07.17.2017 10:40 AM

This week’s column: that’s not strategic, that’s stupid


When every other explanation fails, there’s always stupidity. Remember that, boys and girls.

Let us explain. Back at the beginning of time, when this writer wrote for the Calgary Herald and the Ottawa Citizen and the like, media folks still had expense accounts. It’s true, we did. We would gather at local canteen, and dissect the latest bit of political skullduggery, and charge our beneficent corporate overlords.

So, if Prime Minister Brian Mulroney had declared that he intended to “roll the dice” with the Constitution, as he did, we figured he couldn’t possibly mean that. Because, you know, actually “rolling the dice” with a nation’s supreme statute would be utterly reckless and irresponsible, and would have the potential to destroy said nation. So it couldn’t possibly be that. No way.

Therefore, we would assume some grand strategy was at work. Mulroney was being diabolically clever, and putting the Premiers on notice. Or he was being Machiavellian, and attempting to stampede the Opposition onto his side of the argument. Or, whatever. (The expense accounts would get strained, at this point.)

Steven Harper, too. When, mid-campaign in 2015, he abruptly stopped talking about his main political strength (the economy), and started talking about an issue that absolutely no one else was talking about (the niqab), lots of media folks thought the then-Conservative leader knew something the rest of us didn’t. The economy is the main concern of millions (that is, millions) of Canadians, and the wearing of the niqab in a lineup had come up twice (that is, twice) in the preceding months. But Harper Is A Strategic Genius, etc. etc. He knows what he’s doing, etc.

Well, no. It was knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing, dog-whistle politics of the worst kind. It was pathetic and desperate. It was, in fact, a complete repudiation of every previous effort Messsrs. Harper and Kenney had made to, um, curry favour with New Canadians. It was like holding a hand grenade, pulling the pin, and saying, just before blowing oneself to smithereens: “Canadians will greatly admire the bold and decisive move I am about to make.”

Which brings us, in a circuitous fashion, to Donald “Diaper” Trump, Jr.

(A word of explanation: back in his salad days at the University of Pennsylvania, the younger Donald was renowned as the Big Drunk on Campus. As his classmate Scott Melker was seen recounting this week on Facebook: “Donald Jr. was a drunk on campus. Every memory I have of him is of him stumbling around the campus, falling over or passing out in public, with his arm in a sling from injuring himself while drinking. His nickname was “Diaper Don” because of his tendency to falls asleep in other people’s beds and urinate. I always felt terrible for him.”)

A week or so ago today, Diaper Don was being hounded by the ink-stained wretches and wretchesses at the New York Times. They were onto a story that Diaper Boy – aided and abetted by his brother-in-law, and his father’s top campaign boss – had met with Russian operatives in June 2016 to receive damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

The Times didn’t have the documentary proof, however. They just had dribs and drabs from three anonymous sources. Diaper Don and the geniuses at the White House serially offered up a variety of explanations for the meeting, none of which made sense, and none of which were actually true. But it was still the Donald Jr., on the record, versus three anonymous weasels, largely off the record. It was a plausibly deniable position, because there was no paper proof.

So, what did Diaper Don do?

He gave the media proof.

Ho ho ho, the Trumpkins crowed. Donny showed the Deep State! He stole the scoop away from the Times! He went first, and owned the news cycle! He defined the story before it could be defined! He’s a genius! Nothing burger, etc.!

Well, no.

Diaper Don gave the news media the entire email exchange between himself and some crypto-Soviet sleazebag, who told him – and we are putting this in all-caps, because it actually merits it – that: “THIS SENSITIVE INFORMATION IS PART OF RUSSIA AND ITS GOVERNMENT’S SUPPORT FOR MR. TRUMP.”

Upon receiving this “sensitive information” from the Kremlin, did Diaper Don go to the feds, to report a possible crime? Did he notify the media and summarily condemn it? Did he take steps to protect his father, then losing to Hillary Clinton?

Um, no. He cheerily went to the meeting, at Trump Tower, and he helpfully brought along his brother-in-law (who now works at the White House, and is under criminal investigation, because Russia) and the top campaign boss (who is now registered as a pro-Russia lobbyist, and is also under criminal investigation, because Russia). And, three days later, the hacked Clinton campaign emails started to spill out.

The general consensus is that Diaper Don has now handed Robert Mueller, the special counsel probing all of this Trumprussia stuff, the proverbial smoking gun. He has offered the proof that no one previously had: namely, that Donald Trump – and his family, and his most-senior campaign operatives – knowingly and maliciously conspired with Russia to cheat, and steal the election from the real president, Hillary Clinton.

Sometimes, boys and girls, there is no grand strategy. Sometimes, there is no diabolically-clever tactic being deployed. Sometimes, it simply is what it looks like.

You know: stupid.


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    Elsie Marley says:

    There ain’t no cure for stupid ……

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    doconnor says:

    “After being told that The Times was about to publish the content of the emails, instead of responding to a request for comment, Donald Trump Jr. posted images of them on Tuesday on Twitter.”

    from https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/07/11/us/politics/trump-russia-email-clinton.html

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    Most of the legal brainiacs say it falls short of criminal intent. But a minority hold the opposite view.

    However, Mueller will have the definitive say.

    More worrying for Trump should be if, or when, he was told about the meeting. If he knew absolutely nothing…but if he did? Ouch!

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      Dan Calda says:

      Ya well…in the fake news world we live in…who knows…
      But scuttlebutt has it that the Don was at the meeting.
      If true…then Putin will leak it.

      The damage Trump Nation is doing to America is breathtaking.

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        Nicole says:

        His own lawyer blamed the Secret Service, who not only shot him down but also confirmed that Don Jr did not have SS protection at the time of the meeting. So who did? Don Sr. What a stupid thing for the lawyer to say. Maybe it’s a good thing that Team Trump is so dumb.

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        Ronald O'Dowd says:


        Maybe I’m an idiot but my sense of it is that in the game of chess, one seldom loses when one’s pieces have created leverage. That’s what would be my contented thought were I sitting in the Kremlin.

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    Jean says:

    Wretchesses, and their brother wretches, are celebrating every time the witless Junior speaks.

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    Russ says:

    By coming clean Don Jr. eliminated part of the Kremlin’s leverage over him. Don Sr. is probably still worried about the alleged tapes of the golden showers – in any case it is a gong show of the worst order

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    Daryl gordon says:

    What is truly laughable is the sheer hypocrisy and overblown hyperbole displayed by the DNC and left leaning media. Scant coverage of Clinton misdeeds such as: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/07/18/hillary-clinton-sided-with-russia-on-sanctions-as-bill-made-500g-on-moscow-speech.html

    Meanwhile a constant barrage directed at the Trump Jr meeting story which in itself was not illegal but greatly pushed the boundaries of ethical behavior. Both parties used everything and anything against their opponents and you would have to be in denial if you don’t think that doesn’t happen in any election.

    Obama used federal funds to set up a group to oppose Netanyahu in the recent Israeli election but I guess that’s acceptable because he’s a Democrat and media darling. Trudeau is largely getting the same kid glove treatment by media which was most definitely not the coverage given to Harper when he was in power.

    Trump is his own worst adversary, if left alone he likely will self destruct all by himself. The Clinton team took victory for granted and greatly underestimated Trump, all this noise is sour grapes.

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      Ronald O'Dowd says:


      It’s tough being a Comm person working for right-wingers. Either they refuse to take your advice, or your own inherent bias against the media inevitably leads you astray. These jackasses once in power reflexively do the same old, same old, shtick: refuse to hold regular press conferences, take minimal questions, take them only from like-minded media, bypass traditional media, etc.

      And then they have the audacity to wonder why they get almost 100% negative coverage. Go figure. Make the media an enemy, and they will stick it in with relish, as often as they possibly can.

      As a wise Conservative once told me: be like Kennedy and kill them with kindness.

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        Daryl gordon says:

        Ronald: in Harper’s case, he was immediately branded scary, hidden agenda etc by the Liberals and no matter what he did, the CBC and the large liberal leaning papers never let that die. There were no legitimate scandals (maybe Duffy) in his career so he likely decided to freeze everyone out and carried out his agenda.

        I wonder how any of the Kennedy family would have been perceived if there had been social media, 24 hour news cycle, sexual harassment laws, diversity quotas etc in their eras. I doubt that Teddy would have achieved his current near sainthood if there existed a #chappaquiddick

        I’d love to just get the news, just the facts without the spin. Never going to happen alas.

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          Ronald O'Dowd says:


          Good points. Thanks. But today we live in a post-Bill-Clinton world and that certainly was a game-changer. What galls me the most is the Wall Street deregulation. That was a colossal disaster certain to happen and Clinton gets to wear it for doing their bidding with unbridled enthusiasm…

          And incredibly, the genius in D.C. is about to turn into a latter-day Bourbon.

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    David Ray says:

    thank you for writing conspired and not collusion. hell of a difference.

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