Wednesday, February 07, 2018


Frank Rich looks at the GOP's current attacks on law enforcement and reminds us that they're nothing new:
Let’s not forget that in the 1990s the GOP and its rabid talk-radio auxiliary winked, nodded, and at times endorsed a gun-crazy right-wing militia movement that demonized Justice Department law-enforcement agents as “jack-booted thugs.” ... Newt Gingrich, then House Speaker, went so far as to appoint one of his caucus’s most reckless anti-government radicals, Representative Helen Chenoweth of Idaho, to a congressional gun task force; Chenoweth had floated a bill that would require armed federal agents to seek the permission of local sheriffs to enter their counties when pursuing law enforcement. The GOP retreated from tacit tolerance of the crazies in their ranks only after Timothy McVeigh’s bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995, leaving 168 dead. But only temporarily.

Some 15 years later, this strain reemerged, first at Sarah Palin rallies, and then during the hysterical tea-party summer of 2010. That year, Steve King, the redoubtable congressman from Iowa, all but condoned the domestic terrorist who flew a plane into a federal building in Texas in protest of the IRS: “It’s an agency that is unnecessary,” he argued. Republicans looked the other way as attendees showed up with assault weapons at presidential health-care rallies.
But a couple of paragraphs later, Rich completely misreads the president:
It’s not just an idle daydream that Trump is now calling on the Pentagon to stage a costly Washington parade to show off America’s military might. His aim here, I’d suggest, is not just to impress North Korea and other American adversaries but to draw the military closer to him for when the crunch comes. He is hoping that the generals he constantly flatters (and appoints to White House posts) will be “loyal” to him when federal law enforcement, including the judiciary, or a potential post–Election Day Democratic majority in Congress, try to hold him accountable.
That's absurd. Trump isn't doing this to impress or flatter the military -- he's doing it because he wants reflected glory from the military. He wants to dazzle the world, not honor the servicemembers.

And there's reason to believe that the troops aren't looking forward to a parade at all. In the comments to my last post, djchefron flagged this tweet:

And in response to the previous post, commenter Bob Aho wrote:
As a participant in Military parades, I can say without hesitation or doubt, man those things suck. I know you think it's all marching but it is not, you are standing, then standing, and then that is followed by more standing around. (The command is called Parade Rest - and it sucks!) Eventually one marches for a couple of minutes, but then it is back to stand around some more. I envision mass desertion or multiple requests for overseas deployments, because it sucks worse anything you can imagine. (Think of a dress uniform in Washington heat.)
Why would a useless exercise like this endear Trump to the generals? Especially when he's obviously going to make it all about himself, not the troops?


UPDATE, THURSDAY: Charlie Pierce put the question to the troops.
In the past couple of hours, I’ve heard from 14 stars worth of generals. Not a single one supported this. Many told me their stories of how they personally avoided parades as cadets or young officers. And that is just the generals. My inbox was flooded from enlisted and officers of lower ranks. Bottom Line: We all hate parades. We do not want one. What do we want? Why don't you ask us, Mr. President?
So no, this is not endearing Trump to the generals.

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