Blogging Bayport Alameda

January 8, 2018

National Horror Story: I don’t think that means what you think it means

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

And of course how can we ignore the book. Yes that book where a journalist was given unfettered access to the White House after having pulled a switcheroo with Rupert Murdoch once before. It’s like no one in the White House communications team has the ability to perform basic Google searches or anything.  If anyone has read the book, let us know the highlights, I’ve been vacillating on whether I want to read it or not.

But then there’s this bigger issue highlighted in LawFare Blog today:

What Trump fails to appreciate–what he seemingly will not accept–is that the presidency requires him to subordinate his personal issues, impulses and interests to his public role. It is not open to him as president to use the legal process, even if privately funded, to settle political or personal scores. This is not a question of etiquette or best practice, but of what minimally responsible and ethical conduct in office requires.

Any lawsuit would, of course, have serious consequences for the performance of his official duties. Every development in the case—each discovery request, conflict over scheduling, leaks from depositions or document productions—increases the visible cost to the president’s standing and effectiveness.

A president is also charged with tending carefully to the disciplined exercise and preservation of his authority. On this score, too, Trump is failing abysmally, regardless of whether he sues. Presidents don’t threaten to sue, or sue, critics. They don’t threaten to sue, or sue, the publishers of their criticism. They don’t do either the one or the other because the individuals holding this office don’t use the law they are sworn to conscientiously and impartially uphold to reward friends and punish enemies. While this constraint applies with special force to the abuse of government legal power, it also encompasses the pursuit of “private” legal claims. Presidents don’t conserve their unique capital by shows of pettiness, vindictiveness or a preoccupation with personal affronts.




  1. It’s hard to find the wright word (absurdity? cosmic disconnect?) that describes the Greatest Liar on Earth whining about strengthening libel laws and childishly tweeting that no, dammit, he’s NOT a child, he’s, like, a stable genius.

    Who needs legal weed in a world this weird?

    Comment by dave — January 8, 2018 @ 8:03 am

    • typo: right word

      Comment by dave — January 8, 2018 @ 8:21 am

    • I’d say you but apparently you’re already using it.

      Comment by Jack — January 8, 2018 @ 8:30 am

  2. I was having drinks recently with an old friend I hadn’t seen in a while. Both of us being history geeks, we naturally fell into an exchange in which we tried to find a historical parallel to Trump. We agreed it’s too simplistic to say 1930’s, although Il Duce is a very fitting moniker for 45.

    We came up with late 2nd century Rome and as we sipped a second round it all made sense:

    -A mature empire, the great power of its world, is stable & strong but growing more ossified as time goes on.
    -Institutions decline in importance and while a few competent leaders hold it together, the passing of a wise one (Aurelius) for megalomaniac (Commodus) , who values himself above the nation (and above all else) and aggressively glorifies himself in increasingly odd spectacles like rigged gladiatorial contests and self-deification. Bread and circuses become the government’s way to maintain order, funded by increasingly self-defeating plunder.
    -Instability & a crazy succession of unqualified leaders follows (ie more Hollywooders and media narcissists are thinking of running in his path)
    -Culminates in prolonged multi generational crisis in which the empire all but collapses, and even after the ship is righted a century later remains a shadow of its former self, saddled with a sclerotic political & economic system.

    It was too goddamned depressing to continue so we switched bars and upgraded the tipple and talked about more uplifting things after that.

    If anyone else has another parallel, chime in. Might as well get a deeper understanding of this handbasket & how the hell we got into it.

    Comment by dave — January 8, 2018 @ 8:21 am

  3. Yikes! Andrew Jackson or Teddy Roosevelt is the best parallel by far. Both were rich men who ran against and were opposed by the political establishment, and vehemently attacked in the press. Neither kept their mouths shut. Both actually attempted to keep their campaign promises, cut through red tape, believed heavily in American Empire and were considered traitors to their class. Of course, by today’s standards both were autocratic, egotistical racists. Ironically, the President likes this comparison.

    Comment by Nowyouknow — January 8, 2018 @ 7:04 pm

    • I doubt that either Andrew Jackson or Teddy Roosevelt would appreciate the implied insult of being compared to the current occupant of the White House. Our nation has never had a leader who was so simultaneously inexperienced, ineffective, unethical, narcissistic, and foolish. POTUS 45 is truly “without peer,” and that is not meant as a compliment…

      Comment by Jon Spangler — January 10, 2018 @ 8:35 am

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