NOTABLE & QUOTABLE

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Brent Budowsky writing at TheHill.com, June 29, offers the idea of "Joe Scarborough in '20: He served in the House of Representatives as a Republican and conservative."

Watching the latest vulgar and sexist outburst of Donald Trump, who temporarily occupies the Oval Office and has now turned his foul mouth against Mika Brzezinski, let me suggest an idea that is offered very seriously. . . .

Joe Scarborough, who is a serious and principled conservative even if he makes too many snide comments about liberals from the upper East Side and Georgetown, should enter the GOP primaries and run against Trump in the 2020 presidential campaigns.

While the thought of former president Trump someday glued to the television watching CNN and MSNBC and then writing angry vulgar tweets about future president Joe Scarborough and his first lady Mika has its own appeal, the idea of a principled conservative replacing by succeeding an unprincipled vulgarian should have even greater appeal to Republicans who will vote in 2020 primaries.

Scarborough is a serious man. He served in the House of Representatives as a Republican and conservative and has a body of knowledge and experience that far surpasses any understanding of policy and issues that Trump will ever possess.

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CNN's Jake Tapper speaking at the Los Angeles Press Club, June 25:

On this day in 1903, a future journalist named Eric Blair was born, better known as George Orwell. Reading Garrison Keillor's sublime Writers Almanac today I was reminded of the quote "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

What a fantastic quote and how appropriate for this evening, and this era.

Except then I did some research to prepare for this speech and I learned that according to Quote Investigator, Orwell never actually said this. . . .

Orwell in fact could be quite critical of journalists. . . . He criticized quote "the all-prevailing schizophrenia of democratic societies, the lies that have to be told for vote catching purposes" and "the distortions of the press."

But it was a cautionary tale - noting that the Axis powers in World War II "lost the war quite largely because their rulers were unable to see facts which were plain to any dispassionate eye. To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle."

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The Washington Post's Paul Waldman writes, "President Trump may be about to face his first full-blown international crisis."

On the many occasions over the past five months where President Trump demonstrated his deep ignorance, his alarming impulsiveness, his bottomless need for praise or his tendency to lash out when criticized, one common response has been to ask, "What happens when he faces a genuine crisis, with the need to make difficult decisions and with lives at stake?"

Well, it looks as though we may be about to find out.

On Tuesday, North Korea launched what appears to be its first genuine intercontinental ballistic missile. Though it landed off the coast of Japan, it was launched on a high arc that American analysts say indicates it has the capability to reach the United States (Alaska, at least). This is an outcome national security experts have worried and warned about for some time, and one that Trump himself pledged would never happen under his watch. We could be headed for a military crisis with the potential to cost thousands or even millions of lives, the outcome depending on Trump's strategic thinking and good judgment.

It's hard to tell what kind of "heavy move" Trump thinks China might put on North Korea, and I doubt he knows himself. The unfortunate fact is that we have no good options here. We can threaten a strike against North Korea, but the result of that would be massive casualties in South Korea.

As the U.S. military commander on the Korean Peninsula said Tuesday in a joint statement with his South Korean counterpart, "Self restraint, which is a choice, is all that separates armistice and war." Can President Trump exercise that restraint? What happens when in a moment of anger he suggests a military strike? Will his saner advisers be able to rein in his worst impulses?

How important will it be for Trump to save face and look strong? Given his thin skin, how much of an impact will personal attacks from Kim and criticisms at home have on his decision-making? How will he react when faced with a choice between two bad options?

This isn't a full-blown crisis yet. But it could become one, and for the first time Trump will be truly tested. He hasn't done a lot to inspire confidence so far.

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Notable & Quotable is compiled by Graham Osteen. Contact him at graham@theitem.com.