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Sun Apr 28, 2019, 06:00 PM

Hold Republican feet to the fire for Trump's behavior, not just Trump himself.

Trump thrives on word game fights. Formal legal or institutional attacks against Trump hurt him, but eloquent editorial blastings, fact checking, and so forth usually don't. For the most part, word game fights help Trump. They are oxygen to him. That's why he tries to start them with the pathetic tweets and rally rantings we see all the time now.

Even for formal, institutional fights such as legal system and lawsuit conflicts, Trump's strategy is not to fight them as legal system and lawsuit conflicts. Instead, he and his PR fixers (everyone who works for him plus the Republican Party and Fox News) turn these formal conflicts into word game fights too. That takes the proceedings out of the realm of the sober, rational, and just and gives Trump a chance to bend rules, pull strings and, above all, wail about unfair partisan treatment.

But what if we didn't always play Trump's word games directly with him? What if every time Trump spat on, say, the Constitution or adult norms of decency, we trained our political responses not on him but on someone else. Instead of taking up the argument with Trump, for example, we take it up with Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party or Fox News. We then treat Trump as if he were nothing more than an unaccountable, ill-behaved child, incapable of adult agency. "Trump's a nothing, people. He's a helpless child. Let's talk to the adults behind him."

Take this latest Robert E. Lee disgrace from Trump as an example. "Many generals... in the White House," per Trump, supposedly told him Lee was one of their favorite generals. It's just another nutso, crazy, lying thing to say (I hope and assume). Two possible approaches for our sane response are: 1) Ask Trump for proof that many generals in the White House told him that, or, 2) Point Trump to (or issue fact checks by) "history experts" who will educate everyone on how Lee was a bad general and a bad person.

Unfortunately, neither of those will work. The first, asking Trump for proof, won't work and never does. He's lying. Of course he's not going to furnish proof. He turns not furnishing proof into proof that those asking for proof are powerless.

The second, fact checking Trump and sneeringly pointing him to learned experts on how wrong he is, never works either. Again, he's lying, so he doesn't need to be educated; he needs to be shamed. We let that key fact slide when we try to educate or show he's ignorant. Also, there are no "experts" in Republican world. Trump's fixers (the Republican Party and Fox News) will simply point to some pseudo-history comic book and pretend that it refutes the anti-Lee experts. (And, adding intelligence insult to disappointment, much of the rest of the media will call the comic book a "refutation," not a "rebuttal," for no other reason than they don't know the difference between the two words.)

What if, in this case, we called on the Joint Chiefs of Staff to provide a list of generals willing to take responsibility for telling Trump what he says they told him? Go around Trump altogether. Treat the story not as "Trump says generals told him Lee is great" but as "U.S. generals tell Trump that Lee is their favorite general." Call Trump's bluff by calling the generals on the carpet. Don't ask Trump for a list of backers. Ask the people he says backed him why they backed him.

Likewise, whenever Trump says something stupid, lying, or crazy, why not immediately ask Mitch McConnell to explain it? Make Mitch McConnell Trump's keeper, whether he likes it or not. Just presume that McConnell and Senate Republicans are standing behind their illustrious leader every time that leader disgraces himself and ask them to account for him. Instead of saying, "Trump, we demand you prove U.S. generals told you Lee is their favorite general," we say, "Senator McConnell, why does the Republican Party stand behind Trump saying U.S. generals love Robert E. Lee?"

It might drive Trump crazy if he is casually and dismissively treated as unworthy to participate in adult conversation. It might drive Republicans crazy too, because they are used to Trump always being their lighting rod. Maybe we need to make them his lighting rod.

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Reply Hold Republican feet to the fire for Trump's behavior, not just Trump himself. (Original post)
gulliver Apr 2019 OP
walkingman Apr 2019 #1
global1 Apr 2019 #2

Response to gulliver (Original post)

Sun Apr 28, 2019, 06:24 PM

1. I think it is hard to defend or fight crazy. When you have a Congress and a President who basically

don't care about anything but money, winning, and have no morals and claim to be the party of Jesus - what can you do? I don't even recognize my Country anymore.

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Response to gulliver (Original post)

Sun Apr 28, 2019, 06:33 PM

2. I Would End The Senator McConnell Question With The Following Words.....

Surely - you don't believe that?

Always make McConnell or any Repug have to either agree with Trump's lie or refute it.

I really agree with your OP & handling of Trump & the Repugs going forward.

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