Friday, June 17, 2016

Mike Lofgren — Trump, Reagan and Fascism: Frank Rich and the Pitfalls of Historical Analogy


If it were not for the author, Mike Lofgren, I probably would not link to this because Godwin's law

Lofgren is responding to a piece by Frank Rich, and I think that Rich is another analyst worth reading.

Truthout
Trump, Reagan and Fascism: Frank Rich and the Pitfalls of Historical Analogy
Mike Lofgren

10 comments:

Bob said...

If Trump doesn't shake things up he will be seen as a failure. In all likelihood he'll provide but a taste of things to come.

John said...

Lofgren has written some really excellent stuff, but come on! Reagan was a congenital liar and near-idiot who somehow fooled enough people with his alleged avuncular "gipper" charm. Trump is a loudmouthed, narcissistic liar. Will people stop shouting fascism every time they come across people like this. You'll know fascism when it comes. This ain't it. It's more worrying uber-rightwing neoliberalism masquerading as genuine populism, but it ain't fascism.

Leaving Lofgren aside, there are enough senior Republican knives out for Trump to believe he has no chance. You really have to wonder if the GOP is undermining him in order to try and run another candidate, one that has a chance of beating Hillary. Given that he is viewed negatively by seven in ten of those polled (Tom's "asshole" thesis looks right on the money), and his polling amongst women is shockingly bad, is the GOP going to put a true concerted effort behind this loose cannon, or will it be a halfhearted campaign on their part?

MRW said...

John,

Reagan was a congenital liar and near-idiot

If you’d read any of Reagan’s books, published posthumously from collections in his Library, you’d know that. With all due respect, calling Reagan an idiot is as common in the US among a certain political class--not saying it’s you--as most people declaiming about Keynes when they never read one word from the General Theory, and don’t even know the book exists.

Bill Clinton, imo, was a far more dangerous and idiotic president. He talked a good game. He overtalked.

MRW said...

If you’d read any of Reagan’s books, published posthumously from collections in his Library, you’d know that he wasn't.

Bob said...

And George W. was smarter than he looked too.

John said...

MRW,

When I say he was a near-idiot I don't literally mean he was mentally deficient to the stage he could barely hold a normal conversation. I mean it in the sense that the intelligent design brigade are near-idiots, or the Randians are near-idiots, but I take your point. It's lazy on my part to call people who believe nonsensical stuff "near-idiots". Nonsense-peddler perhaps? In any case, he was a hardcore neoliberal class warrior, who apparently was in bed by 5 pm, something that never fails to make me laugh.

Bob, George Washington was indeed smart. In which case, heaven knows how to describe Thomas Jefferson! I've always loved that line by that awful phoney JFK at a dinner honouring a gathering of Nobel Prize winners: "I want to tell you how welcome you are to the White House. I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."

MRW said...

who apparently was in bed by 5 pm, something that never fails to make me laugh.

From the anecdotal history dept: my mentor at Columbia’s son was best grad student friends with Reagan’s personal attorney. Remember when Reagan got shot? He and Nancy stood at their hospital window and waved to the people below. Reagan was wearing a yellow golfing sweater. Reagan’s personal attorney was in the room then.

This is what he told my mentor’s son. After the wave, Reagan collapsed on the floor. The gunshot was far worse than anyone let on. He came within a nanometer of being James Brady. The press was never told how bad it was or he would have had to give up the presidency; of that this attorney had no doubt. Nancy wouldn’t permit it and used all manner of subterfuge to keep it from the press, including using the triumvirate at that time: Michael Deaver, James Baker, and I forget who else. It took two years for Reagan to recuperate. it wasn’t that he was in bed by 5 PM. She arranged that all meals would be on TV trays in their private bedroom, because she had to keep his condition secret from the staff as well. Reagan had to keep up appearances that he was still fit to run the country. Believe or not. By the way, I heard this contemporaneously, while it was happening, not after the fact.

MRW said...

all evening meals.

Tom Hickey said...

The fact that FDR and JFK were invalids was also kept under wraps. But RR's condition after the shooting seems far worse.

John said...

MRW, thanks for spoiling my image of him as a child in his pyjamas having milk and cookies before his bedtime story! That is very interesting, though. That and his dementia may explain his inability to account for what was happening during his terms in office. So when it is claimed that it was the people around him who ran the country, that is literally true, and not because he was incapable of grasping the policies, but because he was seriously unwell for almost all his presidency.

If so, the so-called Reagan revolution and its voodoo Reaganomics aren't really his legacy to America. They're Baker's, Deaver's and whoever else was in the inner circle. And, as Tom says, it is an outrage that the country knew nothing of this.