Republicans Have a Donald Trump Problem

Tomorrow the open hearings begin. Shit will get real, I hope.

The headline of this post was triggered by a Byron York column headlined “ANALYSIS: Democrats have a Colonel Vindman problem” in the Washington Examiner. I’ll let you search for it if you really want to read it, but it’s full of York’s usual misdirections and dissembling. Just be assured that Lt. Col. Vindman is not a problem.

However, Trump is a problem, on several levels. The first and most obvious problem is that he’s a walking cesspool of ignorance and corruption, and by now anyone who still supports him is (a) being paid to do so; (b) dependant on the Republican party for current or future employment; (c) a hard-core partisan wingnut suffering massive cognitive dissonance; and/or (d) dumber than a bag of hammers. There are no other explanations. Byron York probably is several of the above.

But another problem is that Trump is both undisciplined and extremely stupid as well as corrupt. Those traits got him into the mess he’s in, and they are already undermining efforts to save him. Greg Sargent writes,

President Trump’s propagandists have a problem. Some of them badly want to argue there was nothing wrong with Trump’s decision to withhold military aid from Ukraine, because he merely wanted that country to clean up its legacy of corruption.

In this telling, by using the funding as leverage to produce better outcomes in Ukraine, Trump was acting in the national interest.

But Trump himself has other ideas. He is unabashedly arguing that, yes, he absolutely did want Ukraine to investigate one of his leading 2020 campaign rivals — Joe Biden — because, after all, Biden is indeed corrupt. And that undercuts the GOP’s generic-corruption spin.

Sorta like when he openly confessed to Lester Holt that he was going to fire James Comey, anyway, because of “this Russia thing.” He’s too stupid to understand what is or isn’t out of bounds, and he doesn’t have the sense to know when to keep his mouth shut.

Republicans circulated an 18-page memo laying out their strategy for countering arguments for impeachment. A big part of that strategy is to focus on Trump’s state of mind — seriously — which allegedly was overcome with tender concern for generic corruption in Ukraine, not the Bidens specifically. “The [Republican talking points] memo repeatedly casts doubt on whether Trump wanted Ukraine to investigate Biden,” Greg Sargent writes, in spite of the fact that in the so-called transcript of the July 25 phone call released by the White House, Trump clearly asked President Zelensky to investigate Hunter and Joe Biden. (See page 4.)

The Republicans also plan to argue that the Ukrainians didn’t know the military aid had been held up, a claim already refuted by testimony in the closed hearings. They also point out that the aid was released to Ukraine without any conditions being met, but we’ve learned recently that the State Department went ahead and released it on John Bolton’s order, apparently without Trump’s permission, before Trump says it was released.

The Republicans’ high-minded talking points — with footnotes, even — are pretty much shredded on arrival. Expect Jordan, Gaetz, et al. to do everything possible to turn the hearings into a circus. Because that’s all they’ve got.

Also: My book The Circle of the Way is now on sale!


21 thoughts on “Republicans Have a Donald Trump Problem

  1. The Republicans can always get their crew to stick to a set of talking points.  Nobody among the Democrats seems able to get that kind of unity. Which is why the Democrats are better: they evidently are not held captive to party money. I cannot see any other reason for all that Republican unity.  They cannot all be that stupid.


    • It's not that they are stupid, though it often looks that way. Truthfully, Trump has got them by the balls and he knows it.  

      He seized control of their lobotomized voters and those voters love him. It's a suicide pact, and Trump will gleefully make them drink the Kool-Aid. If Trump does go down, he will burn them all down too – and they know it.

      Any which way this goes, this next election is going to be a real shit-show.


    • What's kind of amazing to me is that every Republican, from Trump down to Tucker Carlson to.. is all saying the same thing: "it's boring" (look away). I would love to know how this coordinated messaging works in real time (paging Frank Luntz…)

  2. ..(is a…c) a hard-core partisan wingnut suffering massive cognitive dissonance; and/or (d) dumber than a bag of hammers.

    I have had too many years to think about this. There is an entire class of wingnuts who believe in their tribe, they’re members of a cult. Whenever a bit of data reaches them, it’s always evaluated in terms of does it benefit them and their tribe, not whether it’s true or not. If it’s not in agreement with what the tribe believes, it’s automatically rejected. There is no cognitive dissonance, just a zombiefication of the mind. “Truth” has no real meaning for these people. It certainly doesn’t for Donald Trump, who epitomizes this approach.

    These people are brainwashed to not think for themselves and so this function atrophies, if it ever was developed in the first place.

    I’m eager to read Take It From a Former Moonie, Trump is a Cult Leader. I’ve read the Republican party described as “a cult led by crooks”.

  3. I think this is less "cognitive dissonance," and more of what I call "dissident cognition:"

    That term I made up, means 'the protestation-of/opposition-to the mental processes of acquiring and understanding knowledge through experience, learning, logic, comparison, and the senses.

    In other words, you actively oppose individual thinking, which is what separates and elevates humans from other creatures.

    And that folks, is my definition of tRUMP's MAGAts!

  4. The repug's got bigger problems than just the impeachment inquiry. They are going to have to decide whether to cleave to Trump or cleave from Trump. If they decide to stick by him at all costs, those costs might be the loss of the Senate or the presidency in 2020. And if they lose just the Senate, which is a very real prospect considering public sentiment, they'll be stuck with an impotent and crippled bag of you know what to sit in the White House for the next 4 years as a reminder to them of their stupidity.

     Now that Nikki Hayley has reared her head the Repugs might decide that 2020 is going to be the year of the women, and toss Trump to the curb because he's damaged goods. You never know. She's bound to get more traction than Sarah Palin. And she could be the escape hatch to solve all their problems.

  5. Well, today is a good day for Donny. He's on he road to improving his chances of reelection. He claims that Bill Clinton's numbers increased after a failed impeachment ( removal from office) attempt, so naturally he'll receive a similar boost.. People are going to come to their senses and realize just how great a leader he is.

  6. My copy of The Circle of the Way has shipped!  Until then I will read Idiot America by Charles Pierce.  Dissonant Cognition, Gulag, that is perfection.  

    Pierce's book has a live dinosaur mounted by a human wielding a sword on it's cover, a visual example of a dissonant cognition.  I fear, like empathy, cognitive dissonance is not a universally experienced human emotion.  If it was, the Trumpanistas would writhe in constant mental duress.  In fact they seem to experience a weird euphoria by maintaining oddball conspiracy theories and dissonant cognitions.  A few teeth short of a proper mental gear, if you will. A mental health epidemic that could exceed the black plague in it's ultimate human consequences.

  7. I've been praying for Adam Schiff. The Republican assault begins in earnest today, much like the German army trying to throw back the Normandy invasion. He's got to keep the circus under control. He's also got to connect with the general public in such a way that he doesn't come off as an elitist dweeb.

  8. Listened to Devil Nonutz opening statement –

    1) The Democrats are meanies who don't like Trump

    2) Look – something shiny – (Russia inquiry)

    3) Look – something shiny – (Steele Report)

    4) Look – something shiny – (Who is the whistleblower?)

    5) Look – something shiny – (Hunter Biden)

    6) Look Something shiny – (Obama did it, too.)

  9. Missed questions –

    Was President Z planning an interview with CNN? (They were)

    Did that interview happen? (No)

    Was the interview with Prez Z and CNN canceled after aid was released? (YES)

    Doesn't that suggest there was extortion that once the benefit was released Ukraine did not do the announcement of investigations?

    Other question

    Was Burisma the only corrupt company in Ukraine

    How many would you estimate? 10's hundreds?

    What factor made Burisma and corruption unique? (Biden, do ya think?) 

  10. One of the things that really boggles me about this is just *how* much bad faith the Republicans can show without any pushback.

    "The President's job is to tackle corruption, so asking for an investigation based on trumped up charges (that is: requesting a corrupt act) is perfectly okay." 

    "The President didn't actually provide evidence to arrest him for conspiracy to commit coercion or bribery, therefore all the documentary evidence proving he did precisely that is irrelevant!" 

    "It's a WITCH HUNT to investigate a President for a clear abuse of power that is known about and well documented." 

    "NOTHING HAPPENED! He delivered the military aid, just before he was in danger of getting caught!" 


    Seriously: reporting this sort of quote is journalistic malpractice. (Whether it's entertainment malpractice – and most political news is now entertainment based – I can't answer. Gotta guard 'access', by avoiding telling obvious truths!)

  11. The Trumpanistas on defense makes for really bad TV.  They are just way too hot (emotive) (overacting).  Only people that watch Limbaugh or Hannity and such are going to buy into this male soap opera stuff they are emitting.  For sure and as always offense is the Trumpanistas defense.  It is Tora, Tora, Tora revisited, but more a day of insanity than a day of infamy.  They cannot appeal to reason so they appeal to some level of emotional intelligence (oxymoron?) that resonates in the brain stems of lizards and other cold blooded creatures.  

    Several authors have translated their arguments from wing-speak to somewhat normal English and filled in the gaps most of us have who do not live in a world of Fox news and worse.  You must, I find, be up to  date on the latest conspiracy theories and Russian troll talk to even have some idea they are not just babbling incoherently.  I did suggest an insanity defense, but this comes off more as a defense created by insane people.  

    And Giuliani, America's ouija board, used  to communicate with  rabbit hole dwellers and advanced Alzheimer patients keeps cropping up everywhere.  If Kennedy had the best and the brightest what in the hell do we have here? Just talk to Rudy, Trump and company kept telling foreign leaders.  Who could even find a translator to bridge the gap with language and la-la land barriers to cross.  Even knowing English, I just ended up shaking my head after some of his Sunday talk appearances.  There is no hope of a meeting of the minds with that one,  he makes Marianne Williamson look centered.  

  12. There's a lot of speculation the best defense for Trump would be claiming what he did was wrong but not impeachable, then neatly tying things up with dismissal of charges in the Senate. Supposedly the problem is Trump won't have it, and wants defenders to claim he did nothing wrong.

    The story would fit. In The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, Lee, et al., a lot of specific conditions probably affecting Trump's mental health are explained. The main impression is that Trump is chronically delusional. It's possible he actually thought he saw blood coming out of Megyn Kelly's eyes and Muslims cheering the 9/11 attack. Scary thought.

    I'll probably read Idiot America because Pierce's writing is clever and timely. For anyone interested in the precursor:


    • Supposedly the problem is Trump won’t have it, and wants defenders to claim he did nothing wrong.

      Trump will just spin it the way he did Mueller: “Complete Exonoration”. All that matters is that Trump doesn’t lose his job. Anything else can and will be spun. It’s irrelevant how they get him off the hook.

      • Agreed for now. That could change, though. Republicans have to consider the consequences for the 2020 elections. Except for those motivated only by fear of demographic change or wingnut news, voters won't likely put up with a party that supports absolutely anything to win. Republicans are losing the suburbs and more educated already. The hearings could turn into a real shit show for them, and the smarter ones know it.


  13. I get a kick out of that Ratcliff guy. He's got an air about him that he's desperately trying to break out and be somebody. During yesterdays hearing he tried to pull off an exercise in deductive reasoning where one would have to conclude that Zelensky was a liar and corrupt if they didn't believe that Trump applied no pressure to Zelensky. I assume the point of his exercise was to use Zelensky as a shield to vouch for Trump's credibility in the claim that he didn't put the squeeze on Zelensky. but in his attempt to dazzle listeners with his intellectual prowess and powers of deduction he ended his little exercise with the have to believe Trump is a liar. Talk about hitting a flat note? There was a moment of silence as people tried to process what was said because it is universally understood and accepted that Trump is a liar. You don't need deductive reasoning to establish that fact.


    Here we go…This you can take to the bank. Pelosi wouldn't commit to an impeachment inquiry if she had no intentions of following through with articles of impeachment..Trump be impeached.That's a guarantee. Now we no longer have to speculate on at least one of the articles of impeachment. Pelosi wouldn't make a comment about bribery if she had no intention of listing that among whatever articles are brought forth.

    Pelosi has shown that she doesn't act or speak recklessly. She acts with deliberation and the knowledge that in delivering the articles of impeachment to the Senate she has fulfilled her duty to the Constitution and the American people. What the Senate does with those articles are out of her hand.. We can all rest assured that bribery will be listed among the articles of impeachment levied against Trump.

     There is a scripture that speaks to Pelosi's actions and determination…Putting your hands to the plow, don't look back.

     God bless you, Nancy. You are a profile in courage!

  15. A circus is all you need when your base consists of people who regularly hear the same conspiracy theories on the "news" they consume.  The Rebublicans have created a class of people who,live in an alternate reality and who believe whatever they're told. They've effectively weaponized stupid people. 


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