The Leverage President

One thing about the Kavanaugh drama that did not get much attention, but warrants some attention, is how Trump leveraged the event to transform the Republican Party into his party, one that is looking to him for leadership. Just listen to some of the things GOP senators are saying now and it is as if they have gone through some sort of religious experience. Not only are they operating like a real political party, they are standing up to the Left’s morality play. It’s a remarkable transformation in just a few weeks.

Two moves by Trump seem to have set all of this in motion, as well as making it possible for Kavanaugh to get confirmed. One is Trump did not take the bait and get into a media fight with the Left over the fake charges. In fact, he remained remarkably quiet, even as the media tried everything to goad him. Maybe it is just his natural inclination to not go through the door his opponents open for him, but he seems to know that was part of the trap Feinstein, Katz and Bromwich had cooked up over the summer.

The other thing he did was put the whole thing on the Senate GOP, particularly Mitch McConnell. This was the key move. By explicitly saying he was leaving the issue to the Senate to resolve, the focus shifted from him to the Senate. More important, it put the Republicans in a bind. They could either face the wrath of the Left or they could face the wrath of their voters next month. Trump correctly figured out that survival still counts for something in the GOP, so McConnell had no choice but to get tough with the Left.

What this says is Trump is getting better at being president and better at using his brand as a weapon in Washington. I’ve said since the beginning that Trump is a very rare guy, who instinctively knows how others view him. He uses your perception of him as part of the sales pitch. It’s why many people find his boasting to be so amusing. When he does it, his supporters feel like they are in on the joke. They get that he knows it is boast and that it irritates the Left. He turns what his critics call a character flaw into an asset.

That’s the thing with understanding Trump, something a brilliant observer pointed out three years ago. Trump operates like a famous real estate developer. He is always looking to leverage his assets in order to take advantage of whatever opportunities that may present themselves in the future. In the case of the Kavanaugh hearing, his best play was to stand aside and let Mitch McConnell handle it. If the nomination failed, Trump had a card to play against his party. If the nomination went through, Trump could take credit.

This is not the 4-D chess nonsense the BoomerCons used to say. Trump is not a master strategist, in the sense that he is four moves ahead of everyone. It’s that his inclination is to always play the game, any game, in order to maximize his options when it is his next turn. That’s how the world of commercial real estate development works. You can never know what opportunities will present themselves next, so you make sure you are in a position to seize on whatever pops up. Trump’s applying this to Washington now.

You see this with the Rosenstein situation. The thorn in Trump’s side right now is Mueller, simply because he has the power to be a nuisance. Mueller is supervised by Rosenstein, who is clearly compromised in the FBI scandal. When Congress demanded the FBI documents be declassified, Trump was ready to leverage it. That gave him the excuse to review all of the requested material, without anyone claiming he was meddling in the investigation. It also forced Rostenstein to address what was in those documents.

At that point, Trump had leverage on Rosenstein. It’s why days after Trump decided to hold off on declassifying the documents, the left-wing media was running stories about how Rosenstein was going to be fired. Those stories most likely came from the camp of the conspirators. They just assumed that once Trump knew the facts, he would fly into a rage and fire the crooked Rosenstein. Instead, Trump put a saddle on him and is now riding him around Washington. Trump now controls Rosenstein and Mueller.

That’s unlikely the end game. I’ve always thought that Trump is waiting until after the election to make his next move in this thing. Instead, what he has been doing for the last year is maneuvering so that he has options no matter what happens next month. There’s a very good chance that what Congress has uncovered, what is in those secret files, implicates former Obama officials and maybe a few high ranking Democrats. That’s pretty good leverage for Trump if he is suddenly faced with a hostile House and Senate.

The other play if the election goes poorly is to simply dump all of it out during the lame duck session after the election. At which point he can fire Mueller and Rosenstein, while demanding Sessions appoint a second special prosecutor to handle the FBI scandal, including the role of Mueller and Rosenstein. That assumes there are some real bombshells hiding in those secret files. Given the panic in the FBI and DOJ about the effort to declassify them, it is a safe bet that there is some bad stuff in those files.

Of course, it is now looking like the brown wave the liberal media has been predicting is not going to happen. Left-wing outlets are now talking about maybe a very narrow House win and losses in the Senate. Given how the Left has fallen into a depression over the Kavanaugh loss, it is not out of the question that the GOP holds the House. Winning has a funny way of motivating the winners and demotivating the losers. If this momentum carries the GOP to victory next month, then the options for Trump multiply.

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I believe Trump will replace Sessions very quickly after the election. This will further isolate Rosenstein and the remaining conspirators. It makes it very likely that the Mueller investigation will be stopped and that prosecutions of government and Democrat party officials will proceed. Lefties are now facing their Götterdämmerung.

Karl McHungus
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Karl McHungus

Trump might just put Rosenstein in Session’s place!

LoveTheDonald
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LoveTheDonald

Very impressed by the opera reference, Epaminondas.

Firewire7
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Firewire7

Yes. Listen to the finale of the Wagner opera. Siegried’s Funeral March. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a53s4jyCqqU

If Rosenstein heard it, he would weep for his future.

pyrrhus
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pyrrhus

I think Trump is probably pondering possible replacements, but not committing himself to any course of action until he sees how the election breaks…Trump is best when he follows his gut, as Z-man is pointing out here.

Gravity Denier
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Gravity Denier

Congratulations on spelling and using “Götterdämmerung” correctly!

Member

I’ll believe that when and only when I see it. For the moment I think it’s likelier that we’ve all been subjected to misdirection political theater in that area up til now.

Member

Wagner didn’t invent Götterdämmerung.

Member

It’ll depend on the outcome in the Senate. Democrats will block every single Trump appointee unless they promise to swear out warrants for Trump’s arrest during their confirmation hearings…. Expect nervous Dems to start hoping for a late-October “surprise” from Mueller to push them over the top at the polls. I don’t think that can be discounted right now, especially with the Senate looking like the GOP is going to gain seats and the Dems capturing the House is possible but not a certainty. The Dems have reached the point where they literally have to invent charges stemming from a… Read more »

Member

In a time of uncertainty and upheaval such an approach is about as good as it gets, assuming trump has an objective beyond getting past the day’s travails. The lefty response during the kavanaugh ordeal provided the heat to augment trump’s hammer to help reforge the gop into something more than a punching bag club. My policy hopes for trump are merely the wall and immigration restriction. My overall hope for trump is to give us time to persuade enough of whitey so we can get to the other side of the coming unpleasantness with some sort of a euro… Read more »

Glenfilthie
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Glenfilthie

Trumps goals are abundantly clear, he wants America to be great again. That means a healthy economy and focus on real problems. During the last administration the big issues were ‘should 40 year old pervs be allowed to pee with 7 year old girls’ and ‘should black thugs be allowed to shoot cops’.

Flooding the country with foreign human trash was a matter of policy.

My money is on Trump. I think the next election will tell the story.

Karl McHungus
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Karl McHungus

You know he will build the biggest fukking wall in the world, just to piss off the Chinese. And talk about a monument to your own greatness!

ChrisZ
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ChrisZ

“Visible from space” are three words to use to motivate Trump’s aspiration with the wall. Can you imagine what an ego boost that would be for a real estate developer?

james wilson
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james wilson

Trump fills Tocqueville’s description of political leadership–The habits which suit action do not always promote thought. The world is not directed by long and learned proofs. All its affairs are decided by the swift glance at a particular fact, the daily examination of the changing moods of the crowd, occasional moments of chance, and the skill to exploit them.

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Life is like playing a violin solo in public and learning the instrument as one goes on. -Samuel Butler, 1902.

Alzaebo
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Alzaebo

“It’s all gonna be a surprise. Now, hold my beer…”
-God, everywhen

Saml Adams
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Saml Adams

Doubtful Trump ever read Von Moltke, but he sure as hell lives by “no plan survives first contact with the enemy”. Poor little Blasey-Ford was promised she’d never have to actually show up to testify–the R’s would scatter and run at the first shot. Oops. Getting the minister back from Turkey is a nice little present to the base and another reinforcement that while the Democrats are busy dissecting high school fart terminology, Trump is out there getting shit done.

John Smith
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It isn’t Trump. It’s us. Lefty is becoming more than a nuisance now. He’s becoming a threat. Sure, Hillary is a senile old hag – but the creeps she is inciting are not and they are hassling good honest Americans. But that is of little import… Worse, even some of the Cloud People are experiencing the fallout. Chit gets real when you’re a VIP repub, you try to take the wife out for dinner, and the Dirt Person that owns the restaurant throws you out. Or you’re set upon by purple faced screaming harridans in a hotel lobby. Trump doesn’t… Read more »

Saml Adams
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Saml Adams

Was at a political meeting earlier this week that confirmed the belief that Kavanaugh was an inflection point. That was the exact point of discussion–if this is what they’ll do to a guy like Kavanaugh, no matter how much virtue you signal to the Left, you’re still on the menu.

Karl McHungus
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Karl McHungus

When there is no wolf around, do you think sheep like the sheep dog? Do you think they appreciate what the dog is doing for them? Now, let a few sheep get mauled by a wolf, and what do the sheep do? They swarm to the dog and allow it to do its job. This is all out of the ’68 play book, it really is. Do you really not see how many votes Antifa et als are converting from Dem to GOP? Trump is a genuine wizard, he has transmutated The Turtle into Cocaine Mitch, the judge confirming machine.… Read more »

Nunnya Bidnez, jr.
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Nunnya Bidnez, jr.

“Lefty has to purge the ranks of loons and start appealing to working and heritage Americans.”

No, no, no.
We don’t want any Lefties to become “appealing” to normal Americans.
We want to guide the leftists to becoming more strident, more crazy, more repulsive to average people.
We want to get rid of Leftism completely.

Karl McHungus
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Karl McHungus

Don’t worry, they never have and never will.

Karl McHungus
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Karl McHungus

hey! you re back 🙂

calsdad
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calsdad

Completely and absolutely agree. In fact that’s something I’ve been telling right wingers for as long as I can remember. Provoke the lefties. Make them loose the insanity that lies within. Anybody who’s paid any attention to the lefty mindset knows there’s a significant amount of insanity there. One of the big problems that the right has had – is that the left wing has been able to package up their lunacy and sell it as “progress”. And people bought it. True progress will come from ridding ourselves of leftism. Which unfortunately it seems – can only come by provoking… Read more »

Random Dude on the Internet
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Random Dude on the Internet

I think the biggest challenge Trump and the GOP face between now and November 6 is keeping their newly energized base going. As we’ve seen in many instances, they have a tendency to become complacent very easily. They have to keep their energy levels up for only about three more weeks, which might explain Kevin McCarthy’s proposed bill to fully fund the wall. Otherwise the energy may be almost gone by then.

Sim1776
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Sim1776

Oh I have no doubt there’s a plan to keep things whipped up until election day. The Blue Team stepped right into it with Kavanaugh and people noticed. All the Red Team has to do is keep triggering the snowflakes. Sad thing is that it is not that hard. The calls for violence are telling. Hopefully Red Team keeps the pedal to the floor. The videos of frothing lefties and whack jobs confronting public officials and getting owned are priceless propaganda.

james wilson
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james wilson

The Tea Party were very good people without a leader. We see that does not work in politics. Trump will never not be a leader. After Trump is a different story. We shall see who steps up, if anyone. Destroying a thing does not require leadership in the same degree that building a thing does.

Swrichmond
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Swrichmond

Many of The people who attempted to become leaders of tea party groups, and especially thise who tried to claim the mantle of national- level leader, were uncharismatic, uncontroversial people who simply wanted a seat at the table.

Jeff Smith
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Jeff Smith

I have always thought that PDJT would unleash an (late) October Surprise – that would be the Mother of all October Surprises. We shall see…

Lorenzo
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Lorenzo

Good point about Trump holding the FBI documents. That’s bound to make a lot of his enemies uneasy.

“The value of the Sword of Damocles is that it hangs, not that it falls.”

Al from da Nort
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Al from da Nort

Lorenzo; Gathering and holding FBI files was Bill & Hill’s first move as soon as they got to the Whitehouse in 1973.* No longer were they just a couple of lucky rubes from Arkansas. You can imagine the leverage it gave them over the swamp creatures then.** Pres. Trump *now* has those kind of files *at the request of Rob Rosenstein*, no less. Hillary has to be living in fear of what’s in them. The tell, IMHO, is that Pres. Trump is back to baiting her (‘lock her up’) at his rallies. AND had he grabbed them right away like… Read more »

james wilson
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james wilson

When Trump takes Rosenstein for a talk on Air Force One this is the equivalent of the Godfather talking to an errant employee on a helicopter ride.

Karl McHungus
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Karl McHungus
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James LePore

Trump has giant balls and totally doesn’t care who likes him and who doesn’t like him. He’s also a shrewd businessman, although it doesn’t take much shrewdness to prevail when you are holding all the good cards, for example with respect to the trade deals he’s making. It just takes balls, which no one before him has had. I think the thing that most commentators miss about Trump is his basic decency as a person. This is, I believe, his gut level connection to decent Americans. He is one of them, but with the balls, the money and the skills… Read more »

Karl McHungus
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Karl McHungus

“You got balls kid. I like balls” <= Team America quote

Here's the song Trump will be playing at his rallies, soon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1mlCPMYtPk

If you haven't seen the movie "Team America" you are missing out on a movie, with puppets, that's more overtly patriotic and with better action scenes, than anything the Duke ever made (and I love the Duke).

jaqship
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jaqship

James, you can add to his decency, his gut feel for the different parts of such a big country, which his Globalist foes can’t match. Trump, and his ace aide Steven Miller, are both sons of real estate moguls, who became such by learning how to read Local conditions (incl. the populace). In that biz, the mantra is “location, location, location”. And, to be really good at reading the populace, it behooves one to actually care about them. By contrast, his political rivals (e.g. Pelosi, Schumer) get to the top of their Factions, mostly by specializing in sucking up to… Read more »

Karl McHungus
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Karl McHungus

My sense is that Trump is innately strategic, and consciously tactical. He takes what he can (as you discussed) in the short term, but all the pieces eventually come together in a coherent whole. It’s like how you put a jigsaw puzzle together. And he is patient, very very patient. The patience of a crocodile. One thing that I would love Zman to cover in it’s own post, is how Trump is presented by the media as a man alone. I get the very strong sense that he is just the tip of the spear, and there is a very… Read more »

james wilson
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james wilson

Trump is Andrew Jackson 11, and the best President since Jackson, who Tocqueville met with at the White House and remarked that this crude, profane man had the exact measure of all his opponents and the will to have his way. Read his farewell address on Google reads. It reveals a remarkable mind quite unlike what is often presented.

Dutch
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Dutch

“It’s why many people find his (Trump’s) boasting to be so amusing. When he does it, his supporters feel like they are in on the joke. They get that he knows it is boast and that it irritates the Left”. Yes, I have always called Trump the “master troll of all time”. He dared to troll the Left (and his Repub presidential rivals) mercilessly, like the little brother trolls the big sister. Don’t back down, double down. Hit ’em where it hurts. Now he has taught a bunch of Republican squibs how to troll. The Left has no response, other… Read more »

Karl McHungus
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Karl McHungus

Under-reported story: Trump has discarded the tradition of senate “blue slips” for circuit judges from a state. He is remaking the 9th circuit in spite of Dem senator objections!

Lorenzo
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Lorenzo

It took the Democrats’ behavior in the Kavanaugh confirmation to finally get the GOP to notice that the other side had declared total war.

At least they’re fighting back now.

Karl McHungus
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Karl McHungus

re: Maryland governor segment: same thing is happening in Cali; going to be getting a GOp govetnor in the heart of Progsylvania.

james wilson
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james wilson

Another clue to Trump’s learning curve is that he got the second Sec State exactly right. Having a great Attorney General is essential for our Lone Ranger. And if and when the entire upper tiers of Justice and FBI are removed, the remaining normies still there will be free to expose years of seditious conduct and keep the deep state on their heels, and occupied defending itself for the next six years. If I am Lefty assassination becomes an option at that point.

Member

Z: “One is Trump did not take the bait and get into a media fight with the Left over the fake charges. In fact, he remained remarkably quiet, even as the media tried everything to goad him.” True. He’d say some low-key supportive things here and there. But then he chose the perfect time to blast away. On October 3rd. As the FBI wrapped up their extended investigation, and 2 days before the Senate debate ended. The Oct 3 speech where he struck the perfect balance between manly outrage, mocking humor, and confidence. It was outrageous in a way that… Read more »

Karl McHungus
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Karl McHungus

What will be really funny, is when Trump mimics Alec “Drunk Before noon” Baldwin. Now that is going to make heads explode.

Member

Great idea Karl. The next time the press gives him crap at a press conference he should try and use the following line from that nasty voicemail Baldwin left his daughter. “You have insulted me for the LAST TIME. I don’t give a damn if you’re twelve years old, or eleven years old. Or that your mother was a thoughtless pain in the ass.”

Member

what he has been doing for the last year is maneuvering so that he has options no matter what happens

Not for nothing, but that is 3-D (4-D, whatever) chess. Either you’re able to force your opponent into doing something he doesn’t want to do, or you’re able to put yourself into a position that sees you in control no matter what your opponent does.

Describe it how you will, but that skill, savvy, whatever is the chief purpose that got Trump where he is today.

sirlancelot
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sirlancelot

* * * Trump put a saddle on him and is now riding him around Washington * * *

Definitely have a gift for this sort of thing 😉

The president is a New York City real-estate mogul and Hollywood celebrity. He able to navigate the Viper’s Den that is DC and present his brand in a positive light.

Unfortunately people are reluctant to give the president the credit he deserves. I believe he’ll go down as one of the greats saving America as it sat on the edge of the Abyss.

Chiron
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Chiron

Kavanaugh is a Bush guy who helped to pass the Patriot Act, GWB was the one who got regular Reps to vote on him.

Moran ya Simba
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Moran ya Simba

“That’s the thing with understanding Trump, something a brilliant observer pointed out three years ago.”

Only ‘brilliant??’ Come on, someone needs to Trump it up here. ‘The GREATEST observer EVER. Does really really GREAT observing’ lol

On a serious note, I think you’re right about Trump.

Moran ya Simba
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Moran ya Simba

Actually your whole description/theory on Trump’s strategy is interesting. Always trying to maximize his options and manuevering so that he has options whatever happens in the midterms, that is probably true and is it not the smartest strategic thing to do? The converse, putting everything on one card, you never want to do that if you can avoid it. I dont believe in the ‘4-D’ stuff either, I think its intuitive and I think most ppl do it that way. You cant calculate you way though combinations of possible outcomes of various parts of the process, not in normal life,… Read more »

miforest
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miforest

like all crooks , rosenstein will turn on his compatriots it it will get him out of trouble himself. If trump really hads turned him, I cannot think of anyone more dangerous to is partners in crime.

Al from da Nort
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Al from da Nort

And now for something completely different…
https://donsurber.blogspot.com/2018/10/viewing-rosenstein-as-hero.html

Do I say the above scenario is the right one_? Hell no. Can it be dispositively disproven_? Also no.

Thing is, we got more than enough smoke to prove there’s fire but we can’t tell for sure who’s the arsonist and who’s the firemen. If it were a swamp op, there’d be a clear line of narrative in the media, so it isn’t *just* a swamp op…

Member

Thinking about how Trump can be so ON most of the time. Yet so OFF sometimes. I’m thinking about his really poor showing in Russia last time. And after the Florida school shooting, at times. I think the “off” times are due to age. And poor preparedness from thinking he can just wing it. Age, because I’ve seen old people around me not just turn off for the cliched “good days and bad days”, but for good weeks and bad weeks at a time. Traveling overseas makes it much worse. Unprepared, because there’s no excusing his poor response in Russia… Read more »

Member

It is so bizarre to me that people I know, that claim to be conservative, still have so much disdain and contempt for the man. Are they not watching the same thing I am? I think all the contempt comes from the fact that he doesn’t like Danish design and does like Eastern European women. That’s all I can think of, that it’s a style issue. But the only influence it’s having on me is making me have disdain and contempt for the people saying it.

james wilson
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james wilson

Those are the people who think of themselves as conservative because they are conserving the progressive ideas of the past while irrationally resisting the new ones that inevitably follow this script. The Pledge of Allegiance, for example, is an extraordinarily progressive homily to the new order repeated as a daily prayer for school children. One nation, fuckers, indivisible.

Member

James. I’m sure you’re right about The Pledge of Allegiance. I don’t even want to read up about it because I’d surely come away enlightened and depressed. I love the Pledge and the school days it recalls. Let me ask you this. If it was such a Progressive tool, why’d they get rid of it? Just because of the “under God” part? Couldn’t they have just changed that part, and kept it in the schools?

james wilson
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james wilson

It became associated with God and patriotism just as the progs had evolved well past both. They’d forgotten why they had done it in the first place and the original mission was accomplished anyway. Now it was just annoying.

Member

Now that the Progs have turned patriotism to their benefit, do you think they’ll try and put the Pledge back in schools, with modified words? Also, did you not like giving the pledge when you were a kid?

TomA
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TomA

Good analysis, but the Swamp mafia is not dead and they are still playing to win in the long run. Spygate is much much worse than is currently evident and that is the rub. Sessions is the weak link now, and he is being coerced into approving a plea bargain that let’s the culprits off the hook for hundreds of serious felony criminal acts. The Swamp is arguing that full exposure (and prosecution) of these crimes would put dozens of high ranking federal officials & politicians (both past & present) in prison and that would fatally undermine the future credibility… Read more »

Alzaebo
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Alzaebo

Egads. I’d be willing to put money on TomA’s bet.

Juri
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Juri

I also remain careful about victory. It is unbelievable how dumb average voter is and I am sure that most normies probably never heard about Kavanaugh stuff or don,t understand what this mess was all about and definitely they can not connect their job or pay rise to Trumponomics.

Member

Juri that’s cynical. The average voter is somewhat clued in, or they wouldn’t bother voting. If normie watches the news, as normie tends to do, they’ve heard of Kavanaugh. The very basics of it…the optics, are easy to understand. And if their pay has increased, they instinctively give credit to whoever the big man in power is. Trump, in this case. I think we’re all careful about victory, as you say. In fact most of us aren’t hopeful for the future. But you seem to be a guy who craves reasons to be pessimistic. If the average voter was as… Read more »

jaqship
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jaqship

Spot on about voters, Frip, esp. those who show up in midterms.
For weeks, this Kavanaugh thing was given saturation coverage, and, moreover, it was about intensely personal stuff, which hits everyone, one way or the other.
**Everyone** either has been ambushed by BS charges themselves, or knows someone well, who’s been ambushed like this.
Thus I must say, the Dems played with tremendous fire, when they launched this saturation campaign.

sirlancelot
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sirlancelot

So this is another ” too-big-to-fail ” scenario ?

The crooks have been caught red-handed yet threatening the American people to let them off the hook or take the country down with them ?

The bankers got away with it and have learned nothing.

Methinks this behavior will remain uncorrected until they swing by a rope. ( metaphorically speaking of course )

Bartleby the Scrivener
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Bartleby the Scrivener

Of course!

Jackson
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Jackson

The theme of leverage coming from the Rosenstein events was first explained in an article at Conservative Treehouse, and latter picked up on by American Thinker:
Links for the CT and another good article on how Trump is increasing his leverage on the allies are all in this AT article:

https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2018/10/trump_declassification_and_leverage.html