Patterico's Pontifications


Open Thread

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 3:35 pm

I got nothing. I watched the Metropolitan Opera movie broadcast of “Cosi Fan Tutte” this morning. Mrs. P. and I are going to watch Monty Python’s Holy Grail tonight, with after-commentary by John Cleese. Right now I am going to take a walk to feed my new Fitbit Alta, which has been a nice way of encouraging myself to walk and exercise more, and monitor caloric intake with their online dashboard.

I’m not interested in the stories floating around out there, but maybe you are. The umpteenth Big Media story about Trump Unleashed? Pass. Roseanne doing well in the ratings? Pass. Laura Ingraham battle with teenager? Nope. Trump tweets about Amazon? Don’t care.

Maybe you have a topic that isn’t deadly boring. Meanwhile, I’m taking my stroll.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Music for Good Friday: Bach’s St. John Passion BWV 245: Herr, unser Herrscher

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 9:15 am

It is Good Friday. Today’s music is the opening chorus of Bach’s St. John Passion: “Herr, unser Herrscher” (Lord, our ruler).

Today’s Gospel reading is John 18:1-19:42, describing Jesus’s arrest and crucifixion:

Jesus Arrested

When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.

Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.

Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.

“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.

Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”

Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)

Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”

Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it would be good if one man died for the people.

Peter’s First Denial

Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard, but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the servant girl on duty there and brought Peter in.

“You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” she asked Peter.

He replied, “I am not.”

It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself.

The High Priest Questions Jesus

Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.

“I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.”

When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby slapped him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded.

“If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?” Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Peter’s Second and Third Denials

Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. So they asked him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?”

He denied it, saying, “I am not.”

One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.

Jesus Before Pilate

Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace, because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?”

“If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.”

Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”

“But we have no right to execute anyone,” they objected. This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die.

Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

“Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”

“Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

“What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?”

They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising.

Jesus Sentenced to Be Crucified

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.

Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”

As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”

But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”

The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”

When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”

Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”

When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon.

“Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.

But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”

“Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.

“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.

Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.

Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: jesus of nazareth, the king of the jews. Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”

Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.

“Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”

This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,

“They divided my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.”

So this is what the soldiers did.

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

The Death of Jesus

Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”

The Burial of Jesus

Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

The text of the chorus is this:

Lord, our ruler, Whose fame
In every land is glorious!
Show us, through Your passion,
That You, the true Son of God,
Through all time,
Even in the greatest humiliation,
Have become transfigured!

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]


Stephen Reinhardt Has Died

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:30 pm

My post at RedState has more.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Bacl.]

Cohen Lawyer: Cohen Paid Off Stormy Daniels Without Telling Trump

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:00 am

Really? This is the defense now? That Michael Cohen settled a dispute on behalf of his client Donald Trump without … without informing the client?

This is like watching The Three Stooges, Law Edition. Trump is Moe, the guy with the bad haircut poking the other stooges in the eyes. (OK, Trump’s hair actually looks more like Larry’s, but somebody has to be The Leader.) Cohen and his lawyer David Schwartz are Larry and Curly, enduring Moe’s abuse and giving each other some nose honks and head conks along the way, as the Cycle of Stooge Violence plays out in front of our eyes.

Where to start with this?

We’re assuming, of course, that Cohen was acting as Trump’s lawyer in handling the Stormy Daniels matter. In that case, settling a dispute without telling the client — even a dispute in which no lawsuit had yet been filed — is basic legal malpractice. And Schwartz suggested that this happened all the time:

“Michael was the fixer. It could be anything. There were a ton of matters that took place that Michael fixed and Donald Trump wasn’t involved in every single matter,” Schwartz said. He then walked that back, saying he meant business problems in general, and suggesting that business leaders commonly have a fixer authorized to pay people off without their knowledge.

In addition to being malpractice, by the way, this position (if true) potentially vindicates Stormy Daniels’s claim that the agreement is invalid — since the agreement required Trump to agree. Meaning she can talk all the likes without monetary consequence.

But wait! It gets better! Now Cohen’s lawyer/spokeshole is saying Trump and Cohen didn’t even have a lawyer/client relationship. Just one problem there:

Exactly. So now Cohen can be subpoenaed and asked about his conversations with Trump — and it’s not privileged? Oh, sure, he’s willing to lie, but now all the emails are discoverable too.

If that’s the position Cohen and Trump actually take.

There’s really no scenario in which this plays out well for Cohen. We know that Robert Mueller is looking at some of Cohen’s involvement in Russia-related activities like Trump Tower Moscow. Mueller seems like a thorough guy, and if he runs across illegal activity by Cohen of any kind in the course of his investigation, he can at a minimum refer those matters to the Justice Department, and conceivably take them on himself.

Disbarment might be the least of Cohen’s worries at this point.

Hey, at least he has a good lawyer on board! (Rolls eyes.)

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]


Shulkin Out

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:23 pm

March 26:

March 28: Shulkin out.

After weeks of uncertainty atop the Department of Veterans Affairs, President Trump dismissed its secretary, David J. Shulkin, on Wednesday and announced he would replace him with the White House physician, Dr. Ronny L. Jackson, a rear admiral in the Navy.

Always trust content from Patterico.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Second Amendment and Putin-Ordered Murders

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:00 am

I wanted to write about the John Paul Stevens op-ed recommending that we repeal the Second Amendment. For example, the way he butchers the facts:

But some other RedState writer got to that first. I’d save it for tonight, using her post as a springboard to do a think piece, but I’ll be watching Mahler’s 5th instead at Disney Hall.

So instead you get this post about a BuzzFeed article alleging that Putin had a Russia media czar murdered in D.C.


[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Your Stormy Daniels Thread

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:26 am

I didn’t watch it.

But after signing a crap omnibus that can’t be defended, President Trump needs his defenders back. Specifically, he wants you to defend him for having sex with a porn star shortly after his wife was pregnant. How dare the porn star reveal this! Get indignant with her. Make me proud.

Bonus points for making me the bad guy for something I said in the previous paragraph.

UPDATE: My post at RedState is “You Remind Me Of My Daughter” — Trump To Stormy Daniels. I am watching the interview now. It’s here.

CORRECTION: Trump had sex with a porn star shortly after his wife gave birth, not while she was pregnant.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


WaPo: Trumpism Now Defines the Republican Party

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 2:00 pm

They’re right. Aren’t they? My only question is: what do you mean by “now”? What took you so long to figure this out?

Over just a few days last week, the essence of Trumpism was on global display: The president ignored his advisers by congratulating Vladi­mir Putin, took the first steps toward imposing tariffs on billions of dollars in Chinese goods and signed a huge $1.3 trillion spending bill that will balloon the federal deficit.

In each case, President Trump cast aside years of Republican orthodoxy — and most of the party followed right along. The raw, undefined brand of populism that Trump rode into office is now hardening into a clearer set of policies in his second year, remaking the Republican Party and the country on issues ranging from trade and immigration to spending and entitlement programs.

. . . .

The spending legislation — which puts the deficit on track to pass $1 trillion in 2019 — faced little meaningful opposition from Republican lawmakers despite years of GOP complaints that federal expenditures were out of control. Trump called the bill “ridiculous,” but focused on issues other than the amount of spending.

It was another example of how Trump seems to have overtaken his party’s previously understood values, from a willingness to flout free-trade principles and fiscal austerity to a seeming abdication of America’s role as a global voice for democratic values.

I said goodbye to the Republican party on May 3, 2016, the day Ted Cruz dropped out:

I am not a “NeverTrump” guy because that implies support for Hillary Clinton, and I cannot support Hillary Clinton. But I cannot support Donald Trump, a leftist con man with an “R” after his name. At this point, I am a disinterested observer. I believe Donald Trump would be better for the Supreme Court, because he doesn’t care about the Court and might pick someone good if his advisers tell him to. I believe Hillary Clinton would be better on almost everything else — because I believe the GOP would fight her more than they would fight Trump. I can’t choose between “the Court” and “everything else.” So I’m just someone who doesn’t care about the presidential race any more.

William Brennan was not a good Supreme Court justice because he was appointed by a Republican. Affirmative action is not a good policy because it has been pushed by many Republicans. And continuing entitlement programs, growing federal interference in health care, imposing disastrous tariffs, and other Trump-style policies are not good policies even if they are pushed by a “Republican.”

Let’s look at my list.

Continuing entitlement programs? Check.

Growing interference in health care? Check. ObamaCare has not been repealed and won’t be.

Imposing disastrous tariffs? Checkity-check check.

I said goodbye in May 2016, but many more said goodbye on Friday, when Trump signed the absurd omnibus bill, ballooning the deficit and funding Planned Parenthood and sanctuary cities.

To those people, I say: Welcome to the ranks of the disaffected! For the longest time, many have treated any critic of Trump like monsters. But I’m not a monster. I’m just ahead of the curve.

What’s amazing to me is that people kept telling us Trump critics that we had “changed” because we didn’t support Trump. We were lining up with leftists! And our response was: we opposed ridiculous spending before and we opposed it now. We opposed disastrous tariffs before and we oppose them now. We opposed entitlements before and we opposed them now.

So how is it that we changed?

Isn’t it obvious that, by following Trump down his destructive path, Republicans are the ones who changed?

If this omnibus is what you signed up for, then by all means, stick with Trump. But if you’re starting to tire of more of the same GOP Establishment crap, then heed the words I spoke in May 2016:

If you believe in limited government, constitutional principles, and liberty, stick with me. There are others like us. We’ll figure out what to do next. It won’t be supporting Donald Trump, but it will be supporting our natural rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

I am watching Ted Cruz right now and I am proud of him and the campaign he has conducted. He made mistakes, but he has been a forceful and effective advocate for liberty and the Constitution. He still has my respect and support, as do folks like Mike Lee and Justin Amash.

Such people are the only hope for this nation.

They still are. They are the people who opposed this omnibus. Trump supported it. With all his grumbling, he didn’t do a thing to change it in the weeks leading up to it, he sent advisers out the day before the signing to say he would sign it, he boasted about its benefits on Twitter the day before he signed it, and he signed it.

Yeah, I know: he grumbled about it, and he claimed he would never sign such a bill again.

But, as Trump supporters have told me time and time again: don’t look at what Trump says. Look at what he does.

And what he did was sign this garbage.

Republicans, Trump defines your party for now. Are you going to let him continue to define it for you? Or are you going to stand up for what the party always stood for, and force Trump to do the same or lose relevance? Will you stand for principles like opposition to abortion, fiscal conservatism, and defunding absurd lefty organizations like Planned Parenthood and dangerous leftist projects like sanctuary cities?

Or are you going to take this loss and accept more of the same?

Trump doesn’t care about principles. He wants to be liked. If you make it clear that, to be liked, he must espouse the principles you care about, maybe you can steer him back to lead a party you can be proud of.

And if you can’t, then chuck him overboard. And if the party won’t follow you, then chuck the party itself overboard.

The choice is yours.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

Sunday Music: Bach’s St. Mark Passion (Reconstruction), BWV 247

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is Palm Sunday, the day when the passion story is read in its entirety. Today’s music is Bach’s St. Mark Passion, BWV 247 — a work that is lost, but it is available in reconstructions. Here is one such reconstruction, by Eichelberger, based on the revised libretto from 1744:

The Gospel today is the Passion according to St. Mark: Mark 14:1-15:47. It’s long, so I’ll tuck the rest of the post in the extended entry.



Pointing Out that the Omnibus Bill Sucks Is Not “Whining”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:00 pm

Earlier today, a post appeared on RedState with the title: Stop Whining About Trump Signing The Omnibus Bill. The author is under no illusions about this being a bad bill. But, he concludes, any other Republican would have signed it, and people who don’t like it should direct their ire exclusively at Congress:

So please continue railing on President Trump. I know he could have, should have, done more and those are all legit arguments.

Still, had a Republican-controlled Congress had the guts to send him a bill after a bruising fight in both chambers to actually reduce the deficit even further from FY 2016-2017 he would have signed that too.

Stop whining about the President.

Start yelling at the GOP in Congress.

I’d like to respectfully take issue with the author. In my view, those of us who are infuriated by this bill are within our rights to yell at all of them. Yell at Paul Ryan? Absolutely. Run him out of town on a rail. Yell at Mitch McConnell? Hell yes!

Why can’t we yell at Trump too?

Yes, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are at least equally to blame for this travesty as Trump, and probably more so. I have pointed that out before the bill was passed, and I would spend more time railing about that, except that literally everyone who reads this post already understands that.

But while most people also seem to understand that Trump shares blame, there is a diehard group out there who doesn’t — and that’s who I’m talking to here. This is a group that has reflexively supported everything Trump does for months now, and they have seemingly lost the ability to form a sentence that criticizes the man.

I’ll say what they’re unable to say. Trump is to blame as well.

What gets me is how easy it would have been for Trump to make a difference, if he had just put his mind to it. In this post I want to focus on two issues that an active and engaged Donald Trump absolutely could have influenced with the bully pulpit: funding Planned Parenthood and funding sanctuary cities.

I should not have to make the arguments against these two outrageous funding decisions, but here’s a brief reminder of what Trump could have said.

Planned Parenthood: At the heart of conservatism is support for life, and opposition to abortion. Nobody kills more babies in America than Planned Parenthood. They cover up statutory rape, speak gleefully about selling baby parts, and even alter their abortion techniques to harvest that tissue. They support partial-birth abortion, which involves stabbing babies in the head and vacuuming out their brains. The United States Government should not be giving them money. Period.

And the idea that we would give them money with a nominally Republican-controlled House, a Republican-controlled Senate, and a Republican president is outrageous.

Sanctuary cities: Kate Steinle is dead because a sanctuary city was given temporary custody of a criminal alien in the custody of ICE, and then refused to give him back to ICE — sending him instead out into our streets to shoot and kill a beautiful young woman who had her whole life ahead of her. The mayor of Oakland learns that ICE is going to conduct a raid, to arrest criminal aliens including violent gang members, and she runs to the press to warn them. The officials who foist these deadly policies on the public have no right to do it. Immigration is a federal priority and they are undermining a critical policy that lies outside their jurisdiction. They need to be punished. Sanctuary cities must be defunded.

And the idea that we would give them money with a nominally Republican-controlled House, a Republican-controlled Senate, and a Republican president is outrageous.

These are central issues for Trump’s base. I know Trump doesn’t care about Planned Parenthood, but his base does — and they sure as hell care about sanctuary cities, as he says he does too. Yet he sat on his McDonald’s-fed posterior for weeks while pols in smoke-filled back rooms drafted a plan to continue to fund these monstrosities — and he didn’t say a word.

His silence can’t be defended on the grounds that we needed to avoid a shutdown. There was no good reason NOT to fight these battles. These are righteous causes. There will not be a better time to have this fight — and if you always wait for the ideal time, it will never come. What, do you think the GOP is going to gain seats in Congress this year? No: it will be a long time before the GOP again has the kind of power it has today. Right now.

That’s why this was the time to fight.

In 2013, Kurt Schlichter of Townhall wrote an excellent column about Ted Cruz’s crusade to defund ObamaCare, titled What If They Gave a Shutdown and No One Cared? Schlichter’s column was excellent and stirring, packed with lines like this:

What Ted Cruz did – and what the go-along, get-along gang of Republican stegosauruses hate – is that he fought. He fought. There’s a huge value to drawing a line, to taking a stand, to rallying the troops. . . . This was really about the war between the growing conservative majority in the GOP and the dying GOP establishment minority. It’s a war that must be fought, and which we should welcome. And it’s a war we conservatives will win.

Inspiring words. The fighting spirit is what made it a great column.

What’s different now? If anything, the difference is that the GOP has more nominal power now than it had then. Then, we had a Democrat in the White House. Now, we have a Republican. And that is all the more reason to fight now.

But Donald Trump didn’t want to fight. And, worse, he didn’t even know what was going on, apparently, until he watched teevee the morning of the signing. That’s when he realized that Fox & Friends didn’t like the bill. I can’t think of another reasonable way to explain the fact that, just the day before, Trump had sent Mick Mulvaney out to assure America that Trump would sign this bill.

Trump’s options were not just “sign it” or “veto it.” His options also included “get involved EARLY and don’t be an out-of-touch doofus who learns everything on Fox & Friends.” Defunding Planned Parenthood and sanctuary cities should have been child’s play. All it required was for Trump to have been awake and get involved well before the final day.

But he didn’t. Because he doesn’t care about policy. He cares about himself. As the same Kurt Schlichter said in another excellent column from December 2015: Trump Is Going to Break Your Heart.

Donald Trump is out for one thing, Donald Trump’s personal aggrandizement. He cares nothing about you. He cares nothing about your aspirations and dreams. Don’t misunderstand him when he pays attention to you. He’s just trying to get what he wants from you, an earthshattering ego stroke.

Trump believes in nothing, which is why he will say anything. That’s why he’s all over the map, varying his positions not only year-to-year, month-to-month, week-to-week, but even hour-to-hour.

Bingo, Kurt! If Trump had principles, he would have been fighting these battles for months. But he has no principles except himself.

Trump broke a lot of people’s hearts when he signed this garbage. A lot of people desperately wanted him to be the wrecking ball they voted for. The guy who would upend the Establishment GOP. And above all: the guy who fights.

And yesterday — and critically, in the weeks leading up to this vote — Trump was none of those things.

So yeah, I blame Paul Ryan and I blame Mitch McConnell. You bet I do. But you know what? I blame Donald Trump too. And his betrayal is the bitterest pill for some to swallow, because they already knew Ryan and McConnell would betray them. They didn’t think Donald Trump would.

But he did.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

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