President Dumb and Dumber

Donald Trump has a penchant for labeling particular people. It might strike some as just another insult for a petulant urchin of a man who insults everyone with whom he takes issue. But I believe that the nature of his insults to specific kinds of people says something more about the character and nature of the man, something of which he may or may not be aware.

I believe that the fact that he so often attacks the intellectual capacity of women and minorities exposes a racial and gender bias, one that has a long history and a wide acceptance.

.. Hover over the irony here: The man trying to help at-risk children by opening doors for them was being attacked by the man who has put children at risk by locking them in cages.

.. Trump repeated the sobriquet he has assigned to California Representative Maxine Waters, calling her, “Very low I.Q. low. Low I.Q.”

..  review of the many insults Trump has spouted since he declared his candidacy finds that although he has called many people dumb, or dummies or low I.Q., the targeting of that particular insult at women, including minority women, occurs with curious frequency and is often a singular line of attack against them, rather than one of many.

He has called MSNBC anchor Mika Brzezinski “dumb as a rock,” “low I.Q.,” and “crazy and very dumb.”

He has called HLN anchor S.E. Cupp and political commentator Ana Navarro “two of the dumbest people in politics,” and has called Cupp “one of the dumber pundits on TV.”

He has called Republican consultant Cheri Jacobus “really dumb” and “a real dummy.”

He has called Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin “one of the dumber bloggers.”

He has said of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg that she “has embarrassed all by making very dumb political statements about me.”

He has said of the journalist Mary Katharine Ham that she “isn’t smart enough to know what’s going on at the border.”

He has called the Forbes writer Clare O’Connor a “dummy” multiple times.

He has said that Maria Cardona made Morning Edition contributor Cokie Roberts look “even dumber” than he believed she was on a news show.

He has called Arianna Huffington, founder of HuffPost, a “dummy.”

.. I read in these comments an overt misogyny that has long existed in this country and the world, one that seeks to undercut the seriousness and cerebral capacity of women, to render them as emotionally unsuitable for deep deliberative analysis.

.. This is the very same argument that people have used to deny women’s suffrage and prevent access to full political participation.

.. Most people, male and female alike, believed that women were biologically unfit for politics. According to one orator at a mass meeting in Albany, New York, ‘A woman’s brain involves emotion rather than intellect, [which] painfully disqualifies her for the sterner duties to be performed by the intellectual faculties.’

..  ‘Housewives!’ announced a Massachusetts journal, ‘You do not need a ballot to clean out your sink spout.’ ”

And yet, 170 years on, we have a president of the United States questioning women’s intelligence.

.. “Women have scored higher than men in intelligence testing for the first time since records began.”

If Trump’s own advisers think he has obstructed justice, how could Republicans decide otherwise?

One day, law professors may use President Trump’s case in a law school exam: Find all the evidence of obstruction of justice. Diligent students will find a wealth of material, if news accounts are proven to be true: requesting a loyalty oath from then-FBI Director James B. Comey; pressuring Attorney General Jeff Sessions to remain in charge of the Russia investigation to protect Trump; leaning on Comey to let former national security adviser Michael Flynn off; firing Comey; cooking up a pretext for firing Comey; telling Lester Holt of NBC News that he fired Comey because of the Russia investigation; falsely suggesting there were White House tapes so as to affect Comey’s testimony; threatening some kind of legal action against Comey for “leaking“; launching spurious conspiracy theories (unmasking, accusing Barack Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower while he was president, smearing FBI officials who could be witnesses) to discredit the investigation; trying to get one of the potential FBI witnesses, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, fireddrafting a misleading statement about Donald Trump Jr.’s June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer in Trump Tower; ordering that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III be fired; and publicly denying he ever considered firing Mueller. We’ve probably missed a few, but even a mediocre law student could get an A on that test.

What’s more, at least two Trump advisers likely think Trump obstructed justice.

  1.  Legal team spokesman Mark Corallo reportedly quit after he concluded there was obstruction of justice in drafting on Air Force One the statement about the Trump Tower Russia meeting.
  2. Second, the White House counsel very likely made a legal judgment (not simply a political one) in refusing to help Trump fire Mueller.

.. What counsel would have wished to advise the Justice Department that Mueller’s fatal ‘conflict’ arose out of his unwillingness to remain a member of a Trump golf facility that had raised its fees?” In other words, once again a phony pretext was to be used to fire someone atop an investigation of the president.

.. the president does not enjoy an attorney-client privilegewith McGahn, unlike with his personal lawyers. McGahn works for the people, not Trump.)

.. They have refused to protect the special counsel legislatively from being fired. And they have completely suspended their own judgment as to whether Trump’s actions constitute an abuse of power — that is, an impeachable offense — relying on Mueller to make a legal judgment on possible criminal liability.

  • .. If President Bill Clinton’s lie under oath about his affair with Monica Lewinsky (which was not the topic that independent counsel Kenneth Starr was originally charged with investigating) was grounds for impeachment, would a Trump lie under oath regarding any aspect of the Russia investigation, including potential acts of obstruction of justice, also be grounds?



What happens when a party becomes unmoored from the truth and the American creed

a willingness to tolerate falsehoods and attacks upon democratic norms and the American creed, as though these are matters of style.

.. “conservatism” these days has become (both in the eyes of liberals who think conservatism is interchangeable with “right-wing extremism” and those claiming the conservative mantle) a cartoon version of itself.

.. much of the cheering for “conservative” ends skips over the details, disregards the substance and ignores context — none of which are indices of conservative thought.

.. Means that do not respect values that conservatives used to hold dear (e.g. free markets, federalism, family unity) are no cause for celebration.

.. if conservatives think Trump’s accomplishments are conservative, then conservatism has morphed into something foreign to those who spent decades advocating a governing philosophy rooted in

  • opportunity for all,
  • civility,
  • federalism,
  • the rule of law,
  • free markets and
  • limited but vigorous government.

.. Trump’s right-wing apologists would have us treat Trump’s racism, attacks on democratic norms, dishonesty and contempt for independent democratic institutions as matters of style. “Well I don’t much like his tweeting but …” “Well, we don’t really agree that there are good people on the neo-Nazi side.” “Well, we all knew he was a bit of a liar.

.. Call this the “other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?”  syndrome

.. If one puts racism so far down the list of priorities that it barely deserves a raised eyebrow — or worse, requires some fudging to cover it up — one has become an enabler of racism. If one brushes off repeated, deliberate falsehoods because they are embarrassing, one becomes an enabler of lying, a handmaiden to attacks on objective truth. These are not inconsequential matters; they are not style issues. Truth-telling and repudiation of racism are or should be top principles both for America and for conservatism.

.. Put on top of that the willingness to prevaricate (Well, if we say it was “shithouse” and not “shithole,” we can say Sen. Dick Durbin was lying!) and you have an assault on principles that are the foundation for our democracy and for conservatism (or what it used to be)

.. The assertion that we can disregard everything the president says so long as it does not become cemented in law misconceives the role of the presidency and ignores his oath.

.. His oath was not to produce tax cuts or regulatory rollbacks. He swore an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, including reverence for the First Amendment, an independent judiciary and equal protection under the law.

.. The party and Trump apologists who brandish the conservative moniker, we fear, have lost their way. They’ve ceased to think deeply about the substance of policy and its effects, but worse, they have inverted their once-claimed priorities. What is most important — democratic norms and objective truth — is now for too many an afterthought, and Trump’s evisceration of the same, mere differences in style. We cannot abide by this, and neither should Americans of whatever political stripe.

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