"Donald Trump has become a favorite of cartoonists, thanks to his flapping hair and his flapping mouth. That's not necessarily a good thing, because it's easy to be lazy when the target is so inviting." -- Me, July 20, 2015
I start with a quote and a screenshot of that 2015 posting to disarm anyone who feels I'm a Trumpophile and that what follows is fanboy praise, and, while that particular piece is worth reading, I'd also invite you to type "Trump" into the search box in the right rail and hunt for any times I've praised him.
Here's the thing: I'm becoming concerned that Trump Derangement Syndrome is suffocating good progressive commentary, just as Obama Derangement Syndrome kept many conservatives from intelligently monitoring events throughout that administration.
For instance, if I'm a prophet, it is of the Cassandra variety, because, nearly two years after that blog posting and despite my having repeated the explanation often, there are still people who think Trump taking "four" student deferments is a sure sign of a draft dodger.
Rocky Bleier also took "four" II-S deferments, then was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers, following which he got a letter from his draft board requesting his presence at a physical.
Steelers management offered to lawyer up and intervene, but Rock said that wouldn't be right and went off to Vietnam where they blowed him up real good.
Some draft dodger he turned out to be.
Student deferments were not "draft dodging." Read some damn history or talk to someone over 60.
And now TDS sufferers are upset because Trump told the Russians before he launched those Tomahawks, which is not only in accord with a treaty but makes sense anyway, given that blowing up a relatively empty airfield qualifies as a punitive strike while blowing up Russian personnel would qualify as total madness.
And, by the way, other presidents have launched punitive strikes without launching wars.
Is it possible to attack Trump responsibly?
Is it hard?
Well, damn, it sure shouldn't be. The guy is a disaster.
And Jen Sorensen, who was a 2017 Pulitzer finalist and is up for an NCS award, does a terrific job in her latest piece. Not only does she make a solid point about the harm his domestic policies do, but the final panel is perfectly phrased and illustrated.
It's as much a response to Trump's response to war crimes as it is a condemnation of his overall hypocrisy, inconsistency and lack of humane awareness.
Which is to say, you can lay down heavy criticism of the man without falling victim to TDS and losing focus.
That's particularly important now that things appear to be shifting.
I have been surprised over the past 24 or 48 hours by what is coming out of the White House.
It remains incoherent, and Sean Spicer's idiotic, unforgiveable Hitler analogy is a pretty clear symptom of the disarray, as Pulitzer-Prize-Winning Jim Morin points out.
I particularly like that he doesn't actually reference the Hitler thing: Just about everything that comes out of Spicer's mouth is a national embarrassment.
Not that throwing him out and putting Kellyanne Conway in the slot would improve things, but if you wondered how Trump managed to bankrupt so many companies, his idea of a PR professional is surely a clue.
Judging not simply by the punitive strike but by Trump's temperate remarks at his press conference yesterday with the head of NATO, including his apparent admission of having backed off his high horse in talks with Xi Jinping, it's pretty obvious that Trump is suddenly listening to people he had previously ignored and ignoring people to whom he had previously listened.
This CNN column (mute your speakers before clicking) runs it down well, including this semi-disclaimer:
Of course, one day of policy adjustments does not necessarily mean that Trump's unique political persona and methodology are suddenly going to change. After all, the President has spent most of his first 100 days in office torching conventional political practice, trading in untruths and exaggerations, and pouring oil on political controversies on Twitter -- including accusations that his campaign had links to the Kremlin at a time when Moscow was being accused of interfering in the US election.
Still, unless you are a victim of Trump Derangement Syndrome, you have to admit he doesn't seem as batshit crazy as he did two weeks ago, and, if the difference is that he listens to Jared Kushner, well, you don't have to love nepotism to appreciate somebody -- anybody -- throwing a bucket of water over the damn fool.
If nothing else, the last time we had a nitwit in the Oval Office, the people he listened to bullshat us into Iraq. Maybe this nitwit will listen to less toxic manipulators.
Though, by the way, the popular theory that he launched the strike as part of a clever strategy is way too generous. I don't think there is a coherent, much less "clever," strategy coming out of his administration or that he has the pragmatism and common sense to make a deliberate move in order to appear presidential.
In fact, I like Lee Judge's take on the punitive strike:
That's not Trump Derangement Syndrome. That's dark but reasonable analysis.
In a Facebook comment before I gave up on reasoning with TDS victims there, I likened the (treaty-mandated) heads-up to Russia to approaching a biker in a bar and saying "Look, I've got no quarrel with you, but your friend here is being an a******."
Sometimes, the biker sticks up for his buddy, but other times he turns to him and tells him to STFU.
He's also apt to say to you, "Do what you gotta" and admire your gall for being so outfront.
And so crazy.
Sometimes crazy is a cool hand.