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The Irony of Incompetence

On election night 2016, as Donald Trump was over-performing his polls in every state touching Appalachia and a Trump victory looked likely, my initial reaction was that Donald Trump cannot be president. Not that he cannot be elected president, but that if elected he would lack the discipline, depth, knowledge, skills and interest necessary to engage in the hard work … Read More

Leadership Crisis

December 10, 1979. Fifty-two Americans had been taken hostage in Iran one month earlier, and the public was rallying around Jimmy Carter. The deeply unpopular president saw his job approval soar thirty points to 60% in just a few weeks. At the time it was the largest short-term increase ever recorded by the Gallup organization. “It’s not just a case … Read More

Trump’s Re-election Strategy Is Falling Apart

Donald Trump has finally collided with a reality he can’t make disappear. His arsenal of weapons is useless against the coronavirus. He tried spinning it away, thinking it would be enough to “win” the daily news cycle by pretending it wasn’t a big deal. The failure of that effort is evident in how quickly he dropped the happy talk when … Read More

Before and After

Remember when the field of Democratic candidates was large and diverse, when people argued over whether a multi-billionaire could buy the nomination without campaigning, when Joe Biden’s campaign was pretty much done? That was — two weeks ago? It’s hard to believe how much the campaign — and life overall — has changed so quickly. When we look back at … Read More

Extraction

In my year-end post, I raised the possibility that a large portion of the country is poised to reject the outcome of this year’s election, regardless of what that outcome might be. That’s because the 2020 election will be about whether to bring the Trump Reaction to an end or ratify it. Barring an unlikely turn of events leading to … Read More

Conflict and Accountability

I have long viewed the Trump administration as a reactionary three-act play. I described Act I as an “orgy of norm destruction enabled by congressional Republicans boxed in politically by their embrace of an outlaw administration,” and felt Act II would be characterized by discovery, where Democrats — newly armed with their congressional majority — would offer the country “a … Read More

The Airing of Grievances

About a month ago, I predicted that House Republicans would try to upend the impeachment process rather than engage Democrats on the facts. I thought they would continue to push debunked narratives about Hunter Biden and alleged Ukrainian election interference, complain about the majority’s unwillingness to let them call witnesses who would advance those debunked narratives, and generally turn what … Read More

What You Wish For

Jimmy Carter wanted to run against Ronald Reagan. Having lost the support of the public over a miserable economy and the never-ending Iranian Hostage Crisis, he understood that his path to re-election depended on having an unacceptable opponent. In Reagan, it was as if Carter’s ideal foil had been sent by Central Casting. A movement conservative who had fronted for … Read More

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