Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Principles? What Principles?

Donald Trump's character is corrupting American democracy. But. Paul Krugman writes, the corruption can't all be laid at Trump's feet. Much of what is wrong in the United States stems from the character of the Republican Party:

So what happened to the character of the G.O.P.? I’m pretty sure that in this case the personal is, ultimately, political. The modern G.O.P. is, to an extent never before seen in American history, a party built around bad faith, around pretending that its concerns and goals are very different from what they really are. Flag-waving claims of patriotism, pious invocations of morality, stern warnings about fiscal probity are all cover stories for an underlying agenda mainly concerned with making plutocrats even richer.

Under Trump, the Republicans have quickly shed the "principles" which they claimed were rock solid. That willingness to shed principles is reflected in the characters in those who work for Trump:

At the trivial but still telling end of the scale, we have the tale of Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, who keeps flying first class at taxpayers’ expense. The money isn’t the important issue here, although his spending violates federal guidelines. The revealing thing, instead, is the supposed reason he needs to fly premium — you see, ordinary coach passengers have been known to say critical things to his face.
More seriously, consider the behavior of John Kelly, Trump’s chief of staff, whose record of slandering critics and refusing to admit error is starting to rival his boss’s. Remember when Kelly made false accusations about Representative Frederica Wilson and refused to retract those accusations even after video showed they were false?
More recently, Kelly insisted that he didn’t know the full details about domestic abuse allegations against Rob Porter until, a White House staff member said, “40 minutes before he threw him out” — a claim that seems at odds with everything we know about this story. Even if this claim were true, an apology for his obliviousness seems in order. But these guys don’t apologize.

Personal and party integrity doesn't matter a whit. It's a truly sad state of affairs.


the salamander said...

.. come come Owen ..
the Donald is the biblical manna from heaven
and the GOP are in an evangelical feeding frenzy
croaking - 'loaves n fishes in every pot'

Yes.. the GOP were a squalid accumulation of dirtbags
but along came el Trumpo.. and th Roosians
& bingo bango, the GOP were back in the public trough
.. and now we seeing 'dirtbag' redefined
in all its glorious splendour..

The Mound of Sound said...

Weak leaders seem to attract like-minded sycophants. Bush Jr. allowed Cheney to fill his administration with a gang of pretty sketchy neo-cons, pretty much the entire cast and crew of the Project for the New American Century, and they launched America into two Perma-Wars that have now morphed into a region wide insurgency.

It's not surprising that a narcissist such as Trump would attract the current gaggle of hangers-on. He wouldn't go for A-list talent who might somehow show him up. The prime directive seems to be that no one must cast a shadow on the Sun God. The writing was on the wall for Steve Bannon when he, not Trump, made the cover of Time. Kelly has run afoul of Trump for suggesting he was the adult in the room. McMaster has been blasted by Trump for remarks that didn't include the obligatory "no collusion" message. How could anyone in a senior post operate effectively under those strictures?

I don't think that Trump really has an "inner circle." Everyone is expendable, disposable. One of Trump's many perversions is his proclivity for pitting two top aides against each other, seemingly for his own amusement. You may be top drawer but you're still a member of Trump's personal precariat.

Stalin was paranoid about his cabinet and generals and many of them ended their careers in the basement of Lubyanka with a bullet hole behind the ear. Trump has to be content with subjecting them to mockery, ridicule and, eventually, dismissal.

It's become popular in the American media to brand Trump as the least presidential president in the history of the office. They tend to stop there instead of connecting Trump's unpresidential behaviour to his obvious mental infirmity. Oh yeah, and he's got the launch codes. Yippee.

Owen Gray said...

A dirtbag in all his glory, sal. And the Republicans are along for the ride.

Owen Gray said...

He's got the launch codes, Mound. And it's clear that no one who works for him can convince him not to use them -- if he decides they are the answer to his problems.

Toby said...

The Mound of Sound said, "The writing was on the wall for Steve Bannon when he, not Trump, made the cover of Time."

Do you think the editors of Time have figured out the power they have?

Owen Gray said...

The editors of Time know how people eagerly await their Person of the Year, Toby. I suspect putting Bannon on the cover was a carefully calculated decision.