Today in Poor Defenses

Writing at Mediate, Joe Bielle has a piece entitled:  President Trump Deserves Credit For Taking On Bullies Like Mika Brzezinski

Make no mistake, Donald Trump’s supposedly vicious attacks are always in response to vicious attacks against him. He does not retaliate with personal attacks against people who simply question his policy proposals.

First, what policy proposals?

Second, in all seriousness, vague statements about how great health care and the economy is going to be is not definable as “policy proposals.”

Third, I am thinking that “Lyin’ Tedn” “Low Energy Jeb,” and John McCain (to name three) might dispute the notion that Trump only fights back against people who attack him viciously.  Or, for that matter, I guess that telling the president to read the Constitution is a “vicious attack” (see, Khan, Khzir).   None of these examples (like trying to link Ted Cruz’s father to the assassination of JFK) could be be linked to a policy-based rebuttal, to put it kindly. Nor is, I would note, tweeting ridiculous anti-CNN internet memes.

Fourth, criticism by TV news hosts are not “vicious attacks.”

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. CSK says:

    And I suppose that doing a vile impersonation of a reporter with a physical disability (which the reporter appears to have overcome with great courage and tenacity) constitutes taking the high road.

    There is no end to Trump’s loathsomeness, is there?

  2. @CSK: There are so many it is hard to keep track.

  3. Gustopher says:

    I think Mika Brezinski could take Donald Trump in a fight.

    Either wrestling, as he seems fond of, or a bare knuckled brawl in an alley a couple blocks away from Trump Tower, using whatever they can find on the ground or in the dumpsters as makeshift weapons.

    It’s really the only way to solve this dispute.

  4. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Was in Texas this past week, sitting with two Trump Voters. Their conversation…

    #1 – Well we have 4 more year s to make money until the Democrats get in and make all kinds of regulations.

    #2 – you know, he’s making it tough for us…

    #1 – I voted for him

    #2 – I voted for him too…

    #1 – He’ll quiet down after a year and get down to business.

    #2 – I’m sure he will, Absolutely.

    Yep, he’ll become presidential…

    Any time now.

    GOP: For SHAME !!!!!

  5. CSK says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    I’m amused by their confidence that Trump will “quiet down after a year and get down to business.”

    No. Trump is, God help us, Trump. Hostile space invaders could land on The Mall, a plague of locusts could ravage the midwestern grain fields, an earthquake might turn Phoenix, Arizona into a beach town, Manhattan could be nuked, and Florida hit by an 800 foot tsunami, and Trump will be Tweeting about bleeding women.

  6. Janis Gore says:

    You know what worries me?

    I remember the summer of Gary Condit’s girlfriend’s murder. Cable is carrying on in its 24/7 way, and then a beautiful morning in Concordia Parish, LA my mother calls me and asks, “Do you you know what’s happening?”

  7. CSK says:

    Wasn’t Trump the guy who once said that it didn’t matter what they wrote about you as long as you had a young and beautiful piece of ass?

  8. An Interested Party says:

    Yet another odious byproduct of this pathetic buffoon in the White House—obsequious toadies defending the Bozo-in-Chief…he has about as much of a connection to policy proposals as he does to the truth, good taste, and discretion…

  9. dazedandconfused says:


    I suspect the Republican leadership has not asked him to step down only because they believe he will sign anything they put in front of him. His presidency may be hanging by that thread.

  10. CSK says:


    I suspect you’re right. They know he won’t (because he probably can’t) read a document, and that even if he could, he wouldn’t understand anything in it. Why do you think McConnell had that smile on his face the other day? He knows he’s dealing with a gibbering idiot.

    What they have to worry about, from their standpoint, is Bannon or Ivanka or Jared getting to him before they can slip the paper under his nose.

  11. reid says:

    The only question I have for Trump defenders is: would you be saying this if the president was Obama? We all know the answer, of course. Shameful.

  12. Kari Q says:


    I read Redstate and other conservative sources frequently, and the response would be something like this:

    “Obama once flipped off McCain, the media hates conservatives, and anyone who doesn’t think Trump is doing the awesomest job ever is brainwashed by the msm.”

    Or words to that effect.

  13. reid says:

    @Kari Q: I believe you. The propaganda runs deep. It makes me pessimistic about our future.

  14. CSK says:

    @Kari Q:

    The contributors at Red State such as Caruso and Wright don’t seem to care much for Trump. Some of the reader/commenters love him.

    The really devoted Trump-slobberers hang out at (someone there today called him, without irony, “a towering genius”), The Gateway Pundit (which now has a White House press credential, ffs), Breitbart, and The Conservative Treehouse. These are crackpot blogs, not news purveyors.

    The openly racist and neo-Nazi sites, who adored Trump initially, are getting a little antsy with him because he hasn’t come down hard enough on blacks, Jews, Mexicans, and Muslims.

  15. Gustopher says:

    Trump bores me.

    Same old show, over and over. I get that he’s an offensive creep, but couldn’t he start creeping in new and innovative ways? Isn’t that why he brought Steve Bannon on board?

    Fail at policy, deny reality, service the Russians, and then follow it with an offensive tweet. It’s numbing after a while. At least he doesn’t seem to be enjoying it any more than the rest of us.

  16. Kari Q says:


    Indeed, there are many at Redstate who do not care for him and have no illusions about how much damage he is doing. I mentioned it because it is a place where his supporters and critics respond to one another frequently without the discussions becoming nothing more than name calling and personal attacks.

    I don’t want to read those other sites you mention. I have a general idea of what’s there. I don’t think I’d be a better person for subjecting myself to it directly.

  17. Janis Gore says:

    @Gustopher: Yo.

  18. bandit says:

    Too bad you lost and keep on losing crybaby B!tChez

  19. @Gustopher:

    Trump bores me.

    That is how I thought of Trump before he ran for the presidency, let alone was elected. When he as, at best, a gaudy B-list celebrity I found him tiresome. He was good, only, for those visits to Lettermen wherein Dave would lob jokes at him (and even that, over time, became meh).

    But I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that he is president and what that says about the long-term health of the US government and, worse, what it means about the GOP and its voters.

  20. @Steven L. Taylor:

    I wrote this

    and, worse, what it means about the GOP and its voters.

    And then I read @bandit:

    Too bad you lost and keep on losing crybaby B!tChez


  21. CSK says:


    What exactly did you win? You got a malignant buffoon lumbering around the Oval Office playing adolescent games on Twitter. You think he’s on your side? Guess what? He thinks you’re garbage, just like all the rest of the “little people” he suckered into voting for him. Useful garbage, but garbage nonetheless.

    Biiiiig win, dude. Congratulations.

  22. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    But I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that he is president and what that says about the long-term health of the US government and, worse, what it means about the GOP and its voters.
    [emphasis added]

    And THAT is the real problem.

  23. Gustopher says:

    @CSK: He won the fact that you are unhappy.

    The likelihood that Trump will prove worse for Trump-voters than non-Trump-voters (TrumpCare will put a huge burden on rural hospitals, for instance) is a minor consideration when he knows that libtards are upset.

  24. Kari Q says:

    I almost included a “He won, you lost, get over it!” comment when discussing what Trump supporters would say, but I know someone would come along to supply that.

    One of the saddest thing about this situation is realizing that a large percentage of Americans hate anyone who they identify as “them” more than they love anything, including their own families. Any damage done is acceptable, as long as the right people are upset by it. I knew that they hated, I just underestimated the depth of that hatred.

  25. Kari Q says:

    @Kari Q:

    Follow up to my own comment:

    The hatred is why I have always tuned out any calls to appeal to rural voters. There’s no reason to keep trying to persuade them to vote for Democrats, they simply hate us. Full stop.

    I had hoped that the well-being of themselves, their family, their communities would be enough to convince them to work with the Democrats even if they didn’t like them, but what I have realized in the past six months is that even life and death is not enough to overcome that hatred.

  26. Not the IT Dept. says:

    Kari: you’re making the media’s mistake of thinking these people have been neglected and overlooked by our society, when in fact they’re the most pandered to group going back to Reagan’s election in 1980. It’s been a slow descent through the first iteration of MAGA, then the saying pledge of allegiance, then flag lapel pins, then flag-burning, then support the troops, then the second iteration of MAGA, all with a strong undertone of born-again Christianity, anti-abortion, pro-gun propaganda.

    It’s been so many decades since they voted their self-interest they don’t recognize it anymore.

  27. Facebones says:

    @Kari Q: There was a comment on the Balloon Juice blog, which I will try to quote here:

    There is a significant percentage of Americans who would be content to live in a box under the freeway overpass and roast a pigeon on a curtain rod so long as they were secure in the knowledge that their neighbors did not have a box or a pigeon or a curtain rod.

    Forget trying to improve the situation for everyone, just make sure others are worse off.