Hitting The Ball Out Of The Park

Despite the headline, this isn’t about George Will’s love of baseball.

I’m not a fan of Will…and that’s putting it mildly. Even when I agree with him, I find his intellectual arrogance off-putting. But fair is fair–a recent column in which he compares Trump to Boris Johnson is delicious.

As people who follow news from “across the pond” probably know, Johnson is currently in danger of losing a vote of confidence. It turns out that, at the same time he was sternly lecturing Brits on the necessity of adhering to strict COVID restrictions, he was ignoring those restrictions and partying. A lot.

Apparently, he shares Trump’s belief that rules are for the “little people,’ and don’t apply to him.

Will’s column addresses the multiple characteristics they share. Both, for example, are inveterate liars. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson might survive, for a number of reasons, one being that he, like two of the five most recent U.S. presidents (Bill Clinton and Donald Trump), has the awesome strength that comes from being incapable of embarrassment. Also, to his critics he can fairly respond: “What did you expect?”

He has never disguised his belief that in any situation, truthfulness is merely one option among many, and not to be preferred over more advantageous or just more entertaining choices. As Winston Churchill said of another politician (evidently Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin), he “occasionally had stumbled over the truth, but hastily picked himself up and hurried on as if nothing had happened.”…

Writing in the Financial Times, Rory Stewart, a former Conservative cabinet minister now teaching at Yale University, says Johnson “is a terrible prime minister and a worse human being. But he is not a monster newly sprung from a rent between this world and the next.” A majority of Conservative MPs voted to make him prime minister after “thirty years of celebrity made him famous for his mendacity, indifference to detail, poor administration, and inveterate betrayal of every personal commitment.” This, Stewart says, is because British culture “remains trapped by the idea that politics is a game.”

Will notes that “mortification loves company” so Americans should feel marginally better from the fact that England has produced a head of government as “shambolic and careless” about truth as our recent president.

However, Will identifies a “deflating difference” between Great Britain and the U.S. Johnson’s net favorability rating has fallen from +29 percent in April 2020 to -52 percent in January 2022, while those Americans who favor Trump “are bound to him as with hoops of steel, come what may.”  

In a felicitous and absolutely accurate phrase, we are told that “total indifference to evidence is today’s ‘American exceptionalism.’”

There is more than a little truth to that conclusion, and it goes beyond the willingness of far too many Americans to ignore the plentiful evidence that Trump is bat-shit crazy. Faced with 900,000 deaths, including those of friends, family and neighbors,  large numbers of Americans still insist either that COVID is a hoax or that vaccinations are more dangerous. Faced with rapidly escalating weather anomalies and literally mountains of scientific evidence, they continue to dismiss the “myth” of climate change. When it comes to economic policy, they cling to their belief that a higher minimum wage will depress job creation in the face of significant and growing evidence to the contrary. 

Despite official FBI  reports that the massive Black Lives Matter demonstrations that followed the murder of George Floyd were 95% peaceful, they continue to insist that mobs rampaged through the streets looting stores and burning cities.

Despite copious video evidence of the violence of the January 6th insurrection, they defend the lunatics assaulting police officers and vandalizing the nation’s Capitol, claiming they were engaged in  “legitimate political discourse.”

I could go on, and most of you reading this could add examples of your own.

This stubborn refusal even to consider evidence, or be swayed by it, has become the only real platform of today’s Republican Party–a party whose base has adopted as its informal motto “Don’t confuse me with the facts.” 

Even the Brits who really thought Brexit was a good idea have responded to the evidence of Boris Johnson’s malfeasance. Only in America are members of one of our major political parties absolutely impervious to facts, logic and evidence. 

American exceptionalism indeed…..


  1. And now we can see how the ignorant Trump donors (individual and corporate) are funding civil unrest in other peaceful nations. They want to spread the stupid.

    This is the Canadian trucker blockade issue:
    “The data, which includes the home countries of donors, reveals that 55.7 per cent of the 92,844 donations made public came from donors in the United States, while just 39 per cent came from donors located in Canada.”

  2. Along with their personal defects of immorality, inability to follow basic social rules or tell the truth about issues great and small; I have always thought Boris looked like a Trump clone. As with our own nation; I have never understood the lure of either of them for voters or political party members. Both were public figures, well known and easily recognized by the public but with few, if any, redeeming factors to account for either of their elections. I believe the British have more common sense and, if not now, will eventually remove Boris Johnson from power force him into obscurity.

    I wish I had the same trust in this country to rid itself of Donald Trump.

  3. Republican politicians – particularly Mighty Mitch are geniuses – at Manipulating Fears! When one is – for example – 100% Convinced – that their home – will soon be invaded by Young Black Males – and that Joe Biden and the Democrats – Want that to happen, what meaning does Climate Change have? When – parents – fear that their Children – will Rebel and Reject Them or similar – how suddenly Credible – CRT – is as The Enemy – and “Choice” – is important. The Wealthy – know How – to control – the rest of Us – not Warren Buffett – perhaps – but enough of them. Divide – and Conquer! Will it work? The Media – have us convinced – that INFLATION and Biden’s “repeated failures” – such as recent legislation – will result in Republican Victories in 2022. IF – it deflates – the turnout of Black Women and enough of “us” – along with motivating “those People” – watch out! Facts – only matter if we can hear them – and believe them!

  4. Trump’s support has not fallen as much as Johnson, it has fallen. While Trump still has his fervent backers, his support is clearly fraying at the edge. Not enough to lose a GOP primary yet, but enough to flag some competition. (Though what is going to happen – mark my words – is that Trump GOP state officials are going to cancel primaries like they did in 2020.) Polls show 50% of Republicans want a different candidate than Trump in 2024.

    What is hurting Trump with the GOP crowd is that he’s singularly focused on 2020, not 2024. Even Republicans who believe the myth of the stolen election, want Trump to be talking about what is going on now and what he’ll do differently than Biden. But Trump has no interest in doing that. He’s only interested in relitigating the 2020 election and settling scores with Republicans who refuse to kiss his ring.

  5. This: “…British culture “remains trapped by the idea that politics is a game.”

    While Americans think our characters are serious. LOL

    Real journalists are scorned for conveying the truth while actors playing journalists are paid millions. Yet, Americans hang on every word and share their memes with friends.

    The Brits have acknowledged that their sham politics and media is a game while US consumers take it all in like their sham is correct while the other is lying. 😉

    Their egos identify with it. They can’t let go of it. We need our own version of Monty Python.

  6. The idea that “politics is just a game” led to Karl Rove’s imperative that winning is the ONLY thing that matters, and thus one must win AT ANY COST… even the cost of human life. This blood sport being played upon the country by the Republican Party is what is ripping us apart.

  7. Boris was a US citizen until he decided that he didn’t want to pay taxes living abroad (sound familiar?) He was born in New York. I asked hubby (dual UK US citizen) about Boris and he said they are doomed. They have no one to replace Boris that’s worth a damn. He said, I bet the former PM Theresa May is furious because she received a no confidence vote and they chose Boris. A complete failure! We have at least 5-10 years before retirement yet so we’re keeping a close eye on it.

  8. AgingGirl! 5-10 years before retirement?? You’re but a grown teenager! But your hubby is right.

    I find it interesting that of the English-speaking democracies in the world, it’s only the two that used to lord over world-wide empires (aka “world order”) that are dabbling with full-on autocracy as a governing model.

  9. Interesting that we’re comparing the worst “leaders” in recent memory to see which democracy has produced the absolute worst. That certainly does make us exceptional.

  10. Oh, come on chaps – I’m sure there are people to replace Boris that are worth a little damn at least. Speaks volumes that his own party is able to stand up against him, unlike…well, you know. I don’t see Britain becoming autocratic anytime soon. One key difference is that the Brits vote for a party/minister and the party picks the leader and can therefore remove by a party vote. Unlike here. Don’t see them being an autocracy any time soon. Again, unlike here…

  11. Manifest destiny,

    Was a blueprint for many authoritarian governments.

    American exceptionalism was never exceptional. When a government allows the amount of cruelty to its citizenry that this one has, how can it be exceptional?

    We are now living through the second or third phase of American romanticism. Kind of like the good old days type of thinking. Looking back is always better than looking forward, at least that’s the current thinking on it. What do they say? Hindsight is 20/20? Hindsight is absolutely delusional. Especially to the hypocrites who love to rewrite actual history to serve their own purposes. I use the term hypocrite loosely though, it would be more so, deceivers and liars, con men and flimflammers, men of authority who are actually men of lawlessness.

    A man or woman’s conscience can really warn them off of this type of deception, but unfortunately, so many fall into the deceiver’s trap.

    Like was mentioned yesterday, the voice of the deceiver is like a moth to the flame. The louder and more bombastic the voice, the brighter the flame. The moths come from far and wide looking for camaraderie and love only to end up roasted Cannon fodder.

    So, what’s the solution? I highly doubt if there is one. Judging by history, the fork has been stuck in so to speak.

  12. “Don’t confuse me with the facts.” Thanks, Sheila, for prompting memories of one of the biggest Republican fools to ever serve in Congress—good ol’ Earl Landgrebe, Congressman from Indiana’s second district, who said exactly this the day before Richard Nixon resigned. Watergate denial, climate denial, COVID denial….. On and on. Not a damn thing has changed.

  13. I had known nothing of Boris’ background, and too much of Trump’s. Not that I would have voted for any of the other asinine
    GOOP candidates, in 2016. None of them have gone on to show us anything worthwhile, and one of them died of the “hoax.”
    The new American exceptionalism, as described, is truly mind-blowing. That whole concept was always nothing but a self-serving
    myth, but now it has teeth…blood dripping teeth. “Alternative facts,” are just the latest iteration of pres. Raygun’s “Facts are
    just annoyances.” And the exceptional Republicans of that day just quietly bought into it.
    Trump knew what he was saying when he said “I love the uneducated.” That is one of the times he actually told the truth.
    Tthom Hartmann has written that he sees this country on the brink of a new civil war, because of the lies that are so easily
    swallowed by those under the spell of the Orange-Empty-Who-Posed-As-A-President. Even For us to be at a place wherein
    that does not sound ridiculous, is ridiculous!
    Churchill’s “stumble” comment was put so nicely, but with Trump stumbling is not even an issue, he just moves on without missing
    a step, using the opportunity to vomit out just another in his unending string of lies. Malignant narcissism is so convenient a place
    in which to be anchored within.

  14. I enjoyed the Churchill quote. It reminded me of Mark Twain, who has some of the best quotes ever. Twain said “All you need in life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.” I guess he was warning us about Trump. He probably should have mentioned the narcissism and abject stupidity, too, though. And maybe the golf. Then we might have put two and two together a little more quickly.

    For the GOP, facts and truth are completely incidental. They’re orthogonal to the narrative, the story. Unfortunately, the stories that they tell aren’t meant to make anyone feel better; they aren’t enlightening or educational or empathetic or supportive. Instead, they’re primarily meant to instill fear, with large helpings of rage and envy added in.

    One of the things that makes me most crazy regarding the right-wing is the constant projection. Like psychopaths undermining a suspicious partner, they accuse the opponent of the exact things they are doing, as a way to put the opponent off balance. In a way, the lying is part of the projection. The hypocrisy, because it is completely ignored, drives me batty.

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