In Anonymous Op-Ed, Top Administration Official Describes A White House In Chaos

In an extraordinary anonymous Op-Ed, a senior White House official describes a White House in chaos.

Just a day after the first leaks of the contents of Bob Woodward’s new book about the Trump AdministrationThe New York Times has published an anonymous Op-Ed from a Trump Administration insider that corroborates many of the claims made in the book:

A person identified as a senior administration official blasted President Trump in an anonymous op-ed published by The New York Times on Wednesday, saying they were working to ”thwart” President Trump’s “worst inclinations.”

In the piece, titled, ”I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” the author says that while officials “want the administration to succeed,” they have had to work against Trump’s “misguided impulses” and parts of his agenda.

“To be clear, ours is not the popular ‘resistance’ of the left,” the piece reads. “We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous.”

“But we believe our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic,” the unidentified official wrote.

The Times said in a note attached to the op-ed that the author, described as “a senior official in the Trump administration,” requested their essay be published anonymously.

The newspaper explained its extraordinary decision to publish a column without providing the name of the author, stating, “We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers.”

The newspaper said that the person’s identity was known to the Times and their “job would be jeopardized” by their name being disclosed.

In the piece, the unidentified official denounces Trump’s “amorality” and describes his impulses as “generally anti-trade and anti-democratic.”

“The root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making,” they wrote.

The piece describes a number of instances that the author describes as part of a “two-track presidency,” saying when Trump expresses a desire to take a particular action, aides and officials around him work to do another.

The official briefly praises the administration, but suggests that its successes are not because of the president.

“There are bright spots that the near-ceaseless negative coverage of the administration fails to capture: effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more,” the piece reads. “But these successes have come despite — not because of — the president’s leadership style, which is impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective.”

Trump has long attacked some of the institutions in his own administration for alleged political bias, and speculated that there are people within the government working to undermine him. But the author of the Times piece pushed back on the suggestion that there is a so-called “deep state.”

“This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state,” the person continued. “It’s the work of the steady state.

The Op-Ed is certainly extraordinary and potentially explosive:

President Trump is facing a test to his presidency unlike any faced by a modern American leader.

It’s not just that the special counsel looms large. Or that the country is bitterly divided over Mr. Trump’s leadership. Or even that his party might well lose the House to an opposition hellbent on his downfall.

The dilemma — which he does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.

I would know. I am one of them.

To be clear, ours is not the popular “resistance” of the left. We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous.

But we believe our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic.

(…)

From the White House to executive branch departments and agencies, senior officials will privately admit their daily disbelief at the commander in chief’s comments and actions. Most are working to insulate their operations from his whims.

Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back.

“There is literally no telling whether he might change his mind from one minute to the next,” a top official complained to me recently, exasperated by an Oval Office meeting at which the president flip-flopped on a major policy decision he’d made only a week earlier.

The erratic behavior would be more concerning if it weren’t for unsung heroes in and around the White House. Some of his aides have been cast as villains by the media. But in private, they have gone to great lengths to keep bad decisions contained to the West Wing, though they are clearly not always successful.

It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know that there are adults in the room. We fully recognize what is happening. And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t.

(…)

Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.

The bigger concern is not what Mr. Trump has done to the presidency but rather what we as a nation have allowed him to do to us. We have sunk low with him and allowed our discourse to be stripped of civility.

Senator John McCain put it best in his farewell letter. All Americans should heed his words and break free of the tribalism trap, with the high aim of uniting through our shared values and love of this great nation.

We may no longer have Senator McCain. But we will always have his example — a lodestar for restoring honor to public life and our national dialogue. Mr. Trump may fear such honorable men, but we should revere them.

There is a quiet resistance within the administration of people choosing to put country first. But the real difference will be made by everyday citizens rising above politics, reaching across the aisle and resolving to shed the labels in favor of a single one: Americans.

There really isn’t any way to understate just how extraordinary this Op-Ed actually is in American politics. The fact that the Times published an anonymous Op-Ed isn’t extraordinary in itself. They’ve done this before as have some other publications. What is extraordinary is that this is the first time that I’ve seen someone inside the White House writing on anonymously about things that have been reported over the course of the past year and many of which are repeated in the upcoming book from Bob Woodward. Indeed as one reporter on CNN noted this afternoon after the Op-Ed went live on the Times website, some of the language in the Op-Ed matches almost word for word that sources cited in the Woodward book describe the President’s behavior and his state of mind. While Woodward also does not identify sources in many of the excerpts we’ve seen so far, many of the circumstances that Woodward describes makes it fairly easy to figure out who the source might be. Given that, it’s seemingly inevitable that someone is going to start putting two and two together, identifying the sources of the allegations and stories in the Woodward book and, potentially, identifying the person or persons responsible for the Op-Ed and for many of the leaks coming out of the White House.

Not surprisingly, the President and the White House are pushing back against the allegations in the Woodward book and against the Op-Ed in the Times

The president addressed the op-ed directly in comments made in the East Room, calling it an “anonymous, meaning gutless, gutless editorial.”

“So when you tell me about some anonymous source within the administration, probably who’s failing and probably here for all the wrong reasons, now, and The New York Times’ is failing,” Trump said. “If I weren’t here, I believe The New York Times probably wouldn’t even exist.”

“We are disappointed, but not surprised, that the paper chose to publish this pathetic, reckless, and selfish op-ed. This is a new low for the so-called ‘paper of record,’ and it should issue an apology, just as it did after the election for its disastrous coverage of the Trump campaign,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “The individual behind this piece has chosen to deceive, rather than support, the duly elected President of the United States. He is not putting country first, but putting himself and his ego ahead of the will of the American people. This coward should do the right thing and resign.”

In a note to readers, The Times said it made the extraordinary decision to publish the op-ed anonymously because it is “the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers.” The Times added that the newspaper knows the identity of the official.

Within an hour of the op-ed’s publication, current and former White House officials were already trying to figure out who the anonymous official is, making guesses about whether the person actually worked in the West Wing in close proximity to the president or at a federal agency.

(….)

The White House is already struggling with fallout from the publication this week of excerpts from Bob Woodward’s forthcoming book, “Fear.” Woodward reported that key administration officials took steps to prevent Trump from making dramatic – and in their view, catastrophic – policy decisions, even going so far as to remove key documents from the president’s desk.

One former White House official said: “It’s open season on the president.”

The Times op-ed is certain to infuriate the already-paranoid president, who has long worried that members of his own administration were working against him – and who has had to contend in the past month with the revelation that his longtime “Apprentice” sidekick and former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman was secretly taping fellow staffers on the Trump campaign and in the West Wing.

Trump has roared both in public and in private about leaks to the press and about the so-called “deep state.”

Trump has also pushed back on Twitter:

As we get closer to the release of the full Woodward book next Tuesday, I suspect that we are going to see more of this, and there is going to be even more of it to follow. For whatever reason, it appears that whatever may have been restraining the people around the President from being even more open about what is happening behind the scenes at the White House than they have been through the frequent leaks that we have seen over the past eighteen months has been lifted. Perhaps it’s the impending realization of a political disaster for the Republican Party in the upcoming midterms, perhaps it’s the increasingly irrational manner in which the President and close advisers are becoming when it comes to responding to the Russia investigation. Whatever the prompt is, the news developments regarding the irrationality inside this White House are just getting worse on a daily if not an hourly basis. Given that, one can’t help but feel as if there is another shoe getting ready to be dropped very soon and what we’re seeing is nothing more than the White House preparing itself for the inevitable.

Hang on, it’s going to get bumpier as we go forward.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, National Security, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Hal_10000 says:

    I’ve been skeptical of the Woodward book and am even skeptical of the Op-Ed. But Trump’s reaction makes me more of a believer. I can’t imagine what’s going to happen over the days and weeks to come as he tries to ferret out whoever wrote that op-ed.

    It’s going to get worse. It’s going to get very very bad before it gets better. If it gets better.

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  2. Gustopher says:

    Although he was elected as a Republican, the president shows little affinity for ideals long espoused by conservatives: free minds, free markets and free people. At best, he has invoked these ideals in scripted settings. At worst, he has attacked them outright.

    The author of the Op-Ed clearly started his political career before the Tea Party took over the party, and has paid no attention to the past decade. Or they are good at lying to themselves. Or they are good at lying to their people. But this part, about what the Republican Party stands for, in complete fiction.

    I’m glad he’s there to wrestle the nuclear football out of Trump’s tiny hands if needed, but he shouldn’t think of himself as a hero for trying to moderate and hide Trump’s decisions — if there is a resistance in the White House, it can spare a few people to put their names to this and begin calling for the president to resign.

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  3. Gustopher says:

    And now, just to begin speculating about who the author is…

    Here are my guesses:
    – Mike Pence, “oh, we wouldn’t want to provoke a constitutional crisis that leaves me in charge, would we?”
    – Whoever the undersecretary of the treasury is
    – Jared Kushner, suddenly horrified and desperately trying to cleanse his soul

    I suspect it is not Mattis or Kelly because they just seem too obvious.

  4. Scott says:

    I’ve wrote some thoughts on this on the other thread so I won’t repeat them. What I’m trying to get a handle on is what is going on in the heads of these “resisters”. Do they think of themselves as patriots, as keepers of the flames of the Republic, or as heroes? Why do they stay? Are they captive? Are they psychologically trapped?

    It bothers me that these informers are on the payroll, hold high level security clearances, and go to work everyday living a double life. They, themselves, are a danger.

    Like I said, I don’t get it.

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  5. Moosebreath says:

    I tend to agree with Daniel Larison’s take:

    “There are legitimate political and constitutional remedies for an unfit president, but the anonymous “resistance” official isn’t interested in any of that. He prefers to keep the administration from completely imploding because it also happens to be advancing a mostly conventional Republican agenda that he likes. There is nothing particularly admirable about that, and he should not have been granted anonymity to write his self-congratulatory article. If this official feels so strongly that the president endangers the health and well-being of the country, he should put his name on a statement to that effect when he announces his resignation. “

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  6. Kylopod says:

    @Gustopher: I highly doubt it is either Pence or Jared. You talk about Jared “cleansing his soul,” but I have seen no evidence that either he or Pence possesses any to speak of. They have always struck me as unprincipled hacks who believe the end justifies the means. Mattis and Kelly are more plausible; while I’m no admirer of either one, they do strongly give the impression that they came into the administration with a genuine belief they could rein in Trump’s worst instincts. Maybe it’s someone less “obvious,” as you put it, but at least I’d expect it to be someone in the latter category.

  7. Mister Bluster says:

    The root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making,”

    You can grab them by the pussy!
    Go ahead and punch someone in the face and I’ll pay your legal bills.

    Trump’s depravity has been apparent since the campaign.
    It is likely one reason that he lost the popular vote.
    Where were all you silent heroes then?

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  8. Gustopher says:

    @Kylopod: Jared is my long shot guess. It seems improbable, I know, but I think there should always be a long shot guess.

    I think you dismiss Pence too easily though. I don’t think he has a soul, and I don’t think that he wants to save Trump from himself, I think he might see this as a good time to try to bring up a discussion of dumping Trump, so he can be president. This entire Op-Ed is designed to put “unbalanced President who we want out” in the national conversation.

    The Op-Ed exists for a reason beyond the author’s desire for everyone to praise him. Ponder who benefits from damaging Trump now.

    It might just be to distract from the Kavanaugh hearings, but the end result of those is basically a foregone conclusion. I think it’s meant to distract the Republican base from Trump’s success in getting Kavanaugh on the court.

    Smack Trump a few times before the midterms, which the Republicans are probably going to do badly in. Then claim the midterms were a referendum on the unstable president.

  9. MarkedMan says:

    You are right in supposing that people can figure out who it is. But Trump can’t. Think about it. Personally, he’s a moron, barely self aware beyond the crudest animal urges. And sure, the people around him can figure it out but they are crawling scheming liars. Regardless of who it is they will all tell Trump it is someone they want out. Maybe it will be the real person or maybe not. But I bet if there a ten people Trump asks he will get twelve different answers.

  10. Jen says:

    @Gustopher: There’s an analysis thread on Twitter circulating that examined certain vocabulary words in the op-ed, focused specifically on the word “lodestar.” Turns out, Mike Pence is the only higher-ranking official to have used that term repeatedly in speeches, dating back to circa 2011. (His speechwriter hasn’t been around that long, FYI.)

    I’m not sure I buy it, and of course there’s always the explanation that the op-ed author attempted to throw attention away from himself/herself and *to* Pence by using that phrase, but it’s certainly interesting. The fact that the author cites the President’s lack of a moral core early in the piece is certainly interesting too.

  11. Leonard says:

    If there is such an official and things are this bad, he just made them worse. Nice going saving the Republic.

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  12. Kathy says:

    CNN reports the NYT received the Op Ed a few days ago, the Times was vague, but certainly before the excerpts of Woodward’s book were published.

    Coincidence? Or advanced knowledge of when excerpts would leak? Or coordinated for maximum effect? No way to tell without more information.

    There are plenty of concerns with the motivation of the editorial’s author(s), sure. But what’s clear is the Trump White House is a royal cluster f**k.

    Oh, nothing we didn’t already know. but now we have an idea of the magnitude.

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  13. Jen says:

    The Op-Ed exists for a reason beyond the author’s desire for everyone to praise him. Ponder who benefits from damaging Trump now.

    This is precisely the point everyone needs to focus on, IMHO. The question of why this op-ed, why now? It’s either to send the message to the voting public “yeah, we know things don’t look good, but we’ve got it under control,” i.e., an attempt to salvage something from the upcoming midterm elections. Or it’s to establish the foundation to “do something” after a shellacking in November.

    There’s a reason for everything in DC, and I wouldn’t assume the endgame here is just a “oh, how nice, someone on the inside is looking out for America’s best interests.” This was written by someone who knows how Washington works, and understands electoral politics. There’s a reason here, we just don’t know what it is.

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  14. Mister Bluster says:

    Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis.

    Maybe things would be different had Mr. Dickinson’s motion been approved…Maybe not.

    Saturday June 2, 1787

    Mr. DICKINSON moved, “that the Executive be made removable by the National Legislature, on the request of a majority of the Legislatures of individual States.” It was necessary, he said, to place the power of removing somewhere. He did not like the plan of impeaching the great officers of state. He did not know how provision could be made for removal of them in a better mode than that which he had proposed. He had no idea of abolishing the State governments, as some gentlemen seemed inclined to do. The happiness of this country, in his opinion, required considerable powers to be left in the hands of the States.
    Mr. BEDFORD seconded the motion.
    Mr. SHERMAN contended, that the National Legislature should have power to remove the Executive at pleasure.
    Mr. MASON. Some mode of displacing an unfit magistrate is rendered indispensable by the fallibility of those who choose, as well as by the corruptibility of the man chosen. He opposed decidedly the making the Executive the mere creature of the Legislature, as a violation of the fundamental principle of good government.

  15. Kylopod says:

    @Gustopher: Let’s recall a couple of Jared’s greatest hits:

    1) Claiming his dad got a bad rap after being convicted of several financial crimes as well as witness tampering, including sending a hooker to entrap and blackmail his brother-in-law and Jared’s uncle.

    2) In the wake of “Star of David”-gate, penning an op-ed in which he invokes his own Holocaust family background to defend Trump from charges of anti-Semitism, claiming Trump has always treated him and his family with love and tolerance. (I should make clear that, based on everything I’ve read–including rumored comments he’s alleged to have made on the set of The Apprentice–I’m strongly convinced he’s made anti-Semitic comments in private, Jared knows it, and he literally does not care.) This isn’t a case of a charming racist grandpa. Trump is not charming. The impression one gets is that he’s a very difficult person to be around. For people who choose to be around him, gritting their teeth and ignoring the stench, the relationship is entirely transactional; they think there’s something in it for them. Many of Trump’s devoted followers may be deluded about what sort of person Trump is, but I don’t believe for a second that Jared, Pence, or really anyone in his immediate circle are, or ever were. They knew what they were getting coming in, why should it suddenly change now?

  16. gVOR08 says:

    Typical.These people, including every GOP in Congress, all know how bad Trump is. They do nothing to get rid of him. But they want it both ways, they all want to be seen as heroes for restraining him, based only on their own claims of small acts that likely happened only in their own minds. Resistance? Chickenspits.

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  17. CSK says:

    It just might be Don McGahn.
    On the other hand, I’d die laughing if it were Melania.

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  18. Hal_10000 says:

    TBF to both the op-ed writer and the GOP, trying to “do something” about the President would put us in unprecedented territory. Especially if they had done it early on, it would have provoked a constitutional crisis. It would have been seen by Trump’s supporters as a coup, and … not really unfairly. We could seriously be talking about riots. Not a few people smashing windows, I mean full on riots in multiple cities. It’s easy on here, where everyone agrees Trump is awful, to contemplate removing him from office. In real life, where 40% of the country supports him, it really isn’t that simple.

    As Gustopher noted above, I think there is a purpose behind this. That is, to lay the groundwork for removing Trump at some point if it becomes necessary. We’re seeing a lot more effort to make the public aware of his erratic behavior. I expect the next stage will be video or audio of his behavior. If his approval numbers cave, then we might see something. Until then, I think we’ll continue to see damage control.

    This is one time where respect for norms is helping Trump.

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  19. Joe says:

    @Jen:

    Consider this outcome – for a series of unintended consequences:

    Democrats voted into majority of the house in early November. Mueller puts impeachable offenses on the table (while the Democratic majority-in-waiting announces plans to examine every orifice of the current administration to within no less than 6′ of its natural opening). It comes out by late November that Pence had a significant hand in enabling and then actively undermining his current superior. Traitor!, the Republicans cry. Impeach!, the current Congress cries. Hmm, whom and when?, smile the Democrats. February is soon enough for us. Isn’t that right, Madame Speaker-in-waiting.

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  20. Joe says:

    @Hal_10000:

    It occurs to me that the anonymous op ed might be a test to his/her peers in the White House about whether they are ready to rally around the 25th Amendment or to support impeachment.

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  21. An Interested Party says:

    TREASON?

    Well I’m sure he knows all about that subject so the question mark is hardly necessary…

    …he should not have been granted anonymity to write his self-congratulatory article.

    Won’t it be fun if the identity of this person is somehow revealed…oh my…

    @Joe: Oh that’s delicious…

  22. CSK says:

    @Joe:

    Agree.

  23. Gustopher says:

    @Kylopod: Fine, on the off chance it is Jared, it is for some reason unrelated to any form of soul.

    Maybe after some comment of Jared’s, Donald shook his head and said to the room “I’ll never understand it, Ivanka could be fvcking a real man.”

    Jared remains my long shot guess. He’s the one that would be cruelest. Melania doesn’t have the ability to write that well or the access to policy, and the blood relatives don’t seem to have it in them.

    I suspect the reason for this editorial is something more strategic than simple cruelty, but cruelty is always a possibility. Or maybe someone is helping Woodward sell his book, because they like Woodward.

  24. Hal_10000 says:

    @Jen:

    I am dubious that it’s Pence. But it is notable that he’s the one person Trump can’t fire. If the result of this is that Pence gets impeached by Congress, I will laugh for months.

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  25. Kylopod says:

    @Gustopher: I dunno, I just have this sense it’ll likely turn out to be someone none of us are thinking of. It reminds me of the decades of speculation about the identity of Deep Throat, everyone from Henry Kissinger to William Rehnquist (remember the movie Dick? OT, but if anyone here hasn’t seen it, I recommend it) and then suddenly around 2005 it’s revealed that all along it was…Mark who?

  26. mattbernius says:

    @Hal_10000:
    I don’t think its Pence either — or Kushner.

    In fact, reading the editorial, I think the author is probably a more run of the mill, ideological Republican (note that Senior doesn’t necessarily mean cabinet-level).

    My reasoning for that is one of the many reasons I cannot celebrate the publication of this article. There’s one section that is particularly telling:

    Don’t get me wrong. There are bright spots that the near-ceaseless negative coverage of the administration fails to capture: effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more.

    But these successes have come despite — not because of — the president’s leadership style, which is impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective.

    Reading this it’s clear that the issue here *isn’t* the president’s supposed behavior. It’s that said behavior is preventing them from enacting more Republican policies. If Trump was easier to deal with — but still erratic or morally unmoored — this revolt wouldn’t be happening.

    This has nothing to do with morals. This solely has to do with preserving and advancing party power. The problem is that, if all this is true, Trump has become a true inconvenience to them.

    Their other problem, as you pointed out earlier Hal, is that Trump’s base — in particular the evangelicals — don’t see things that way. The pulpit will have to turn against him for this to really become an issue.

    Beyond that 110% that there is no bravery in this. Or admitting that you care so much about the Constitution that you are willing to completely circumvent it.

    Which leads to one final point — regardless if the Deep State existed previous to Trump taking office, if this and other reports are true, he’s literally summoned it into existence through his actions. The irony is that it’s apparently staffed, at its highest levels, by people he hired.

    (Another reason to think this is a senior, but not front bench ideological Republican, is the desire to publish this anonymously to preserve his? job futures — it’s the perfect hedge: if this leads to Trumps ouster, then he reveals himself as a hero, and, if Trump limps to the end of a single term, he can stay anonymous and still have a career).

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  27. mattbernius says:

    One other thought — even if Sarah Sanders is right, and this is just the grousing of disgruntled former staff — is there any other example in recent memory (or hell, any time) of an administration ending up with so many disgruntled senior staffers in such a short period of time (we’re not at the 2 year mark yet folks)?

  28. Joe says:

    @mattbernius:

    I don’t think the NYT would let this person describe her/hisself as a member of the administration if s/he was already gone. Disgruntled? Maybe. Former? Not yet.

  29. mattberniusex-emplo says:

    @Joe:
    Oh, I think he’s still a member of the administration — sorry for that confusion. I was just referencing the Huckabee-Sander’s statement about “this is all disgruntled ex-employees.”

    Though it’s a pipe-dream, I am personally hoping this turns out to be authored by Sessions.

  30. Timothy Watson says:

    @mattbernius: Has anyone proposed Steven Mnuchin as the author? Whoever wrote it lists deregulation and the tax cuts as the first two of three great accomplishments.

  31. Yank says:

    I’ve been skeptical of the Woodward book and am even skeptical of the Op-Ed. But Trump’s reaction makes me more of a believer.

    No offense, but how the hell could you have remained skeptical for this long?

  32. Joe says:

    Yes, TM01, we have finally uncovered the much-vaunted “deep state” and they (note the op ed talks several times about “we” and “us”) turn out to be the “best people” hired by Trump himself to work next to him in the White House.

    May I just pause here and say, BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA

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  33. mattbernius says:

    @TM01:

    And now they confirm the existence of the Deep State working in opposition to Trump.

    Yup. But again, you immediately gloss over the fact that apparently, since this is a *senior administration official* and *clearly a Republican*, he’s also someone that Trump hired.

    Again… “I’ve got the best people.”

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  34. Yank says:

    @Jen: The point of the op-ed is to separate the traditional GOP ruling class from Trump. They did the same thing with Bush in 2009. It is self-serving and the author shouldn’t be applauded.

    However, the story here shouldn’t be about that. It should be about the Trump unfitness and Republican-controlled congress not doing their jobs. This shouldn’t fall on powerless aides, congress is the one who has equal power to the presidency and they have compeltely abdicated their responsibilities.

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  35. Mister Bluster says:

    Mark who?

    Mark Felt

    When Acting FBI Director Gray returned from his sick leave in January 1973, he confronted Felt about being the source for Woodward and Bernstein. Gray said he had defended Felt to Attorney General Richard G. Kleindienst: “You know, Mark, Dick Kleindienst told me I ought to get rid of you.
    He says White House staff members are concerned that you are the FBI source of leaks to Woodward and Bernstein”. Felt replied, “Pat, I haven’t leaked anything to anybody.” Gray told Felt:
    I told Kleindienst that you’ve worked with me in a very competent manner and I’m convinced that you are completely loyal. I told him I was not going to move you out. Kleindienst told me, “Pat, I love you for that.”

    Mister Bluster’s History
    Deepthroat coughed it all up on May 31, 2005.
    Shortly after his open confession Felt traveled to Gray’s home and said: “Look at my thumb, gee you’re dumb.”
    Gray died just weeks later on July 6th.

  36. An Interested Party says:

    First they publish an article confirming collision between Russia and Steele and Fusion GPS.

    And now they confirm the existence of the Deep State working in opposition to Trump.

    Uh huh

  37. Kathy says:

    I wouldn’t bet on Kushner. he probably couldn’t tell good from bad policy if his life depended on it.

  38. Modulo Myself says:

    Impressive how fascist Trump’s instincts are. This article was sleazy and utterly worthless, and instead of grasping how paltry the writer looks, Trump yells about treason and the Times ‘turning him/her over to the government at once!’

  39. Mister Bluster says:

    Trump says NYT should turn anonymous author of op-ed ‘over to government at once!
    Chicago Tribune

    EARTH TO TRUMP! SENIOR OFFICIAL IS ALREADY IN YOUR HOUSE! ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS LOCK THE DOORS AND YOU’VE GOT ‘EM!

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  40. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy:

    I wouldn’t bet on Kushner. he probably couldn’t tell good from bad policy if his life depended on it.

    I think you’re pointing to yet another reason why it isn’t Kushner–except I wouldn’t say it’s so much his lack of understanding of good vs. bad policy, but rather the fact that there’s no evidence tax cuts and deregulation are his thing. Before Trump’s rise, he was described just about everywhere as a lifelong Democrat. That’s who he supported, that’s who he generally donated to. He supported Obama in 2008, but in 2012 switched to Romney, and he was reportedly a registered Democrat as late as 2016 (which became an issue when it was discovered he couldn’t vote for his father-in-law in the New York primary). If there’s any ideological explanation for his rightward shift, my first guess wouldn’t be economics, it would be Israel. While it’s questionable whether he has any ideology at all, I definitely don’t think he’s an ideological conservative.

  41. Gustopher says:

    @Kylopod: I think we will know who it was in less than two weeks.

    Trump hires the “best and the brightest”, and he’s going to get them all searching for this guy. So as the Keystone Kops go bumbling around, the Keystone Krook will awkwardly trip and fall.

    I also think the motive for the Op-Ed will turn out to be something amazingly petty.

    And that Trump will tweet out that they were a loser he only gave a job to out of pity.

  42. al Ameda says:

    At first, I thought it might be a movement conservative like Mike Pompeo, but on second thought I think Pompeo is far too ambitious (by that I mean, presidential aspirations) to sink his career by eventually being outed as the guy who did the right thing.

    Now I think it’s an old line conservative guy like Dan Coats, who was genuinely appalled by Trump’s sell out Helsinki performance.

  43. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    I’m not encouraged by Anonymous because

    To be clear, ours is not the popular “resistance” of the left. We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous. …
    There are bright spots that the near-ceaseless negative coverage of the administration fails to capture: effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more… But these successes have come despite — not because of — the president’s leadership style, which is impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective.

    Unfortunately, this guy thinks what the GOP and Trump have done has been beneficial for the country. I get that he’s a Republican and a conservative and I know that he and I will disagree, but his take doesn’t encourage me that there are any “good” Republicans out there–only one’s offended by the vulgarity.

    And apparently, damn few of those.

    ETA: “I suspect it is not Mattis or Kelly because they just seem too obvious.”

    And, based on what they, particularly Kelly, keep saying, more likely to be part of the problem than part of the solution.

  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Where were all you silent heroes then?

    I’ll go with hanging out with the Never Trumps until it was time to submit their resumes.

  45. MBunge says:

    Yeah, the editorial and Woodward’s book are largely BS. Not entirely, but largely.

    You don’t even have to get into how Trump has been in business for 50 years, working closely with not just hundreds but thousands of people, yet none of those employees, partners, or associates EVER talked about Trump being “erratic.” Joe Scarborough didn’t. Bill and Hillary Clinton didn’t. None of the media people who’ve covered Trump and known him for decades ever called him that. A childish ass? Thin-skinned vulgarian? Crappy businessman? Sure. But “unstable,” which is code for nutcase? It’s exactly like those murmurs you used to hear about how George W. Bush was way more commanding and on top of things behind the scenes than he appeared in public, before the Katrina briefing videos came out and confined that W. behind closed doors was the same as in front of them. It’s a self-serving delusion.

    All you have to consider is this self-refuting claim that people inside the White House are stopping Trump from doing anything. What exactly did they stop him from doing? Withdrawing from NAFTA? Holding a summit with North Korea? Continuing to demagogue immigration? Saying nice things about Putin? Announcing a “space force?” Moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem? Killing the guy in Syria?

    Let’s take that last one. Do you think Trump hasn’t noticed that guy is not dead? Do you think he and Jared and Ivanka and the other loyalists wouldn’t notice if Trump is repeatedly saying “do X” and “X” never gets done? And even if you desperately want to believe Not-The-Resistance somehow pulled off such a scam, didn’t this guy just blow their cover and make it impossible to continue?

    I’m sure the way Trump runs things is radically different than Beltway norms, both because Trump has been an abnormal one-man-show his whole life but because he tries to run things at least vaguely like a business and not some degenerate royal court.

    Mike

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  46. Michael Reynolds says:

    @MBunge:
    You’re confused, Mike, because you are profoundly uninformed.

    You’re profoundly uninformed because you’re in a cult living on a diet of lies.

    You’re living on a diet of lies because you lack judgment or integrity.

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  47. Michael Reynolds says:

    “Catastrophic voter failure.”

    I’ve used that phrase probably what, ten times? At least? None of this is surprising. The only real surprise is that it’s taken this long. It’s taken this long because of the servility and utter lack of patriotism in the Republican Party, and because an astoundingly large number of my fellow Americans joined a Koreshi cult.

    This is entirely, 100%, the fault of Trump voters who failed the easiest human resources test ever: the boring but competent old apparatchik lady, or the least capable, most corrupt, dumbest, nastiest psychopath ever to approach the Oval? Duuuuuh, the orange one?

    46% of American voters failed at the political equivalent of 1+1=2. Stupid, reckless, racist, misogynist idiots like some of our upstream trolls.

    What in the holy fck did people imagine would happen when they tried to foist an unhinged, incompetent, racist, misogynist creep on the world’s sole superpower? The only thing saving us is that Trump is just as stupid as the people who voted for him. Thank God Trump is a moron.

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  48. Gustopher says:

    @MBunge: Dude, your beloved Trump is irrational and unstable in public. His relationship to the truth is somewhat tenuous at best.

    I don’t think Trump behaves differently in private. No one does.

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  49. mattbernius says:

    @MBunge:

    You don’t even have to get into how Trump has been in business for 50 years, working closely with not just hundreds but thousands of people, yet none of those employees, partners, or associates EVER talked about Trump being “erratic.”

    With that specific word, no. But he has historically always been rather feckless and easily distractible (known to loose interest in things really quickly). That’s always been pretty well covered in the NY press. Heck, one simply needs to listen to his old interviews on unscripted programs like Stern to see how ADD he was.

    There’s also his well documented history with making up his own truths.

    Even if he isn’t in age-related cognitive decline, the reality is that (as many people with aging parents can attest to) these types of tendencies only increase with age. Couple that with exposure to a lot of people who are not “used” to those behaviors and the descriptions change.

    For as “big” as a lot of people seem to think Trump Organization is, the reality is in many ways it’s a small company. That mean Trump was exposed to a lot fewer people (and senior staff) as CEO than as president. And The Trump Organization was largely focused on a few key verticals. That’s again, completely different than being a president and the pressures that go along with that. Those types of stresses — again — can easily contribute to changes in behavior (or certain tendencies becoming even more extreme).

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  50. Jen says:

    @mattbernius: Exactly–all of this plus the fact that he is a malignant narcissist who is just now being told “no–that’s not how this works/you can’t do that” for what is probably the first time in his life.

    Of course he’s going to rebel and become more and more erratic. I also truly believe there is age-related cognitive decline at play. If you watch videos of him from 20-30 years ago, he used to be able to structure sentences, not this word salad gobbledygook that comes out now.

  51. Kari Q says:

    For the first, and I hope last, time, I think Trump is right. The writer is treasonous. Not for the reasons Trump believes, of course, but Anonymous is betraying the country.

    Either they are honest, which means they are working to keep in office someone they believe to be dangerously incompetent and incapable, or they are lying and deliberately undermining the government and stoking mistrust and hostility.

    Either way, Anonymous is a reprehensible individual.

    As almost an afterthought, the fact that stories like this keep coming out should be enough to prove to anyone with an ounce of sense that Trump is a horrible executive. Anyone with a hint of executive ability can prevent these kinds of stories. We didn’t see stories like this about any other president while they were in office, because even the worst of them was marginally competent. Trump is not.

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  52. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kari Q:
    I don’t agree. First, this may not be a single individual, it may be a group effort, and I can understand how a group of decent people trying to keep the country from falling apart would choose not to make a purge easy. Second, in an age of astonishing political cowardice among Republicans, this is what passes for courage. Third, he’s speaking the truth, and I’ll take truth under any circumstances. Fourth, a single resignation would be a hand grenade, this is a 1000 pound bomb, far more effective.

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  53. James Pearce says:

    Herm Edwards made two relevant points in an unrelated rant: “You play to win the game” and “Put your name on it.”

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  54. Mikey says:

    @Kari Q: Here’s the best I’ve seen it put so far, by way of Reddit:

    How dare you.

    How fucking dare you.

    If the president is as insane as you claim he is, the only possible remedy is to come out with it, say it publicly, and let our democracy decide what to do. Anything less than that is a coup (if one with a slightly different flavor than the one being carried out by Russia). If the 25th amdendment needs to be invoked, it is by your silence that the American people have been denied the chance to demand it.

    You’re not part of “The Resistance”.

    What you’re part of is the greater effort by the GOP to take advantage of Putin’s money and Donald Trump’s criminal rise to power, for your personal gain.

    What you’re doing (as I suspect you damn well know) is helping the GOP ram a cruel agenda through our system, and rob the American people of their wealth, their representation, and their basic dignity for generations to come, while trying to pin the blame for it on Trump.

    You do not get to unilaterally decide that it’s your responsibility to be Secret President on behalf of this monster.

    You do not get to use your position to live out this weird spy thriller novel that you’ve written yourself into, and tell me that I should be grateful for it.

    You do not get to risk our lives, our values, our electoral integrity, hell, our national sovereignty, just so you can try to rehabilitate your terminally corrupt party.

    Resign. Confess.

    And never work in politics again.

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  55. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I get that he’s a Republican and a conservative

    Correction, he’s no conservative.

  56. grumpy realist says:

    @MBunge: Dearie, you haven’t been listening to the stuff coming out of NYC, have you?

    Also one word: senility. Trump’s in his 70s, with horrible exercise habits, a lousy diet, and who knows what pills he’s been popping. Compare video snippets of Trump now with what he was like back 20 years ago.

    He’s changed.

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  57. CSK says:

    Trump Tweeted his thanks to Kim this morning for Kim’s expression of complete faith and confidence in him.

    God help us.

  58. gVOR08 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I expect he calls himself a conservative and people call him conservative. Conservative has become a useless and undefined word. But whatever it means in 2018, he is one.

    Saw a tweet, can’t find it again, to the effect: Trump has turned out to be what he appeared to be. The people around him are what they appeared to be. The only surprise is why it’s taking so long for everybody to see it.

  59. Hal_10000 says:

    Thinking about it some more this morning, I see three possible reasons for writing this oped:

    1) We know that Congress and the White House staff have talked about how bad he is. This is an attempt to force their hand.

    2) They had hoped to keep him under control or that he would get bored with the office and be happy to let his staff run things. But he’s only gotten worse and now it’s a crisis point.

    3) The cynical: they’ve made a calculation of how much they can get out of Trump vs. how crazy he is. And now his craziness exceeds his usefulness.

    Either way, we are now in a state of permanent political crisis. And I don’t think this ends when Trump is gone.

  60. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Hal_10000:

    4) All of the above.

    I don’t know how this ends, either, and there will be sequelae, but we heard that after Nixon would come the deluge and. . . poof. But I’m not sure that’s even the best analogy. Trump’s supporters are a cult of personality, this isn’t politics or policy, it’s worship. The supporters he still has are largely evangelical Christians who traded Jesus for Trump and given their predisposition to obey any white man with bad hair spouting gibberish there may well be a replacement idol, but my instinct is no. I suspect ten years from now finding an admitted Trump supporter will be like trying to find a Nazi in post-war Germany. Everyone will have been secretly opposed.

  61. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    sequelae

    What a great word! At first I thought you were just using a literary version of “sequels” and thought, ‘but it sounds disgusting and diseased.’ Lo and behold it turns out to mean:

    a condition that is the consequence of a previous disease or injury.
    “the long-term sequelae of infection”

  62. Michael Reynolds says:

    @MarkedMan:
    I like it because it makes me sound edumacated.

  63. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR08:

    I expect he calls himself a conservative and people call him conservative. Conservative has become a useless and undefined word. But whatever it means in 2018, he is one.

    Agreed. but they have abandoned conservatism wholesale and I refuse to surrender the term to them. Let them find a new term to describe themselves. I think “fascist” is up for grabs.

  64. Kathy says:

    Restraining the boss is a common practice in business. My work involves bids for contracts from open invitations issued by government agencies (yes, it involves a lot of waste paper). Sometimes we cannot meet some of the requirements the agency demands, so it would be a waste to present a proposal, send samples, etc. Other times the contract wouldn’t be profitable. My boss spends perhaps a fifth of his time convincing his boss not to enter bids here and there. I’ve had to do it myself a time or two.

    This all happens, mind you, when the bosses have been in the business for decades, and know the intricacies involved fairly well, and when they do ask for and consider the opinions of those lower down who’ll get stuck fulfilling the contracts. Now imagine a know-nothing at the top, who thinks he knows better anyway. If that were the case, I’d see us do things like hide documents and disregard orders from above as needed.

    It’s no secret Trump is ignorant of many, many, many policy issues, the law, the norms of his own country, etc. He displays his ignorance in speeches, in Tweets, in interviews, etc. So he’d be the kind of boss who needs to be dissuaded of a lot of things (like invading Venezuela, assassinating Assad(*), and more). The revelation in the editorial is that he’s actively fooled (no difficult task?) by his staff and advisers.

    So the question is: why keep him in the Oval Office at all?

  65. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: @Michael Reynolds: And I just thought Michael fat fingered his “S”. Got my word for the day.

  66. MarkedMan says:

    OTB Commentariat: I have shocking evidence that this senior government official mole could actually be one of our own. I just came across this on Talking Points Memo:

    According to newly released documents, obtained by the Guardian via a FOIA request, Trump personally called the acting director of the National Park Service, Michael Reynolds, on the day of his inauguration.

  67. JKB says:

    It occurs to me, with the mole hunt getting underway amongst Washington glitterati, that suddenly “senior administration officials” will be, at least in behavior, enthusiastic supporters of President Trump’s wishes. Even the NY Times’ intrepid op-ed writer wants to keep their job. It will be quite the coup for the journalist or other who ferrets out the usurpers’ identities.

  68. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JKB: Nice that you admit they are all complete idiots. Anyone with a working brain has already left the administration.

  69. Kathy says:

    About the Assad assassination, I see something of a gray area.

    The obvious point against it, is that it would legitimize assassination of national leaders as an accepted policy. That would be terrible, as many countries are capable of doing such things, or at least attempting them.

    On the other hand, in the retaliatory bombing of Libya in the 80s, Qaddafi’s residence was targeted. While national authorities and command and control centers are legitimate targets in time of war, there was no state of war at the time.

    Also, it’s hard. How many bombs were dropped on London and Berlin in WWII? None got Churchill, the king, or the beast of Berlin. For that matter, no one got Saddam in 1991 or 2003, nor bin Laden in 2001.

  70. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: Assasination is explicitly against the law. In fact, that law was passed when it was revealed just how many total clusterf*cks had been instigated by CIA assassinations or attempted assassinations.

  71. Michael Reynolds says:

    @MarkedMan:
    Just remember this: only you can prevent forest fires.

  72. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Kinda puts the lie to the phrase “precision bombing”, doesn’t it?

  73. grumpy realist says:

    @MBunge: Also you don’t seem to know much of history, because if the present White House shenanigans look like anything, the closest historically are the mechanisms of the Byzantine court. (From where we get the description “Byzantine.”)

    As said, you don’t know much of anything, do you? Typical of a Trumpite.

  74. Hal_10000 says:

    @gVOR08:

    Conservative has become a useless and undefined word.

    I like the definition from Allahpundit: today’s conservatism is whatever triggers the libs. And the more it triggers the libs, the more conservatismer it is.

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  75. grumpy realist says:

    opinion column over at The Guardian pointing out how little said anonymous writer is actually risking.

    Don’t try to pretend you’re a bunch of Resistance fighters, because we know you’re not.

  76. Bill says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Don’t try to pretend you’re a bunch of Resistance fighters, because we know you’re not.

    Because as we all know- Resistance is futile.

  77. Kylopod says:

    @Hal_10000:

    I like the definition from Allahpundit: today’s conservatism is whatever triggers the libs.

    I would agree with that definition as it applies to the hardcore right, including Trump’s most fervent supporters. But let’s keep track of how this conversation started: we were discussing Anonymous’s conventional ideological “conservatism,” as revealed in his/her praise for tax cuts and deregulation, in order to contrast it with the Trumpist variety. This is basically the “conservatism” of standard, pre-Trump career Republicans like Paul Ryan or John Boehner. You can make an argument that even this variety of conservatism isn’t truly “conservative.” Personally, I find that kind of argument a bit tiresome, especially when people start waxing nostalgic about Burke and Buckley and “true conservatism.” Let’s just say I’d be comfortable if the GOP came to resemble the major center-right parties in most advanced democracies in the world today, and not the dysfunctional and extreme racist-plutocrat coalition it has become. Until then, I’ll apply the term “conservative” to the tax-cut freaks, because for now they’re the closest we’re going to get to a functioning conservative party, if they finally manage to break free of Trump. First things first.

  78. Tyrell says:

    Breaking news: The anonymous person has just been revealed:
    The cigarette smoking man!

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  79. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mikey:

    What you’re doing (as I suspect you damn well know) is helping the GOP ram a cruel agenda through our system, and rob the American people of their wealth, their representation, and their basic dignity for generations to come, while trying to pin the blame for it on Trump.

    Except that, as Anonymous has already noted, he’s fine with the agenda and believes it is the best course for the nation.

    Gonna take a lot to get rid of this disease.

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  80. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @MBunge:

    he tries to run things at least vaguely like a business

    Dude…have you ever worked in a successful business? ‘Cause I gotta tell you…real businesses don’t need to stiff contractors, or rely on Russian money laundering, simply to stay afloat.
    You aren’t very smart, Bunge…but you should at least try to think things thru…rather than just letting your emotions guide you.

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  81. JKB says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Anyone with a working brain has already left the administration.

    And look at how well things are going. Economy going strong, unemployment at decade low, possible denuclearization of North Korea, better trade deals, Europe starting to think about moving out of the US’s basement, Iran rethinking, etc.

    Apparently, what we needed was for the “smart” people to stop mucking things up.

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  82. JKB says:

    @Kathy: About the Assad assassination

    When this supposedly happened, Putin had formed an alliance with Assad and Iran was working with him as well. So these “resistors” were colluding with Russia, perhaps? Trump certainly wasn’t.

    Russia’s alliance with Assad puts President Vladimir Putin back as a player in the Middle East to offset the influence of the United States, which has many allies in the region. The Iranian government is involved for the same reason: It has many enemies in the Middle East other than Assad and Iraq, a majority Shiite nation like Iran.
    USAToday April 2017

  83. Moosebreath says:

    @Bill:

    “Because as we all know- Resistance is futile.”

    Especially if it is less than 1 ohm.

  84. MarkedMan says:

    I’m originally from Chicago so I consider myself a Bears fan, but I understand they suck and don’t have a chance, barring a miracle or two (or more like 16). But this year, like every year, the local media will interview the coach and he’ll spin a turd up into the best looking piece of jewelry he can pull off, and then declare that they have a real shot. The media presses him a little but they know he’s just doing his job. They might discuss what he says afterward but more as a time filler than as a serious argument. Now, there’s a certain type of fan that can’t abide an outsider cutting down their team and they will argue till they are blue in the face that the coach is right. These guys are fairly obnoxious and they make themselves look like losers but telling off haters is more important to them then being seen as smart. And we have a fair amount of Trumpoids here in the comments that basically have the same philosophy. They know Trump is a disaster but they are not going to let a bunch of outsiders go unchallenged.

    There is another type of fan: the kind that doesn’t understand the coach is going through the motions and instead accepts what he says as god’s truth. Like the kind above they will argue endlessly, but rather than it being obnoxious it’s kind of sad. When a crowd realizes the person really believes this nonsense everyone gets kind of embarrassed for them. I had thought most of our loudest Trumpoids were of the first type, but I’m beginning to think a few of them fall into the second category.

  85. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JKB: Why don’t you apply for a job with the trump admin? You’d fit right in.

  86. Michael Reynolds says:

    @JKB:

    And look at how well things are going. Economy going strong, unemployment at decade low,

    Here’s a graph of the US unemployment rate. Show me the part where Trump saved us.

    possible denuclearization of North Korea,

    Um, what? Lots of things are possible, all your boy did was trade something for nothing. In fact, Trump is such a clown L’il Kim endorsed him today.

    better trade deals

    We have no new trade deals. None. What we have is Mexico laughing up their sleeves and giving Trump marginal bullshit. But the deal is not yet a deal, because: Canada.

    Europe starting to think about moving out of the US’s basement,

    Oh? How so?

    Iran rethinking,

    Evidence? And remember, Hannity is not evidence.

    etc.

    Riiiiight.

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  87. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    But this year, like every year, the local media will interview the coach and he’ll spin a turd up into the best looking piece of jewelry he can pull off, and then declare that they have a real shot.

    Did you ever see an interview with Jim Mora when he was head coach of the Colts? He gets asked about the chances of the team making the playoffs, and he replied “Playoffs? Don’t talk about—playoffs?! You kidding me? Playoffs?! I just hope we can win a game! Another game!”

    He has been mocked for that, but I think that was one of the most honest answers ever in the history of Football.

    There is another type of fan: the kind that doesn’t understand the coach is going through the motions and instead accepts what he says as god’s truth.

    There were reports in 2003 about people in and out of Iraq, surprised that US troops made into Baghdad. They believed Saddam and his propaganda for some reason. But then, too, many people the Bush administration when they said the war was going well.

    That’s one reason a free press is so valuable.

  88. James Pearce says:

    @JKB:

    And look at how well things are going.

    How “well” things are going is debatable, but you do bring up a great point often forgotten by our friends on the left: “how well things are going” is what’s going to decide the election.

    It certainly won’t be decided by a bunch of lefties voguing like Paris really is burning.

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  89. Michael Reynolds says:

    @James Pearce:
    If things are going so well, and that is dispositive, why is Trump stuck at 40% with more people ‘strongly opposed’ than support him?

    And how is it “lefties voguing” when everything we’re discussing is leaks coming from Trump appointees?

    Do you actually read a newspaper? Or is this just what you heard from the guy on the next barstool?

  90. grumpy realist says:

    @JKB: Yeah, we’re going to dump a crapload of money on the economy through tax cuts for the rich and overheat the entire thing, and then pretend that this is a Marvelous Situation.

    Looked at the U.S. deficit lately? The National Debt? The horrible behemoth that your side was screaming up and down about how it was going to destroy us, until your man Trump got into office and now of a sudden it’s a big nothingburger?

    Could you at least TRY to be consistent?

  91. Kathy says:

    Another interesting take on CNN. The title says it all:

    5 reasons the anonymous New York Times op-ed drives Donald Trump so crazy

    Add this worry: If Trump is so transparent and obvious, then it’s no wonder foreign leaders can eat him raw over and over.

  92. wr says:

    @Kylopod: Kushner has been using his — and Ivanka’s — roles in the WH to “persuade” foreign entities to bail out his failing real estate business to the tune of billions. There’s no way he’s turning on the big guy — first, because if Trump goes down there’s no reason for anyone to give him a nickel, second because without Trump’s protection, if this all comes out he’s spending longer in jail than his dad did…

  93. James Pearce says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    If things are going so well, and that is dispositive, why is Trump stuck at 40% with more people ‘strongly opposed’ than support him?

    I said how “well” things are going is debatable. But that the election would be decided on the fundamentals, not emotion. Saying that shouldn’t upset you.

    Where do you even get a newspaper these days?

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  94. MarkedMan says:

    Someone help me out here: didn’t the Pearce persona claim to be a liberal and anti-Trump? Now he messages JKB about “our” friends on the left.

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  95. James Pearce says:

    @MarkedMan: Imagine my horror at discovering that right wing conservatives can, at times, be more reasonable than left-wing liberals….

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  96. Yank says:

    The fact that things are going “well” and Trump’s numbers are in the tank says a lot about his competence.

    I know JKB, Mbunge etc. will just brush off the numbers as liberals being bitter, but Trump’s numbers are terrible among independents as well. And this isn’t like Bill Clinton circa 1999, where he had poor favorabilities, but high approval ratings. Trump’s numbers are just bad all around.

  97. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @JKB:

    And look at how well things are going.

    So…your Dear Leader inherited a strong economy from Obama, has managed not to fvck it up too badly (effects of the massive deficit expansion won’t be felt for a while) and yet he is stilled mired at historically low approval ratings. Them are some pretty shitty coat-tails.
    Plus…do you think it might be a problem when one of your employees calls you incompetent and you can’t narrow it down to less than every single person on your staff?

  98. Kylopod says:

    @James Pearce:

    Imagine my horror at discovering that right wing conservatives can, at times, be more reasonable than left-wing liberals….

    Concern noted.

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  99. gVOR08 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Agreed. but they have abandoned wholesale and I refuse to surrender the term to them.

    Whatever the academics and philosophers said, in practice “conservatism” has come down to preserving and enhancing the wealth and power of the currently wealthy and powerful. Since this is like 0.1% of the electorate, it’s necessary to con enough rubes into voting with them, usually with religion and xenophobia. Both the greedy elites and the blood and soil rubes have generally been called conservatives.

    I’m not disputing your statement that modern Conservatives are not “conservative”, I’m arguing that political Conservatives never have been “conservative”.

  100. MarkedMan says:

    @James Pearce: Poor recovery. But of course, “Our friends on the left” doesn’t leave a whole lot of wiggle room so I suppose you deserve points for trying. And kudos for going right back to the tried and true “Pearce”: ‘Merely by paying attention to this op ed where a senior Trump appointee calls him an amoral idiot, we liberals are playing into Trump’s master plan. Instead we should stop talking about it and instead do this other vague thing that is never actually mentioned!’

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  101. James Pearce says:

    @MarkedMan: Consider the possibilities here: You’re either arguing with a “persona,” or you’re arguing with a person that you called a “persona.”

    What kind of reaction are you expecting exactly?

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  102. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: True in the metaphysical sense (maybe) but he’s identified himself as such, so conservatives are going to need to step up and repudiate him themselves if they don’t like the identification.

    Sort of like he’s not doing with Trump, also.

  103. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JKB: You’re probably too young to remember this, but years ago, the CEO of the publisher of USA Today was asked how to pronounce the name of the parent company–Gannett. He responded “just like our business model, the emphasis in on the ‘net’.”

    From that day forward, I never again considered USA Today as a serious source for news. They are, and always have been, the pre-internet equivalent of click bait. But entertaining and more credible than Trump’s other favorite newspaper, the one published in Florida and distributed at the supermarket checkstand.

  104. MarkedMan says:

    @James Pearce: Pearce, I’m not arguing with you at all. I haven’t argued with you for months. I only comment on your technique.

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  105. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Plus…do you think it might be a problem when one of your employees calls you incompetent and you can’t narrow it down to less than every single person on your staff?

    Ayup, that’s a problem, all right.

  106. CSK says:

    @wr:

    Absolutely. This is the sweetest gig into which Jared ever bumbled. He and Ivanka raked in $72 million last year. Why would he jeopardize that?

  107. An Interested Party says:

    But that the election would be decided on the fundamentals, not emotion.

    Well then the fundamentals must be really bad as the Democrats have a really good chance of retaking the House…

  108. James Pearce says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I haven’t argued with you for months.

    True. No arguments. Just quips.

    @An Interested Party:

    Well then the fundamentals must be really bad as the Democrats have a really good chance of retaking the House…

    By what, five?

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  109. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Pearce: Your act is long past it’s “sell by date”. I suggest you get out of the market even if it’s at a loss.

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  110. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: Concern ignored.

  111. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR08: Touch’e. Can’t argue with truth.

  112. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Name the last true conservative. I can’t. Sucks to be us.

  113. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Gustopher:

    My money is on either Dan Coats or Kirstjen Nielsen

  114. Mister Bluster says:

    @MBunge:..if Trump is repeatedly saying “do X” and “X” never gets done?

    who are you talking about? Trump says “do x” and then says “do negative x” no wait “invade Venezuela” “we can’t do that?” then he says “let’s have a parade!”
    but first “sit up straight at attention Bungles. I demand it of you.”

  115. MarkedMan says:

    @HarvardLaw92: My money is on someone much lower in the food chain. From a NYTimes article on who could be considered a senior administration official:

    At the very least, according to the working definition used by many journalists and sources, the universe of possible senior administration officials probably numbers in the hundreds, at a minimum — deputies, under secretaries, special assistants.

    And given the rather obvious effort to throw suspicion on the Vice President, I would look for someone low level who has a loathing of Mike Pence and thinks they are much cleverer than they really are. Hmmm. Doesn’t really narrow it down in the Trump administration, does it.

  116. Not the IT Dept. says:

    I’m off for the weekend so have to skip to the end but if we’re going to run a pool on who Anonymous is, I’m betting on Gary Cohn.

  117. Barry says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “I don’t know how this ends, either, and there will be sequelae, but we heard that after Nixon would come the deluge and. . . poof. ”

    It took less than 24 months after Dubya left the White House and a country in ruins for the GOP to seize the House and numerous state governments.

  118. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: As it happens, it was ME, and I left the club almost 20 years ago.

  119. george says:

    @James Pearce:

    Economic fundamentals like starting simultaneous trade wars with the EU, China and Canada? While pulling out of TPP just to make sure the trade war really hurts?

    Foreign policy fundamentals like driving decades old allies like much of the EU and Asia into the neutral column (or worse, into the Chinese sphere of influence)?

    Fundamentals like increasing the deficit? On the plus side, so far he hasn’t crashed the Obama recovery yet.

    Although I suspect the Chinese are very happy with Trump’s fundamentals, its hard to argue they’re good for America.

  120. Tyrell says:

    @Kylopod: I had a relative that used to work in the Johnson White House (my informed source!). I couldn’t wait to see him and hear the latest stories; I literally hung on every word. Trump’s sounds like a high school advanced calculus class compared to the things he heard and saw. He also talked a lot about Secretary of Defense McNamara (Mac started the Mustang – Ford’s best idea). I still like President Lyndon Johnson – the president who literally towered over everyone, and the most skilled politician since Henry Clay!
    Read “Lyndon Johnson, Path to Power” (Caro)

  121. James Pearce says:

    @george:

    Although I suspect the Chinese are very happy with Trump’s fundamentals, its hard to argue they’re good for America.

    I’m not arguing that the fundamentals of Trump’s economic policies are actually sound. I’m arguing that these are the arguments that should be made, as opposed to the “Impeachment/Mueller/SDNY” stuff.

  122. Grewgills says:

    James,
    If, as you say, you are left leaning and want the president and his supporters in government voted out of office the better tack for you to take would be to offer your arguments on how to do that, rather than perpetually attacking others on the left you think are doing it wrong.
    People on the left constantly railing at others on the left for making the wrong arguments neither stops the argument you think or wrong, nor does it forward whatever arguments you think are right. So, assuming you are a man or good will, why not try that. Instead of bemoaning people on the left talking about an op-ed written by a conservative attacking the president, stake out your own position. Let us know what you think people should be focusing on and how. What should democrats be saying? How could they better craft their message? I know that’s harder than just saying ”you’re doing it wrong!”, but it is also much more productive. You are constantly berating people on the left for being unproductive, why not try being productive yourself rather than yet again tearing down the people you say are your allies?