Free Minds & Free Markets

The Dangers of President Trump's Incompetence

His recklessness doesn't necessarily weaken the executive branch. In fact the opposite may be true.

Trump rallyBastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto/Sipa/NewscomLet us not engage in overwrought responses to the likelihood that President Donald Trump abruptly revealed classified information from an ally to a couple of Russian officials who were in the Oval Office last week. There is a lot to chew over, and there are a lot of people with a lot of competing agendas who either want to scream that Trump is going to bring about a literal apocalypse or alternatively want to insist that everything is just fine and Trump didn't do anything wrong. This morning National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster held a press briefing and repeated several times that everything Trump said was "wholly appropriate" in the context of his meeting.

Rather than turning to the now established drum circles that accompany every outrageous Trump story (and the beating is particularly loud with this one), let's instead apply a healthy dose of Occam's razor both in analyzing what happened with Trump's disclosures and what likely consequences may come. Let's dispense with conspiracy theories and Nth-dimensional chess games and keep things simple.

The president likely said things he should not have.

While President Trump has the authority to declassify and release all sorts of information (including, by the way, any evidence that he was actually wiretapped or surveilled by the feds), some connected to the intelligence community are particularly concerned that Trump revealed extremely secretive operational activity provided by an ally that has the potential to reveal to the Islamic State where we're getting information and potentially jeopardize the identities of people involved.

It's also worth noting the history of freak-outs from the intelligence community and its advocates that every piece of leaked information—even from whistleblowers—is a threat to somebody's life, even when that turns out to be untrue or unprovable. That's what we were told about both Edward Snowden (who is still stuck in Russia to avoid federal charges) and Pvt. Chelsea Manning (who gets out of prison tomorrow). We are really not in a position to determine that Trump's disclosures actually threaten anybody's lives or that the Russians have any interest in jeopardizing anti-ISIS efforts.

The president is dumb, is boastful, and lacks any sort of discipline.

There really is no point in trying to pretend that what's obviously true about Trump is otherwise. He brags constantly, claims utterly bizarre things (like that he invented the economic metaphor "priming the pump"), has little attention span to speak of, and understands little of how government actually functions. There is no point in pretending he's not a severe narcissist even if you agree with some of his policy proposals (like deregulation). There are still consequences for these personality flaws that have to be analyzed.

The alarm bell being rung here is therefore a warning that, yes, Trump is very capable of causing a heck of a lot of damage without even being aware of what he's doing. The follow-up story on Trump's babbling is not so much on "OMG, more evidence of Russian collusion!" And thank God for that. Rather the concerns here are that Trump's loose lips will sink intelligence relationships with other countries and intelligence sources. They may be reluctant to share information with the United States and this could potentially make it harder to fight terrorism.

But that itself still falls within the area of speculation, and honestly many American allies in these political hotspots are dependent on the United States as the 500-pound gorilla in the room with the capability of magnifying force. Are countries like Egypt and Jordan really going to share less with the United States because of Trump's mouth? It's really hard to imagine that happening. But there's a much simpler, and perhaps more dangerous, potential consequence.

Trump will be cut out of intel and decision-making, and that's dangerous.

There were news reports already that the intelligence community is deliberately withholding information from Trump for fear he will leak it. The relationship between Trump and the intelligence community is, well, extremely strained. At the press conference this morning, McMaster said that America's national security was being put at risk not by the president, but by those who leaked the information to the Washington Post. But he also acknowledged that Trump decided on the spot during the discussion to reveal whatever information he chose to reveal without any sort of advanced vetting. He also said Trump was unaware of who the source even was of the information he was revealing. (UPDATE: According to The New York Times, the source of the information was Israel.)

At the same time, Trump is backing off on playing the kind of active role in military decisions played by his predecessor, Barack Obama, and leaving such calls to the generals and to the Pentagon.

It would be a major mistake to think that Trump's flailing about might result in the weakening in the power of the executive branch or even the presidency. Cutting Trump out of the loop and potentially out of decision-making puts us all in the position where a huge chunk of our own government is separated from the fundamental elements of a democratic republic. Like him or not, Trump was elected president (and no, the Russians didn't install him). He's the part of the executive branch responsible directly to the public.

If Trump's incompetence leads to an inability to actually oversee the parts of government he's responsible for, this does not make those parts of government weaker. It instead makes it less accountable. We will still have military strikes. We will still have surveillance. While it's useful to be rid of the technocratic worship of Obama as the "right man in charge," the massive expansion of executive power under Obama and previous administrations has remained, now being distributed downward through the chain of command.

Ultimately, that should be a deeply disturbing outcome from looking at this conflict logically. Trump lacks discipline and doesn't understand the complex issues involved and makes very poor decisions about what to say in sensitive environments. As a result, there are parts of the executive branch that may well be operating independently of him, and it's not the leaks that are the problem. It's the lack of responsibility. Trump's attempt to crack down on leakers will likely fail (thank God) because he's not terribly competent, and frankly it looks like he wouldn't have a staff afterward if they got them all.

There's nothing about the electoral process that guarantees that we'll get anywhere near some mythical concept of the "right person" in charge. We have a president who is wealthy, nasty, powerful, and not terribly smart. It may well have been inevitable at some point. And yet, there's still very little discussion or interest in scaling back the power of the executive branch in any way, even after Trump's administration weighs attacks on the free press. So far the best thing Trump has done, according to many pundits and newspapers (and to be very clear, not Reason), was a pointless, violent military strike on Syria.

Trump may be a particularly bad man and somehow both very stubborn yet also prone to manipulation, but his behavior and the consequences of it highlight the flaws of the power of the executive branch of the government. Do not make the mistake of ignoring the threats that come from this expansive level of power with any unique threats that come from Trump.

Photo Credit: Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto/Sipa/Newscom

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    Is this a glitch in the Matrix?

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    Sorry Scott, I usually read the articles before commenting, unless there is a chance at commenting first LOL.

    At a quick glance I thought this was a doppelganger article to the Suderman piece, but yours clearly has more substance.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    This is why I don't let you people comment first.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    So this miss was intentional? Sounds like Little Miss Muppet to me.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I don't know who that is.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    advanced vetting

    So important these days! Reminds me of my friends who take fake pee to pass drug tests; but hey at least they were vetted!

  • ||

    There's really only one ultimate fear. That his big mouth starts a major war and/or he starts one explicitly. And the problem is, that when someone is as much of a loose cannon as he is, the reality of that possibility seems clearer and clearer with every passing fuckup. It's all simply amusement until then.

  • Red Rocks Baiting n Inciting||

    Didn't they say this same shit about Reagan? Contrary to popular memory, his first two years were rather chaotic because America was still trying to climb out of a recession, he was getting hammered on all sides for his tax cuts, and in ads before the election, he was being called a "loose cannon," someone who "shot from the hip" without thinking of the ramifications. The left was terrified that he'd get them in a nuclear war with their beloved Soviet Union because he unironically called them the Evil Empire, with dozens of news stories of schoolkids writing letters saying "I hope I don't die in a big war and the US and Russia can be friends" treacle.

    The biggest difference is that Reagan had a deep understanding of political policies while Trump doesn't, but it's not like the left shitting their pants over a shit-talking Republican is anything new.

  • Ron||

    Lets not forget that when Jimmy Carter revealed the latest stealth fighter and the CIA said they may not tell presidents anymore secrets. The CIA the same organization that started by filtering info to Russia during WWII before it was even the CIA.

  • colorblindkid||

    Cabinet members actually had a secret meeting behind Reagan's back when he got new staff to consider declaring him unfit for office, but at the meeting where they were going to test him he was boisterous and witty and on point so they dropped it.

  • 1allen23||

    The only ones wanting to start a war are McCain and the globalists. The MSM prints lies with no proof of the allegations and we fall for it hook line and sinker. The media has incredible influence on the way people think and feel. Just because Brian Williams says it does not make it true. This article is BS with no proof of anything, only hearsay and "un-named sources". I voted for Bernie in the primaries and figured out that not only the DNC screwed him over but the MSM was complicit also. The MSM also lied to us about Hillary winning the election and as a result millions of Hillary supporters did not vote, yet not one peep from the left about that. Where is the outrage at the media for their deception? And what is really sad, is that you all STILL believe them.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "There were news reports already that the intelligence community is deliberately withholding information from Trump for fear he will leak it."

    Trump has wanted to coordinate with Russia against ISIS in Syria since before he was elected.

    What Reason has in the past refereed to as "the deep state" has been undermining him since before he was elected, too. The leaks about the Trump campaign's connections with Russia were all about that effort to undermine Trump's intent to establish a working relationship with Putin on ISIS in Syria.

    If they're afraid he's going to leak it, what they mean is that they're afraid he's going to share it. They want Syria to be their problem to solve. If ISIS in Syria becomes Russia's problem to solve, then the intelligence services will have lost power, turf, and part of their argument for more responsibility and a bigger budget.

    Meanwhile, refusing to share intelligence with the President should be a serious criminal offense. We have civilian control of our military, and the legitimate response to intelligence services who won't share intelligence with the president is not for the president to confine himself to the preferred strategies of the intelligence services. The proper response is to bring the intelligence services to heel and under civilian control by way of the president.

    If the intelligence services wish to set foreign policy, then they need to run for president.

  • ||


    The definitive notion of intelligence is that you're supposed to act on it or at least share it (otherwise, it's not intelligence). We've disclosed plenty of sensitive information to Saudi Princes, Afghan (warlords), and (corrupt) Pakistani Bureaucrats. The notion that this President did something groundbreakingly profound or stupid is exaggeration at best.

    Russians aren't spying on Americans the way the NSA is... or the Russians and the NSA are equally/similarly duplicitous in 'Fake News' and 'WannaCry' scandals. As near as I can tell, Trump himself is the only one definitively *not* 'tapping' my phone.

  • ||

    refusing to share intelligence with the President should be a serious criminal offense. We have civilian control of our military, and the legitimate response to intelligence services who won't share intelligence with the president is not for the president to confine himself to the preferred strategies of the intelligence services. The proper response is to bring the intelligence services to heel and under civilian control by way of the president.

    ^ This x1000

    A few weeks back Bill Maher was literally advocating for the intelligence services to overthrow the president, and a lot of the Team Blue hot take is essentially exactly this - calling for the (unaccountable and secretive) intelligence services to have some authority over who is President.

    They want the 3rd century Praetorian Guard auctioning off the presidency. They are begging for it.

    But who am I fooling? They don't even know what that is.

  • ||

    Your homophobic humor is not welcome here, cishet shitlord.

  • ||

    Holy shit you're stupid.

  • Ron||

    "The president likely said things he should not have"

    citation needed and just because someone said so gives them no more credibility than the president especially if it comes from the intelligence community who have proven to be liars themselves

  • ||

    In fairness, "Trump likely said things he should not have" is a pretty safe bet in any circumstances.

  • Ron||

    "even after Trump's administration weighs attacks on the free press"

    Reason already forgot the actual attacks on the press by Obama that include spying on and attempts at jailing. At least Trump wants to take the libertarian approach and sue the press which actually gives the press its day in court unlike spying and threats of jail

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Reason already forgot the actual attacks on the press by Obama

    I doubt they forgot. It's just that Obama isn't president anymore. Screaming "BUT OBAMA!" is just as annoying now as the progtards were when they screamed "BUT BOOOSH!!" for the last 8 years.

  • Ron||

    No Reason has been and is Singling out Trump as if it was something new to Trump only and that he was acting out on threats when he hasn't. Big difference. So there is valid reason to point out their TDS

  • damikesc||

    There were news reports already that the intelligence community is deliberately withholding information from Trump for fear he will leak it.

    ...for which they should all be fired, post haste, no?

    He also said Trump was unaware of who the source even was of the information he was revealing. (UPDATE: According to The New York Times, the source of the information was Israel.)

    So, how did the Times get the info and isn't them publicizing it significantly worse than Trump, you know, NOT doing so?

  • Don't look at me.||

    Wondered the same myself. Must not be important I guess.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Anonymous sources leaking classified to the media who then report it where anyone with an internet connection can read about it is totes different from the President spilling the beans privately to foreign officials. Because... reasons...

  • ||

    I too am curious how the leak of classified information, from what at the very least was a confidential meeting, is not considered more serious than the contents of the meeting itself.

  • ||

    you arrogant ass. you've killed US!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    You have a couple things to consider with Trump. One, are his obvious character flaws so much different or more egregious than his predecessors? Is he so very far out of the ordinary in his faults or just extraordinarily unsubtle about them? Is he simply the president too willful or uninterested to heed the handlers that all presidents have? Two, how much muscle does he have to actually move the rudder on the ship of state? Is he going to be able to force US policy in any meaningful way in a direction that you either want or don't want? Does the president actually run the country, or does the bureaucracy?

    Is it worth it for everyone to so much time and this much energy focusing all of our admiration or scorn solely on this man?

  • esteve7||


    What people get for wanting a president to "do something".

    My prog friend hates on Coolidge because he "didn't do anything" and "stood in the way of progress." Next time he bitches about "resistance" to Trump, I will tell him he is standing in the way of progress

  • ||

    he "didn't do anything" and "stood in the way of progress."

    Which made him one of our greatest presidents.

  • WakaWaka||

    Damn good article, Shack.

    What I don't get is if the Washington Post article is true and what was done was so unprecedented then why won't these anonymous sources reveal themselves? Why can't the Post and the NYT produce any story that is not heavily reliant on some anonymous sources?

  • Don't look at me.||

    They are all hiding behind their paychecks and nice pensions. Can't give that up for what might be right for the country.

  • ||

    I know, because if they revealed themselves they wouldn't be anonymous, amirite?


  • loveconstitution1789||

    Oh Scott, drinking the Kool-Aid again.

    Trump this and Trump that.

    Trump will be cut out of intel and decision-making, and that's dangerous.
    Some journalists might say that an unelected group who have constantly made things worse for the USA are the dangerous one's who try and withhold intelligence information to their elected President

  • Fascist loofa-faced shitgibbon||

    Modern journalism:

    Level 1: Write a highly speculative (bullshit?) story citing imaginary sources and letting the imagination run free.
    Level 2: Several media outlets report on the report (Level 1 report) without skepticism and with one or two more layers of speculation.
    Level 3: Virtually all outlets report that there are "multiple reports" of a whole slew of alleged nefarious activity going on with an emphasis on how "widely" it is being reported, which sure looks fishy, don't it?
    Level 4: Scream and howl when the above bullshit is denied by anyone, most especially the fishy dude.

    /and.... scene

  • I can't even||

    Level 5 - Use the original overblown bullshit as citations while writing opinion pieces about the damage Trump's incompetence is doing.

  • Fascist loofa-faced shitgibbon||

    Yes indeed. It was Level 5 that motivated me to look at Levels 1-4.

    The whole tower of shit reminds me of the toxic (but AAA rated) CDOs that were created out of the worthless dregs of mortgage backed securities. I hope there is an analogous crash in the journo industry.

  • ThomasD||

    These clowns are too fail to be big.

  • damikesc||

    Know what the press DIDN'T find disconcerting?

    When Obama's CIA director told various Hollywood people the name of the Seal Team that killed bin Laden and leaked the name of the commander of that group.

    That wasn't a biggie. Trump revealing that ISIS wants to smuggle bombs in laptops, however, is huge --- even though bans on laptops from Muslim states have been mentioned quite publicly for a little while now.

  • damikesc||

    Or when the vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs leaked info on the Stuxnet virus attack on Iran's nuclear program.

    Those leaks are peachy-keen.

  • damikesc||

    Care to guess who Obama pardoned for lying to FBI agents investigating the leaks?

    Why, that same vice-chairman, Gen. James Cartwright.

  • I can't even||

    When the Secretary of State used her own email server for all her correspondence?

  • damikesc||

    Oh, that was just for yoga routines and the like.

    Because using Gmail or the like is far more difficult than setting up a server to use.

    ...after having a track record of trying to get into servers to see what her campaign staff was emailing...

  • Fascist loofa-faced shitgibbon||

    "Know what the press DIDN'T find disconcerting?"

    Is it OK if I guess "Hitler"?

  • simplybe||

    I agree with everything you have said about Trump. I also believe that the CIA created Al Qaeda during the Russian/Afghanistan war and probably created ISIS directly or indirectly. I am glad Trump was elected for 2 reasons. One a sizeable portion of the US population finally wokeup to the fact that the Clintons are corrupt sleazebags and 2 the American people might finally wakeup to the fact that the two party system is a sham. Because of this last election I would rather vote for the Socialist Party than a Democrat or Republican and I hate socialism.

  • Juice||

    I'll take incompetent evil over competent evil any day.

  • Tony||

    How convenient that we'll never get to test that since Republicans and competence haven't gone together since the early 90s.

  • ||

    To be fair, Russia isn't likely to reveal information to ISIS, given that they are backing the Assad regime, and seem to hate ISIS even more than we do.

    And cooperating with Russia on ISIS is one of the few things I think Trump is right about.

  • WakaWaka||

    What you've just said is exactly what the president said during the primary. And, it is the exact same sentiment that has been expressed by Buchanan since the 1990's and the end of the Cold War. Defeating ISIS and Al Qaeda is not the goal of the United States, if it were we would have drastically different strategic alliances in the Middle East.

    You are treading dangerously close to being called a Trumpist for using logic as it relates to American foreign policy.

  • ||

    Defeating ISIS and Al Qaeda is not the goal of the United States, if it were we would have drastically different strategic alliances in the Middle East.

    ^ This.

    What makes me still glad that HRC is not president is that it seems that she and the last administration see the Syria conflict as being primarily about sticking it to Russia, such that there were times when it at least appeared that they didn't mind helping ISIS if it meant hurting Assad/Russia.

    Trump at least seems to actually want to fight ISIS, even if it means helping Russia, which is the more sane attitude, but is what seems to driving the establishment press nuts.

  • ||

    Yes. I'm one of the most staunchly Republican people here. This is known.

  • ||

    You know - now that I stop and take notice, there are like 20 syllables in your response there. You didn't pass out, did you buddy?

  • Spartacus||

    Russia is way more concerned about ISIS, because what happens in Syria, stays in Syria gets exported to Chechnya.

  • Rebel Scum||

    claims utterly bizarre things (like that he invented the economic metaphor "priming the pump"question mark)


  • Cynical Asshole||

    Sometimes he accuses chestnuts of being lazy. The sort of general malaise that the genius possess and the insane lament...

  • Entropy Drehmaschine Void||

    The most transparent incompetent administration in history.
    Sorry binary Hilldog-haters, but it's true.*

    After eight years of Imperator Mendacious the Great and barely four months of General Cheeto, you deign to say this.

    Good God, you are King of the Progtard Cockswogglers.

  • Tony||

    All the shit going down is just the librul media out to get Trump. He's really more competent than Obama despite appearances. If only the media would let Trump's genius shine.

  • ||

    Those who have matured past the stage of absolute binarism known as "adolescence" realize that it's possible for Trump to be incompetent and for the Team Blue media to be comprised largely of lying scumbags.

    The two are not, as we say in the field, "mutually exclusive."

  • Tony||

    "Don't trust meainstream journalism. Here, read Breitbart. Only it has the truth."
    Meanwhile on Breitbart: "Deep state tries to embarrass dear leader, I mean Trump."

    This isn't even sophisticated authoritarianism. It's authoritarianism for retards. So most New York Times reporters are liberals. That's because they're educated people who've been shat on by anti-intellectual movement conservatives for 50 years. I mean, just maybe that has something to do with it.

  • ||

    When the fuck did I mention Breitbart? I've been to Breitbart maybe three times in my life.

    Jesus Christ you are a tediously dense partisan fuckwad.

    The Team Red media is comprised largely of lying scumbags as well, but I thought you knew that already.

    And I wonder if you've ever paused to consider that the NYT reporters are pseudo- intellectuals? Probably not, because they make you feel smart.

  • Tony||

    And how does it make you feel to call NYT reporters pseudointellectuals? I guess you have a gig that is more fulfilling than NYT reporter or else you'd hop on board? Prolly wouldn't even need an interview, as your reputation precedes you?

    Smart people know what reliable sources are and that facts can change with new evidence. It's nothing to get hysterics about. All that's going on here is a quasi-authoritarian president telling his mollusklike followers which news to ignore so that they do not get tempted by the forbidden fruit of skepticism. The rest of us are just parsing facts as we always have, having learned how to do so in middle school or thereabouts.

  • ||

    I guess you have a gig that is more fulfilling than NYT reporter or else you'd hop on board?

    Yes - as a matter of fact I'm currently building a hospital that serves the poor and indigent. What are you doing, oh Righteous One?

    And before that I taught English at UC Davis. But what would I know about the super intellectualism that characterizes the super-duper smart folks at the NYT?

    Let's circle back around to the beginning of the conversation before you picked up the goalposts and ran off with them.

    You seem to be challenged trying to see any space between "absolutely everything Trump does is wrong, stupid and evil and is destroying the world" and "I want to suck on Trump's dick because I love him sooooo much."

    There are some people here who are pointing out that some of the accusations leveled against Trump are exaggerated. That may be an indication of partisanship, but it may be an indication of actually being interested in the truth about things.

    You just can't seem to handle that, and have been sent into paroxysms of blind rage at the idea that not everybody is so blinded by their hatred of Trump that they can't see reason, and you accuse those people of being unreasonable.

    This kind of thing is why you annoy people so badly. You almost have a brain, but you refuse to use it.

  • Tony||

    Understand that the context I'm operating in is one in which half a year ago and for the preceding 8 years the president at the time couldn't do anything right for anyone here, no matter how mundane the action. It was full-on derangement, and I would like to have chalked it up to a general anti-authority attitude.

    But now that we have Trump with his clearly authoritarian mindset and clear idiocy and instability, it's time to be nuanced.

    I accused this place of being full of Republican shills for a goddamn reason, and want to sit here and tell me that what they're actually doing is nuance. With a straight face.

  • ||

    With the exception of Gore v. Bush, I've voted in every election since 1990.

    Guess how many Republicans I've voted for in that time. Go ahead - it's a low enough number I'll bet even you can count that high!

  • ||

    Again, you're operating under the assumption that you're talking to a hive-mind here. That there's only you vs. everyone else, and that the "rest of us," who apparently are simply cardboard cutouts in the background of your life, all speak with one, schizophrenic, voice.

    You may be too young to have been here during the Bush years. There was constant complaining about Bush, and lots of Republican trolls complaining about how libertarians are just a bunch closet liberals who only hate the president when he's a Republican.

    At that time, the site attracted liberals who hated Bush. When Obama came in, and reason was critical of him, a lot of the liberals left and were replaced with conservatives who agreed with reason's take on Obama.

    But in your mind, criticizing a Republican is rightthinkfullness, while criticizing a Democrat is wrongthinkfullness, so to you it seems like this site and its readers mercilessly attack Democrats while going easy on Republicans.

    News flash: to Republican partisans it seems exactly the opposite, and they come here and call us secret Leftists.

    That's why people roll their eyes at you.

  • Tony||

    Look at what is going on in the forums right now.

    There has never been a president more easily made a target of anti-authoritarian voices than the current one. Obama was a placeholder. Even Bush had some beliefs beyond the confines of mentally ill levels of narcissism.

    Yet almost all the people here are actually defending him. Don't bring Bush into this. The Bush bootlicking that went on here as I well know was nothing compared to the Trump worship.

    Is being poodles for authoritarians almost sorta a libertarian act when it's for the stupidest ones in the world? Is that the 3D chess?

  • ||

    My criticism of Trump is in no way an endorsement of any other politician alive today or who has ever lived.

    My advice to you:

    Continue with the obsessive avoidance of self-awareness. When the day of reckoning comes, it's going to be extremely painful and embarrassing. Best to put it off as long as possible.

  • ||

    The barbs of your wit - oh my do they sting!

  • ||

    Actually, it wasn't Trump who leaked that - it was the New York Times.

    There's no sugar-coating it - as trolls go, you suck.

  • WakaWaka||

    ^ This is adorable. Progs like DanO, suddenly care about Israel, because it makes Trump look bad. Hey, little buddy, you want to square your sudden love regarding Israel with your love of Hamas apologists like Rasmea Odeh?

  • Tony||

    And you suddenly love executive power because... it's retarded and grabs pussy? Or something?

  • ThomasD||

    You don't seriously expect rational thought from one of the left's flying monkeys, do you?

  • Tony||

    At some point one must wonder, what's the point of this place? There already is a Breitbart.

    You guys can be rid of me if you point me to the place libertarians hang out even when there's a Republican president.

  • ||

    I know, right?

    I mean reason keeps publishing all these articles criticizing Trump, and half the commentariat approvingly agrees, while others question and probe, and a few Republican trolls call them out for criticizing Trump too much.

    This place is just like Breitbart!

  • Tony||

    All I see is about 90% breathless Trump defense and me and DanO.

    Yes, the articles are fine. What happened to the people who were principled anti-government types? Because this is some serious cult of personality shit, and you guys are supposed to be the intelligent rightwing morons. And for Trump! For someone obviously bad in every way everyone says! The trolls are all of you.

  • ||

    What happened to the people who were principled anti-government types?

    They mostly left.

  • Tony||

    That site is more of an eyesore than this place. Even worse than Drudge or other rightwing sites. What am I supposed to do with that?

    Also, why can't rightwingers ever build a decent website? Is it just that they're incompetent at literally everything?

  • ||

    To expand on my itemizing of your intellectual shortcomings above:

    There are more than two possible views of the world.

    This shouldn't be so hard to grasp. Try repeating it as a sort of mantra, if you will:

    There are more than two possible views of the world.

    There are more than two possible views of the world.

    If you keep doing that, maybe while looking earnestly into a mirror, it may start to sink in.

  • Tony||

    I was lecturing the people here against binary thinking when your grandfather was in diapers.

  • ||

    I was lecturing the people here against binary thinking when your grandfather was in diapers.

    And have you ever noticed all the people calling you a flaming hypocrite?

  • ||

    For someone obviously bad in every way everyone says!

    Sometimes, when something seems so simple to you, and when other people are trying to tell you that it's not as black-and-white simple as you seem to see it as, it's not necessarily the other people who are being dim.

  • Tony||

    What's nuanced about Trump? The fact that his skin tone is neither natural nor does it appear on any published swatches?

  • ||

    Come your hair back down - the point mussed it a bit while flying over.

    There is very little nuanced about Trump.

    Do you know what is nuanced?


    Someday you may get there.

  • Chili Dogg||

    Tony, you are so full of shit. It's bad enough when you try to write about policy. It's worse when you make gross and false generalizations about the wide variety of people who post here. Spare us your pseudo-psychology.

  • ||

    And Tony, in all seriousness -

    Please teach DanO how to troll properly. He's making your team look bad.

  • ThomasD||

    Pretty sure that Vox has cornered the market on your brand of libertarianism.

  • Tony||

    I'm not a libertarian, I just like talking to them. Where did they all go? Because all I see are people cobbling together the most pathetic half-assed excuses they can possibly muster for Donald fucking Trump.

  • ThomasD||

    "I'm not a libertarian"

    No shit, Sherlock.

  • ThomasD||

    And I'm sure it give Shackford great comfort to know that you have his back.

  • Tony||

    It doesn't appear that any of us except the authors are libertarians.

  • juris imprudent||

    There is a cat ass with your name on it, Tony. You know where to find it.

  • Brendan||

    Assuming that the information given to the Russians was actually highly classified and not a less sensitive version (obscured details, etc.), is immediately, loudly, and publicly the right way to handle this?

    I'm not saying cover up or sweep under rug, but I don't see the point of the various media outlets immediately, breathlessly screaming "Our president is leaking super secrets to the Russians, the kind of secrets that only one country might know." If ISIS, et al didn't know that a certain country had this specific intel on them, they do now.
    If that information was classified and not something they wanted revealed, then that country's intel agency has less flexibility to deal with it quietly through channels.

    If the info was only a less sensitive version that wouldn't have compromised that country and/or it's intel assets, then this episode is worse than anything Trump is alleged to have done as it fostered distrust with that country AND tipped off ISIS about that country based on conjecture and innuendo.

    At this point, I don't trust anything the media says - too many outright laws and/or serious stretches from small truths.

  • Tony||

    How can you possibly go through life not trusting *anything* the media says? At least appreciate that the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, etc., are all in competition. They really don't have any incentive to publish the same lies over and over every day.

    Are you exempting certain Trump-Pravda outfits, perhaps?

  • Brendan||

    Shut the fuck up.

  • Chip Your Pets||

    At least appreciate that the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, etc., are all in competition.

    No, they aren't.

  • Brendan||

    If I was against fast food, it would not reassure me that various fast food outlets are all in competition with each other. Therefore, it's not reassuring or soothing to know that a bunch of shitty journalism outlets compete with each other to see who can shovel bullshit the fastest.

  • Brendan||

    This is not the place to deal with your sexual fixations.

  • Chili Dogg||

    DanO, you add nothing.

  • Amogin||

    Perhaps the executive branch is too powerful but this is not the time to have the discussion. Right now all that power is in the hands of an undisciplined man-child, incapable of curbing either his impulses or his overwhelming need for attention. He is want needs to be controlled before any other action can be taken about government. Elections go wrong sometimes which is the reason behind the Constitution's dividing govenment power and responsibilites into 3 separate and co-equal branches. It is past time the other two did their jobs.

  • Budbug||

    The REAL danger is the upsetting of the Establishment's BAU applecart...hence the "Resistance".
    TRUE change, whether good or bad, REALLY scares people. Some are so scared they will put on rainbow t-shirts and pussy hats, and then go stand in traffic.

  • Martiandawn||

    Mr. Shackford offers a very compelling argument in support of statism here. If it didn't say Reason at the top of the page, I would be inclined to think I was on the wrong website.


Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online