Clay Bennett extracts the meat from Lesley Stahl’s 60 Minutes interview with President Trump:
President Trump at rally: “And then we fell in love, okay. No really. He wrote me beautiful letters. And they’re great letters. We fell in love.”
Lesley Stahl: I wanna read you his resume, okay? He presides over a cruel kingdom of repression, gulags, starvation– reports that he had his half-brother assassinated, slave labor, public executions. This is a guy you love?
President Donald Trump: Sure. I know all these things. I mean– I’m not a baby. I know these things.
Lesley Stahl: I know, but why do you love that guy?
President Donald Trump: Look, look. I– I– I like– I get along with him, okay?
Lesley Stahl: But you love him.
President Donald Trump: Okay. That’s just a figure of speech.
I’ll admit to more than a small amount of deja vu, as Trump insisted that he’s not a baby, that he can handle things, that he is smart, not like everyone says.
Bennett’s commentary isn’t funny. It’s a distillation of the way Trump retreats into a shell when pressed for detail.
Stahl didn’t grab him by the lapels and slap him around, but she didn’t curtsy and accept his glib responses, at least without pushing to see if he would stand by things that made him look foolish and uninformed and irresponsible.
I doubt the interview made any Trump supporters lose faith, because he served up the same fact-free stuff he’s been peddling since he came on the scene. When he said some scientists doubt that climate change is caused by people, he mirrored what his followers believe, even though there is no rational basis for the notion.
As when, earlier, he claimed Obama was born in Kenya. As when he claims that braceros are taking the jobs Americans would otherwise fill. As when he claims that we’re going to tear out the natural gas burners and re-install coal furnaces.
He doesn’t have to be right; he doesn’t even have to make sense.
He only has to appeal to enough voters to win.
And, as he said, if you win, it doesn’t matter how you behaved or how you got there.
Still, he did have that one Fredo moment, and not only did he show some passion, but he revealed what bullies fear: The fear of ridicule.
‘I am not a baby.”
If his staff has managed to shelter him from all the cartoons of him as a baby, I guess they couldn’t keep him from seeing the blimp.
Meanwhile, although Bennett mocks his Fredo moment, there’s nothing funny about a kid whose parents sent him off to military school and let his siblings continue to live at home.
Though, to quote Dr. Johnson, “If a madman were to come into this room with a stick in his hand, no doubt we should pity the state of his mind; but our primary consideration would be to take care of ourselves. We should knock him down first, and pity him afterwards.”
There’s nothing funny about finding yourself with a prep-school bully in the White House, and Darrin Bell suggests the utter lack of shame and decency Trump brings to his role.
I like that Elizabeth Warren took the DNA test and proved that, as her family stories claimed, she had a small, distant amount of native blood.
And I especially like that she challenged and mocked the bully for not paying off on his absurd million-dollar challenge.
What I don’t like is the tsk-tsking and cluck-clucking from pundits and Democratic operatives who feel she should behave in the same dignified, adult manner that proved so very effective for them in the 2016 elections.
Hey, Dorothy was only trying to put out the Scarecrow’s fire. She didn’t mean to throw water on the Wicked Witch of the West.
But, having seen how that turned out, if Elizabeth wants to try a little seltzer down the pants of this bully, I’m all for it.
We’ve already seen what doesn’t work.
Juxtaposition of the Day
Note that, while Bagley places Fearless Leader at the center of this gathering of predators, Morland doesn’t even have him in the picture.
Except by implication, with the emergence of Melania from a silent presence to an active supporter. And perhaps the notion that Putin, having engineered the ascendancy, is now handing out the spoils of a New World Order in which the Americans no longer stand even as a reproach, much less as a barrier, to the dreams of despots.
But, of course, Trump is not a baby. He can handle things! He’s smart! Not dumb, like everyone says!
And he’s gonna get to the bottom of this business, only, as Patrick Chappatte notes, he’s also got to consider the practical aspects of it all.
And, after all, the morality of Saudi actions in Yemen won’t matter if they win, right?
Trump promised we’d get sick of winning, and I’m already a bit nauseated.
Now this note from the business desk …
Jeff Stahler’s Sears cartoon is one of several, but I like the contrast between the Wish Book and Amazon, because it acknowledges the passage of time and a way in which everything changes and yet remains the same.
Yes, catalogs, and certainly the Sears catalog, were, a half century ago, where people “surfed” for shopping ideas. As country folks, we got into the Big City every few weeks, but, at Christmas, mail order shopping was a major factor, not just with Sears but with Penneys and Montgomery Wards, too.
Which, by-the-by and as Stahler suggests, is the same thing we do with Amazon. The place of Sears in the history of retailing is not that different: They were stealing business from the general store in town, too.
In any case, don’t hang any crepe on the door yet. They only filed Chapter 11, not Chapter 7.
Ask former employees of Toys R Us for the difference.
Hail to the Cheese:
2 thoughts on “CSotD: Baby Talk”
Clay Bennett does some of the best and most creative work of any editorialist.
There was a tweet thread by a professor of history on how important the Sears catalogue was to people of color during the Jim Crow era, something that I had never considered:
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