Hell’s Done Froze Over!

Hell’s This Way

As regular readers already know, I look upon Mike ‘Payola’ Allen with skepticism and within easy reach of the 10-pound bag of salt. However, today I thing he has his finger on the pulse of the Fourth Reich, so, you know that Hell Has Frozen Over:

President Trump’s rallies are always a production. But last night’s Day 100 victory lap in Pennsylvania — festooned with “Promises Made / Promises Kept” signs — was conceived in cinematic terms: us-versus-them, the people-versus-the-media.

Axios’ Jonathan Swan sends me this scoopy, behind-the curtain reporting: West Wing officials, including Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, conceived of a split-screen effect: TVs would show Trump in full-blown nationalist populist mode, connecting viscerally with “forgotten” Rust Belt Americans.

On the other side of the screen: Washington reporters in bowties and ballgowns, looking out-of-touch, self-congratulatory and elite, at their White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner.

According to sources familiar with the speech’s drafting, there was a line that Trump didn’t end up using that summed up the speech’s intent: Washington reporters are “bubble people.”

Trump’s attack on the press was as full-throated as anything we saw on the trail:

  • He spent the first 11 minutes whacking the media.
  • He cited polls showing the public doesn’t trust the press. He singled out CNN and MSNBC as “fake news” and went on a riff about the “totally failing New York Times” losing money on real estate.
  • He contrasted his first 100 days against the media’s first 100 days — “a big fat failing grade.

From the speech: “As you may know, there’s another big gathering taking place tonight in Washington, D.C. Did you hear about it? [Crowd: Boo!] A large group of Hollywood actors [Crowd: Boo!], and Washington media [Crowd: Boo!], are consoling each other in a hotel ballroom in our nation’s capital right now.”

“They are gathered together for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner without the president. And I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away from Washington’s swamp, spending my evening with all of you, and with a much much larger crowd, and much better people, right?” [Cheers: “USA!” and “CNN sucks!”] [T]hey’re trapped at the dinner — which will be very very boring. But next year maybe we’ll make it more exciting for them, in Washington.”

Why it matters: This remarkable speech shows Trump’s inside-outside game. Inside, he’s sculpting his 100-days narrative and giving a raft of interviews, assuring Beltway reporters that he knows they still matter. (And he’s already teasing that he’ll come to next year’s dinner.) On the road, journalists are his go-to foil.

Be smart: Don’t over-interpret either half.

OK, I admit I like the line about Bubble People, but it really is the same thing as Digby’s Villagers. I doubt that he is smart enough to have planned this split screen idea on his own, so what it tells me is that Bannon is still running the politics side of the White House. Bannon is a guy that Goebbels would hire, so those stories of him being on the outs in the Fourth Reich are to distract us from what he is really doing.

Last night I watched Sam Bee’s Not The White House Correspondent’s Dinner, which was very funny. The best bits are no doubt on YouTube already, and I recommend watching them if you find yourself torn between hating the Media and hating Trump.

Some tweets I sent out before the show turned out to be very prescient (if I do say so myself):

…and pretty much what I tweeted was the first or second segment of the show.

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4 Responses to Hell’s Done Froze Over!

  1. Bruce388 says:

    Trump didn’t have the guts to attend this year’s Correspondents’ Dinner. He won’t have the guts next year, either. He remembers how Seth Meyers and Obama chewed his ass.


  2. roket says:

    And of course violence was a given at the Trump rally and the rubes found his lies to be larruping good. Morans.


  3. 9thousandfeet says:

    The MSM narrative has evolved from the initial reaction of shock, which was basically “oh fuck, Trump won the election! What the fuck happened? Can he be replaced/stopped?”

    The next stage was a concerted focus on the Russia thing, with consistent speculation about impeachment and all the rest. Trump showed us how he’s prepared to distract everyone from that by blowing some shit up, and so Russia is on page 17 now, and even then it’s about Flynn, not Trump. Even if Der Führer has to launch every fucking missile we possess, it will stay on page 17 too.

    Now the MSM is starting with the normalization narratives in earnest; “hey look, the sky didn’t fall and Trump didn’t get done what he wanted, so his first 100 days is full of failures and the checks and balances are working. So hey, you know, lighten up, OK?”

    The media is covering his ranting and raving on page 1—today it’s about the media, as usual, and now he’s started openly complaining about the inadequacy of the constitution (it’s a bad system, he says) that he swore to uphold.

    Meanwhile on page 12 Sessions and Devos and Carson and Pruitt and Gorsuch and other functionaries are in place, with many more to come. That’s where the initial heavy-lifting of dismantling the architecture of the republic will be done, and by the time the MSM notices the damage, it will be too late.

    It soon will be too late to “peacefully assemble and seek redress of grievance” without literally risking your life too, Sessions will see to that.

    The system is broken and our institutions are systemically incapable of responding effectively to this man, because the institutions’ functionality depend on respect for rules and tradition in order to function.
    Trump doesn’t give a shit about tradition and he blatantly violates the rules. This is new territory and we have no maps, so the denizens of Punditstan keep trying to interpret where we are by referring to the old ones.
    But Trump continues to solidify a zealous base of support which is, and will remain, unpersuadable. They are immune to facts. Maintaining that dynamic is what the rallies are all about.
    That base of support is also the electoral foundation of the GOP, and they know it. Trump knows it too. He has them in a headlock.

    The Dems are in uncoordinated disarray, maybe even in the beginnings of schism, and flailing. Clinton (!!) occasionally re-appears on the front page and Obama grins and makes $400K speeches, thereby giving the GOP and Trump plenty of political air cover.

    And we’re only 100 days in, and the MSM is characterizing Trump’s performance as a failure?
    Bullshit. He’s running the table.

    Failing to repeal the ACA and etc helps him to point out “what’s wrong with the system”.
    It strengthens his narrative about how wonderful shit would be if he wasn’t being “obstructed”.
    It makes him stronger, not weaker.


  4. paul fredine says:

    i second the comment about samantha’s show. you have to watch it. it was hysterical!

    Liked by 1 person


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