By William K. Black
June 6, 2017 Bloomington, MN
Rupert Murdoch controls the Wall Street Journal and Fox News. Even before he acquired the WSJ its editorial board was known for its members’ ultra-right wing fervor. The acquisition intensified that fervor. The editorial board’s fervor has infected the WSJ’s news pages. That is the context essential to understanding the significance of its June 6, 2017 editorial eviscerating President Donald Trump. They entitled their editorial “The Buck Stops Everywhere Else.” Here is the most damning paragraph. .
If this pattern continues, Mr. Trump may find himself running an Administration with no one but his family and the Breitbart staff. People of talent and integrity won’t work for a boss who undermines them in public without thinking about the consequences. And whatever happened to the buck stops here?
In addition to the obvious slam, consider several aspects of the content, tone, and timing of the editorial. They published it on the anniversary of D-Day, a day of courage and personal responsibility. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Allied commander of the invasion and future president of the United States, took a large gamble on the weather clearing enough to allow the invasion to occur. The editorial, appropriately, given tight word count limits, did not explain what so many adult Americans recall – the last sentence of Eisenhower’s statement to the public in the event the invasion failed. He personally drafted the statement.
Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that Bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.
Those are the words of a real commander-in-chief and a president. The editorial relied on the even better known words of President Harry S. Truman, the slogan on his desk: “The Buck Stops Here.” Truman served with distinction as an artillery officer in World War I. He spoke the words of a real officer and president. One man was a Republican, the other a Democrat, but their message was identical. I take personal responsibility for the actions of my artillery company, my entire invasion force, or my administration.
The WSJ was shaming Trump with the title of its editorial and the line “whatever happened to the buck stops here?” The editorial was accusing him of moral cowardice. The specific context was Trump’s tweeted attacks on his Department of Justice for his revised executive order on refugees. Trump, of course, signed that revised executive order.
The WSJ rubbed in Trump’s moral cowardice by publishing the print version of its editorial on the anniversary of D-Day. In comparison with giants like Eisenhower and Truman, Trump comes across as vanishingly small. Trump was a rich man’s son who could afford a doctor who wrote up a bogus physical infirmity to allow him to escape the draft. (Trump is so lazy that in an interview he could not even remember which leg his phantom bone spurs supposedly impaired. He was unable to walk long distances, except on a golf course.)
The other remarkable fact about the editorial is that it admits that the candidate they endorsed and Murdoch championed is a person who lacks “integrity” and has surrounded himself with family members and malicious sycophants that lack “talent and integrity.” It then predicts that no one of talent and integrity will be willing to work in the Trump administration because they would be contaminated by and contemptuous of Trump’s moral cowardice.
The Wall Street Journal editorial can be celebrated by those of us in opposition to American militarism and the neo-liberal version of Monopoly Capitalism because the “thieves are falling out.” Anything that weaken them gives us hope — despite the fear that the failings of neo-liberal capitalism will lead to its replacement by some form of fascism.
Which brings me to my next point. The fact that the “thieves are falling out” hints that the establishment (so damaged by Trump’s victory politically) may be rallying [re-united with the Wall Street Journal-Fox News crowd] around a relatively short term prospect to give us PRESIDENT PENCE.
Many too many Democrats (I hope fewer leftists) are so taken up with the idea of punishing Trump that they are willing to jump on the impeachment band wagon. This would play RIGHT INTO the hands of the establishment who want the POLICIES Trump promises to impose without the dangers of Trump himself and his incompetence.
THus, it is essential that people in opposition stay out of the impeachment issue — that is the ruling class attempting to clean up their own shit. They created it — if they want to expend energy getting rid of Trump, we cannot stop them — but why in the world would we want to strengthen them by giving them PRESIDENT PENCE??
Of course I agree with almost every pejorative statement you offer against Trump–with more galore did space permit–but Truman was hardly a giant. He was a corrupt small-time politician thrust into the office in order to deprive a real giant, Henry Wallace, of the vice-presidency that in view of FDR’s failing health was understood to be ripe for promotion. Among his obvious failures that come to mind from the top of a non-historian’s head are: authorizing with glee the unnecessary atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; allowing Taft-Hartley to be repeatedly gutted while offering only token resistance; approving the formation of the CIA under the myth that the failure to “connect the dots” allowed the monstrous Pearl Harbor to happen even though Pearl Harbor was FDR’s contrivance to motivate an otherwise isolationist American into WWII in order to fulfill the Council on Foreign Relations regnant plans, essentially since realized, of global hegemony. Notwithstanding his genuine achievements for the general population, a good case could be made that Roosevelt was the CFR’s representative in the White House.
Neither Eisenhower nor Truman were truly giants, but in comparison to Trump a case could be made that they were both monuments of moral courage and integrity. While much has been made of Trump’s glaring narcissistic personality, not enough attention has been paid to the vast sea of cognitive lapses and affective contortions and explosions that may better be understood as indicia of incipient dementia for which a grossly pathological narcissistic personality is doing its best to compensate. Comparing public Trump speeches from 30, 20, or even 15 years ago to his present performance suggest a cognitive degeneration that is unrelated to the core pathology that serves as the focus of most commentators.
Much as I would like to join in, we are now discussing politics not economics, and I feel we should save our comments for another place that is non-economical in its outlook.
To paraphrase George Orwell’s quip about art and politics: The opinion that ‘economics’ should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude. Recall that what we call economics nowadays was previously called “political economy.”
about a century ago it was labeled “political economy.” It was also when the realms were divided that we were disappeared into economics under the pretext of only being “scientific” as a positing science per “neo-classical” in the same sort of over-turning fiction to classical economics, as in “neo-liberal.” The separation of state and economy was never much more than another academic conceit and a tenure obtained by a safe distance.