there’s no hope

Or at least not much.

Seriously, this is what we’re up against.  I have many neighbors—serious Trump fans— who believe all kinds of astonishing things, and will bob and weave like this to reconcile impossible incongruities of precisely the kind on display here.

Their take is that Trump is totally on the ball and is playing some kind of deep game, so any incongruities are part of the plan.  It’s a religious vision in a way, no question. It’s an extension of the “god works in mysterious ways” narrative.

But there’s another aspect to this problem.

Almost all my neighbors, including almost all the bobbers and weavers, are precisely the kind of people who are likely to show up at your door with a pot roast or an apple pie whenever serious difficulties strike.

Complicated, isn’t it?

243 Responses to there’s no hope

  1. Expat says:

    Swap McGonagall for Trump

    by William McGonagall

    Welcome! thrice welcome! to the year 1893,
    For it is the year I intend to leave Dundee,
    Owing to the treatment I receive,
    Which does my heart sadly grieve.
    Every morning when I go out
    The ignorant rabble they do shout
    ‘There goes Mad McGonagall’
    In derisive shouts as loud as they can bawl,
    And lifts stones and snowballs, throws them at me;
    And such actions are shameful to be heard in the city of Dundee.
    And I’m ashamed, kind Christians, to confess
    That from the Magistrates I can get no redress.
    Therefore I have made up my mind in the year of 1893
    To leave the ancient City of Dundee,
    Because the citizens and me cannot agree.
    The reason why? — because they disrespect me,
    Which makes me feel rather discontent.
    Therefore to leave them I am bent;
    And I will make my arrangements without delay,
    And leave Dundee some early day.

  2. NatashaFatale says:


    I suppose it’s possible that Trump does or someday will share Mad McGonagall’s sentiments, but it’s ludicrous to imagine him sharing The Bard of Dundee’s sense of meter and rhyme.

  3. Squirrel says:

    “Every day I get this great intel. This great secret intel. Want to hear some?”

    . . . .Whispers . . .

    “Now, ain’t that a great secret?”

    You can take the man out of the playground, but you can’t take the playground. . .

    Did this man’s psychological development ever advance beyond about the age of 7 or 8?

  4. bluthner says:

    If Trump was a hound dog, and as incontinent as a dog as he is as a so-called man, no one would argue about what had to be done with him. It would be regarded a kindness.

  5. Squirrel says:

    It’s a source of continual astonishment, isn’t it?

    The General says Trump didn’t know what he was saying or where it came from. (That’s supposed to be the good news?) And Trump says he’s Top Dog anyway, so he can give away whatever secret he wants to whoever he wants to . . .

    In the meantime of course, the line is everybody ought to be looking for the guilty party who gave the secret away.

    (The secret that Trump gave away a secret, that is. I think I’ll go and read Machiavelli again. Less confusing. . .)

  6. NatashaFatale says:

    It is now irrefutably clear that President Trump is innocent – clear that not only is he innocent of everything of which he has already been accused, but clear also that he has now piled up such a surplus of demonstrated innocence that it is sure to cover any and all new accusations as may be made against him deep in the far future (possibly all the way to Thursday or Friday). Consider: only a scant few hours ago, the prominent accusers Squirrel and Bluthner declared, with apparent certainty, that the President’s disclosure to Russia of our (possibly former) allies’ intelligence-gathering practices was surely sufficient to get him shot like the incontinent hound he so closely resembles – in other words, that Trumpgate # 37 must surely equal or surpass even Nixon’s deepest crimes in term of lasting infamy.

    Yet just a scarce few hours later, does anyone even remember those so-called high crimes and misdemeanors? No, they do not. Those eternally shameful moments in the Oval Office have simply evaporated, replaced in whole and part by new and better charges, charges that this time are deemed really serious, really lasting. And so it goes. The man’s reserves of ingenuity are so vast that no accusation against him can possibly endure more than a day at most – less time, that is, than it takes the average senator to finish a speech. And if that isn’t immunity from guilt, what possibly could be?

  7. Expat says:

    Trump is an embarrassment and a dangerous loose cannon – but Comey seems to be more and more like the disrupting Russian Bill Hayden mole playing some kind of long game. Too much Le Carre?

  8. bluthner says:


    Comey did what FBI guys do, he wrote down the important details of an important meeting the day after he had the meeting. And we are just hearing about it today, about a week after Comey was fired and once the substance of that meeting has become an issue. Not sure that sequence of events points to him being anything like a Bill Hayden. So far the only ‘disruptive’ thing he has done that I know about was his extraordinary announcement about HRC’s emails. I thought it was bad behavior, like a lot of people, but what else has he doe that is active, rather than reactive to Trump?

    If it comes to a he-said/he said pissing contest, no honest person on eath will believe Trump, and even some of GOP in congress will have to struggle. Anyone who stands up before God and his constituents to say I believe Donald Trump is telling the truth and always has done had better have a stone batshit die-in-the-trenches Trumpster constituency. So the interesting question is, given all the turds Trump has dumped on the country in the last few weeks, how many of those constituencies are left? Certainly some, but how many?

  9. NatashaFatale says:


    Most of them, It’s the “I dunno, maybe he’ll do okay” crowd that he’s lost, and those are the people (them plus the non-voters) who elected him. Your real stone batshit die-in-the-trenches Trumpster is what he is because he’s impervious to the kind of talk we listen to, just as we’re impervious to everything that motivates him.

  10. NatashaFatale says:


    There’s no such thing as too much LeCarre.

    And ditto to what Bluth said about FBI guys. Think of them as, say, Model T motors: there’s much they simply don’t do, but what they do do, they keep on doing forever. Put put put put put, uphill and down, rain and shine, all afternoon and in the middle of the night.

  11. bluthner says:


    What I mean is how many constituencies have enought stone batshit die-in-the-trenches Trumpsters to keep their cynical elected representatives in power, given that Trump has now lost the I dunno’s and really seriously woke up the stay at home’s.

    Does that really still include most GOP constituencies? I have no idea.

  12. Squirrel says:

    “You’d better hope there are/aren’t tapes!”

    Trump must have got confused about who’s recording what for whom. Putin’s offered to hand over his tapes . . .(Of Nat’s scandal No 32 or whichever, even Vlad is getting left behind. Absolutely: by the time Vlad slips them in the post everybody will have forgotten what they’re for. . .)

    Anybody checked if Teapot Dome’s got anything in it recently?

    (I do hope Trump can keep this going; it’s taking up quite a lot of time on our TV that would otherwise be spent on Labour bashing. . .Can’t be bad. Now, if we can only have daily live impeachment hearings from 6pm to 1am our time beginning, say, the first week in June, that would be very handy.)

  13. NatashaFatale says:


    Maybe not most, but a lot. In general, the more Tea Party-ish a congressman is, the more he stands to lose by turning against Trump – because he wouldn’t be where he is if he didn’t have that kind of constituency. Anyone who won a primary by calling his opponent a RINO is likely to qualify for this category, because if that approach worked for him, it can also work against him if he ever fails to walk the straight and narrow.

  14. NatashaFatale says:


    You elect a showman your president, what you get is a show. And a lot of people watched Trump’s show every week only because they were fascinated by how jaw-droppingly awful it was: you, sir, are living proof of that.

  15. NatashaFatale says:

    Okay, it looks like we got us a special counsel and he’s even a bona fide pro. So, a question: this kind of thing usually takes something like a year or 14 months to play out; does anyone here think that nothing interesting is going to happen in all that time while the wheels grind away just offstage?

  16. bluthner says:

    The mere fact that Trump is going to lie awake smouldering every night at 3 am wondering just where and how deep those wheels are grinding is bound to set off more firecrackers, sure. And every third one of those is going to add more items to be investigated, and so the heat of his smoulder will increase, and the pressure in his odd skull is going to increase accordingly. Until something Bigly cracks in a Bigly way.

  17. NatashaFatale says:

    The impulse to parse tea leaves is sometimes irresistible, but it’s probably a fool’s errand in re the oracular words of Donald Trump, which resemble the soggy teabag at the bottom of the garbage pail more than the loose bits at the bottom of the cup. Still, this particular soggy fragment intrigues me: “…There is no collusion – certainly myself and my campaign – but I can always speak for myself and the Russians – zero.”

    What I fancy I hear is the opening whine of a “Woe is me, my treacherous staff have done betrayed me!” defense. To perhaps be followed by an “I knew I should never have let the party cram Priebus down my throat!” Might get downright Shakespearean in a couple of months…

  18. bluthner says:

    I can’t help thinking that the smartest move on the part of the GOP would be to cut the rug out from under Trump next week. Which they could do with the 25th and party dicipline. Pence would get global love for not being Trump, and it would take vast amounts of the push out of the Dems get-the-vote-out-to-get-Trump out come the midterms. I can’t think of any possible law that Trump would sign but Pence wouldn’t. Sure having to can a president they allowed to run on their own ticket looks bad, but surely not nearly as bad as Trump looks bad.

    I get it that the teabags who hate the establishment will look to punish anyone who touches Trump, but aren’t they also going to love Pence for all the ways he isn’t anything at all like a Democrat?

    With Pence all of us libtards will have nothing to complain about except policy. Isn’t that a win they can find a way to settle with?

  19. Anyone in his orbit who didn’t read that “I can always speak for myself” slip as a clear telegraphing of intent to throw any and all under the bus if push comes to shove is probably too stupid to dress themselves.

    But then again that’s always been his MO anyway, so anyone who didn’t understand that going in is dumb as a bag of hammers to begin with.

    Still, my first thought when I saw the report of him saying that was that he’s unwittingly “priming the pump” for a whole crapton of new leaks as compromised functionaries scramble to find some shelter from the coming bad weather.

  20. Dunno bluth.
    Two issues come to mind.

    1) Trumps fanbase is also the dominant portion of the GOP voter base, and I’m guessing they can’t figure out how to pull the 25th trigger without utterly cratering the mid-terms results. Not saying it hasn’t been thought about, just saying that, to them, the upside appears iffy and the downside appears catastrophic. Trump’s support among GOP voters is still pretty damn high from the polling I’ve seen.

    2) There must be more than a few in the party establishment who are aware that Pence is seriously compromised too, and may very easily end up in the ongoing investigative woodchipper himself, so deepsixing Trump with the 25th only to have his replacement revealed as complicit somewhere down the road (right before the mid terms? Yes) would be even worse than letting things run their course.

    But like Nat says, trying to predict this crazy game, while irresistible, is probably hopeless. Who the fuck can know what Trump is likely to do? I don’t think even he knows, given that his strongest characteristic, according to him, is his situational “instinct”.

  21. KevinNevada says:

    Back again, still busy with work.

    Several observations to make in this “no hope” thread.

    One is, hell yes there is hope. The Dark Side is floundering.

    Second, the opportunity for the Republicans to ram through their odious agenda is fading, rapidly. They have lost the spring, soon they’ll need to fight over the budget, the GOP schedules far fewer working days for Congress than Democrats anyway, and they especially need those long breaks to raise money for what will certainly be a tough electoral year for them.

    There ain’t no mo there. That is gone. And the Odious Hairball is guaranteed to keep screwing up, we all know this about him now, so the momentum won’t return.

    Mueller will grind away and yes, every day that he works on the Russian thing the Odious Hairball will spend some time getting mad and tweeting more idiocy.

    The central driving emotion of this creep has always been rage. And he is addicted to tee-vee, watches it constantly and then gets mad again.

    And more Tweets get emitted.

    And, we have a new opportunity upcoming for a truly epic screwup.
    In a few days the Odious Hairball will visit our dear allies in Saudi Arabia.
    While there, he is scheduled to give a public speech about Islam. In Riyadh.
    The text of that speech, to the extent that he’ll stick to that text, is being written by
    none other than young Mr. Miller, Bannon’s sidekick, the guy who ranted that “The President’s
    decisions shall not be questioned!!
    ” one Sunday morning.
    Yeah, that guy.

    Now, what could possibly go wrong with all this?

  22. bluthner says:

    I think the quote is even worse (for those in Trump’s orbit), I think it was “I can only speak for myself…”

    Which is I’m sure what we were all understanding it as anyway.

    As for Pence, the guy is Fastidious Caution incarnate. Maybe he’s been dirtied but I suspect, though of course have nothing but intuition to back it up, that Pence has managed to find a way to metaphorically stick his fingers in his ears any time the subject of Russia has come up.

    But maybe not. And yes the Trump numbers are high among the base, but dig a little deeper and they aren’t all that robust. In other words if they are asked: do you support Trump, they say yes. If they are asked do you strongly support Trump a whole lot fewer of them say yes. And if you ask do you approve of Trump’s performance, the numbers drop even further.

    And maybe all they really want is trillion or two in tax cuts and then let the chips fall where they may. Which they could probably get out of Trump before he goes down.

  23. NatashaFatale says:


    A lot of people (starting with CNN) quoted that as “only”, but if you listen (which, e.g., the G did), it’s “always,” Which I took to mean as “Look, people, nobody speaks for me but me.” And as in, “Since you’re in doubt, you could always just ask me.” And as in, “Sure, a lot of people say they speak for me, but they don’t unless I say they did after I hear them say whatever it is they said I said.”

    You’re right, dumping him now is cleanest, safest, smartest move the party could make – but right now there ain’t no party, just a bunch of guys trying to hold onto their seats. There was a reason why half the swinging dicks in Rome took a slice out of Caesar that day – it was they only way to prevent most of them from turning on whoever went first. I’m willing to bet that there are umpty more in the GOP who would eagerly join a mob that someone else gets the blame for than are willing to stand up on their own.

  24. bluthner says:

    I stand corrected. Then it sounds also like “As I always have said and will say…”

    As we know about mobs, the hardest part about getting them to do anything that the idividual members wouldn’t do alone is forming the mob in the first place. Which always needs a core of people who would do the terrible thing in the first place, or even just one and some few others who almost would do it, and then it gets easier and easier to co-opt others.

    So who is the most likely ringleader in the GOP? McCain we know would do it, but he’s not a likely ringleader because he’s too far outside at this point. And Ryan is to gutless to start things off. I have no idea who it might be but I’m guessing neither one of those two anyway. And maybe no one. They are a particularly gutless bunch.

  25. Squirrel says:

    You need a degree in psycho-linguistics (knowledge of grammar is obviously inapplicable) to fathom out anything Trump says. (Spontaneously, of his own accord, that is.) There’s what he says, what he thinks he said, what he meant to say, what he thought he meant to say, whatever what he says means, whatever what he thought he said meant . . .It’s worse than ‘known unknowns and known knowns and unknown knowns.

    “And there is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign, but I can always speak for myself — and the Russians, zero.”

    So he said there was no collusion between him and his campaign. Now that strikes me as entirely likely, given his evident inability over the last 100+ days to ‘collude’ with any of his own staff.

    And then that he didn’t have anything to do with any Russians himself at the time. Or intends to keep saying he hasn’t. Also quite probably true. Why would he? He’s already implied he was happy enough for General Flynn to do it for him.

    Certainly, that also looks like a warning that anybody and everybody who has worked, is working or will work for him is in serious danger if they walk across any bus routes. Even the Presidential Son-in-Law, if the trip to Saudi, Israel and the Vatican goes pear-shaped (and how can it possibly not?)

  26. bluthner says:

    in serious danger if they walk across any bus routes.

    Sure. That’s got to be what’s behind Comey’s ‘disappearance’. He’s hunkering down where no stray bus could find him before he testifies.

  27. NatashaFatale says:


    They are a particularly gutless bunch.

    Yes, and unless Gunny corrects me, I think that was his point: the hardcore Trump people are still out there, and they’ll be beyond livid if he’s pushed out. We’re all old enough to know that fear often makes people act against their own best interests. What somebody – Ryan, maybe? – ought to do is start passing the hat around the caucus. When it’s full enough with pledges and dirty pictures and other things that constitute “good and valuable consideration”, he can take it to some guy in a purple-ish bubble district and say “Henry? We had a little meeting and you drew the short straw. You’re going down anyway if the asshole stays, so here’s your chance to go out a hero. You’ll never have buy your own thanksgiving turkey again, your grand kids get the college of their choice, and your family can keep the flat in Moscow. Otherwise…”


    What could possibly go wrong? Why wouldn’t a speech written by Stephen “Islamic terrorists … have declared a death sentence on every man, woman and child living in this country” Miller go down brilliantly in Riyadh?

  28. KevinNevada says:

    Meanwhile, some conservative friends of mine, in another forum, are exercising themselves over the burning question that Squirrel alluded to: the revealing of the revealing of the Israeli secret.

    According to these worthies, the real problem is that the nasty traitors in the media reported that the leak occurred. There would not actually BE a problem, you see, if no one knew that there was a problem to have.

    Yes, they will attempt to take that line with future revelations.

    And they will fail to do anything but amuse most people.

    The key change in the past two weeks is, people are losing any fear of upsetting the Odious Hairball. He’s angry all the time anyway so what the fuck, let’s let things air out.

    A key point made by Machiavelli: the Prince must inspire at least a little fear or he will get into deep shit in a big hurry.

    Only four months in, people and the investigating counsel is already appointed and he has the authority to convene a Federal Grand Jury by himself. No permission from others needed.

  29. NatashaFatale says:


    Here’s a photo of Stephen Miller, author of both the Muslim travel ban and Trump’s epistle to the Saudis.

    Here, for the contrast, is a photo of Joseph Goebbels. Note that while Goebbels appears to be a little older than Miller, he has kept more of his hair.

  30. bluthner says:

    There would not actually BE a problem, you see, if no one knew that there was a problem to have.

    Wow. Kev, do your friends honestly think the problem is what we (all of us civilians reading about it in the paper) know?

    If so, how do they even begin to make that argument? That if the press hadn’t reported it Mossad would have no fucking idea their intelligence had been handed to the Russians? You say these friends of yours are worthies, so I assume they have a certain amount of self regard, but how fucking stupid must they be?

    As for MIller’s resemblance to Goebbles, I can’t help hoping, every morning when I turn the newspaper on to check how deep the shit we are up to our eyeballs in is now, I secretly hope, every single day, that in the night Trump has decided, finally, to shave his head (and of course slap the whole shiny edifice with orange tint).

    That’s when we will know for certain that he’s had a psychotic break. It will also be the moment to spirit the nuclear football out of the residence.

    Could the stress of a nine day junket, in close proximity to his estranged wife, without stopping in a single property of his own, be enough to bring on the crisis?

  31. NatashaFatale says:


    “That if the press hadn’t reported it Mossad would have no fucking idea their intelligence had been handed to the Russians?

    Yes, precisely. This afternoon the NYT reported that Trump told Lavrov that “I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job. I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.” Naturally, troubled and uncertain people turned to Sean Spicer in search of the truth – and, as always, he gave it to them.

    “The President has always emphasized the importance of making deals with Russia as it relates to Syria, Ukraine, defeating ISIS and other key issues for the benefit and safety of the American people. By grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia’s actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russia. … The investigation would have always continued, and obviously, the termination of Comey would not have ended it. Once again, the real story is that our national security has been undermined by the leaking of private and highly classified conversations.” [My emphasis.] See? Kev’s buddies ain’t so dumb…

  32. NatashaFatale says:

    And to underscore this critical point:

    A third government official briefed on the meeting defended the president, saying Mr. Trump was using a negotiating tactic when he told Mr. Lavrov about the “pressure” he was under. The idea, the official suggested, was to create a sense of obligation with Russian officials and to coax concessions out of Mr. Lavrov — on Syria, Ukraine and other issues — by saying that Russian meddling in last year’s election had created enormous political problems for Mr. Trump.

    Ah yes, that inevitable Third Man – we must always have one, mustn’t we? This is an even worse leak! There was Trump, having wormed his way into Lavrov’s trust (and therefore Putin’s) with his diabolically clever and daring ploy – surely worthy of George Smiley at his best, no? – and the The Third Man comes along and spills the beans! I say we track him down and string him up, whoever he is, and if Mueller won’t do it I know who will…

  33. bluthner says:

    Of course if Trump leaked Mossad’s intel to the Russians, how long do Kev’s friends suppose it would take Mossad to find out, quite apart from any ‘leakers’ in the U.S.? And why do they suppose the leaker of Trump’s leak was not leaking on behalf of (a very angry) Mossad?

    And if Kev’s friends think the Russians themselves were, or even could have been, under any illusion that firing Comey would take any ‘pressure’ off of Trump, then I want some of what they’re smokin’.

  34. Squirrel says:

    I’ve read that quote three times, totally failed to comprehend any logic in it, so I reckon it’s ‘Goebelisation’ at its best (well, actually, least competent):

    “You’ve caused me problems, but I’ve got this deal for you. I’ve fired the guy who’s likely to tell everybody about it, so . . .the deal is . . .”

    “Very kind of you, Mr President,” says Lavrov. “So we’ll keep denying it as long as you do. Deal?”

    [Russian Foreign Minister and Ambassador laugh heartily. Pence enters room from behind an arras, pretending he’s dropping by after a visit to a nunnery. Jared mistakes blue curtain for ex-FBI Director, stabs it with sword borrowed from a passing general. Rosecrantz and Guildenstern are sent into exile in Saudi Arabia where they are beheaded according to instructions they carry with them they thought were press releases. Their skulls are discovered later in Roger Ailes’ grave.]

  35. All kind of “leaks” from “white house insiders” coming out now about how Pence was completely “kept in the dark” about Flynn et al.
    Building himself a lifeboat, one leak at a time, if I had to guess.

    That guy is no less of a lying sack of shit than Trump, he’s just less stupidly blatant about it. A better politician, basically.

  36. Squirrel says:

    I just thought: the wheels of Trump One could barely have left the ground before there was a mass rush to the doors and a queue outside every telephone kiosk ready to phone the NYT and WashPo. . .

    And he’s away for ‘a long time in politics’: a week.

  37. KevinNevada says:


    My friends are not necessarily stupid.

    They are loyal, believing, faithful Faux-News viewers.

    It takes a while for reality to penetrate their thinking, on any topic.

    We’ve discussed the problem before on these boards.

  38. bluthner says:


    You are right, mea culpa, even intelligent people can live in deep denial of all kinds of obvious things. But to do so they basically have to cripple and shut down and deep freeze their crtical faculties, right? So it’s a kind of self-inflicted pseudo lack of intelligence. Because no one with real and active intelligence would let Fox News lead them around by the nose like that.

  39. NatashaFatale says:

    All ideological thinking always shuts down a whole lot of critical thinking potential. After we accept that, it gets a little complicated again. There’s no critical thinking without adequate information, and we often lack adequate information; in some very important matters, we always lack it. Then there’s the fact that some flavors of ideological thinking deliver sound advice more often than other flavors – and more often than sound critical thinking applied with inadequate information (e.g., “all wars are wrong, cruel and foolish and should be avoided at all costs” is good advice more often than not). So we’ve evolved to govern our actions according to generalities that turn out to be right just a little more often than not; nature ran a contest and determined that “never, ever walk into the high grass alone and unarmed” beat out “it’s okay to wander into the high grass if you don’t know for sure that a sabre-toothed tiger is lurking there.”

    The problem is that that fragment of inherited ideology is still operating long after the last sabre-tooth tiger turned into topsoil. As is “Look – here come some people who don’t belong to our clan. We should probably kill them.” We all, every one of us, are descended from ancestors who lived and prospered by that charming little maxim, and so it’s hard idea to let go of. “[S]elf-inflicted pseudo lack of intelligence” is exactly right, but so is “doing everything just like daddy told you to do it almost always turns out for the best.” We all probably still feel these things, but some of us feel them a lot more strongly than others.

  40. NatashaFatale says:

    The New Yorker, in the person of Benjamin Wallace-Wells, wonders if the departure (which is now looking more and more permanent) of Roger Ailes from Fox News might not lead to massive psychic upheaval on the right. Wallace-Wells detected a novel note of uncertainty on Tucker Carlson’s Bill O’Reilly replacement show on Wednesday night, after Kellyanne cancelled in the wake of Mueller’s appointment. He reminds us that uncertainty has never been permitted in that neighborhood before.

    For all the ideological chaos within the Party’s base, its careening between libertarianism and nationalism and a fading virtuous conservatism, Fox News has long been a reliable guide. A Republican elected official trying to figure out what his constituents wanted to hear could simply reflect what was being said on Fox. To know how he was doing, that same elected official needed only to listen to how the network’s anchors spoke about him. There have been a number of fringe Republican Presidential candidates over the years who have seemed mostly to compete for airtime on the network. In Fox’s complicated relationship with the Trump phenomenon, you could trace the mainstream conservative’s own journey—at first basically disapproving, then moved by instinctual partisanship, before settling on a shared antagonism toward liberals. Trump pushed the buttons; Ailes and O’Reilly showed him where they were.

    One of the most pressing questions in American politics today is whether the conservative support for Trump will fracture. Carlson, in introducing Mueller as a character on Wednesday night, inadvertently demonstrated what a complicated contrast the former F.B.I. director makes with Trump. Mueller and Trump are both white men in their seventies, but the lawman was a war hero while the President was a draft dodger. The loyalty to Trump is partisan, while the loyalty to Mueller is institutional. Behind one man, a celebrity, there is a cult of personality; behind the other, a bureaucrat, there is a cult of rectitude. It is as if the Fox News aesthetic has been cleaved neatly in half. Republican politicians, wondering now how far to move from Trump, are watching their voters, who are watching Carlson, who is watching the two principals, Mueller and Trump. Without Ailes to arrange the frame, each gaze in that sequence is complicated by a new uncertainty. Who to trust?

  41. bluthner says:

    Into the breach rides Boris Alexandrovich Epshteyn, backed by Sinclair Group, to start the new improved no-qualms-about-nationalism-Trumping-rectitude, no holds barred cheerleader for Trump (until he goes down and they cheer for Pence/Ryan/whoever). One might even suspect that if Ailes hadn’t been shown the door, and if Carlson wasn’t a crooner of such limited range and unimpressive intellect, and Murdoch wasn’t older than Methuselah, and having a fifth teenage fuckfest with Jerry Hall, Boris might have found more useful things to do, but given it is what it is, there are anxious millions looking for someone who will tell them the way…

    Plus ca change, plus le meme chose… Or as the Prince liked to say in Il Gattopardo : Things must change so they can remain the same.

  42. NatashaFatale says:

    Eh, il n’est pas encore exactement la meme. Er…I mean, Boris is not yet exactly the same thing… No doubt he wants to be but he doesn’t have the numbers. He doesn’t have the numbers because Sinclair doesn’t have the numbers. Nobody has Fox’s numbers except Fox. Sure, that could change. It could even change quickly – but quickly in the TV biz means a couple of years.

    And the basic problem would remain even if they somehow got the numbers tomorrow: there’s the Trump/Putin right (which Boris is utterly committed to) and:then there’s the GOP coalition of alternative rights: the neocon right, the Norquist/Koch right (aka The Money), the utterly vital Pat Robertson right, the must-not-be-denied South Shall Rise Again right – and finally the still more or less outsider neo-Nazi/Breitbart alt-right. The GOP has been a bigger tent than we sometimes imagine, and it’s largely been one because Fox found a way to speak to almost all these people, to be a sort of UN of the right-as-a-whole. But nobody knows quite how to stretch that tent so that it can also contain Trump.

    They will find a way of course, because they’ll have to. Trumpery isn’t going away any time soon. But Trumpery isn’t congenial to the neocons and, more importantly, to the Norquist/Koch faction, which can spend its money anywhere it pleases. Somebody has to be booted out of the tent, and if it’s Boris who gets to decide who it will be, then it ain’t going to be Trump or Vlad.

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