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

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Punching Down

We're told by a wide array of those suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome that this president and presidency is unraveling before our eyes—that Mueller is closing in; that the Dems are ready to impeach; that lacking any evidence of collusion or obstruction, his payment to a porn star is a criminal act; that his administration is in disarray; that foreign leaders are laughing at him. And yet, miraculously, Trump's accomplishments keep piling up. In fact, although he seems bothered by the machinations of the four constituencies who want to take him down, Trump is certainly not so preoccupied that he and his people can't accomplish what they want to accomplish.

My guess is that the only person who can take Trump down is Donald Trump. Rich Lowry comments:
It is a journalistic trope that this [the great 'unraveling"] is happening to President Trump before our eyes. The media constantly write stories about how the president is panicked and cornered, barely able to handle his duties, as the walls perpetually “close in.”

But as far as any outside observer can tell, he’s as ebullient and combative as ever, and has never blinked, no matter how intense the pressure of any given controversy.

Far from getting crushed by the weight of the office, Trump doesn’t seem to feel it at all. Never has any president been as outwardly unfazed by the majesty of the presidency and the White House, or made fewer accommodations to their trappings and norms.

President Trump still acts like he’s Celebrity Trump fighting a vicious flame war with Rosie O’Donnell, except his targets now might be other heads of state, or his own attorney general, or losing members of his own party.

The idea that he is a representative of the nation apparently makes very little impression on him. He never stops to think that any given jibe might be unworthy of the highest office in the land, or maybe that he, blessed with more power and showered with more attention than anyone on the planet, has an obligation to be elevating and restrained, even if no one else is.

One of the attractions of the presidency to him appears to be that he can continue to punch down — but do it from a higher altitude than ever before.
Whether it's mean-spirited attacks* on former staffers or silly tweets castigating SNL skits, Trump will not let up—not even a little. In the end, "punching down" may be the single thing that brings him down. Many people really don't like it and give far more weight to Trump's often obnoxious style than to his accomplishments. Unless he changes (and he almost certainly will not), that may be the thing that is his undoing.


* It's worth noting the mean-spirited attacks are different than counter-punching. When Trump is attacked viciously or dishonestly, he fights back in ways never before used by former GOP presidents. For many of his followers, that's a refreshing change. But when counter-punching becomes punching down, it can and is perceived as bullying. Nobody likes a bully.