As we wait for You-Know-Who's war...


In our tribe, it's mirth all around:
Michael Gerson asked an excellent question in yesterday's Washington Post.

He also wrote an interesting column. His question came at the start of the column, which carried this headline:

"Tribal truths and the lies that bind."

In the heart of his column, Gerson explored the way two warring tribes—one of the right, one of the left—sift all factual claims through rigid tribal filters. He's harder on the tribe of the right than he is on the tribe of the left.

Gerson's whole column is well worth reading. But as he started, he asked a good question about Donald J. Trump's latest ridiculous bundle of claims:
GERSON (3/24/17): It must be confusing to President Trump that the political system, the media and a majority of voters have suddenly called him on a deception, on a lie. It has seldom, if ever, happened before.

It did not seem to matter when he claimed to have evidence that President Barack Obama was born abroad; or when he insisted that crowds of American Muslims celebrated 9/11 in the streets; or when he said that the murder rate was the highest in half a century; or when he claimed the largest electoral-vote victory since President Ronald Reagan; or when he asserted that massive voter fraud cost him a popular-vote win; or when his press secretary claimed the largest inaugural crowd in history.

What about this particular accusation—that Obama ordered the bugging of Trump Tower—was finally too difficult for the body politic to swallow? How was this different from the maggoty meals that preceded it?
Gerson referred to "deceptions" and "lies." For ourselves, we'd be inclined to stick with "ridiculous falsehoods" (or "claims").

That said, Gerson was asking an excellent question:

At least since this time in 2011, Donald J. Trump has emitted a long string of "maggoty" claims. Why was this latest claim "finally too difficult for the body politic to swallow?"

Why were all those earlier groaners tolerated in the way they were? Why did this latest absurdity "finally" produce this degree of rebuttal?

That was an excellent question! In exploring the answer, Gerson considers American history dating back eight years. For ourselves, we'd extend that pitiful history back a great deal farther, at least to 1992.

We liberals! We've been tolerating manifest bullshit for at least the past twenty-five years. Last November, an astonishing price was "finally" paid for our many long naps in the woods.

In the wake of last November's election, our hapless, pitiful, slumbering tribe finally began its heroic "resistance." That's the term we now apply to ourselves in settings like the Maddow Show, where we're applauded each night for our heroic push-back.

KA-CHING! Tribal pandering of that type tends to produce strong ratings.

In the meantime, sad! We're being lionized by a self-adoring corporate stooge who mugged her way through the last election, avoiding every difficult topic, failing to challenge our journalistic elites, failing to spread a loud alarm about what might be happening.

Maddow mugged and clowned and played and self-adored and avoided. Members of our current "resistance" continued to nap in the woods.

Truly, our pitiful tribe has been remarkably hapless over a long stretch of time. We've tolerated decades of bullshit, dating back to the tales about the Clintons' many murders and Candidate Gore's endless lies.

In 2012, we tolerated all that shit about what Susan Rice supposedly said, thereby producing Benghazi. "Finally," we've begun to fight back, now that it may be too late.

Has our "resistance" started too late? This morning, the snark is general over the liberal world about yesterday's health care failure.

At one site, we've found a major blogger enjoying some LOLOLOLOL. Elsewhere, we found a compilation of the snarky tweets which were issued yesterday by some of our dumber members of Congress.

Why do we get to snark today? Because Donald J. Trump's "health plan" went down. Also, of course, for a second reason:

Because our president, Donald J. Trump, hasn't yet started his war.

For today, we'll leave it at that. But Gerson asked a very good question, even if his historical range was slight.

We liberals! We've tolerated "flights of fancy" for the past twenty-give years. No accusation has been so poisonous or so dumb that our self-impressed liberal tribe was willing to rise and fight back.

As Gerson notes, Donald J. Trump's latest flight—his ridiculous blizzard of wiretap claims—has occasioned extended push-back. Why has this flight been different from all other flights? Gerson asked a very good question, even if his historical range was limited.

Next week, we'll examine the way our hapless tribe helped pave the way for Donald J. Trump's upcoming war, the one he hasn't yet started.

Today, we liberals are happily laughing it up. We're laughing it up because, in the wake of our ultimate meltdown last year, Donald J. Trump, our American president, hasn't yet started his war.

It's LOL all over our world. As in so many earlier days, we're perhaps failing to look ahead to where this highly dangerous gong show may in fact be going.

Liberals, let's laugh it up and enjoy this day. This has been our tribal custom for the past twenty-five years!

Coming next week: Who the Sam Hill are Those People? Also, Who are We?


  1. Way to go, Bob. You dug up the quote that supports you.
    Former Bush speechwriter Gerson is certainly an expert on what a President should say to the people. Here's a few classic examples. Some of us may even remember them.
    Michael Gerson quotes:
    “Who has been the most polarizing new President of recent times? Richard Nixon? Ronald Reagan? George W. Bush?” Gerson asks in a series of non sequitur queries. “No,” he writes, “that honor belongs to Barack Obama.”

    “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

    In their new book Hubris, Michael Isikoff and David Corn write that it was Gerson who --
    • inserted references to the yellowcake-from-Niger tale into various Bush speeches, including the 2003 State of the Union.
    • helped prepare Secretary of State Colin Powell's dishonest and bellicose speech to the U.N.
    • conceived Team Bush's trademark paranoid "soundbite" warning of a potential Iraq nuclear program: "The first sign of a smoking gun might be a mushroom cloud."

    1. Well done.

      "Gerson referred to "deceptions" and "lies." For ourselves, we'd be inclined to stick with "ridiculous falsehoods" (or "claims")."

      It takes less than a minute's online search to learn that the murder rate is not the highest in forty years. To claim that it is, is a lie. Why is The Howler trying to soften a lie by using weasel words?

    2. I think that it is important to point out that so much of what our new President has said and keeps on saying is ridiculous. As far as I'm concerned, the new focus on calling him a "liar" is not so awful as TDH seems to keep harping on. But he is correct - accurately so much of what /trump says is objectively ridiculous.

  2. Donald Trump has discovered the importance of bipartisan cooperation. Perhaps he could show his good faith by renominating Merrick Garland!

  3. Bill Maher had Dr. Timothy Snyder of Yale on his show talking about how to combat tyranny. He made it very clear that none of this is a laughing matter, that we must preserve truth and not succumb to the everything's relative and truth is what we want it to be approach taken by Trump and others, especially on the right. He said we must defend our institutions, not assume that they will protect us. We must protect them because they are what make us a democracy.

    These are important messages that should direct our resistance toward what matters. It is trivial right now whether we urge Trump toward Medicare for all (Bernie's latest cause) or try to maintain Obamacare. Of utmost urgency is that we protect the courts and the functioning of Congress and our rule of law so that Trump's defiance of it does not weaken our government to the point that he can become dictator (simply by ignoring the laws he does not wish to follow). So we need to support Schiff and Comey (yes, Comey) and our investigative body, support our hearing process, support the courts who are ruling on Trump's excesses, and support our elected members of congress.

    I agree with Snyder that we need to stop laughing at Trump and take our current situation seriously. There is nothing funny about Trump or what he is doing with our government.

    1. Snyder also said it is too easy to adapt to changes. He said we must define ourselves and stick to who we are in the face of pressures to adapt.

      I am a person who considers Trump's behavior abhorrent. That is who I am. I will not change my view of his pussy-grabbing just because he becomes President and other people go along with him, accept his behavior as OK in some way. That means, I am not going to accept that those who voted for Trump had valid reasons. I cannot understand how anyone could vote for a man who blatantly committed sexual assault and bragged about it. He belongs in jail, not in the White House. This is where my line is drawn.

      This is a man who inappropriately patted his own daughter's rump on stage, on TV, and she pretended it was normal. And people here think she has not been molested!

      Sacrificing common decency is a first step in the loss of important values necessary to preserving our democracy.

  4. Joe Biden thinks he would have been president if his son hadn't died. He assumes (1) he could have beaten Hillary, and (2) he could have beaten Bernie, and (3) he could have beaten the very special Russian surprises concocted just for him. What planet does he live on? Most people keep their fantasy life under wraps. There is nothing to be gained from such speculation and he is annoying potential voters (if he plans to run in 2020, when he will be 78, he will be too old and will face new opposition).

  5. Trump indeed has already started his war as he hits a record high for civilian deaths from airstrikes, his war against muslim civilians, including children:

    Senator McCain, the feckless politician that converted to a neocon in the run up to his first failed presidential run:

    unhelpfully offers this incoherent word salad, amongst which he claims Trump has given "commanders in the field much greater latitude as far as military operations":

    However, the White House says there have been no changes in any current authorities or rules of engagement, although this article details how this is in dispute:

    Risibly Trump's White House offered this memo, blustering demanding we uh,well continue Obama's policy but with less regard to civilians:

    The conflict in Syria, sparked by competing interests in gas pipelines and a concerted effort by Bush's State Department:

    has led to confused and odd policy partners. Recently Trump has wanted to follow Hillary Clinton's advice and set up refugee safe zones within Syria:

    US Syrian policy has become quite murky under Trump and appears up for grabs.

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