Part of my occasional series pointing out that Republican Never Trumper critiques of Donald Trumper amount to literally nothing more than the longstanding Liberal critique of the GOP, ripped off wholesale and re-marketed for a huge profit as brilliant epiphany.
From The Bulwark yesterday:
Donald Trump Is Political Meth
by JONATHAN V. LAST JULY 19, 2019 1:41 PM
Yesterday I trotted out my theory that Donald Trump is a symptom of where America is as a country, not a cause.
Reader E.P. wrote in to take the other side of that:
I go back and forth as to how much Trump is a symptom vs. a cause. You’re certainly right that a healthy republic wouldn’t let him get anywhere near the presidency. On the other hand, I’m reminded of a quote whose origin I can’t seem to find: “A man may drink because he is wretched, but he becomes even more wretched because he drinks.” Trump has taken a sick culture and made it even worse.
I see Trump as a symptom so powerful that it becomes its own cause, kind of like a political hard drug. Let’s pretend that Trump is political meth. (Heroin is a more timely analogy, but meth is perhaps more closely associated with rural whites and—like Trump—it makes you want to fight people.)...
First, Donald Trump is not a "symptom of where America is as a country".
Donald Trump is a symptom of where the GOP is as a party, and where it has been for decades.
And second, I don't know who Jonathan V. Last is, but I do wish he'd stay the hell out of my pockets. This is from me, more than a decade ago:
Understanding the Right #1I go on like that at some length :-)
The last lie a junkie tells himself isn't "I’m not an addict."
The last lie a junkie tells himself is "My being a addict doesn't matter."
And in the Conservative Crack House of Many Doors, Ronald Reagan was that first cocktail. The first line of coke. The first needle. The first "Holy Mother of God!” WOWGASM that shotguns right through the blood/brain barrier, reformats your entire ethical hard drive, and scrimshaws a brand new Prime Directive on the inside of your skull.
Listen to any aging wingnut sighing and jerking sadly off to a tattered photo of Saint Ronnie -- despite the fact that the catastrophes we are now reaping were sown by his ruinous ideology -- and you can hear every addict who ever lived pining for that first Perfect High. The one they spend the rest of their days chasing, regardless of the size of the debts they run up or the ruined lives they leave in their wake.
Clinton? Objectively, Clinton qualifies as the greatest Center/Right President in history, and with balanced budgets, GATT, welfare reform, NAFTA, DOMA, record surpluses, foreign and domestic terrorists brought to book, and an actual military victory, he arguably delivered to the wingnuts more of everything they ever said they wanted than anyone else.
And they hated him for it.
Because Clinton was mere addiction maintenance delivered in measured doses under adult supervision: all policy-wonk that wasn’t cut with that industrial-waste-grade bigoted, psychotic bloodlust that gives Conservatism its wild, freebasing edge. Clinton was methadone, and for the hardcore lifestyle junkie, that shit is for babies.
And Dubya? Dubya was meth with a ketamine chaser delivered hammer-and-anvil directly to the lizard brain.
Dubya was 40 million Pig People tired of the hard, fussy job of being a tolerant, powerful democracy finally once-and-for-all blowing America’s family inheritance on an eight-year, blood-drunk bender.
Dubya was the United States crawling through dumpsters at our national soul’s midnight, killing anything that moves, licking out the contents of random baggies, hoping the little white flakes clinging to the plastic is crank and not rat poison, and waking up the next day -- that horrible, horrible sun-also-rises morning after -- broke and twitchy, arguing over what more they can sell off to keep the party going and who they can blame for their gone-to-shit lives...
Finally, for the benefit of future historians, at the time I was making myself even more of an unhirable media pariah by writing stuff like this and giving it away gratis on my blog, The Bulwark did not exist. Back then, it was The Weekly Standard, which kept an entire staff of writers, editors, artists and office support gainfully employed by running paeans to glories of the Republican party, long screeds about what a bunch of misbegotten, America-hating, terrorist-lovers Liberals like me were, and cover stories like this:
And so it goes.
Behold, a Tip Jar!