Politics in this country has never felt the way the it does now…

“The Vietnam War years were the most ‘politicized’ of my life. I spent my days during this war writing fiction, none of which on the face of it would appear to connect to politics. But by being ‘politicized’ I mean something other than writing about politics or even taking direct political action. I mean something akin to what ordinary citizens experience in countries like Czechoslovakia or Chile: a daily awareness of government as a coercive force, its continuous presence in one’s thoughts as far more than just an institutionalized system of regulations and controls. In sharp contrast to Chileans or Czechs, we hadn’t personally to fear for our safety and could be as outspoken as we liked, but this did not diminish the sense of living in a country with a government out of control and wholly in business for itself. Reading the morning New York Times and the afternoon New York Post, watching the seven and then the eleven o’clock TV news—all of which I did ritualistically—became for me like living on a steady diet of Dostoevsky. Rather than fearing for the well-being of my own kin and country, I now felt toward America’s war mission as I had toward the Axis goals in World War II. One even began to use the word ‘America’ as though it was the name not of the place where one had been raised to which one had a patriotic attachment, but of a foreign invader that had conquered the country and with whom one refused, to the best of one’s strength and ability, to collaborate. Suddenly America had turned into ‘them’—and with this sense of dispossession came the virulence of feeling and rhetoric that often characterized the anti-war movement.

…Of course there have been others as venal and lawless [as Richard Nixon] in American politics, but even a Joe McCarthy was more identifiable as human clay than this guy is. The wonder of Nixon (and contemporary America) is that a man so transparently fraudulent, if not on the edge of mental disorder, could ever have won the confidence and approval of a people who generally require at least a little something of the ‘human touch’ in their leaders. It’s strange that someone so unlike the types most admired in the average voter…could have passed himself off to this Saturday Evening Post America as, of all things, an American.”

—Philip Roth, 1974


  1. Mary Aloyse Firestone December 25, 2017 at 7:34 pm | #

    At least Nixon spoke in support and affection about the family dog.

  2. halginsberg1963 December 25, 2017 at 7:57 pm | #

    Just like Trump’s win last year, Nixon’s triumph over Humphrey came with caveats. In both 1968 and 2016, the Democrats chose a candidate whom much of their base deeply disliked. Unlike Hillary, however, Humphrey wasn’t as bad as the antiwar left portrayed him to be. He had been a staunch supporter of civil rights and, like his boss, feared with reason that taking too strong a stance against the Vietnam War could 1) lead Scoop Jackson and other hawks to turn against him and domestic programs like the Great Society and 2) excite the wrath of media warmongers like Joe Alsop.

    Still, the lesson is clear. Democrats risk catastrophic loss when they choose Presidential candidates who have forsaken progressive populist principles either because they are unprincipled – Hillary – or in order to placate conservatives in their party and the media – Humphrey.

  3. wisedupearly December 25, 2017 at 8:36 pm | #

    One major factor has to be the failure of capitalism. People felt that automation would cause some disruption but they were unprepared for the destruction created by the relentless export of jobs/factories/technologies simply for greater profit. We have not recovered from the Great Recession as debt is not a long term solution, welfare is not a long term solution.
    Trump in himself not so different from politicians like Cruz or Rubio but we lack the reserves of stability to be able to accommodate the forces behind Trump.

  4. Chris Morlock December 25, 2017 at 11:20 pm | #

    It’s tone deaf to bring up Nixon who would be considered a socialist by today’s standards. We continue to drift to the right as whole, and left does not exist anymore. One of the battlefields we died on was the Nixon issue, and Liberals have not “listened” yet. Nixon was not the devil, Reagan and Clinton were.

    Any more poignant baby boomer failure references?

    • Francis Ingledew December 26, 2017 at 5:19 am | #

      I didn’t read this as about Nixon, but as about a sensation, the sensation of the familiar becoming the alien, us becoming them (the thing hated); and about the confusion of the discovery that we chose to be the hated thing. The passage resonates pitch-perfectly with me (impatience with the idea that we were ever this “us” in the first place notwithstanding). I’m in a world in which the substance of things is turning over.

      • Jon Johanning December 26, 2017 at 10:56 am | #

        My memory of the Nixon years is as vivid as ever, and I also found Roth’s description of his mental condition rather similar to what a lot of us are experiencing now. One difference, though, is that he was only plagued by two TV newscasts a day, whereas now a news junkie can get fixes constantly, day and night, of course.

        I also need to react to Chris’s statement that the Left does not exist anymore. I think that people who think that “there’s no Left now” don’t realize that “the Left,” in that sense, never did really exist in real life in this country, even during the Great Depression, when socialist sentiment was higher than it’s ever been.

        In a more realistic sense of “the Left,” there certainly is one these days, as shown by such things as the increasing popular support for “socialized medicine” as it used to be called, or “Medicare for all,” and the sense that we are moving toward a considerable shift in the country’s politics in the midterms next year. Whether this bears any fruit or not depends on how voters are mobilized to actually vote next year, so put aside your revolutionary dreams and put some effort into getting those damned apathetic voters to turn out!

    • Rich December 26, 2017 at 3:53 pm | #

      Agreed, entirely. However the sentiment described as being dispossessed from my country in 1974 applies every bit to my alienation today. Deracination nails it: to isolate or alienate (a person) from a native or customary culture or environment. Nixon was spied on by his own NSC admirals, Moorer and Zumwalt, in consort with a very young general, Alexander Haig, only revealed after a pathetic navy petty officer executing the scam broke under light interrogation.

  5. halginsberg1963 December 26, 2017 at 8:57 am | #

    Different times different devils. In the late 60s and early 70s, working and middle-class Americans recognized that their decent and still-improving quality of life depended on New Deal programs. Nixon could not have taken them on successfully in his first term without putting in grave jeopardy a second term. What he did do though was pretty darn awful – e.g., escalating in Vietnam, bombing Cambodia, backing fascist Kissinger’s coup in Chile, Kent State, Watergate.

    • LFC December 26, 2017 at 9:08 am | #

      What Nixon did in Vietnam is more accurately described as (1) gradual withdrawal of U.S. ground forces (‘Vietnamization’), coupled with (2) expansion of the war into Cambodia and Laos, (3) increased reliance on massive U.S. air power (e.g. ‘Christmas bombing’ of Dec. ’72, which in that case resulted in N Vietnam’s coming back to the negotiating table).

      p.s. To the list of bad Nixon/Kissinger foreign-policy actions (Chile, Cambodia etc.) should be added their conduct during the Bangladesh crisis in ’71.

  6. LFC December 26, 2017 at 9:00 am | #

    The Roth quotation is interesting but not really surprising. “Transparently fraudulent” and “on the verge of mental disorder” was how Nixon appeared to many of his detractors, and for understandable reasons. He was indeed a troubled personality, to put it mildly.

    There are various differences from Trump, however. One of those differences stems simply from a temporal sequence: every President after Nixon, esp. someone like Trump, must have Watergate in the back of his mind. Nixon’s paranoia was responsible, in significant measure, for his own downfall. The fact that Watergate occurred means that Trump will not do certain things, such as fire Robert Mueller. In this sense, the way the Nixon presidency ended cast a long shadow.

  7. WLGR December 26, 2017 at 9:53 am | #

    I now felt toward America’s war mission as I had toward the Axis goals in World War II. One even began to use the word ‘America’ as though it was the name not of the place where one had been raised to which one had a patriotic attachment, but of a foreign invader that had conquered the country and with whom one refused, to the best of one’s strength and ability, to collaborate.

    What’s touchingly off-base about this as an allusion to the Trump era is that the liberal and left-liberal political class, from Tim Kaine to Bernie Sanders, seems to have dramatically retreated from any substantive critique of US foreign policy under Trump — and much of the remining criticism is a Reaganesque hyper-belligerent paranoia that Trump isn’t pursuing US foreign policy aggressively enough! Obviously for certain liberals this has little to do with foreign policy as such, and is just a tactic to avoid any blame for their own domestic political failings by externalizing it onto dastardly foreigners (if they felt they could plausibly blame Trump’s victory on the space aliens instead of the Russians, they probably would) but it’s depressing how much of the self-conceived left has gone along with it, or at least held back from actively resisting it.

    By contrast, at least some of us on the left have never abandoned that view of US foreign policy as a fundamentally malevolent force in world affairs, and have never tried to delude ourselves that whichever hapless egotist from whichever party happens to occupy the Oval Office at any given time actually changes this malevolent role in any truly meaningful way.

    • jonnybutter December 26, 2017 at 10:14 pm | #

      I think Sanders & Co. (very broadly speaking, i.e. ‘progressives’) are trying to develop foreign policy which breaks from mainstream Democratic politics. It’s a struggle, and I agree BS was not good re: foreign policy during the campaign. I think, on that score, you have to remember that Sanders didn’t start his run expecting to be a contending candidate. He had lower expectations for his run than did Trump for his own, I would guess.

      Anyway, now I think they are at least trying to piece together something different. For example, I think the tide is turning re: blind American support for the state of Israel; *Netanyahu* sees it. And I think many progressives see it too. Yes, the whole thing is slow and late, but that beats non-existent.

    • Jim December 29, 2017 at 10:43 pm | #

      Your comment about the consistent malevolency of American foreign policy is really naive. It assumes that US policies about defense and security entirely define American foreign policy or that there is even a monolithic defense policy that is all about American imperialism. The Defense Dept. views climate change as a major national security challenge and is trying to address it despite the Orange Monster or the GOP Congress.

      I am no apologist for DOD, for sure but I have spent my entire career in international development and a lot of what the US Government has funded for many years has been very progressive and supportive of democratic institutions. That’s just a fact. Facts may be inconvenient to some viewpoints but they remain. Trump (and Tillerson, frankly) are trying to destroy all that but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a legacy.

      • jonnybutter December 30, 2017 at 9:01 am | #

        You changed the word ‘fundamentally’ to ‘consistently’, which is not really fair. There is almost nothing in the world which is consistently *anything*. Yes, State is rotting and it’s idiotic.

        I knew someone involved in international dev in the 70s who told me they had projects all ready to go, but that when Reagan got into office, the money really dried up. Not germane to this argument, just a bit of anecdotal color in keeping with our general theme here. GW Bush was quite hostile to State as well, as I recall. (Also ironic that USAID is in the Reagan building).

  8. jonnybutter December 26, 2017 at 10:32 am | #

    The fact that Watergate occurred means that Trump will not do certain things, such as fire Robert Mueller.

    I don’t think we know that DT won’t fire Mueller. I don’t think Trump himself knows. There are several fundamental differences between Nixon and Trump. For one, to perceive transparent fraudulence you have to see through something. Trump is not transparently fraudulent – he’s openly, even proudly fraudulent.

    BTW LFC, I don’t believe your characterization of what Nixon did in Vietnam is quite accurate either. Nixon expanded and prolonged the war, for nothing. N. Vietnam was happy to ‘negotiate’ US surrender and withdrawal anytime the US wanted to do it. ‘Peace with Honor’ meant putatively expiating US shame by ruining a few extra countries and making possible a few million extra deaths. He did it for nothing (which, ok, is kind of Trumpian). N. Vietnam was, um, familiar with massive US airpower before 1972.

    • LFC December 26, 2017 at 2:05 pm | #


      I don’t think our disagreements about what Nixon did in Vietnam would turn out to involve anything more than quibbles about nuances, we were to get into a discussion about it, which I don’t want to do for reasons of time and other things.

      Btw I’ve recently written a blog post about the Vietnam War under my full name elsewhere on the Internet. If you visit the U.S. Intellectual History Blog (http://s-usih.org/blog) and scroll down a little ways, you’ll find it. Ok, end of advertisement for myself, as Norman Mailer (!) might have put it.

      • LFC December 26, 2017 at 2:18 pm | #

        Clarification: The name at the very top of that post is not mine but that of the regular blogger there who hosted it as a guest post. To get to my name, you have to click/open the post and start reading. Criminy, at this rate it won’t be long before I’ll maybe have to abandon the initials.

        • jonnybutter December 26, 2017 at 3:40 pm | #

          Sorry LFC – I immediately regretted my post, but unlike our nuclear arsenal, a wordpress post can’t be called back once it’s launched. Yes, silly to quibble about Vietnam. mea clupa.

          • LFC December 26, 2017 at 4:37 pm | #


            no problem — we’re good, as the kids say (or someone says…).

          • jonnybutter December 26, 2017 at 9:58 pm | #

            I reserve the right to quibble w/you about the American-Vietnam war, esp. after reading your piece, but I regretted my comment because, as you say, such quibbles don’t really matter in terms of the OP.

            Other part of the comment stands though! I don’t think anyone, esp. including Trump, knows what Trump is going to do re: Mueller, or anything else.

        • jonnybutter December 26, 2017 at 3:47 pm | #

          This post makes me think about the innocence America is always losing but never quite *does* lose. In that case it’s not about Roth or Vietnam so much – though the Vietnam war, and esp. Nixon/Kissinger’s dead eyed slaughter for nothing in SE Asia is one bad, very sick, symptom. But the post is timely, because we feel we’re crossing lines now; it’s worth examining if we really are, and if so, what they are. IMHO, the current epistemological era started with GWB. It’s the era of bullshit in the Frankfort sense; leaving aside what you may think about that entire essay about bullshit, I mean: the distinction between lying, which Nixon did constantly – he knew he was lying – and bullshitting (GWB, DT), in which one doesn’t know or care if what one says is true or not. Nihilism is still shocking, to me at least. Drift, entropy – scary.

          Empires have historically been graded on ridiculous curves – esp. by themselves or allies of course! But even given that, American Innocence cannot be finally lost – so as to have the hope of declining with some grace – until it’s more generally understood by Americans that we are an empire. Until people really think about what empire buys them, they can’t reject it as not worth it, or embrace it, or make any judgement.

          I heard an excruciating speech (for about a minute – all I could stand) by Joshua Johnson, apparently an NPR host (1A). It was an inferior version of Obama’s ‘there are no red states no blue states but UNITED states’ (also just shameless applause pandering – made me want to vomit). He was saying there’s too much politics in Ermerica and we need to forget about left and right, dem and repub, coke and pepsi, et. al. and just listen to each other. Kind of like hearing people complain about (their vulgar conception of) rationality: humans are too rational! Yes, we’re so rational that we are, among other idiotic things, neurotically destroying our planet and species – for nothing. Yup, waaay too rational . Maybe Johnson had a better point to make that I didn’t hear, but I doubt it. He is 180 degrees wrong: we avoid politics like the plague in the US, and so we naturally really really suck at it. That fatal innocence, that politics-free view from nowhere seems embedded into liberalism itself. Whether it is nor not, it has to go, and I don’t think it’s unrealistic to see hope for its demise.

  9. bob mcmanus December 26, 2017 at 10:42 am | #

    Roth is just wrong. Nixon was not that big an aberration for the generations that grew up with J Edgar Hoover and the McCarthy years. The diffrence in the 50s and 60s and one most of us understood very well was that there remained a very solid consensus, a majority that could be moved a little, the consensus that built the highway system and the moon program, the Great Society and CRA, EPA and OSHA. And Vietnam, the nuke arms race, and the anti-busing riots. We all understood, the New Left and Birchers, the anti-war movement and the Goldwater kids, the Powell memo and the feminists, that we were vanguards, tiny minorities trying to build movements that might move a very big ship a very small distance. Nixon wasn’t an occupier, he was the center. We reached and realized our limits around 1972.

    Difference now that there is no center, no mass, no consensus or compromise available. No nation left. Much closer to 1860 than 1970.

  10. Edward December 26, 2017 at 11:12 am | #

    I don’t think Trump’s election resembles Nixon’s election in the sense that Nixon won by a landslide against an anti-war candidate and Trump did not. Both Trump and Clinton had very low poll numbers. I think voters saw Trump as the “lesser evil”.

    I share Roth’s alienation from the government. I feel like I am living in a house with a serial killer and the question is who will he kill next.

  11. Bill Michtom December 26, 2017 at 5:44 pm | #

    I was put off by this: “we hadn’t personally to fear for our safety.”

    Because ‘we’ weren’t black!

    • Amb December 27, 2017 at 6:44 am | #

      Bill Michton. No, he isn’t black. But he is Jewish, which kinda reframes the quote.

  12. Chris Morlock December 26, 2017 at 7:08 pm | #

    The pouting, angry moral indignation over Nixon from the flow power baby boomers was a complete overreaction. To read things here that still demonize Nixon when he is demonstrably to the left of Clinton or even Obama is ABSURD. This is where the Left in the US started to go wrong. Nixon did not dismantle the New Deal, Reagan did. And his fake “liberal” successors completed the job.

    That’s the legacy of baby boomers- they made a complete fuss about nothing with Nixon and when it came time to really fight most of them became neo-cons and allowed Reagan to run wild, and they were more than happy to embrace Clintonism. My question is, how do you respect a baby boomer? It’s impossible, the worst generation in American history. The fake left, the sellouts. Out of touch and selfish as ever.

    • LFC December 26, 2017 at 7:43 pm | #

      This comment barely deserves a response, but I would suggest that you read something about Nixon’s entire career, including but not limited to his presidency, before concluding he was to the left of Obama. He was not.

      Blaming baby-boomers for everything is foolish. The term encompasses everyone born in the U.S. between 1946 and 1964. To dump all the blame on this large, diverse demographic cohort is, frankly, b.s.

      I was alive (in jr high and high school) in the Nixon era. It was not much ado about nothing. I don’t intend to get into a heated exchange w you, but I felt this ought to be said.

      • LFC December 26, 2017 at 7:48 pm | #

        p.s. Virtually everything Nixon said in the Oval Office, and much of his phone traffic, was taped and the transcripts are available. Please read some of those and then come back and conclude it was all an “overreaction.” And look at accounts of the Nixon/Kissinger foreign policy, in its totality. Ok, I’m finished.

      • Chris Morlock December 26, 2017 at 10:48 pm | #

        And I suggest you read something about Obama before claiming he was not as bad or even “good”. 2 wars to 7, the full bailout of wallstreet with no strings attached, and the botched healthcare reform that should have resulted in single payer. A war monger who expanded the worst aspects of the Kissinger foreign policy you claim to hate.

        Peoples’ Villans show more about them than their heroes. The fact that the Nixon troupe is still trotted out these days is a complete and total joke. And also please read about every President before Nixon and how they basically did the same political shenanigans. You hated Nixon for what he symbolized, not what he was. The fact that most boomers can trash Nixon without having anything but a calm benevolence to Reagan and Clinton is ABSURD.

        Your generation did nothing right.

    • halginsberg1963 December 26, 2017 at 7:49 pm | #

      Nixon’s toxic legacy includes Supreme Court Justices William Rehnquist and Powell. The former was a segregationist and the latter did perhaps even more lasting damage despite being moderate on social issues. Powell of course authored the infamous Powell Memorandum which set out a blueprint successfully followed by the US Chamber of Commerce and later ALEC and other pro-corporatist groups for dismantling in large part the New Deal.

      • jonnybutter December 26, 2017 at 11:15 pm | #

        Second what LFC and halginsberg say. Nixon was not a liberal in the American sense of that word. He presided in a different time with different political realities (not least of which was an often hostile Dem congress and a weak party system). He was famously uninterested in domestic policy, and we can probably be thankful for that (yes, *yawn*, we know Nixon was pres. when EPA was created). His foreign policy was mostly horrendous. Read up on Nixon and Kissinger. And as halginsberg only began to enumerate, what he did contribute to domestic politics was almost all bad. Do some reading. Nixon was a counterrevolutionary. His style was suited to his time, but he was not different in kind from Reagan or GW Bush.

        I think your confusion is a kind of anachronism; Obama presided at a very different time with completely different political realities, including a 100% maximally hostile congress held not by a party with weak structure, but rather an almost parliamentary-coherent party structure. And of course his own Dem party was pretty ramshackle by 2008, and had listed Right for 45 years. I’m not defending Obama. I’m saying the variables are just very different between the two periods. So, you want to look at principles and assumptions which don’t change over time. I think there’s a book about this.

        Imagine if Nixon, rather than Trump, was president now. How would he behave? You are either kidding yourself, or are really ignorant about Dick, if you think Nixon would govern as any kind of (American) liberal. He wasn’t then, and wouldn’t be so now.

        • Chris Morlock December 27, 2017 at 1:50 am | #

          Just the mention of the facts of Clintonism and Reaganism as the true legacy and the slight deviation of the narrative that Nixon was the devil has triggered the defense mechanisms of the baby boomer generation. It’s unfortunately a sad truth. I challenge anyone here to make a credible argument that Nixon had any kind of enduring legacy compared to the corporatism spawned by Neo-conservatism or neo-liberalism, the real evil and destruction of the New Deal and the working class. Not what you wanted to hear, certainly.

          I re-read Corey’s post, and I think he is making a much more complex then and now parallel that I didn’t pick up on first time around. If he is saying that some of the same mistakes then are being made now by the Left, in a never ending quest to run away from socialism, then I whole heartedly agree.

          Dying on the hill to fight an imagined bogeyman when the fault is in our own thoughts and actions……it does sound familiar. Listen, Liberal.

          • Edward December 28, 2017 at 1:55 pm | #

            ” I challenge anyone here to make a credible argument that Nixon had any kind of enduring legacy”

            How about the coup in Chile?

          • bob mcmanus December 29, 2017 at 3:33 am | #

            “a credible argument that Nixon had any kind of enduring legacy”

            The end of the draft and the end of Bretton Woods/gold standard I think made the politics of the post-WWII compression and consensus, domestic and global, impossible. I blame Friedman and Greenspan, but Nixon was smart enough to understand the implications.

            FDR and Truman made different but comparable moves, military and monetary, toward the building of Imperial America.

    • Edward December 28, 2017 at 1:54 pm | #

      Is it “pouting” to complain about war crimes and other law breaking? Some baby boomers are selfish and some are not.

    • paintedjaguar December 30, 2017 at 4:34 pm | #

      Nixon also supported affirmative action policy (see “Philadelphia Plan”). He didn’t do this because he liked black people – he saw AA as something which would help divide the Dem base. He was right, it did.

      The only thing you really need to know about Nixon is that he deliberately worked to prolong the war in Vietnam in an attempt to boost his electoral chances. (see Paris Peace Talks, and Nixon’s Secret Plan to end the war)

      • jonnybutter December 31, 2017 at 9:11 pm | #

        And, gee, who was it that started that great left-liberal War on Drugs? You guessed it, our Dick. Did he do *that* because he loved ‘the jigs’ (as he called them)?

        George Schultz, in Nixon’s cabinet among others – a guy who has looked tremulous, rheumy eyed, gelatinous death’s-door old for like 40 years – has apparently suggested that the WOD is a failure and should be called off. Schultz is operating on the *old* rule: only Republican hawks can end wars.

  13. Dean C. Rowan December 28, 2017 at 10:16 pm | #

    One little contribution: Nixon was evidently extremely intelligent. Trump is not. Intelligence doesn’t count for everything, and in some cases it counts for nothing, but our tendency now to find redeemable qualities in Nixon derives at least in part from our (qualified) appreciation of his intellect and his genuine curiosity about world affairs and the human condition. (Disclosure: I attended the college Nixon attended.) We have no analogous basis for appreciation of Trump. None. He is a moron.

    • Edward December 28, 2017 at 11:49 pm | #

      I am not so sure Trump is dumb. He comes across this way because he has no shame and is willing to say things a person who cares about the discussion would balk at. It is like two people are arguing over whether 2+2=4 and one is serious and the other is not. The serious person concludes 2+2=4 and projects his own seriousness on the other person. When the second person claims 2+2=5 to cause mischief, the first person, because he is projecting, falsely assumes the second person made this error out of stupidity.

  14. jonnybutter December 29, 2017 at 9:41 am | #

    “I am not so sure Trump is dumb.”

    I don’t think he was ever particularly intelligent – not in same cognitive league as Nixon, who was – but if you look at video of him from just a few years ago and compare to now, it’s almost like a different person. I think it’s called ‘sundowning’.

    But even an idiot can be canny about manipulating and destroying. Idiots make great and effective bullies. Trump is canny, not particularly intelligent, IMO.

    • jonnybutter December 29, 2017 at 11:26 am | #

      But I agree with you that he isn’t dumb. He reminds me a lot of Erdogan.

      CR had a tweet the other day to the effect that, whatever he *wishes* he could do, Trump has not be terribly effective at muzzling the press, which, the more I think about it, the more I agree that this is both true and remarkable.

      The closest I can think of that Trump and the GOP have gotten to Erdogan-level intimidation of the press and protest are the J20 trials in DC – which so far have been a bust, thank god – and a few state laws absolving drivers of guilt if they hit protesters with their cars (laws like this are not yet sweeping nation, also thank god).

      It’s a mistake to see this as a *sanguine* attitude – it’s just a clear observation. And consider what the real Norm E. Rosion is here: the norm in the US up to now would have been to pretty much to give in to whatever the executive wants, whatever the justice dept. wants, etc. And the US press is normally pretty deferential to usgov. Trump is a disaster, but even disasters can have non-negative ramifications – for instance, Trump creating antibodies which weren’t there before.

      • Dean C. Rowan December 29, 2017 at 3:47 pm | #

        When I wrote, “He is a moron,” I admit I was being flip and perhaps it turns out cruelly condescending, too. Check out Charlie Pierce today: http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a14516912/donald-trump-new-york-times-michael-schmidt/ I don’t want to label anybody suffering from real dementia a moron. Still, my money is with Nixon if we’re going to compare contributions to the intellectual record, and I think this is one of the reasons we are willing to let our hindsight favor him.

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