Former conservative stalwart David Frum has a piece in The Atlantic which rightly goes after Der Trumpenführer's incompetence and unfitness for office. However, just as importantly, he goes after Congressional Republicans who seemingly are willing to destroy the country - and put the entire world at risk - so that they can further that effort to return America to a new Gilded Age where the few have immense wealth and the rest of us have an existence like out of a Charles Dickens novel. While Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan bear much responsibility, virtually every congressional Republican shares in the subversion of the best interests of a majority of Americans. Here are highlights from Frum's piece:
“I can handle things. I’m smart! Not like everybody says, like dumb. I’m smart and I want respect!” This morning’s presidential Twitter outburst recalls those words of Fredo Corleone’s in one of the most famous scenes from The Godfather series. Trump tweeted that his “two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart,” and in a subsequent tweet called himself a “very stable genius.”
Trump may imagine that he’s Michael Corleone, the tough and canny rightful heir—or even Sonny Corleone, the terrifyingly violent but at least powerful heir apparent—but after today he is Fredo forever.
There’s a key difference between film and reality, though: The Corleone family had the awareness and vigilance to exclude Fredo from power. The American political system did not do so well.
Who and what Donald Trump is has been known to everyone and anyone who cared to know for years and decades. Before he was president, he was the country’s leading racist conspiracy theorist. Before he was the country’s leading racist conspiracy theorist, he was a celebrity gameshow host. Before he was a celebrity gameshow host, he was the multi-bankrupt least trusted name in real estate. Before he was the multi-bankrupt least trusted name in real estate, he was the protege of Roy Cohn’s repeatedly accused of ties to organized crime. From the start, Donald Trump was a man of many secrets, but no mysteries. Inscribed indelibly on the public record were the reasons for responsible people to do everything in their power to bar him from the presidency.
Instead, since he announced his candidacy in mid-2015, Donald Trump has been enabled and protected. The enabling and protecting not only continues. It accelerates.
Before the Saturday morning tweets, what should have been the biggest story of the week was Trump’s success at mobilizing the Senate and the FBI to deploy criminal prosecution as a weapon against Trump critics. The Senate Judiciary committee—the Senate Judiciary Committee! The committee that oversees the proper enforcement of the law!—formally filed a criminal referral with the Department of Justice against Christopher Steele, the author of the infamous dossier about Trump’s Russia connections. The referral was signed by the committee’s chairman, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, without even notice to Democrats on the committee, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein said; a startling abuse of majority status and a sharp departure from the norms of the Senate, especially a 51-49 Senate.
The Department of Justice can ignore such a referral. It’s ominous, however, that on the very same day, the FBI obeyed Trump’s repeated demands and reopened a long-closed criminal investigation into the Clinton Foundation. The FBI has come under relentless abuse from Trump, who complains about its refusal to do his will. Is it now yielding?
Michael Wolff has drawn the most indelible picture yet of Donald Trump, the man. But the important thing about Trump is not the man; it’s the system of power surrounding the man.
What sustains Trump now is the support of people who know what he is, but back him anyway. Republican political elites who know him for what he is, but who back him because they believe they can control and use him; conservative media elites who sense what he is, but who delight in the cultural wars he provokes; rank-and-file conservatives who care more about their grievances and hatreds than the governance of the country.
[W]ithout the complicity of other power-holders, Trump would drop from his central position like a tooth from a rotten gum. What we need to do now is widen the camera angle beyond Fredo Trump to the hard-faced men and women over his shoulders. Those are the people who put Trump where he is, and keep him there, corrupting the institutions of American democracy and troubling the peace and security of the world.