Quote of the Day postsThursday July 27, 2017
'Mr. Lizza? Anthony Scaramucci on Line 1'
In a year of scoops, The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza has the scoop of the year.
It came about, ironically, because the new White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci was trying to plug leaks and find leakers, and in doing so leaked all over the place—including mostly on himself. It's comical, nuts, and definitely NSFW. The fact that Scaramucci didn't ask for the conversation to be off-the-record made it all possible and shows that you probably shouldn't trust such important positions to amateurs. At the same time, it makes you wonder what those off-the-record conversations around D.C. are really like. Do they make “Veep” seem tame? As this does? Seriously, Scaramucci has done something no one thought possible: He has made Sean Spicer, who resigned rather than work with Scaramucci, seem smart.
I particularly love examples of Lizza's journalistic due diligence, often in parenthetical form, in the midst of this insanity:
“They'll all be fired by me,” [Scaramucci] said. “I fired one guy the other day. I have three to four people I'll fire tomorrow. I'll get to the person who leaked that to you. Reince Priebus—if you want to leak something—he'll be asked to resign very shortly.” The issue, he said, was that he believed Priebus had been worried about the dinner because he hadn't been invited. “Reince is a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,” Scaramucci said. He channelled Priebus as he spoke: “ 'Oh, Bill Shine is coming in. Let me leak the fucking thing and see if I can cock-block these people the way I cock-blocked Scaramucci for six months.' ” (Priebus did not respond to a request for comment.)
On the plus side, no one will ever be able to look at Steve Bannon again without imagining a certain onanistic maneuver.
Stay classy, Trump admin.
Trump's Trans Ban, the Rebuttal
Every single trans person is braver than Donald Trump— Ike Barinholtz (@ikebarinholtz) July 26, 2017
Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary (Jan. 20 2017–July 20, 2017)
Spicer, as we'll always remember him.
Via Ryan Lizza:
Spicer began his tenure as press secretary with a bizarre rant about how Trump's Inauguration audience “was the largest audience to ever witness an Inauguration, period.” (It wasn't.) For someone who was never fully inside the Trump circle of trust, the performance had the ring of an eager gang initiate committing a crime to please the boss. ...
Spicer defended Trump's lie about how there were three million fraudulent votes in the 2016 election. He spent weeks using shifting stories to defend Trump's lie about President Barack Obama wiretapping Trump Tower. In trying to explain the urgency of the attack on Syria, Spicer explained, “You had someone as despicable as Hitler, who didn't even sink to using chemical weapons.”
Last week, he lied about the nature of the meeting at Trump Tower in June, 2016, between senior Trump-campaign officials and several people claiming to have information about Hillary Clinton from the Russian government. “There was nothing, as far as we know, that would lead anyone to believe that there was anything except for discussion about adoption,” Spicer claimed, bizarrely, because Donald Trump, Jr., had already admitted that the meeting was about Russian dirt on Clinton. On March 10th, Spicer came to the lectern wearing an upside-down American flag, which is a signal of dire distress.
The piece is called “Sean Spicer Will Be Remembered for His Lies.” It doesn't pull punches.
Quote of the Day
A reminder of the big bullet we all dodged, from the New York Times article, “How the Senate Health Care Bill Failed: G.O.P. Divisions and a Fed-Up President”:
Senator Susan Collins of Maine criticized the Trump administration's often specious descriptions of what the [GOP healthcare] bill would actually do, bolstering other more quiet critics' resolve.
“The only change that Obamacare made in Medicaid was to give states the option of expanding coverage with increased federal funding,” said Ms. Collins, who opposed the Senate legislation. “Yet the Senate bill would have cut hundreds of billions of dollars from this program, imposed an entirely new formula and reduced the reimbursement rate below the cost of medical inflation.”
The changes, she added, “would have been made without the Senate holding a single hearing to evaluate the consequences on some of our most vulnerable citizens, rural hospitals and nursing homes.”
I'd also like to know who put pressure on McConnell and company to try to push this bill through. What awful moneymen behind them wanted this?
Keillor on Baseball
Garrison Keillor had eye surgery recently, and he wrote about the experience, and the necessity of a touch of kindness, for The Washington Post last week. But this is the graf that reached out to me. It's my world view. He describes those awful carnival-barker voices eminating from the television set so well, as well as the tonic to them, which is my tonic:
Back in the room, I hung up my jacket, opened my laptop and I couldn't see the keys that would increase font size to where I could read the text. I lay on the bed and contemplated the prospect of life as a man in a blur. I dozed. I turned on the TV. I couldn't watch it, only listen. I clicked around, hoping for a friendly voice, and everyone sounded hyped-up and weird, canned laughter, big carnival barker voices, big woofers and screaming meemies, and then I found a ballgame. Two men, talking nice and slow in level tones, describing actions taking place before their eyes. Players I didn't know playing games I didn't care about, but those were the voices of my uncles discussing cars, gardens, future construction projects, the secret of pouring concrete, and that was reassuring, to know that the country has not come unhinged.
Good thing Joe Buck wasn't announcing.
Keillor concludes by talking about the unkind acts of so-called Christians voting for a vainglorious, bullying solipsist, and a Congress of rich men trying to make other rich men richer at the expense of health care for the many. A blind man knows that. The above is a good paragraph but the conclusion is off: one-third of the country has come unhinged and their representatives are in power. The voices of Vin Scully, Dave Niehaus and Ernie Harwell isn't balm enough for that.