Thank You, Russians

We really owe the Russians a big ‘thank you’ for all of their activities during the past election. Russians can do music and ballet delicately, but they are quite ham-fisted when it comes to politics. Which is good, because if they had been more subtle their efforts might have gone undetected.

Now that they have been exposed, the results are mostly positive:

  • Anti hacking security is being taken more seriously. Electoral authorities are tightening up their vote tallying systems. Campaigns are finally taking measures to protect their emails and communications
  • Fake news and the robots that spread it have been exposed. There still are not a lot of great options for fighting it, but there is a start
  • There is a massive spotlight on the the power of Facebook, Twitter and others that would not have been there had the Russians not tried to use them to manipulate public opinion
  • Russia’s actions prompted a very rare show of Congressional bipartisanship and independence. Legislation to punish Russia passed overwhelmingly, with specific language to keep Trump from end-running it.
  • A Special Counsel was appointed investigate the Russian activities. For the anti-Trump crowd this alone is a huge positive, as the investigation has spilled over to the shady financing that undermines Trump Inc.

Of course, all of this will be for naught if the lessons are quickly forgotten.

The Asshole Piehole’s Shithole Shitstorm

On Tuesday of this week, Donald Trump was magnanimous. He declared he would sign whatever DACA solution that Congress came up with, even if he disagrees.  “If they come to me with things I’m not in love with, I’m (still) going to do it, because I respect them.”

Trump was looking to get some props from minorities, which of course are most affected by his immigration policies. Look at me: I want the issue solved, I am flexible, it is up to Congress to do their job.

Unfortunately for the President, his piehole did not get the memo and made a typically assinine comment. In a meeting two days later where a bipartisan solution to the DACA problem was presented, Trump called a bunch of African and Central American countries shitholes. The countries happened to be the homelands of immigrants of color. Just to make himself clear, he contrasted these countries’ immigrants with those from snow-white Norway.

So much for winning any kind of appreciation from immigration advocates. Even worse, his strategy of taking the high road and blaming the Democrats for the failure to fix DACA just went down the drain. Of course, Trump never backs down so he will try to blame them regardless, but only his (white) core is going to buy that argument.

At the end of the day there will probably be a deal because Trump actually agrees that DACA needs fixing and he does not want to deport hundreds of thousands of people. But it is going to be hard for the master negotiator to get the deal he wants when he shoots himself in the foot with shithole comments.


Loyalty Is A One Way Street

Richard Nixon’s enemies list was secret but Donald Trump’s is right out there for everyone to see. If Trump does not like what you are doing, he will let everyone know in a tweet. Or fire you. Or both.

It doesn’t seem to matter whether or not the person is a Trump supporter. If Trump is upset with you, be prepared to be called on the carpet. Jeff Sessions was the first US Senator to support Trump, but he is now the subject of major presidential Twitter sniping. Reince Priebus supported Trump through the primaries to the dismay of the Republican establishment, which wanted any nominee but Trump. Priebus now has the distinction of losing his job faster than any Chief of Staff in history.

Both of these men were among the most solid Trump loyalists. But their experiences have shown that while Trump knows how to appreciate loyalty to himself, he has no loyalty to anyone else. It is all about “what have you done for me lately?”

Republican Washington is picking up on this. It will only get worse for Trump’s agenda as members of congress realize that he will sell them down the river in a New York minute if he doesn’t like something. Not exactly the Dale Carnegie approach, and it will likely fail sooner rather than later.