Feelings of impotence often lead to rage. Witness the recent escalation of the rhetoric directed at the president from the anti-Trump media.
As the president’s approval rating hovers at or near its highs in polls from the Wall St. Journal/NBC News and Rasmussen and Special Counsel Robert Mueller is prosecuting decade-old crimes against Paul Manafort that are unrelated to the 2016 election, Trump’s critics are powerless to do anything other than increase the outrageousness and the volume of their claims.
Mika Brzezinski, the co-host of “Morning Joe,” is a case in point. This week, she looked into the camera and with all of the gravitas she could muster and claimed Donald Trump “is not well.” It got worse from there.
She continued: “The president of the United States is completely unhinged and getting worse by the day.” She urged viewers to try and find someone who would tell them that Trump’s “mental state has not deteriorated radically over the past few years . . .” But you don’t have to take someone else’s word for it—just watch his interviews and speeches and judge for yourself.
You could be excused for wondering if Mika and Joe are on vacation and this is a re-run since this line of attack is just a revival of last year’s failed trope that “Trump is crazy and we have to remove him from office using the 25th Amendment.” It didn’t work then and a year on it just seems stale.
Trump haters are as bad as Hollywood (it’s no surprise that there’s plenty of overlap between the two), just making lame current-year installments of tired superhero franchises and remakes of 1980s-era classics. As a connoisseur of Trump Derangement Syndrome, I expect better from the opposition. Come on, step up your game! It’s like you’re not even trying anymore. We’ve all seen this one before.
By pivoting back to the old 25th Amendment line of attack, Democrats and their media allies reveal something important: they have a weak hand and they know it.
The Mueller investigation is going nowhere because he has nothing and, deep down, Democrats and their anti-Trump Republican fellow travelers and enablers know that, too. If he did, he’d have produced it already. At a minimum, he would have leaked it to an eager, compliant press corps. But he doesn’t and he hasn’t.
This strikes fear in the hearts of sober Democrat strategists who realize the party has spent nearly two years and all of its political capital investing in a fantasy. The spectacle of the independent counsel poring over the president’s twitter feed to see if they could use it to support a claim of obstruction of justice on an absurdly thin and utterly novel legal theory would be comic if the stakes were not so high.
Mueller has been reduced to pursuing indictments for crimes wholly unrelated to President Trump. Paul Manafort, who briefly managed the president’s campaign, is being tried for some decade-old business deals. The 12 Russian nationals Mueller indicted in July are charged with hacking attacks against both the DNC and RNC email systems. And, by the way, since they are in Russia they will never come to trial. He also indicted 13 Russians earlier this year for their involvement in a Russian troll farm that produced some shockingly amateurish Facebook ads that at different times seemed to support every candidate running including Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein, and Trump. Why? Because the goal of the Russian operation wasn’t a Trump victory; it was to sow social and political discord. Score one for the Russians and their accomplices in American media.
Knowing Robert Mueller can’t and won’t deliver what they want—the removal of Trump from office or so undermining his legitimacy as to render him both ineffective and toxic—Mika and company are falling back on the “Trump is crazy” meme. They tried it last year and no one was buying it.
Now, they realize the Mueller investigation is a squib and is actually helping the president politically as continuing revelations of FBI and Justice Department attempts to swing the election to Clinton and Mueller’s insistence on hiring deeply partisan Democrats convince more Americans that his investigation is the “partisan witch hunt” that the president claims. This solidifies Trump’s support among his base but also moves some independents and soft Democrats to question their allegiance to a party that has been peddling lies.
Moreover, there are 3.9 million more American jobs now than when Donald Trump was elected. The official unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent in July (while real unemployment fell to 7.5 percent). The Hispanic unemployment rate is at an all-time low of 4.5 percent, and the workforce participation rate, that bugbear of the Obama era, continues to rise. Add to that the fact that worker pay is now at its highest point since before the Great Recession and impartial observers realize that we are living in a Trump boom.
Yet ruling class partisans like Mika and Joe are stuck in a sad cycle of alternating, anti-Trump talking points—he’s an evil genius who conspired with Russia to steal the election (whatever that means) or he’s mentally incompetent and incapable of holding office. These lines of attack change so quickly that they give observers whiplash.
They are also transparently false and, worse from a political perspective, obviously desperate.
In her monologue, Brzezinski challenged viewers to compare videos of Trump from 10 years ago with videos of Trump today. I agree. I encourage fair-minded readers to take up Mika on her suggestion, and maybe take it a step or two further.
Here’s Trump in 1988, talking with Oprah Winfrey about trade:
And here is the president in Davos earlier this year speaking on the same subject:
Now have a look at Mika from two years ago:
And Mika this week:
She’s right about one thing: someone’s changed, someone’s “unhinged”—but it isn’t Donald Trump.
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Photo Credit: Shannon Finney/WireImage