The New York Times is looking to groom their next chump, with a piece titled Bound to No Party, Trump Upends 150 Years of Two-Party Rule. The piece dangles the possibility of media approval in front of Trump like a carrot on a stick tied to the head of a donkey:
Now in the White House, President Trump demonstrated this past week that he still imagines himself a solitary cowboy as he abandoned Republican congressional leaders to forge a short-term fiscal deal with Democrats. Although elected as a Republican last year, Mr. Trump has shown in the nearly eight months in office that he is, in many ways, the first independent to hold the presidency since the advent of the current two-party system around the time of the Civil War.
He’s more presidential than anyone, except maybe Abraham Lincoln! The tool who wrote this, Peter Baker, no doubt had that absurd Trump claim in mind when he penned that line. Baker continues to ladle on the praise for Trump’s independence:
In recent weeks, he has quarreled more with fellow Republicans than with the opposition, blasting congressional leaders on Twitter, ousting former party officials in his White House, embracing primary challenges to incumbent lawmakers who defied him and blaming Republican figures for not advancing his policy agenda. On Friday, he addressed discontent about his approach with a Twitter post that started, “Republicans, sorry,” as if he were not one of them, and said party leaders had a “death wish.”
Yesterday I explained (adding my voice to a chorus of others) that Trump is very likely at the beginning of a bromance — not with Chuck Schumer, but with the media. The lure of Strange New Respect is a siren song that cannot be resisted by any aging narcissistic white man who pretends to be conservative but actually leans left in many ways. As I said:
Trump is a media junkie, and he mainlines coverage with his remote. . . . [He] really, really loves good media coverage. And the best way to get it is to tack left.
Just ask Anthony Kennedy. Once you get a dose of that sweet, sweet media approval, you never go back.
As you can see from the above quotes, the folks at The Times are not subtle about what they’re doing. They don’t have to be. They were about as blatantly obvious as they could be with Anthony Kennedy, and it worked like a charm.
But the folks at The Times aren’t dumb. They make clear that the approval is conditional. Keep working with Chuck and Nancy, and we’ll continue to applaud. Pull a fast one, and the Strange New Respect gets it:
None of which means that Mr. Trump has suddenly transformed himself into a center-hugging moderate. More situational than ideological — critics would say opportunist — Mr. Trump adjusts to the moment, and his temporary alignment with Democrats could easily unravel tomorrow. The deal he cut, after all, merely postponed a fight over spending and debt for three months. It did not resolve any substantive disagreements.
If this proves to be a blip, Mr. President, we’ll call you an opportunist. But if you continue to play ball . . . your reputation in the history books as an admirable voice of independence will be secure.
So, Mr. Trump. What’s it going to be?
Here’s how I see this story in my mind’s eye, presented in the form of a short one-act play.
SCENE: A city sidewalk. Donald Trump is walking down the street, approaching a man in an overcoat. The man with the overcoat is oddly wearing a fedora with a giant card that reads in block letters: “MEDIA.”
MEDIA: [In a low, conspiratorial voice:] Pssst! Hey, Trump! Come over here! [Opens overcoat.] I got a little of what you want here. [Voice lowers to a whisper.] Eternal media adoration.
TRUMP: [Starts to reach towards overcoat.]
MEDIA: [Wagging finger.] Uh-uh! Just a taste. All you get is just a taste . . . today.
TRUMP: How do I get it forever?
MEDIA: [Horns sprout from head, knocking the fedora off. Barbed tail slinks out behind him as he produces a contract. At the top is a title: “ETERNAL LEFTISM.”] You get the best deal we offer. Usually we ask for a soul, but . . . well, anyway, never mind. Trust me, this is nothing you didn’t want to do all your life anyway. [Shoves contract forward.]
TRUMP: Where do I sign?
Only one thing counts in this life: Get them to sign on the line which is dotted. You hear me?
Trump fancies himself to be a guy who makes “great deals.” I fear he is on the verge of making a deal with the media: leftism in exchange for praise.
The con man is getting conned. But the real victim of this particular con is not Trump. It’s you and me.
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