6 hrs ·
My weekly essay: The Real Danger of Trump’s Fanatics
What’s worrying isn’t that Trump is now getting advice about public policy from fanatics like John Bolton and Lawrence Kudlow. Trump has never cared about public policy.
The real worry is that – with Robert Mueller breathing down his neck, and several special elections suggesting a giant “blue wave” in November – Trump is getting ready to do whatever it takes to win, even if that requires fanatical policy.
He’s reorganizing his team for an epic marketing battle -- purging naysayers and replacing them with tried-and-true salespeople, like Bolton and Kudlow.
Fox News is being reorganized for the same battle, and has made a parallel purge – removing Trump critics (George Will, Megyn Kelly, and Rich Lowry) and installing Trump marketers like Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, and Sebastian Gorka.
Trump and Fox News are pushing the same story line – designed to win the marketing war and boost their own ratings the same way.
Some of the story is by now familiar: Liberals have opened America to hostile forces – unauthorized immigrants, Muslims, Chinese traders, criminal gangs, drug dealers, government bureaucrats, coastal elites (Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi), North Korea, Iran, and “political correctness” in all its forms.
Trump intends to protect America from these forces.
The new twist to the story– requiring the recent purges and a united front – is that these forces are conspiring with the FBI to oust Trump from the presidency.
The membrane separating Trump’s brain from Fox News has always been thin, but in the coming battle it’s likely to disappear entirely.
Trump has made Bolton his National Security Advisor not because Bolton has valuable insights about foreign affairs, but because Bolton – for years, an on-air fixture on Fox News – is a showman who knows how to sell big lies and crazy ideas, and thereby help Trump in the looming battle.
As undersecretary of state for arms control in the Bush administration Bolton did more than anyone else to market the lie that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
Kudlow isn’t a Fox News pundit but he’s been the next best thing – a rightwing CNBC contributor known for his sharp wit and salesmanship.
“This is the Fox television presidency all the way up and down,” says Kendall Phillips, a communication studies professor at Syracuse University.
How can a television presidency be dangerous? Because it is solely about marketing Trump. Its only goal is to win. It is unconstrained by truth, reason, or the Constitution. It doesn’t give a fig about the public.
When the occupant of the White House and the sycophants surrounding him are prepared to use anything, including real-world battles – trade wars and hot wars – to win a political battle at home, nothing and no one is safe.
[You can find my complete essay at http://robertreich.org/post/172278726525]