The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Year One—The Kick of a Mule

During the week of the one year anniversary of Donald Trump's inauguration, it's worth recalling an old Kentucky aphorism: "You don't learn anything from the second kick of a mule."

The implication, of course, it that you can learn a lot from your mistakes, but if you continue to make the same mistakes, you've obviously learned nothing. The same goes for bad predictions.

Those who today suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) made an awful lot of predictions after he won an upset victory over Hillary Clinton. David Azzerad recounts a few of them:
It was supposed to be the worst of times: an age of foolishness, a season of darkness, and a winter of despair. According to the experts, the presidency of Donald J. Trump would “cause the stock market to crash and plunge the world into recession,” threaten “the planet’s health and safety,” bring “fascism” to America, and maybe even “get us all killed.”

“In terms of our liberal democracy and constitutional order,” Andrew Sullivan announced in New York magazine, “Trump is an extinction-level event.” Paul Krugman warned his New York Times readers that America would soon turn into “Trumpistan,” with Trump ushering in “an era of epic corruption and contempt for the rule of law, with no restraint whatsoever.”

“And you have to wonder about civil liberties, too,” he added. “The White House will soon be occupied by a man with obvious authoritarian instincts, and Congress controlled by a party that has shown no inclination to stand up against him. How bad will it get? Nobody knows.”

His conservative colleague Ross Douthat was no more reassuring. He offered his three “baseline dangers for a Trump administration”—not far-flung predictions mind you, but the “perils that we would very likely face”: “sustained market jitters leading to an economic slump,” “major civil unrest,” and “a rapid escalation of risk in every geopolitical theater.”
There's no doubt that Donald Trump's first year in office has been crazy. Some of that craziness is due to Trump himself. His crass behavior, his tweeting, his brawling, peevish style all contribute to the view that he's "unpresidential." And yet, he has already accomplished far more in a single year than his predecessor accomplished in eight.

But much of the craziness is directly attributable to the TDS crowd. The Democrats, with the continuing help of their trained hamsters in the media, have successfully created a fantasy meme that Trump colluded with Russians to win the election. This meme has more in common with an episode of South Park than it does with the real world, but it works to create crazy. Trump's every tweet is parsed by the hamsters for the worst possible interpretation. His opponents continue their hysterical claims including hyperbolic statements about "a threat to democracy," a "constitutional crisis," "unstable and insane," "racist, racist, racist, ... racist," and much, much more. All of that contributes to crazy.

Just this weekend, the Dems thought that shutting down the government was a viable strategy, but because derangement clouds their thinking, failed to understand that this president is not like others and is not as vulnerable as others. Their strategy collapsed into an embarrassing (for them) capitulation to the man and party they hate. The shutdown ended not with a bang, but a whimper.

Azzerad continues:
Trump, it is true, has only been in office for a year. He still has another three years to destroy America and perhaps the rest of the world too.

He could still “try to modify the First Amendment and restrict freedom of the press.” He could declare “martial law” on a whim. “The crisis in women’s health” that activists could “already see on the horizon” a week after the inauguration come still come about. And perhaps he has already begun “laying the groundwork for extensive voter-suppression efforts aimed at making voting far more difficult for Latinos, African Americans and others hostile to him.”

America could still become “a de facto one-party state,” and we may still have, in the words of Eliot Cohen, “calamity—substantial domestic protest and violence, a breakdown of international economic relationships, the collapse of major alliances, or perhaps one or more new wars (even with China) on top of the ones we already have.”
And yet, the vast majority of the predictions of the TDS crowd have been demonstrably, provably wrong. That leads a calm observer to conclude that their current predictions about Trump and the nation are equally wrong.

What is fascinating is that Trump's opponents eschew introspection. Driven by their hated of the man, they make the same predictions and the same mistakes over and over again.

I guess they like getting kicked by a mule.