Character is Destiny


There are many things that might be said about the moment we are in. One is that we are witnessing a compelling morality play.

Michael Cohen Finds His Inner Moral Compass

I just watched the first part of Morning Joe, where Donny Deutch and Emily Jane Fox—both claiming much personal knowledge of Michael Cohen—assert that Cohen, Trump’s consigliere for many years, has truly repented for his sins and decided to join the side of the angels.

I, myself, don’t know whether that is true. But I know that repentance does happen, on rare occasions. And the conclusion that Cohen has repented is consistent with the currently available evidence.

Mark Whitaker Finds His Inner Fear of God

Whatever power he might theoretically have to slow down Mueller, as of this point, Whitaker has so far elected not to use that power for Trump’s ends. I don’t know what he will do in the future, and I don’t know on what bases he will make his decisions going forward. But it’s reasonable to assume that Mueller has told Whitaker some of what Mueller knows about Trump’s legal vulnerability. And that Whitaker, having befouled his pants, has decided not to go down with the ship.

Newly Minted Federalist Society Justices Look for their Inner Madison

Trump, being Trump, clearly thinks that all those Federalist Society judges he appointed will have his back, no matter what the facts are, and no matter what the law is. There is a metaphysical possibility that Trump is right.

But it’s more likely that Trump has made what is, from his perspective, a catastrophic error.

Whatever their faults—and they are many—Federalist Society folks like Bret Kavanaugh are not hacks.

The object of their affection is not Donald Trump, it is James Madison. James Madison, who warned of demagogues and based the Constitution on a system of checks and balances.

And don’t forget this. Trump can fire Whitaker whenever he likes. Trump cannot fire the federal judges whom he has appointed for life.

Republican Professional Pols Keep Cultivating their Inner Bobbleheads

There will come a time when they jump off the sinking ship. But they will be the last off. That will be after most of the lifeboats have been taken.

Donald Trump Continues to Embrace His Inner Clueless Idiot

Some great politicians are saints, some are devils, and some are in between. But they all have this in common: just as the conductor of the New York Philharmonic has the mental capacity to listen to the violins and the oboes and the cellos all at once, so also the great politician has an acute awareness of how the various parts of her constituency think, what motivates them, and what keeps them loyal.And, by the way, the great politician, whatever her moral underpinnings, fully understands the practical downside of bald faced lying and bad faith negotiation. The good politician makes the deals she needs to make, and then keeps her word.

Want an example of a great politician? Nancy Pelosi.

Trump, the black swan who got himself elected even though he is a clueless idiot, never foresaw that his consigliere might strive for sainthood, that Mark Whitaker might be shitless with fear, that “his” judges might not feel the need to overturn the rule of law in thanks for their appointment, or that the lickspittle professional politicians who once embraced him might be compelled to abandon ship.

Character is destiny. And so our destiny as a nation is being determined by the widely varying characters of the characters on the stage.

I am sorry to say that it is also a tale told by an idiot.