Wednesday, March 27, 2019

David A. Graham: "Trump's Call For Russian Hacking Makes Even Less Sense After Mueller"

Progressives seem intent on plumbing new depths of irrationality and self-humiliation.
They went from:
It's obvious that Trump colluded and there's simply no real alternative
Hey, remember that one email comment? 
in about a day.
The email comment was a joke. It was obviously a joke. It was always obviously a joke. It's a gat damn instance of a well-known joke template for the love of God. (Well, if x is going to do y, I sure wish they'd [insert core of joke here].)
If you refuse to acknowledge that that's a joke, that's basically conclusive evidence that you've completely lost your objectivity about this matter, and you ought to assign yourself a timeout. (Though I'm sorry to say that some around here were denying its joke-hood back when it first happened.)
Progressives are, in effect, saying: we refuse to even consider the possibility that Trump is innocent in this matter. 
If the best you've got is a stubborn refusal to admit that an obvious joke is a joke, then you've lost about as big as it's possible for you to lose.
And this isn't an isolated occurrence. This is basically the way progressivism has been conducting itself for the past couple of years. This is just the newest and perhaps biggest example of the cultish dogmatism that has taken over that end of the political spectrum.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If this is "cultish dogmatism," sign me up. The "it was just a joke" defense is awfully weak. We can debate all day whether it was a joke, but that's not the point. Even if it was a joke, who cares? You're arguing with a straw man here. Nowhere in the article does the author say that Trump was entirely serious, or that this is proof of collusion. The author even says it was "Trump's schtick." The entire piece just asks a bunch of questions about the comment (joke if you prefer) in the context of what we knew at the time and what we know now about the Trump tower meeting, Trump lying about his 2016 business dealings with Russia, etc. Here's what he writes:

"But Barr also reported that Mueller’s 'investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.' In some ways, that makes Trump’s comments even stranger. It would be appalling and horrifying if Trump had been engaged in a conspiracy with the Kremlin. But if he was not, why was he so solicitous about Putin, so eager to get him off the hook, and so quick to appeal to Russia for help? Though there’s no shortage of theories, all of this remains definitively unexplained."

Maybe you have an explanation that we all are missing, though.

One more thing. On this blog, you seem to have gone from, "I'll wait for the Mueller report to decide if there was collusion" to concluding long before the Barr summary, "It obviously wasn't collusion and anyone who thinks it was collusion is a cultist." Wow!

11:30 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...


This dude's argument is basically: if Trump didn't conspire with Russia, then his email remark is *even weirder*!!! He's darkly suggesting that Trump (basically) *must* be up to some nefarious business...and his flagship piece of evidence is: an obvious joke.

And no, we can't "debate all day" about whether it was a joke. It was *obviously* a joke, and the fact that people on the left refuse to acknowledge that--or even consider it seriously--is just more evidence of TDS and a general refusal to look at his actions objectively.

Trump's said all sorts of bad shit. But the left keeps distorting what he says, making it out to be worse than it could plausible be. See e.g.: all Mexicans are rapists. They also (a) basically don't get his humor and (b) intentionally don't get it. He's made a couple of jokes that sent progressives howling into the night because they couldn't and wouldn't recognize that they were jokes.

As I've said many times: *it's even a well-known joke template.* It's roughly the same sort of joke as, oh, I dunno, to make up some lame examples: "If our administration is so committed to "diversity" they should try to hire a dean with an IQ over 100 lol." Or "If the lizard parasites really run the world I wish they'd infect Trump." (Because a lizard-parasite-infected Trump would be better than regular Trump. Get it lol?)

It was just about as clearly a joke as it could have been. It's always possible to simply deny what's before your eyes and ears...but it was a joke.

Right. So it's either a very obvious joke, fitting a known joke pattern, or it's an open attempt at collusion or some other sinister Russia-related bit of treason right in front of the cameras...something that, as you note, the author claims is so weird as to be inexplicable. And if the Mueller report says it wasn't collusion...then there must be some other skullduggery afoot...

So it's either the simple, obvious explanation...or some baroque, nutty hypothesis that the author can't even imagine...

*That's* the cultish bit. I did wait for the Mueller report...though it became pretty obvious to me long before it came out that it had all the markings of a crackpot conspiracy theory. My complaint isn't people waiting for Mueller. It's that even after we got it, the vanguard of the left is doubling down. *And* that this is just another instance of the same pattern we see over there over and over and over: crazy, utterly implausible theories + cultish dogmatism.

So, yeah, I'm pissed off and have admitted that I'm losing my objectivity...but also IMO we should all be pissed off. The left has lost its mind and is acting so crazy that *Donald Trump* may very well be preferable.

And, as I've said many times: if he really were as bad as progressives say, they wouldn't have to keep making shit up about him.

8:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it was a joke, it was one of those jokes where a person reveals what's on their mind and what they want. Do you really believe Trump wasn't expressing his hope that Russia would find those emails and distribute them to the media? Of course he was. He was desperate for those emails! He would have loved it if Russia found them and gave them to Wikileaks. In that sense, his comment reflected his desires, so it doesn't matter whether he was trying to be funny. Even very young kids know they can do the "it was just a joke" defense when they are actually saying something inappropriate or wrong.

The question is whether he was trying to communicate publicly in a *wink wink* fashion that he'd appreciate more of Russia's help. He knew the Russians wanted to help him. He knew about the hacking and that some were connecting it with Russia. Even if there was no secret phone line between Putin and Trump, this could have been Trump's way of sending a message to Russia that he appreciated all their help and he'd love some more of it if they wouldn't mind obliging. And he says it in his coded jokey way (see also, "a lot of people are saying") so he can deny that he was really asking for help. That's what I believe the author was trying to get at and it's not crazy. I don't think Trump is dumb. You don't think Trump is dumb. You know he's capable of at least that semi-complex form of communication. If he wasn't conspiring with Russia at a criminal level, as Mueller has concluded, the author of that article was raising the more complex question of what Trump may have been trying to communicate in that press conference. Doesn't seem ridiculous to raise that question about that one piece of evidence.

There are many related questions we still don't have answers to, such as why Trump has been so deferential to Putin to the point of throwing U.S. intelligence services under the bus in favor of Putin. All of this still needs to be understood. To try to demonize people who are still asking those questions is transparently a bullying way to try to shut them up. Not gonna happen.

I'll also just say that I still disagree with you about Trump's comment about Mexicans at the kick-off of his campaign. Some may have misquoted him, but what he actually said was very disturbing and yes, it was racist. It's not going to be remembered kindly in history. But we can agree to disagree on that and probably many other things he's said.

If you really think the left has gone so crazy that Trump may be preferable, all I can do is shake my head and laugh after what we've seen of his conduct in office. There's no point in creating a side-by-side comparison if you're that far gone. But you seem to be on the far right anyway these days. Even putting Trump aside, a reader of this blog would conclude that the Green New Deal--an overly ambitious but sincere effort to fix some big problems--is like a plan proposed by Stalin or Chairman Mao. I mean, compare that to the contemporary right. The right mainly wants more tax cuts for the rich while taking away peoples health care and deregulating every industry that gives them money. And now they're increasingly embracing authoritarian politics. To get behind that agenda you've gotta really, really hate the libruls.

2:11 PM  

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