Publius, The Snitch

The New York Times did something that almost never happens: it published an anonymous op-ed.

I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration

I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.

The op-ed goes on to do make two primary points, the first being that Trump is singularly unqualified to be president, by knowledge, experience, temperament and, perhaps, capacity. The second is that there are people within the White House who are interfering with the president’s performance of his office because they have decided they know better.

The root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making.

This isn’t new, at least not here. The difference for the sake of the Times is that it comes from someone inside the White  House. There is no doubt that they made absolutely certain that the anon author was who he claimed to be before publishing this op-ed. And the substance of the op-ed, while not exactly the party line, is certainly something that grabbed James Dao, the op-ed editor, by the heart, if not other parts of his anatomy.

But to what end? If his cabinet believes Trump to be incapable of carrying out the office of president, then they have a duty to invoke the 25th Amendment. According to the author of this op-ed, who apparently sees himself as the hero of this story, it was considered.

Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.

The process isn’t all that complex, but more importantly, what difference does it make how complex it is if the person occupying the Oval Office is incapable of doing the job?

But these successes have come despite — not because of — the president’s leadership style, which is impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective.

This isn’t “leadership style.” This is incompetence.

Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back.

The problem has nothing to do with whether you’re conservative, libertarian, liberal or progressive. No sentient person was unaware that he was a vulgar ignormus when it came to law, Constitution or governance. If you shared his ignorance, then this might have eluded you, as he said and did things that you, in your simplistic, clueless way, would say as well. But then, you aren’t qualified to be president either, despite your certainty that every complex problem has a simple solution.

But even a guy whose sole potential competency is building garish structures, a skillset that doesn’t translate to governing a nation, can manage to do a half-decent job with the right people around him and a grudging acknowledgment that even though he managed to get elected, he realizes he’s way out of his league. The big league.

No, there is nothing to suggest that Trump has any recognition of his limitations. Everything suggests the contrary. Which brings us to his impetuousness, his “half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions.” This isn’t a matter of politics. It’s irrelevant that Trump feigns being conservative because that’s where his bread is buttered.

An incompetent is one who tries his best to be well-informed, and even with the information in hand, can’t make a sound decision for lack of intellectual capacity. This is different than one who either doesn’t care about being informed, or is incapable of controlling his impetuousness.

Didn’t we know this before the election, and still Trump was elected over Clinton? So what’s the point? Whether you view it as the spectacular failure of the Democrats to field a candidate, to have a platform, that didn’t prevail 80-20 over the most unqualified candidate in modern history, or whether you view Trump as the punishment we earned by governmental paralysis and absurd divisiveness, we elected Darth Cheeto to be the president.

You know what we didn’t do? We didn’t elect this person who hides behind anonymity but wants us to trust his bona fides that he knows better. He may well know better. He may not. But if he’s as smart as he thinks he is, he might have anticipated that his anon op-ed wasn’t going to soothe a nation, fearful of this amoral ignoramus. And it surely wasn’t going to persuade Trump to seek out people more knowledgeable than him so that he ceased his impetuous, half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decision-making.

The Trump haters rejoice. The Trump lovers scream. The nation is worse off for this op-ed because Trump remains president today, and to the extent he might look to anyone competent for advice, he’ll be even less inclined than before, if that’s possible. As for the op-ed author, his decision to write, to have the New York Times publish, his op-ed shows that his judgment isn’t nearly as good as he wants America to believe. But then, we didn’t elect him, so it’s not as if he has any legitimacy to claim otherwise.

31 thoughts on “Publius, The Snitch

  1. Dan

    “But if he’s as smart as he thinks he is, he might have anticipated that his anon op-ed wasn’t going to soothe a nation, fearful of this amoral ignoramus.”

    …and it added a great deal of weight to what might otherwise be considered the paranoid delusions of the “deep state”.

    Reply
    1. SHG Post author

      But he addressed that:

      This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state. It’s the work of the steady state.

      That fixed it, right?

      Reply
      1. Lee

        Steady State or Deep State, the NYT piece confirms the existence of a group of people who have taken it upon themselves to thwart the agenda of a duly elected president.

        The Nomenklatura strike again.

        Reply
  2. Hunting Guy

    For better or worse, Trump still has the nuclear launch codes.

    Adults will deal with that, not play kiddy tattle-tale.

    Reply
  3. Mike Paar

    Some pundits have opined that the author was Pence while others believe it was intentionally written to implicate Pence as the author in order to create animosity between Trump and the VP as many think Pence would be even worse than Trump.

    Yesterday Pence distanced himself from the president by praising Attorney General Jeff Sessions. This would be the first and only time Pence has publicly strayed from Trump’s position on any issue.

    With Mueller closing in and the mid-terms within eyesight, now would be the perfect time for the VP to make a move showing he’s got what it takes to lead the nation.

    Reply
  4. David

    “But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis.”

    Since when does following a process specifically laid out in the Constitution precipitate a constitutional crisis? It would seem to be exactly the opposite. Isn’t the crisis more that we are being led by secretive, back-stabbing, unelected and unaccountable op-ed writers?

    Reply
  5. Fubar

    The Trump haters rejoice. The Trump lovers scream. … As for the op-ed author, his decision to write, to have the New York Times publish, his op-ed shows that his judgment isn’t nearly as good as he wants America to believe. But then, we didn’t elect him, so it’s not as if he has any legitimacy to claim otherwise.

    I scream and you scream, we all scream
    For ice cream; get dished up a Trump scheme.
    Elections have served
    Us what we deserved,
    De Maistre’s words¹ weren’t just a bad dream!

    FN 1: Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle mérite.

    Reply
  6. Charles

    “Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president.”

    “Complex” is in the NYT style guide under “Synonyms for exhuasted.”

    Reply
  7. B. McLeod

    Exactly what you observe as to the consequences of this “editorial” causes me to doubt the NYT claim as to its source. Anyone positioned as they claim the anonymous resistor is would know that this publication can only make it more difficult for advisors to moderate poorly-reasoned decision-making. It is inconceivable to me that such a person would purposely call down that kind of fire on his or her own position. It is more conceivable that the NYT synthesized this anonymous resistor as a virtual avatar for staffers who had given them this kind of information as deep background, not-for-attribution, so that the NYT could publicize it under the modern media theory that the information is essentially legitimate, even if the source is fictionalized. The obvious goal of the NYT is to pressure Trump to Queeg out, rejecting all moderating influences out of distrust that they could be coming from the anonymous resistor. Obviously very harmful to the nation, but mere eggs in the omelet of “progressivism.”

    Reply
      1. B. McLeod

        If it works, and results in a reckless and arbitrary downward spiral leading to Trump’s ouster, both organized political parties and the NYT’s media colleagues can be counted on to give them a “pass” on the tactic.

        Reply
        1. Jake

          Let’s assume for a second the source is fabricated. Apply Occam’s Razor. The one person who benefits most from the false narrative that deep state actors have taken over the White House is Trump. He’s also the only person in the White House with a documented history of such antics with the media who also happens to be arguably insane and desperate.

          Reply
          1. SHG Post author

            Can we also assume for a second that space aliens have taken over Trump and he’s really a pod person left here to destroy mankind?

            Reply
            1. Patrick Maupin

              That would explain a few things. But not necessarily why I’m in Japan en route to Taiwan. Still haven’t completely figured that one out.

          2. B. McLeod

            “Occam’s Razor” doesn’t turn on who benefits the most. It is a selection method based on evaluation of what is the least complex theory fitting objectively observed facts. For that very reason, its application in political matters is questionable. Beyond that, it seems to me that here, the selection would go to a conclusion of falsified source. The only visible information is the “editorial,” and the NYT’s publication of the ‘editorial.” No source is visible, though the NYT claims a secret source. Based on what is visible and verifiable, the simplest conclusion is that the NYT created the “editorial” itself.

            Reply
  8. Keith

    Publius had a legitimate reason to remain anonymous and history seems to have judged that endeavor favorably. This guy? Well, I guess we’ll see how this works out.

    The anonymity thing is a tough call. If this person isn’t a regular household name, I find it hard to understand why the NY Times would offer such real estate to someone, when the same person writing such a comment in a departure memo wouldn’t get much notice.

    Reply
  9. KP

    “But even a guy whose sole potential competency is building garish structures”

    …is better than most politicians, who seem quite incapable of building anything worthwhile!

    Reply

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