In Sidney Lumet's classic 1964 Cold War thriller, a series of escalating miscalculations and mechanical failures causes a group of American Vindicator bombers to believe that World War Three has started. So, in accordance with what they believe their orders to be, they leave their fail-safe points ("Fixed points in the sky on the perimeter of the Soviet Union. The planes will fly to those points and orbit until they get a positive order to go in.") and begin their nuclear bomb run.
As you can imagine, recalling the bombers suddenly becomes the most urgent priority of the United States government.
But there is a problem.
A key part of every flight crew's training has been a clear and unequivocal order to ignore any attempt to turn them back once they've flown past their fail-safe points, no matter what. Once past the point of no return, the very fate of Western civilization depends on treating any recall instructions, no matter how convincing or sincere, as enemy trickery:
Well Donald Trump has been clever enough to figure out the Fox News launch codes, and rich enough to not to care who he nukes.
Fox News: I order you and the other wingnuts to return to Fox News at once!GOP Base: Sir, you trained us to revel in racism and misogyny. You trained us to think that shit's hilarious. You trained us that being rich means being right. You trained us to ignore facts and logic and history. You trained us that anyone who tells us otherwise is a stinking Libtard Socialist or a feminazi or a RINO traitor!Fox News: I know that, but...GOP Base: What you're telling us, we've been specifically ordered not to do!Fox News: Damn it, wingnuts, this is Fox News!/ End Communication/
From Vixen Strangely:
...This is, as I have called this primary before--cuckoo bananas. With a handful of comments directed at Fox News, he's got his followers turned against Megyn Kelly, a smart conservative broadcaster whose centerfold looks and lawyer's instinct have made her pretty popular (and she is receiving an enormous amount of sexist shit right now)and Erickson, an influential conservative blogger who is nobody's idea of a champion of political correctness, might as well be a born-again social justice warrior in the eyes of some Trump folks.Well, um. That escalated quickly....
Quickly, but predictably, which led quickly to the usual, predictable results.
First, Moral Dumpster-Fire and Teevee's Wrongest Human Being -- Bill Kristol -- once again proved that in American media there is literally no way for blood-drunk Conservative perverts like Kristol to fuck-up badly, public, repeatedly and unapologetically enough to be fired from anything ever.
Two big stories now: Trump's obvious implosion, and Hillary's quiet one. Effects may take a while to be visible, but will be devastating.— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) August 9, 2015
(Please direct your incredulity about the continued existence of Bill Kristol on ABC teevee to Jonathan Greenberger)
Second, Donald Trump's capacity to play the American political media like a two-dollar fiddle manifested itself once again in the way they treated him. For starters, New York is the center of the mainstream media galaxy, and Trump is already one of Gotham's longstanding demigods, looming down at its inhabitants from the city's skyline and store-fronts and buses every day. And now Trump has seized control of enough of the GOP to get his hands on the levers that controls the vice grip that the Right has had clamped around the Villager's balls for the last 20 years..
Blend these two exotic liqueurs, shake well, pour over the bones of Lee Atwater what you get was today's Gasbag Calvacade: a Caligulan spectacle in which, just one week after being allowed by the major networks to phone-in a near-full Ginsberg ("Full Phoneberg" ™ driftglass), Trump once again snapped his fingers and ordered up exactly the same privileged access under exactly the same privileged circumstances this week:
Will be doing Meet the Press, This Week and Face the Nation Sunday morning. Enjoy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 9, 2015
.@realDonaldTrump stirred up controversy again last night. He'll talk to @jaketapper tomorrow morning on #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/n7Hvc1cpcF— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) August 8, 2015
Typical of the reaction to the debate and the polls was this exchange between Big Conservative Thinkers, Hugh Hewitt and David Brooks, prompted by Conservative towel boy, Shuck Todd:
It goes without saying that the Big Media Brains of our Very Serious People are completely incapable of facing the GOP as it plainly exists -- the GOP they helped create and with which they were perfectly happy as long as the crazies stayed in the basement, followed orders and did all the heavy lifting. But now that the monster they tinkered together to stomp Liberals to grue and carry them all to power -- a monster their betters has been warning them against building in increasingly panicked tones for years -- has kicked the lab door off its hinges and run amok...they are all flailing around for any-fucking-theory that does not involve them being forced to utter the career-killing sentence, "The Liberals were right all along."
And so right across the board, the Sunday shows were larded with pundits speculatin' nineteen different kinds of bullshit about what's really going on and why:
On ABC, reliable Beltway fingerpuppet, Matthew Dowd, can always be counted on to bring a jug of his Both Siderist home brew to the party...
MATTHEW DOWD, ABC NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Donald Trump, as we've discovered, is very unshamable. He can't be shamed in the course of this. And I'm sorry doesn't seem to be a part of his lexicon. I think here - the - Donald Trump represents a whole group of voters that are totally disinfected from both parties who are sick and tired of the Washington establishment.
And random Republican stooge, Sara Fagen, wanted you to know that it's all just a kookie summer fling.
FAGEN: They are willing to call him out. But this - this just feels like that summer fling in high school that your parents tell you not to do but you can't help yourself. But by the time we get back to school, I think Donald is going to be fading well into - into the background of this race.
Just like that time she and her lady friends went to Paris, France, drank international coffee together and all caught chlamydia from Jean Luc!
Meanwhile. John Heilmann was satisfyingly stunned that Trump's GOP supporters seem somehow immune to reason and prone to rationalizing their idiocies rather than learning a damn thing:
HEILEMANN: Well, you know, George -- I -- you probably remember I did a couple of weeks ago on New Hampshire and did a focus group with people who liked Donald Trump a lot or leaning towards Donald Trump. And I gave them a lot of negative information about Trump, like as if they knew: single-payer health care, donations -- all of that stuff. And they didn't care. They were not moved off their enthusiasm for Trump. In fact, they kept rationalizing, finding it...
And if completely flummoxing the collective wisdom the Beltway wasn't entertaining enough, Trump wisely phoned his performances in (again) thus giving him control over the pace and tempo of every interview, overtalking the host at will and running out the clock with trumpspeak when it suited him.
Over on Face The Nation, it looked something like this:
TRUMP: Well, I have leverage. I do have leverage. And I like having leverage. I'm a businessman. I'm a natural businessman. I have made over $10 billion in net worth.I have some of the great assets of the world. And I do like leverage. But I'm not talking so much in terms. I am right now leading by a lot. It's not just by a little bit. I'm leading by a lot. I'm going against some people that I have great respect for. In many of the cases, I have great respect for them.But I think I'm going to win. I think I have much better energy than they do and I have a much better ability to negotiate with the rest of the world and deal with the rest of the world than they do. So, I just think that having -- I'm leading as a Republican. I want to keep it that way. I would much rather run as a Republican. Running as a Republican is the best way to beat Hillary, who was a terrible secretary of state...DICKERSON: Let me ask...TRUMP: ... and has a terrible track record. And I don't even know if she's going to be able to be in, because what she's done with the e-mails is so ridiculous that it's probably criminal.
TRUMP: Because I'm very much into the whole thing of helping people and helping women.Women's health issues are such a big thing to me and so important. And I have many women that work for me. I was one of the first persons -- people in the construction industry in New York to put women in charge of projects. I have it even today. And I have many women in high positions.I have gotten a lot of credit for that. I have so many women working for me and so many women in high positions working for me. And I have gotten great credit for it.DICKERSON: Is there specific women's issue you're thinking of?TRUMP: Well, no, I just heard Jeb Bush last week blow 53 percent of his vote. This is worse than what Romney did when he blew 47 percent of the vote with his ridiculous statements.I watched Jeb Bush last week talking about women's health issues like they don't exist. I couldn't believe what he said.DICKERSON: So, you think...TRUMP: And I'm exactly the opposite. I will be phenomenal to the women.I want to help women. What Jeb Bush said last week, I thought, was totally out of order. Then he came back a day later and he said, oh, I misspoke.Well, that's an awfully bad thing to misspeak about. I just don't think you misspeak that way. So, I thought what he did was terrible. I heard that statement, and I thought it was terrible.
There were a whole passel of candidates spread across the firmament trying sneak helium from each other's balloons, but frankly none of that interested me. This early in the season, that's all just so much white noise. However, looping back to our friend Shuck Todd for a minute.
Here is Shuck feigning rueful incredulity and smirking contempt with his pal David Brooks over Donald Trump's very bad habit of saying terrible things about people and then refusing to apologize for the terrible things he has said, though he is asked to do so over and over and over again by Wise Beltway Pundits likes of Shuck Todd (rush transcript -- spelling errors are my own):
Shuck Todd: Wha...what you just heard... I mean he...he...doesn't. He seems to have an allergy to apologizing. Ya know, I ... I ... I, ya know, I think we all think we know what type of... I... I... ya know. But it...doesn't. It doesn't seem to apply to him. Voters aren't int...David Brooks: Just listening to that interview it struck me I'm listening to a religious zealot (smirk) and the god he worships is Donald Trump. And anybody who is against the god is a blasphemer who must be cast out of the Inquisition. And so what I think he's done with each of these things is create a fortress around himself...
Longtime readers might remember that not so very long ago. Mr. David Brooks himself made a very fine living saying terrible things about people. Specifically, saying terrible things about people like you and me. In fact, it's fair to say that writing terrible things about people like you and me made it possible for the trivial and mediocre David Brooks to become the wealthy and influential Very Serious Person he is today.
And yet to-date not a single Wise Beltway Pundit who has expressed such exaggerated public mortification at the antics of Donald Trump has ever asked David Brooks to apologize for (or even acknowledge) any of the terrible things Mr. Brooks used to say about people like you and me. In fact, I can personally attest to the fact that on the only recorded occasion when anyone ever managed to ask Mr. David Brooks anything about the terrible things he was once paid to say about people like you and me, Mr. Brooks responded just exactly as you would expect: by casually lying about ever writing any such things, and then quickly changing the subject.
Yes, America's Reproachiest Voice of Civic Morality stood there in the pulpit and lied.
But we're supposed to talk about Donald Trump, and not David Brooks, right?
Because Trump is a scary monster.
A super creep.
Whereas Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable men--