So much winning!

Remember that Trump promise?  Notice any winning happening?

Me neither, but I think I see the problem. It’s a typo: should be whining.  Now everything makes sense, because whining is the pervasive, universal quality of all the discourse of Trump and his mouthpieces, reaching some sort of high point in today’s Sanders briefing , though Spicer almost pegged the meter in his very first briefing.  Fake news, lying press, I can’t get a break, Joe and Mika are so mean to me, it’s all Obama’s fault, why aren’t you writing about my historic electoral victory, Russia hoax…so much whining! Including rallies that are a new type of collective mass unison whining: all together now, China! Coal! We don’t get no respect!

It does suck to be Donald, but not for the reasons he’d like to think. Anyway, the press is beginning to realize it has to call a lie a lie to properly present the story: I propose that reporters and commentators reflect on whine as the other word most underused, in proportion to its relevance and accuracy, in discourse about our current presidential farrago. Try it: easy to say, it’s a verb, everyone knows what it means, and it has the perfectly apropos connotations of infantile affect and ineffectuality.

Whiner, that’s our Donald all over.

Author: Michael O'Hare

Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training. He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at Università Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs. At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4×5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.

6 thoughts on “So much winning!”

  1. Trump does not get it that he is President of the United States and not a media celebrity having a feud with another media celebrity. His tweets are seen around the world and represent his official communications on issues. What is acceptable for celebrities is not acceptable for American presidents. Celebrities are allowed to whine all they want.

    In the Army, there is an offense under the UCMJ known as "conduct unbecoming an officer." There are things an enlisted man can get away with that an officer cannot. All that is required is for the offender’s conduct to fall below the level of conduct expected of officers. It can result in dismissal from the service and forfeiture of all pay and allowances, even if the conduct does not rise to the level of a crime.

    Obviously, the UCMJ does not apply to presidents, but there is such a thing as conduct unbecoming a president. There is a level of conduct expected of presidents, and this has traditionally included being able to roll with harsh criticism and not having to howl every time it happens. In 2016, a big part of the electorate decided it was tired of business as usual and it wanted something new. As the White House spokesperson said today, this is what people voted for in the last election. They have gotten what they wanted. And how!

    1. I am glad that Trump is unable to suppress his vile self. Isn't it better that we are aware of it so that the media don't "normalize" him? He should continue to receive the lack of respect that he deserves.

  2. A rift seems to be opening up within the opposition on whether to describe him and his Administration as evil, murderous, unhinged and so on (Warren, Sanders, Clinton, and in the blogosphere, LGM. Daily Kos), or alternatively mean, dumb, losing, whining and the like (Obama, Schumer, O'Hare, Balkin, Kevin Drum…). Stipulate that both sets of descriptions are accurate. The first energises the opposition base but Trump supporters will just put up the shutters and refuse to listen. The latter may conceivably persuade some weak Trump supporters (the famous Obama-Trump voters of the key swing states) or shift some enthusiastic Trump voters into the tepid support category. The Democratic base will think it weak tea.

    My own personal preference would be for the hard talk, but then I don't have to live with the consequences. In a European election with strong parties, a clear choice would have to be made. But in the looser US system, individual candidates have much more leeway to define their own campaign. See Ossoff and Parnell, who both lost narrowly in Congressional special elections. The 2020 Democratic candidate will have to choose how to attack Trump's record.

    One possible half-way house is to use the strong language on the actions and policies, and the weaker on the persons. As in: the Trump campaign's deals with Russia were disloyal, anti-American and corrupt. Trump and Flynn were stupid, vain and venal to pursue them.

    1. In a European democracy, if Trump were a Prime Minister, he would have been forced to resign over the Flynn appointment alone, let alone his subsequent attempt to cover up an investigation of the man. Appointing a foreign agent to a top job after being warned he was tainted would be enough.

  3. Spot on! I was gobsmacked by the egregiousness of Trump's whining from the get-go, and always loudly mentioned it within my circle. But I have been disappointed how rarely it's been mentioned in the regular media. Mostly, it has been a take-off point for the late-night hosts like Colbert. So you are exactly right: it needs to be remarked upon a lot more by a lot more people.

    Thumbs-up on the three comments above me here, too. All are quite right.

  4. Suppose that you are a Trump supporter and you see his tweet where he body slams the wrestler with the CNN logo on his face. Assume that you think the media have it coming because of the way they have treated him and he has a right to fight back. Suppose you give the tweet a "like" along with 402,000 others have today (as of 8:30 pm Mountain Daylight Time on July 2). Suppose you think that the libtards are too politically correct to recognize a joke when they see it, and have no sense of humor.

    Now imagine that you have a loved one who is currently deployed on active duty overseas. Look again at the video clip. Tell yourself that whether you see your loved one again depends on the soundness of the sober judgment of the man in the video.

    How does the video clip look now?

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