It’s getting harder and harder to believe Trump doesn’t drink

The most powerful man in the world feels so picked on by these people that he lashes out like a middle-schooler writing in a slam book.

The most powerful man in the world feels so picked on by these people that he lashes out like a middle-schooler writing in a slam book.

A guy is up at 3 a.m. spewing out Tweets that are nearly or completely incoherent (covfefe!), filled with offensive vitriol, lashing out at everyone who has ever — in his surly, dim perception — done him wrong. Especially if they’re women. The next day, everyone who knows him is in an uproar. The whole world, including some of his friends, says this must stop! The next night, he does it again.

This is a classic pattern, right? So how is it possible that there’s not alcohol, or some other intoxicant, involved?

And yet, we are so often reassured, the man who Tweeted that gross effusion about Mika Brzezinski — just the latest in a sickening, unending series (it still blows my mind that a president of the United States finds time to tweet more than I do) — does not touch strong drink. There’s a compelling, tragic backstory to this — Trumps older brother, an alcoholic, died at 42.

And I continue to believe it.

But how, then, do we explain the Tweets? Or the rest of his behavior, for that matter? But the Tweets seem the perfect distillation of all this other unhinged behavior, set down in writing and shared with all…

What grown man who is sober would write about a woman, “She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!” (Especially when there’s no truth in it.) A sober 12-year-old might. But not a sober grownup, under any circumstances.

Oh, and by the way — I cited above the pattern of middle-of-the-night Tweets. This wasn’t even that. The two Tweets leading to the latest uproar went out at 8:52 a.m. and six minutes later. You know, at a time you’d expect a POTUS to be getting his morning intelligence briefing, or making calls to Congress to try to pass his agenda, or meeting with foreign dignitaries, or something other than watching a TV show and obsessing about how much he hates the hosts, and publishing rude, crude comments about them — the sort of childish, mindless insults that kids wrote in “slam books” when I was in middle school.

If Trump were a guy who started drinking at breakfast, like Winston Churchill, this would make some kind of sense.

But once you take alcohol out of the mix, how do you explain it?

88 thoughts on “It’s getting harder and harder to believe Trump doesn’t drink

  1. Mark Stewart

    Trump is mentally unhinged, that’s how. I can believe that he is an insomniac – and being alone all night with his thoughts drives him to these horrendous displays of his self-loathing.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        I generally have a black rum and ginger ale (a simplified Dark and Stormy) with dinner, and sometimes another for dessert.

        And after I do so, I get very careful about tweeting. I sort of become extra wary about making an error of judgment.

        But that’s from all those years of training.

        My friend the late Les Seago (the man who told the world Elvis was dead — but before he told the world, he told me) observed once over a couple of beers, at a moment when I thought my workday was over, that a real newspaperman could write the greatest story of his career after drinking. An hour or less later, I unexpectedly ended up having to file a front-pager about Teddy Kennedy and health care, from a panel discussion that featured a young guy from Arkansas named Bill Clinton. This was at the Democrats’ mid-term convention in Memphis in 1978.

        So I guess I showed Les I was a real newspaperman. Being such a rookie reporter, I was proud.

        Les was the kind of crusty, old-school reporter who gave advice like that.

        My point is, years of experience as a journalist makes you able to file a coherent, articulate, mature, responsible report fit to publish even when artificially relaxed a bit. I don’t advise it you understand, but it can be done. (Provided you have the Right Stuff, you miserable pudknocker!)

        But some people are incapable of that when stone cold sober. The president of the United States is one of those…

      2. Juan Caruso

        Some are quickly losing the paucity of any remaining credibility.

        Apparently a few prominent contributors believe they possess both training and licensure to spout inflammatory rhetoric and to diagnose illness (e.g. “mentally unhinged”). I urge them to continue exposing their utter lack of objectivity by tying themselves to the fake news MSM, which prizes its “full press coutship with the DNC (c).”

        Trump makes points with disciplined voters and critical thinkers who have long despised the maneuvering of Comey and transparent (and illegal?) conflicts of interest of Andrew McCabe.

        We suspect many of the “conservative republicans” touted in Bradwarthen (e.g. Lindset Graham, John McCain) are mired in Washington waste, fraud, abuse and corruption held ransom by the ill-gotten unmasking of the prior administration.

        1. Mark Stewart

          Take a look at the video of Trump exiting Air Force One and being unable to locate his Presidential limo, Juan. Facts are facts.

          1. Doug Ross

            Oh yeah, that seals it. There couldn’t be any other reason but full on, mentally unhinged. Your expert diagnosis is complete.

            1. Doug Ross

              The fact that he usually takes the Marine One helicopter from Air Force One and was walking toward that instead of the limo couldn’t POSSIBLY have anything to do with his confusion. Nope, dementia. That’s the only possible answer.

              This is what it must have felt like to be an Obama hater waiting to pounce on every word that came out of his mouth as an example of his Muslim or Socialist sympathies.

              1. Mark Stewart

                Doug, you are the happiest of contrarians.

                Did I agree with everything Obama did? No. Did I agree with everything Bush did? No. Did I agree with some things each did? Yes. Were they both reasonably qualified to be President? Maybe, but I’m leaning well toward yes.

                Is Trump qualified to be President? Absolutely not. If the stark difference here is not apparent to you, you are simply not paying attention (or are just gleefully lobing verbal Molotov cocktails).

                1. Doug Ross

                  “Is Trump qualified to be President?”

                  He met all the Constitutional requirements and was elected. That’s all the qualifications required. You don’t like him. That’s not basis for disqualification. I didn’t vote for him and don’t support him (except for some of his policies). But I don’t spend my waking hours getting bent out of shape about his every word, movement, and action. The level of hysteria is amazing. A single tweet about a ditzy TV entertainer/news reader generated a massive conniption fit from the media.

                  We’re six months in and the biggest issue so far has been a few tweets… everything else has been following basically the plan he laid out to get elected. Sure, he’s seeing what it’s like to work with a self-interested group like Congress so he can’t do things as he did in his business.

                  Sadly, too many people are waiting breathlessly for him to start a war with North Korea so they can say, “See!!! See!! We told you so!!” But what would Hillary be doing today with North Korea that would be any better?

                2. Scout

                  “But what would Hillary be doing today with North Korea that would be any better?”

                  Probably not openly insulting the generally acknowledged mentally unstable leader who almost has nuclear weapons.

                3. Brad Warthen Post author

                  “He met all the Constitutional requirements and was elected”

                  Yeah. Hamilton, Madison et al. kept the qualifications minimal, relying on the Electoral College to keep out someone like Trump.

                  Then, we messed up the Electoral College…

            2. Richard

              Shhh… it’s the best they’ve got this week. These were likely the same people who would have said Gerald Ford was physically unable to serve because he tripped on a step.

  2. Phillip

    Speaking of irrational leaders, did you see this latest explanation from Kim Jong-Un of his country’s wish to keep the rest of the world guessing? Apparently North Korea’s desire is to create “the overwhelming feeling is that we are unpredictable; they [other nations] don’t know exactly what we are going to do…It has kept them more on alert, of not wanting to get on the wrong side of us…They no longer look at us as one they can just push over.”

    Not a recipe for regional or global stability, is it? Oh wait a second….my mistake, that wasn’t Kim Jong-Un that said that, that was actually Nikki Haley.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      As you know, I’ve been amazed at how well my girl Nikki has been doing in her new job, considering her complete lack of preparation for it (although think about it — her particular strengths tend to be ones that help in diplomacy).

      But this is the second time today her judgment has been called into question.

      Here’s the other one:

      1. Phillip

        Actually that tweet by Nikki is far more offensive than Trump’s Mika tweet, especially considering the accompanying picture, the glee on her face as she boasts of reducing peacekeeping efforts.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          In fairness, I doubt that’s an actual picture of her making the announcement.

          And I want to know more about cutting the peacekeeping budget. Maybe she’s claiming to have cut that much waste out of the program while still doing the same amount of peacekeeping.

          If so, announcing it in a tweet probably isn’t the best approach…

          1. Phillip

            I find it really hard to see how an impartial observer could say that Haley has been doing a good job. You write of her skills being helpful for diplomacy, but I see little evidence of diplomacy from her. Instead, I see threats to withhold funding for various UN agencies on the basis of countries daring to oppose the US viewpoint on given issues; finger-wagging and threats to “take names” of countries that again, dare to oppose the US; blathering on to Congress about the virtues of an inconsistent, incoherent foreign policy which in reality to greater global instability; and now, grinning ear-to-ear about cuts to peacekeeping missions with the promise to cut more.

            Haley is demonstrably one of the lightest-educated, least-prepared US ambassadors to the UN, ever. However, I’ll grant that you don’t need to know much about the world if you don’t give much of a crap about other countries or other peoples, or the very idea of why the United Nations and its various agencies were created.

            She’s no diplomat; she’s the mouthpiece at the UN of a flailing, uncertain, insecure giant, and the views of a flailing and insecure leader. (Don’t you just love her comment to Congress about the US, with a military nearly greater than the rest of the world combined, no longer being a nation that other nations “can just push over.” ? You mentioned Nixon above—-don’t you hear paranoia in that comment? I think she marches to Trump’s beat—or maybe Bannon’s—on foreign policy to a much greater degree than is generally acknowledged).

            1. Right

              Haley is just the latest figurehead for the longstanding mindset that exists in some circles that sees the UN as essentially the enemy of US interests.

            2. Brad Warthen Post author

              “I find it really hard to see how an impartial observer could say that Haley has been doing a good job.”

              It’s an expectations game.

              She is nothing like the disaster one might have expected her to be, given her utter lack of credentials and the fact that she works for Donald J. Trump.

              You condemn her for following the Trump line. Well, what do you expect an ambassador to do? In fact, normally, one would expect a U.N. ambassador to be completely in line with the administration.

              Yet the story I keep reading, written by people actually covering her (which I am not), is the extent to which she runs against the Trump grain when she can. And I find myself impressed that she manages to do that and get away with it.

              This kind of reminds me of the way a lot of my liberal friends react to Lindsey Graham. They praise him, sometimes grudgingly but other times generously, when he bucks the extremists in his party, from the xenophobes to Trump (that was redundant, wasn’t it?). But then they turn around and condemn him overall for frequently acting like a conservative Republican — which is what he is!

              People on the right HATE him as a heretic for the times he opposes them on principle, and people on the left never warm up to him enough to defend him, because they see, rightly, that he is not a liberal Democrat. So he has no large and passionate constituency that he can get comfortable with, which keeps him in a sort of political limbo. He walks a tightrope, condemned from glass-half-empty people on both sides.

              When I see a man frequently doing the right and noble thing even though it seriously damages his relationship with his party’s base, I applaud. I don’t expect him to become a liberal Democrat — since I’m not one myself, I have no desire to see that.

              And when I see Nikki working around her lunatic boss and saying sensible things now and then, without getting fired, I am impressed. I don’t condemn her for doing what her boss wants sometimes. You know why? Because she could easily be replaced, in an instant, by someone who enthusiastically does what Trump wants ALL the time…

              1. On the other hand...

                Somebody like Bruce Bartlett – former ranking official in the Reagan and G.W.H. Bush Administrations and died-in-wool conservative – sees things pretty much the opposite of the way you do. Rather than rewarding token “good Republicans,” he believes the party needs a harsh lesson by being dealt a withering defeat at the polls: “Goldwater plus Watergate rolled into one.” Only then, he says, can it begin to right itself by throwing off its lunatic elements. “Creative destruction,” you might call it.


  3. bud

    Continuing to rant about Trump’s irrational behavior about Mika is counterproductive at this point. It only serves to embolden his base. Time to move on.

      1. bud

        LOL! This isn’t different. Republicans have pushed back a zillion times. But at the end of the day this is the party of Trump now and they’ll be back singing his praises in a few days. We seem to be stuck in a Ground Hog Day syndrome and with an unusually consistent approval around 40% it is unlikely to change soon. I suspect in a couple of weeks we’ll be discussing some new outrageous tweet storm. We could just some typing work by simply saving these comments and doing a cut and paste.

        1. Richard

          And why would a native Hawaiian have his Presidential Library located in Illinois? Doesn’t sound like he considers Hawaii his home state.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              No. Unlike Obama, I wasn’t born there and didn’t grow up there. In fact, I only lived there slightly over a year.

              “Home state” is tricky for military brats. Mine, I can now say with some confidence, is South Carolina — which also happens to be where I was born.

              But if it hadn’t been for my moving back here with my family in 1987, I’m not sure I could honestly say that. The place where I had lived the longest in my life at that point was Jackson, Tennessee.

              I was born in SC — in Bennettsville — and growing up, I spent most of my summers here. And up to the time I was 4, my Dad managed to get stationed here mostly. But for 30 years, from 1957 to 1987, I made my year-round home in other places — except for one school year, 1967-68, when we stayed in Bennettsville while my Dad was in Vietnam.

              But now that I’ve been back here for 30 years, and my children have mostly grown up here (and the youngest was born here), and all my grandchildren have been born here, I can say I’m really home.

              On the other hand, I’m guessing Burl sees Hawaii as home, even though he wasn’t born there (I think). He had been there several years when I met him in high school. Then, after college at the University of Missouri, he has spent his whole adult life there.

              It’s complicated…

  4. Burl Burlingame

    In Hawaii, we don’t think of Obama as a black guy. We think of him as a Punahou grad. That makes a great deal of sense only if you live here.

  5. Doug Ross

    As dumb as Trump’s tweets were, I was more disturbed in the past by incidents like George Bush standing on a golf course making a supposedly serious statement about terrorism and then saying “Okay, now watch this drive!” It exemplified the phony posturing of Bush and his cavalier attitude toward sending troops into harm’s way. The media didn’t really cover that incident with the same hyperbolic fervor they have for Trump now. Think about it – a couple tweets written in about 30 seconds by Trump generate DAYS of commentary and analysis! MSNBC is LOVING the attention.

    Trump’s brand of crass boorishness is just as bad in my view as the Bush and Obama staged photo ops — remember Obama’s beer with the Harvard professor and the cop accused of racial profiling in 2009? Every aspect of that P.R. move was choreographed for public consumption — right down to Obama’s rolled up shirt sleeves.

    1. Doug Ross

      They aren’t equivalent. When Trump sends thousands of American soldiers to their death over phony WMDs, then we can talk. When Trump triples the deficit, then we can talk.

      Trump’s a boor. Bush was a pawn. Obama lacked the skills to be an effective leader and was the most packaged President yet. Made for TV, not for getting things done.

  6. bud

    Has anyone seen the video of Trump getting off Airforce 1 and then wandering off clueless away from the waiting limo? There is more and more evidence that this man is mentally breaking down. These are very scary times. I say it’s time for the 25th aammendment solution to our national nightmare.

    1. Doug Ross

      No. Nobody has seen it. You were the first. You’ve got the scoop on Trump’s incapacity. Get ready for President Pence (or is he also mentally challenged)?

      Meanwhile, Justice Kennedy is likely stepping down before next year’s midterms. He has been telling potential clerks not to expect him to be there after next year. The Supreme Court will be tilted right no matter what Democrats do with Trump.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        … which is the least of my worries.

        In fact, it’s not a worry at all, as long as Trump picks someone as qualified as Gorsuch. Here’s hoping he listens again to whomever he listened to before…

      2. bud

        We’re stuck with right wing ideologues on the SCOTUS. And a huge amount of damage will be done. But let’s at least not have a POTUS who is suffering with dementia. That has a gigantic potential for catastrophic damage.

          1. Doug Ross

            If it requires a 2/3 majority vote of Congress, we’ll sooner see Hillary Clinton in the White House.

            Democrats are now the raving lunatic obstructionists that many Republicans were during the Obama administration. The hypocrisy is blatant.

            Instead of worrying about what Trump tweeted today, how about trying to pass some bills, present some new ideas? Trump’s approval rating will never sink lower than that of Congress.

          2. bud

            Nothing will come of 25A until things get worse to the point where Republicans are no longer in denial. Ultimately even Melania will be scared enough to want him out of office. But it will take some sort of trigger like Trump streaking down Pennsylvania Ave for his super loyal cabinet members to come around. Even then he’s likely to have his defenders.

        1. Bryan Caskey

          “We’re stuck with right wing ideologues on the SCOTUS. And a huge amount of damage will be done.”

          Trump has an pretty fair chance of appointing three Justices and that’s only in his first term. I don’t know what the average number of Supreme Court appointees that fate gives to a president, but this seems high.

          1. Doug Ross

            All part of Putin’s plan to stack the Supreme Court with conservatives. He’s a diabolical genius!

            I for one will not be sad if it means no more Soto-Mayor’s or Ginsburgs in the next few decades.

          2. Bryan Caskey

            “We’re stuck with right wing ideologues on the SCOTUS. And a huge amount of damage will be done.”

            Yes, it will be awful. We’ll have Justices who, while contemplating a statute, think about sticking with the actual text rather than contemplating emanations and penumbras. It’s gonna be awful. Yes, I kid, I kid.

            Actually, if we get a more textualist SCOTUS, it will lessen the Court’s importance…which is a good thing. The Court won’t be such a political battlefield. The Court will more often essentially say “This law says what it says, and if you don’t like it, don’t ask us to twist ourselves up into rhetorical knots to see it differently. Go talk to Congress and ask them to change it. Getting the Court out of the business of making value judgments will be a great thing.

              1. bud

                Scalia is vastly over rated as a textualist. Glossip vs Gross proved that. I don’t pretend to be a legal scholar but I can read. Cruel and unusual means, well, cruel and unusual.

                1. Bryan Caskey

                  Which part of his concurrence do you take issue with in Glossip v. Gross as not being a textualist? Is it when Scalia states:

                  “It is impossible to hold unconstitutional that which the Constitution explicitly contemplates.”

                  Personally, I like his last paragraph:

                  “Capital punishment presents moral questions that philosophers, theologians, and statesmen have grappled with for millennia. The Framers of our Constitution disagreed bitterly on the matter. For that reason, they handled it the same way they handled many other controversial issues: they left it to the People to decide. By arrogating to himself the power to overturn that decision, Justice Breyer does not just reject the death penalty, he rejects the Enlightenment.”

                  Frankly, he dismantles Breyer’s entire line of reasoning.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    “he rejects the Enlightenment”

                    Quite right, too. A lot of freethinkers, radicals and vile Whigs, that’s what they were! Not a right seaman among them…

                2. bud

                  Actually I find those comments rather arrogant and condescending. The court was deciding what is cruel and unusual. Breyer sees the death penalty in general as cruel and unusual. That’s the court’s job. But more specific to the type of execution in this case Scalia made thi bizarre claim it was the responsibility of the condemned to recommend a less cruel way to be killed. Huh?

  7. Bob Amundson

    This is a big week for POTUS, with the G-20 summit (and a meeting with Putin), a pending EU-Japan trade deal, and North Korea continuing to surprise intel with their rocket technology. If there is a rabbit to be pulled out of the hat, now is the time …

      1. bud

        Brad I’m as horrified as anyone about Trump. Dougs remarks are really bizarre. But it is a head scratcher how you were so completely and utterly oblivious to George Ws horrifying behavior. You didn’t give that lying bastard 1/100th the amount of grief you give Trump. Trump is likely mentally ill but so far at least he hasn’t lied us into war.

        1. Bart Rogers

          bud, do you take a peek under your bed and inside your closet before retiring for the night just to be sure GWB is not hiding under or in either, waiting to jump out at you? If you think Trump is delusional, maybe it would be a good idea for you to stop and consider how you come across in your obvious hatred and obsession with GWB.

          It frightens me when I drive through Columbia that you may be on the road, thinking about GWB, getting angrier and angrier, forgetting what you are doing and broadsiding me or someone else. I think you are the one who needs to get some help for your obsessive and compulsive hatred for GWB.

          Here, have a quote for you from Edmund Burke you can print out and think about GWB every time you read it.

          “I cannot conceive any existence under heaven (which in the depths of its wisdom, tolerates all sorts of things), that is more truly odious and disgusting, than an impotent, helpless creature , without civil wisdom or military skill, without a consciousness of any other qualification for power but his servility to it, bloated with pride and arrogance, calling for battles which he is not to fight, contending for a violent dominion which he can never exercise, and satisfied to be himself mean and miserable, in order to render others contemptible and wretched.”

          I had intended to use it to describe Trump but after reading one more of your tirades against GWB, thought you might need it to feed your paranoia about GWB.

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  His language seemed fairly moderate.

                  It’s been pointed out here before that some of our friends and regulars still exhibit symptoms of Bush Derangement Syndrome. We just haven’t discussed it much lately since for the past eight or so years, the Obama strain of the disease has been so much more prevalent…

  8. bud

    Ok I’ll tone down the GWB rhetoric but it is striking how someone who was so clearly dishonest got such a pass from Brad yet Trump is a daily, even hourly target of his wrath. I don’t like Trump either but as much fun as it is to bash him it is counterproductive in that it buttresses the mindset of his supporters that the media is unfairly out to get him. With the Supreme Court about to become a right wing bludgeon for all manner of reactionary causes; congress focused on tax cuts and pushing grandma off a cliff I say it’s time to shift resources toward other threats. The Trump problem will likely take care of itself once we get a couple of bad job reports or he gets caught squatting on the White House lawn.

    1. Bart Rogers

      Sorry bud but Bush didn’t lie. He had bad intel and advice from the likes of his Vice President and a few others around him who wanted a war to finish what had been started under the administration of GHWB in Iraq. The intel agencies for the US were not competent enough due to the decimation of the agencies under Clinton. I.E., no boots on the ground in the ME. Reliance on other countries for intel was not a good move and there was a rush to go into Iraq. However, if you will do some research with an open mind, you will find that years before GWB was elected, Democrat after Democrat went before the public calling for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, declaring he had WMDs, and Clinton made regime change in Iraq policy. If not mistaken, in 2003, Bill Clinton in an interview stated with certainty that when he left office, Saddam Hussein did possess WMDs.

      The information coming in was confusing and much of it was distorted but that was not known until well after the fact. During that time and it is easy to forget in the “fog of politics” in lieu of the “fog of war”, the United States was still on edge and our daily lives had been through some very dramatic changes, changes unlike anything since Pearl Harbor and it was still very much present in the psyche of the general population and our military.

      FDR already had a war in Europe and the Far East going when he was POTUS and Pearl Harbor was a no-brainer. Yet even today, many conspiracy theorists are convinced FDR knew Japan was planning to bomb Pearl Harbor and some accuse him of knowing the day and date. GWB didn’t have a war already underway when he took office but within a few months, he was handed one and without a real warning it was actually going to happen. That is how bad our intel was at the time, unreliable.

      I can understand intensely disliking a politician’s policies or ideology but not disliking the individual to the degree of denigrating and slanderous language waged against him or her. I was not a fan of Obama and never hid the fact but I don’t hate or even dislike the man. If anything, given the opportunity to get to know him one on one without politics or ideology involved, we could be friends. As a matter of interest, one of my closest friends is about as liberal as one can get without being a far leftist. He and I would do anything for each other and we respect each other’s position on every issue we do discuss. And at times, he changes my mind and conversely, I change his on occasion. That is the way it should work and when we part company or end a conversation, we are still close friends.

      1. bud

        Sorry Bart but I respectfully, and strongly, disagree. W wanted a war with Iraq. There was plenty of intel suggesting they were no threat. Yet they tossed out phrases like “mushroom clouds” and “there is no doubt” and “we know where they are, north, south, east and west of Baghdad”. They described aluminum tubes as suitable for centrifuges when they were not. And made weather balloons into chemical labs. Remember the inspectors were forced out of Iraq so W could have his war. It was all a show. The Bush administration lied us into war. The evidence is crystal clear on that. We just have to learn this lesson. Sadly some people still just don’t get it.

          1. Doug Ross

            If he didn’t lie, he and Cheney did influence and cull the intelligence gathering process to achieve their desired outcome. Who was going to say “There are no WMD’s” to Bush/Cheney? Then they trotted out Colin Powell to the U.N. to present a case based on shaky evidence, blurry photos, etc.

            And in the end, what did we achieve? A whole lot of lives lost, billions of dollars spent, and no real difference overall. We did create a bunch of relatives of innocent people who were killed who will continue to breed future terrorists.

            1. Doug Ross

              I’ll start considering impeachment for Trump when everyone agrees that banging an intern in the Oval Office and lying about it was also grounds for impeachment. Surely that’s worse than sending out tweets about a talking head’s facelift?

  9. Bryan Caskey

    Re-litigating the Iraq war decision again, huh? It’s like Groundhog Day in here sometimes.

    Just to keep it interesting, can we re-litigate some other war decisions from history? You know, just to keep it interesting for the sports fans scoring at home…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      OK, as long as it’s not Vietnam. That’s also fruitless.

      Can we agree that assassinating the Archduke was a bad thing, in hindsight?

      1. Bryan Caskey

        Yes, and I believe the Archduke was actually not so much of a hardliner on Serbia. In the book I read about the lead up and first part of the war in Serbia and Austro-Hungary (which you have on loan) the author goes into detail about how the Archduke was more of a moderate on Serbia.

        The Russians were absolutely ruthless coming down on the Austro-Hungarians who were woefully unprepared to face the Russian steamroller.

      1. Bart Rogers

        Maybe, maybe not. There was a serial killer who confessed and his brother said he sent their mother the angel pin Nichole was wearing that night. So, maybe he did it and O.J. may have hired him. Plus O.J. just didn’t seem to be physically fit enough, especially his knees, to have killed her and Ron Goldman without getting some cuts, bruises, and scratches. Ron Goldman was probably in better shape than O.J.

        Will remove tin foil hat now and join the world of the sane.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Well, you certainly paid more attention to it than I did. I did my best to ignore the whole hullabaloo, but some of it oozed into my consciousness nonetheless…

          1. Bart Rogers

            I guess you didn’t pay attention for your own reasons but it was such big news and the trial coverage was on what seemed to be 24/7, if anyone watched television or read any publication, there was no way to avoid it. As for the serial killer’s confession, that was a program aired much later, just a few years ago. It got my attention when the brother told about the angel pin. Otherwise, it was mostly background noise.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              I didn’t pay attention because 1) I didn’t find it very interesting, and 2) I thought the nation had gone stark raving mad over it, and I disapproved of the attention and news resources lavished on it rather than more important matters.

              I wrote a column about the reactions to the verdict that I observed. But I didn’t run it. In the end, I didn’t have a point to make; it was just observations.

              I ran across a printout of the column years later, and it was pretty good, and in retrospect I should have run it. It was about the night and day reactions between black and white people in a group I watched while they watched the verdict. The phenomenon I was observing was important, and the cognitive gap between the races was a problem that is still with us, big-time. But I ditched it because I couldn’t think of a solution to offer.

              Which in retrospect seems a dumb reason not to run it, but this was early in my tenure in editorial, and back then I felt a great obligation to be prescriptive…

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Wow, I just looked back to see when that was. It was on my birthday in 1995. I’d been in editorial less than two years then. I was still an associate editor — I wouldn’t be editorial page editor until 1997.

                I guess that’s why I wasn’t yet as confident as I should have been in my column-writing…

    2. Harry Harris

      I found a book still in a South Carolina HS library collection (around 2005) that was published by the John Birch Society. I read the first part, and it was mainly blaming FDR for getting us into World War II. It hadn’t been checked out in decades, but was part of the ten books per student count. I guess there are multiple sides to any issue.

      1. Bart Rogers

        Ever listen to the Chad Mitchell Trio sing the 1962 John Birch Society song? Hilarious! You can find it on YouTube.

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