It's long been a truism that "bullies are cowards."
Anyone who has dealt with bullies, which I guess we all have at one time or another throughout our lives, knows that they can be both dangerous and cowardly, but their ways are patterned. They can be wrangled and defeated, either by strategy or by force. On the other hand, a bully isn't necessarily bad; bullies can be useful if they're on your side. That may not happen often, but it can.
Bullies have to have toadies or they can't function. The idea of a solitary bully is almost impossible to conceive, but I understand they do exist and they can and do terrorize whole neighborhoods. I think that phenomenon may be a different thing, not a classic bully, but I don't know because I've never encountered someone like that. Heard about them; never seen one in the flesh.
No, most bullies I've encountered have a cloud of followers, toadies, some of whom become trusted assistant, others little more than hangers-on. The point being an expected reward for loyalty and service. The reward might consist of nothing more than a glance, a smile, a pat on the head, but for many who toady, that's enough. Some toadies become objects of contempt or derision among the group, and for them it's fine. At least they're noticed.
Challenging a bully can be tricky, especially if s/he has a relatively large following, each member of which can be a bully, a danger, and a coward in his/her own right. Getting through all of them to challenge the head-bully can be difficult, and it can be so exhausting that challengers give up. In some situations, too, challenging the bully can get you killed.
Another truism: "If you strike at the king, you must kill him." Indeed. Challenging the bully without defeating him or her is a dangerous exercise, dangerous not only for the challenger but for many of those who seek to stay outside the conflict as well. Most people would just rather not be involved in any way, but when a challenge fails, as they often do, the consequences for the innocent can be severe.
All this is prelude to what I see going on with the White House occupants. Bullies and toadies aplenty, head bully with the gold-plated pate, and they are being challenged on all fronts, in the streets, behind the curtain, daily, hourly, nonstop in the media, and throughout the permanent and elected government. They have fewer and fewer allies, and they seem to relish alienating those individuals and interest who might naturally be their allies. They're in a world of shit of their own making.
What I'm seeing is some of the weakest pushback imaginable. Good heavens, they have essentially no defense mechanisms at all. It's all show business, no substance -- or at least not much.
Paper tiger doesn't begin to describe it.
The vile twitter rants have become international jokes. Policy and law are not made on the twitter machine. But the rants do expose weaknesses. Bald assertions of power and authority are regarded with the same arched eyebrows as Cartman's "You will respect my authoritah!" Sure, whatever. Blah, blah, blah.
Blamecasting for the multiplicity of missteps and failures, particularly blaming "Clintonites" and "The Media," is loopy. False claims and accusations are constant. They're called out for what they are, "lies," and the death spiral spins ever faster.
Threats and imprecations go nowhere. "Operations" to get rid of the troublemakers fail.
From the perspective of the governing class, those who do this governing thing for a living, the out of control and very weak bully-behavior is incredibly dangerous for the leader of an imperial nation-state such as the USofA.
It cannot be allowed to continue, and I have no doubt it won't be. The pushback is so weak from the White House, and it's becoming weaker by the hour, I'm not even sure the regime will last out the month. This coming weekend may be its last.
On the other hand you never know. All the weakness I'm seeing may be a feint, and something unpredictable and awful will take place. Another Reichstag Fire type event.
I've pointed out we've already had our Reichstag Fire (ie: 9/11) and there's no going back. We've been in a kind of interim phase since then; everything is set up behind the scenes to institute a full on police state autocracy, but if it were to happen, we the Rabble weren't supposed to notice. It would just be a smooth and natural transition, and that would be that.
The current situation has disrupted those plans (!), and the Rabble is noticing. How to finesse this with as little hoo-hah as possible?
I suspect it can't be done.
There will be hoo-hah, and some of it is bound to be ugly. In fact, a lot of it probably will be.
While Trump defenders continue to rationalize his every twist and turn as "brilliant!" even they are beginning to recognize that this situation is not sustainable, and the End quite likely is nigh.
The tipping point has been reached, and it's downhill from here.
It looks like some of the Rabble are recognizing that in order to correct the situation, there may have to be a period "without a president." Until yesterday, it seemed the focus was on impeachment or using the 25th Amendment -- ie: Constitutional remedies. Which would take time, time we don't have, and would result in Pence, Ryan, McConnell, or even Tillerson in the White House. But... this is such a severe situation that it seems more and more likely that extra-constitutional means will be necessary. In other words, "suspend the constitution" -- temporarily, of course. There is a means to do that, btw.
I for one don't necessarily look at what comes After the coup as a positive thing, but perhaps it's a Needful Thing. There will be dancing in the streets, perhaps replaced with fear and loathing soon enough.
What gets me about all this is that it was always possible for whoever sat in the Big Chair to do the right thing, and Trump, being such a disruptor and a bully to boot, could actually have taken the power of the presidency to new realms of Doing Right. That's what I think his believers thought he would, peace and prosperity would reign, and heaven would open a branch office on earth. But it isn't working out that way, and Trump is being revealed as a weakling, whining, empty headed freak.
Off with their heads. Metaphorically speaking...