By David Futrelle
Like Donald Trump, and like a lot of people who think they’re much smarter than they are, cartoonist-turned-Trump-rationalizer Scott Adams hates to admit he’s wrong. Trouble is, he’s wrong a lot; he can barely open his mouth on Periscope or type out a Tweet without saying something ridiculous if not patently false.
But one tweet of his from six months ago has proven to be so egregiously wrong that he’s written an entire blog post trying, and failing to defend it.
Six months after this tweet, Trump’s administration is imploding, our illegitimate president has seen his approval rating drop into the mid-thirties, and some 30,000 people just came out to an anti-fascist march in Boston that was in part a massive public repudiation of Trump’s inability to clearly and convincingly denounce literal Nazis — to name only a few of Trump’s current woes. It’s less awkward than ever to be anti-Trump.
In his blog post, would-be “master persuader” Adams offers up an exceedingly unpersuasive set of arguments — if they can even be called that — to try to convince Trump-haters that they should feel awkward for hating Trump.
As you might expect, anti-Trumper are saying [my] tweet didn’t age well. They are saying this on the same week that their side protested a free speech rally by throwing urine on cops.
Well, no. 30,000 people marched against a rally organized by white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and semi-quasi-Nazis that billed itself as a “free speech” march, much in the same way that 9/11 conspiracy theorists define themselves as “Truthers.” The alleged urine-throwers made up a fraction of a percent of the marchers.
Anticipating this obvious rebuttal to his nonsense, Adams remarks snarkily that
I learned this past week that if you are marching with urine-hurlers, and making common cause with urine-hurlers, you’re just as bad as urine-hurlers. And if that logic doesn’t hold up, it would feel super-awkward for me to be on the team that says it does. But that’s just me.
It’s just you. You’re trying to equate a massive peaceful march in Boston that was attended by a miniscule number of alleged “urine-hurlers” with two marches in Charlotteville, organized by and filled to the brim with neo-Nazis and Nazi-equivalents, many of them armored and armed with clubs and pepper spray and in some cases with semi-automatic rifles, a march in which a woman was killed — a woman whose death was declared “more than justified” by one of the march’s speakers and hailed as “payback” by the march’s main organizer.
Adams continues on, grasping at straws.
Meanwhile, Senator Schiff, a prominent anti-Trumper, spoke out today against violence. But he failed to name Antifa or White Supremacists by name, despite being prompted to do so by Jake Tapper in this interview, thus drawing a moral equivalence between Antifa and White Supremacists. And if he later mentions any hate groups by name, we still have to wonder why it took so long. We learned last week from anti-Trumpers that this sort of moral equivalence, and the peculiar pause before a full disavowal, are deeply meaningful. If this logic doesn’t make sense to you, it might feel super-awkward to be on the team that insists it does.
This would be a “gotcha,” I suppose, if Schiff — a Congressman, not a Senator –were actually unwilling to denounce white supremacists. Unfortunately, at least for Adams, Schiff has called them out by name on various occasions, as he did in these Tweets shortly after the debacle in Charlottesville (and before Adams wrote his post).
.@POTUS needs to speak out against the poisonous resurgence of white supremacy. There are not "many sides" here, just right and wrong.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) August 12, 2017
In a statement only the KKK could (and did) applaud, @POTUS again defends white supremacists. I would ask why but afraid the answer is clear
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) August 15, 2017
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) August 17, 2017
Adams continues flailing.
And what about the racist dog whistle that anti-Trumpers tell us only they and racists can hear? Is it not super-awkward that your best criticism involves hearing a secret message that only racists can detect?
Well, no. You don’t have to be a white supremacist to notice white supremacist dog whistles; you just have to know something about white supremacists.
Or what if your view is that President Trump accomplished nothing in his first six months? Would this extensive list of his accomplishments make you feel super-awkward?
Now this is awkward — for Adams. The list he’s talking about was posted to Reddit’s The Donald several months ago, and, well, it’s pretty pathetic. It claims, among other things, that “Trump has successfully enacted a Travel Ban” (well, that’s one way of putting it I guess), that he’s put “thousands of coal miners back to work” (bullshit), and that “Trump has already saved taxpayers $86 Billion by cutting regulations” (even the right-wing think-tank “insight” piece cited as evidence only claims that “recent regulatory actions … could produce [emphasis mine] more than $86 billion in savings for taxpayers,” much in the same way, I might add, that my butt could produce flying monkeys). Most of the other “accomplishments” listed are small beans.
Trump’s promise to replace Obamacare with something better, meanwhile, has been a humiliating failure, and last night he announced a “plan” on Afghanistan that was a total repudiation to his oft-repeated promise to get us out of that seemingly endless war.
Did you think that no progress in building the “wall” would be embarrassing for Trump supporters? Or did you see the New York Times confirm that progress is being made?
In fact, the NYT article supposedly supporting this claim states only that
[t]he United States Army Corps of Engineers has begun preliminary preparations for the construction of segments of a wall in several places along the border with Mexico. …
Engineers are drilling and taking soil samples to determine what type of barriers would be most effective in the different types of geography along the border … .
I might as well claim I am making progress on climbing Mount Everest because I periodically walk up flights of stairs.
Perhaps you rejoiced this week about President Trump’s tweet on General Pershing’s handling of Islamic terrorists because he was so factually wrong about the pig blood thing. But maybe you didn’t know how accurate he was according to Pershing’s own words. That feels super-awkward to me, but maybe it sounds different to people who hear the secret racist beacon at the same time.
Trump’s story — claiming that Pershing stopped terrorism for decades by massacring dozens of suspected Muslim terrorists, without trial, using bullets dipped in pig’s blood — has been declared utterly false by historians. (It also would have been a war crime.) The passage in Pershing’s memoirs that Adams links to hardly confirms this story; it makes reference not to massacring Muslims with blood-coated bullets but to burying Muslim terrorists alongside pigs. That’s also racist as fuck — nothing “secret” about Pershing’s or Trump’s racism — but it’s not the same story.
And the inaccuracy of Trump’s tweet was only part of the problem. The much bigger issue? That our president would essentially endorse war crimes as a supposed solution to terrorism.
I will take anti-Trumpers at their word that they don’t feel awkward about any of this.
Well, good, because we very definitely don’t.
I got that prediction totally wrong. …
I will take this opportunity to publicly eat some crow and agree that six months into this presidency, anti-Trumpers do NOT feel super-awkward. But according to Julian Assange, perhaps they should:
Adams posts a screenshot of this tweet from Assange:
The only awkward thing here? That anyone would actually believe — or profess to believe — that the neo-Nazi “free speech” rally had anything to do with free speech. The 30,000 counterprotesters who marched in Boston weren’t protesting against free speech; they were engaging in it. Much like those who have been dragging Adams on Twitter over his ridiculous tweet. Nothing awkward about that.