The Scoundrel Discount
The Washington Post’s Fact Checker column noted that Trump finished 2019 with over 15,000 false or misleading claims since taking office. But in the eyes of many enthusiasts or tolerators (I heard from both varieties of Trump backers), it is clear that individual examples of dissembling do not outweigh one essential truth: Trump presents himself in a genuine way, without pretense or false piety. ...
Tribalism is in the eye of the beholder
One of the most emphatic themes in my inbox is anger that the Washington professional class—journalists included—does not acknowledge its own tribal tendencies.
I expected a lot of whataboutism to my inquiry, and I anticipated a lot of the specific lines of argument. I was struck anew, however, by how strongly this theme unites the disparate elements of the Trump coalition.
“It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is”
That line was once regarded as a Bill Clinton classic, delivered while testifying to a grand jury in the Monica Lewinsky matter. He was toying with prosecutors, apparently asserting that someone could truthfully deny a sexual relationship in the present tense even if the impression was to deny that there had ever been a sexual relationship in the past tense. For Clinton critics, the quote was the essence of why they didn’t like him—smarminess, pettifoggery, moral relativism, all crystallized in a few words.
I always believed the line actually captured a larger truth about how he survived the impeachment 21 years ago. He believed—and many of his supporters believed with him—that many questions of right and wrong in politics are relative, not absolute. A charge of presidential misconduct can’t be divorced from context—between who is making the charge and what their motives are, between who stands to gain and who stands to lose.
The Trump impeachment highlights how strongly the Clinton perspective has prevailed. Trump-backing conservatives are no longer absolutists on matters of ethics or law.
Trump-backing conservatives are no longer absolutists on matters of ethics or law.
NATO is not a country.......
Trump is the OJ for the reprobates.