This time for sure, I think.
As you have no doubt heard by now, an evangelical broadcaster with lots of followers is predicting that tomorrow will be the end of the world. I think he’s probably right.
Evangelicals have been predicting the end of the world for a couple centuries, now, and so far, all the predictions have been false. The present-day prophet has been wrong once before, himself. After that embarrassment, he went back to the old drawing board, studied very hard, double-checked his math, and this time he’s sure. Doesn’t the law of averages tell us that he’s due?
In the unlikely event that the world doesn’t end tomorrow — or maybe by Monday; I’m willing to allow some slop for rounding errors — I’m going to have to re-evaluate the credence these people deserve.
In such a case, the next time one of them says, “God wants you to do this,” or “God forbids you to do that,” I will be sorely tempted to reply, “Hah! Like you know!”
But I’m sure it won’t come to that. This time it’s for sure!
For years, I’ve been trying to find a way to say what Lawrence O’Donnell said quite effectively on Tuesday.
The Trump message on governing was that it’s easy.
The sad truth of the “governing is easy” message is, that view is actually shared by something close to 50% of the electorate.
[Arnold Schwarzenegger] ran for governor of the biggest state in the union claiming that governing was easy.
What is true of both of these men, the movie star and the reality TV star, is that they were ignorant enough about governing to actually believe what they were saying about it. No one, no Republican or Democrat, who has ever taken an oath of office as mayor, governor, senator or congresswoman believes that governing is easy. Office holders who know better in both parties have trafficked in that lie. Their political sin is much greater than that committed by Trump and Schwarzenegger.
The Trump-Schwarzenegger-like candidate who comes along next will offer simple-sounding solutions to very complex problems that the candidate does not and cannot understand. That candidate will brand himself or herself as confident, bold, tough and truthful. That candidate will not have the experience to be able to tell the one simple truth we know about government: to govern is to choose, and the choices are never easy.
A couple Fridays ago, I went downtown to see Jon Stewart — Live! In Person! — do his standup act.
It was the end of the week when President Obama, confronting a campaign of ludicrous lies by Donald Trump, obtained his “long form” birth certificate from Hawaii and released it to the public. It was one day before Obama and comedian Seth Meyers surgically eviscerated Trump at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. It was two days before Obama announced that we had tracked down and killed Osama bin Laden.
Stewart’s routine was a mix of comic stand-bys — such as a bit about computers rapidly becoming obsolete — and jokes “ripped from the headlines.”
He said he prayed that Donald Trump would run for president. Gee, that sounds so quaint now.
He talked about the big switcheroo from the “cool new generation” of Republican governors, like “backward chair guy,” Ohio’s own governor, John Kasich, who has stripped state workers of bargaining rights, and who called a policeman who pulled him over for a traffic violation “an idiot.”
At the end of the show, Stewart took a few questions shouted from the audience. Someone said, “What should we do about Kasich?” Very loosely paraphrased, his answer was something like this:
You have to understand that this guy is your vaccine.
Sure, it hurts, and you feel a little sick. But there’s only a limited amount of damage this guy can do. The things he’s doing are waking up your political immune system. When your newly-formed antibodies kick in on election day, your political system is going to heal itself.
My antibodies are itching to go.
Daily Kos looks behind the scenes at Osama bin Laden’s final moment:
Ah, yes, my [Terrorist Mastermind Daily Brief]! I don’t even know why I bother reading them anymore. They always say the same thing: ‘Trail is cold. Trail is cold. Trail is cold.’ Look, it’s been ten years…I got away with it. I tell you, this is going to be the last TMDB I ever read. I simply do not need them anymore.
Warning: some may be offended by the language.
The Washington Monthly’s Steve Benen on Republican attempts to claim credit for getting bin Laden:
In March 2002, just six months after 9/11, Bush said of bin Laden, “I truly am not that concerned about him…. You know, I just don’t spend that much time on him, to be honest with you.”
In July 2006, we learned that the Bush administration closed its unit that had been hunting bin Laden.
In September 2006, Bush told Fred Barnes, one of his most sycophantic media allies, that an “emphasis on bin Laden doesn’t fit with the administration’s strategy for combating terrorism.”
And don’t even get me started on Bush’s failed strategy that allowed bin Laden to escape from Tora Bora.
I’m happy to extend plenty of credit to all kinds of officials throughout the government, but crediting Bush’s “vigilance” on bin Laden is deeply silly.
Let’s be fair: some things are fundamentally difficult.
I didn’t consider it a black mark against the Bush Administration that they didn’t “connect the dots” before the 9/11 attacks. I didn’t consider it a black mark against the Bush Administration that bin Laden escaped from Tora Bora — even if a case could be made that Defense Department errors made that possible.
Hindsight is easy. Getting the answers right when you can’t even be certain what the questions are — that’s hard.
Getting Osama bin Laden required enormous competence, a lot of hard work, and patience.
But, from The Lost Year in Iraq:
Bremer, who arrived with sweeping plans to remake the country, had a young and inexperienced team, but his staff had passed a political litmus test in Washington. “It’s a children’s crusade … of former Republican campaign workers, White House interns [and] Heritage Foundation people,” says Thomas Ricks of The Washington Post.
Col. T.X. Hammes, a counterinsurgency expert and adviser to Iraq’s Interior Ministry, felt Bremer’s staff could have been better trained. “We had so many of these very, very young people that are dedicated Americans, brave enough to take a chance and go into Iraq to try to do something right for their country,” he tells FRONTLINE. “But [they] didn’t get any training; they have no background. … And yet we put them in charge of planning at [the] national level.”
It seems to me that the Bush Administration didn’t value competence, didn’t respect hard work, and didn’t have patience.
That is the black mark against them.
On Friday, President Obama ordered action against Osama bin Laden.
On Saturday, he spoke at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. The video seems a little different, knowing what we know now — especially when he says, “What a week!” or “These are the kinds of decisions that would keep me up at night.”
Donald Trump, who seemed so important last week, looks about as significant as a damp, soiled dishrag.