are nuts. But then so easy to separate them from their money.

  9. 9
    HalfAssedHomesteader says:

    I’ve never understood the allure of fake wrestling. The people I’ve known who watched it knew it was fake but they didn’t care. They just wanted a spectacle to jeer at, something to get worked up about. It’s so damn lazy because there’s actual achievement to be had in this world. I suspect a similar dynamic is at work with Trump’s base. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so “luridly toxic”.

  10. 10
    NotoriousJRT says:

    @David Evans:
    Snoopy is loveable and in on his own joke. Trump in no way makes me think of Snoopy.

  11. 11
    oatler. says:

    @David Evans: “This new plot twist will baffle my readers!”

  12. 12
    Origuy says:

    @HalfAssedHomesteader: Bruce may have talked about the JFK assassination a lot on stage, but I think you are thinking of Mort Sahl, who practically wrecked his career by obsessing with the event and reading the Warren Report on stage.

  13. 13
    patrick II says:

    The longer quote:
    Trump: “You have no choice but to vote for me, because your 401(k)’s down the tubes, everything’s gonna be down the tubes,” Trump said while speaking in Manchester, N.H. “So whether you love me or hate me, you gotta vote for me,” he added. Then looked around with that stupid smile on his face.

    And they cheered. I can’t believe it, but I think they are dumber than he is.

  14. 14
    Brachiator says:

    “Sir,” the Heisman Trophy winner said through his tears to Donald Trump, “you deserve this more than anyone.” What a beautiful memory.

    A reporter pointed out that whenever Trump tells an anecdote where someone calls him Sir, Trump is lying his ass off. A very consistent “tell.”

  15. 15
    bluefish says:

    Off his rocker. And POTUS. Real bad combo. Lurid is the word. Toxic, undeniable. Fetid. Pornographic. Rank. SAD!

  16. 16
    Baud says:

    @patrick II:

    And they cheered. I can’t believe it, but I think they are dumber than he is.

    They’re not necessarily dumber They’re addicted to the high of being unaccountable for one’s actions and statements. They don’t have that in their own lives, but they experience it through Trump.

  17. 17
    JPL says:

    @Baud: That type of high is more dangerous than LSD because it affects us all.

  18. 18
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @HeleninEire:

    He’s playing a game of telephone with his own addled brain.”

    Purple monkey dishwasher!

    So true, and so depressing. And millions of people don’t care because the only point is to “own the libs.” Still having full faith in him as the Soviets and Allies are meeting each other. Poor, deluded bastards.

  19. 19
    hells littlest angel says:

    @Origuy: In his final days, Bruce read aloud from his own obscenity trial transcripts. @HalfAssedHomesteader really did nail it.

  20. 20
    hells littlest angel says:

    @HalfAssedHomesteader: I used to work with guys who bet on pro wrestling. They were very, very dumb.

  21. 21
    evodevo says:

    @cain: Believe me, fundies will believe ANYTHING their self-appointed Dear Leaders/megachurch pastors say…they are conditioned that way. They will close ranks around a self-confessed child molester/adulterer/embezzler/fraud IF they believe he was “anointed/chosen/whatever” …their hive-like mindset puts the Borg to shame. They are my co-workers/relatives/friends, and seem normal in other respects, but when it comes to politics/religion, they are scary….this is how you get people to vote in an authoritarian at the beginning of the dictatorship…

  22. 22
    ET says:

    So the Secret Service is now monitoring Dress Code violations? I understand why tRump WH staffers don’t want those caught on pictures, but seriously the Secret Service has better things to do.

  23. 23
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @hells littlest angel:

    I used to work with guys who bet on pro wrestling. They were very, very dumb.

    It’s nice when no more words are needed.

  24. 24
    What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    @cain: Yeah one of my God squad Facebook friends from high school posted yesterday chapter verse and text for “thou shalt not bear false witness” and chastised the critics of “our sovereign President” for breaking that commandment.

    They are completely blind to the fact that practically everything coming out of his pie hole is an easily provable lie. They think he’s infallible and every criticism and accusation is 100% false. It’s total cult and its members are living in an alternate reality.

  25. 25
    Spanky says:

    @NotMax: @Comrade Colette Collaboratrice:

    He gets no fuckin’ stone. He gets NOTHING!

  26. 26
    Victor Matheson says:

    @hells littlest angel: we had this argument at lunch the other day. Just because it is scripted doesn’t mean you can’t gamble on wrestling. As long as none of the bettors know what the script is, it’s just the same as betting on football, right?

  27. 27
  28. 28
    Chris Johnson says:

    With weird anecdote about unnamed billionaire who hates him but is helping him?

    Told ya. He is scared out of his mind Putin will kill him next. Putin is the billionaire, and he is whistling past the literal graveyard, with Pence waiting patiently in the wings as a much better puppet. I think he doesn’t want to see Qanon because he knows 4chan is also Putin’s, so he expects assassins in Qanon garb (which is stupid, they’ll dress as prison guards or whatever’s needed within reason, but Trump is stupid so he’ll fearfully prohibit visible Qanon at his events, yet let the same people in.

    Again with Trump assuming what people are is what they look like, I guess. It’s going to get him killed sooner rather than later. Nobody believes he can buy Greenland and give it to Putin as a present in exchange for his life. That ship’s sailed.

    As for the wrestling, look into Max Landis’s ‘Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling’ and you’ll get it. It’s opera with physical stunts instead of singing. Max is not a great person, but a good screenwriter and a great idea-pitcher and youtuber. That video is some of the most entertaining time you’ll ever spend.

  29. 29
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    @Chris Johnson: Yeah I’ve known guys who wanted to get into wrestling and I never understood why. But gradually I’ve gotten grudging respect for the guys that do it. Yes it’s scripted but it’s stunt work and dangerous and people get hurt, as in any stunt work.

  30. 30
    trnc says:

    Trump’s remarks tonight – going on two hours – are among the more aimless I’ve heard from him. Crowd thinning out significantly.

    — Elaina Plott (@elainaplott) August 16, 2019

    I wouldn’t make a whole lot out of this statement. It’s pretty clear later in the thread that there are still a ton more supporters of baby caging, authoritarian loving tools at the rally than there should be. Crowd thinning out after 2 hours – so what? They’ll show up just to pump his rally numbers, and you can bet your ass every single one of them will crawl over broken glass to vote for him next year.

    We shouldn’t underestimate the numbers of walking braindead.

  31. 31
    Chief Oshkosh says:

    It may be the the “no QAnon t-shirt” rule arises from the SS wanting to tamp down on that mess. If, OTOH, they are doing it at the request of the Trump campaign (to make his base seem a little less cray-cray), then each such request made by an agent may be a violation of the Hatch Act.

    Ruh-roh…

  32. 32
    SFAW says:

    @Chief Oshkosh:

    then each such request made by an agent may be a violation of the Hatch Act.

    So? It’s not as if they haven’t broken the law, with impunity, in far worse ways. It’s one of the side benefits of having your consigliere as AG or vice versa. [If Michael Cohen hadn’t flipped, he probably would have been pardoned on a Monday and nominated for AG that Friday.]

    But, fortunately, the DoJ is doing “whatever it takes” to bring Christopher Steele to justice

  33. 33
    Jinchi says:

    Secret Service has asked them not to wear Q shirts inside of the venue.

    I can understand why campaign aides would ask people to cover up their Q-anon shirts. But why would the Secret Service even speak to them? Their job is to keep the president from getting shot, not from getting embarrassed by association.

  34. 34
    Mnemosyne says:

    Donald Trump believes that everything he says is made true by virtue of him having said it, and once he begins believing something he is incapable of not believing it.

    This is the essence of why it’s so hard to deal with a narcissist: to them, reality is always subjective, and whatever they believe is the truth, regardless of the facts. It’s not even a delusion, because someone who is delusional won’t constantly change what their delusion is. It’s a reflection of the narcissist’s internal weather.

  35. 35
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jinchi:

    I don’t trust any self-reporting by the Q morons since they’re literally a brainwashed cult at this point and only hear what they want to. I’m guessing that some staffer in a suit who claimed to be a Secret Service agent said that, or even just said, “That Secret Service guy over there told me to tell you …” and the Q idiots swallowed it hook, line, and sinker.

  36. 36

    @Comrade Colette Collaboratrice:

    His stone will need to visually, even viscerally, convey lurid toxicity – kind of like the design concepts for nuclear waste sites meant to signal danger to future generations who may not speak any current language or communicate in words at all.

    Although my own choice would be for Trump’s remains to be shoveled into an EPA Superfund site, it seems likely that he will arrange for a vast and garish tomb, not a mere stone. It will, I daresay, become a kind of shrine. The architects will need to incorporate an elaborate system of drains, of course.

    For the rest, a high school friend worked on that nuclear waste project in the late seventies. The idea was to make the warnings comprehensible to societies that might have lapsed into primitivism. One sequence of drawings showed a human figure approaching a barrel with the radiation trefoil on it, opening the barrel (flash emitted; figure falls back), and finally a skeleton lying on the ground. An objection raised was, suppose the response is, “Cool! Let’s roll this thing down the hill and kill those bastards in the next village!”

  37. 37
    jonas says:

    @evodevo: I think what the conditioning consists of is a default assumption that “the world” is out to get them, and that accusations of fraud/abuse/incompetence made against someone whom they consider to be “godly” should be dismissed as yet another attempt by Satan to sow discord and persecute the church. It’s a collective martyr complex that many Christians have been trained to think of as a sign that they’re “on the right side.” This leads of course to such classic tautologies as we see today: God has anointed Trump as his representative on earth; non-Christians in particular think Trump is a goddamn moron; ergo, they must be right.

  38. 38
    Dr Ronnie James DO says:

    “Hair” Furor

  39. 39
    jonas says:

    @Chief Oshkosh: Yeah, I can see campaign staff being able to encourage or discourage whatever messages on attendees’ clothes, signs, etc. that they want, but why the hell would the USSS care about a t-shirt unless it’s advertising a threat against the president of some kind?

  40. 40
    JGabriel says:

    via HeleninEire:

    He’s playing a game of telephone with his own addled brain.

    Sundown Telephone – one faulty synapse passes an instruction to the next faulty synapse …

  41. 41
    JGabriel says:

    @Jinchi:

    I can understand why campaign aides would ask people to cover up their Q-anon shirts. But why would the Secret Service even speak to them?

    I was wondering something similar: How do Q t-shirts pose a security threat? Is the Secret Service afraid that associating the whole Q conspiracy Weltschmerz with Trump will give it his imprimatur and generate more violence?

    Because if so, too late.

  42. 42
    a thousand flouncing lurkers was fidelio says:

    @HalfAssedHomesteader:
    It’s a theatrical production with added violence. Good is supposed to triumph over Bad, after enduring sufficient challenges to make it plain it’s not a walk-over. The old Shaw Brothers Kung fu movies are a similar phenomenon.

    I suspect there are complicate class issues in the mix as well, although I don’t have the training to explicate those well.

    The tawdriness is a feature rather than a bug.

  43. 43
    JGabriel says:

    @Comrade Colette Collaboratrice:

    His stone will need to visually, even viscerally, convey lurid toxicity – kind of like the design concepts for nuclear waste sites meant to signal danger to future generations who may not speak any current language or communicate in words at all.

    I was just thinking that Trump is the three-pronged biohazard horns of American politics. And the GOP is composed of the type of people who see a biohazard containment sign and think, “Oooh, Playground!

    Which would be fine, in a Darwin Awards sense, if they weren’t dragging the rest of the world in there with them.

  44. 44
    Another Scott says:

    @Rand Careaga: :-)

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  45. 45
    lumpkin says:

    @ET:
    It was me Q people saying the secret service told them they couldn’t wear the Q shirts. Why believe anything those people say?

  46. 46
    VOR says:

    @JGabriel: Simple answer – the reports of not being allowed to wear Qanon shirts are coming from Qanon followers, i.e. not the best fact witnesses in the world. My guess is it isn’t the Secret Service, it is some random person at the entrance, maybe from a hired security service, maybe a guy in a t-shirt and shorts, who told them not to wear their Q gear. Or it could be the voices in their heads. Some enterprising reporter could ask the Secret Service if they have a policy on wearing Qanon material, get that on the record.

  47. 47
    randy khan says:

    @VOR:

    Simple answer – the reports of not being allowed to wear Qanon shirts are coming from Qanon followers, i.e. not the best fact witnesses in the world. My guess is it isn’t the Secret Service, it is some random person at the entrance, maybe from a hired security service, maybe a guy in a t-shirt and shorts, who told them not to wear their Q gear. Or it could be the voices in their heads.

    That seems likely, especially the last sentence.

  48. 48

    @Brachiator:

    A reporter pointed out that whenever Trump tells an anecdote where someone calls him Sir, Trump is lying his ass off. A very consistent “tell.”

    This is true (and I’m at least 90% sure the reporter is Daniel Dale), but I have a more concise version that’s also true:

    whenever Trump tells an anecdote where someone calls him Sir opens his mouth, Trump is lying his ass off. A very consistent “tell.”

    You’re welcome.

    This doesn’t cover Twitter, so it could still be improved. Suggestions welcome.

    Ceterum censeo factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

  49. 49
    Brachiator says:

    @(((CassandraLeo))): Ha! Very funny.

    It might have been Dale, about the Sir business. Yep, Trump is a liar, but there are patterns and levels to his mendacity. Knowing this might help the Democrats shovel his bullshit back at him.

    ETA. I think you had some comments on the latest Tarantino movie. I just saw it yesterday and am mulling over what I think about it. More later, perhaps.

  50. 50
    Hob says:

    @Origuy: I don’t think the reference there is to the Warren Report, but to the idea of someone obsessively going on about their own case. Late in life, Bruce would do long rambling sets in which he just talked about being prosecuted for obscenity and sometimes read verbatim from legal proceedings.

  51. 51

    @Brachiator: Yep, that was probably me – I’ll guess it was probably in one of the August 12 threads. I’m still not sure how it ranks among his filmography, but it’s a very interesting film and I’m still thinking about it a few weeks after having seen it. Can’t say that about every film I saw this year, so that’s a point in its favour. I think I’ll probably have to see it a second time, since I’m sure there are a lot of details I missed – I intentionally went into the cinema knowing as little as possible about the film.

    Sorry for late reply – was out with a friend earlier (seeing another movie, oddly enough, namely Blinded by the Light. Immediate reaction: it’s really good, and you don’t really even need to be a Springsteen fan to enjoy it).

    Ceterum censeo factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

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