Sunday, September 13, 2020


How obsessed is Trump with the Nobel Prize? Well, I haven't seen the clip yet, but here's one of his most committed flatterers saying just what the boss wants to hear:

This follows the misspelled Facebook ad posted by the Trump campaign...

... and a rant from Trump at his rally in Nevada last night:

To me, you know, it's a big thing, even though obviously it's a very political thing, but it's a very big thing, the Nobel Peace Prize, right? I got -- it was just reported, I'm just reporting this -- I got zero time on the nightly news, on the network news. Zero. Zero. We got zero time. Think of it: The president of your country is honored by being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and your nightly news -- ABC, which is terrible, CBS, which is terrible, and probably the worst of all, owned by Concast -- they spend a fortune, you know, on PR, and then every time I get up, I call them Concast and sort of wipe out their fortune -- but they are bad people, but NBC is the worst of them all. Not one mention. These people are corrupt. Not one mention. Not one mention. So your president gets a Nobel -- at least a nomination -- and they don't mention it.
This is the desperate desire for Establishment acceptance that Maureen Dowd, whatever you think of her, portrays quite accurately in today's column:
Fresh off his win in 2016, he was eager to come talk to The New York Times. I’ve never seen Trump happier than in that hour with the “failing” New York Times. (He even got to upbraid me in front of my boss.) As we wrapped up, he told the assembled editors, reporters and Times brass: “It’s a great honor. I will say, The Times is, it’s a great, great American jewel. A world jewel. And I hope we can all get along.”

That same eager tone was echoed in the audio of Bob Woodward’s tapes with Trump, as the president warmly spoke the name “Bob” again and again, yearning for acceptance from the very establishment that he had denounced to win the Oval Office....

“I brought something that I’ve never shown to anybody,” the president told the writer in December 2019. “I’m going to show it to you. I’ll get you something that’s sort of cool.”

He had an aide bring photos of him with Kim Jong-un, including some capturing the moment when the two leaders stepped over the line between North and South Korea.

“Pretty cool,” Trump gushed. “You know? Pretty cool. Right?” He added, “I mean, they’re cool pictures when you — you know, when you talk about iconic pictures, how about that?”

In a later interview, he gave Woodward a poster-size picture of himself and Kim, saying: “I don’t even know why I’m giving it to you. That’s my only one.” He trumpeted about Kim: “He never smiled before. I’m the only one he smiles with.”
It's sad in a way that Democrats couldn't have neutralized Trump by flattering him. That's what Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un have done. He does what they'd like him to do because they make him believe they're his best friends. He gets so excited: These are very powerful people! And they like me!

But in America, mainstream Republicans got there first. Actually, Fox got there first: Once upon a time, Trump was pro-choice and praised the Clintons. In the 2000 election cycle, he briefly sought Ross Perot's presidential ballot line. But by 2011, he hated Barack Obama. Fox News made him feel wanted and admired -- he was given a regular gig on Fox & Friends. Eventually, the mainstream of the GOP embraced him. In return, the Republicans and Fox got the tax cuts and deregulation and judges they wanted. (He'd been steeping himself in Fox's worldview for a long time before his election, but for a while he also watched CNN and Joe Scarborough, and it clearly wasn't hate-watching, the way it is now.)

Democrats never had the opportunity to bend Trump to their will by flattering him. I suppose they could have tried being flatterers starting in 2017. Maybe they would have gotten an infrastructure bill, or protection of the DACA kids. But they never would have outflattered the congressional GOP and the right-wing media.

It's an unpalatable thought, and it's 20/20 hindsight, but if Democrats had fawned over Trump in the 1990s or early 2000s, he might be an angry, boorish, ignorant president now who was also pro-Planned Parenthood, pro-green infrastructure, and pro-progressive taxation. Maybe all it would have taken was the right amount of ass-kissing.

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