Trumpism watch: Parker says it started with Palin!

MONDAY, MAY 9, 2016

It started long before that:
Donald J. Trump got hammered quite hard in yesterday's Washington Post.

The paper's weekly Fact-Checker post discussed his serial misstatements. Dana Milbank hammered him for his serial obscenity.

George Will savaged him for his recent Lee Harvey Oswald play and for talking about his own penis. In their featured editorial, the editors said that Speaker Ryan could never endorse Trump in good faith.

Kathleen Parker also weighed in. In the face of Trump's bizarre behavior and crazy proposals, she seemed to say that the GOP is sinking beneath the waves.

In closing, she said what you see below. As a history lesson, we think the highlighted passage is highly misleading or wrong:
PARKER (5/8/16): McCain seemingly has forgiven Trump’s remark that he was a war hero only because he was captured. “I like people that weren’t captured,” said the anti-hero who managed to avoid service and once compared his navigation of the sexually risky 1960s to “sort of like the Vietnam era.”

This is the man who would become commander in chief.

Meanwhile, we’re told, the party that adopted Trump without really knowing him is suffering an identity crisis and facing a moment of truth.

Phooey. The GOP began digging its own grave years ago and dropped one foot in when McCain selected Sarah Palin as his running mate. With Trump’s almost-certain nomination, the other foot has followed.
In a famous book from the early 1960s, we learned that black history started "before the Mayflower." We'll offer a similar construct:

Trumpism started long before Palin or Trump.

Trumpism started decades ago. It started in the mainstream press corps, not just in the conservative world or the GOP.

Those columns in yesterday's Washington Post came from the right, the semi-left and the center. But they all came from the mainstream press, which is one place where Trumpism started.

Those columns savaged Trump for his crazy attacks, his ugly insults and his ridiculous factual claims. But these were all basic parts of mainstream press culture long before Candidate Trump or Candidate Palin threw their hats in the ring.

If Trumpism started long before Trump, where can we say it began? In many ways, the 1988 White House campaign involved major breaks from the past. But let's recall a bit of the history which started in 1992:

Trumpism was already underway with The Clinton Chronicles, the crazy, ugly film which detailed the many murders in which the Clintons took part. Jerry Falwell pimped it all around.

This was the Clinton-era version of birtherism. The mainstream press corps largely averted its gaze.

Trumpism was already underway in 1994 when Rush Limbaugh tried to tie first lady Hillary Clinton to the death of Vince Foster. The mainstream press looked away.

In 1992, Gennifer Flowers held a crazy press conference to discuss her torrid, twelve-year affair with Bill Clinton. When her essay appeared in the National Enquirer, it was filled with embarrassing factual errors.

Basic parts of her thrilling story were embarrassingly wrong. (She earned hundreds of thousands of dollars for her thrilling tale.) It also turned out that Flowers had made a string of bizarre claims about her personal life and her career.

But so what? By 1998, the mainstream press had decided to ignore all that. During the year of Lewinsky, they rehabilitated Flowers, vouching for the obvious accuracy of her wonderful claims.

As a result, Flowers went on Hardball to spend a half hour discussing the Clintons' many murders. Even as they vouched for Flowers, the press corps averted its gaze from this disgraceful travesty. Meanwhile, Flowers' half hour on Hardball had been so crazy that she was booked to do a full hour on Hannity & Colmes, where her conduct was even more disgraceful.

The press corps looked away. Trumpism was now an obvious part of their own appalling culture.

In early 1999, the mainstream press corps finally adopted a leadership role in the growth and spread of Trumpism. They began inventing crazy claims about Candidate Gore, Clinton's chosen successor.

(Al Gore said he invented the Internet! Al Gore hired a woman to teach him how to be a man!)

Fresh from gushing over Flowers, Chris Matthews played the leading role in this deranged twenty-month war. By now, mainstream "journalists" had become the leading purveyors of the growing Trumpism. They only relinquished this leading role when Trump, the real thing, came along.

Are ugly, disordered insults a defining part of Trumpism? During this entire period, Maureen Dowd was the industry leader.

For our money, Dowd's insulting columns in 2004 about Judith Steinberg, Howard Dean's wife, represented the bottom of this particular barrel. But her gong-show insults were routine throughout the period, although her bosom pal Matthews wasn't far behind.

(Gore is "a man-woman," Matthews often said. "Al Gore would lick the bathroom floor to become president!" In September 2000, Matthews formally apologized for the second of those repeated insults. At that time, Candidate Gore was pulling away in the polls.)

By the midpoint of the last decade, we liberals were formally involved in creating this noxious culture. Keith Olbermann would bring Michael Musto, his smutty friend, on the air to savage The Others, especially young blond women.

As became clear in the "Journolist" debacle, leading liberals were talking about Olbermann's "misogyny" during this period. But they were only willing to do so in private. In public, they shut their traps about the Trumpism which was now in their midst.

Once Barack Obama reached the White House, birtherism began taking hold. It was the Obama-era equivalent of the Clinton murder tales.

In 2011, a certain famous figure became the nation's birther king. Trumpism finally had its name, though it had been active for decades.

So far, we've only discussed the "ugly insult/crazy attack" aspect of Trumpism. Concerning the crazy factual claims which are another key part of this lunatic culture, they too had long been a part of mainstream press corps culture.

Long before Trump, the mainstream press corps played active and passive roles in the spread of all kinds of nonsense and disinformation concerning major policy questions. For our money, the steady stream of disinformation about the Social Security trust fund is the all-time classic example, but there are plenty of others.

"The money isn't there—we've already spent it!" "The trust fund is nothing but a bunch of worthless IOUs!" For decades, voters were misled in this carefully scripted way. Journalists played active roles or averted their gaze, concerning this and concerning a range of major policy topics.

Black history started "before the Mayflower?" Trumpism started long before Palin or Trump came along.

It got its start within the guild of those who are now assailing Trump. Trump took their own culture and ramped it up. For unknown reasons, these mainstream Trumpists seem angry to see him take the whips from their hands.

Sometimes, history takes a long time. The culture called Trumpism got its start long before Trump.

33 comments:

  1. You Can't Make Them UpMay 9, 2016 at 11:45 AM

    Our press, laughable -- if one can stop crying, that is.

    Still, what justifiably more worries our most predictable commenters is the duration of the awful Bob Somerby's teaching career.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our most reliable commenter usually engages in turning Bob Somerby's sweet hay into strawmen.

      There do seem to be some who suggest Bob's teaching career symbolizes the critique he often makes of the press corps...totally inexperenced youth entrusted with tasks for which they have neither experience or even academic credentials with the subject matter.

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    2. Somerby has never been a supporter of Teach for America and he has spoken out specifically against Rhee's promotion of it and her inflation of its success. It may be that his experiences as an underprepared new teacher in Baltimore's inner city schools gave him the understanding to challenge Rhee and the school reform movement (which has argued in favor of relaxing teacher credentialing and bringing untrained Ivy league grads and working professionals into teaching jobs).

      Most of the new teachers recruited by Teach for America, and most new teachers in general, quit the profession because it is difficult, especially without proper training and ongoing mentorship and help with problems. Somerby obviously learned how to be effective in his classroom because he stayed for 10 years. Anyone who has taught knows that you don't stay if you cannot be effective because poor classroom management and teaching skills make the job hell. You get good at the job or you get out of the profession. If Somerby left after 10 years it was for some other reason than competence (usually it is burnout or lack of money or job uncertainty or frustration with administration or desire to do something else creative).

      When the trolls here attack Somerby, they join the many voices attacking teachers these days. With the coming crisis-level teacher shortage emerging from the budget turmoil and layoffs of the last decade, you might want to rethink that. What young people are going to want to become teachers under these circumstances? If you think we can do without good teachers, go back a little further and ask yourselves why so many credulous people are jumping on Trump's bandwagon and where their critical thinking skills went.

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    3. "When the trolls here attack Somerby, they join the many voices attacking teachers these days."

      Hardly. But they do join the many voices who probably heckled Bob from the comedy stage to the blogosphere.

      Delete
    4. Bob's Ascot KisserMay 9, 2016 at 9:26 PM

      @ 2:36 is so right on.

      Criticizing Bob Somerby is the same as criticizing all teachers, which is the same as criticizing education, which is the same as criticizing America. No wonder no one wants to teach in America.

      I don't worry about 2:36's critical thinking skills, even if Teach of America didn't have anything to do with why Bob Somerby decided to pursue a life of comedy and musing instead of exercising the best classroom management in all of Baltimore.

      Delete
  2. Did you forget the awful "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" Whose obvious and dis[roven lies were repeated time and again. Beginning in, of all places, the Boston Globe.

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    Replies
    1. That happened after the War on Clinton-Gore.

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  3. Bob continues to over-defend the Clintons, in this case by omission. Nothing Trump has done was as crude and immature as a President having oral sex in the oval office. If this episode had been put in a novel, it would have been mocked as utterly unbelieveable.

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    Replies
    1. Trump does crude things in public. Clinton's actions were private, between two consenting adults. Even Monica Lewinsky would not have revealed what happened if she had not been illegally wire-tapped in a private phone conversation by someone she considered a friend. Republicans made this public, not Bill Clinton.

      The White House is where the president works but it is also his home. This idea that there is something sacred about the oval office is silly. The gravity comes from what happens there during historic events, not from the room itself. Having sex in the office happens a lot and sex itself is neither crude nor immature, unless you are a Puritan (or hypocrite with a political agenda).

      Trump, telling people on the air that he would have sex with his daughter, or that his baby girl has sexy legs, or referring to prominent women as dogs, that is crude and disgusting.

      Despite his flaws, Bill Clinton has not been accused of raping his wife. He has stayed married his entire life to the same woman, not engaged in a series of philandering marriages then abandoning one woman for another when each gets older and less attractive. Clinton's marriage is an actual partnership and he clearly respects his wife. That cannot be said of Trump, who considers his wife a reflection of himself, an appendage, a trophy for being wealthy and "powerful." There is no comparison between the two men. Clinton has apologized for his behavior -- has Trump every apologized for anything?

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    2. 3:11 I don't want to go back and debate Bill Clinton's misdeeds. But, according to accusations, Bill, did engage in a series of philandering affairs while married. He has publicly acknowledged having sex once with Gennifer Flowers and having oral sex with Monica Lewinsky. Juanita Broaderick accused Clinton of raping her and Kathleen Willey accused Clinton of groping her.

      Because Bill Clinton is a popular Democrat,an unfortunate aspects of his behavior is to normalize something that had been unthinkable. "Defining deviancy down," is the catchy alliteration coined by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. I'm sorry that it wasn't some hated President who got caught receiving oral sex in the Oval Office. In that case, the President would have shamefully resigned and that behavior would continue to be a no-no.

      Delete
    3. Then why did you bring it up, David?

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    4. Because Anon 3:11 had some false and/or mileading statements. I seem to be pretty well described by this cartoon: https://www.google.com/search?q=cartoon+someone+something+wrong+on+the+internet&espv=2&biw=1745&bih=863&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjA8_yYkM7MAhUC8GMKHVk-CQ0QsAQIKg#imgrc=Eixox29xIno24M%3A

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    5. Just off the top of my head, Trump bragged about the size of his dick in a nationally televised republican presidential debate, attacked a female national cable news anchor of suffering menstrual symptoms during another nationally televised republican presidential debate, and accused Ted Cruz's father of being involved with Lee Harvey Oswald on the day of a republican presidential primary.

      The President didn't "get caught" having oral sex, you sick sex obsessed treasonous bastard. Republicans financed by right wing billionaires brought a trumped up false case against him where a consensual act of sex was revealed in a discovery process that bordered on the insane. A non material fact in civil case that should never have been brought to trial while he was serving his term.

      Donald Trump, the Republican standard bearer - you must be very proud David.

      Delete
    6. David what are 3:11's false and/or misleading statements?

      Please list them and explain how they are as you describe.

      Delete
    7. I will respond to the first paragraph, 8:46. The first paragraph is misleading, because it attempts to justify Clinton's blow jobs in the Oval Office. This atrocious action is "justified" by pointing out that the act was private and consensual. These are true but irrelevant.

      Then it says the act was exposed due to an illegal wire tap. I have no memory of that, but even if true, it's irrelvant.

      Same for the allegtion that it was exposed by Republicans. I don't know that this is true. Whether or not it's true, it's irrelevant.

      Adultory is wrong. Americans look to our President as a moral leader. Sex in the Oval Office is very wrong. It demeans the dignity and respect of the President's position. In fact, I'd say that before Clinton did it, sex in the Oval Office would have been unthinkable.

      BTW according to the feminists, any kind of sex between a supervisor and subordinate constitutes sexual harassment.

      Delete
    8. I think David in Cal should keep his scuzzy nose out of everybody's personal business, especially business that allegedly might have - in whole or in part - occurred between consenting adults 20 or 30 years ago.

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    9. What if it were Hillary giving him the BJ? Is it sex that bothers you or who is doing it, David?

      Adultery is one of those human activities that everyone agrees is wrong but 40% of men do. I think the public normalized it, not Bill Clinton. That's why his favorability was unaffected. Someone doesn't resign their job for taking home a paper clip, even if some obsessive accountant shouts "That's stealing!"

      Delete
    10. Monica didn't work for Bill when they did it. Also, consensual sexual activity is not sexual harassment, by definition.

      Delete
    11. I keep forgetting, Trolling in Cal is an ardent feminist.

      Delete
  4. "Gore is "a man-woman," Matthews often said," writes Bob Somerby in leading his readers back around the tiny circle of a corral he has created to explain everything related to our intellectual culture collapse.

    If Matthews "often" said it, this is only the second time this nourishing carrot of knowledge has been fed by Bob to his Howler readers in the current format. The first time was on Ocotber 1, 2014. Then Bob Somerby gives a date for when this "often" made Matthews comment actually is alleged to have happened.

    "On November 4, 1999, Matthews had called Gore a “man-woman.” On November 5, he had said that Gore “doesn’t have his gender straight.”

    http://dailyhowler.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-houses-of-nantucket-county-chris.html

    Oh, well, just like the editorial writers of the New York Times, Bob now has trouble bringing his pluralization tendencies to heel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excessive literalism is a symptom of brain injury or mental illness (or troll game-playing). You need to include instances where the meaning is the same but the wording differs slightly in your count.

      Delete
    2. Bob's Straw Psychologist is back, once again to argue what is good for the goose is not good for his/her gander.

      Who could imagine Bob's advice being ignored by his most ardent admirer less than a month after Bob offered it as a major lesson in defense of the flawed Hillary Clinton:

      "We're not sure when we've seen a matter of substance get spun in so many ways by so many spindrift people.

      In our view, the most ludicrous aspect of this pseudo-discussion involves the heavy focus on something Hillary Clinton said on one occasion, in 1996, twenty years ago. In today's featured editorial, the New York Times helps feed this remarkable frenzy through a traditional play:

      NEWS YORK TIMES EDITORIAL (4/13/16): Mrs. Clinton has said she regrets her past statements promoting the crime bill as a way to bring “to heel” the era’s young “super-predators.”

      There it is—the power of pluralization! One past statement from 1996 might seem a bit slight as a spur to furious discussion. For that reason, let's stick an "s" on the end! Let's turn one statement into "past statements," with a good solid "s" on the end!"

      Bob Somerby April 13, 2016

      As you often display @ 3:12, "repetitiveness is us Howler reader's proud badge of stupidity." Or something with seemingly the same meaning.

      Delete
    3. Your accusation that Somerby pluralized only works if you do a very limited exact search on words you chose, ignoring variations in wording with the same meaning.

      Delete
    4. And that is precisely the only way it "works" for Somerby, too.

      Delete
  5. Hey, Bob. That 2000 election sure sounds interesting. Why don't you write a book about it?

    ReplyDelete
  6. David in CalMay 9, 2016 at 5:43 PM

    3:11 I don't want to go back and debate Bill Clinton's misdeeds. But, according to accusations, Bill, did engage in a series of philandering [LOL!!! No debate here. Will you be here ALL WEEK? /rimshot]

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think David in Cal should keep his scuzzy nose out of everybody's personal business, especially business that allegedly might have - in whole or in part - occurred between consenting adults 20 or 30 years ago.

      Delete
  7. AnonymousMay 9, 2016 at 6:34 PM

    Hey, Bob. That 2000 election sure sounds interesting. Why don't you write a book about it?

    [Why don't you?]

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because I'm not nearly as smart as the Havard-educated Somerby.

      Why, if he put all this thoughts into a book about a campaign that happened 16 years ago, I'm sure publishers would line up with huge deals, and it would sell in the millions.

      Delete
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