Tuesday, February 16, 2021

What the hell was wrong with that Trump guy

Is This the End of Obsessively Hating Donald Trump? Loathing him has been a passion, an addiction, a compulsion. Let impeachment be the last hurrah.

So writes Keith Olberman in a New York Times op-ed.

Mr. Olbermann was, among other things, the national sports correspondent for CNN from 1981 to 1984, and host and managing editor of MSNBC’s “The White House in Crisis” in 1998 and “Countdown” from 2003 to 2011

Here are the opening excerpts.

(Thanks to our roving Editor-at-Large Sherry.)

I hated Donald Trump when hating Donald Trump wasn’t cool.

My credentials date back to Dec. 15, 1983, when CNN sent me to cover a public forum featuring the moguls of four New York sports teams. One of them, the newly minted proprietor of the long-forgotten New Jersey Generals, got up and spoke interminable nonsense for what felt like 20 minutes.

He promised the signing of superstar players he would never sign. He announced the hiring of immortal coaches he would never hire. He scheduled a news conference the next day to confirm all of it, and the next day never came.

As I finished recording one-on-one interviews with the three other owners, George Steinbrenner, Sonny Werblin and Fred Wilpon, he emerged from the darkness and began answering questions into my microphone before I asked any. He repeated his boasts of future glory, but this time he mentioned an entirely different set of coaches and players than he had from the podium. As we helped the crew pack up to head back to our newsroom, I said to my equally flummoxed producer, “What the hell was wrong with that Trump guy?”

I have some seniority on this topic.

I was there nearly at the beginning of the Great Hate, I have twice quit lucrative sinecures in sports to create pro bono video series warning against Mr. Trump, and now I am here with everybody else watching “Impeachment in Absentia” and wondering if we will ever get the opportunity to exorcise the enmity.

As obscenely insufficient as it sounds, the only real consequence of this second trial might be the unofficial termination of Mr. Trump’s political life. Senator Lisa Murkowski’s tepid Wednesday guess — “I don’t see how Donald Trump could be re-elected to the presidency again” — might be the closest thing to a tangible result.

Far more than the outcome of the trial was predetermined: Anybody on either side could have mapped the play-by-play with precision. Whomever you support, it has gone exactly as you expected it would.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers, who seemingly rotate as frequently and stumblingly as those imaginary football stars and coaches he told me he would steal 38 years ago, have fabricated the useful phantasm of “unconstitutionality.” It has provided Republican senators with an excuse to watch video of themselves and their colleagues nearly being captured and killed by a mob, and yet still say that was truly horrible but it’s just a shame we don’t have jurisdiction against an ex-president and oh by the way didn’t those impeachment managers do a great and solemn job and see I said something nice about Democrats therefore I’m for unity unlike that Biden guy.

If that’s all we get, what happens to the hate?

For the answer, see Olberman’s essay.

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