It’s Tuesday, June 18, 2019.
It’s the 77th birthday of Paul McCartney, who needs no introduction, and the 67th birthday of Lee Soo-man, who – for this audience – does.
Lee is a pioneer of K-pop, the founder of SM Entertainment, which is the management organization for several prominent groups – although not BTS, the one most of you know.
My interest in this comes from having visited the SM Museum – which, of course, sounds to Americans like something other than what it is. Remember, the guy’s name is Soo-man.
Anyway, the museum (it’s in Seoul, of course) highlights the history of K-pop – which, as my baby brother points out, isn’t much more than 10 years.
So, it’s Lee’s birthday. My son would tell you to go listen to Girls Generation – that is one of the groups – to celebrate.
I’m just going to bounce a few ideas on this rainy Wednesday and see what you think.
Today’s manifestation of the dysfunction that’s the Trump White House is the Patrick Shahahan debacle.
Shanahan was, until today, the acting defense secretary and Trump’s nominee to permanently run the department. The Pentagon has not had a leader since James Mattis resigned over Trump’s seat-of-his-pants decision to withdraw from Syria last December.
But Shahahan withdrew as the Washington Post reported that he helped his son temporarily evade a domestic violence charge in 2011 after he beat his mother with a baseball bat. Eventually, the father assisted his son when he turned himself into authorities.
The details of this story are sad and sordid. Beating someone with a baseball bat is never justified, but all of these people have problems – which is why Shahahan ultimately decided not to put his nomination forward.
While the Shahahans’ problems are troublesome, at this point I’m more concerned about this fact: This guy was confirmed as deputy secretary of defense two years ago.
There was a hearing and no senator – not from either party – asked him about the 2011 matter, or about a previous incident in which the boy’s mother – now Shahahan’s ex-wife – battered Shahahan while he was lying in bed.
And it’s not clear whether the Trump dolts a) didn’t uncover these incidents in what should have been routine vetting or b) didn’t care.
Neither of those is reassuring.
One thing to consider: The Post says it has been talking to Shahahan since January about the past incidents.
So was Shahahan, who once held a prominent position at Boeing. thinking all this would blow over – even though he was talking to the freakin’ Washington Post? That’s not especially bright.
But, going back, was this something that eluded what appears to be a not particularly cracker-jack vetting team for the guy who says he hires “all the best people?” The Post knew – and they didn’t?
The first Democratic presidential debate is eight days away. It will be good to see the candidates spell out their ideas on the Miami stage over two days.
Trump has indicated he will live tweet the debate. I’m not sure how – or if – Democrats should respond to that.
But it’s goit me thinking about 15 months from now, when it’s time for the presidential election debates.
And this: Does anyone really believe Trump is going to show up?
Once again, he’s going to be intellectually overmatched. So, I would imagine his reasoning would be, “Why bother?”
He’s going to be insulted at every turn – and he doesn’t seem particularly thick-skinned about that. It would be galling to be dissed by Joe Biden or Kamala Harris or Pete Buttigieg or whoever.
How would his pride deal with it? And you know whoever the nominee is will cough strategically to rattle him.
And when Trump has to answer questions that aren’t from the tame Fox and Friends gang or one of his rally sycophants, how will he handle it?
I don’t think he will. I don’t think he’s showing up.