Cort: “At your invitation, I stand ready to set up my Fundraising Page and start inviting all of my friends and acquaintances to donate to the DNC. But I haven’t done it yet, because I am so profoundly concerned about what our party is NOT doing in Congress. Call me picky or stingy, but I need to feel like our party in Congress is living up to its obligation to us before I step out and obligate myself and my friends to our party. Is it too much to ask that our party give me a reason to believe, and fundraise? What is it going to take for Speaker Pelosi to get fired up, inspire her caucus, and lead a robust Impeachment inquiry? Seriously, WTF is she waiting for?”
→ I guess she was waiting for a Trump-appointed Inspector General to find a whistle-blower report to be “urgent and credible.”
The invitation still stands!
Bill McDonald: “I think you’ve gone as far as you can with the book of Hitler’s speeches. There are so many reasons to disfavor Trump which are better grounded, I think you undercut your persuasiveness by repeatedly citing this one.”
→ I hear you! But by coincidence, within hours of your note, one of your fellow readers sent me this remarkable book review which I find myself incapable of not sharing. In small part:
. . . In When at Times the Mob Is Swayed: A Citizen’s Guide to Defending Our Republic, Burt Neuborne mostly focuses on how America’s constitutional foundation in 2019—an unrepresentative Congress, the Electoral College and a right-wing Supreme Court majority—is not positioned to withstand Trump’s extreme polarization and GOP power grabs. However, its second chapter, “Why the Sudden Concern About Fixing the Brakes?,” extensively details Trump’s mimicry of Hitler’s pre-war rhetoric and strategies.
Neuborne doesn’t make this comparison lightly. His 55-year career began by challenging the constitutionality of the Vietnam War in the 1960s. He became the ACLU’s national legal director in the 1980s under Ronald Reagan. He was founding legal director of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School in the 1990s. He has been part of more than 200 Supreme Court cases and Holocaust reparation litigation.
“Why does an ignorant, narcissistic buffoon like Trump trigger such anxiety? Why do so many Americans feel it existentially (not just politically) important to resist our forty-fifth president?” he writes. “Partly it’s just aesthetics. Trump is such a coarse and appalling man that it’s hard to stomach his presence in Abraham Lincoln’s house. But that’s not enough to explain the intensity of my dread. LBJ was coarse. Gerald Ford and George W. Bush were dumb as rocks. Richard Nixon was an anti-Semite. Bill Clinton’s mistreatment of women dishonored his office. Ronald Reagan was a dangerous ideologue. I opposed each of them when they appeared to exceed their constitutional powers. But I never felt a sense of existential dread. I never sensed that the very existence of a tolerant democracy was in play.”
A younger Trump, according to his first wife’s divorce filings, kept and studied a book translating and annotating Adolf Hitler’s pre-World War II speeches in a locked bedside cabinet, Neuborne noted. The English edition of My New Order, published in 1941, also had analyses of the speeches’ impact on his era’s press and politics. “Ugly and appalling as they are, those speeches are masterpieces of demagogic manipulation,” Neuborne says.
“Watching Trump work his crowds, though, I see a dangerously manipulative narcissist unleashing the demagogic spells that he learned from studying Hitler’s speeches—spells that he cannot control and that are capable of eroding the fabric of American democracy,” Neuborne says. “You see, we’ve seen what these rhetorical techniques can do. Much of Trump’s rhetoric—as a candidate and in office—mirrors the strategies, even the language, used by Adolf Hitler in the early 1930s to erode German democracy.” . . .
The review goes on to detail 20 points of comparison. You’re surely correct that it won’t persuade Trump supporters. But it’s of engrossing interest nonetheless (if you ask me), and might even motivate some of “our” folks to chip in, and/or try fundraising themselves. (Why should I have all the fun?)
Quote of the Day
I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.~Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943
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