Can Germany Survive Its World Cup Defeat?

My neighbor Peter told me that losing to South Korea has implications for the nation’s soul.

.. Peter suggested that there were implications for the nation’s soul itself, with the team’s exit from the tournament reflecting a wider sense of unease. Chancellor Angela Merkel is right now fighting for her political survival at home, where she’s facing pressure to be tougher on immigrants and refugees, both within her own party and from the right-wing Alternative for Germany party.
..  I wrote in this newsletter about how the far right views the ethnically diverse national team.
.. She was worried that the team’s defeat would play into the far right’s self-pitying, us-versus-them worldview. “I just hope that some of those flags disappear now,” she said, “and the nationalism right along with them.”
.. four years ago, German television had broadcast a live stream of the national team’s plane on its way to the World Cup in Brazil. Everyone had been more optimistic then, in football and in life. It would have been good for Germany if the team had gone through to the next round, he said, “because the atmosphere in the country is not that nice, and sometimes sports can help.”

To save the GOP, Republicans have to lose

Roy Mooreism was distilled Trumpism, flavored with some self-righteous moralism. It was all there: the aggressive ignorance, the racial divisiveness, the disdain for governing, the contempt for truth, the accusations of sexual predation, the (just remarkable) trashing of America in favor of Vladimir Putin, the conspiracy theories, the sheer, destabilizing craziness of the average day.

.. Most of the party remains in complicit silence. The few elected officials who have broken with Trump have become targets of the conservative media complex — savaged as an example to the others.

.. This is the sad logic of Republican politics today: The only way that elected Republicans will abandon Trump is if they see it as in their self-interest. And the only way they will believe it is in their self-interest is to watch a considerable number of their fellow Republicans lose.

.. In the end, the restoration of the Republican Party will require Republicans to lose elections.

.. It will require Republican voters — as in Alabama and (to some extent) Virginia — to sit out, write in or even vote Democratic in races involving pro-Trump Republicans.

.. victory for Republicans will look like: strategic defeat

..  Trump and his allies are solidifying the support of rural, blue-collar and evangelical Christian whites at the expense of alienating minorities, women, suburbanites and the young. This is a foolish bargain, destroying the moral and political standing of the Republican Party

.. It is the emergency method for Republicans to detach themselves from Trump, create a new party identity and become worthy of winning.

.. Trump’s Republican opponents will not be to blame. It would be Trump and his supporters, who turned the Republican Party into a sleazy, derelict fun house, unsafe for children, women and minorities.

.. A healthy, responsible, appealing GOP can be built only on the ruins of this one.

 

Greatness is within Trump’s reach

Take, for example, the pesky goal of getting broadband service to more Americans. The Trump-era Federal Communications Commission has discovered that it is not on target to reach broadband access goals set in 2015. So, as The Post’s Brian Fung reports, the FCC is considering a solution: Lower the definition of broadband from 25 megabits per second to, say, 10. Instantly, millions of Americans would have “broadband” — without Internet speeds changing. Problem solved.

At the Federal Aviation Administration, likewise, an advisory panel has decided it’s too hard for airlines to hit the requirement that pilots have 1,500 hours of training, so it wants to count classroom work toward that total rather than just flying experience. The industry gets more pilots, and the flying public can rest assured that if airline pilots no longer know enough about flying planes, they at least have read books on the subject. Problem solved.

The president seems to be warming to goal-post shifting. On the eve of the latest Obamacare-repeal failure, he told reporters: “Eventually we’ll win, whether it’s now or later.” A loss is just a victory that has not yet materialized.

.. The State Department doesn’t need so many diplomats if it redefines its mission to remove such cumbersome goals as “democracy promotion.” Budget balancing becomes easier if you simply set projected annual growth at 3 percent rather than the 2 percent economists actually expect. And bankers can no longer be accused of favoring profits over a client’s best interests when there is no requirement that they do otherwise.

.. If you think about it broadly, there is no problem Trump can’t solve by redefinition.

 .. Trump’s “Make America Great Again” goal won’t hold up well when his supporters realize that coal, steel and heavy manufacturing jobs aren’t coming back. But what if he redefines greatness, not by the number of jobs but by the number of people who stand for the national anthem at football games?
.. Greatness is within reach — if we define it down.

President Trump’s Really Weak Week

In his speech, Trump encouraged police brutality and said he was “the big, big believer and admirer of the people in law enforcement, O.K.?” He said that he’s protecting the backs of law enforcement “100 percent.” Except for Sessions, Sally Yates, Preet Bharara and Robert Mueller.

As two people close to Trump told The Times’s Maggie Haberman when asked why he was tormenting Sessions instead of firing him: Because he can.

.. And in his paranoid, aggrieved isolation, he’s even thinking about nixing Steve Bannon, nemesis of the Mooch, and mulling firing the one who could get him fired, Mueller, and pardoning himself for possible charges.

.. Trump learned his technique of publicly criticizing and freely firing from George Steinbrenner, one of the ruthless, towering characters he modeled himself on when he started hanging out at Yankee Stadium in the ’70s.

.. Trump had always resented Priebus for advising him to get out of the race after the Billy Bush “Access Hollywood” tape story broke — known as Priebus’s “scarlet A.H.,” according to The Washington Post — and for not understanding that Trump is not a mere Republican; he’s the head of his own “beautiful,” us-against-them movement, “the likes of which the world has never seen.”

.. As The Post reports, Trump’s delighted demeaning of Priebus included this incident: “At one point, during a meeting in the Oval Office, a fly began buzzing overhead, distracting the president. As the fly continued to circle, Trump summoned his chief of staff and tasked him with killing the insect.”

.. After torturing Reince for months, Trump happily gave him the final humiliating shove. As the tweets hit the White House cellphones, Priebus’s colleagues Stephen Miller and Dan Scavino jumped out of the Suburban they were sharing with Priebus, leaving the jobless man in a driving rain on the tarmac at Andrews Air Force Base, the weakest link tossed off the sled for the press wolves.

.. You’re a killer and a king or a loser, as Fred Trump liked to say. And anyone who doesn’t understand that Trump is more important than the G.O.P. or the institution of the presidency is, in his mind, a loser. Anyone who doesn’t get that the loyalty should be for him personally, rather than the country, is, to Trump, a loser.

.. With Priebus, The Post reported, the president obsessed on impotence. “The word was ‘weak’ – ‘weak,’ ‘weak,’ ‘weak,’ ‘Can’t get it done,’” an official told the paper.

.. But after all his bragging about being a great negotiator and closer, it is President Trump who can’t get it done. He couldn’t even close the deal on a pathetic, bare-bones health care bill, ineffectually bullying Lisa Murkowski, a Republican senator from Alaska, and failing to win over John McCain, who gleefully had his revenge for Trump’s mockery of him as being a loser because he was captured in war.

.. Trump can’t get it done for his pal, Putin, either. In fact, the biggest legislative accomplishment before Congress leaves for August will have been passing new sanctions on Russia because lawmakers don’t trust their own president. Talk about weak.

.. Congressional Republicans are losing their fear of Trump, making ever more snarky comments about him. North Korea is shooting off missiles and the White House is flustered. The generals are resisting Trump’s tweet edicts. The mortified leader of the Boy Scouts had to apologize for the president’s suggestive and partisan speech.

And what could be weaker than that?