The Post has been publishing excerpts from Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker’s A Very Stable Genius, and it’s about what you’d expect. The latest is Trump calling generals “dopes and babies”.
My response to that is more-or-less “so what”. We knew who he was before he ran, it became clearer as the campaign progressed, and now we have one more anecdote to add to the massive pile of evidence that Trump is spectacularly unfit for office. My basic understanding of Trump has not been enhanced one bit by the information published in the excerpt, and I don’t think I would learn much new from the book itself.
The Post has been one of the better (if not the best) of mainstream media outlets – “Democracy Dies in the Dark” was a clear signal that they recognized Trump as a serious threat, which is far beyond a lot of other outlets. But the Post still exists on a continuum of press attitudes. At one end of that continuum lies outlets like NPR, which are still trying to wedge Trump’s behavior into the template of what a normal President would do. At the other end is an outlet like the Post, which gets it that Trump is not normal, and are unafraid to report that.
But nowhere on that continuum of mainstream media attitudes is an outlet that regularly and frankly reports that Trump is what Republicans have become. Every lying Trump enabler in Congress, except the ones like Steve King who have been exiled by Republicans, gets a whopping benefit of the doubt about their attitude towards Trump. Look at the attention Mike Lee and Rand Paul got last week over some really garden variety bitching about the terrible briefing they got. Lee and Paul got that attention precisely because they are Republicans, and the stage directions that the press follow say that if a Republican complains about what another Republican does, then it’s a legitimate complaint. Otherwise, it’s noise.
Well, that little rule of thumb might work in an normal environment where both Republicans and Democrats are fighting about normal things. But this is not a normal environment, and we are not fighting about normal things. Democrats are literally fighting to save the country. Republicans are aiding and abetting someone trying to destroy it, because they could not figure out a way to stop being a party that caters mainly to white males. But saying “Democrats are the only party that cares about anyone but white males” or “Republicans would rather sacrifice the rule of law than lose political power” makes you sound like you’re off script, so instead we have two of the best reporters in the country writing this book.
It’s like being faced with a stinking manure pile that is poisoning the water supply, and spending your time examining it the pile instead of addressing the crisis. “Oh, that’s a horse apple.” “Hmm, just as I thought – another cow pie”.
Yes, it’s a fucking shit pile. We get it. Let’s talk about who put it there.