Alan Rappeport

What They Voted For: That Most Special of Interests

#trumpswindle | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Donald Trump speaks to South Carolina voters in North Charleston, 19 February 2016. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Who: Darren Samuelsohn (Politico)
What: “Trump’s kids to run businesses via ‘blind trust,’ Trump attorney says”
When: 10 November 2016

Politico offers the necessary context:

Donald Trump’s vast business holdings will be placed into a blind trust with his oldest three children in charge, according to the president-elect’s attorney.

Trump during his campaign faced questions about how he’d handle his business dealings and potential conflicts if he were to become president, saying repeatedly he’d separate himself from the company. And while his lawyer Thursday used the term “blind trust” when discussing the family’s upcoming financial arrangement, putting Trump’s children in charge of a set of assets that their father is aware of does not constitute a blind trust. Under the legal definition of a blind trust, a public official places his finances under the management of an independent party. The official would have no knowledge of what is in the trust or how it is managed. On CNN, Cohen conceded Trump would have a difficult time satisfying critics who continue to raise doubts about their plans.

(Samuelsohn; boldface accent added)

This is how Trump voters and supporters will work around the cognitive dissonance of cronyism and nepotism in their ostensibly anti-corruption, anti-cronyist, anti-Establishment, anti-institutional figurehead: Ego defense. Redefining terms like nepotism and cronyism in order to exclude what one desperately wishes to protect requires some manner of neurotic complex; there is no precise classification for cravenly making it up as you go, so denial and suppression cannot in themselves suffice, as it is not so straightforward. There is some pretense of intellectualization and rationalization, but scrambling to justify post hoc projection and displacement―while flailing into concomitant secondary denial about whatever prior sentiments and processes one is replacingα―is neither intellectual nor rational.

(more…)

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The Gary Johnson Trip (Legacy)

Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson botches a foreign policy question about Aleppo, Syria, on msnbc's Morning Joe, 8 September 2016.

This is perhaps the greatest contribution former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson’s presidential bid offers our society:

On the surface, the low approval ratings for Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump present a prime opportunity for a candidate like Mr. Johnson, who is socially liberal and fiscally conservative. Even so, that intriguing blend of policies has made it difficult for the Libertarian ticket, which includes William F. Weld, the former Republican governor of Massachusetts, to attract stray Democrats or disenchanted Republicans in large numbers.

“He’s had issues coalescing the anti-Trump Republican crowd, partially because it’s a mix of social conservatives and moderates, and partly because at times he’s seemed more keen on appealing to the Bernie bros,” said Tim Miller, a Republican and a former aide to Jeb Bush, referring to the supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Mr. Miller opposes Mr. Trump and is considering voting for the Libertarian ticket this year.

Mr. Miller added that Mr. Johnson’s flub about Aleppo did not make him a riskier bet on foreign policy matters than is Mr. Trump. But, he said, it does highlight the problem that many Republicans have with Libertarians. “It reinforces my top policy difference with him, which is his relative isolationism” on foreign affairs, he said.

(Rappeport)

That is to say, Aleppo is no longer the name of a human atrocity, but, rather, an emblem of atrocious American stupidity.

Then again, it clarifies the remainder for the the Johnson/Weld effort: That would be a hell of an unfortunate legacy.

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Barnicle, Mike. “Gary Johnson asks: What is Aleppo?” Morning Joe. msnbc. 8 September 2016.

Rappeport, Alan. “Gary Johnson’s ‘What Is Aleppo’ Flub Amplifies Skepticism of Republicans”. The New York Times. 9 September 2016.

The Donald Trump National Convention (Movin’ Right Along)

Melania Trump delivers a speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, 18 July 2016. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

It’s worth noting that the New York Times headline, “Melania Trump’s Speech Bears Striking Similarities to Michelle Obama’s in 2008”, is rather quite generous.

Melania Trump earned praise for her speech on Monday at the opening night of the Republican National Convention, but her remarks almost immediately came under scrutiny when striking similarities were discovered between her speech and one delivered by Michelle Obama at the Democratic convention in 2008.

The phrases in question came when Ms. Trump―who told NBC News earlier Monday that she had written her speech herself―was discussing her upbringing in Slovenia and her parents.

(Haberman, Rappeport, and Healy)

On the upside, though, apparently Mrs. Trump’s dress was something of a hit; Bruna Nessif of E! reports that the $2,190 Roksanda “Margot” dress sold out in under an hour: “Now that’s how you make a fashion and political statement.”

Yeah, it’s a fabulous dress, and all, and a bunch of people apparently really did shell out nearly twenty-two hundred dollars per. And that’s the good news. All of it.

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Image note: Melania Trump delivers a speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, 18 July 2016. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Haberman, Maggie, Alan Rappeport, and Patrick Healy. “Melania Trump’s Speech Bears Striking Similarities to Michelle Obama’s in 2008”. The New York Times. 19 July 2016.

Nessif, Bruna. “Melania Trump’s Dress Sells Out Less Than an Hour After Her Republican Convention Speech”. E! 18 July 2016.

Your Liberal Media Conspiracy (Walker’s Bone Mix)

Wow.

So, you know, many who consider themselves Republican or try to convince you that they are “independent” will occasionally complain about the evil liberal media conspiracy by which apparently the conservative-tending owners of newspapers and other media outlets are all conspiring to force their reporters to write left-wing propaganda. The specifics will vary, but the general theme holds: If the news cycle is against Republicans in any way, it’s a conspiracy.

And it is indeed one of those alleged bastions of pernicious liberalism that brings us today’s liberal media conspiracy offense.Alan Rappeport, of The New York Times. (Photo: NYT)

The conspirator’s name is Alan Rappeport, and he writes for The New York Times.

You might remember yesterday’s strange tale of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) traveling to London and gobsmacking a host while speaking to Chatham House, a royally-endorsed foreign policy wonkbox. The gist of the story, of course, is that when presented with a question about the theory of evolution, Walker chose to punt and counterintuitively claim it an issue politicians are supposed to stay out of.

There are, of course, any number of angles to this. Republicans in London are a dangerous idea. When did evolution become something politicians punt on? Do conservatives recognize that our international neighbors think we’re absolutely weird about this? What are the implications of our political system being subject to such delusional litmus tests that Republicans are absolutely quaking in their boots at the thought of acknowledging science?

Enter The New York Times, who thought Mr. Rappeport would best serve their First Draft blog, intended to bring us breaking news, by rehashing and reframing Mr. Walker’s embarrassing gaffe under the headline, “Walker Steps Back From Evolution ‘Punt'”.

As we noted yesterday, in (ahem!) “stepping back” from his comments, the Wisconsin Republican was still too frightened to say the word “evolution”; his “step back” is, essentially speaking, is to stand in one place and whine like a petulant, untrained puppy.

And the liberal media conspiracy? The New York Times, an alleged chief conspirator? Why wouldn’t it rehash and reframe a story, bringing us exactly nothing new, in order to throw Scott Walker a bone? You know, because that sounds exactly like what a liberal media conspiracy would do.

Mr. Rappeport’s “First Draft” needs some work.

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Rappeport, Alan. “Walker Steps Back From Evolution ‘Punt'”. First Draft. 11 February 2015.

Actual, Real, Honest-to-Goodness, Genuine Good News

Victims of a chemical attack in Syria, circa 2013.We can certainly admit that it’s a hell of a lede:

The United States said Monday that it had completed the destruction of the deadliest chemical weapons in Syria’s arsenal, a rare foreign policy achievement for President Obama at a time when the Middle East is embroiled in violence and political turmoil.

Rappeport

Oh, yeah. Remember that? Syria? I suppose we could use some good news. Or maybe we’re too busy botching Star Trek jokes.

You know, journalistic priorities.

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Rappeport, Alan. “Syria’s Chemical Arsenal Fully Destroyed, U.S. Says”. The New York Times. 18 August 2014.