CSotD: Don’t Act So Surprised

I saw Ann Telnaes‘ latest last night and wished she’d done it a day earlier, since it would have fit yesterday’s rant so well.

And then I realized, this isn’t going out of style and it’s not like we’re not going to have this conversation over and over.

The people who bet on Maximum Security will never believe that the horse crossed three lanes and nearly caused a multi-horse disaster that might have seen several animals destroyed.

All they know is that they thought they had won, and their tickets didn’t pay off, and they’re not happy.

It’s not about logic, it’s not about fairness, it’s not even about the evidence in front of your nose.

It’s about which horse you bet on. It’s winners and losers. And it’s not going away and it’s not pretty and years from now, people who care about horse racing will still argue over it.

Meanwhile, on a larger scale and for larger stakes, we’re closing in on the solid evidence of what we always knew, or, at least “we” the anti-Trumpers.

Those who have put their money on him will never be convinced. He could indeed cross over three lanes and shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose a single voter.

And whether he is led away in chains or forced to resign in shame or just voted out of office in 2020, his partisans will shout that it was fixed, that he was innocent, that the evidence was forged.


And if none of those things happen, if he is re-elected, well, as Lee Judge suggests, Democrats will at least have the satisfaction of knowing they didn’t chicken out and settle for some centrist that a majority of Americans would vote for.

It reminds me of the old poem you used to see on posters:

Here lies the body of William Jay 
Who died maintaining his right of way –
He was right, dead right, as he sped along,
But he’s just as dead as if he were wrong.

The purists are absolutely right that we’d have been better off if McGovern had won, rather than Nixon, but they’ll never admit that we’d have been even better off if they’d nominated Muskie or Scoop Jackson, either of whom might have had a snowball’s chance in hell of becoming president.

The take-away from 1972 is that (spoiler alert) the movie version of “All the President’s Men” ends with Nixon’s triumph as Woodward and Bernstein continue to crank out their stories.

The bulk of evidence was on the table by election day and he won anyway.

Howard Baker’s question might well be turned back on the American people: What did we know, and when did we know it?

A second interesting question would be, if there had been an Internet in 1974, when the president resigned, how much more traction would his loyalists have gotten in their contention that he was railroaded?


Matt Davies isn’t the only person to ask us to consider that, in most cases, innocent people want the evidence laid out in public.

Yet Nixon did the same thing with the White House tapes: He refused to release them while insisting they would prove his innocence, and — thanks to the Supreme Court and some courageous people in the Justice Department — he didn’t get to the “fool me once” stage of that charade, but we’re still debating whether or not we should be fooled again.

What we’re debating is whether Mitch McConnell, having blocked Merrick Garland and maintained a GOP majority in the Senate, has the power to protect Trump from further scrutiny?

Given a loyalist Justice Department, intentional Senate obstruction and a packed Supreme Court, it’s an open question.


Trump’s allies may be providing even a weak Democratic candidate with some gifts, however. This Mike Peters commentary on Ohio’s fetal heartbeat bill might as well have been drawn for Georgia as well, and a few more of these extremist legislative moves might wake up women voters.

Still, counting on outrage is a risky, risky strategy.

Rather than — or besides — breaking out the pussy hats, break out the shoe leather and the clipboards: It’s not enough to rally the faithful. You have to rally the onlookers.

Register voters, get on the phone and find out where sympathetic voters are and make sure they have a ride to the polls on election day.


Because we can bring back Ann Telnaes to close today’s show as well: There is a coronation going on, and the imprisonment of Justice in that crown is a masterful touch.

Nor is it just Trump’s circle of cronies lifting that crown to his head.


Not only can he still gather a crowd of a rally, but he can gather a crowd of people who want to shoot refugees and who laugh along with him when he finds the attitude amusing.

Perhaps, in some other time, you could excuse it as dark humor.

But within a day of yet another school shooting, how could any decent person find it acceptable, much less funny?


School shootings began before Trump, but that doesn’t detract from his responsibility to maintain a national mood in which shooting people is not a joke. Steve Sack points out the toll on our kids, and our nation, when, as a current meme suggests, children must lay down their lives in defense of unregulated firearms.

Yet the idea of shooting refugees gets laughter and cheers at a Trump rally, and Dear Leader laughs along.


Perhaps, like Popeye in this 1935 Vintage Thimble Theater strip, he’s willing to wear a hat instead of a crown for appearance’s sake, but he’s still a dictapator, and he’s not likely to give up that spot on the balcony willingly.

As has been pointed out here before, we’re back into horse race coverage, and, if you want to believe the polls, consider that not only was Hillary Clinton expected to walk away with the win in 2016, but Maximum Security was favored last weekend.

Polls don’t vote. People do.