Quick Takes: A Study in Contrasts

* Every time I read an interview with Donald Trump, I walk away horrified. At this point, I struggle for words that will capture his level of ignorance, delusion, narcissism and mendacity. But it also reminds me of who we’re dealing with. All those moments when the press tries to paint him as some kind of normal politician go up in smoke. That was exactly how I reacted after reading his latest interview with the Associated Press. In just one example, Julie Pace asks him whether or not he’ll sign a spending bill that doesn’t include funding for his border wall. Here’s his answer:

I don’t know yet. People want the border wall. My base definitely wants the border wall, my base really wants it — you’ve been to many of the rallies. OK, the thing they want more than anything is the wall. My base, which is a big base; I think my base is 45 percent. You know, it’s funny. The Democrats, they have a big advantage in the electoral college. Big, big, big advantage. I’ve always said the popular vote would be a lot easier than the electoral college. The electoral college — but it’s a whole different campaign (unintelligible). The electoral college is very difficult for a Republican to win, and I will tell you, the people want to see it. They want to see the wall, they want to see security. Now, it just came out that they’re 73 percent down. … That’s a tremendous achievement. … Look at this, in 100 days, that down to the lowest in 17 years and it’s going lower. Now, people aren’t coming because they know they’re not going to get through, and there isn’t crime. You know the migration up to the border is horrible for women, you know that? (Unintelligible.) Now, much of that’s stopped because they can’t get through.

First of all, about half of that is completely unintelligible. But simply the mention of his “base” takes him off topic and he feels the need to pontificate on the one thing he always wants to talk about – his yuuuuuge electoral college victory. It’s now been over five months and he can’t stop trying to convince everyone what a big deal it was. Sad!

* On the other end of the spectrum, today Obama made his first public address since leaving office. You can read his prepared remarks here. What a breath of fresh air! The format was a panel he hosted with young people who are engaged in various ways in their community. At one point one of the panelists talked about how she’d gotten to meet him when she was still in high school. She said that she’d asked if he would take a picture with her, and he said “No.” She paused while the room gasped. Then she went on to say, “You said ‘no, not until you tell me your name.'” The young woman proceeded to talk about how that kind of personal attention from the president inspired her. Think of the thousands of times that story was probably replicated over eight years and you’ll get a picture of just one way our former president changed this country forever.

* Andy Borowitz nailed the study in contrasts with humor.

In an appearance at the University of Chicago on Monday, former President Barack Obama unloaded a relentless barrage of complete sentences in what was widely seen as a brutal attack on his successor, Donald Trump.

Appearing at his first public event since leaving office, Obama fired off a punishing fusillade of grammatically correct sentences, the likes of which the American people have not heard from the White House since he departed.

“He totally restricted his speech to complete sentences,” Tracy Klugian, a student at the event, said. “It was the most vicious takedown of Trump I’d ever seen.”

* This morning I wrote about why Republicans and Trump want to waste our tax dollars on a wall that won’t work. What we heard today from AG Sessions on that topic makes head spin.

One of us is either lying or delusional. I’m pretty sure it’s not me.

* In order to cover up for the fact that he hasn’t accomplished much in his first 100 days, Jonathan Swan says that Trump is getting ready to sign a whole bunch of executive orders. See if you can tell what all of these examples have in common.

“Executive Order for a Review of Designations under the Antiquities Act”: “The Antiquities Act of 1906 authorizes the president to declare federal lands of historic or scientific value to be ‘National Monuments’ and thereby restrict the types of uses to which those lands can be put…The Antiquities Act Executive Order directs the Department of the Interior to review prior monument designations and suggest legislative changes or modifications to the monument proclamations.”

“Executive Order Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy”: “Past administrations have been overly restrictive of off-shore energy exploration. The America First Energy Executive Order directs a review of the locations available for off-shore oil and gas exploration and of certain regulations governing off-shore oil and gas exploration.”

“Executive Order Promoting Agriculture and Rural Prosperity in America”: “The Agriculture and Rural Task Force Executive Order creates an interagency task force to examine the concerns of rural America and suggest legislative and regulatory changes to address them.”

If you think that reviews count when it comes to tallying up accomplishments, you’re going to be impressed. Otherwise…not so much.

* Finally, Rebecca Traister takes Sanders to task on the issue of reproductive rights for women. But here’s the kicker:

In the midst of one of the most activated, energized, ground-up movements in modern Democratic political history — where the energy is coming from women who remain underrepresented in state and federal legislatures — the Unity Tour, with its two men making pronouncements about what the party should do next, felt exceedingly out of touch. And the dynamic — the women doing the labor of organizing and protesting and campaigning, knocking on doors and making calls and sending postcards, while guys speak from the microphones about the need to compromise on their rights — is depressingly retro.

“Open your eyes to where the resistance is really coming from,” Hogue urged on Thursday. “There are literally millions of women who have been pouring calls into Senate offices, House offices, going to town halls, filing to run for office; we are literally three months out from the largest protest in U.S. history that was overwhelmingly women, in the name of women; that’s where the resistance is. This is the Democratic party base. So why is the place to start negotiating the place that pulls the heart out of the resistance?”

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.