Worse - so much worse - than I thought

Friday, September 21, 2018

Yesterday I finished Fear: Trump in the White House, by Bob Woodward.

I expected a high quality project, because, Bob Woodward. The man is a giant in journalism, and while he has his critics, very few journalists have as much access as him, and are as scrupulous about ensuring his material is factual.

I'm not going to summarize the book's findings, as they've been all over the media since the book's release, but these are my personal take-aways:
  • 45 is dumber than I thought, and that's saying something. Who this book characterized is someone who is apparently incapable of critical thought or analysis. Complex issues confuse him profoundly, to the point where he ends up just shaking off all those pesky details and facts and goes with his feelings. And since his feelings are driven entirely by self-absorption and egomania, expressed in terms of rabid nationalism, the resulting decisions lack good judgement, to say the least. 
  • 45 is far less rational than I thought. It was apparent during the campaign that he was egomaniacal in the extreme, but this dude brought the United States to the brink of a nuclear exchange basically because someone pwned him on Twitter. Are you fucking kidding me? It's like having Dr. Strangelove in the White House.
  • 45 has no desire (or apparently, ability) to learn. He came into the White House as the least qualified Presidential candidate in history, and guess what? He still is, 22 months into the job. He's had qualified advisors in the West Wing, but when they try to educate him on how the economy works, or how national security works, or how those things are tied together, or basically any topic vital for an effective President to know, his response was (I shit you not), "I don't want to hear that." Lalalalala I can't hear you...
  • 45 has reached the pinnacle of the Dunning-Kruger effect. And the worst part is that his ego will not permit him to even consider the idea that he doesn't know what he doesn't know. 
  • Certain members of 45's staff and advisors have tried to rein him in. They've tried every trick in the book to keep 45 from tanking the economy, engaging the U.S. in another preemptive war, and personally breaking the law whenever it suits his personal agenda. In fact, these efforts have reached the point where staff's behavior is skirting coup d'état territory. This is not okay. I mean, this is REALLY not okay. I want 45's ego-driven decision making checked as much as the next bleeding-heart liberal, but I am devoted to the Constitution and the rule of law by virtue of my service and my values. Even though the man is a fucking disaster, and the country will likely take decades to recover from his fuckery, he is still the legal, duly elected President. Having unelected staff make policy decisions in direct contradiction to his wishes paves the way for a shadow government to control future presidents in the same fashion. NOT OKAY.
  • The reason 45 won't be interviewed by Special Prosecutor Mueller is because his attorney refused to allow it. And the reason isn't because the attorney thought 45 had something heinous to hide. It's because, as the attorney notes, "He's a fucking liar."*
This book did not reveal anything that hadn't crossed my mind in the last 22 months. It just revealed how much worse things are in the White House than I thought. It made me wish even harder that the Democrats take the House and/or the Senate this year as a way to limit his power. It made me hope beyond hope that the RNC chooses a candidate to challenge 45 for the Republican nomination for President in 2020. And it scared the shit out of me because I can also imagine this shit-show becoming America's new normal. And that last part also makes me profoundly sad.

*This was not a revelation to anyone who reads anything more complex and factual than the Drudge Report. The public record clearly shows 45 lies as a matter of course, rather than using dishonesty as a way to hide his misdeeds. He's just a pathological liar - lying is his default reaction.

3 comments:

Shawn Powers said...

It's not my "turn" to read it yet. My youngest is currently reading it.

While I expect the book to confirm my concerns, and generally bum me right the heck out, I find hope with how much it affects my girls. They're not just angry, they're interested and angry. They're informed and angry. They are surrounded by people in our lives with diametrically opposing views, and that only strengthens their resolve.

They're polite, but strong. They won't tolerate political opinion being represented as fact, even when confronting such things is awkward. I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but I'm excited to see what this generation does. I wouldn't be surprised to see my youngest in office someday.

Janiece said...

I am not surprised that children who are raised by parents who value education, critical thinking, and morality are interested and exercise good judgement when it comes to politics and the world we live in.

And yes, I, too, can see your youngest as the next morally centered, intellectual President. I'd consider voting for her as soon as she reaches an age where she can run.

Warner said...

About half way through it, but now instead of just thinking he is batsh*t crazy, I've got a respected journalist telling me so.

I've no recollection of it, but I would have read the original WaPo story on Watergate. That is how long I've been following Woodward.