Charles Brian Orner
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The Sostenuto Blog

About That Anonymous Op-Ed


The paper of record stepped somewhat outside it's rarefied editorial standards yesterday to publish an inarguably important but unenlightening op-end from an anonymous source inside the White House. I read it three times, not because it was edifying, but because it was edifying for all the wrong reasons. It did not tell us anything that we did not already know about either the president* or the hapless sycophants who support him. It fully confirmed the pre-publication excerpts from Bob Woodward's forthcoming jeremiad. It was entirely consistent with less formal pronouncements from the rapidly-growing list of former administration officials both on and off the record. And it comports with both widespread public observation and common sense. What it did offer, however, is unequivocal confirmation that the people in this administration, and this person in particular, are utterly spineless.

Anonymity in these matters is the opposite of courage. The central issue is that this individual has decided that the creeping constitutional crisis that he reports, and that his behavior actually perpetuates, is somehow of greater value and importance than his continued gainful employment by a man who is inarguably a traitor, a criminal, and a fascist. This is not the choice of a patriot. This is the choice of a coward. Happily, it won't take long to figure out who it was; no effort was made to disguise the writing style, and in any case the number of possible candidates is small.

A patriot would resign in the open, speak to whomever will listen, and shine some actionable sunlight on the darkest recesses of this authoritarian shithole. A patriot would document these goings-on contemporaneously, and would secure legal oversight to verify and reinforce their veracity. A patriot would immediately open a channel with Robert Mueller, and testify under oath. The author is a patriot in some other universe, perhaps, but not in this one.

The author would have us believe that there are, in fact, adults in the room, and that they are thwarting the worst impulses of the president. There is no evidence to support this assertion whatsoever. Last time I checked, thousands of innocent immigrant children were violently separated from their parents because the president*, the author, and the entire Republican party have descended into unreconstructed white nationalism. Last time I checked, the president*, the author, and the entire Republican party supported the literal theft a SCOTUS seat by the Senate majority leader, who aside from Trump himself is probably the least honorable man in the country, and among the most destructive to the body politic in the history of the nation. Last time I checked, the president*, the author, and the entire Republican party had done absolutely nothing to thwart electoral malfeasance from Russia, let alone redress the decades-long disenfranchisement of the American electorate through gerrymandering, voter roll purges, and ID card legislation. Last time I checked, these flaming morons actually believe that minorities are inferior, the LGBTQ community is certifiable, and women do not have the right to control even their own bodies.

The most disturbing and disingenuous passage in the piece suggests that invocation of the 25th amendment had been discussed, but discarded in favor of avoiding a "constitutional crisis." This contention manages to be both spineless and stupid simultaneously. The 25th amendment is the primary passage in the constitution that has been designed to avoid a constitutional crisis though specific, constitutionally-prescribed means. It was designed to address precisely the circumstances that we now face-a president* who is categorically unfit for the job, and almost certainly mentally ill. The fact of the matter is that we're already in the middle of genuine constitutional crisis, as the president* routinely disregards the rule of law, dispenses with the norms of civility, and dishonors the office daily. The president* routinely violates the emoluments clause, cow-tows to authoritarian dictators, denigrates our allies, attacks private citizens, excoriates the fourth estate, and lies so compulsively and egregiously that nothing he says can be relied on by anyone, for any reason, ever. The author obviously knows this, or should. The only possible conclusion is that he, and every other wide-eyed lemming in the White House, lacks the courage to do what every sentient being on the planet knows needs to be done, and what the constitution requires.

The author proudly supports the Republican agenda, while failing to realize that that agenda is so extreme, and so unpopular with the vast majority of the American public, that it is ONLY thorough the outrageous and illegal behavior of a man-child demagogue that it could possibly be legislated into law. Yet he claims to be the adult in the room, thwarting precisely the behaviors that enable such extremism. Nobody with a brain believes this.

There are no adults in any room in the White House. There are craven sycophants, white-nationalist jackasses, and cowards. To a greater or lesser degree, the author is all three. He is no patriot. If he actually had a spine, he'd resign.


Brian Orner