J: Hey T, you following this memo nonsense? Nunes is probably going to end up on the donkey.
T: What’s the latest?
J: Trump has allowed the memo to be released, over the FBI’s objections; they say the memo contains “material misstatements of fact.”
T: Trump released something with material misstatements of fact? Really? Did a dog bite somebody? Did Larry King get married? Did Lyndsey Lohan get drunk? Did Terry use a reference that nobody under 40 will get without Google?
J: That joke was older than Phyllis Diller’s mother’s hat.
T: “Trump tells truth” would be on the cover of every magazine (all six left) – but “Trump lies”? Wake me when you have something new.
J: The Democrats are opposed because they think the thing is a pack of lies (which it probably is), but their opposition seems to me to have an element of “Please, Br’er Fox, don’t throw me in that briar patch.”
T: You think they want the memo released?
J: They’ve already got their response memo written.
T: Just let ‘em release it. In three days it’ll be gone. All the whining worked; nobody is going to buy it as anything but more partisan bull sperm.
J: It’s going to sink out of sight just like all the other so-called “bombshells.” And Mueller will keep plugging away.
T: One thing I wondered about … why would Trump want to wait to release it until after his State of the Union speech? He got good reviews for the speech, but the memo will make everyone forget it in about five seconds, and his reputation goes right back to the partisan, angry, say-whatever-makes –me-look-good paradigm.
J: I’m surprised at that too… it seemed like he got a little good spin out of the speech, but he’s going to blow it forthwith with this stupid memo.
T: I know Trump is famous for his salesmanship, but we often confuse salesmanship with marketing. Marketers look at the long game as much as the short game; salesman only care about the short game. The sale. Right now.
He wanted a captive audience more than he wanted a lasting impression, because that’s all he cares about. Norm MacDonald said, in a 2016 interview with Larry King (paraphrased): “I don’t think Trump wants to be the president of the country; I think he just wants to be the president of whatever room he is in right now.”
That rings true, doesn’t it?
J: Well, it’s Trump.
T: A true salesman never thinks about the next day, because he knows that, by then, he’s going to be at the next farmhouse, seducing the next farmer’s daughter.
J: Don’t farmers ever have sons?
T: What do I always say about Trump? He’s like the bad guy in a Western. Sooner or later, those guys always wind up being killed by the hero or run out of town on a rail. Trump is totally the type of guy who, by his very nature, is supposed to stick and move, stick and move. He’s supposed to make his sale and get out, before his marks realize they’ve been had.
And now he’s stuck. He can’t leave until 2021, and he has to maintain the facade the whole way. Can he do it? It’s barely into 2018, and I think the cracks are already starting to show. It’s a slow process, changing stubborn minds, but can Trump really keep this sale alive until 2021?
J: So … the White House is a farm house? And Ivanka is the farmer’s daughter?
T: Well, in this bit you have Jr. and Eric, plus the kid. So there are farmer’s sons.
J: How hard is it to write bimbo jokes about Jr.?
T: I suppose you hear all the son jokes in gay bars.
J: Yeah, there’s probably a whole lot of farmer’s-son jokes that we don’t hear because we don’t go to those fine establishments.
T: “You have to sleep out in the barn with my three sons: Liberace, Elton John and Richard Simmons.”
J: Are those the three gayest men in history?
T: I bet gay Mexican joints suck, because the food is all super mild and they put sour cream on everything.
J: Are they on the Mt. Rushmore of gay, which would no doubt be pink and fabulous?
T: The pink and fabulous Mr. Rushmore?
J: First draft – Liberace, Simmons, Elton John, Freddie Mercury.
T: Wasn’t there some guy who raped a bunch of little boys in the old testament?
J: There was a lot of raping going on in the OT. No doubt there were some little-boy rapers.
T: None that jump out? No pun intended.
J: I don’t remember offhand; I know Lot had to keep a crowd from sodomizing some angels… I’m sure there were others. But the best story has to be the golden hemorrhoids.
T: “♫ I sodomized an angel last night … ♫ ”
J: Number 666 on your hit parade.
T: Lot’s wife was she the patron saint of salt licks?
J: Oh, boom tick. No splash.
T: Says the guy who brought up the golden hemorrhoids.
J: Touche. Boy George? I would think he’d have to be in the discussion, unless he falls into the RuPaul, (women’s) “fashionably gay” category.
T: Maybe cross dressing is a separate category. I mean, I’m not even sure Boy George is gay.
J: He probably belongs in the RuPaul wing.
T: The Ru Paul Wing – who’s in that?
J: The Ru Paul Wing of the Pink and Fabulous Mr. Rushmore?
T: Something like that. The gift shop will be fluffier than Trump’s hair after a windstorm.
J: RuPaul, Divine, Boy George… who else?
T: Milton Berle?
J: Maybe. Jamie Farr?
T: Perfect! Of course, we ain’t passing sexual judgement, just picking guys in dresses.
J: Guys famous for cross-dressing, not for being gay.
T: So don’t write letters.
J: Do people still write letters? Your references are so old.
T: Flip Wilson’s Geraldine? Jonathon Winters? Mrs. Doubtfire?
Boy, you are right. My references are old.
J: Robin Williams would be a good pick.
T: I think so. What about Tootsie?
J: Tootsie is good. Victor/Victoria? Although that was Julie Andrews.
T: What a concept: a woman dressing like a man pretending to be a woman.
J: So Geraldine, Klinger, Tootsie and Mrs. Doubtfire… the Crossdressers’ Mount Rushmore?
T: Oh, I’d go with Milton Berle before Tootsie. Tootsie was big when the movie came out (no pun intended), but who remembers it now? Not that anybody remembers Milton Berle in a Mumu.
J: Oh, if you say Milton Berle to anyone over 40, they know the shtick. Joke-stealing and cross-dressing.
T: What about Rosie O’Donnell? She’s been faking a vagina for decades.
J: She’s probably better hung than most men.
T: The Pamela Anderson of fake penises.
J: So she carries her manhood in a bag?
T: Oh, I assume she wears it all the time.
J: Rosie, Ellen DeGeneres, Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova.
T: Who are … lesbian versions of a longshoreman, Peter Pan, Peppermint Patty and Arnold Schwartzeneggar?
T: So who’s our fabulous four?
J: Freddie’s gotta be on the mountain… Liberace too, and Richard Simmons… don’t see how those could be argued… but the fourth is tricky.
T: I’d start with Oscar Wilde and Richard Simmons, so I guess those four (Liberace, Freddie, Oscar and Simmons) get to mount Mr. Rushmore.
J: So to speak.
T: Yeah, that doesn’t sound right.
J: So what about the transsexual mountain?
T: How far off the rails are we?
J: The light from the rails won’t reach us for several days yet.
T: We should maybe send up a signal flare.
J: What about the Marquis De Sade?
T: Was he a real person?
T: Was he gay?
J: Hell no, he wasn’t gay.
T: Hell, no! He won’t blow!
J: That’s the slogan at the Straight Pride parade.
T: Imagine how much beer that parade could sell.
J: Yeah, but they’d all march out of step.
T: That’s right, especially if it’s a bunch of white straight guys … the straight white guy parade would end in a pileup two blocks down the street.
J: Just like the g – never mind.
T: You see this, J?
J: Yep; the memo came out. No pun intended.
T: Oh, boo hiss.
J: Keep those cards and letters coming.
T: I bet my take on the memo release is different from yours.
J: My take is that the memo changes nothing with regards to anything… it was a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing. It undermines itself… it said that the investigation was as a result of the dossier, but then later it acknowledges that Papadopoulos was under investigation in July and the Page stuff didn’t start till October.
T: So you read the memo?
J: I read it, and some of the fallout from it… it seemed to land with kind of a wet-fart sound, no one was particularly impressed.
T: What did you think of the memo itself?
J: It was about what I expected from the buildup to it; an attempt to discredit the Mueller investigation by saying it was fruit of the poisoned Steele dossier.
T: The version I saw had a lot of blackout; Is this the one you read?
J: You TrumpRolled me?
In all seriousness, they did at least try to protect sources and methods. Sort of. A little.
T: I saw another one with all the redaction blackouts. In between the blackout, it said, “I’m a little teacup, short and stout.”
J: I saw the same kind of thing; it just said, “Donald Trump is innocent. Also smart.”
T: So you don’t think the memo will have any effect? I don’t think that’s what you mean, is it? For instance, what effect will it have on, say, Trump’s own base?
J: Well, I suppose I mean it’ll have no net effect. Those who are disposed to believe that conspiracy nonsense will say it means the investigation is a witch hunt, the left will say it’s a cherry-picked pack of lies, and the center will yawn.
T: I think there will be at least some effect, but not a direct effect so much as I think releasing the memo exposes Trump as such a relentless hypocrite that he can’t really hide from it, even in front of his fingers-in-their-ears base.
The move is so obviously self-serving, without even a National Enquirer-styled mitigating version to draw on, that his base can’t help but entertain just the tiniest crack of doubt about his sincerity. That tiny crack might erode, like a cement wall under a dripping faucet, until the whole thing crumbles under the wet, muddy weight of Trump’s pathological need to always make himself look good, even when he’s as exposed as a cat on a hardwood floor. Try untangling that bowl of metaphorical salad.
J: So, is the cat muddy, or is Trump playing with a ball of cement?
T: I might need to cut down on the red bull.
J: I don’t know what’s different this time, though. He’s been doing things equally, if not more, blindly self-serving all along. I don’t think his base will desert him because of this. It’s all evidence of the deep state/vast left-wing conspiracy. At least, in their eyes and the eyes of Fox News (which are, I suppose, pretty much the same thing).
T: Well, 538 is reporting that the vast majority of the public believes Mueller. I think that’s yuge; his own base just said they think he’s lying.
J: There is one thing in the memo that would give me pause, if I were a Trump supporter. The memo says that the Mueller investigation was based on the Steele dossier, or information in it, which was given to the FBI in October. But then, at the end, it acknowledges that Papadopoulos was under investigation in July, so how could the investigation result from the dossier if the FBI didn’t get it till October?
Plus which, Page was on the FBI’s radar in 2013, so it should hardly have come as a surprise to anyone that he was under surveillance, least of all to Page.
T: I doubt the Trump base will notice any of that, but I’m sure it’ll be pointed out to them a time or two. Or two million.
Here’s a passage from yesterday’s Perry Bacon (538) analysis of the polling data.
In the most recent CNN survey, 78 percent of Americans overall said that Trump should testify, including a clear majority of both those who approve of his performance as president and self-described Republicans. A CBS poll last month found that 84 percent of Americans said Trump should talk to Mueller if asked, including 73 percent of Republicans.
According to the Economist/YouGov survey, just 14 percent of Americans thought Trump should fire Mueller, while 48 percent opposed that idea, with the rest of the respondents not sure. In a CBS News survey, 73 percent of respondents, including 56 percent of Republicans, said Trump should allow the Russian investigation to continue, as opposed to taking steps to end it.
T: We’ll know by the end of next week if those numbers hold, drop, or (my guess) swirl around, based on partisan stubbornness.
J: I’d bet on “swirl” too. The whole thing is so blatantly partisan that there’s no room for any other interpretation.
T: Does Trump testify?
J: I think it would be legal malpractice for Trump’s lawyers to let him anywhere near Mueller. A guy like that who is so, shall we say, economical with the truth has no business talking to anyone in a criminal investigation.
T: I honestly don’t care if he testifies. It would just be the same shit, and as long as his base believes him, nobody can do anything about it.
J: I would love to see him testify, because he would no doubt lie his ass off and we’d then go the Bill Clinton route with an impeachment for perjury, which would paralyze Congress for most of the rest of his term.
T: Do you want congress paralyzed?
J: Yes, I want them paralyzed, because if Congress is paralyzed by impeachment they’re not passing laws to fuck up the health-care system, the tax system, the environment, the immigration system, the nation’s infrastructure, or confirming right-wing lunatics to the federal bench.
T: So, in effect, you are saying Congress is so universally counterproductive that it would be best for the United States to not allow Congress to function at all?
J: THIS Congress, and THIS president, yes.
T: See, I don’t agree with that at all. I mean, I agree that this congress is treating the country like it’s free cheese and they are in the front of the line, but the United States has had greedy congresses before, and shitty, stupid presidents. The one thing that most protects the system is the system itself. If we paralyze the system, we remove the system’s safeguards.
J: I understand where you’re coming from, and ordinarily I’d agree. But this president is so antithetical to American ideals and American norms, and his minions in Congress so unwilling to stand up to him and say “This is wrong, Mr. President”, that I see paralysis as the best of a number of bad options.
The Democrats don’t have the power to directly prevent him from carrying out his toxic agenda, so the best they can do is try to obstruct him as much as possible until some sense of sanity returns to American politics some three years hence.
T: I think we focus too much on Trump’s words, and way too little on his actions. For all his bluster and blubbering, he really isn’t getting much done, because – as you said – he’s being opposed on every front by half the country. I don’t think we need to accelerate the opposition; the current pace is working.
Also, every increase in pressure generates a reverse-polarity effect with Trump’s base. More resistance will only increase the opposing resistance.
J: The partisan battery effect?
J: Duly noted.
T: To me, the number one characteristic of Trump voters is gullibility, but coming in a close second is fear. They fear that the left will get ahold of the Supreme Court and turn the country into a tyrannically PC, egalitarian dictatorship.
Anyone with enough brainpower to pound sand should realize that they are right, too.
Both sides are mostly guided by fear. Think about your own fear. It’s two sides of a coin that has been flipping since the 18th century.
J: That 35 percent or so that supports him will stay with him through thick and thin… no matter what he says or does. The whole “shooting someone on Fifth Avenue” thing.
T: For now. But I think there will come a time when they turn on him.
Partisan opinions about the Mueller investigation are a waste of time. Anyone who wants Mueller to “get” Trump has lost the ability to see the investigation for what it’s supposed to be, and anyone who thinks it’s a witch-hunt is going to treat evidence like a buffet dessert bar.
T: They’ll stack up all the stuff they like, and ignore everything else.
J: Stick to old references.
T: The main point is that Trump is innocent until proven guilty, just like anyone else.
J: But anyone with two brain cells firing can see that Mueller isn’t out to “get” Trump. If he were, he would have made the case long before now. He’s investigating, trying to find something that he can make stick. That’s what good prosecutors do.
T: I suppose he’d be a fool to overreach.
J: Remember the Trayvon Martin case? George Zimmerman got off because the prosecutor gave in to public pressure and charged him with first-degree murder, which he couldn’t prove. If he’d gone second-degree, ol’ Zim would be taking it in the ass in Leavenworth. Over-charging is the cardinal sin of the prosecutor, and Mueller isn’t going to make that mistake.
T: Casey Anthony, same thing. Charge her with reckless disregard and let her rot – but they went for intent and she’s back on the streets trying to make more neglected babies.
J: Well, Mueller won’t overreach.
T: He can’t go after Trump harder than his base accepts; if he does, they’ll revolt.
J: And they are revolting enough as it is.
T: Boom tick. Pssht. Henny would be proud.
J: Henny Youngman?
T: Too soon?
J: It has more of a Groucho vibe, anyway.
T: Give the man a cigar.
J: I do think that the cracks are starting to show… I don’t know if they matter that much to the base, at least not yet, but there are signs that they are staring to waver a bit.
T: Trump isn’t smart enough to maintain the facade; he’ll just keep saying, “Hey baby, who you gonna believe? I’m the one who loves ya, baby,” until they relent, pull on a pink teddy and perform their electoral duties.
J: That gives “stuffing the ballot box” a new meaning.
T: That’s going to be one sticky ballot box.
T: Sooner or later, though, Trump is going to forget where he is and beat up his base one time too many – and we’ll have our first-ever case of electoral domestic violence.
J: And here come the Feds, nightsticks in hand.
T: Ooh, I’d pay to be a fly on that wall. Can you say nightstick bingo?
J: Or nightstick whack amole.
T: Nightstick whack amole bingo?
“Bee – 46. Does anyone have B46?”
“I think I’m gonna blackout … ”
J: Are there any cops he hasn’t attacked? I mean besides the ones who shoot brown people?
T: Yaknow, that reminds me … I sometimes forget what a rank asshole Trump really is. I mean, being an asshole is pretty much his ideology. The logo on his plane should be a tiny hand with a pinky ring, middle finger extended.
I mean, he has never attacked a white cop for killing a brown guy, but every time a brown guy does something wrong he sprays spittle all over his Blackberry like his base hoses down televisions, watching a gay pride parade.
J: Blackberry? Is it 2006?
T: Back off, or I’ll brain with my Ma Bell rotary phone.
J: I don’t know what’s worse – the old references or the gay jokes.
T: Was Hitler gay?`
J: Stop it.