CSotD: Hot Air and Horsepuckey

It’s gonna take some explanation to get to why I’m opening today with Pia Guerra (the Nib)‘s depiction of Dear Leader and Leslie Stahl.

Yesterday, I began reading a fascinating takedown of the Foxxconn con-job at the Verge (h/t to the Bulwark), and I found it absolutely hilarious, because I spent enough of my career covering hot air and horseshit that to find it so transparently laid out, so undeniably ridiculous, was like watching a pie fight in a Three Stooges film, where some self-important snob makes a stuck-up statement right before the splat.

Then I began to wonder if you had to be in an insider position to find it funny.

Foxxconn was the massive project in Wisconsin that two stable geniuses — Gov. Scott Walker and President Trump — hailed as bringing 13,000 jobs to the community, which justified billions-with-a-B in tax write-offs and subsidies.

It has disintegrated into something where the Three Stooges would look at the script and say, “We need to dial this back a bit . . .” with 200-some jobs in which people have nothing to do and sometimes just race golf carts around an empty building.

Which made me think of times I had to cover, with a straight face, some cunning plan that clearly had no chance, like a proposed housing development which depended on (A) Colorado Springs snatching the Space Center away from Houston and (B) residential streets wide and straight enough that a Shuttle could land on them.

Which in turn reminded me of a fellow who was opening a low-power TV station in Northern New York that, he said, would include in its programming Star Trek episodes he was going to dub into French for the cross-border Quebec audience.

As a reporter, you’re not allowed to laugh and you shouldn’t use words like “nincompoop” in your story, but you sit there trying to decide which to ask him next: How he plans to get licensing from the copyright holders or how he plans to replace the background music and sound effects of the original production?

Or perhaps whether Star Trek is already available in French?

At which point I quit Googling my past adventures and came back to the present day only to find that Dear Leader has gotten into some kind of spat with Leslie Stahl and 60 Minutes . . .

Which made me wonder if 60 Minutes regularly gives interview subjects a copy of the raw footage prior to editing and airing of the episode. (No it didn’t.)

Apparently, he meant an audio track, and it’s not unusual for an interview subject to run their own recording on the side, but, like dubbing Star Trek into French, there are plenty of technical issues involved, particularly sound quality but also all the stops and starts and verbal miscues that are normally edited out.

Technology has improved since Nixon’s muddy, often unintelligible White House Tapes, but don’t get your hopes up too high.

Perhaps the White House will transcribe it so that we can read along.

Anyway, Pia Guerra draws a delightful parody of the Brave Girl and the Bull on Wall Street.


Meanwhile, Adam Zyglis (Cagle) picks up on another of Dear Leader’s more unplanned, unhinged declarations, in which he warned a crowd of what might happen if Biden were elected.


Clay Jones (Ind) also capitalized not just on the president’s war on science, but his war on his own electability.

Trump has been good at picking out things which rile not just his core Deplorables but a significant percentage of what Nixon dubbed “The Silent Majority,” a powerful political force.

But they’re the ones who believed, for instance, that he would get them their coal-mining jobs back and who hoped to have jobs at Foxxconn.

And who have seen friends and relatives die of Covid-19.

Those unemployed coal miners are also, btw, prime victims of opiod addiction, which means they understand both Hunter Biden’s drug issues and the difficulties his family has gone through.

Dear Leader may be losing his touch.


And if Trump and his merry crew are too dense to figure it out, the rest of the GOP, as Pat Bagley (SL Tribune) suggests, is beginning to recognize what is coming.

Bagley has it right — they’ve been hip-deep in that swamp Trump promised to drain, stuffing money into their pockets as fast as they could, and it’s too late to get out of the way now.


As with the aforementioned Foxxconn story, I find it hard to avoid laughing, though I realize a lot of people were counting on the whole thing working out. But there is a level of “I told you so” here that, while hardly ennobling to bring up, seems irresistible as well.

Nick Anderson (WPWG) doesn’t quite call it the Wrath of God but he does cite the Almighty’s Big Book of Wise Sayings in suggesting that you reap what you sow, and perhaps predicting that these dogs will returneth to their folly.


But, at the moment, it seems some of those victims of the con will remain chastened long enough to make a change on Nov. 3, a prospect which ought to scare the hell out of Republicans, though, as Bill Bramhall (NYDN) puts it, the GOP still doesn’t seem to see the connection between what people care about and how people vote.

Nobody gives a damn about Hunter Biden’s laptop. Nobody wants to watch Dear Leader stomp out of a 60 Minutes interview.

The only people eating this stuff up are the hardcore Deplorables who were going to support Trump come Hell or high water anyway.


And Steven Camley (The Herald Scotland) anticipates that he’ll find one more way to further make a public spectacle of himself before the final votes are counted.


I haven’t voted yet. As a poll-worker, I’ll grab my chance that day. But it’s not like anything is going to change my mind in the next two weeks, and I’m beginning to share Edison Lee (KFS)’s envy of those who just tune it all out.

But others are smartening up. We’ll see.







6 thoughts on “CSotD: Hot Air and Horsepuckey

  1. “I haven’t voted yet. As a poll-worker, I’ll grab my chance that day. ”

    I’m 46, and was gripped with fear that something would happen to me until I was sure my ballot had been deposited.

  2. I voted by mail three weeks ago. We’ll see how that works. There’s no way Trump can win where I live without “disappearing” half the state’s Democratic votes, so I’m not too worried. I once lived in central Wisconsin, (much of my family still does) and I’m not surprised that they got scammed by Foxconn. Funny how that state used to be the heart and soul of the Progressive movement; I guess Trump/Scott is what happens when you start taking things for granted.

  3. Oh – THAT Foxconn – at first I thought it was gonna be about a certain network’s “fair and balanced news.”

  4. It’s best to vote as early as possible in case an unforseen personal emergency occurs on election day.

  5. The Foxxconn deal reminds me of when Boeing held the state of Washington hostage for a tax deal. And what did we get out of it?Three hundred jobs, and they still moved the headquarters to Chicago, and some manufacturing to South Carolina and China. These deals never pay off, IMHO.

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