Saturday, March 09, 2019

Political Notebook: Stupidity and hope

These Notebook posts have always been about related topics that were too short for their own posts. This time, however, they’re mostly things that were parts of brewing posts. Until they weren’t. But the topics nevertheless are worth commenting on.

Yes, he really is that stupid…

The current occupant of the White House is world-renowned for his lying prowess. He’s made more than 8,000 false or misleading statements since taking power, and uncounted thousands more in the 2016 campaign. Insiders have also reported that he’s spectacularly ill-informed about nearly every topic, and lacks curiosity about pretty much of everything. So, it’s no surprise that he keeps showing us how utterly stupid he is.

The current occupant was recently shown on video having absolutely no understanding of how international trade negotiations work. He declared he didn’t like Memoranda of Understanding, the standard way that trade agreements are finalised. His chief trade negotiator, Rober Lighthizer, corrected him, the occupant misstated what they are and do (causing the Chinese negotiator, Vice Premier Liu He, to laugh at him). In the case of the occupant’s ignorance, Lighthizer abruptly switched tactics, saying, “From now on we’re not using ‘memorandum of understanding’ anymore,” to audible laughter in the room. “We’re going to use the term ‘trade agreement,’” he said. “We’ll have the same document; it’s going to be called a trade agreement. We’re never going to have an MOU again.” To which the Idiot in Chief replied, “Good”.

…but WE’RE not stupid

Breathless reports recently told us “Trump administration launches global effort to end criminalization of homosexuality”. Trouble is, when asked about it later, the current occupant himself seemed “unaware of his plan to end criminalization of homosexuality”. Of course, this isn’t the first time he seemed to have absolutely no idea what action of his regime reporters were talking about.

For the first couple days, no one in the radical “Christian” professional anti-gay industry said a word. But on the other side, Matthew Rodriguiez, writing for Out said “Trump’s Plan to Decriminalize Homosexuality Is an Old Racist Tactic”, basically one of “white men trying to save brown gay men from brown straight men”. This was, predictably, savaged by the current occupant’s fervent fans who mocked the Left for not understanding anything, nor appreciating that the self-proclaimed best-ever president for LGBT+ people was, in fact, the mostest bestest best-ever president for LGBT+ people (I don’t ever knowingly link to extremist sites, but if you really want to read the charming and occasionally correctly-spelled comments for yourself, copy and paste this link: https://bit.ly/2GZWIKa).

Turns out the “Christians” were just slow. A couple days after the news of the “global effort” broke, the Head Bigot from one of the USA’s most notorious professional anti-LGBT+ hate groups called the move “cultural imperialism”. A particularly vicious professional anti-gay activist chimed in, declaring that his god would withdraw its “hand of favor”. So… is his god righthanded? Lefthanded? Can’t be ambidextrous, obviously, or there would be no hand favoured.

Putting the most out-there bigot aside, the leading hate group leader and the piece in the LGBT magazine seem to be talking about roughly similar things, right? After all, the hate group leader purred, “Let’s find common ground in calling for an end to all forms of physical violence against homosexuals,” almost as if he even meant it—though, obviously, he didn’t, and that’s the difference: The writer for Out was at least sincere.

What’s really going on here are two things. First, the man behind it was US Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, was at the time running for US Ambassador to the United Nations, though the current occupant later decided on someone else. Grenell, who has long been a hardliner against Iran, was also trying to get Europe to join the current US regime’s crusade against Iran. Some in the regime clearly realised that they could gain sympathy for their efforts by focusing on human rights, something Europeans care about a lot, even though, ironically enough, the current US regime couldn’t possibly care less about—unless it can claim “Christians” are being “persecuted”; it certainly couldn’t possibly care less whether people are being executed for being gay, unless they can use that against Iran.

Put another way, whoever was behind this supposed effort to help LGBT+ people was playing European nations for fools by pushing their buttons, just as the Right does to the Centre and Left in the USA and in some other countries. Within the USA, LGBT+ people and the Centre and Left generally aren’t stupid: We all know how this regime has waged an ongoing war against LGBT+ people, and they’re not done yet. Given all the harm the current regime has done to LGBT+ Americans, how likely was it really that they suddenly gave a damn about decriminalisation of homosexuality overseas? It’s obvious that the most likely explanation isn’t that they suddenly have a new-found passion for ending oppression of LGBT+ people, but, rather, that they thought of a new tactic to use to try to hoodwink other nations into joining their anti-Iran crusade.

The 2020 Republican nominee is certain

Barring impeachment, criminal indictment, or actuarial tables manifesting themselves, the Republican Party’s 2020 presidential nominee is certain: The current occupant of the White House will be re-nominated. His many opponents—Republican and Democratic alike—would like to think a challenge, and re-nomination defeat, is possible, but it just isn’t.

In a recent Washington Post opinion piece, Henry Olsen declared that:
The Republican Party is now the party of Trump, but not for the reasons anti-Trumpers think. It is not Trump’s party because he has bent it to his will; it is his party because its voters have bent Trump and the party to their will. Anyone who wants to lead today’s GOP must engage with that will, or they will continue to feel politically homeless.
He’s right—kind of. As he himself points out, the current occupant has given everyone except “moderate” Republicans the things that matter most to them. Those “moderate” Republicans make up, at most, 20% of the party’s base, and that right there explains why the current occupant always has at least 80 approval among Republicans, and more than 90% approval among those who voted for him: The vast majority of Republicans are getting what they want from this regime.

Because the vast majority of Republican voters approve of the current occupant’s performance, this means there’s no room for anyone else to cut through. It seems unlikely that level of support would be affected by impeachment, which would almost certainly not result in removing him from office, nor would criminal indictment of the current occupant bother them. With an unshakeable base, there’s no room for “moderate” Republicans who will be faced with losing their fight for their party, and will be left with the choice of staying home on November 3, 2020, or else voting for the Democratic nominee.

Meanwhile, a different 2020 Democratic nomination battle

The campaign for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination has hardly begin, but as the thousands (more or less…) of candidates vie for attention, Five Thirty-eight has been tracking the endorsements the candidates have received.

The thing is, since Democratic “Superdelegates”, the sort of people this list tracks, won’t have a vote on the first ballot at the Democratic National Convention (and so, almost certainly no vote), their endorsements just aren’t that important. Sure, endorsements are nice, and maybe they’ll help build momentum with volunteers and donors, but the reality is that hardly anyone pays any attention to them, especially this year.

• • • • •

That’s all that’s in my Notebook at the moment. But with so much going on—too much to keep up with—it’s likely that there will be more posts that were brewing, but that’ll end up in my Notebook instead. At least they’ll find another life—unlike those “moderate” Republicans.


rogerogreen said...

This made my linkage post for the Ides

rogerogreen said...

I'm not sure the Dems won't have a 2nd ballot, and the super Ds may come into play. we will see.