MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2019
Why derangement works: We had a brief moment of hope when we read this featured headline on today's front page at Slate:
"Does Trump Even Realize He's Done Anything Wrong?"
Good lord! It almost sounded like Dahlia Lithwick was going to consider the possibility that something is seriously wrong with Donald J. Trump in the general area of mental illness, mental health or cognitive ability. Maybe she'd even spoken to some competent specialist who had brought some specialized knowledge to bear on this general question.
Could Donald Trump be a "sociopath?" Do people so afflicted have the ability to know when they're doing something wrong, possibly something heinous?
We'd love to see an appropriate specialist discuss such obvious questions. Lithwick spoke to no such person, and the press corps never will.
At present, Trump is engaged in dangerous, deranged attacks on the still-anonymous whistle-blower. He's also making dangerous statements about Rep. Schiff. We wonder if a specialist could shed any light on such relentless behavior.
In our view, the press corps simply isn't sharp enough to tackle such a question. Then too, there are the three million ways they keep repeating, and reinforcing, the various Trump talking points.
At present, the talking points in question most directly affect Candidate Biden. As we've stated in the past, we regard him as a terrible candidate in a field of terrible candidates.
That said, the way the cable corps keeps giving wide berth to the president's points threatens Biden's candidacy with annihilation. It also helps us see how bogus claims about more competent candidates gained such wide berth in the past.
On cable, anchors constantly play tape of Trump making unfounded or blatantly bogus claims without explaining—preferably in advance of playing the tape or reading the tweet—that the statement in question is unfounded, bogus or false.
Beyond that, you can't make a statement like this without undermining the reach of the truth:
"Trump was asking the Ukrainian government to dig up information/dig up dirt on Biden."
Inevitably, that statement tends to imply that there actually is "information" to be dug up, and that Trump wants the Ukrainians to produce real "information"—actual information, information that's actually accurate.
In truth, it's highly likely that Trump has been hoping to push the Ukrainians to produce bogus claims about Biden. Pundits keep saying that Trump has been seeking "information" without articulating this less flattering possibility.
Unless Trump is in the grip of some type of psychiatric derangement, that possibility seems very strong. Our pundits don't seem to be up to the task of addressing either of these possibilities. Again and again, they repeat Trump's claims about Biden, then move quickly on.
In the article whose headline filled us with hope, Lithwick calls the current political situation "Stupid Watergate." As we read her disappointing effort, we glumly said this: