Obligatory Trump/Mueller Psychopathologising

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Published by Matthew Davidson on Wed, 24/04/2019 - 3:58pm

The sense I get, at second to twenty-third hand inclusive, of the Mueller report is that although Trump didn't conspire with Russian authorities to sway the 2016 US election, he sincerely believes that he did. For that matter, he's always sincerely believed that he's a business genius. Trump consistently thinks that he's playing 11-dimensional chess when he's not even playing chess.

Some commentators are claiming that Trump's focus on "collusion" has been a strategic masterstroke, as it has distracted the media and the Democrats from all his other outrages. On the contrary, I think that Trump simply lacks the wit required to see anything outrageous in anything that he's actually done in the real world, and that all along he has been genuinely worried that what will bring him undone is his unscrupulous but sublimely skillful, and utterly imaginary,  playing of global power politics.

It's fascinating to watch the long tradition of imperial presidency stretching from the Monroe Doctrine (recently reaffirmed in the context of Venezuela by the loathsome John Bolton, who has taken advantage of the Trump moment to crawl out from under the rock beneath Henry Kissinger's rock, and once more vomit upon the world stage), through Richard "when the President does it, that means it is not illegal" Nixon, to a bigoted con artist who burned though his inherited real estate wealth and was reduced to playing his own noxious character on reality TV. For Trump's predecessors though, their belief was that although the presidency should in principle guarantee unimpeachable omnipotence, they nonetheless had the good sense to carry out their worst offenses with either a decorative gloss of moral and (quasi-)legal justification, or with considerable discretion and (semi-)plausible deniability. Trump on the other hand, hasn't an inkling that this autocratic dream isn't the law of the land.

Consequently, any criticism of President Trump can only be motivated by the petty personal vendettas of sore losers who failed to win the ultimate prize of untrammelled authority, and is moreover treasonous. Or in the presidential vocabulary: A total witch hunt! Very, very, very unfair. So bad.

It is not merely that Trump has, like so many presidents before him, acted criminally — and has easily cleared the lower bar of "high crimes and misdemeaners" required for impeachment. It is the fact that he is utterly oblivious to the very idea that he might have done anything wrong, or that there is anything he can do wrong in his position, which uniquely disqualifies him from office.  The sadistic executive orders, the extraordinary cavalcade of grifters he's appointed for a duration of weeks or months (has anybody, apart from close relatives and Mike Pence, yet lasted a year?), the breathtaking gullibility which has seen him cheerfully execute, without even slightly comprehending, the wildest dreams of the "normal" crazies like Paul Ryan and John Bolton, are all unprecedented.

To permit this halfwitted psychopath to be merely voted out of office in 2020, with no further accountability for himself, his cronies, or his opportunistic political beneficiaries, is to make a precedent of the unprecedented. I don't think the world can afford this.