Recent Posts by Tim Rutten

Here’s Why Trump’s Supporters Always Seem to Give Him a Political Pass

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Here’s a fact to which there is no alternative: The President of the United States, commander-in-chief of the world’s most powerful military, is either a pathological liar or a serial fabulist unable to distinguish fantasy from reality—or, perhaps, a chillingly sociopathic combination of both. In the aftermath of his amateurish and incompetent attempt to ram through an abominable Republican health care bill whose substance he never bothered to understand even though it would have deprived 26 million working and middle-class Americans of their insurance while giving the rich a massive tax cut, Trump lied about who was responsible: Not him, nor ...

Trump’s Neo-Nationalism and Nativism are the Source of the Anti-Semitic Wave

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Nationalism was 19th Century Europe’s dominant ideology when Oscar Wilde famously sneered that “patriotism is the virtue of the vicious.” The post-war progress of liberal democracy made possible a benevolent national loyalty, but if Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and their West Wing henchman with their twisted version of “love” for country have their way, patriotism will once again become a disreputable affection. There already is a clear line linking the economic and ethno-nationalist fantasies now infesting the White House with disgraceful events like the desecration of Jewish cemeteries in St. Louis and Philadelphia, the firing of a shot into an Indiana ...

In Trump’s version of America, I’m happy to be called an ‘Enemy of the People’

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An 18th century parliamentarian well might have had Donald Trump in mind when he described a political opponent, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, as “blending mediocrity with cunning.” Trump doubtless will spawn many such descriptions on his own; one legal scholar, for example, already has described his slap-dash travel ban as a “combination of malevolence and incompetence.” Trump’s ongoing campaign against the news media is a signature example of his malevolent cunning. Beset with bad publicity—and historically low public approval ratings—because of his administration’s stunningly chaotic launch and growing suspicions over surreptitious Russian involvement in his election, Trump has scuttled to the ...

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