Presty the DJ for March 29

The number one British single today in 1963 may make you tap your foot:

Today in 1966, Mick Jagger got in the way of a chair thrown onto the stage during a Rolling Stones concert in Marseilles, France.

The title and artist are the same for the number one album today in 1969:

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for March 29”


Real problems and not-really-problems

Jim Geraghty:

John Blake at CNN wants you to get really upset about the use of “digital blackface,” which he describes as white people sharing images or gifs of members of minority groups on social media.

There are also people who want you to get really upset with John Blake and CNN for proposing such an idea. …

But while some people want you to spend valuable time and neurons contemplating whether it is moral for white people to share images and gifs of minority groups on social media, the world keeps turning; real news keeps occurring; real life-and-death situations keep developing, starting, and resolving themselves.

Ukraine is the world’s biggest news story that somehow only pops up above the noise of the news cycle once every two weeks or so. Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is now saying he intends to move some of Russia’s tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus, which has been used as a staging ground for Russian forces invading Ukraine:

Moscow will complete the construction of a special storage facility for tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus by the beginning of July, Putin told state broadcaster Russia 1.

He said Moscow had already transferred an Iskander short-range missile system, a device which can be fitted with nuclear or conventional warheads, to Belarus.

During the interview, Putin said Russia had helped Belarus convert 10 aircraft to make them capable of carrying tactical nuclear warheads and would start training pilots to fly the re-configured planes early next month.

(Read more background on the Russian arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons here.)

The Biden administration doesn’t seem particularly worried, and perhaps this is just more of the nuclear saber-rattling we’ve seen from Putin, on and off, since the invasion began. Yesterday, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on CBS News’ Face the Nation that, “We have not seen any indication that he’s made good on this pledge or moved any nuclear weapons around. We’ve, in fact, seen no indication that he has any intention to use nuclear weapons period inside Ukraine.”

The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty is not vague about moving nuclear weapons to other countries. “Under Article I of the NPT, nuclear-weapon states pledge not to transfer nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices to any recipient or in any way assist, encourage or induce any non-nuclear-weapon state in the manufacture or acquisition of a nuclear weapon.” Russia signed the treaty, and now it sounds like Putin intends to ignore it.

Putin’s Russia has been a troublemaker for a long time — “our number one geopolitical foe” as Mitt Romney put it in 2012, to the laughter and scoffing of most of America’s Democrats, including the Obama administration. It is effectively a rogue state — or “state of concern,” to use the late Madeline Albright’s preferred term. About eleven months ago, I wrote, “Whatever happens next, the Russia we knew, or thought we knew, throughout much of the post–Cold War period is now long gone. What remains is something closer to a territorially giant North Korea with a much larger nuclear arsenal — paranoid, irrational, illogical, unpredictable, with serious questions of whether the leadership is getting accurately briefed on any issue.”

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union and KGB were arguably the world’s preeminent supporters of international terrorism, offering training and arms to just about any band of miscreants who opposed the U.S. and its allies. There’s some evidence that the German Red Army Faction, a far-left terrorist group in West Germany that sowed terror in that country in the Seventies and Eighties, was supported by a young KGB officer stationed in Dresden … by the name of Vladimir Putin.

The West is in this mess in large part because a wide variety of Western leaders underestimated the danger of Putin, year after year, decade after decade. Barack Obama dismissed Putin and Russia in 2016: “The Russians can’t change us or significantly weaken us. They are a smaller country, they are a weaker country, their economy doesn’t produce anything that anybody wants to buy except oil and gas and arms. They don’t innovate.”

The thing is, lots of places want to buy oil and gas and arms. And as we’ve seen for the past year, that “weaker” Russia can still generate chaos on the world stage.

Late last week, while thinking about the potential ban of TikTok, I noted that social media is effectively an attention economy. (Arguably, all forms of media are an attention economy.) It runs on your willingness to pay attention to things. Institutions and platforms that cannot get you to pay attention are doomed, at least financially. (This morning brings news that the 68-year-old liberal publication The Texas Observer is closing its doors for good.)

On a lot of social-media platforms, normal or healthy human behavior does not get you very much attention. Abnormal, unhealthy behavior gets you a great deal of attention. Young women drinking milkshakes out of toilets is the sort of thing that turns a lot of heads — and stomachs — in the world of TikTok.

TikTok, and perhaps social media as a whole, have created an entire incentive structure to spotlight the most abnormal behavior people can imagine, particularly among young people. If you do the things you’re supposed to do in life — love your family, be a good friend, work hard, play by the rules, help others when they need it — the TikTok algorithm just isn’t that interested. Maybe once in a while, your social-media algorithms will serve up something heartwarming, like those two toddlers who were so overjoyed to see to each other on the sidewalk. But by and large, your social-media feed is there to tell you, “This stinks, that stinks, look at this freak, look at what this weirdo is doing, aren’t human beings just the worst, we’re all doomed, the world is going to heck in a handbasket.” No wonder people think social media causes depression.

Now, look, it’s your life, and you’re free to pick whatever entertainment and news sources you like. (And hey, thanks for reading this newsletter.) A few years back, Tom Nichols was quite irked to learn some people enjoy watching other people play video games. My sense was and is that there isn’t that much difference between paying to watch people play electronic versions of stuff and paying to watch a CGI-filled movie, and that the world is always going to have people who choose to spend their disposable income and free time in ways you find dumb, wasteful, boring, or inane. If they’re not harming others or themselves, let them be.

But your attention is a valuable thing. Your time and attentiveness are finite, and each thing you read or watch is a choice. You might even think of it as a resource to be invested. Those social-media algorithms are designed to steer you in a particular direction. Contemplate whether you want to go down the path that the algorithms prefer.

Presty the DJ for March 27

Today in 1958, CBS Records announced it had developed stereo records, which would sound like stereo only on, of course, stereo record players.

The irony is that CBS’ development aided its archrival, RCA, which owned NBC but also sold record players:

For similar reasons NBC was the first network to do extensive color. NBC was owned by RCA, which sold TVs.

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for March 27”

Presty the DJ for March 26

The number one British single today in 1956 is an oxymoron, or describes an oxymoron:

Today in 1965, Rolling Stones Mick Jagger, Brian Jones and Bill Wyman were all shocked by a faulty microphone at a concert in Denmark. Wyman was knocked unconscious for several minutes.

The number one British single today in 1967:

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for March 26”

The greatest one-album band of all time

Rob Patterson:

“That thing was like lightning in a bottle,” begins our Bobby Whitlock interview in 2015 of his short-lived band with Eric Clapton, Derek and the Dominos. “We did one club tour, we did one photo session, then we did a tour of a bit larger venues. Then we did one studio album in Miami. We did one American tour. Then we did one failed attempt at a second album.” And all within about a year’s time in 1970.

So in this case, the oft-overused flash of lightning description is right on the money. And Whitlock was a key part of the kinetic energy behind what’s considered a genuine landmark in not just Clapton’s career but the entire classic rock genre: the 1970 album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, co-writing six of the double album’s 10 original songs (plus… read on), and bringing his soul-soaked Deep South keyboard skills to the musical mix, taking the vocal lead on two tracks and doubling/trading off with Clapton throughout the rest of the album.

Now, five decades later, he is the keeper of the Dominos legacy. And the dedicated survivor of a star-crossed band if there ever was one. Although today Clapton reigns as the major domo of 1960s rock guitar heroes alongside being a pop star, after the band’s short flash as a working act, he descended into some three years of heroin adduction and seclusion. Duane Allman, who played on most of Layla, was killed in a motorcycle crash on October 29, 1971. Bassist Carl Radle recorded and played with Clapton later in the ’70s and died of a kidney infection, exacerbated by his alcohol and drug abuse, in 1980 (see our On This Day item on him here). Drummer Jim Gordon as well continued to engage in substance abuse, damaging his career with behavioral issues. In 1983, he murdered his mother, claiming a voice in his head had told him to do so. He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and remained incarcerated until his death on March 13, 2023.

Although Whitlock, only 22 years old at the time, helped Clapton all but define anguished unrequited love in the most profound rock ‘n’ roll terms and tunes on songs like “Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad,” “Tell the Truth” and “I Looked Away,” his own ultimate love story is something quite different, and a rather delightful one at that. Though his post-Domino years were not without their struggles, today he’s blissfully married and in musical partnership with singer, bassist, guitarist, sax player, songwriter, recording engineer and producer CoCo Carmel. …

What dampened the lightning of the Dominos was “Everybody was doing entirely too much drugs and alcohol,” bemoans Whitlock, born on March 18, 1948. “And then Jimmy Gordon wanted everything that Eric had, he wanted to be a big superstar and wasn’t content and happy to be just the greatest drummer on the planet and in the very best band on the planet.”

Whitlock stresses that last point. “We were better than anybody.” One of the key elements that made them what he feels were the World’s Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Band for that all-too-brief time was Whitlock’s deep Southern musical soul. Growing up a preacher’s kid in a family poor as a church mouse, he was weaned on spiritual music (and did some cotton picking in his youth). Coming of age in Memphis, Whitlock was steeped in R&B in the city where white rock ‘n’ roll was born at Sun Studio.

By his teens Bobby was singing and playing Hammond B-3 organ around the region in his soul band The Counts, learning what really connects with an audience. He also started hanging around Stax Studio and was taken under the wings of the house band, Booker T. and the M.G.’s. He honed his organ skills watching Booker T. Jones play from over his shoulder. His first recording session “was [Issac] Hayes and [David] Porter” – then a Stax Records songwriting team – “and me doing handclaps on ‘I Thank You’” (Sam & Dave’s last Stax single and a 1968 #9 pop hit). “Everything had handclaps on it back then,” he notes.

“If you didn’t know ‘Midnight Hour’ or ‘Knock on Wood’ I didn’t wanna know about it.”

Whitlock was the first white act signed to Stax/Volt’s Hip label, but nothing came of it. “They didn’t have the same idea that I did about what I wanted to be,” he tells Best Classic Bands. “Stax was trying to get in on that English Invasion thing. They tried to develop me into that kind of artist, and that lasted about 15 seconds.” The next three years, however, launched him into a whirlwind within the rock music stratosphere and landed Whitlock amidst some top British Invasion stars.

Delaney & Bonnie came to Memphis to cut their first album, Home, at Stax, and afterwards Whitlock headed out to Los Angeles with them, becoming the first member of their “Friends” band, which came to include Radle and Gordon as well as other top players like drummer Jim Keltner, Leon Russell, horn players Bobby Keys, Jim Horn and King Curtis, both Gregg and Duane Allman at various points, singer Rita Coolidge and some English stars like Clapton, Harrison and Dave Mason. Nearly (and woefully) all but ignored today, Delaney & Bonnie and Friends at the juncture of the 1960s and ’70s were the most thrilling, red-hot rocking blue-eyed soul revue on the planet, tearing a page from the Ike & Tina Turner playbook and stamping it with their own imprint.

They so impressed Clapton that he took them on tour opening for Blind Faith. And when that short-lived supergroup broke up, he began playing with the group as just another member and had them play on his debut solo album. “That was a revolving door of musicians,” Whitlock explains of the band. Much as the music was awesome, “One thing with that band – nobody ever got fired. Everyone would quit… as soon as they could. I was the only one who waited until I couldn’t stand it any longer and then I quit.

“You can only take so much nonsense when people’s egos are running their lives,” he explains. “Being with them was an experience I wouldn’t ever want to do again. But it was great until the drugs and alcohol got involved.”

On the other hand, “I learned more from Delaney Bramlett than I can ever possibly recount. If I need something I can go to the well and there it is,” Whitlock stresses.

After Bobby left D&B in 1970, Clapton then invited him to come stay at his English country manor and collaborate on songs. “I asked my mentor Steve Cropper if I should do it, and he was like, ‘yeah!’”

“We were hanging out and writing songs and not even thinking, like, hey, let’s put a rock band together and get so and so and so and so. Nobody was making any plans. It was all about right now.

“Then George called….”

Whitlock, Clapton, Radle and Gordon became part of the core crew on the sessions for Harrison’s post-Beatles debut, All Things Must Pass. When Harrison had business elsewhere for a few days, he told the four to use the studio time with producer Phil Spector to cut some tracks, which yielded the debut Dominos 45, “Tell the Truth” b/w “Roll It Over.”

Whitlock says of Clapton, “He wanted to be Derek not Eric. He wasn’t ready to step into his role of as a solo artist at that time.” The four musicians did a show at London’s Lyceum Theater, and then set off on a tour of small English venues as Derek & the Dominos where the admission was £1, and Clapton’s name was forbidden to be used in any advertising.

In late August of ’70, the Dominos arrived at Criteria Studios in Miami to record with producer Tom Dowd. He took them to see the Allman Brothers Band, Clapton and Duane Allman bonded, and the latter joined the Layla sessions to help create some of the most incendiary dual guitar rock ever recorded. The album was suffused with Clapton’s passionate longing for his best friend Harrison’s wife Pattie Boyd – interestingly, while in England Whitlock dated her sister Paula – and even though it was only a middling hit on its release, over time its stature grew to become considered a rock ‘n’ roll masterpiece.

My personal favorite:

The song everyone has heard off this album, sung about someone for whom an entire multiple-artist album could be done:

Not surprisingly there are other versions of these songs:


Politicizing the already politicized

Charlie Sykes starts by quoting Alexander Hamilton (boldface is Sykes’ doing):

If, then, the courts of justice are to be considered as the bulwarks of a limited Constitution against legislative encroachments, this consideration will afford a strong argument for the permanent tenure of judicial offices, since nothing will contribute so much as this to that independent spirit in the judges which must be essential to the faithful performance of so arduous a duty.

This independence of the judges is equally requisite to guard the Constitution and the rights of individuals from the effects of those ill humors, which the arts of designing men or the influence of particular conjunctures sometimes disseminate among the people themselves; and which, though they speedily give place to better information and more deliberate reflection, have a tendency, in the meantime, to occasion dangerous innovations in the government, and serious oppressions of the minor party in the community. — Alexander Hamilton, Federalist 78

… As you may have heard by now, in Wisconsin supreme court justices are neither appointed nor have lifetime tenure. We elect them, which increasingly seems like a very, very bad idea.

Hamilton emphasized the importance of the “independent spirit” of the judiciary in safeguarding the Constitution and the Republic, but as the most expensive, partisan (and incredibly bitter) judicial campaign in history goes into its final days, there is little of that independence in evidence.

Perhaps we ought to be concerned about that.

Let me stipulate that no one seems to care about this, because the stakes right now are so high in what has been described as “the most important election in America this year.”

Politico described it as “The most important election nobody’s ever heard of.”

The Wapo’s Greg Sargent called it the “sleeper race that could wreck MAGA’s 2024 dreams.”

The New York Times declared that the election “carries bigger policy stakes than any other contest in America in 2023.”

Here’s the Guardian: “‘Stakes are monstrous’: Wisconsin judicial race is 2023’s key election.”

None of this is hype.

With the state’s political establishment gridlocked (a Republican legislature and Democratic governor) the focus of nearly every major issue — from abortion to redistricting to voting rights and the 2024 election — now turns to the narrowly divided high court.

And everybody understands that, including the candidates who have made it clear how they would rule on a host of hot button issues that are likely to come before the court.

Technically the race is “non-partisan,” but the contest between conservative Dan Kelly and liberal Janet Protasiewicz (pronounced “pro-tuh-SAY-witz”) is anything but non-partisan. Both parties have fully mobilized. Outside money is pouring in.

Just yesterday, I got a fundraising mailing from Senator Ron Johnson, declaring this “the most important Wisconsin Supreme Court race in history.”

“Liberals are desperate to ‘flip’ the court,” Johnson wrote, urging me to write a check to Dan Kelly for $50, $100, $250, $500, $1,000, $2500, or more. “This is the moment of truth.”

Democrats are equally engaged. The chairman of the state Democratic Party, Ben Wikler, warns that the race “has implications that will affect national politics for years to come, really at every level of government.” …

There is nothing subtle about any of this.


In particular, there is nothing subtle about the partisan allegiances. State Democrats have transferred millions of dollars to Protasiewicz’s campaign. But that pales next to Kelly’s entanglement. Via the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: “Supreme Court candidate Daniel Kelly was paid $120,000 by Republicans to work on ‘election integrity,’ advise on fake electors.”

Former state Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly — who has been critical of his opponents for their partisanship — has been paid nearly $120,000 by the state Republican Party and the Republican National Committee over the past two years for his work on election issues.

In that role, Kelly was at the center of the discussion in December 2020 with top Wisconsin Republicans over their highly controversial plan to covertly convene a group of Republicans inside the state Capitol in the weeks following Donald Trump’s loss to Joe Biden to sign paperwork falsely claiming to be electors.

Former state Republican Party Chairman Andrew Hitt said in a deposition last year to the U.S. House committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol that he and Kelly had “pretty extensive conversations” about the fake elector scheme. Kelly was serving as the party’s “special counsel” at the time.


So far the race has been dominated by abortion. Wisconsin has an 1849 law on the books that bans nearly all abortions.

Kelley, who has the endorsement of all of the state’s right to life groups, insists that he has not prejudged the case.

But no one, and I mean literally no one, has any doubt that he would vote to uphold the law.

Nor does anyone have any doubt that Protasiewicz, who proclaims herself a “progressive,” would vote to overturn it. So, since the court now has a narrow 4-3 conservative majority, her election would effectively decide the issue.

The election might also decide the fate of the state’s gerrymandered legislative and congressional districts. At a candidate forum in January, Protasiewicz signaled how she would rule:

So let’s be clear here, the maps are rigged. Bottom line. Absolutely, positively rigged. They do not reflect the people in this state. They do not reflect accurately representation in either the State Assembly or the State Senate. They are rigged. Period. I’m coming right out and saying it. I don’t think you could sell to any reasonable person that the maps are fair.

This week, she suggested that she might also rule against Act 10, which restricted the collective bargaining rights of public employees, and that she would reverse the court’s previous rulings on voting policies like the use of drop boxes.

Her comments drew an ethics complaint from state Republicans, who accused her of prejudging cases. But Kelly is hardly less subtle. Bill Lueders reported in the Bulwark:

In 2012, before Walker appointed him to the court, Kelly was hired by Republican lawmakers to defend the redistricting plan that they had hashed out to maximize their political advantage. At a candidate forum in Madison last month, he gave his stamp of approval to the manipulation of political boundaries for political ends, saying: “A redistricting map is an entirely political act. It involves political calculation. It involves communities of interest. It involves give and take. It involves compromise. It involves the political process. It is political, from start to end.”

While he frequently talks about the “rule of law,” Kelly has leaned heavily on his right-wing ideological credentials.

In writings submitted to Walker in seeking appointment to the court, Kelly likened affirmative action to slavery, saying they “both spring from the same taproot,” and said allowing same-sex couples to wed, which the U.S. Supreme Court had not yet done, “will eventually rob the institution of marriage of any discernible meaning.” In blog posts he wrote between 2012 and 2015, Kelly described abortion as “a policy that has as its primary purpose harming children.” And he decried the 2012 re-election of President Barack Obama as a victory for “socialism[,] same-sex marriage, recreational marijuana, and tax increases.”

And there’s nothing subtle about this, either: “Dan Kelly appears at event headlined by pastor who advocated for killing abortion providers, compared COVID-19 policies to Holocaust.”


The race has also shaped up to be a crucial test for election denialism.

After Donald Trump narrowly lost Wisconsin in 2020, the state’s Supreme Court came perilously close to becoming the only court in the nation to side with Trump’s legal challenge of the results. The vote was 4-3, with one conservative, Brian Hagedorn, joining the court’s three liberals. He wrote for the majority that the Trump campaign had “waited until after the election to raise selective challenges that could have been raised long before the election.” It was a by-the-book call for which he drew outrage.

“You are an absolute disgrace and we the people of Wisconsin are completely embarrassed to have you on the court,” said one caller to his office line. “I will actively campaign against you and your next election, hoping to make you a one-term justice,” said another. Wisconsin Supreme Court justices serve ten-year terms. Hagedorn is not up for re-election until 2029.

Kelly has been vocally critical of Hagedorn, has apologized for supporting him, and made it clear that he would show no similar flashes of judicial independence.


Which brings us back to Hamilton.

In Federalist 78, Hamilton warned that the judiciary has “neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment,” and that ―”[t]o avoid an arbitrary discretion in the courts, it is indispensable that they should be bound down by strict rules and precedents, which serve to define and point out their duty in every particular case that comes before them.”

This, argued Hamilton, is why judicial independence was so important. It was one of the “bulwarks of a limited Constitution against legislative encroachments.”

But judicial independence is also essential for the legitimacy of the courts and the rule of law.

If judges are merely partisan legislators then what, really, does the “rule of law” mean? If the law changes with every election, is it really the law, or simply politics by other means?

Why should the courts and their rulings deserve any more respect or deference than the utterings of any other hack politician who holds temporary office?

So while turning the courts into partisan weapons may have its appeal, the politicization of the judiciary also carries long term dangers, as we are about to discover when the former president escalates his attacks on the independence of the juries, judges, and prosecutors.

This is kind of rich given that Sykes was a full participant in the judiciary-politicization process back in his Milwaukee talk radio days, for instance, Supreme Court Justice Louis “Loophole Louie” Butler, appointed by Gov. James Doyle to fill a vacancy and then de-appointed by voters at their first opportunity.

Protasiewicz derided the anti-Butler campaign as racist (of course) instead of acknowledging the reality that Butler was a terrible judge who shouldn’t have been appointed to any court in the first place. That also applies to “No Jail Janet,” who has unsubtly announced how she would rule on the state’s most polarized issues.

Judges should not be creating law. The Supreme Court did just that in its Roe v. Wade ruling, which the Supreme Court then belatedly undid last year. Legislatures create laws, and it is the fault of Congressional and legislative Democrats for failing, when they had comfortable majorities, to codify Roe v. Wade into law.  As long as judges feel like acting like superlegislatures, there is no judicial independence because left-wing judges don’t believe in “a limited Constitution.”

Judges also should not be rubber stamps for those who appoint them. Perhaps Sykes forgot that that politicized Supreme Court undid Gov. Tony Evers’ attempt to lock down the entire state in his predictable overreaction to COVID-19. Had Protasiewicz been on the Supreme Court, we’d still be locked down today for whatever spurious reason Evers (or his handlers) came up with.

It is instructive that Sykes is now concerned about politicizing the judiciary because of what Trump may or may not do when he decides to run for president in 2024 (unless he doesn’t). Apparently Sykes cares more about Trump than about issues that predated Trump and will exist long after Trump disappears from the political scene, such as Second Amendment rights,  and the right to not have to pay for government employees’ Rolls–Royce benefits on taxpayers’ Chevrolet finances.

The reality is that the judiciary has been politicized well before Trump was anything beyond a celebrity New York developer. (Did Sykes forget Act 10? School choice?) Unfortunately government restraint can be found in neither party, but while Republicans and conservatives are not always right, Democrats and liberals are always wrong. (I was going to write “almost” but I cannot think of a single issue on which the Democratic position is preferable.) When that is the case, then the correct side better win.


What if Trump wins?

Rich Lowry:

If Donald Trump’s Truth Social post about his impending arrest made it feel like our politics was about to reach another level of insanity, just wait.

The impending Alvin Bragg prosecution offers a taste of what our national politics will be like post–November 2024 if Donald Trump wins the presidency again.

The Left freaked out in 2017, and that was before the Trump attempt to overturn an election, before January 6, and, we can presume, before he was indicted, perhaps more than once.

If Trump wins again via the Electoral College while losing the popular vote, it will be considered a damning indictment of our constitutional system, and there will be some new reason — some equivalent of Russian election interference in 2017 — for progressives to deny the legitimacy of his victory.

There will be large-scale street protests, making good on the threat that had cities around the country boarding up prior to the 2020 election.

The atmosphere will be fevered, and however much people lost perspective in 2017, the reflex will be to lose it even more.

The notion of national divorce will gain more traction on the left.

Trump will probably be in personal danger, and so will nearly anyone associated with him.

Security around cabinet officials will have to be beefed up, and the question won’t be if White House staff members will be harassed in restaurants and other public places, but how threatening it will be.

For his part, Trump would certainly be running an ALL CAPS presidency.

He promised as much at CPAC earlier this month: “In 2016, I declared, ‘I am your voice.’ Today, I add: I am your warrior. I am your justice. And for those who have been wronged and betrayed, I am your retribution.”

When Hugh Hewitt pushed Trump on this point in an interview, asking if he would “use the powers of the presidency to punish people who punished you,” he denied it.

“I would be entitled to a revenge tour, if you want to know the truth,” Trump replied, “but I wouldn’t do that.”

Why? Because he is so beholden to propriety and institutional constraints?

The revenge tour isn’t a new thing, by the way. During his first term, Trump demanded the arrest of his enemies. Why would a second term be any different, especially given that he is angrier and more aggrieved than a few years ago?

What is likely to change is that the administration will be stocked with officials more likely to act on Trump’s worst instincts and half-baked ideas than the first time around. After seeing how many of the officials from the first term had bad ends — cashiered or insulted or both — the pool of people willing to say, “Thank you, sir, may I have another,” will be much smaller.

Republicans on the outside will surely find themselves often forced into the same position as this week, when they’ve tamped down Trump’s call for PROTESTS of his prospective arrest.

Of course, the wilder a Trump administration gets, the crazier the opposition becomes, and vice versa. Energy that in a different Republican administration could be devoted to moving the ball forward will be dissipated in an endless cycle of chaos and drama.

It would be profoundly irresponsible of Alvin Bragg to go forward with the indictment and arrest of Trump. The only upside is providing a preview of a future that Republicans, no matter how much they oppose Bragg’s prosecution, should want to avoid.

%d bloggers like this: