A Bad Hair Day

It was, of course, quite predictable.

After yesterday’s surprise announcement—that the world’s two most powerfully ridiculous haircuts would meet with each other somewhere, sometime, and for some reason—it was inevitable that talking heads on cable news and elsewhere would give Tr-mp credit for his “Call Him Rocket Man” bluster that, the argument goes, brought Kim Jong-un to the bargaining table.

Here’s a typical example of what I mean. This morning on CNN, host John Berman did a segment on the Tr-mp-Kim meeting, mentioning that “the administration wants to take credit for the North Korea summit.” Berman then quoted from Mike Pence’s fresh statement, which gave the broad-shouldered Tr-mp credit for his “strategy to isolate the Kim regime” and asserted that this amazing feat was accomplished “despite the United States making zero concessions.” Berman, who is normally a pretty good journalist, should have injected the obvious: the U.S. did give a concession, a big one. The idea that, say, Obama would have met with Kim in the way it appears Tr-mp will meet with him would have caused Republican heads to pop like cheap balloons. But Berman didn’t mention that it was a very big concession to normalize Kim with the highest-level-meeting possible. It apparently wasn’t on his mind.

Instead, the CNN host, who had already said something ridiculous, namely that “you may not think the North Korea meeting is good, but it’s an accomplishment, nonetheless,” continued by engaging one of his conservative-pundit guests, Matt Lewis, this way:

BERMAN: What the White House wants to do, though, is to suggest that [Tr-mp’s] rhetoric, the “fire and fury” rhetoric, you know, calling Kim Jong-un “fat,” that that’s part of it. Is it because of that, or in spite of that, though, Matt, that this is happening?

Okay. Here we go with the careful conservative spin, as opposed to the more outrageous conservative spin.

LEWIS: First I think, look, this thing, we don’t know how it’s gonna play out. And the fact is Donald Tr-mp is even meeting with Kim could—there’s an argument that it’s a bad idea, that it’s being done without preconditions, that it’s gonna be a propaganda coup, so, uh, but I don’t think that plays in Peoria. I think the average American is optimistic, hopeful. Maybe it’s the triumph of hope over experience but the average American I think does like this.

The idea that Matt Lewis, who used to write for one of the slimiest conservative rags around, The Daily Caller, knows what the “average American” thinks is one thing. But what made his take on all this so ridiculous is what he said after he spoke for average Americans:

So, I think it is good politics for Donald Tr-mp. The question is does he deserve credit for it? I think he actually might. Look, I don’t know what North Korea is up to here. Maybe they’re just buying time. Maybe they’re just trolling us. But there is a possibility that we have spooked them. Maybe they’re afraid of Donald Tr-mp.

That is pretty much what I have heard, in some form or another since last night.

Now, far from wanting to meet with Tr-mp because he’s afraid of him, it is infinitely more plausible that the reason Kim wants to meet with Tr-mp is because he has never kim and tr mp.jpgseen a Western “leader” so stupid and manipulable. One could argue that Kim senses that his best option right now is, before Mueller tries to take him away, to take advantage of Tr-mp’s pathological need to satiate his insatiable desire for attention and approval, which would come from such an unprecedented meeting. Kim in the meantime would not have to agree to anything verifiable, would buy more time for developing his nuclear capabilities, and would get what the North Korean himself seems to have a pathological need for: recognition as a genuine, world-class player.

Another more frightening possibility is that Tr-mp will get pushed into a corner by Kim’s refusal to de-nuke, and Tr-mp, then out of diplomatic options, would be made to look and, more important, feel weak, leaving his disturbed mind no option but to order a preemptive military strike that will start that part of the world on fire.

This is our existence these days, one in which two disturbed and disturbing people with strange heads get to meet together to determine the fate of millions, while host and pundits on TV talk of “accomplishments.”




  1. RDG,

    As Mueller’s noose tightens, Lumpy will do or say anything to try and change the narrative. The tariffs are already being watered down, and his supposed one-on-one meeting with Un is now being walked back. An internet wit commented that the end result of the meeting (if if ever happens) is Un owning an NFL team.


    • An internet wit commented that the end result of the meeting (if if ever happens) is Un owning an NFL team.

      The inestimable Brother Charles Pierce made a similar observation in his Esquire post about it yesterday:

      Personally, I won’t believe it until he gets off the plane in Pyongyang. But, if the president*’s visit to North Korea actually comes off, my fondest hope is that they don’t throw him a huge parade with all the trimmings, because, in that case, he might sell them Rhode Island.


      • I think that Un might own an NBA team, given his friendship with Dennis Rodman. I find the above comment hilarious – a really good military parade for Don might indeed result in him giving away a state, but he might prefer California instead of Rhode Island. I’m sure he has no idea of the relative sizes or economies. He might not even know they are on different coasts (or that there are different coasts)! One possible outcome might be that Un keeps Trump as a hostage for Un’s national goals. Whatever would we do then? It might take years to negotiate Trump’s return.


        • Michael,

          If they do take Tr-mp hostage, remember: no negotiations with terrorists. That’s “official” U.S. policy, fortunately. But if the government did want to negotiate, I suggest dispatching Jared Kushner. His applied “expertise” in these delicate matters is such that Tr-mp would remain over there for a very long time, perhaps long enough for us to get our democracy in order. Then we can bring him back and put him, and Jared, on trial. Happy thoughts.



      • Gotta love Charlie Pierce. 


    • Juan,

      I think Kim tends more toward the NBA, what with his affection for The Worm.

      It is certainly true that the meeting may never happen, that the tariffs may amount to very little. All of it is still debatable because nothing Tr-mp says has a shelf life of more than the length of a bowel movement, which, when you think of it, is what his sputterings amount to.



      • nothing Tr-mp says has a shelf life of more than the length of a bowel movement, which, when you think of it, is what his sputterings amount to.

        I’m reminded, as I sometimes am, of a letter Mark Twain wrote to a friend* who’d found himself the unwilling dedicatee of a book of bad verse by South Carolina lawyer and poetaster Belton O’Neall Townsend: “Let us hope there is a hell, for this poet’s sake, who carries his bowels in his skull, & when they operate works the discharge into rhyme & prints it.”

        (* William Dean Howells, who has suffered not-thinking-on and is now as forgot as the hobby-horse.)


  2. When Trump visited the Mexican border in Texas he publicly expressed concern for the safety of his own orange hind side, you know, from all those rapists, thieves and murderers down there. What will happen when someone, probably the Secret Service, tells him how they treat petty crimes in NK? What, no chocolate cake? Souvenir posters? Go get ’em Donald!


    • I still fear the worst about this meeting, if it ever happens. That is, what if it is, from Tr-mp’s warped view, an utter failure? What then? Where does it go? A summit like this is supposed to be the end of a process not the first step. If the first step here is the last step, that is very scary.


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