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Wall Street Journal fires the first shot from the right

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Yesterday’ startling takedown of Trump by the Wall Street Journal may well represent the tipping point so many of us have been waiting for. (Here’s a link to it, but you need a login I.D. to read the whole thing. Here’s a link to an article about it.)

By “the tipping point” I refer to that evolutionary jump in the national consciousness whereby a majority of the American public—including Republican leaders in the Congress—conclude that Donald J. Trump cannot remain as President, and must be stopped or removed.

It would be preferable if he were to voluntarily step down. However, this is almost impossible, given that Trump suffers from some kind of mental illness which does not allow him to admit he made a mistake, a sickness compounded by paranoia, which makes him think that any criticism of him is a personal aggression that must be resisted.

Can those close to him—Ivanka, Melania, Jared, Donald Jr., Eric—persuade him to get out? It’s hard to see how that could happen. Trump has elevated them to undreamed-of power which they must be loath to give up. Besides, there’s no reason to assume that his family are any saner than he is, and plenty of reasons to suspect they’re equally mad.

If he won’t quit, then removal is the only option. How can this be done? There’s been endless speculation about Impeachment, as well as about the 25th amendment (section 4), which provides for the legal removal of the President by Congress if “the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” But to my reading, invoking the 25th amendment won’t work. Trump is obviously “fit” to discharge his powers and duties, in a technical sense. He may be discharging them egregiously, and in a manner that makes America and the world more dangerous; and he may be a pathological liar; but his underlying “fitness” isn’t in question.

That leaves impeachment. The “I-word” began circulating among liberal groups almost immediately with Trump’s Russian-engineered election. It was crazy talk in November, December, January and February, but here we are, at the end of March, and it doesn’t sound so crazy anymore. I’ve been wondering for months what the “tipping point” would look like and when it would occur. Most thoughtful observers realized that, in order for a tipping point to be reached, Republicans themselves would have to turn against Trump.

Well, now, the Wall Street Journal has sounded the alarm. I’ve been as harsh a critic of the Journal as anyone. I have accused them (and their sister media outfit, Fox News) of being tools of Rupert Murdoch’s right wing obsessions. They are—let there be no mistake. But in order for a tipping point to be reached, a paradigm shift must occur, in this case, something specific to the right wing that is so jarring, so unsettling, so terrifying, that they radically alter their own thinking process and start coming to new conclusions.

That is the importance of yesterday’s lead editorial in the Journal. They’re freaked out by Trump. That it took them this long isn’t surprising; better late than never. But that it should happen now, and in such force, was unpredictable. I suspected the Journal would come around, if for no other reason than that their own editorial staff is in near-open revolt against the coddling of Trump mandated by Murdoch. But I didn’t think it would happen until summer. Instead, March 22 was the date the Wall Street Journal’s fired the first shot.

I suppose it was the “Obama wiretapped me” lie that did it. I don’t much like Republicans, especially the tea party-evangelical type, but I’ve always believed that, underneath the junk they profess to believe, they have a core of decency: the kind of decency that instinctively hates liars and bullies, that feels a protectiveness towards their own country, and that will rally for our democracy when the threat to it becomes dire. Trump convinced them that the threat was from “the other”: liberals, gays, Muslims, women, Mexicans, Hollywood, the media and everyone else he’s insulted. It took an awful lot of energy to make his supporters realize that the real threat is from Trump himself. That’s the paradigm shift; that’s the tipping point. We seem to be inching closer and closer to a final resolution of the problem of this insane President, and if he won’t resign, then impeachment remains the only viable solution.

What can we expect next? I don’t know, but here are some possibilities.

  1. The Wall Street Journal calls for him to step down.
  2. The Senate begins killing his legislation, starting with the healthcare bill and stalling if not killing the Gorsuch nomination.
  3. Foreign leaders, including those of Germany and England, publicly excoriate Trump.
  4. The FBI investigation closes in, and his inner circle begin to quit, get fired, or be indicted.
  5. Vivid proof of the sexual allegations in the dossier is revealed.
  6. His polls continue to plummet.

Any, or all, of these events are quite plausible. To be continued…

  1. Bob Henry says:

    No need for a subscription. Here is the editorial in full.

    From The Wall Street Journal “Opinion” Section
    (March 22, 2017, Page A18):

    “A President’s Credibility”


    From The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board

    If President Trump announces that North Korea launched a missile that landed within 100 miles of Hawaii, would most Americans believe him? Would the rest of the world? We’re not sure, which speaks to the damage that Mr. Trump is doing to his Presidency with his seemingly endless stream of exaggerations, evidence-free accusations, implausible denials and other falsehoods.

    The latest example is Mr. Trump’s refusal to back off his Saturday morning tweet of three weeks ago that he had “found out that [Barack] Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory” on Election Day. He has offered no evidence for his claim, and a parade of intelligence officials, senior Republicans and Democrats have since said they have seen no such evidence.

    Yet the President clings to his assertion like a drunk to an empty gin bottle, rolling out his press spokesman to make more dubious claims. Sean Spicer—who doesn’t deserve this treatment—was dispatched last week to repeat an assertion by a Fox News commentator that perhaps the Obama Administration had subcontracted the wiretap to British intelligence.

    That bungle led to a public denial from the British Government Communications Headquarters, and British news reports said the U.S. apologized. But then the White House claimed there was no apology. For the sake of grasping for any evidence to back up his original tweet, and the sin of pride in not admitting error, Mr. Trump had his spokesman repeat an unchecked TV claim that insulted an ally.

    The wiretap tweet is also costing Mr. Trump politically as he hands his opponents a sword. Mr. Trump has a legitimate question about why the U.S. was listening to his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and who leaked news of his meeting with the Russian ambassador. But that question never gets a hearing because the near-daily repudiation of his false tweet is a bigger media story.

    FBI director James Comey also took revenge on Monday by joining the queue of those saying the bureau has no evidence to back up the wiretap tweet. Mr. Comey even took the unusual step of confirming that the FBI is investigating ties between the Trump election campaign and Russia.
    Mr. Comey said he could make such a public admission only in “unusual circumstances,” but why now? Could the wiretap tweet have made Mr. Comey angry because it implied the FBI was involved in illegal surveillance? Mr. Trump blundered in keeping Mr. Comey in the job after the election, but now the President can’t fire the man leading an investigation into his campaign even if he wants to.

    All of this continues the pattern from the campaign that Mr. Trump is his own worst political enemy. He survived his many false claims as a candidate because his core supporters treated it as mere hyperbole and his opponent was untrustworthy Hillary Clinton. But now he’s President, and he needs support beyond the Breitbart cheering section that will excuse anything. As he is learning with the health-care bill, Mr. Trump needs partners in his own party to pass his agenda. He also needs friends abroad who are willing to trust him when he asks for support, not least in a crisis.

    This week should be dominated by the smooth political sailing for Mr. Trump’s Supreme Court nominee and the progress of health-care reform on Capitol Hill. These are historic events, and success will show he can deliver on his promises. But instead the week has been dominated by the news that he was repudiated by his own FBI director.

    Two months into his Presidency, Gallup has Mr. Trump’s approval rating at 39%. No doubt Mr. Trump considers that fake news, but if he doesn’t show more respect for the truth most Americans may conclude he’s a fake President.

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