Notes for 9-30-2020
“This is a horrible thing for our country. No, this is not going to end well.”
Marshall Fritz once said that any government not built on libertarianism eventually reaches an absurd point. Welcome.
My little brother was a jerk. He'd poke, poke, poke me on the arms to get a reaction on long car rides. When I would get sick of it and hit him, he'd cry foul, and I would get in trouble. He stopped this behavior around age 7, but unfortunately, the man in charge of the nuclear arsenal has not. They both acted poorly last night, but the degrees are a vast chasm.
The Trump Doctrine was on full display last night: He spent 60 minutes interrupting to frustrate his opponent. Biden gave up and interrupted for 3 minutes, and he then draws a moral equivalency. He agreed to abide by a set of rules and then set out to ignore them totally to get an angry soundbite out of Biden. The problem is that the President looked angry. After four years of breaking the rules and saying what he wants without consequences, why would he worry about it?
The Trump that everyone hates showed up. People are disappointed and shocked for their country because they saw what's disturbed them over the last four years in the flesh. Trump's Twitter feed was given a real voice. This was confirmation that a disturbed child has been operating the government. There is a possibility that he could have four more years to damage the system.
I know that in the back of your mind, reader, there is a voice asking me to diminish Biden as well. For all of the obligatory, "Both sides were terrible," let's be honest. Trump was the problem. A strongly worded denunciation that follows, but "the other guy too" is an abandonment of the principle supposedly upheld before the "but." Stop trying to feel comfortable and start saying what's right.
As conservative commentator John Podhoretz said, the line that it was a hot mess is I am sorry, I think that is "both sides-ism. It wasn't a mess. It was a deliberate act of self-destruction on the part of President Trump."
People are afraid of being accused of "Trump Derangement Syndrome" if they criticize the President without admonishing Biden. Because the Democrats and media never allowed Trump to govern, the right (and libertarians) have fallen into a reflexive whataboutism. This sort of implicit permission has led to the complete failure of the right to hold Trump accountable. It has brought us to a dangerous point in American history.
I didn't like Hillary Clinton because I felt she was a person that didn't think the rules applied to her and would do anything for power. This past year has revealed that they have the same mindset.
My turning point with Trump was in the spring when I realized he isn't different from Hillary Clinton. He threatened the American people with the 82nd Airborne while gassing citizens for a campaign ad. The campaign pitch is now becoming "vote for me or I'll release the militias."
I don't think he has that ability, and I don't think that happens. I think he would use violence to stay in office if he had the power to do it. If Trump could rig the election, he would do it. Our checks and balances system and decentralized government prevent a Hillary or Trump from having too much power. The problem with desire is that sometimes it turns into ability, which makes him dangerous. Despite that, I think he's headed the way of Hillary Clinton: a broken, sad, self-pitying figure that is unlikable and impotent.
This brings me to the question of, "What are the limits of "the media sucks" defense? Trump made choices last night that likely ended his campaign, but his camp blamed the beleaguered Chris Wallace. Why is Chris Wallace responsible for Trump's bad behavior? Maybe this distraction works in abstract terms when the media piece is not read by most of those buying the propaganda, but we witnessed the interruptions in real-time. By blaming Wallace, Trump is admitting defeat, and hoping viewers won't believe their eyes.
Wallace is taking too much heat. No moderator could have controlled the President. Trump's personality can be summed up in a single word: domination.
He will never let someone else have control of these debates. What leverage did Wallace really have over out-of-control candidates? That's why I propose arming the moderators of debates one and two!
If the only talking point a candidate and surrogates have after a debate is that the moderator was terrible, they offered nothing of substance. He needed to make a pitch for re-election, and it never came.
This was America's last chance meeting with him. It is sort of like the end of a relationship. You've dated for a while, and there used to be funny moments and good times, and you want to see if the magic could still be there. Sadly, the meeting ends with the same toxicity that led you to walk away. It's over.
What I am Reading
What I am Listening To
What an Irredeemable Mess - Good breakdown of Biden's failures.