Patterico's Pontifications


NONE DARE CALL IT “TREASON?”: NYT Publishes Op-Ed from Anonymous “Senior Administration Official” Slamming Trump

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:33 pm

This op-ed is one of the more entertaining episodes of this season of the Trump presidency:

[M]any of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.

I would know. I am one of them.

To be clear, ours is not the popular “resistance” of the left. We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous.

But we believe our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic.

That is why many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.

But an official trying to undermine the President isn’t the real fun here. The real fun lies in the open contempt with which the author treats Trump in the piece:

The root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making.

. . . .

[Trump’s] successes have come despite — not because of — the president’s leadership style, which is impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective.

From the White House to executive branch departments and agencies, senior officials will privately admit their daily disbelief at the commander in chief’s comments and actions. Most are working to insulate their operations from his whims.

Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back.

“There is literally no telling whether he might change his mind from one minute to the next,” a top official complained to me recently, exasperated by an Oval Office meeting at which the president flip-flopped on a major policy decision he’d made only a week earlier.

The Times makes this claim about the author:

The Times today is taking the rare step of publishing an anonymous Op-Ed essay. We have done so at the request of the author, a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure.

Trump is mighty upset about it:


Assuming the author is being truthful and accurate, and the NYT is telling the truth, at least three people know the author’s identity:

1. The author
2. Someone at the NYT
3. The “top official” who said to the author: “There is literally no telling whether he might change his mind from one minute to the next.”

I don’t think this stays secret long but I have been wrong before.

I tend to think this is an overblown story, and agree with Allahpundit:

And anyway, while the flap over this op-ed is entertaining and everything, the author is saying nothing about Trump that isn’t already on public display every day. What’s that you say? Donald Trump is ill-informed? He veers off topic and says dumb things that he has to walk back??

NO &*^(*&^*& WAY!

Thank goodness we have a “senior administration official” to tell us that!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Ben Sasse Provides A Much Needed Palate Cleanser

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:21 pm

[guest post by Dana]

This seemed to aptly sum up the political circus that was the first day of Judge Brett Kavanagh’s confirmation hearing:



Anyway, a truly good thing to come out of the hearing was Ben Sasse’s wonderful civics lesson as he covered the role of the judiciary, the correct allocation of authority in the three branches of the federal government, the need for limited government, the place of Congress and the “alphabet soup bureaucracies”. Watch the whole thing:

Best line from Sasse, who points to where the ultimate failure rests as he dissects a system that is “wildly out of whack”:

“At the end of the day, a lot of the pow­er del­e­ga­tion that hap­pens from this branch is be­cause Congress has de­cid­ed to self-neu­ter”


Congress is set up to be the most po­lit­i­cal branch. “This is sup­posed to be the in­sti­tu­tion dedi­cat­ed to po­lit­i­cal fights,” Sasse said.
But in the name of politics, lawmakers have de­cid­ed to keep their jobs rath­er than take tough votes. “Most people here want their jobs more than they re­al­ly want to do legis­la­tive work, and so they punt their legis­la­tive work to the next branch,” Sasse said.

Be­cause Congress of­ten lets the ex­ec­u­tive branch write rules, and Americans aren’t sure who in the gov­ern­ment bureauc­ra­cy to talk to, that leaves Americans with no oth­er place than the courts to turn to ex­press their frus­tra­tion with poli­cies. And the Su­preme Court, with its nine vis­i­ble mem­bers, is a con­veni­ent out­let. Sasse: “This trans­fer of pow­er means people yearn for a place where politics can be done, and when we don’t do a lot of big po­lit­i­cal debate here, people trans­fer it to the Su­preme Court. And that’s why the Su­preme Court is in­creas­ing­ly a sub­sti­tute po­lit­i­cal battle­ground for America.”

Sasse’s final point is one you can prob­a­bly guess is com­ing by now: That this proc­ess needs to change. If Congress did more legis­lat­ing, these Su­preme Court nom­i­na­tion bat­tles would get less po­lit­i­cal, he ar­gues: “If we see lots and lots of pro­tests in front of the Su­preme Court, that’s a pret­ty good ba­rom­e­ter of the fact that our re­pub­lic isn’t heal­thy. They shouldn’t be pro­test­ing in front of the Su­preme Court, they should be pro­test­ing in front of this body.”

After the hearing, Sasse made these observations:

Tuesday’s hearing shows that both Republicans and Democrats seem to view the Supreme Court as completely partisan.

I do think that the left started this fight, but I think both of these parties are really, really, lame in teaching basic civics to our kids right now.

Also, I’m posting this video as a second palate cleanser because at the end of the day, in spite of the political freakshow parading itself before us, love – true love – really does win. And it is simply the best:

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Resistance: Kavanaugh Snubbed a Parkland Dad!!!!1!!11!!!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:59 am

Yesterday’s stupid story (one of them, anyway) was the claim by the Resistance that Brett Kavanaugh knowingly refused to shake the hand of the father of a Parkland victim, on account of how Kavanaugh loves the guns and hates the shooting victims.

Here’s HuffyPost:

Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s latest nominee to the Supreme Court, on Tuesday declined to shake hands with Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter died in a mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida, earlier this year.

. . . .

Guttenberg’s daughter Jaime was 14 when she was killed by a gunman who opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February. Seventeen people were killed in the shooting, and more than a dozen others were injured. Since Jaime’s death, Guttenberg has been a vocal proponent of gun control.

Here’s the tweet from the dad:

And here’s the video:

This is a hearing where 70 protestors were arrested, including 61 from the very Senate office building where the hearings are taking place. Some guy walks quickly towards Kavanaugh, who may or may not have heard what the guy says, and security is quickly coming up from behind. Kavanaugh, by all accounts a very nice family man, declines to engage with this random person in this volatile situation. And here’s how Kamala Harris reacted:

The only shaking going on here is my damn head.

Here’s your fun gag for the day. As I just made clear, there were many shrieking protestors in the room, and apparently one went on for a long time. Neal Boortz asked: “Why [has] that screeching woman in the hearing room not been removed?” and a wag responded:


Today: Outrage Kabuki Theater, Day Two. Anything could happen!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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