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

Sunday, August 26, 2018

War of Attrition—II

As the War of Attrition led by Robert Mueller and backed by the four constituencies rages on, Mathew Continetti makes at attempt to dissect the man that is one of the combatants. He writes:
[Donald] Trump’s fame, wealth, and marginal position in the worlds of government, news media, and finance exempted him, in the minds of his supporters, from the informal rules that had conditioned the words and actions of candidates and presidents for years. Such freedom allowed him to bring into the political arena methods and practices from the worlds he knew best: tabloid journalism, professional wrestling, and reality television.

Shocking claims, conspiracy theories, and hints of lurid revelations that never quite pan out are straight from Page Six and the National Enquirer. The tent-pole rally, the braggadocio, posturing, invective, and prowling around stage are drawn from the WWE, and Trump’s long ties, Brioni suits, and unmistakable hair are all part of his “character.” His flair for operatic and unexpected shifts in direction, ambiguity and unpredictability in relationships, Twitter as “confessional,” emphasis on appearance, and love of the cliffhanger made his job-competition game show remarkably successful and durable.

Trump went from star of reality TV to sole practitioner of reality politics. He turned Republican, national, then world politics into a riveting spectacle, a new sort of contest in which the stakes are nothing less than the fate of the United States and the protagonist must face down a staggering number of opponents to win the prize. And Trump had an advantage. He alone was familiar with the contents of the reality politics rulebook. Which meant that his antagonists, from Bob Corker to Robert Mueller, from Chuck Schumer to Elizabeth Warren, from the media to the NFL, from Ayatollah Khamenei to Xi Jinping, were on defense.
From small arms fire to heavy artillery, Mueller and his backers among the four constituencies have developed a strategy designed to figuratively wound or kill their enemy. The trained hamsters in the media tell us about Trump's bad day" or "bad week" and suggest that the end is nye. The Dems make hyperbolic accusations of "racism" or "fascism." The #NeverTrumpers clutch their pearls with every one of Trump's tweets, every insult, and every counterpunch. Robert Mueller threatens everyone around Trump with jail time while the Democrats salivate over the prospect of impeachment once they take the House. The deep state leaks anything that might damage Trump while it hamstrings the Trump administration whenever it can.

But Trump has not assumed the fetal position, has not stopped doing his job, has not backed away from his campaign promises, and most important, has accomplished much that is good for the country and good for its people—unless, of course, you believe that a roaring economy, low unemployment, more job openings than there are people to fill them, more money in people's pockets, and an assertive posture in the world don't count for much.

The Democrats think that the only policy position they need is opposition to and hatred of Trump. GOP #NeverTrumpers think that their opposition to Trump's candidacy will be vindicated. The deep state thinks that their conspiracy to destroy his candidacy and actively assist in the war of attrition will pay off soon. The Trump Derangement Syndrome crowd thinks they're winning the war of attrition, and maybe they're right.

But try as they might, they can't seem to kill their "monster." It's interesting that they've never considered that Trump, using the traits that Continetti describes, may be conducting his own war of attrition against them.