06 Feb TDS and an Interesting Coincidence
Sooo…something interesting happened to me yesterday. Early yesterday evening, I received an email from LinkedIn security, notifying me that I needed to change my password and do a few other things to ensure the security of my account. Apparently, they had noticed “significant” suspicious activity with my account, including several failed login attempts.
Now, like many people – most of you, I’d guess – I’ve received such notices before, suspicious attempts to hack an email account or a bank account or a PayPal account or something similar. But this was the first time I’d ever been the subject of an attempted hacking of an account that could provide the hacker nothing of tangible value, no passwords or balance information or opportunity to commit fraud using my credit card or anything like that. LinkedIn, as you know, is purely a professional resource, a place where members maintain and advertise their career activities. Moreover, everything on a LinkedIn account – or on my account, at least – is already visible to the public. There’s literally nothing to hide – and thus, nothing to steal – there.
What I found interesting about this “suspicious activity” involving my non-financial, public-facing, professional account was its timing.
I have written occasional pieces for openly and avowedly conservative publications for years – TownHall, National Review Online, The Federalist, The Spectator (World), The Political Forum (😊), and so on. Yesterday, however, was the first time I’d ever been published by American Greatness, a site that is not, in any way, affiliated with Donald Trump but which happens to have derived its name from Trump’s “Make American Great Again” slogan.
It may be pure coincidence. Indeed, it’s likely that it was pure coincidence that the very day I was first published by an operation with a Trump-sounding name was also the first time someone tried to hack the account where my professional accomplishments – and my professional reputation – are aggregated. In the world of Trump-adjacent people to besmirch, I’m pretty low on the priority list, and not just because I am (as regular readers know) not especially Trump-adjacent. Nevertheless, the coincidence struck me as interesting.
To reiterate, we here at TPF/TPFI have never considered ourselves “fans” or supporters of any major politician – Republican, Democrat, whatever. That’s not what we do. That’s not our job. And, more to the point, that’s rather at cross-purposes with both our personal temperaments and our professional belief that government is an indicator of cultural well-being, not the arbiter of it.
All of that said, one can hardly deny that Donald Trump brings out the absolute worst in those who oppose him. For a variety of reasons, he makes them crazy, sometimes literally. The other day, when Fulton County District Attorney (and Trump prosecutor) Fani Willis admitted that she had had an affair with her subordinate, whom she then appointed to lead the case against Trump, Seth Mandel, a senior editor at Commentary magazine, tweeted that Trump has the best luck in political enemies. This is true – in part. The other part of it is that he appears to have good luck because his political enemies do stupid things and bring stupid cases and go out on stupid limbs, all because he makes them lose their damn minds.
A couple of weeks ago, the Washington Post ran a story about what the Biden administration hopes to accomplish as it tries to bring some sort of conclusion to the Russia-Ukraine war. Most of the piece is pretty anodyne, even if it tends to contradict past statements and public proclamations:
Still smarting from last year’s failed counteroffensive in Ukraine, the Biden administration is putting together a new strategy that will de-emphasize winning back territory and focus instead on helping Ukraine fend off new Russian advances while moving toward a long-term goal of strengthening its fighting force and economy.
The emerging plan is a sharp change from last year, when the U.S. and allied militaries rushed training and sophisticated equipment to Kyiv in hopes that it could quickly push back Russian forces occupying eastern and southern Ukraine.
But then there’s this:
Not incidentally, a U.S. official said, the hope is that the long-term promise — again assuming congressional buy-in — will also “future-proof” aid for Ukraine against the possibility that former president Donald Trump wins his reelection bid.
Wait. What? Trump is so deeply and firmly embedded in your psyches that even your peace plans are built around him? And you’re not embarrassed to admit it?
There’s also this, from the Associated Press over the weekend:
President Joe Biden on Sunday ticked through a list of reasons he says a second Donald Trump presidency would be a “nightmare” for the country as he urged Nevada Democrats to vote for him in the state’s presidential primary this week and for his party at large in November….
Biden said the stakes were huge when he took on Trump in 2020 — “what made America America, I thought, was at risk’ — and they are even larger now as a likely rematch looms….
“We have to keep the White House,” he said., “We must keep the Senate” and win back the House.
Accomplish that, he said, and “we can say we saved American democracy.”
He was equally blunt in talking up his record at his subsequent rally where he implored voters to “imagine the nightmare of Donald Trump.”
I realize that this is political rhetoric, which tends to be apocalyptic. Still, this is unhinged political rhetoric, rhetoric that has no basis in reality. For starters, Americans don’t have to imagine what a Trump presidency would be like. They lived through four years of it. And strangely, none of them ended up in camps. Additionally, this rhetoric about nightmares and hellscapes and the end of democracy is eerily reminiscent of the rhetoric that was unleashed – with the consent and approval of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Biden – by Ted Kennedy against Judge Robert Bork in 1987. Kennedy and Biden forever changed the country with their scurrilous attacks on Bork, destroying the man, his reputation, and all sense of comity in American politics, all to save a chunk of political turf (that they eventually lost anyway). And the one of them who is still around is trying to do so again.
Not that Biden is alone or that this is only about “rhetoric.” TDS – Trump Derangement Syndrome – is real and it is infinitely more virulent than its predecessor, BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome, coined by the late, great Charles Krauthammer). To be blunt, I would be surprised if someone tried to hack my LinkedIn to make me look like an ass because they thought I was a Trump supporter – but not too surprised. Heaven knows, the people who hate him have done crazier things and will do crazier things still.
Ironically, their hatred of him is his path to victory. If they could get over him, the public would get over him too. As it is, he has all the right enemies and compels them to drop their proverbial masks. That, in itself, is enticing to many voters.