December 13, 2019

"Under pressure over his possible impeachment, President Richard M. Nixon supposedly talked to the paintings in the White House. President Bill Clinton..."

"... absently toyed with his old campaign buttons. President Trump punches out Twitter messages in the lonely midnight hour. Long after his staff has gone home, long after the lights have gone out elsewhere around the capital, the besieged 45th president hunkers down in the upstairs residential portion of the Executive Mansion venting his frustration and cheering on his defenders through social media blasts."

Big news. The President tweets. A lot. When he's getting impeached and when he's not getting impeached.

But this is the NYT, assuring its readers that "For Trump, Impeachment May Be a Political Plus, but Also a Personal Humiliation." The anti-Trumpers know they're losing — he won't be removed and he's even benefiting politically — but damn it, at least they're humiliating him. The desire to humiliate — such a lowly emotion. And yet, the NYT is using it to pump up its despondent readers.

Subheadline: "As the House moves toward what even he says is an inevitable vote to impeach him for high crimes and misdemeanors, President Trump toggles between self-pity and combativeness." Toggles! How do they get this detail on the inside of his head?

The fact is he's not doing anything special to impeachment — nothing like talking to paintings or fingering old buttons. It sounds like Trump continues to Trump, same as ever. In which case, he's not losing it. He's carrying on — bold and tough, fighting and seeming to enjoy and get energy from the fight.

By the way, is it true that Nixon talked to the paintings? The NYT avoids responsibility for fact checking with the word "supposedly." It's a story. They say he got to talking to paintings.

I did my own brief research on the topic and stopped when I came to a Frank Rich column in the NYT, titled "Has He Started Talking to the Walls?" The date is December 3, 2006. 2006 — it is not about Trump. The question that the NYT would like to aim at Trump was aimed, back then, at George W. Bush:
It turns out we’ve been reading the wrong Bob Woodward book to understand what’s going on with President Bush. The text we should be consulting instead is “The Final Days,” the Woodward-Bernstein account of Richard Nixon talking to the portraits on the White House walls while Watergate demolished his presidency. As Mr. Bush has ricocheted from Vietnam to Latvia to Jordan in recent weeks, we’ve witnessed the troubling behavior of a president who isn’t merely in a state of denial but is completely untethered from reality. It’s not that he can’t handle the truth about Iraq. He doesn’t know what the truth is....
So let's not forget: George Bush got the same treatment from the NYT.

Talking to paintings is a favorite way to say the President has gone mad. But Trump has tweeted all along. Nothing has changed. He hasn't gone anywhere. The tweeting is right there, a direct line from the President's brain to us, and we can see whether it's changed or not. Talking to paintings is something that a President does in isolation, withdrawing, and becoming abstracted — "untethered from reality." Tweeting is the opposite. It's totally connected and out in the open. It's something the President does with us — leaping over the press.

We don't have to wait for Bob Woodward to find out what happened behind the scenes. It's all already on the public stage. If the tweets are any crazier than before, we could see that — unless we've all gone crazy together and have grown accustomed to the weirdness — and we wouldn't need the NYT to tell us about it.

I just bought the Kindle version of "The Final Days" so I could see exactly what it said about Nixon talking to paintings. I think this is the only passage:
“The President . . . ” [Nixon's son-in-law Ed] Cox began. His voice rose momentarily. “The President was up walking the halls last night, talking to pictures of former Presidents—giving speeches and talking to the pictures on the wall.”
ADDED: Proofreading this post, I saw the answer to my question "How do they get this detail on the inside of his head?" It's: They're reading the same tweets that we are. They don't have special access to sources. They're simply interpreting the same tweets we get.

As I said, Trump has leaped over the press. It must be so annoying for them. Maybe they're talking to paintings. Maybe to a painting of George W. Bush: Oh, George! How I miss you now! How good you were to let us trash you for 8 years and never to stoop to attacking us, like your miserable successor!

60 comments:

madAsHell said...

...supposedly talked to the paintings.....

Journalism in the 3rd person omniscient. Really??

rehajm said...

Trump is the dog’s bollocks.

D 2 said...

if memory serves, the idea was also in the Stone film on Nixon. It does sound like a movie/narrative thing, like a sitcom stunt. "Hey, Taft! You're so damn big, you get the whole wall!"

Of course Clinton playing with buttons writes itself.

Matt Sablan said...

Obama was Bush's successor. He jailed journalists and spied on them. He didn't mean tweet @ them.

Greg Hlatky said...

"They love him, gentlemen and they respect him, not only for himself, for his character, for his integrity and judgment and iron will, but they love him most of all for the enemies he has made." - Edward Bragg, seconding speech for Grover Cleveland, 1884 Democratic Convention.

Marcus said...

Journalisming.

THEOLDMAN

stevew said...

They're talking to themselves about how they've lost the fight to impeach Trump, and lost the effort to diminish and disable him by imagining, as you say, that he is personally hurt by their actions.

As you say, I don't see that in Trump at all. He looks stronger, emboldened, politically to me.

Ralph L said...

Has anyone kept a list of journalists who claim to know the state of Trump's mind?

rhhardin said...

The NYT sells the world its readers want to live in. Everything is adjusted for it, no matter what.

wendybar said...

There is no Main Stream Media anymore. It is the Propaganda arm of the Democratic Party now. They committed suicide.

PB said...

Creative writing. Not journalism. Almost fiction.

rhhardin said...

The audience drives the politics. The dems aren't in charge, the soap opera women are. Their tastes determine the news because their eyeballs are sold to advertisers.

The dems are free-riding. They go where the media go.

rhhardin said...

Three years of bombshells and walls closing in, why? Audience.

There are thousands of entertaining montages of the day's crisis run by the right, but with no effect on the left. Satisfying two different audiences with the same material. The widow tied to the tracks on the left, and the idiot media on the right.

Mr. Forward said...


She never mentions the word "impeachment"
In certain company
Yes, she'll tell you she's the Speaker
After you meet AOC

She paints her eyes as black as night now
Pulls those brows up tight
Yeah, she gives a smile when the pain come
Botox gonna make everything alright

Says she talks to paintings
Hanging on the wall
Oh, yeah, she talks to paintings
Up and down the hall

Apologies to the Black Crowes

rhhardin said...

Officials have determined that the grocery attack was caused by hate.

rhhardin said...

Hate is the big gun in narratives. You're invited to hate.

rhhardin said...

I myself urge the substitution of mockery for hate. Soap opera women for instance. I mean, they're women. Who doesn't like women.

All serious and stuff, completely at random. Whatever strikes them.

Sally327 said...

I wonder if Trump ever thinks about how maybe he should have tried harder to keep the House in GOP hands. It seems as though the Republicans let it slip away without much of a fight. Or maybe this is all part of a master plan, where the Republicans lose the House in the mid-term elections, the Democrats come in and do what they so often do, which is bring the full-on crazy, the voters react in horror, and then Trump sweeps to victory in 2020, the Republicans keep the Senate and take back the House. Anyway, just wondering.

rhhardin said...

#Metoopolitan vs rural women.

Kevin said...

Mind reading masquerading as journalism.

tim in vermont said...

I have been reading all of his tweets recently, and other than the weird misspelling “smocking gun” they seem pretty normal politics to me.

tim in vermont said...

"I wonder if Trump ever thinks about how maybe he should have tried harder to keep the House in GOP hands.”

I don’t know what you are remembering, but what sealed Trump’s fate was all of the retirements. Maybe he could have worked harder on that front, to prevent those, but the press was reporting non stop what we now know to be lies from the CIA and FBI at the time. Trump worked his ass off in the mid terms.

tim in vermont said...

And the change of election laws in California to create a kind of “card check” for Democrats. “Give us your ballot and we will fill it out for you."

Mr. Forward said...

The smocking gun. Trump reads rhhardin.

alanc709 said...

Why would Trump be humiliated by a laughable process like this current impeachment drive? I wouldn't be. I'd certainly be angry, but I'd have no reason to be humiliated. Perhaps if the Dems found some FACTUAL reason for impeachment, I'd feel some shame, but so far, all the witnesses have shown is that the Dems really, really want an excuse for what they intend doing. The humiliation is all theirs to bear.

tim in vermont said...

Trump seems to be getting younger by the week. Maybe he is just losing weight and getting in better shape, which is pretty much the same thing.

Brian said...

As far as I can tell Trump never gets humiliated. Ever. He just uses it as fuel. As energy.

They thought they had humiliated him at the 2011 White House Correspondents dinner too didn't they? How'd that work out for them.

whitney said...

Trump eats his humiliation for breakfast. It's the fuel that feeds him. I love that video of some comic making fun of them at the Washington Correspondents Dinner laughing about the ridiculousness of him ever being president and how people have speculated that was the moment that he thought "fine I'm going to become president"

David Begley said...

If the Fake News and the Dems couldn’t speculate about Trump, they’d have nothing to say,

whitney said...

Wow Brian and I wrote almost identical comments at the same time that's weird

Josephbleau said...

I don’t think impeachment has been an humiliation at all, it has made martyrs. Johnson was unfairly abused by Radical Republicans, the press corps volunteered to give Clinton blowjobs, and Trump will be remembered as the victim of a seething cabal.

jaydub said...

Remarkable that a newspaper that has got wrong every facet of the Russia story and the conspiracies that drove it for the past three years can now speculate on someone else's humiliation. And the impeachment farce is about "high crimes and misdemeanors"? Which ones would those be? Pathetic excuse for a newspaper.

Brian said...

Whitney, great minds think alike! :-)

Michael K said...

maybe he should have tried harder to keep the House in GOP hands

No, Paul Ryan took care of that by neglecting all the agenda except a tax cut.

Didn't Hillary Clinton channel Eleanor Roosevelt in the White House ?

She now channels Harold Stassen.

Big Mike said...

When the Democrats postponed the vote on impeachment last night were they hoping that Johnson’s inevitable, humiliating defeat would add some impetus to their vote? Because there was one small thing wrong with that plan.

Andrew said...

"He looks stronger, emboldened, politically to me."

"Trump eats his humiliation for breakfast. It's the fuel that feeds him."

Agreed. I actually think that Trump would have a much harder time if he didn't have a villain to work against. He needs a foil. He thrives as a victorious underdog. Thankfully, the Dems and their allies in the press have learned absolutely nothing. They still don't know who they're dealing with.

whitney said...

Brian said...
Whitney, great minds think alike!

I almost wrote that!:)

Skeptical Voter said...

The dogs (in the press and in the Pelosi pack) bark and the caravan moves on.

Sebastian said...

"the besieged 45th president hunkers down"

How oblivious do you have to be to think of Trump this way?

"So let's not forget: George Bush got the same treatment from the NYT."

Right. That's when they started losing me.

JAORE said...

NYT announces hiring of Zoltar as Editor in Chief.

"... adds gravitas to our mind reading team...".

Mr. Forward said...

"They still don't know who they're dealing with."

When you're expecting a wizard and get a tornado.

Josephbleau said...

Even though when I say it I throw up a little in my mouth, “impeachment says more about the Democrats than it says about Trump.”

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

Trump tweets, in good times and bad. Nixon walked all around at night, in good times and bad. He came to like Alexander Haig because Haig would be at his desk, in a fairly obscure job, more or less all night, and Nixon would encounter him. My favourite story is about Nixon walking outside to "rap" with the demonstrators--something that is no longer possible due to security.Talking to the pictures, talking to the hippies, talking to Al Haig--the guy was a bit of an insomniac and a night owl. Woodward and Bernstein were often full of it, but God knows they look like giants now.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

"As the House moves toward what even he says is an inevitable vote to impeach him for high crimes and misdemeanors, President Trump toggles between self-pity and combativeness." Toggles! How do they get this detail on the inside of his head?

thought-crime-mind-read Porn for Inga and her ilk.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Another example of how much leftists are in a bubble. Trump is not "humiliated." Why should he be? The people pushing impeachment are humiliating themselves.

gilbar said...

By the way, is it true that Nixon talked to the paintings? The NYT avoids responsibility for fact checking with the word "supposedly." It's a story. They say he got to talking to paintings.

supposedly, that Atlanta newslady slept with her sources...
Which is EXACTLY what Eastwood's movie said

Francisco D said...

NYT seems to have morphed int political porn for Upper East Side lefties. Or is it Upper West Side?

In any case, it is porn for the people who are vastly smarter, better informed and more sophisticated than us peasants.

traditionalguy said...

I bet when the Donald feels rejected, he simply asks Melania to put on her latest Ralph Lauren outfits and slowly unbutton them for him down to her Ralph Lauren lingerie. Then the country will grow again.

Curious George said...

"Maybe to a painting of George W. Bush: Oh, George! How I miss you now! How good you were to let us trash you for 8 years and never to stoop to attacking us, like your miserable successor!"

That would be Obama, not Trump.

Phidippus said...

Our patient Hostess is showing signs of finally being worn down by the mendacity of the media/Dimocrat complex.

It's been along road, but I suspect that it will prove irreversible.

Bilwick said...

Judging by the policies they advocate, the Democratic presidential candidates get their inspiration by talking to paintings of Karl Marx.

Michael K said...

Nixon walked all around at night, in good times and bad.

He kept a notepad at bedside to write ideas down that occurred to him in the night. He would call Buchanan late at night and early in the morning but he was not as abusive a boss as LBJ.

buwaya said...

A theory out of right field -

The problem is that much of the bien-pensant chorus is Jewish (yes, I know this could be construed as anti-semitic, but it is what it is) - or works in a heavily Jewish subculture, or was educated by mostly Jewish faculty.

While reading Stanley Karnow's "In Our Image" (in spite of its flaws, well worth your time, go get it on Amazon), it became clear that he just didn't "get" the idea of martyrdom, which was crucial to his subject. And he admits it. It seems to me this may be a Jewish blind spot, a very curious one.

rcocean said...

Nixon was an workaholic and often worked past midnight. He often couldn't sleep, hence the midnight walk to the Lincoln memorial in 1970(?) where he talked to "the kids". i wouldn't doubt he talked to Presidential paintings. Like someone said, ,there's nothing wrong with talking yourself, as long as you don't answer yourself back.

Trump doesn't talk to himself, the calls other people up at all hours and chats.



rcocean said...

Woodward's "The Final Days" was like porn for the Nixon hating liberals. How they loved that book. Probably reading it over and over to relieve the glorious humiliation of "Tricky Dick". Finally, revenge for Hiss and "The Pink Lady".

Howard said...

Nixon wasn't a sociopath, therefore expresses guilt and remorse.

JAORE said...

Today's goal:
Another article with Trump and Nixon included.

Nixon really stinks it up in our focus groups.

n.n said...

Buttons... bottoms.

narciso said...

which is significant, because Kathy Scruggs sources got it wrong and not only jewell was detained but eric Rudolph was able to get away and bomb an abortion clinic and a gay nightclub, their naval gazing is extraordinary,

re Nixon, if it wasn't for the airlift that was enabled by Kissinger, likely Israel might have been overrun in 1973, or they might have had to employ nukes, which might have made things very messy,

mccullough said...

The NY Times knows its readership.

They will keep lighting their readership’s hash pipe through Trump’s re-election. Then light it again.