Peter Hamby at Vanity Fair writes—“That Is What Power Looks Like”: As Trump Prepares for 2020, Democrats Are Losing the Only Fight That Matters:
On the same day this week that President Donald Trump was tweeting about the F.B.I.’s fictional SPYGATE “scandal” and the special counsel’s WITCH HUNT into the Trump campaign’s relationship with Russia—lies that were splashed across the country’s television and mobile screens in short order—Senate Democrats held a photo-op at the most expensive Exxon station on Capitol Hill. Chuck Schumer, the Senate Minority Leader, was joined by three other suit-wearing Democrats to make the case that Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal would drive up gas prices. […]
“Senate Democrats look for traction on gas prices,” was the headline of The Hill’s perfunctory write-up of the event. Did you hear anything about it? Most likely you didn’t. Traction, in the Trump era, is a mighty difficult thing to obtain.
This is always true for the party out of power, forced to reckon with its ideological cleavages, personality conflicts, and the lack of a singular leader who can compete head-to-head with the bully pulpit of a president. But Trump, our first celebrity president, has made the challenge even more difficult for his foes. We are supposed to be living in a time of historic media fragmentation, when the competition for fickle eyeballs is the chief priority for businesses, media companies and politicians. Only Trump, an old-school media hound who still cares about things like magazine covers and leathery-faced 90s-era TV personalities, has figured it out. He dominates our attention universe to the point where he blocks out the sun. It is as depressing as it is remarkable. And it’s no wonder people don’t quite know what Democrats stand for. […]
As Columbia Law Professor Tim Wu writes in his book The Attention Merchants, Trump “cannot be avoided or ignored and his ideas are never hard to understand. He offers simple slogans, repeated a thousandfold, and he always speaks as a commander rather than a petitioner, satisfying those who dislike nuance. With his continuous access to the minds of the public, the president has made almost all political thought either a reflection, rejection, or at least a reaction to his ideas. That is what power looks like.” […]
On this date at Daily Kos in 2008—Senator, VA Secretary Disrespect Troops on Memorial Day:
On Memorial Day weekend, Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) and VA Secretary James Peake stood side-by-side in Fairbanks, Alaska to showcase their opposition to–and lack of respect for—today’s newest veterans.
Speaking at the Disabled American Veterans’ 19th Annual Department Convention, Senator Stevens told the majority of America’s most recent war veterans that they had not yet sacrificed enough to have earned a GI Bill that would cover the full cost of their educations.
Sen. Ted Stevens warned of a “mass exodus” from the military Saturday if the so-called 21st Century GI Bill goes into law without major changes.
“There are worries that people who are already in for two years will serve one more and leave, and there’s really no incentive to stay,” Stevens said.
What Stevens is really saying is that today’s troops are unpatriotic–that they’re only in it for the money and the college. And while Stevens’ “mass exodus” theory has been thoroughly discredited by the Congressional Budget Office, the true irony of the situation lies in the fact that Stevens earned his own college degree after World War Two by using the same GI Bill he’s aiming to prevent today’s veterans from receiving.