You mean whining about being insulted doesn’t work?

An interesting historical anecdote: Andrew Johnson was a reviled president who went on a whistlestop tour — you know, campaign rallies — to energize his followers and stir up support. It didn’t go well. He was frequently insulted, and his response was to go on furious rants (sound familiar?) and rage at everyone. Guess how that went.

Johnson angrily denounced with one of the strangest tirades of the tour: “I have been traduced! I have been slandered. I have been maligned. I have been called Judas — Judas Iscariot and all of that.”

By the time it was over, Johnson had been humiliated and his reputation was in tatters.

I’ll be curious to see how effective the temper tantrum strategy will be for a president whose reputation is already in tatters.


  1. says

    This president’s reputation couldn’t get any lower than than it has been ever since he was elected. Those who disliked him from the get get-go have not seen their numbers increase significantly. Those who have supported him from the day he he announced his candidacy by insulting Mexicans will always believe that he walks on water and his shit don’t stink. Johnson never had the kind of ass-kissing sycophants tRump can marshal with a single tweet, neither in quantity or quality. The simple fact is, he can do or say anything he wants and conservative preachers will continue to claim that he is the anointed of God. Sadly I fear he was correct when he said he could shoot someone in the street in cold blood in the middle of the day and it wouldn’t cost him a single vote.
    The worst part seems to be that The Republicans in the Senate will never vote against him no matter how corrupt he is, no matter how much damage he does to the country’s standing in the world or to our economy or foreign policy.Why? because one tweet will marshal a horde of primary challengers (who, frankly, would be even worse than the spineless worms already parasytizing the party as it is).

  2. PaulBC says

    Jonathan Norburg@2

    Prison rape is a failure of society to protect those whose rights it takes away. Taking away someone’s freedom (an outrageous but sometimes necessary action) immediately imposes a state burden of care and protection that goes far beyond the burden to protect free adults from the consequences of their actions. (So, e.g., you can’t let prisoners die from a neglected tooth abscess either, even if free adults make may their own bad choices.)

    How anyone fails to see that is beyond me. As long as rape is seen as a “hidden feature” for punishing certain people “extra good” we will never have the political will to enact the massive necessary reforms to our criminal justice system. I can think of few things that make me angrier than glib references to prison rape (even when prefaced by the immediately undermined claim that you hate the idea).

  3. says

    Oh, my! You’re being so mean to me! sniff I’m going to complain to the professor and have you banned, you meanie head, you! Oh wait, that’s what conservatives do, when their comment sections are even open to begin with. Nevermind.

  4. microraptor says

    It occurs to me that after Rump dies, his grave will need to be guarded to fend off the people wishing to defecate on it.

    Of course, plenty of his dingleberry supporters would probably think it was an honor to be asked to do that job for free.

  5. aspleen says

    Trump is playing to the wingnut peanut gallery for a couple of reasons. One is to try and make it seem that the impeachment inquiry is just another “Democrat” witch-hunt. The other is to make it very, very difficult for any Republican in the Senate to consider convicting Trump, knowing that they’d be challenged in a primary if they did and probably lose. The third reason is that Trump always doubles down in anger because that’s his nature. But of course Cardinal Fang, you knew that already.

  6. dianneleonard says

    A couple of days ago, I read a really interesting article. The premise was that, for the 200+ years of our country, we’ve relied on the unspoken political pact that makes it clear that when presidents/congress reps/governors (especially presidents) and so on are defeated or term-limited out, they will retire quietly and let the new one take over peacefully. It hadn’t occurred to me how much we rely on that. Of course, I know about coups and such in other places, but not here. The Mango Monster (no slur on mangoes intended) has made it abundantly clear that he will NOT go quietly. He has openly threatened civil war/violence if he’s impeached or defeated in 2020. This is such a shocking idea that everybody is caught flat-footed! We are so unused to this idea that that political pact isn’t accepted by one powerful man, we have had trouble figuring out what to do! Frankly, I think he needs to be perp-walked out, dressed in a shirt with extra-long sleeves. He’s not just criminal, he’s crazy too.

  7. says

    PZ and Paul, you are right, and I apologize for my comment. I’ll just have to wait for him to check in at Leavenworth, or whichever Federal facility will accept him. I ask forgiveness for letting my anger at one man get the better of me.

  8. brucegee1962 says

    Not only is the rape reference off, I’m not enthused about the idea of locking up ex-presidents, no matter how criminal they are.

    As @dianneleonard pointed out above, we have a tradition in this country of presidents going into retirement quietly and letting their successors take over. We also have a tradition of new administrations NOT locking up their predecessors. Can we not see that these two traditions are related?

    Imagine you’re a leader who has done bad things — and the only way you’re going to be able to avoid spending the rest of your life in jail is to do more and more and more bad things to hold onto power until the day you die. Why wouldn’t you do that?

    Please, please let cheeto go off and play golf, or build walls in his backyard, or avoid brown people, or whatever the heck he wants to do in retirement, as long as he is never again near the halls of power. It won’t help any of the lives he’s ruined to lock him up. I just worry that the more “lock him up” gets floated around, the more likely it is that he really will get off his lazy *** and try to actually start a civil war for real.

  9. says

    @#13, brucegee1962:

    I disagree with this principle entirely. Permitting law-breaking presidents to avoid even being investigated is part of why we’re in this mess.

    We wouldn’t have had Trump if GWB and Cheney had been prosecuted for their crimes by Obama. It would seriously have altered the whole campaigning zeitgeist if there had been a signal that the right wing cannot seriously break laws and get away with it.

    We wouldn’t have had GWB and Cheney in the first place if Clinton had seriously investigated the Reagan and Bush administrations for their crimes — Iran-Contra could have ended with Cheney in prison, IIRC.

    We wouldn’t have had Reagan if the Democrats had insisted on pushing on with Watergate and throwing all of those responsible in prison. (Just for one thing: a transcript of a meeting apparently exists in which a little Nixon helper named Karl Rove was under consideration; they had enough evidence to convict him but felt that the public was tired of all these trials.)

    Every time the Republicans get away with their crime, they come back with somebody even more outrageous. It’s long past time to stop this cycle.

    (And, incidentally, Obama and his administration needs to be investigated, too — if committing war crimes goes without punishment, then we’ll just commit more of them, and Obama not only committed some by way of his foreign policy, particularly Libya, but also by the treaties signed at the end of WWII, he fully shares in the guilt of GWB’s administration for the war crimes in Iraq. I remind you that the Constitution says that a duly ratified treaty is as legally unassailable as the Constitution itself, and those treaties say that protecting a war criminal from prosecution means you share their guilt, and Obama gave us “we have to look forward, not backward”. But what can you expect from somebody who explicitly says they would have been a Republican under Ronald Reagan?)

  10. says

    The quote makes Andrew Johnson sound at least vaguely aware of how repellent he is and that other people may have views and opinions that differ from his own for reasons that might possibly be valid, which means he’s not a good analogy to Donald Trump. Donald Trump will never be aware he is losing until the very end. He is in his own mind a Winner who cannot possibly fail or be wrong, ever.

  11. jack16 says

    @13 brucegee1962
    Very good point. One of my favorite, and rare quotes,”Vengeance is mine.”