Thursday, February 20, 2020

SOLIDARITY FOREVER.

I have a bad cold and many sad and disturbing thoughts lay heavy on my mind, yet I am at peace because I got to see Michael Bloomberg get his ass absolutely kicked to shit last night. You all know I hate the motherfucker; I didn't realize nearly all of the other candidates did, too, or at least made a convincing show of it for political purposes.

It was a thing of beauty. Warren was particularly good; on stop and frisk and especially sexual harassment, I thought she was going to make the little ponce cry, or at least call an UberX to come onstage and carry him away. In fact she was so relentless I though SHE was hoping to make him cry and leave. (And she's still at it!)

As I said on Twitter, one thing could have saved Bloomberg: humility. All he had to do was be actually sorry about the things he said he was sorry about for just a few seconds. Take stop and frisk: he could have just said, "I didn’t even know how racist my assumptions were, so I took bad advice that conformed to my assumptions. I give Bill de Blasio credit: when he stopped stop ‘n’ frisk and crime stayed down, it taught me a lesson. All I can say is I’m sorry and now I know better."

That’s LITERALLY all he had to do. He could have left out de Blasio if that was too much for him. But he just couldn’t do the bare minimum. His ego wouldn't let him. (I like to imagine his flunkies suggesting it and Bloomberg reminding them who's the billionaire around here.) So instead we got one of those “I apologize but I wasn’t wrong” apologies: "It got out of hand," "you have to look at the results” -- all this classic sorry-not-sorry shit. And even the sensible, middle-class, Mom and Dad Democrats who go to these things were audibly not buying it.

The issue wouldn't have gone completely gone away if he hadn't fucked up like that -- it just would have given those Democrats who were willing to give him a chance (where the fuck do these people come from anyway) a little more credibility: See, he's really changed! But instead people saw the same smug little martinet I had to put up with in New York for 12 years -- except, unlike most of his tenure in New York, he was visibly baffled and at bay. And that was great. I loved every closeup of Bloomberg suffering -- well, maybe suffering isn't the right word: maybe "retreating into his ego" is more like it. Look at this fucker under Warren's lash: it's like he's being interrogated by kidnappers, moving from an ah surely they are not serious, this has to be a joke doesn't it look to a My God they are serious I'll just play for time, can't let them know I'm scared look:


And almost as good -- the others got into it! Even Biden took time out of his desperate last-angry-man act to get some licks in. Even Buttigieg -- I know! Pete Buttigieg! -- started acting like maybe billionaires weren't America's greatest accomplishment:
Look, our party has values. We were built around values like making sure we protect working people. But Mayor Bloomberg opposed raising the minimum wage... And if we're going into the election of our lives against a president who rose to power by cynically exploiting the frustration of ordinary Americans feeling like leaders weren't speaking to them, then I think that turning to someone like Mayor Bloomberg, who thinks he can buy this election, is no better a way to succeed than turning to somebody like Senator Sanders who wants to burn the house down.
OK, he's still had to get that shit in about Sanders, but Eddie Haskell Buttigieg going full This Election Is Not For Sale on Bloomberg is like the Simpsons episode where Bart has to shut up about Principal Skinner and Mrs. Krabapple and even Martin is scoring off him. Except unlike Bart Bloomberg has no natural gifts to suppress.

Otherwise: I don't know about you but I think Amy Klobuchar is going to be the first candidate to have an actual meltdown onstage -- she seemed close to angry tears at several points and when she said "I wish everyone was as perfect as you, Pete," I expected her to stomp off behind the gym and tearfully light up a Salem. It's kind of endearingly human in a way, but not, how you say, presidential. Elizabeth Warren was so good I not only felt inclined to forgive her trimming and bullshitting on M4A, I began to admire it as political provender. Trump isn't going to engage fairly with it anyway -- if he's even stupid enough to debate her, he'll probably just put on a war bonnet and go "woo woo woo" while his claque howls -- so she might as well do some old-fashioned film-flam. I think Biden is taking some variant of The Formula and it's pepped him up, but sometimes the train loses a few passengers on the way to the station if you know what I mean; he's gonna have to do some heavy Luminosity Brain Training if he wants to get in. Buttigieg is still a Wally and Chuck Todd, whose interest in the Culinary Union health care plan was unseemly, should just fuck all the fucking way the fuck off. Vote Sanders!

Friday, February 14, 2020

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



People laugh about "yazz flute" but Bobbi Humphrey ain't no joke.

•   I'm releasing another edition of Roy Edroso Breaks It Down for you non-subscribing folks. In this one I imagine a meeting between Tom Perez and his party's major donor, Michael Bloomberg. As I've been saying for years, Bloomberg sucks. Here's me in 2007 when people were also talking about a Bloomberg presidential run:
When we imagine the archetypical Rich Prick, we generally think of vulgarian clowns like Donald Trump, but Bloomberg is a better example of that breed: he doesn't have to even stir himself to sneer. As we saw during the last Mayoral Debate, he effortlessly radiates contempt for anything that is not his will. When he gives press conferences, his manner is bland, because he knows there's nothing to get excited about: he is right, you are wrong, and he will prevail.

As Mayor he has blithely exercised his will, or his whim, on matters ranging from trans-fats to the razing of neighborhoods for private profit. And nearly everyone rolls over for him. All the major dailies endorsed him in his last Mayoral race. (He spent over $75 million on the campaign.)

No wonder he's interested in the Presidency. Experience has taught him that very little is beyond his grasp. So he will patiently go on accumulating power...
Fortunately a lot of people (including Elizabeth Warren, bless her) are pointing out his shortcomings now -- his erstwhile stop-and-friskiness and the transparent insincerity of his apologies for it, his blaming the 2008 financial crisis on black people, etc. He's clearly hoping his billions and free-spending thereof will do the trick like it did back in New York. I couldn't stop the guy back then, but maybe everyone's gotten a little more wised up in the interval.

•   Readers of this site will know I've long suspected authors of "reader email" to Rod Dreher (or as I like to call them, "Letters to Repenthouse") are pulling his chain, and now I suspect they're sending Sacha Baron Cohen in a variety of disguises to prank him. From his latest:
But I have to tell you about something deeply shocking I learned tonight in conversation with one of the conferees [at a Nashville conference]. There’s nothing funny about this at all. It’s the kind of thing that makes me want to write a book called Benedict Option II: Head For The Hills.
Gasp! What a come-on. Gather round, Jesus fish!
I spoke with a man who works with victims of human sex trafficking. This is not a world I have paid attention to. He was telling me that it is much, much worse than people imagine, because of the Internet. Online pornography, he said, is destroying the hearts and minds of so many young people. He told me about a 13 year old girl in his church who came to the pastor and asked innocently if it was worth it to give a boy a blow job in exchange for a meal at McDonalds. She was holding out for Applebees, and wondered if it she was overshooting.
One waits in vain for the rimshot. Apparently Rod is buying this. Emboldened, his interlocutor goes further:
He said that in his line of work, he hears from fertility doctors — not one fertility doctor, but several — that they are having to teach married couples how to have normal sex. Normal, as in penis-in-vagina sex — this, if they want to conceive. These young people have been so saturated in pornography, and have had their imaginations so thoroughly formed by it, that the idea of normal reproductive sex acts are bizarre to them.
“This one doctor told me that she has to prescribe only doing penis-in-vagina sex exclusively for six months, so they can learn to feel normal about it,” he said. He wasn’t joking. He said that the first time a fertility doc told him that, he thought it must be a one-off thing, but he’s heard it from fertility docs from around the country.
I am old and out of it in many, many ways, but I would bet folding money that young people can figure out how to fuck no matter what they see on the internet.

I almost feel sorry for Dreher. Sooner or later his credulousness is going to affect his career trajectory. Imagine him going to some classy conference where someone brings up the declines in teen pregnancy, and Dreher explaining this is because young'uns don't know that the pee-pee goes in the hoo-hoo because porno. Imagine the astonished stares as David Brooks whisks Dreher to a waiting limo!

Thursday, February 13, 2020

THE PEGGY NOONAN CHAIR FOR APPLIED McARDLE.

Now that Sanders is surging, NeverTrumpers are freaking out. Max Boot:
Jennifer Rubin:
Still better and worse, as Ophelia said, is Megan McArdle. Months ago she declared she would support any Democrat, even Sanders, which was very clever of her -- she probably figures if he's nominated he'll be trounced, so she won't have to either do a last-minute "Save Our Oligarchy" column or pretend the day after he's inaugurated that she suddenly realized what a disastrous mistake America had made.

I'll say this for her: unlike Boot and Rubin, McArdle manages to keep the panic out of her voice. Her method is very close to that of the conservative shero whose manner she has come to adopt, Peggy Noonan: A touch toffee-nosed, civility-insistent, passive-aggressive. Here's the headline:
For good or ill (probably ill), at least Bernie Sanders is sincere
People always say it's unfair to blame columnists for the headlines their editors foist on them, and I agree: McArdle probably would have left off the parenthetical, and allowed her reader to infer it. Maybe her editor is a greenhorn who made the mistake of portraying what she read.
Look, I know that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is a socialist. I’m aware that the engine of his campaign is breathtaking hubris well-lubricated with monetary snake oil, and that the ideas it spits out would, if enacted, catapult the United States into a fiscal crisis.
I mean, everybody knows that, right? If someone asks for proof just yell "Venezuela" and start throwing rocks.
And while I doubt it was politically savvy for Hillary Clinton to say so out loud in a new documentary, I understand that Sanders has trouble cooperating with his senatorial colleagues, which means he’s doomed to disappoint even his ardent supporters, should he get elected.
Not sure what "politically savvy" means in reference to someone who will never again hold public office (thank God). The rest of it sounds like some Northeastern office lady imitating bless-your-heartisms she saw in Steel Magnolias: unfortunately, in translation that means sewing organdy to a basic "your friends are stupid to like you" formulation.

But then McArdle decides to pull a fast one!
But darn it, I just like the guy.
Ha ha ha ha, no really, imagine Megan McArdle liking Bernie Sanders. He's everything she hates! He cares about poor people! He's popular despite being messy! If Suderman tried to interest him in his cocktail recipes he would probably not be able to pretend interest! He's the anti-McArdle.

So no one who knows what she's really about believes this shtick. But let's play along a while.
I don’t mean that I like Sanders the way Democrats “liked” Donald Trump in 2016, in the misguided belief that his nomination would allow Hillary Clinton to stroll unhindered into the White House. For one thing, I want the Democrat to win — only, please, let it be a less radical candidate.
Bernie's radical not "rad," people!
Yet even as I wish failure on his campaign, I still like Sanders himself. I’m a sucker for sincerity.
[Not gonna touch that]
And so are a whole lot of New Hampshire voters I’ve talked to, including quite a few who were planning to vote for someone else.
Over and over, nearly word for word, they basically said, “I like him because he’s been saying the same thing for 40 years.” They may disagree with this or that part of Sanders’s agenda, but at least they know he means it.
I wasn't there but I'm willing to bet New Hampshire Bernie Sanders voters were not telling Megan McArdle they liked her candidate because he hadn't changed his patter since the Reagan Administration. Perhaps they said they agreed with what he'd been saying for 40 years? But no, that'd be too much to bear.
Which may explain the strange “Freaky Friday” demographic inversion among supporters of the septuagenarian Sanders and the precocious Pete Buttigieg.
McArdle says the youngs don't like Mayo Pete even though he's young too, whereas they love old Bernie, and the reason is they think Pete is fake while Bernie
appeals to the sincerity caucus, with his undeniably authentic Brooklyn accent, his utterly unpolished speaking style and an unshakable commitment to socialism that could never, even in 1968, have seemed like a good career move.
So, see, it's all personality -- nothing really to do with principles or policies (because who really could want universal health care and a wealth tax? LOL get real, kids!).  Plus which sincerity has a downside, says McArdle:
I suspect that the sincerity appeal may also explain how Trump secured his nomination in 2016.
And you don't want to be like Trump supporters, do you, hipsters?  But wait, how exactly is Trump like Sanders?
The things Trump says are often untrue, sometimes awful and occasionally incoherent. But by that very token, you know his speeches haven’t been carefully focus-grouped...
And Bernie says stuff like "Not me, us!" Which is just as wacky! Not convinced yet? McArdle unsleeves her ace:
Mao Zedong’s Red Guards no doubt were plenty sincere, but I’d still rather be ruled by a used-car salesman from the seediest lot in town. 
[Photoshop of Kate McKinnon as Hillary's last-minute pitch: HE WILL CADRE US ALL.]
Then again, look back over the past two decades of politicians who promised that everything would be different, then delivered more of the same, only somehow worse.
The bottom line: Don't believe in anything, be cynical -- not like those awful hippies who were cynical about the Iraq War, ugh, but like everyone on the Fox Business Network is: Believing in nothing but money, comfortable with anyone who has lots of it, and contemptuous of anyone who has little. That's cynicism you can believe in -- and that wins Pulitzers!

Sunday, February 09, 2020

MY OSCAR PREDICTIONS -- FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY!

Feel the excitement -- Oscar night! As you may know, I'm in the habit of seeing as many Best Picture contenders each year as I can. Yesterday I finished the cycle with Ford v Ferrari. And what a dumb pleasure it was! Two racing pros, the plain-spoken and practical Texan Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and the explosive, eccentric visionary Brit Ken Miles (Christian Bale), are at loose ends in 1963 when fate hands them a dream project: Make Ford Motor Company a world-class winning race car. Part of the drama is our boys versus the "suits" at FoMoCo who insist on gumming up their bold work with corporate bullshit. This to some extent also pits our boys against one another, as Shelby is more inclined to work with the suits and Miles to blow them off. Ironically, I felt the heavy hand of Movieland suits on Ford v Ferrari itself --  you can almost call out points where someone must have said, for example, "test scores say we really need Shelby to get hot with the Ford asshole around 1:35." But I gotta admit that, aside for a sniffly coda underlining the heroes' man-love, as Hollywood product goes the thing's very well built. I worried how things will go, felt good when they went well, and the racing stuff made a car-crazy little kid out of me and I don't even drive. I could have stood Shelby and Miles to be more, like, characters, but given the context I'm content with Damon and Bale coasting on their considerable base skills and charisma. If you want real acting there's plenty in the supporting cast, including Tracy Letts as pig-eyed honcho Henry Ford II (a world away from his Lady Bird and Little Women characters; his reactions to a report of Enzo Ferrari's insults is a little master class) and Ray McKinnon as a great car engineer who seems to know a little something about how people work, too. (Yeah, that's a cliche, but with a movie like this cliches aren't so bad.)

OK, you've seen my other reviews (links here). Now to my famous predictions! I'm seldom more that 65% right and often do much worse, but I did call Green Book last year.

× Best Picture: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood

My big sucker bet right up top! Here's my reasoning: Everyone's saying 1917. It's so well-done, they say, a tour de force, it's a lock. But no one loves 1917. Once its brutal effect passes, it mainly remains in the mind as a series of unpleasant set pieces. You'll notice no major critics' awards named it Best Picture.

Parasite leads the critics' awards, and oddsmakers put it as #2 to 1917. But would Hollywood go so far as to give its crown jewel to a Korean movie so obviously about class warfare -- and with such a downbeat ending? No, they're more likely to pick a movie that flatters themselves -- indeed, flatters a Hollywood era in which many of them came up. And it's fun!

× Best Director: Sam Mendes, 1917

 Best Original Screenplay: Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won, Parasite

And that's where they'll split the difference.

 Best Adapted Screenplay: Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit 

Had Waititi been nominated for Best Director, too, I'd be liking this movie for Best Picture. I found it not only involving but inspiring -- just the sort of thing Oscar goes for. It's a sign of our times that a movie about the fall of the Third Reich is the sunniest film of the bunch.

 Best Actor: Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
 Best Actress: Renée Zellweger, Judy
 Best Supporting Actor: Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood
 Best Supporting Actress: Laura Dern, Marriage Story

I'm not a total idiot.

 Best Cinematography: Roger Deakins, 1917
× Best Production Design: Dennis Gassner and Lee Sandales, 1917
 Best Sound Mixing: Mark Taylor and Stuart Wilson, 1917
× Best Sound Editing: Oliver Tarney and Rachael Tate, 1917

Tough categories, but 1917 really is too good to refuse in the technical areas.

× Best Score: Alexandre Desplat, Little Women

There's a lot of hype for Hildur Guðnadóttir, understandably. Her Joker score is very good at ratcheting the tension of a film that requires constantly ratcheted tension. (Thomas Newman's 1917 score is similarly effective, but with more musical flourishes.) Randy Newman's Marriage Story score is pretty lush, but at odds with the mumblecore look of the film. Desplat's score is as always very musical and I can even remember snatches of tune from it, plus it brings back pleasurable memories of a film that some people think the Academy undervalued.

 Best Costume Design: Jacqueline Durran, Little Women

'Cuz it's a costume drama, duh. (If they're ambitious maybe they'll recognize the clever, cartoonish exaggerations of the Nazi uniforms in Jojo Rabbit, not to mention Scarlett Johansson's hat.)

 Best Film Editing: Michael McCusker and Andrew Buckland, Ford v Ferrari

I have understood since Bullitt that they like to give this award to movies with cars going fast.

 Best Song: “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again," Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Rocketman
 Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan and Vivian Baker, Bombshell
 Best International Feature Film: Parasite
× Best Animated Feature: Klaus
× Best Short Film (Animated): Kitbull
 Best Short Film (Live): The Neighbors' Window
 Best Short Film (Documentary): Learning to Skateboard in a War Zone (If You're a Girl)
× Best Documentary Feature: Honeyland
× Best Visual Effects: Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones and Elliot Newman, The Lion King

I don't know. What do I know? Kitbull gave me sniffles. Isn't The Lion King one long special effect?

And there we have it!

UPDATE. I'm a winner!
UPDATE 2: I'm a loser!
UPDATE 3: I can't be sore about Parasite -- it's brilliant. Props to the Academy for having the guts.

Friday, February 07, 2020

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



I'm an idiot, I love this.


•   The Oscars are on Sunday. I've unlocked my newsletter reviews of Best Picture nominees Marriage StoryThe IrishmanOnce Upon a Time… in Hollywood, Parasite, Joker, Jojo Rabbit and (new!) 1917 and Little Women. That leaves Ford vs. Ferrari, which I hope to see even though it's not really a contender because it looks like fun -- and the other nominees, for better or worse, are very stressful, or in any event I found then so (no Little Miss Sunshine in this bunch, let alone Mary Poppins!). I'll do my predictions day-of-show, and then -- magic time!

•   When he's right, our late president is right:
We have both David Brooks and Peggy Noonan going oh those Democrats are blowing it (I know, what a shock); Brooks especially says Democrats ought to capitulate entirely on the economy and make a lame nicey-nicey pitch:
...Democrats should acknowledge that the economy has done well since the Obama recovery in 2009. They should argue that this is the time to take advantage of prosperity to begin a moral and social revival. This is the year to run a values campaign, one that champions policies to make America more socially mobile, caring and interdependent.
In 2020, running on economic gloom or class war probably won’t work. 
I don't remember Brooks offering this advice to Trump in 2016 when the economy was climbing faster than it is now and Trump was still insisting the nation was on the verge of collapse and Trump was the only solution. Then as now, our go-go economy was leaving and continues to leave more people behind every day -- and once you fall off the gig economy merry-go-round, it gets harder and harder to climb back on. And get health care if you're sick. And food if you're hungry. To my way of thinking, when Trump blathers about the economy, Democrats should respond: "Forget what this guy says -- we all know what a liar he is." No stammering equivocation -- ask the people how they'd like not to have to live in terror of losing their jobs to a stupid tariff or their homes to an unregulated bank.

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

TRUMP: LAST BLOOD.

I only read the transcripts of these things anymore, but the latest State of the Union looks to me like more gush from the blimp, portraying Trump and America as beloved of everyone in the world -- even Xi Jinping and the Chinese, whom Trump claimed "respect what we’ve done because, quite frankly, they could never really believe that they were able to get away with" -- except immigrants and Democrats. The former were uniformly described as bestial rapist-murderers enabled by their fiendish Sanctuary City liberal friends ("Ah ain't a-goin' to see no Broadway show," cries Ma MAGA, "I might git raped an' murdered by a Guy-aneesi!"), and the latter, the rubes were told, were trying to take their health care away and replace it with socialism. (Meanwhile Trump and his cronies just got the Supreme Court to delay their planned destruction of Obamacare and its pre-existing condition coverage until after the election, lest anyone he may have conned be disabused before it's too late to do anything about it.)

In other words, it was an incoherent vengeance drama like the most recent Rambo movie projected through a kaleidoscope, with numerous holy innocents menaced by The Dark, and only one geezer made-up and photographed to look tough can save them.

Meanwhile, here's how CNN bannered this:
If elections are won by defiant showmanship alone, Donald Trump, the grand political illusionist, will waltz to a second term in November. 
In the most politicized State of the Union address in modern times, the President took the choreography of an annual America ritual to new levels on Tuesday night at a fraught moment in the nation's history. 
And he spelled out a daunting warning to a band of Democrats who couldn't even cobble together a winner in the Iowa caucuses on Monday that he's an effective, relentless political communicator who will stop at nothing to win.
I'm an old man, and remember when we used to make fun of Pravda for coverage like this. The wisdom of age seems a curse, sometimes, but as I have no children at least the brunt of it will fall on others.

Friday, January 31, 2020

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN


I just love it, okay?

•   Hey, it's almost time for the big game -- by which I mean the Oscars, a week from Sunday. Over at the newsletter (it's called Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, if you want to know what to ask for at the newsletter store) I've started my Best Picture nominee reviews. Last year I correctly predicted Green Book to win, so I'm feeling pretty damned cocky (though I only got 61% right overall). For those of you non-subscribers who want to get in on the tinsel and glamour, I've unlocked my reviews of Marriage StoryThe IrishmanOnce Upon a Time… in Hollywood, Parasite, Joker, and Jojo Rabbit; -- the other three are coming soon. Oh, and as long as I'm here: Chiefs by 3!

•    I assume most of you are acquainted with the Rod Dreher "Letters to Repenthouse" shtick, whereby conservative operatives (compensated or not) pass him their "I never dreamed this would happen to me" missives and he posts them as Vox Populi. Here's his latest, in a post called "Actually, There Is A Christian Case For Trump"; Dreher explains that he's still only thinking about voting for Trump (LOL) but if he does it'll be for better reasons than those trashy not-artisanal Evangelicals have, and to back it up he dips into the ol' reader mailbag and finds a fellow who rails against "local, woke Democrats in positions like D.A., city council, etc. in cities." The rubes have a hate-on for cities these days, so you can see why Dreher picked it, notwithstanding its lack of relevance to Trump:
The ideology they are pursuing, of completely ignoring any quality of life related criminal behavior and deconstructing muncipal competence brick by brick, is horrifying. Decriminalization of theft, of open drug crime, vehicle break ins, public urination, etc. is turning our cities, and increasingly exurban towns, into absolute hell holes.
So far it's standard "Them there big cities what gawts fee-cees an' needles in 'em" boob bait, but how did our alleged correspondent come to know the horrors of city life?
These doofuses are bringing the medieval plague back to Los Angeles, where I recently visited my fiancee’s family. The stuff I saw there was shocking, and really sobering. It made me remember why I identify as a centre-right person to begin with, and why despite being a bit more on the Tucker Carlson side of view on markets, I will have no time for woke municipal governance.
I'm guessing the guy is a "centre-right" citizen of the Commonwealth. But couldn't Dreher have at least proofread his copy for Britishisms? They rather spoil the effect. The best part of the post is not from mailbag guy, but from Dreher himself on his big dilemma about voting for Trump:
If Bernie Sanders were a pro-life social conservative, I would strongly consider voting for him, even though I don’t like his economics.
If you don't like his economics, then why the hell would you be interested in voting for him? Maybe Dreher believes that bullshit about Sanders loving George Wallace.

•   One other thing: The Republicans laying down for Trump on impeachment is no shock. (Democrats will make it hurt for them in November, if they're smart, which, yeah, I know.) This is all Republicans are good at anymore. Here's a great example from the Washington Examiner, reporting that a "surge in meth could bring drug overdose death rates back up." This couldn't be good news for the god-emperor, especially coming after the Examiner recently said a 2018 drop in U.S. drug overdoses "offers President Trump a boost during his reelection campaign as Democrats criticize his administration for not going further in fighting the crisis." So here's how they spin it:
A top Trump administration health official is worried that meth-related deaths will counterbalance the progress the United States has made in reducing drug-overdose deaths
See, it's not that Trump isn't doing great against drug overdoses -- it's that his success has been counterbalanced by... failure. (Well, who could have guessed meth was a problem?) I'm going to try this at work: I didn't fuck up, my good work was counterbalanced! If only I had an entire political party willing to cover for me.