Even I didn't believe they could lower the bar far enough that an otherwise sensible fellow like Van Jones would take the indecent exploitation of a war widow's fresh sorrow and turn it into Lincoln's Second Inaugural. Even I didn't believe they could sink the bar far enough into Middle Earth that otherwise critical observers would look at a pile of deceptive leaves and see a coherent tree... [snip]
When one calls that speech "presidential," whose presidency are you summoning? Pierce? Buchanan? Rufus T. Firefly? Jesus, people, at least try to sound like you graduated middle school.
Hard to believe, but the second day punditry, after otherwise sensible folks had a night to sleep on it, is even worse than the instant analysis on Tuesday night. What Trump did with Carryn Owens was bad enough on the merits, coming as it did after he spent 48 hours fobbing off the blame of the botched raid into Yemen on everybody who walked past the White House in the past three months. But to hear it now described as a powerful, emotional evocation of the unifying power of the presidency, instead of one more rank attempt at deflecting the moral responsibility for the death of the person being mourned, is to abandon critical thinking and give your responsibility to the truth over to unthinking slobber.
The speech was chock-full of barefaced non-facts regarding crime, immigrants, crime committed by immigrants, the accomplishments of the current administration, and the condition of the country when it handed itself over to his half-baked stewardship last November. I don't care if you sell your mendacity in perfect iambic pentameter in the voice of Laurence Olivier. It's still bullshit, and dangerous bullshit at that. And it will sell. That's the heart and start of it. The people who bought this when it was poured out to them straight up during the campaign certainly will buy it now that it's mixed with some sweetener lifted whole from every middle-school graduation speech ever given.While we always knew that, despite being called the "enemy of the people" by neo- fascist shitgibbon Donald "Rump" Trump, there would still be enough frightened, delusional, cynical or all of the above media folks who would ultimately fall back into the same role they played in the recent deplorable campaign -- that of Trump normalizers and pivot pundits. We just didn't think it would be so soon after the recent provocations. Silly us.
BONUS: Josh Alvarez nails it, too --
This hasty normalization of Trump’s vision reveals just how deeply uncomfortable our press is in its rediscovered role as a critically-minded adversary to power. Getting journalists to go along with the creation of Trump’s America appears to be a simulacrum of the man himself—it’s merely a matter of the wrapping in which it’s presented.BONUS II: Here's a stat for you - out of 61 statements made by Rump, 51 were lies. But tone!
BONUS III: Brian Beutler takes a whack --
There is apparently less capacity for living and learning in political journalism than there is in elementary school; less object permanence than in nursery school.
Trump’s shows of relative restraint on the campaign trail were always temporary, and generally served as memory holes for offenses against Gold Star parents, beauty show contestants, and sexual assault victims. He rode temporary bouts of “discipline,” celebrated by a political media that failed to raise their bar for his conduct, all the way to the White House, where his erratic and unseemly behavior continues. (our emphasis)