Thursday, February 9, 2017

No puppet! No puppet! Chris Cuomo's the puppet!

Mrs. McMahon's Senate campaign in 2011 inspired Labor's Pains to download this picture. She does look a little like Barbara Billingsley as June Cleaver, and the Beav, I think, is who Donald would like to be when he's eight or nine, though he never can.

This is such a dense example of the technique, I want to unpack it.

Trump has to know, for starters, that it's no longer a question of what Senator Blumenthal reported—that Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch finds Trump's constitutionally illiterate critique of the judiciary "disheartening and demoralizing"—since Judge Gorsuch's official White House–provided spokesman confirmed its accuracy half an hour after Blumenthal reported it, followed by independent confirmations from #NeverTrump-but-reactionary Senator Ben Sasse and by former Senator Kelly Ayotte, who is Gorsuch's White House–provided liaison to the Senate.

Ayotte's statement allows her to avoid mentioning Trump by name—

—but there's no question that it is indeed about Trump, who's the most prominent critic of the judiciary since—ah—I don't know, maybe last July at the height of the Republican primary campaign.

Also, as Think Progress points out, Chris Cuomo this morning did ask Blumenthal about his military record:

Trump asserting that he didn't is "FAKE NEWS" indeed. Of course Trump may not know that, since as he has said "I don't watch CNN". But in that case whoever watches it for him, like an emperor's food taster, is guilty of serious malpractice.

The facts about Blumenthal's military service have been very well known for a long time: that he served in the Marine Corps Reserve in the Vietnam War era starting in 1970, and not in the war itself, though he has very occasionally, perhaps twice, slipped rhetorically into allowing audiences to think otherwise:
But he has usually specified that his service was in the Marine Corps Reserve or, as in a primary debate with Democratic challenger Merrick Alpert in March, said explicitly that he did not go to Vietnam.
"Although I did not serve in Vietnam, I have seen first-hand the effects of military action," Blumenthal said that night.

On the single occasion (in the 2008 Senate campaign) when Blumenthal can be proven to have said he was in Vietnam, as reported in the New York Times—apparently on the stimulus of a report sent to the Times by the campaign of Blumenthal's opponent Linda McMahon, Trump's pal and now the designated head of the Small Business Administration—the Times failed to note, in what some (e.g., Greg Sargent at the Washington Post) regarded as a very questionable editorial decision, that he had put it more correctly earlier in the same speech.

But Blumenthal and Cuomo are fundamentally irrelevant to that fact that Judge Gorsuch, Trump's own Scotus nominee, really does understand that Trump's statements are a disturbing threat to our system of separated powers. Trump is trying to make the story about them (not in some kind of sophisticated strategy, but in the normal four-year-old's intuitive technique of trying to distract the adults' attention with whatever comes to hand—maybe McMahon gave him a call) in order to hide from the story about him.

He's piling up rubble by way of building a wall of obfuscation, between him and scrutiny.

BooMan just posted as I was writing this on the same subject, with a somewhat different emphasis.

No comments:

Post a Comment