269 Comments

I was a stock option trader. I did okay. I counted on a predictable market. When Trump became president I had to stop trading because he was always saying something stupid and ridiculous that would throw financial markets in wide swings. I couldn't stand the losses over such stupidity.

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"Reading Trump's Mind" spurred me to look back at Safire's work and why it's hard to emulate. https://www.splicetoday.com/politics-and-media/remembering-william-safire

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I stand corrected. Should have said "delusional ravings." His brain is like a pinball machine.

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One minor fix on your Trump mind reading:

"You know, I had a weird dream last night. Roy Cohn was in it. He was always one of my favorites, until he got AIDS and was no longer of any use to me. Then I dropped him like a hot potato."

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Apparently the Politico team lacks imagination. If Mike Johnson actually does end up needing Dem votes to retain his speakership then it is reasonable to expect that they will massively pressure him to revive a border bill.

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Your inner Trump is much more articulate and logical than the real thing.

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Was gonna say something similar. That was a far too sensible coherent Trump. With big words and big concepts even!

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founding

All of Trump’s photos remind me of a spoiled toddler who is throwing a fit

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Just heard this on the local news- I’m in Montana so there’s a chance it’s true— Even though the Souix tribe banned Kristy Noem from from their Tribal lands, I understand they gave her an Indian name-- Kristy Kilt-a-dawg

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Part 2 of this newsletter, dealing with the Dem approach to immigration reform, is an uncomfortable reminder of how incompetent Dems are at political messaging.

It really should not be that hard to turn this into a winning point for Dems. It's sheer political negligence not to be airing commercials right now, on a loop, showing children in cages back in 2018.

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If there's a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, the Dems will find it.

Now, everyone, let's focus incessantly on Noem's dog. Because that's the key to this election!

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So bloody depressing.

Look, I acknowledge that Dem messaging will almost always be far more challenging than Republican messaging, because in the real world, Dem positions are more complex than the simplistic messaging of Republicans. And no, I will never advocate for Bill Clinton-style messaging which was only successfully because he was an unrepentant neo-conservative.

Obama was decent at messaging during the election cycle, but while in power his adminstration was also horrendously incompetent at messaging.

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Apr 29·edited Apr 29

Yep, I haven't quite figured out *why* yet. Complexity and nuance are a part of it, but I don't think that covers it. Besides, if that really was the major problem, there should be plenty of smart Dem operatives that can create simpleton messaging. This isn't rocket science.

Not sure I follow you on Slick Willy. Why would his move-to-the-center strategy mean you don't like/want his ability to connect with voters? Those are two independent things, no? I think he had a real talent there.

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Sadly I think Obama contributed to the Trump appeal, based on his own executive actions, never mind his political incompetence. I'll cute some examples:

1) Obama watered down the ACA in hopes of getting some Republican support, when anyone with half a brain would have realized that the Republicans would never help him pass the ACA. Obama burned two years on a hopeless project (I think because he was fundamentallyba political coward).

2) This point gets oddly overlooked, which is shocking because it's so improper. Presidents are NOT supposed to instruct DOJ about their prosecutorial decisions.

Notwithstanding that, Obama explictly instructed Holder NOT to prosecute any bank for their role in the 2008 financial crisis, under the faux pretext that the government only had two choices: i) prosecute a bank which would potentially result in people working for the bank to get laid off, and, ii) do nothing at all.

This was a false dichotomy because the DOJ could have always just prosecuted the ACTUAL fuckers who caused the financial crisis. And the DOJ did prosecute low-level folks for that stuff, giving the people at the top a free pass.

Worse yet, Obama also openly instructed Holder not to prosecute any CIA officer for literally torturing prisoners, based on a transparently fucked up decision by the Office of Legal counsel, specifically Yoo, whose decision was formulated by the Bush Whitehouse, as is I disputable from the correspondence between Too and the Whitehouse. In doing so, Obama entrenched U.S. policy to the "I was just following orders excuse" that the Nuremberg trials expressly rejected, resulting in the execution of 24 Nazis.

I was heartbroken by Obama's weak moral character. My niece was born on the day he was elected and I wrote a letter to her that day to be given to her when she's 18, remarking on the fact she was born on the day of a transformative President.

She's 15 years old now, and I'm struggling at the idea of giving her that letter in 2.5 years.

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Broadly speaking, I subscribe to the idea that Obama was better at campaigning than governing, to put a nice spin on it.

Re: #1, yeah, frankly suspect he was naive. "Post-partisan" politics...yeah, right.

Re: #2, I've dabbled a bit in what happened there, but don't consider myself an expert. That said, my sense is that Obama thought he was crafting some grand bargain, exchanging leniency for cooperation with bank execs (e.g. lending, etc.). They came away from it thinking "cool, business as usual!".

One of the interesting take-aways from Trump 1.0 was: don't be so timid. Maybe act a little more like a bully. Obama's whole "lead from behind" thing got old fast.

To be sure, I'm not advocating "be like Trump" or even approach his level of asshattery. Rather, someone over-cautious like Obama could use a little more attitude and push boundaries a little harder.

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Three student protesters were arrested at University of South Florida today. And reported with all the usual cellphone journalism and social media gusto we have come to exist.

From all appearances they are all the old suspects rounded up at Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter and what ever Social Justice Cause Du Jour hits the social media hive mind. Largely ignorant of the real world (actual genocide, actual colonialism and how the free market is not organized to compliment their sensitivities and follow their moral compass)) and making extravagant demands on everyone not them.

I have never seen so many non-Arabs dressed up in Palestinian drag. I guess occasional cultural appropriation for the right cause is okay when done with the right people. Costumes are always required for performative displays of allied-ship. And of course there are the benefits of not having to waste time in class getting an education.

And now the faculty have to join in too. A lot of them are probably too young to have participated in my generations glory days of campus protest and are catching the latest protest train to leave the station. Relevance is a currency in our world today. Who will get the most press coverage, who gets the most clicks and likes, who gets to go viral?

It isn't really important that there are awful things in the world against which to protest. What is important is that "I AM" protesting and I can prove it on Facebook, Xitter, Tik-Tok, Instagram. See my latest selfie dressed in a keffiyeh--- sincere blue eyes shedding tears for Palestine.

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Good point on "appropriation"!

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Nice try, Mr. Kristol, but the above piece was far too coherent to attribute to your subject!

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Yes, this is definitely well done.

Bill, if you and the Bulwark really want to make a difference, please start educating people about the Heritage Plan for 2025. Hardly anyone is talking about it. Democrat spokes people, including Biden, are talking way to vaguely about "protecting democracy". What the hell does that mean to the average family that is working two jobs to survive and has barely time to attend to their children let alone to politics???

A recent article titled "Project 2025, if allowed, will cement America as a rightwing authoritarian state" noted the following: "Project 2025 is a sweeping rightwing blueprint for the next Republican president, Trump or not, to run the country for the foreseeable future. Funded by The Heritage Foundation, Koch Brothers and a vast and secretive dark money network, the project has recruited at least 80 far-right organizations and entities to the cause.

Conservative warriors’ plan “to defund the Department of Justice, dismantle the FBI, break up the Department of Homeland Security and eliminate the Departments of Education and Commerce,” the 30-chapter, 920-page tome says.

The president would have “complete power over quasi-independent agencies such as the FCC, which makes and enforces rules for television and internet companies that have been the bane of Trump’s political existence in the last few years. And they want to ensure that what remains of this slashed-down bureaucracy is reliably MAGA conservative — not just for the next president but for a long time to come — and that the White House maintains total control of it.”

Project 2025 offers proposals to deregulate targeted industries, privatize government functions and help American corporations to make more money at the expense of American workers, the middle class and everyone except the oligarchs and the 1%.

Meyerson, editor-at-large at The American Prospect, said far-right conservatives and The Heritage Foundation have an extensive enemies’ list that includes “welfare recipients, lazy and liberal civil servants, anti-business regulators, environmentalists, and union bosses, “scientists, woke bureaucrats, woke educators, woke diplomats, woke generals and admirals, woke G-men, and anyone who doesn’t indulge the next Republican president’s every whim (an adaptation to the likelihood of a Trump nomination),” in the commentary titled, “The Far Right Has a Plan to Remake America. They Even Wrote It Down.”

Those in charge in the incoming administration are prepared to purge those deemed disloyal after identifying and interviewing “every Treasury Department official who participated in its DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) activities and programs, and make such activity ‘“per se grounds for termination of employment.”’

Leonard Leo, a major right-wing donor who significantly influenced and shaped the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative supermajority under Trump, has been a major fundraiser for Project 2025. (On Nov. 30, the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary voted to subpoena Leo “as part of an ethics probe into undisclosed financial ties to U.S. Supreme Court justices.”)

According to a press release from the nonprofit Accountable.US, recent reporting from NBC shows that “The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, stepped up efforts to boost its Project 2025 initiative by ramping up grants to the venture aimed at creating a ‘government-in-waiting’ for the next Republican presidential administration, according to a new tax filing."

Everyone in this country deserves to know what Republicans have in mind if trump wins. This understanding is desperately needed to offset the negatives that will otherwise influence people to vote 3rd party or not vote. Young, inexperienced voters are at high risk for not voting for Biden due to the horrible situation in Gaza, which Biden seems blind to. So are millions who are overwhelmed by the high cost of housing and food. While many Americans are at least uneasy about a trump presidency, they have NO IDEA as to what is being planned... what is clearly outlined in the Plan for 2025. And the slogan- protect democracy... can easily sound like just that... a campaign slogan... which will be even less meaningful when republicans use it as well...

Please help! Individual citizens like me do not have the platform to do this!

Aloha,

Gail Breakey

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Bill,

Excellent read...

My only "issue" is that the "words" you offer for the Six-Year-Old-In-Chief's diatribe are too articulate.

There is not enough of his "veering-off-subject word salad" hinting at his dementia.

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‘Mirror mirror on the walls (ceiling, sides, back, front) who remains the best of all by far?’ Trump(ets) blare, yes that’ me with the blank stare! Now after the trial it will be all laid bare!

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The Emory University professor's complaint over her arrest, the outrage expressed by students at various universities over Gaza and Palestine, and the completely irresponsible and untruthful shrieks by MAGA followers of The False Prophet show that our society is united in the need to WHINE vociferously.

The magnitude of the whining has caused me to write in run-on sentences! I need to whine about that, too.

I'd cite facts, but facts don't matter any longer.

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The lefties don’t get it. Our side needs to win, or they will really have something to whine about. All the bitching and moaning they like to call “protesting” is hurting their own damn cause.

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I have to dispute one element, Mary: I don't think that this or any other current scenario pits "our side" against "lefties". Some posts here on The Bulwark, including some of my own comments, can easily be labelled as "whines". I contend that my comments are not whines on the order of those uttered by The False Prophet, MAGA, and university communities now in uproar over Palestine and Gaza. But, I argue that from my own perspective or opinion only.

I believe that "our cause" is that of every champion of our Constitution regardless of their customary political leaning.

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Wait! Trump actually has a mind? I thought the only room he had in his brain was for his ego.

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