Try to keep up

You may have thought, as I most certainly did, that Trump’s tweents about the NFL players were stupid folly and beneath the office of the President, and mostly just sounded ignorant and belligerent. One can think those things and still think the NFL millionairs refusing to stand for the National Anthem because oppression are also smug, self-righteous, hypocrites abusing their popularity for politics. But anyway, whatever I thought about Trump’s NFL tweets, he seems to have been effective.
“Only 11 NFL players did not stand during the national anthem during the first set of games Sunday.

That is a stark contrast from the 180 who kneeled last week, according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell.

He tweeted Sunday afternoon, “Last week, about 180 NFL players didn’t stand for the National Anthem. This week? 11.”

62% of NFL fans say they plan to watch less NFL football because of the protests. If you imagine that won’t happen because football is too popular, well, you could be right. Or you could be ignoring the fact that football was not always the favorite sport. once it was baseball. Once it was boxing. There isn’t any intellectually sound reason to imagine that what has already changed in the recent past (100 years is nothing) can’t change again. Trends and popularity are fickle.

I didn’t vote for Trump. I mostly took his candidacy as a joke. I never believed he’d be elected. But as I listened to the increasinly shrill, divorced from reality, and often libelous and ugly accusations of Trump supporters coming from Never Trumpers, including people I personally know and formerly respected, and then compared them to what actual Trump supporters were doing and saying, I began to have a wee bit of hope for this presidency. People who voted for him weren’t voting for a polished statesman and they knew that. They’ve had their fill of polished statesmen who apologize for America, give billions of dollars away to terrorists, make it possible for Iran to obtain nukes, leave ambassadors to die in Benghazi and then blame a video maker who had nothing to do with it and destroy his life for political cover, weaponize the IRS against their political enemies, and more. They voted for Trump largely because he is *not* politics as usual, and many of them voted for him as a wrecking ball for establishment politicians and politics as usual. So rather than being dismayed and pointing fingers and shouting “see what an idiot he is because he does this!!” – maybe it’s time to notice that ‘this’ is not an indictment of him with the people who elected him, it’s what they wanted. And then go one further and see that even among many of those who did *not* vote for him, his actual effectiveness and success with those irritating and unstatesman-like displays, are, well we’re getting used to it. Combine that with the rabid, over the top, absolutely unbelievable and disgraceful reactions from the never Trumpers and Democrats, and Trump actually looks pretty savvy.

If you thought, and I confess I did, that Trump’s recently public via Twitter fight with the mayor of San Juan over disaster relief for Puerto Rico, remind yourself, as somebody reminded me, to think back to Katrina. The disaster that followed Katrina was largely due to the incompetence of the NO mayor and the LA governor, with a contribution of years of mismanagement of infrastructure by consistently Democratic politicans. But then President Bush was targeted and blamed by a media acting in concert with the Democrat playbook. Bush was presidential. He didn’t defend himself, he didn’t fight back. I admired that, and it seems that today even Democrats who formerly called him Bushitler are coming around – not to respecting his presidency, but at least to respecting how he conducted himself personally. But here’s the thing- it failed. It didn’t stop the false accusations and personal smears, it didn’t help anything. I think Trump talks like an idiot, but I don’t think he actually is one. I think he remembers the Bush presidency as well as anybody else and he knows that however ‘unpresidential’ people may say it is for him to call out the Mayor of San Juan as he has done, it actually does work. People who aren’t personally invested in their Never Trumpism to the point of being unable to be remotely rational on the subject may not like what Trump says or how he says it, but they look it up, and they have to wonder-

Why is the mayor saying people are dying and they can’t get relief when the death toll hasn’t changed from 16, and she’s standing in front hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands of pallets of relief?

Why is Paul Krugman claiming there are outbreaks of cholera in PR and getting 8,000 retweets and then admitting that was ‘unconfirmed,’ um, it’s not cholera, it’s pink-eye(!), and the correction doesn’t even rise to 200 retweets?

Why is the Mayor of San Juan claiming she can’t respond to Trump because she has no time for distractions while giving dozens of dozens of press conferences to… complain about Trump.

Puerto Rico has been hit with a horrible natural disaster. But before that, they were hit with an entirely natural disaster of their own making- inept elected leadership.
“Jorge Rodriguez, 49, is the Harvard-educated CEO of PACIV, an international engineering firm based in Puerto Rico that works with the medical and pharmaceutical sectors. The Puerto Rican-born engineer says he has dispatched 50 engineers to help FEMA rehabilitate the devastated island — a commonwealth of the United States — after Hurricane Maria. He refuses to work with the local government, which he called inept and riddled with corruption.

For the last 30 years, the Puerto Rican government has been completely inept at handling regular societal needs, so I just don’t see it functioning in a crisis like this one. Even before the hurricane hit, water and power systems were already broken. And our $118 billion debt crisis is a result of government corruption and mismanagement.”

And when that mayor gives an interview to Anderson Cooper of CNN while she’s wearing a custom designed t-shirt saying ‘help us, we’re dying,’ you have to wonder, where’d she get the shirt? Puerto Rico has no power, yet, she thought that was a good allocation of resources? Or did somebody from CNN bring it along for her?

People elected a wrecking ball, so when they see one, they are not disappointed. It doesn’t seem to be hurting Trump with anybody who matters- that is, people who are really angriest about it are people who would stay home and sit on their hands rather than vote for Trump even if the only alternative actually was Hitler. People who already voted for him don’t mind. People on the fence, somewhat open minded are starting to notice that times have changed and the media is completely unreliable, so their attacks are less and less effective. Actually, this is true even with some never-Trumpers. Just today I’ve seen more than one person saying they really don’t know what’s happening in Puerto Rico, the media is obviously making stuff up and they don’t trust Trump, either, so they don’t know what to think. But that first thing- that’s a huge indictment of the media, but not so much of Trump. People tend not to trust politicians. We know they spin things in their favour, that’s expected. But to move from being netural to ‘the media is obviously making things up and unbelievable’ is, well, huge.

People arguing about tone and statesmenship, well, I’m sympathetic. I wish for more graceful tone and more elegant statesmenship, too. But that isn’t what we have, and it looks to me like it’s not even appropriate for the times in which we live anymore. Stop wishing for something 4 decades old and face what we have now.

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8 Comments

  1. Christine Shah
    Posted October 2, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    I agree COMPLETELY. I have thought and said nearly everything you have written here. I did vote for him but it was with my eyes wide open and full of cynicism. Lol! I wanted a good nominee for the Supreme Court, I wanted tax reform and I wanted to see someone up-end “politics as usual”….but so kuch of what he says is graceless and petty. Gah! But what he DOES wins me over and I geudgingly go along. His kindness to people, his swift action on the various hurricanes, his no nonsense attitude about North Korea, his various kind deeds for those in the military…etc. He’s a braggart and I hate it, but he is a good person, too, I am convinced of it.

    It is never good to let our preconceived notions of a thing supersede our willingness to perceive the reality of that thing.

  2. Posted October 2, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    I completely agree. I was a Never Trumper, but I was a more determined Never Hillary voter. Before we say anything about her record, I refuse to vote for an immediate family member of a past president–we fought a war to get rid of dynastic rule in this country. I also refuse to vote for a woman whose political career depends on her husband’s coattails. Those are both non-negotiable for me.

    The GOP platform earned my vote through its plank on increasing autonomy and prosperity for the Reservations, in addition to the usual planks of prolife and small government. Trump earned my vote in the general election by specifically mentioning homeschooling in discussing school choice and by talking about decreasing crime and unemployment and rebuilding inner cities. He has earned my vote for 2020 by putting DeVos in Dept. of Ed.

    I don’t like his tone either, and it is stupid for him to get involved with the NFL flap, but I see what he’s doing. He’s making a point of weighing in on the conversations ordinary Americans are having over their coffee or beer, and people seem to appreciate it. As a showbiz guy, though, his comments on the subject are correct: you can’t let your empoyees harm your business while they are on the clock, and the players have been damaging the ratings of the NFL while they are at work.

  3. JM
    Posted October 2, 2017 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    I was not a Trump supporter but I am so thankful to not have Hillary that I’m not going to be too hard on Trump. While it would be nice for a little more statesmanship and polish I think he has good instincts. What he’s doing, whether he consciously realizes it or not, is seeing a “bad situation” then forcing a crisis to either turn it around and fix it or bring it more quickly to the outcome it was heading toward to begin with. Reminds me a little of James Dobson’s advice to those in a crumbling marriage in Love Must Be Tough.

    I was always very frustrated by Bush’s lack of self defense because the media completely destroyed him and turned his presidency into a joke. Would Obama have been elected had Bush handled things differently? We’ll never know but I have an opinion about that.

  4. Cat
    Posted October 2, 2017 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    Trump’s NFL tweets were effective at what?

    Not only did scads of players (your source says 180) and team owners protest after his scolding tweets, but players of other sports did as well, and in at least two of the NFL games, the anthem singers themselves kneltel after singing. The NFL commissioner publicly condemned Trump, and several teams issued statements in support of the demonstrations against racial injustice. Did anyone expect every player to continue to protest every week? No. Some will, most won’t.

    This most recent Sunday (yesterday), far more than 11 players protested again. The 49ers lined up in two rows of 30 with one row kneeling and the other standing with arms locked behind them. Players on other teams knelt or raised fists. The Colts issued a statement about injustice and …. the list goes on and on (link below). Those who don’t continue to protest have done their part to show support for their teammates and for the cause, and a whole lot of people are talking about the cause, too. (So I guess in terms of getting people to talk about racial injustice and free speech, Trump’s tweets were effective.)

    Yes, lots of people are annoyed at the mix of politics in football. Protests are annoying, and they’re meant to be. Maybe football will die from fans who don’t like players protesting during the anthem, and if football does go away, then I guess the fans lose their game. Players would lose their jobs, and fewer people would get concussions each year.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/sports/wp/2017/10/01/three-dolphins-kneel-and-saints-link-arms-as-a-new-day-of-nfl-anthem-protests-begin/?utm_term=.0fb561917548

    I’d like to know how you define this president’s effectiveness and success? Do you not feel worried about North Korea? A couple days ago, Tillerson, who is in China, stated that the US had established a direct line of communication between the US and North Korea, and said the US made clear that we are seeking peace through talks. So that goes on the news and Trump tweets in response that Secretary Tillerson “is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man…” Then later, “Being nice to Rocket Man hasn’t worked in 25 years, why would it work now? Clinton failed, Bush failed, and Obama failed. I won’t fail.” When the press asked Tillerson about Trump’s tweets, he said, “I think the most immediate action that we need is to calm things down. They’re a little overheated right now, and I think we need to calm them down first.” No kidding.

    And regardless of anyone’s opinion on relief operations in Puerto Rico, I wonder if you would agree that people can pretty much say whatever they want and be forgiven while they’re in crisis? People under sustained stress should be cut some slack, no? Let’s take someone who has just gotten into a horrible car accident and is injured, hysterical, angry, or in shock, and let’s have the police chief pick a fight with that person while they’re waiting for the ambulance if the person dare complain or cries out something uncomplimentary about the first responders. Let’s have the chief issue statements on the spot about the person’s driving record and begin to lay a case for blame to anyone within earshot. I don’t want to admire a president who kicks Puerto Rico or its leadership while they’re down, or inspires people to start looking for ways to place build a case against citizens while they’re under water and without electricity (as he seems to be doing with you and others). Let’s cut people some slack.

    Repeal of healthcare? Replacement of healthcare with something better? Ugh, I have to stop typing now and go somewhere, but I wonder how exactly Trump is successful.

  5. Posted October 14, 2017 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    I can answer half of this one: “Why is the mayor saying people are dying and they can’t get relief when the death toll hasn’t changed from 16, and she’s standing in front hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands of pallets of relief?”

    Because those boxes of relief she was standing in front of were sitting in port not able to get to the people who needed it….(including that a lot of the truckers in Puerto Rico have damaged trucks….unlike in Houston the trucks that brought the aid can’t just keep going until they get to the places that need them).

    https://maritime-executive.com/article/trucking-woes-slow-aid-delivery-in-puerto-rico

    • Posted October 14, 2017 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

      I also know that without electricity there’s concern about people living in houses that have mold and other problems, and hospitals working off generators not able to help some people (for instance, even hospital with electricity to do do dialisis, don’t have the type of purified water needed for the process, so many dialisis patients are being evacuated to other areas). So there is a possibility that more could die there as a result of the hurricane devastation.

      • Headmistress
        Posted October 15, 2017 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

        Which is not what her specially prepared new t-shirt slogan said.

    • Headmistress
      Posted October 15, 2017 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      Actually, truckers were on strike. Not to mention the corruption that mayor is part of. I find it interesting that she doesn’t bother with FEMA meetings and even her fellow politicians have said she’s not helping.

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