By Howard Kurtz
Published December 12, 2018
There's a whole lot of wishful thinking going on these days.
Too many people, perhaps living in their own bubbles, have convinced themselves of the outcomes they want to see. And the phenomenon cuts across political and cultural lines.
Their instinct is that they must be right because it just seems so obvious to all thinking persons.
Doris Kearns Goodwin, the celebrated historian, writes terrific books about past presidents. But Goodwin, who was close to LBJ, went off on Donald Trump yesterday in a rather odd way.
On "Morning Joe," Goodwin said the situation in America "hasn't been this bad since the 1850s, and that didn't end up too well, with a Civil War that 600,000 people died in."
Okay, that's quite a comparison.
She did have a reasonable point in talking about "the miserableness of these people — there's no joy in that White House." Many have had to lawyer up, and there's been a record level of turnover, with some being trashed after their departure. And, said Goodwin, "the top guy doesn't have any joy."
Then came the wish-upon-a-star: "I think at some point he might resign. If this thing gets so bad."
Anyone who believes that Donald Trump is going to voluntarily give up the job that almost nobody thought he could win simply doesn't understand the man.
Then there are some of the Democrats who see an involuntary exit for Trump. I wrote yesterday about how some of them are now talking up indictment, rather than impeachment, as the media shift their focus from Russia to paying off alleged paramours. But some senior Democratic lawmakers are still talking up impeachment.
The Federalist puts it bluntly: "Why Democrats Would Be Insane to Impeach Donald Trump." Writer David Marcus notes that after Bill Clinton was acquitted by the Senate, his approval rating hit 73 percent:
"The thrice-married Trump, who has been known to boast about adultery like a suburban dad who won the best lawn in the neighborhood award, apparently had sex with a porn star and a Playboy playmate. That seems about par for his course. But wait! He lied about it! Well, yeah, also pretty much behavior we knew about and expected. But there's more! He might have violated campaign finance law! Okay, but so do a lot of campaigns. Usually they pay a fine and we all move along."
The piece argues that House Democrats, knowing there was no chance of a Republican Senate convicting Trump, "would presumably bring up articles of impeachment to hurt the president politically." But, he says, "Counterpunching Trump would like nothing more than to tell crowd after crowd at rally after rally that the angry Democrats on the elitist coasts and their friends in the deep state are attempting a coup."
Unless more evidence emerges in the Mueller probe, it remains a liberal fantasy.
Another object of fantasy is Beto O'Rourke. The media are so in love with this guy that they provide breathless updates about his 2020 prospects: He met with Al Sharpton! He spoke to Elizabeth Warren's former campaign manager. He "appears to have frozen the Dem field," says NBC.
The New York Times the other day pronounced him the "wild card" of the presidential campaign, "rousing activists" in early-voting states and drawing the interest of former Obama aides.
Now I get that O'Rourke raised record-shattering amounts of money in his 3-point loss to Ted Cruz. But he still lost — not exactly the usual launching pad for a White House bid. But some of his media boosters were talking him up during the campaign as a strong contender even if he lost the Senate race — because, well, he's Beto.
The Times does point out the downside:
"Mr. O’Rourke would surely have vulnerabilities in a primary, including an absence of signature policy feats or a centerpiece issue to date. In his Senate race, he was often disinclined to go negative, frustrating some Democrats who believe he wasted a chance to defeat Mr. Cruz, and he struggled at times in some traditional formats like televised debates. He is, by admission and design, not the political brawler some Democrats might crave against a president they loathe. And his candidacy would not be history-making like Mr. Obama's nor many of his likely peers' in the field, in an election when many activists may want a female or nonwhite nominee."
O'Rourke could always catch fire and win the nomination, I suppose. But for now, it's wishful thinking.
Finally, it pains me to write this because I'm a huge admirer of Steph Curry, the Golden State Warriors star who has a fabulous work ethic and whose three-point shooting transformed the game.
I don't expect athletes to be well informed on anything other than the mechanics of their sport. But Curry is buying into the fantasy that the American moon landings were faked.
This, a half-century since Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon, apparently remains a popular conspiracy theory.
And when two hosts on a podcast said the landings never happened, Curry responded: "I don't think so either."
"You don't think so?" he was asked.
"Nuh uh," Curry replied. One of the hosts then brought up the theory that the government hired Stanley Kubrick to produce the phony show.
NASA has now invited Curry to visit its lunar lab at the Johnson Space Center and examine the lunar rocks brought back by Apollo 11.
Maybe Curry will be too busy nailing threes to go. Wishful thinking can be much more fun.