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Thread: Life in the Trump Era, Part 2

  1. #601
    Quote Originally Posted by LA Ute View Post
    I can agree with those two without thinking it’s ok to call Mike Pence a Nazi. Are you willing to concede that there were really a lot of overwrought statements made about George W. Bush, John McCain, and Mitt Romney?.Romney was going to “put y’all back in chains.“ Surely you haven’t forgotten? By the way, I’ve never read Breitbart in my life. If you keep accusing me of being one of those people, I’m going to say you read Mother Jones for your political guidance. That’ll fix you.
    There still seems to be a number of people who believe the government (Bush II) brought down the towers so it could invade Iraq.
    "It'd be nice to please everyone but I thought it would be more interesting to have a point of view." -- Oscar Levant

  2. #602
    I think it does matter that he conspired with the Russians, because it shows who he is. As soon as the June 16 meeting, his campaign should have gone to the FBI.

    It has affected all his dealings with the Russians. As has been pointed out many times, Putin is the only person he does not criticize, insrtead he rips everybody in the American govt, executive and legislative. He wont enforce sanctions. He is doing nothing to prevent them from meddling this election cycle. He wont stand up to them. Something is very wrong there.

  3. #603
    Quote Originally Posted by jrj84105 View Post
    The systematic dismantling of the apparatus for rule of law is the issue, and a SURPRISING number of sane people on the right, the people who are trusted to keep their fringe in check, are fine with allowing it.
    It might be because the people you trusted to keep their fringe in check was informed during multiple election cycles that, in fact, they were no different from said fringe.
    "It'd be nice to please everyone but I thought it would be more interesting to have a point of view." -- Oscar Levant

  4. #604
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by concerned View Post
    I think it does matter that he conspired with the Russians, because it shows who he is. As soon as the June 16 meeting, his campaign should have gone to the FBI.

    It has affected all his dealings with the Russians. As has been pointed out many times, Putin is the only person he does not criticize, insrtead he rips everybody in the American govt, executive and legislative. He wont enforce sanctions. He is doing nothing to prevent them from meddling this election cycle. He wont stand up to them. Something is very wrong there.
    If he did conspire with them I'll get at the front of the Impeach Trump parade. And it has always bugged me that he's so soft on Putin.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  5. #605
    Quote Originally Posted by LA Ute View Post
    By the way, I’ve never read Breitbart in my life.
    I never thought you did. I think it just comes naturally; its in your DNA. (tic)

    P.s. I don't read Mother Jones, either. So there.

  6. #606
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by concerned View Post
    I never thought you did. I think it just comes naturally; its in your DNA. (tic)

    P.s. I don't read Mother Jones, either. So there.
    I'll bet you have close friends who read Mother Jones.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  7. #607
    Administrator U-Ute's Avatar
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    I know Ezra Klein is a foul word among the conservative set, but his interview of Amy Chua on the tribalization of American Politics is really a good listen.

    Amy Chua on how tribalism is tearing America apart

  8. #608
    Quote Originally Posted by LA Ute View Post
    I'll bet you have close friends who read Mother Jones.
    Wrong again. I dont have close friends.

    I could see you having written this:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs...=.657d77576252

  9. #609
    Quote Originally Posted by U-Ute View Post
    I know Ezra Klein is a foul word among the conservative set, but his interview of Amy Chua on the tribalization of American Politics is really a good listen.

    Amy Chua on how tribalism is tearing America apart
    I read Hillbilly Elegy last week. I did not realize that she was the person who encouraged JD Vance to write about his experiences in the first place.

  10. #610
    Quote Originally Posted by U-Ute View Post
    I know Ezra Klein is a foul word among the conservative set, but his interview of Amy Chua on the tribalization of American Politics is really a good listen.

    Amy Chua on how tribalism is tearing America apart
    Chua makes good points, but I would argue the root of the problem is much deeper - economics.

    Our own CIA created the GINI index, a measure of economic inequality, specifically to assess instability in other nations. America's own dismal GINI score reveals why so many feel they're being left behind... which inflames tribalism. (Remember, "poverty" is relative. If you're from a place where it was a struggle to eat, America is "Oz". If you're a multi-generation blue collar American, at risk of losing your job, life is miserable, *ESPECIALLY* as you've been working your ass off the whole time.)

    When the pie is expanding - and people feel they have a really good shot of expanding their own slice - it's much easier to be charitable to those different than us, to reach across divides and feel you'll come out of the exchange better off, make a better future for your kids.

    Put differently:

    Economic security/prosperity facilitates reaching across divides, engenders the self assurance to take risks and take a broader look at humanity, emphasize our commonalities.

    The converse, economic insecurity - fueled by nationalism & tribalism, and exceptionally adept external manipulation - leads to social instability.

    For an example in American history, look at how vicious relations have been in the past between successive groups of immigrants in NYC, Boston, etc. The Irish were demonized and opposed... until the Italians came along, then the Poles, etc. Economic competition for jobs, a perception that newer immigrants will work for less, etc.
    Last edited by Ma'ake; 02-27-2018 at 11:20 AM.

  11. #611
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by concerned View Post
    Wrong again. I dont have close friends.

    I could see you having written this:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs...=.657d77576252
    I am not as good a writer as he is, but I do agree with everything he says. I think Trump is playing the entire country.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  12. #612
    Quote Originally Posted by LA Ute View Post
    I am not as good a writer as he is, but I do agree with everything he says. I think Trump is playing the entire country.
    I think there are two distinct parts: 1) Trump is just being Trump. He's a natural at it. and 2) there's reason to suspect that "chaos" is a very deliberate strategy.

    In Israel, Netanyahu is under serious threat of being charged with corruption, removed from office. One insightful opinion suggested his best chance of survival is to sow as much chaos and confusion as possible.

    Viktor Vanokovych certainly did the same thing in Ukraine (with Manafort as his advisor) and the transformation of Putin from a middling post-Soviet President/Prime Minister who was able to eclipse their constitutional term limits to become an effective autocrat is well documented.

    Circling back to Trump - *If* that part of Steele's dossier is true that Putin has been grooming Trump for years as he would make a great candidate to destabilize the US, then both factors blend together well: Trump the natural disruptor meets a strategy to remake America into a nationalistic nation, far lesser than the global superpower that has vexed lesser powers with the appeal of our ideals and our economic power on the global stage.
    Last edited by Ma'ake; 02-27-2018 at 12:04 PM.

  13. #613
    We can debate whether Trump is just a dolt who doesn't know how to be President, or if there are much bigger designs, but...

    ...how do we compel the President to protect the nation? It seems like the stakes here are pretty high.

    https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/27/polit...eat/index.html

  14. #614
    Quote Originally Posted by Ma'ake View Post
    We can debate whether Trump is just a dolt who doesn't know how to be President, or if there are much bigger designs, but...

    ...how do we compel the President to protect the nation? It seems like the stakes here are pretty high.

    https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/27/polit...eat/index.html
    Whether Trump actually colluded with Russia or he is just a useful idiot, you have to believe that those orchestrating the Russian attacks on our election were saying, "America can't be making it this easy for us." And I guaran-damn-tee that when there was talk of Oprah running to oppose The Donald they were absolutely salivating and thinking the same thing.

  15. #615
    Quote Originally Posted by LA Ute View Post
    I am not as good a writer as he is, but I do agree with everything he says. I think Trump is playing the entire country.
    Just read Ed Rogers whole piece. Wowser. (For the record, Rogers is a Republican, served under Reagan & Bush I.)

    "The term “gaslighting” is much in vogue these days. It appears that is exactly what is happening — at least to Republicans. When Trump says something ridiculous or there is an incredibly outrageous, credible and destructive allegation made against him — like that he would have rushed into the Florida high school without a gun or that his lawyer paid off a porn star — I pause and think that maybe I’m wrong to assert the revelation’s significance.

    "The more Trump’s antics go on, the more I feel like Republicans have become quasi-victims of Stockholm syndrome. Like those who experience a sense of trust or affection toward their captors in cases of kidnapping and hostage-taking, many Republicans have learned to love and accept the president despite his obvious shortcomings."


    (This is not from some California liberal, it's not from Oprah or the ladies on The View, or a Euro trying to make sense of what's going on. Ed Rogers is an energy sector lobbyist, a long time Republican.)

  16. #616
    Mueller closing in... https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/27/polit...ion/index.html

    Didn't one of Trump's attorneys say the Trump family finances are a red line? It seems Mueller may have powerful Intel evidence, but needs human corroboration to make it stick, avoid disclosing sources & methods, etc. (Hence flipping witnesses upward.)

    Getting some indictments on Manafort in the State of Virginia seems pretty shrewd - Trump can't dangle a pardon on non-federal cases. (How strong those cases are is another question.)

    Mueller is moving much more quickly than Ken Starr did, that's for sure.

  17. #617
    They said it is a red line for a Congressional investigation, i think. They cant do anything about Mueller.

  18. #618
    Quote Originally Posted by concerned View Post
    They said it is a red line for a Congressional investigation, i think. They cant do anything about Mueller.
    I agree they can't do anything about Mueller, but especially as he's nibbling around some sensitive edges, this has to be making Trump especially agitated. He has other issues that are key distractions he needs to focus on, ie, "How can we make you feel safer?", but let's remember he canned Comey last spring - "over Russia" - he berated Sessions to tears because he recused himself from the Russia investigation, and last summer he wanted to can Mueller, but relented under threat his own attorney would resign if he did.

    Yesterday Trump resorted to a 2 year old's sophistication in a tweet, "WITCH HUNT!"

    This consumes Trump, not because it undermines his presidency - he does that everyday, though he seems unaware of it - but because it fundamentally threatens his presidency. The polling showing Mueller & he on opposite ends of the approval scale on Russia must be driving him nuts. (He probably wants to fire Devin Nunes for failing to turn perceptions around.)

    I could be wrong, but it seems like those around Trump are starting to stand up to him. Kelly has been firm about Kushner getting bumped down on the security clearance, it was Rosenstein who announced the 13 indictments against the Russians ("here is what my employee Mueller has done! I'm the boss of this!"), and even Sessions defended his own recusal.

    If Mueller gets Manafort to flip (which I think is unlikely), and/or if Mueller indicts Kushner on money laundering and more, things will get very interesting. Do the adults start to calmly turn down the natural gas that makes Trump the full Wizard of Oz?

    Or does Trump clean out Kelly, Sessions, Rosenstein, Mueller, et al, and start to implement a functioning junta? Trump isn't as smart as Putin, he'll have a much tougher time pulling something like that off, unless he orders Manafort freed and declares a state of emergency. I just don't think his hand in the political environment is strong enough to pull that off. Putin had the vicious Chechnya bombings. After seeing the survivors of Parkland, I don't know if Trump has the guts - or secret operations group - to order something like that. (A possible exception may be Pompeo, who as head of the CIA reportedly has been assembling a small army of independent operatives, much like Putin.)

    Maybe Pence will step up and lead a 25th Amendment action. (OK, that was a joke, I'm goofing on that point.)
    Last edited by Ma'ake; 02-28-2018 at 07:20 AM.

  19. #619
    Administrator U-Ute's Avatar
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    An interesting confluence of events on the potential horizon: Did the Russians funnel money to the NRA.

    It sounds like a liberal's wet dream. Easy enough to toss aside on the "Fake News" pile. But it is definitely curious how the NRA isn't actually denying the allegations.

    http://theweek.com/articles/757832/s...s-russia-story

  20. #620
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    I do think many liberals have become like 1950s Red hunters. A lot of you are quite sure that Trump did something illegal with the Russians, and that Mueller’s closing in on him. I don’t know. Maybe he is. There’s no evidence of that. And, guys like Adam Schiff are saying things like “There is more than circumstantial evidence of collusion.“ What an idiotic and inappropriate thing to say. Adam is a former federal prosecutor and knows better. That statement is the kind of thing that went on during the McCarthy era. Joe always had papers in his briefcase that he wasn’t going to disclose, but by golly, he had them. And they were incriminating.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  21. #621
    Administrator U-Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LA Ute View Post
    I do think many liberals have become like 1950s Red hunters. A lot of you are quite sure that Trump did something illegal with the Russians, and that Mueller’s closing in on him. I don’t know. Maybe he is. There’s no evidence of that. And, guys like Adam Schiff are saying things like “There is more than circumstantial evidence of collusion.“ What an idiotic and inappropriate thing to say. Adam is a former federal prosecutor and knows better. That statement is the kind of thing that went on during the McCarthy era. Joe always had papers in his briefcase that he wasn’t going to disclose, but by golly, he had them. And they were incriminating.


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    I dunno man. That kind of talk make me suspicious of you. I'm going to round up the boys and we all is gonna have an inquiry.

  22. #622
    Quote Originally Posted by LA Ute View Post
    I do think many liberals have become like 1950s Red hunters. A lot of you are quite sure that Trump did something illegal with the Russians, and that Mueller’s closing in on him. I don’t know. Maybe he is. There’s no evidence of that. And, guys like Adam Schiff are saying things like “There is more than circumstantial evidence of collusion.“ What an idiotic and inappropriate thing to say. Adam is a former federal prosecutor and knows better. That statement is the kind of thing that went on during the McCarthy era. Joe always had papers in his briefcase that he wasn’t going to disclose, but by golly, he had them. And they were incriminating.


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    You are really hyperventilating this morning. Maybe Breitbartism does come naturally after all.

    I don't know if Trump colluded with the Russians. i think it is very likely that he or his campaign knew the Russians were the hackers and had the emails, given what we know about Papadopalas, Don Jr., Flynn, Stone. They didn't do anything to discourage Russian involvement, and knew they benefitted from it, and encouraged it.

    Schiff should not have made that comment, but comparing him to McCarthey is ridiculous, as you know. Other than that, particularly with regard to the Nunes memo, Schiff has acquitted himself professionally. he has mostly tried to keep his committee on track. You cant say that about Nunes, et al. You keep criticizing Schiff, but I dont think you have ever said anything about Nunes et al (I could be wrong).

    fwiw

    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/don...mpression=true
    Last edited by concerned; 02-28-2018 at 12:13 PM.

  23. #623
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by concerned View Post
    You are really hyperventilating this morning. Maybe Breitbartism does come naturally after all.

    I don't know if Trump colluded with the Russians. i think it is very likely that he or his campaign knew the Russians were the hackers and had the emails, given what we know about Papadopalas, Don Jr., Flynn, Stone. They didn't do anything to discourage Russian involvement, and knew they benefitted from it, and encouraged it.

    Schiff should not have made that comment, but comparing him to McCarthey is ridiculous, as you know. Other than that, particularly with regard to the Nunes memo, Schiff has acquitted himself professionally. he has mostly tried to keep his committee on track. You cant say that about Nunes, et al. You keep criticizing Schiff, but I dont think you have ever said anything about Nunes et al (I could be wrong).

    fwiw

    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/don...mpression=true
    MotherJones.jpg

    Quote Originally Posted by U-Ute View Post
    I dunno man. That kind of talk make me suspicious of you. I'm going to round up the boys and we all is gonna have an inquiry.
    Look, Alger Hiss was a commie spy. That's all you need to know.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  24. #624
    Quote Originally Posted by U-Ute View Post
    An interesting confluence of events on the potential horizon: Did the Russians funnel money to the NRA.

    It sounds like a liberal's wet dream. Easy enough to toss aside on the "Fake News" pile. But it is definitely curious how the NRA isn't actually denying the allegations.

    http://theweek.com/articles/757832/s...s-russia-story
    There was a TV piece about Alexander Torshin last year, about how he's a lifetime NRA member, and has been to several NRA conventions, etc. Certainly nothing illegal, though the part in this article about Spanish authorities wanting him for money laundering and ties to the organized crime in Russia really don't help the NRA's publicity, on this issue.

    The part of the TV piece I found interesting is how a few evangelicals were quite sympathetic to Russia and the plight of Russians, to the point where one businessman from Texas was saying he thought Putin would make an outstanding Christian.

    If there's something there, Mueller will dig it out. Maybe this is part of what the Treasury Department was involved in, as part of the Intel collection effort?

  25. #625
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    I think someone should look into whether any Russian money was funneled through Mitt Romney to BYU football.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  26. #626
    Quote Originally Posted by LA Ute View Post
    I do think many liberals have become like 1950s Red hunters. A lot of you are quite sure that Trump did something illegal with the Russians, and that Mueller’s closing in on him. I don’t know. Maybe he is. There’s no evidence of that. And, guys like Adam Schiff are saying things like “There is more than circumstantial evidence of collusion.“ What an idiotic and inappropriate thing to say. Adam is a former federal prosecutor and knows better. That statement is the kind of thing that went on during the McCarthy era. Joe always had papers in his briefcase that he wasn’t going to disclose, but by golly, he had them. And they were incriminating.
    Reality and history are full of irony. When I was studying Econ at the U, the Rosenbergs case was a sore spot for some of the (real) leftists, "they were set up!" It turns out the Rosenbergs were guilty, after all. Their daughter talked about it on NPR. Fascinating story.

    My sense is Adam Schiff would have taken a much lower, less aggressive profile had Devin Nunes not jumped into the Trump defense effort, undermining the FBI, etc. (But that's just me.)

  27. #627
    24 hours after spending the day getting grilled, Hope Hicks has had enough.


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  28. #628
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dwight Schr-Ute View Post
    24 hours after spending the day getting grilled, Hope Hicks has had enough.
    I hear she likes Russian dressing on her salads.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  29. #629
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Evidence of something going on between Russians and BYU:

    BYU Basketball Recruiting: Meet Agasiy Tonoyan, the Russian forward who has been turning heads in Europe

    Did Heath Schroyer have anything to do with the Trump campaign? We should find out.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  30. #630
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Don’t be fooled by the headline. This is an interesting piece by a very smart man.

    *****

    The Only Good Thing About Donald Trump Is All His Policies

    A U.S. president who is a boor presents a problem. The presidency, after all, has a symbolic aspect.

    My son Mark, whose mind is more capacious, objective and generous than mine, nicely formulated the Donald Trump problem for thoughtful conservatives. “I approve of almost everything he has done,” my son remarked, “and I disapprove of almost everything he has said.”

    Second the motion. I approve of the Neil Gorsuch appointment, the moving of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the removal of often-strangling regulations from much commerce, the opening of the Keystone pipeline, the tax-reform law, and more.

    I disapprove of the bragging tweets, the touchiness, the crude put-downs of anyone who disagrees with him (“Little Marco, ” “insecure Oprah, ” “Sloppy Steve, ” and the rest), the unrestrained vulgarity. America has had ignorant, corrupt, vain, lazy presidents before, but in Donald Trump we have the first president who is a genuine boor.

    In many realms of life, a boor’s rude, unmannerly nature can be forgivable. A wise stockbroker, who makes his clients lots of money, might get away with being a boor. A boorish winning football coach— Mike Ditka, take a bow—is livable if not likable. Showbiz has never been without its boors, from George Jessel to Whoopi Goldberg. Even a boorish friend is possible, if he is also loyal, generous and honorable. But a boorish president of the United States presents a problem.

    The presidency, like the monarchy in England, has a symbolic along with a practical aspect. The president is meant to represent the nation at its best. What precisely that means can vary greatly in a country as wide and differentiated as ours. Dwight David Eisenhower was a different model of our best than was Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Harry S. Truman was different again, and yet in his own way he represented the country, in its Middle Western, small-business, common-sensical strain.

    No one expects the president to be perfect. Nonetheless, it is disappointing when his imperfections are glaringly on display. Hence Bill Cinton’s fraternity-boy high jinks in the Oval Office with Monica Lewinsky was not a mere misdemeanor, a contretemps, but a disgrace, which left a permanent blot on what was in many ways a successful presidency.

    The obverse of Donald Trump’s presidency for me was that of Barack Obama. To flip my son’s formulation, I approved of almost everything Mr. Obama said, and I disapproved of almost everything he did. He made a wretched nuclear deal with Iran, initiated a hopelessly cumbersome health-care law, deserted Israel at the United Nations, and did more to exacerbate than to alleviate race relations. Yet no hint of corruption, no sexual scandal of any sort, clings to Mr. Obama, a man who seems a loving husband and a good father.

    I can easily imagine myself at lunch with Barack Obama, talking baseball, basketball, the University of Chicago, the intricacies of Chicago-style machine politics, whereas I cannot think of a single topic I might take up at a similar meal with Donald Trump.

    The presidency, I can hear critics claiming, is not a charm contest. If President Trump is a boor, that may be regrettable, but better a boor with sound policies than a gentleman with unsound ones. True enough, yet this does not, as the philosophers say, exhaust all cases. A man likes to think that one day we may again have a president with both sound policies and dignified behavior.

    Such a combination is of course possible, but at present more than merely unlikely. Boors in their 70s do not change. Donald Trump is incorrigible. Not even John Kelly, a tough retired Marine Corps general, has been able to whip him into anything resembling presidential shape. With Mr. Trump, what we see is what we get, and what we get distinctly isn’t Cary Grant. And we have three more years, possibly seven, to live it.

    What is to be done? I wonder if we might start with journalism. What if American reporters began by ignoring Mr. Trump’s tweets, treating them as no more than the belches and embarrassing flatulence of an incurably dyspeptic man? Heavy media coverage of his tweets only encourages the old boy. What if journalists also ceased searching out the rest homes for aging hookers, porn queens, Mmes. America and Universe who, many moons ago, may or may not have lain with the current leader of the free world? With these two steps alone, the nature of current-day political life would be radically improved.

    As things stand, with television punditi awaiting each morning’s fresh batch of presidential tweets, and with journalists sniffing out possible sex scandals like so many truffle dogs, the coverage of our politics seems rarely to rise above the intellectual level of the New York Post’s gossip-filled Page Six. Gossip is amusing in its place, but when that place is the White House it tends to lose its allure. In fact, it makes politics in the United States dreary beyond reckoning.

    Mr. Epstein is author of the forthcoming “The Ideal of Culture and Other Essays” (Axios Press) and “Charm: The Elusive Enchantment” ( Taylor Trade), both to be published in 2018.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

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