It's hard to believe the ex-president will ever wind up behind bars. He's pretty much poisoned the jury pool.

Expand full comment

WRT Miller's piece...

The insults don't bother me--probably because I have my own equally potentially upsetting list--plus I know Shakespeare. You want some killer insults, Shakespeare is your guy. Brush up on your Elizabethan English first though.

(If people actually understood some of the stuff going on in Shakespeare there would be a great wailing and gnashing of teeth--but he gets a pass because people don't understand it and it's Great Literature).

Most of the rest of the stuff he wrote I kinda said in one of my earlier posts (my rant about conservatism)... so I am on board there.

Instead of being liberal or conservative, how about we just be reasonably smart and sane? Wouldn't THAT be a change? Maybe we should start a Smart and Sane Party.

Republican government as practiced in the US has become a mess. Yes, it is necessary to protect the rights of the minority (but somehow there were a lot of American minorities who didn't get protected under the traditional system that everybody touts as protecting the minority).

But there has to be balance. You DO have to be able to do things at some point.

Yes, the Imperial Presidency is too powerful. Whose fault is that (I am looking at YOU Congress). You could try returning power to Congress but the reality is that they would just give it away again, for the same reasons they gave it away the first time.

The Administrative State is too powerful. The problem is that i cannot think of a better way to run a diverse nation of 330+ million people spread across more than a continent.

Unmediated democracy is a grave danger. But to counteract it, you need leadership that possesses both courage and principles (and virtue). We do not elect those people. Those people do not run for office ITFP.

If only the people valued virtue and rewarded it (and I am not talking about the faux virtues espoused by the Right or the Left).

Expand full comment

Hang on a minute on the FFS re. the free at-home tests. I'm pretty impressed about how easy it was to order the 4 free in-home tests that are going to be mailed to me. I am one of the over-65, Medicare people, and I am not worried or outraged at all--quite the opposite. I think it will take me quite a while to use up the 4 free tests, since, like most people my age, I am retired and don't spend time in situations where I am likely to be exposed.

Expand full comment

What I learned from Donald Trump is that anything is possible. He was elected President. I never expected that. Not a billion billion calculations per second could have predicted that. The confluence of events (celebrity, rhetorical prowess, yokels, foreign influence, opposition turned to acquiescence, two polarizing candidates vying for the presidency, James Comey's well-intentioned but ill-timed announcement, etc) that lead to the 2016 election seem impossible yet all aligned and coagulated to form President Trump. Are civil / criminal charges possible? Are plea deals possible? Are jury trials possible? Anything is possible!

Are convictions and meaning consequences possible? No. That's not possible.

Expand full comment

One of the major problems that I see coming is that now that the Pandora's Box of the election was stolen/illegitimate has been opened wide, EVERYBODY and their uncle is going to be using it. I already see signs of this on the Left--and it is full blown on the Right.

Soon, NO election will be legitimate for the losing side. NO public appointment. NO law. This is the path we tread and it leads to Perdition.

You cannot shatter the illusion for momentary advantage or selfishness and then expect it to hold afterwards.

Expand full comment

Full Disclosure: I am absolutely aware of my personal tendency toward verbosity at times. How could I not be with my darling (and keenly observant) wife often reminding me of that fact. That said...

Re: Quick Hits #1...The position Lowry is advocating for here is one that if he were to be more economical with his words, I expect he would present as simply "pragmatic". Charlie is much more economical with his..."a common rationalization" that is "circular". Let me attempt to squeeze out all the surplus words here and focus on the only two descriptors that I believe relevant to what Lowry is talking about. Pragmatism. Hypocrisy.

Pragmatism at times can be a useful position. Sorry, can't say the same for hypocrisy. At least I myself can't. And by my lights that is what Lowry is promoting, however much he wishes to see it as "maneuvering". Or anything else. Sadly, there's an extreme overabundance of this particular political (and human) commodity. If nothing else, at least Cheney is trimming that oversupply just a bit.

Also, Re: QH #2...I love language. Probably why I use too much of it sometimes. And I love the descriptions Tim often conjures up of #45. Pure gold, language-wise. But in keeping with my above theme of economy of words, let me give mine: Trump Bad.

OK. Enough of that crap. Back over to you, Tim.

Expand full comment

Trumpism is a direct descendant of The Anti-Masonic Party. We've always had these nutters and sadly always will

Expand full comment

Your point: "So much losing, you almost have to feel sorry for the former guy," would be true for truly righteous monks and nuns, naïve people, and those drawing a paycheck from his business cartels.

For the rest of us, who have been mentally tortured by the Secessionist-In-Chief's outrageous behavior and statements, there is schadenfreude. We hope that at last retribution will come for this sociopathic, shallow, intellectually lazy huckster.

During his "career" Trump cut corners, and gambled that his outright illegal actions would never come to court. He is not stupid and knows many of his actions are wrong, yet rationalizes ALL other people are the same.

He lacks empathy, the ability to stand in someone else's shoes and understand how they feel. His statements about being sad when "friends" die, is genuine, but not empathetic. His self-centered sadness wells up because that person who helped grow his cartel's profits will not be there to continue that role.

That point is key: Trump has no sense of guilt, similar to a wild animal being unable to conceptualize good or bad. But there is a difference. He has a skewed concept of good and bad. Since his decisions are always self-centered, any words or actions that further his wants are good, and those that block his desired outcomes are bad, evil, and criminal.

I wish the former guy good health during his current legal issues.

But I cannot be a hypocrite. I also hope that after the legal processes he has a long illness, unable to speak and write, so he can reflect on an afterlife and Psalm 10:13 “Why does the wicked man revile God and His ways? Why does he say to himself, 'I won’t call me to account?'"

Expand full comment

Bill's conversation with Jonathan Karl is excellent. Worth it to listen.

Expand full comment

People have to understand this: even if Trump is charged with a felony and convicted, even if gets a several year prison sentence, he can still be a candidate for President of the United States and be elected. Federal courts have ruled that the only qualifications for President or any federal elected position are those outlined in the Constitution. Regarding the Presidency, those qualifications are 35 years of age, natural born citizen, 14 years a resident of the United States).

That you don't have a felony conviction is not mentioned in the Constitution. If you have a felony, you can run for President or Congress. Many, if not most states, disqualify people from running for state office if they have a felony. But they can't stop felons from running or being elected to federal office.

Of course, some will chime in that if Trump's convicted of a felony he will be so damaged politically he won't be able to run. I don't buy that for a second. His political supporters have proven they will overlook ANYTHING. He will still be running the GOP and in line to get the nomination if he wants. I think if Trump's prosecuted, he's more likely to run because that will give him the most political cover from the prosecution.

But there is a way to disqualification. The Insurrection Clause of the 14th Amendment needs to be dusted off and used to take Trump out of the running in 2024 and for any federal election thereafter. That's what they should have used instead of the much more difficult alternative of impeachment. Now though they have even more evidence of the conspiracy and Trump's role. Use the Insurrection Clause. Don't assume criminal convictions will deter Trump from running.

Expand full comment

I don't think the cult of anti-Trump has the brainpower to note that their continued crusade against him with breathtaking abuses of power are sending more voters to his corner.

Expand full comment

JVL asked his readers yesterday to meditate on "hope and grit." Most of us here at The Bulwark hope Trump gets his comeuppance and pray that Merrick Garland has grit. At first glance we may think these "hopes" of a much lower order than those JVL included in his piece. But on second thought, our hopes of a Trumpian demise are really about the restoration of the Ideals around which American civilization was constructed, when we have been at our best. Let's have some grit in service of that goal.

Expand full comment

I suspect that, when all is said and done, Rudy and several fellow travelers will be facing some serious charges, but TFG, whose interests they were facilitating, will remain untouched, further cementing his infallibility in the minds of his cultist supporters.

Expand full comment

RE: The FFS comment that Medicare A/B won't cover at home tests. "The rules-heavy program bills enrolled providers like hospitals, doctors, labs and pharmacies directly for expenses. It doesn’t reimburse patients the way a flexible spending account or a commercial insurer sometimes does." So if a person does not choose to pay the premiums to have an Advantage Plan there are many other things they have to pay for out of pocket also. That is a choice they make. Are there Advantage plans that will heed the "encouragement" to cover these tests? Maybe. But I think we still struggle with the most logical use of these tests. The article says so 65 year olds can decide if they can safely gather. Wasn't this an issue even with trump - rapid tests being used as a "free to gather" card and then the next day people in the "safe" gathering ended up sick anyway. Not a epidemiologist and don't play one on TV either - but have a family with people in late 80s to young great grandchildren. Christmas day we planned a get together. We had purchased at home tests and everyone except the 2 in their late 80s took a test. One great grandchild tested positive - even tho no symptoms. That whole family stayed away from the party. Her symptoms started the following day - so really glad we did this. But I still took both elders to the drive through covid testing site 5 days after the party - because a negative at home test is not a guarantee. So realistically - can Biden sign an executive order and magically make tests reimbursable with medicare? A cumbersome government program that is not easily adjusted? Not likely - but he can make free tests available - which he has - and maybe needs to look lifting the cap of 4 per household if this continues. Also would be interested in knowing how many of those medicare recipients are republicans who don't give a rats ass about testing anyway.

Expand full comment

You know what bothers me? It's that Trump has led a life of crime, destruction, and pathologically selfish decisions. He is now seventy-what? And his diet and lifestyle make me incredulous that he has lived this long. He will run out his own clock and escape justice. Unless, of course, there is some kind of afterlife accountability. I doubt it, but many others don't. I hope they are right.

Expand full comment

The montages about walls closing in and turning points are indeed depressing, especially when, if each claim were examined in context, I imagine most of them were regarding some pretty egregious conduct that really should have brought some significant consequences down on Trump. The man has been engaged in criminal conduct since before I was born, and has never really faced any serious consequences, which of course has led to five decades of steadily emboldened behavior. Not really the ideal profile for a US President.

As far as the Russel Moore piece exhorting his Christian brethren to ask WWJD, I feel compelled to share something that was just recently brought to my attention:


Apparently, in 2019, 19 of the top 20 Christian Facebook pages were run by Eastern European troll farms, like the folks out of Macedonia. These are a gullible lot, and it's not a huge surprise that they're total suckers for an amoral, shameless conman. I'm not optimistic they'll be coming around. And the more entrenched you become in these fantasies, the harder and more painful it becomes to admit you and your entire worldview were wrong.

Expand full comment