The Rules for Beating Donald Trump

Don’t argue with 4.1 percent growth.

.. don’t bet on bad news.

Why? Because it creates a toxic perception that Trump’s critics would rather see things go wrong, for the sake of their own vindication, than right, for the common good. That, in turn, reinforces the view that Trump’s critics are the sort of people whose jobs and bank accounts are sufficiently safe and padded that they can afford lousy economic numbers.

.. If working-class resentment was a factor in handing the White House to Trump, pooh-poohing of good economic news only feeds it.

While they’re at it, they might try to observe Rule No. 2: Stop predicting imminent disaster. The story of the Trump presidency so far isn’t catastrophe. It’s corrosion — of our political institutions, civic morals, global relationships and democratic values.

.. Democrats can make a successful run against the corrosion, just as George W. Bushdid in a prosperous age with his promise to restore “honor and dignity” to the White House after the scandals of the Clinton years.

.. Third rule: Stop obsessing about 2016.

.. The smart play is to defend the integrity of Mueller’s investigation and invest as little political capital as possible in predicting the result. If Mueller discovers a crime, that’s a gift to the president’s opponents. If he discovers nothing, it shouldn’t become a humiliating liability.

.. Tweets are the means by which the president wrests control of the political narrative from the news media (and even his own administration), whether by inspiring his followers, goading his opponents, changing the subject, or merely causing a ruckus.

.. Fifth: Beware the poisoned chalice. We keep hearing that the 2018 midterms are the most important in all of history, or close to it. Why?

Democrats took control of the Senate in the 1986 midterms but George H.W. Bush easily defeated Mike Dukakis two years later. Republicans took Congress in 1994, only to become Bill Clinton’s ideal foil. Republicans took the House again in 2010 amid a wave of discontent with Barack Obama, and you know what happened. Get my drift?

Finally: People want leaders. Not ideologues. Not people whose life experiences have been so narrow that they’ve been able to maintain the purity of their youthful ideals.

.. governors. John Hickenlooper. Deval Patrick. Maggie Hassan. Andrew Cuomo. Want to defeat Trump? Look thataway.

Richard Rohr’s Meditation: Love Is Who You Are

Material gifts decrease when you give them away. Spiritual gifts, by contrast, increase the more you use them
.. When you are living in conscious connection with this Loving Inner Presence, you are in your True Self. God is forever united to this love within you; it is your soul, the part of you that always says yes to God. God always sees God in you–and “cannot disown God’s own self” (2 Timothy 2:13).
.. Many Christians live with a terrible sense of being rejected, because their religion is basically a worthiness game where no one really wins. That’s precisely not the Good News. It’s bad news. The Gospel will always be misinterpreted by the false self in terms of some kind of climbing or achieving. Since the false self can’t even understand the command to love one’s enemies, it has to disregard the message as naive, which is exactly what most of Christian history has done. Jesus’ rather clear teaching on love of enemies has been consistently ignored by all the mainline churches. Christians have been fighting one war after another, and excluding, torturing, and killing enemies right and left because the false self can never understand the Gospel. Yet we have been baptizing, confirming, giving communion to, and even ordaining false selves throughout our history. It is probably unavoidable, and God surely must be patient.

Once, after I gave an anti-war sermon, a businessman came up to me and said, “Well, Father, maybe in an ideal world. . . .” I know he meant well, but that’s what we’ve done with most of the teaching of Jesus. We interpret his meaning for some ideal world. Of course, the ideal world is never going to come so we can just ignore 99% of the actual teaching of Jesus, as the institutional church (and I too!) have usually done. We concentrate instead on things that Jesus never once talked about, like birth control, homosexuality, and abortion–bodily “sins” because the body can most easily carry shame. We shouldn’t disregard bodily shame or addictions, but they are not the core problem. Jesus focused on issues of power, prestige, and possession–which all of us have largely ignored. I don’t think the church has had intentional bad will. It has simply tried to get the false self to live the Gospel, and that will never work. In other words, we’ve tried to have a church without fundamental transformation. Thus we whittle down the whole Sermon on the Mount, and Jesus’ direct teaching that “he who lives by the sword dies by the sword” (Matthew 26:52); and we look for absolutes in ever new secular places–like the 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution which allows us to carry weapons. And this is done by a vast majority of Bible-quoting Christians.