Saturday, April 18, 2020

If He Wasn't So Stupid, He Might Be Demonic.

Donald Trump is not demonic. He's stupid. He's also ignorant, psychopathic, sadistic, utterly incapable of telling the truth, and in all things unhinged but he's just too damned dumb to rise to the level of demonic. Hydrophobic? Perhaps.

Trump casts himself as the indispensable leader in America's hour of need but then disavows any responsibility when it all goes wrong. It could be said that his prime focus is on contriving how to blame others and the art of constructing straw men.

Never has this been more blatant than Trump's behaviour over the past few days. This is the mind of a man in a bunker as artillery shells rain down all around. Jonathan Chaitt writes that Trump is now cutting his own throat.

President Trump has two basic modes of governing: abnegation and abuse. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Trump has alternately — and, at times, simultaneously — claimed absolute authority and zero responsibility for the crisis. On Thursday, he seemed to lurch back toward abnegation, telling governors they could “call their own shots” about when to reopen public spaces, and they are also “going to lead the testing.”

The source of Trump’s peripatetic swings is his inability to competently manage the pandemic. He wants to ease up on social-distancing rules soon, but public-health officials have unanimously insisted that doing so requires an effective testing system. (Otherwise, those states could be vulnerable to new outbreaks that could spread before state authorities have the chance to stop them.) But despite Trump’s absurd lies that the United States has the best tests in the world, and that other countries are trying to copy our tests, the testing system has been in a state of shambles all along. 
That failure necessitated his decision yesterday to throw all responsibility to the states. Administration officials tell the Washington Post this posture “is largely designed to shield himself from blame should there be new outbreaks after states reopen or for other problems.”
If we take as a given that Trump’s administration is hopelessly inept, it might make sense as a desperation measure to let the governors handle everything on their own. But there is no world in which it makes sense to devolve authority to the states and then let the states collapse into fiscal ruin. 
It is not only irrational from the standpoint of the national interest, but it is irrational from the standpoint of Trump’s political interest. The president wants and needs states to reopen their economies as quickly as possible. They can’t do that without having measures in place to flag and contain new coronavirus outbreaks. 
Rather than either accelerating the federal government’s production of coronavirus testing or giving states fiscal room to handle it themselves, Trump is doing neither. He is promoting anti-social-distancing protests against Democratic governors as a blunt weapon to compensate for his managerial incompetence. If he cannot provide the conditions to allow states to relax social distancing while following public-health guidelines, he will try to force them by whipping up angry mobs
There is nothing remotely strategic about this course of action. Polls show the governors he is attacking, and the social-distancing measures they are currently enforcing, are popular. Trump is fomenting anarchy in his own country, undermining the prospects for the orderly recovery he needs in order to win reelection, and creating the risk of a violent tragedy. (The Confederate-flag-waving protesters blocking the entrance to a hospital in Michigan yesterday is the sort of episode that, if repeated, could go very badly.) He is raging angrily against the system because he is hopelessly out of his depth.


Anonymous said...

Chaitt seems awfully sure there will be an election in November. He may want to re-examine that premise.


Anonymous said...

When people in the US with zero money are besieging food banks to survive, when people want to return to work and are willing to duck and weave on the virus just to make enough to eat, you have a situation where riots and looting are likely to happen. This will occur among the base of people who usually vote for Trump, those who haven't yet received his piddling one-time $1200 "gift" and are literally desperate. The US states responsible for doling out checks have computer systems on the level of the Commodore 64, and even our Canadian system is a hundred times better - I've heard of no major hiccups.

I believe Trump's scared to death that he might have to put riots down with the military. Because if that happens, he can kiss goodbye to his dream of becoming Il Duce Grand Poobah come this November. I don't think Trump thinks beyond his own interests at any time. Never seen any sign of it. That's why he's so on again off again on the lifting of restrictions and trying to pass the buck onto state governors -- the man is writhing around with no options left to make him look good. Oh yeah, and it's all China's fault as well. Anyone but the sad hulk that is the nominal president.

I see Cargill is still running meat packing processing in High River Alberta. Must be a desperate Jason who thought he had the virus licked because Cons are good. In the US, there are many meat packing plants shut down due to Covid-19, and there are worries about the food supply. Just heard that on Global News as I type. The US is one fucked-up place. Couldn't organize its way out of a wet paper bag on a social or public health level. Their neoliberal capitalist nonsense and patriotic chest-beating navel-gazing are coming back to haunt them. They never take advice from anyone else, and consequently any disaster is a disaster that only happens to the USA, as they rediscover from ground zero how to cope. The books will be endless afterwards, and none will talk about anywhere else other than as a footnote. Only the USA matters.


The Disaffected Lib said...

There's always that chance, Cap. It's clear that Stephen Miller has Trump's ear. I wonder what Congress would do, including the Republican Senate, if Trump tried to suspend elections while he was deeply unpopular.

The Disaffected Lib said...

The US is not immune to the destabilizing impacts of the pandemic, BM. We keep reading reports about how many couldn't scrape together $400 to meet an emergency. The precariat is not only an economic phenomenon but a social threat. It doesn't help that the gun culture is so widespread. What will the militias do to exploit the chaos?

I took an online course in warfare in the 21st century from the war studies department at Kings College, London. A topic was the weakening of the state monopoly on violence and the devolution of military power, including the means of mass destruction, into the hands of non-state actors (militias), organized crime, terrorists and insurgents. Tribalism in these sharply riven societies is becoming a growing problem. We used to think this was a Third World aberration but that might have been us whistling past the graveyard.

the salamander said...

.. watched several.. mebbe six of the pitiful .. no, enfeebled.. pathetic attempts by Trump to half assed follow, read, stumble through the script with occasional forays into his own private wonderland.. his odd journey wandering the Trumpian Bewilderness.. in full public view.. the undisputed Heavyweight Champion of Mitch McConnell and Sean Hannity's GOP juggernaut..

Its breathtaking.. shocking .. frightening.. almost gut wrenching.. Its like jumping in the pickup at night because there's an orange glow several miles away.. and you know its a neighbor's barn on fire. Run up the laneway. Trucks block the lane, a horse flashes by, freed cattle have knocked down fences, bawling in the glare, shouting.. shock.. save the house.. wet burlap feedbags & wet blankets from the house.. save the outbuildings, pull farm vehicles clear & park the tractors by the road.. dismal heartbreaking visceral bedlam.. the roaring snapping soaring vortex.. by daylight.. lightly smoking ruins.. scorched concrete water troughs & foundation, blackened main floor walls & the concrete silo

That's how I will feel about 5 AM tomorrow..
Sunday.. after the latest deja vu press conference all over again..
the same barn fire to the south.. the same compulsive arsonist..
Try to save Canada.. He'll burn us down too

Trailblazer said...

The USA.

We are #1
We are #1

They are not so mighty as they at first seem.

This nation hold the reigns on the the worlds economy and politics; only because we let them!


Northern PoV said...

"I wonder what Congress would do, including the Republican Senate, if Trump tried to suspend elections while he was deeply unpopular."

Aye, there's the rub

We've come a long way from....
He can't get elected/He'll be removed from office any day now

The future is hard to predict cause no one knows what's going to happen.

Trailblazer said...

because he is hopelessly out of his depth

Very true, but if you have a simplistic electorate you finish up with a simplistic government.

This democracy thing is vastly over rated.
We mark our X next to those that offer cheap beer , low taxes but high expectation of others ; worse still nationalism without responsibility .

Should we have a means test for voters?

At the end of the day it is the VOTERS who made this mess.


The Disaffected Lib said...

Voters did play their part in this, TB, but so did an undemocratic Electoral College, gerrymandering and voter suppression in many states and the Dems for putting forward a deeply unpopular candidate.