I have refrained, until now, from commenting on what has become a spectacle on cable news, and more generally, of former Trump acolytes and attack dogs, namely Anthony Scaramucci and Joe Walsh, now turning on the president in harsh rhetoric that calls into question not only his fitness for office, but his general fitness of mind and morality.
response from the press and the public has been what is to be expected. Both of
these men make for good television, if by good television you mean bold
statements uttered without irony. They can fill news cycles with no shortage of
provocative source material and consequently hours of pundit pontificating.
Meanwhile, many remember these men for the outrages they peddled over the years
and thus react with understandable revulsion at what can easily be dismissed as
I do not
know what lies in these men's hearts. And I don't really care to judge their
motives. The more important consideration is what do their roles in the drama
of our times say about the larger political landscape. Are they just bit
players to be ignored? After all what they are saying has already been said by
many. Or is there any reason to pay heed?
argue that what these men are saying is significant. And it doesn't matter what
drives them. If they are merely political opportunists, it only enhances the
importance of their message. Because what their voices mean is that Donald
Trump is losing the battle for the soul of this nation. That doesn't mean he
can't win reelection. But it does mean that many who are reading the currents
of history sense he occupies a place of weakness.
world where Donald Trump was winning, where his power was fearsome, where the
future was bending to his will, I don't think men like Walsh and Scaramucci
would be betting their futures on calling him out. Look at how authoritarians
throughout history have consolidated power and squelched dissent. President
Trump is doing the opposite.
And in a
world where criticism of Donald Trump was difficult to focus, amorphous, and
without a strong foundation of truth, the lines of attack from these men would
not land with such force and precision. They are further reinforcing many of
the denunciations of President Trump that are defining his public image for
tens of millions of Americans: his immorality, recklessness, corruption,
narcissism, incompetence, and so on.
newly minted antagonists like Scaramucci and Walsh are saying is that Donald
Trump is deeply flawed and it's not hard to point to countless reasons why.
these men should not be allowed to crowd out other voices. They must answer for
their previous statements. Their actions in the past and in the future should
not be graded on a curve. But those who see themselves as the resistance, who
are dismayed by what President Trump has done and fear deeply the damage yet to
come, should be heartened by voices like Scaramucci and Walsh. They represent
cracks in the foundational belief that this president will hold on to his base
no matter what and that he is not bound by the realities of political physics.
Perhaps these men have really had a change of heart and have, as they both have
said, seen the damage of their past selves. But even if they are more like weathervanes
spinning around their own axes of personal aggrandizement it still means the
winds of fate for Donald Trump are shifting. And that is important.
Dan Rather, Dan Rather's Facebook Page