Monday, March 6, 2017

When In Doubt, Shout It Out

Trump advisers meet to talk media strategy.
OK, Wikimedia commons Pinnochios.
Or, are we just a chump for Trump?

The Russia-Trump investigation, as far as I can tell, doesn’t yet lead to a Watergate-style constitutional crisis. Yet. But the current POTUS seems to be trying to push it there with all his might.

A thoughtless pugilist by nature, an apparent bully who only knows to punch back without much regard for nuance, rules or facts—Donald Trump’s way of operating is to deny and dissemble. It’s a characteristic of his inner circle—think of every Kellyanne Conway media interview you’ve ever seen. Ask yourself: When has she given a straight answer to a hard question?

Instead, she diverts by changing the topic. “Why isn’t the media talking about the terrible banana blight and the future of American breakfasts” she replies to some question on the budget or Russia or travel bans or anything of substance.

I totally just made that up. Or did I? Maybe I just learned it’s true. You see, I read it on the internet. Right after I typed it.

The Tweet. And who are the more than 150,000 who "liked?"
Trump uses Twitter the same way Conway uses a media interview—not to reveal, but to obscure. He’s the octopus of Twitter, squirting noxious ink. See what he did Saturday: Are federal investigators getting a bit too close to your inner circle for comfort? Well, that Obama. You know what he did? He put a tapp on me, so hard I had to use two P’s. He’s a tappper. A bad hombre. Congress: If you’re investigating—you must investigate him. Obama and the Trump Tower caper—it’s the biggest hot mess since Pompeii.

Except, it’ isn’t. There’s no “there” there. Cue the fact checkers: Politifact. Factcheck. Washington Post. OK, to be fair, Politifact was debunking the White House defense of Trump's crazy remark—I can only assume they considered the original Tweet too crazy to warrant a fact check.

Trump seems to have “learned” he had been wire tapped the way he learns about everything—not from credible sources, but from his own bizarre right-wing echo chamber. The temptation is to laugh and move on.

White House image of Trump last week talking to Congress.
We trust the Higher Power. We don't trust the Trump.

And yet, there is method to Trump’s deeply disturbing madness.

Trump is doing it again. A travel ban 2.0 came out today. Much of the good work of environmental regulation and global warming research at the federal level is in danger of drying up like Nebraska in a drought. There’s so much going on, so much that is tragic or scary or just plain wrong—and yet we’re tied up in knots over Trump Tower wiretaps that didn’t exist.

Way to go, DJT, master media octopus, you put more ink into the water.

Still, in my heart, I think the country is growing a bit weary and wary of this. If all you do is lie and divert, then eventually you just look small, petty and pointless.