May 20, 2017

“Trump has always said the kinds of things that most of us learn to think the better of around our freshman year of high school”

Filed under: Media, Politics, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Megan McArdle on the calls to impeach or otherwise depose Il Donalduce (soft coup, anyone?):

Trump has always said the kinds of things that most of us learn to think the better of around our freshman year of high school — not just the tragic wailing about how hard everyone is on him, but also the needy self-flattery: When he isn’t claiming that he knows more about Islamic State than our nation’s generals do, he is putting similarly laudatory words in the mouths of the brilliant and impressive people who apparently constantly ring him up so they can gush like tween fangirls at a Justin Bieber concert. Does he expect people to believe these utterances? I have no idea. But the reason most people don’t say such things is that whether you expect them to or not, no one ever does.

As for the rest … the twitter rants? Check. The lack of respect for longstanding political and institutional norms? Check. The outrageous, uncalled-for attacks on anyone who gets in his way? Check-plus. All quite evident before the American public went to the polls in November. And that is the rub.

It’s one thing to remove a president who is clearly no longer the man (or woman) we elected to the office. But this is what Americans, in aggregate, pulled the lever for. Do his staffers and Congress have the right to step in and essentially undo that choice?

Even as a thought experiment, that’s a tough question. It becomes much tougher still when we are not in a tidy textbook, but in a messy real world where his followers, having voted for this behavior, do not recognize it as a sign of impairment. If Trump is removed now, they will see the removal not as a safeguard, but as a soft coup. And they won’t be entirely unjustified. The damage to our political culture, and its institutions, would be immeasurably grave.

I think there’s a case for removing Trump on the grounds that he is clearly not competent to execute the office — not that he has committed “high crimes and misdemeanors,” but that he simply lacks the emotional and mental capacity to do the job. But preserving the very norms he’s destroying requires that removal not be undertaken until things have reached such a state that most of his followers recognize his problems. So those of us who believe that the competence of the executive matters — that there are things worse in a president than “more of the same,” and that what we are now seeing is one of them — will simply have to hope like heck that his supporters come to the same conclusion we have before he damages much more than his own reputation, and the hopes of the people who elected him.


  1. Last time I checked petulant and childish were not “high crimes and misdemeanors”. The people who voted for Trump knew what they were getting. Right or wrong they thought that the USA needed this kick in the nuts (so to speak). I especially like the 6 months of anonymous “leaks”. For whatever reason, I question the veracity of the press and feel that they really are just printing whatever suits their fancy. True or not, they will publish anything that forwards the narrative of “Drumph” or whatever stupid name they want to pin on Trump today. The funny thing is that much of what they print could very well be true, but the Trump supporters probably don’t see it as a problem, the way the NYT and WaPo do. Funny.

    Comment by Dwayne — May 20, 2017 @ 16:54

  2. Last time I checked petulant and childish were not “high crimes and misdemeanors”.

    True, but a lot of the people taking this stand are far from constitutional scholars… 😉

    I started blogging in the heyday of Bush Derangement Syndrome, so while the TDS outbreak against Il Donalduce is indeed worse, it’s worse in degree, but not in kind. The press usually remembers to be opposed to the government when there’s a Republican in power, but the contrast between their period in opposition from 2001-2009 and their two terms of being Presidential fan club members is even more stark once the TDS kicked in.

    Comment by Nicholas — May 21, 2017 @ 09:08

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