Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Presidency of Trolls

By that, I mean Internet trolls. The kind of people who love to post incendiary things online, and then revel in the outrage of other readers.

Politically, Trump has been trolling for years. Most of his senior advisers are experienced trolls.

But now, contrary to their expectations, they have to govern. They are supposed to run one of the three branches of government. And it's becoming clearer, day by day, that they have absolutely no fucking clue how to do that.

Trump's abortive attempt at a Muslim immigrant ban was trolling at its finest. What it wasn't, on the other hand, was even a marginally competent attempt at writing an enforceable Executive Order. Even if it was barely passable as an EO, the Trump administration's statements about the powerlessness of the judiciary to review it, coupled with the public statements of Trump allies that it was intended to function as a partial Muslim ban, was little more than trolling the judges. However, unlike the people offended by bullshit published in Wing Nut Daily, Federal judges have some pretty decent tools for squishing trolls. They have centuries of experience in protecting their turf from an aggressive Executive branch; a bunch of trolls masquerading as the Executive branch were not much trouble for them to handle.

Similarly, the Trump administration has been trolling the press. A smarter (or more experienced) administration would have worked to co-opt at least some of the reporters, as the Bush-II administration did with reporters, like Judith Miller. But no, the Trumpers came into power, and declared that the press was their enemy.

If there was a dumber thing that they could've done, it doesn't come readily to mind. All of the reporters these days grew up on "All the President's Men". They know, every one of them, what to do when there is an openly hostile administration in Washington: They're going to dig and dig and find lots of juicy stuff to publish, and try to get a good book out of it, maybe a movie, and make their bones forever in the trade.

Less than a month into the Trump Administration, none of the senior staffers can go on any news show (other than the Fox News channel) and face questioning that remotely resembles a friendly tone. Almost across the board, the Trump Administration spokespeople are being called liars, to their faces, and on the air. Even normally quiescent morning talkshow hosts are demanding that the Trump spokespeople produce proof of their assertions and calling them out when all the Trumpers do is just repeat the same lies, over and over again.

Meanwhile, because of the Trumpers' trolling, the comedians and media opposing Trump are having a field day. SNL has had its best ratings in a generation. Trump blasted Vanity Fair, which saw a bigly boost in circulation. The NY Times had a large increase in circulation. The Late Show is now the top-rated late-night show. Other shows that feature news-based comedy are seeing their ratings rise.

Experienced politicians (and dictators) know the score. They know that once the people start laughing at them, it's game over, for people are not afraid of clowns.


Stewart Dean said...

"They know that once the people start laughing at them, it's game over".
That was Molly Ivins' big takeaway: you cannot reason with or confront (unless you're 6'5" and steroidal) peckernecks and bigots, but what you can do, and what destroys them is to get people laughing at them. Once that happens, even with monstrous bullies, their con evaporates as so much smoke.

B said...

"Less than a month into the Trump Administration, none of the senior staffers can go on any news show (other than the Fox News channel) and face questioning that remotely resembles a friendly tone."

They never could....From the Get-Go, they press was hostile to Trump...even before the election.

hans said...

So, what to do? T & Co. won't leave on their own, this congress will never impeach. The dems would have to take both the House and Senate next year to get him out by impeachment. I think we're stuck w these guys.

CenterPuke88 said...

Er, B., Donnie started the fight by blaming the press for everything and herding them into a pen and blocking them from talking to the crowd or observing his speech from any other angle/location. He also disdains the press pool, has repeated dumped the pool and put it into a blacked out room so they couldn't see him playing golf. The reality is Donnie has issues with the press going back decades because he's always threatening them, and now he's mad they don't lap up his lies.

hans, the R's will impeach when the Russian angle gets too locked in, then they'll get their wet-dream rightwinger (Pence).

Dark Avenger said...

B, how much does an ounce of Skywalker cost where you live?

Just asking for a friend.

dinthebeast said...

I seem to remember a billion dollars in "earned media" without which we might (or might not) have had a different outcome.

Perhaps Trump's miscalculation was forgetting what actually happened to his mentor's boss.

Perhaps he doesn't care, and is only in it for the clout. That's my best guess at this point.

At least he isn't being very fast or efficient in implementing the worst policy platform in my life time.

-Doug in Oakland