Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Response to The Proper Insult

(See: Just Above Sunset: The Proper Insult)

Let's face it, Hillary Clinton couldn't insult her way out of a paper bag.

But maybe that's a good thing!

Maybe Hillary should proceed instead by differentiating herself as the candidate who's not hurling cheap shots and personal low blows. If she doesn't denigrate him, she reduces his opportunity to strike back with denigrations of his own, which he's not only very good at, it's really the only thing he is good at.

Maybe she can concentrate not only on what we, as a country, need to do, but how to do it, in a way that demonstrates her command of knowledge -- something he lacks. For example, she could show that his policies would contribute to the impoverishment of Mexico, and that would actually hurt both countries -- if they don't have jobs down there, we can neither sell to them, nor buy from them, and will force Mexicans to go back to those days when they actually were flooding across our borders. How does Trump counter that?

She should bombard him with facts. He's not really very good at those. Besides, hardly anybody ever counters his misstatements of fact anymore -- for example, that rather than immigrants being responsible for so much crime in America, studies have shown that the incidence of crime in immigrant neighborhoods is actually lower than in other neighborhoods.

And she shouldn't be afraid to show us how much she knows. The people who don't respect intelligence will be voting for Trump anyway. She needs to remind the rest of us why we should go to the polls on election day.

I know that that's a hard game plan to succeed on, considering how little it helped those other Republican candidates who tried it, but maybe the fact that the general election voters will be so different from the primary voters will help her with support from so many non-KoolAid-drinking-Republicans that those GOP candidates couldn't avail themselves to. At least I hope so.

But one more suggestion:

Maybe Hillary should even announce ahead of time that she'll be doing this, maybe even in her acceptance speech at the convention: 
"My Republican opponent isn't very good at much, but it's impossible to deny that he's very, very good at insulting and belittling other people, especially his opponents -- mocking them for being shorter than he, or insinuating that they lack his energy. 
I guess being good at insulting people is a skill that comes from a lifetime of practice, and I'm happy to confess that I've not had any reason to develop, much less perfect it, since showing a lack of respect for those you disagree with is not an ability that is of very much use in public service -- which is what I've spent my life doing. In this sense, my Republican opponent, who has lived his whole life outside of government, has a big head start on me. 
And this is why I want everyone to know right now that I don't plan on playing that game with him. 
I realize it will be hard to resist countering his abuses, but that's what I plan on doing during this upcoming election season. Instead, I will try to stay focused on telling you what I think we, as a country, should be doing, and also, how I believe it can be done. 
But don't get me wrong! I don't plan on refraining from ever criticizing my opponent, or holding back from expressing my heartfelt belief -- and it's a belief shared by millions, if not billions, around the world -- that Donald Trump is not in the least qualified to be president of the United States! 
Even if you think he is a plain-speaking man who "tells it like it is", he isn't. In fact, when expressing himself about world affairs, he plainly hasn't any idea of what he's talking about. But saying this is not to insult him, especially in a snarky way, nor to belittle his appearance, nor is it meant to humiliate him -- it's merely to point out his serious shortcomings in regards to the office that he's seeking.
Will I be "going negative"? 
Well, yes, I suppose I will, but only in the sense that I do plan on showing why I think I'm qualified to be president, and why I think Mr. Trump is not. But I do not plan on "going negative" with personal insults or speculative innuendo about things that have nothing to do with my opponent's capabilities to be the country's Commander in Chief.
And so on.

But if possible, just to maximize full impact, they should not leak either the text or the general contents of the speech ahead of time. Otherwise, they will rob the speech of its ability to pull the rug out from under Trump. This way, everybody gets to watch Trump to see what he does in the coming days, but also to watch her, just to see how well she stays to her word.

The better she does, the better she will look.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Response to The Closer

Trump doesn’t read briefing papers, but he is a magnet for information, Manafort said. “He reads the newspapers, and he talks on the phone and to office visitors in a never-ending stream. You’re sitting there in his office and you realize that he is constantly picking up stuff as he goes.”
A "never-ending stream" is what you get from a fortune teller, who is able to use constant blithering to fool their mark into thinking they know more than they do.

I've heard this he-just-picks-up-stuff thing about Trump before, and every time I do, I'm reminded of that episode of "The Bullwinkle Show" in which Bullwinkle Moose, speaking to a confused shipping magnate named Pericles Parnassus, says ...
"Boy, for a powerful magnate, you sure don't pick things up very fast!"
We see Trump, the confidence-man, in action at his rallies where, rather than details of how he plans to do something -- like create jobs, which can be picked apart by people who actually know about this stuff -- he substitutes exclamational phrases ("Boy, I'm going to create so many jobs, so fast! Tremendous jobs, incredible jobs! It'll make your head spin!") that make you want to just trust that he knows how to do it; otherwise, why would he seem so sure of himself?

But another thing is, how can anybody pick apart something you say if you haven't actually said anything?

And this aversion to giving away too many specific details is why I'm thinking Trump may not announce his VP pick until the very last minute of the convention. It has to do with this "pandering" thing. Think about it: who is he worried about thinking that picking a woman or minority as his running-mate would be "pandering"?

His base!

The people who are attracted to him because he doesn't play the "politically correct" game! By not picking a "politically correct" VP, he is pandering to those people who, while so loyal they might even vote for him if he shoots down some stranger on Fifth Avenue, might start falling away if they actually see him give concrete details of how he would run the country -- for example, showing him picking an "insider" who actually knows how to do the job, despite making his appeal to the rubes on the grounds that he himself doesn't know Jack Shit.

So far, his campaign has been successful because it's been running on hot air, but just as soon as he actually does something, like announce his VP pick, the campaign starts getting real substance, which means it gets harder and harder for people to see in his campaign what they have wanted to see. His crusade just might lose its beguiling "incredibility".

Come to think of it, from the beginning, it's all been a question of incredibility. From the New York TImes
“We have had tremendous support of almost everybody, and even if you look at Congress, the support has been incredible,” Mr. Trump said.
It is! Literally! In fact, if he wins, he will make an incredible president! 

So it's coming down to a contest between those Americans who want an "incredible" president, and those of us who want a "credible" one.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Response to Using the Nineties

(See: Just Above Sunset: Using the Nineties)

I know a lot of people would love to see someone shoot Donald Trump to death, but I'm not even going to bring that up, because I just have too much integrity.

Now I realize that, while some people (who shall remain nameless) may be just smarmy enough to introduce certain subjects into the conversation that they themselves won't even discuss, such as the idea of somebody shooting somebody else, I'm not going to do that, simply because it would just be wrong!

And seriously, except for the not-gonna-go-there part, I actually mean that!

If Trump were to be assassinated, it would suggest that the only way democracy (or what passes for it in this country) can survive the misuse of it by a demagogue such as him is to step outside of itself and just shoot the bastard dead. Whatever damage Trump promises to do to our country if elected, not to even mention the damage he's done already, would be multiplied by his meeting such a violent end. Just think of what happened to the Roman Republic after a bunch of otherwise well-intentioned senators took it upon themselves to use extra-legal measures to do away with their suspected tyrannical leader, Julius Caesar.

Still, there's no doubt the man is a thug. In fact, if there's one thing both sides can agree on is that Donald Trump is a thug; where the two sides differ is on whether or not his being a thug is a good thing. I, for one, am of the opinion that the last thing this country needs is a thug for a chief executive, while others, who imagine the country is in much worse shape than it actually is, think a thuggish president is exactly what we need to get us going in another direction.

Something I've always wondered about ISIS is, what do people see in them? Basically, wouldn't you think most people would be turned off by the stuff ISIS does? Don't people see that this group chops off heads and burns people alive, and that this sort of behavior makes them not look like the good guys?

The explanation, of course, is the all-purpose explanation for our times: Beheading your enemy is a feature, not a bug!

I guess when some people watch a video of a guy wearing a black hood, cutting the throat of some innocent, what they see is someone who has definite ideas on how to deal with problems, and also has the guts to put his theories into practice. Hey, if someone's going to get into a disagreement with these head-chopping guys, you probably want to be on the side of the doers, not the talkers!

Maybe it's just part of the unspoken zeitgeist of our age, but it's hard not to see the similarities here. Nobody thought much of Donald Trump until he humiliated everyone around him, and then, even people who had denounced him and called him every name in the book and said choosing between him and his major opponent was like choosing between dying by gun or by poison, have now joined up with him, in theory because, as bad as he is for the country, the woman running against him -- someone who may or may not have made an arguably bad choice in her use of her email system in some way that nobody can fully explain -- could be even worse?

But no, we all know that's not the real reason to join up with Trump. The real reason is the same reason people join ISIS, and that is, when civilization seems to be losing ground to the bullies, the safest place to be is probably going to be standing behind the toughest-looking thug on the battlefield.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Response to The Politics of Humiliation

In a telephone interview, he noted that women did not like seeing Mrs. Clinton insulted or bullied by men. He said he wanted to be more strategic, by calling into question Mrs. Clinton’s judgment in her reaction to Mr. Clinton’s affairs ...
Trump, or maybe one of his ubiquitous droids, needs to explain how this is supposed to work:

When confronted by boasts from his own book on his extramarital exploits with women (“If I told the real stories of my experiences with women, often seemingly very happily married and important women, this book would be a guaranteed best-seller"), how much success can Trump expect to get from painting Hillary with that same brush, when nobody is accusing Hillary herself of being a slimy lounge lizard?

The worst they can argue is that she married someone like Donald Trump!
He [Trump] acknowledged that Republicans tried to discredit her judgment in the marathon Benghazi hearing in the fall, to little avail. 
But he said that he would be more pointed and memorable in linking her to the failings and deaths in Libya, and that the debate would have a vastly larger television audience than the hearing.
First of all, is Trump really saying that, for once, he's going to stop speaking in generalities, and start digging into the details?

Okay, well, good luck with that!

Trump needs to understand that Hillary was able to shut down the Benghazi Committee members because their insinuating questions actually only have an effect when kept in that mysterious area of "unanswered questions". But once you get beyond the generalities and into the specifics in these Benghazi accusations -- and the same thing with the email accusations -- the wrongdoing turns out to not be there, the "scandal" falls apart, and the critics start looking like they're on a witch-hunt.

Greg Sargent zeros in on another one of Trump's bizarre ploys:
Unlike Romney, Trump cheerfully cops to having been in on the elite scam that has ripped off American workers for decades and now promises to put his inside knowledge to work on their behalf.
Hey, it's that old "Fox in the Henhouse" scam! Remember that one?

So it all comes down to that old snoozer, "Yes, he is an S.O.B., but at least he's our S.O.B." I understand a lot of Americans think things are bad in this country, but it's hard to believe that things are so bad that they want to put a know-nothing bullying shit-head in the White House.

Charles Blow says you can just forget about all the strategies:
Trump is smart enough to know what he lacks – substance – and to know what he possesses in abundance – insolence. So long as he steers clear of his own weakness and draws others in to the briar patch that is his comfort zone, he wins. 
As MSNBC’s Chris Matthews said in December, this is asymmetric warfare. Conventional forms of political fighting won’t work on this man. Truth holds little power, and the media is still enthralled by the monster it made.
The media didn't really create this monster, unless you're talking about the media being so predictably easy for the monster himself to manipulate. It's not that hard. All it takes is a recognition that the media insists on giving the public more of what it obviously wants, because if the public doesn't get what it wants, it goes away -- and what it wants is provocative bluster, and preferably, on a daily basis. 

And that's exactly what Trump offers up: Today's story is that he says we need to keep all Muslims from entering the country; next Sunday, it will be that this Muslim thing was only a suggestion. Do the Trump-heads think he's a flip-flopper? No, since they're not really listening. He had them a long time ago, at "We don't win anymore."

Yes, there are a large number of voters who have totally given up on rationality, given up hope, and think they need an S.O.B. as their president, but we can only hope that we outnumber them on election day. If we don't, then America will find itself involved in the same experiment that John Boehner kept trying with the Tea Party -- just this once, let them get their way, and let them find out first hand, that -- surprise! -- shutting down the government doesn't force Obama to repeal Obamacare after all!

Of course, that wishful thinking never worked for Boehner, and it surely won't work for us either.

Maybe electing Donald Trump president of the U.S. will be sort of a yin-yang moment for the planet, in which everything seems to be chugging along nicely, but the next thing you know, bang! Everything is swallowed up by its dichotomous opposite! Maybe it's that the gods are just playing dodge-ball with us!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Response to The Deadly Background Noise

(See: Just Above Sunset: The Deadly Background Noise)

I'm not convinced this Colonel Andrew Bacevich, author of "America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History", who comes very highly recommended as an expert in military affairs, knows what he's talking about in the area of international relations -- although maybe the real problem was not with Bacevich but instead with Steve Donoghue, who reviewed his book.

For one thing, about that description given of what the Carter Doctrine did:
"... in which the leader of one country peremptorily laid claim to the natural resources of a sprawling region on the other side of the world, was a breathtaking act of imperial belligerence."
Whoever it was who said this seems to have totally misstated what it was that Carter actually said, which was this:
"Let our position be absolutely clear: An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force."
To me, this sounds like Carter was just extending the Monroe Doctrine to the Persian Gulf, rather than avariciously "laying claim to natural resources" that didn't belong to us, a harsh criticism of Jimmy Carter that is rarely, if ever, heard anywhere. But what do I know?

Also, that statement, that "the military is in a position, not entirely but to a very considerable extent, to call the shots regardless of what the president wants", seems to overlook the fact that Obama, for different reasons, later found himself firing both generals McChrystal and Petreus.

I still think Obama did fairly well these last eight years, especially under the circumstances of having to keep the country open for business and out of default, and with very little assistance from the opposition party, but just try telling that to anybody who doesn't like the guy.

Although it's odd enough to see history itself drastically changing direction right before our eyes -- as has been happening with Donald Trump and the Republican Party -- but what we're seeing here is not so much history in transition, but instead, something much more disconcerting: historiography in revision.

To put that another way, in this age of ubiquitous shenanigans, history is no longer what actually happened, it tends to be what Republicans say actually happened.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Response to The Day of Simulated Reckoning

Eugene Robinson apparently thinks the big meeting between Donald Trump and Paul Ryan was nothing but a dog-and-pony show:
Save us all the faux drama. We already know how this star-crossed courtship is going to end: House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) will decide that Donald Trump isn’t such an ogre after all, and they’ll live unhappily ever after. 
Ryan will be unhappy, at least. Trump has stolen his party, and there’s nothing Ryan can do in the short term to get it back. ... 
Trump came to Washington for meetings with Ryan and other GOP establishment figures as a conqueror, not a supplicant. ... Anyone choosing self-interest over principle – a habit I have observed among politicians – would think twice about opposing a man who has received more primary votes than any previous GOP nominee.
Apparently Robinson did not read my comment from yesterday (he being just one of billions, I might add) in which I tried to point out what everyone but Donald Trump seems to be missing about these meetings with Republicans, Ryan in particular, and that is that, being someone "who has received more primary votes than any previous GOP nominee" is not nearly as important as being someone who, most polls show, is probably going to lose the general election -- unless he can mend fences with a whole lot of regular Republicans, many of whom have publicly sworn an oath to never vote for him. 

The least Trump can do is try to lure as many of the 78% of primary season voters of both parties who have had a chance to vote for him so far, but didn't.

For his part, Ryan has nothing to lose in pissing off Trump in his attempt to unite the insurgents with the establishment, as a way of keeping his party from disappearing from the face of the earth, since Ryan famously didn't want his job in the first place and could just as easily give it up. Not that I agree with any of his policies -- I really don't -- but I do think he deserves kudos for the way he's handling this.

And much as I dislike him, I'm starting to see that Trump himself may just be smarter than all those pundits after all.

But secondly, Josh Marshall accidentally uncovers one promising possibility that can be found in Trump's plan to deport 11 million hyphenated Americans, which might just as easily include those here legally along with those who are not:
It is probably also true that you could not pull off this kind of operation in anything like that kind of time frame without committing numerous civil rights and civil liberties violations, not only of people with no legal status but also of lots of Americans or people here with legal status. Trump has already said he’ll simply ignore the immigration courts that govern the deportation process.
Might it be possible that we somehow use this deliberately sloppy process as an opportunity to deport Donald Drumpf himself back to Germany?

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Response to The Impossible Reconciliation

(See: Just Above Sunset: The Impossible Reconciliation)

I think some people are surprised to see how amiable Donald Trump turned out to be, in reaction to Paul Ryan's insistence that the two get together to talk things over before he announces any endorsement. The truth is, Trump's media surrogates can talk all they want about how he doesn't need them as much as they need him, but Donald may be remembering something that they've forgotten:

As of today, more people did not vote for Trump in the Republican primaries than did. According to The Green Papers, accessed moments ago as I write this, Donald Trump has a total of 10,994,897 votes cast for him, which is just 40.64% of the 27,052,068 votes in all the Republican state primaries, caucuses and conventions.

And that, of course, does not include those either who voted for Democrats, which is 22,596,354, of which Hillary Clinton received 12,647,631 (55.97%) and Bernie Sanders 9,570,525 (42.35%), or, for one reason or another, didn't vote for either party, a number I don't have. Independents who couldn't vote? Those who would have voted but couldn't find a candidate they could see themselves voting for? Who knows.

The point here is that, while Trump has obviously shown himself to be enormously popular, there are more people who voted for someone else than voted for him so far -- that is, 78% of the total 49,648,422 who have voted for either party so far did not vote for Donald Trump. My guess is, while many of those might vote for him in the general election, many more of them will not.

And I'm also guessing that Trump suspects the GOP does not need him more than he needs them -- that, in fact, there are probably plenty of Republicans who would rather just sit this election out than turn the party over to a maniac.

So what choice will people -- even Republican people -- have? At this point, probably Hillary. Yet, there's a problem with that: Hillary is hated almost as much a Donald. (No, really! I'm serious!)

The question is, why? Here's Adam Gopnik, in the New Yorker:
NeverTrump is a meaningless slogan unless one is prepared to say ThisOnceHillary. 
Some may be waiting for a third choice to emerge, an honorable if improbable idea, but too many seem hobbled by a disdain rooted less in rationality than in pure habit to see the reality of the circumstance. ... 
What would Hillary Clinton be like in the White House? Well, she was in the White House, once, and helped preside over a period of peace and mostly widespread prosperity. One can oppose her ideology (to the degree she has any), be unimpressed by her record (as contradictory as it may be), or mistrustful of her character. 
God knows, it is bitterly hard to defer to a long-standing political enemy, but it is insane to equate a moderate, tested professional politician with a crypto-fascist. Doing so is possible only through a habit of hatred so distended that it no longer has any reference to reality at all.

Hating Hillary has become, over the years of our hearing her alluded to with negative speculations, a habit that has lost any reference to reality. Didn't we read somewhere that she and Bill were involved in some shady land deal in Arkansas? That she had the entire White House Travel Department fired so she could replace them with friends from back home? That she had been romantically linked to Vince Foster, whom, along with her husband, she later had murdered?

Didn't we hear that she encouraged her husband to go out and get nooky in their open marriage, and then she blamed the women? And that she refused to supply expanded security for State Department staff in Benghazi, then slept through the 3:00 AM call from them when they needed help, and then lied to the families of those who died, and also the American people, saying it wasn't terrorism but just an innocent demonstration against an anti-Muhammed video that got out of hand?

Also, didn't she do something wrong with some emails or something?

Wow! You hear all these things that, even when found either unsubstantiated or plain lies,  must have at least a grain of truth to them; otherwise, there wouldn't have been so many of them! After all, where there's smoke, there's fire -- while, in fact, in the case of anti-Clinton propaganda (and also, anti-Obama), if we look for the fire behind the smoke, we instead always find some Republican, blowing it. As a class of people, while they may not be very good at governance, they've really shown themselves to be skilled at dirty tricks.

But it's not just Republicans who would rather not vote at all than vote for Hillary, there's also Democrats, and even liberals, as shown in this Daily Kos piece by MotoCat, entitled Why Do People Hate Hillary Clinton So Much?:
As a liberal with lots of liberal friends I am used to seeing all sorts of negative stories about Hillary Clinton in my social media universe with regularity. The question that irks me is why? I can clump the negativity toward Hillary into three main arguments.   
1. She is untrustworthy (liar, disingenuous, doesn’t mean what she says, etc...) 
2. She isn’t really liberal 
3. She is “bought” by Wall Street (or owes them some sort of favors)       
I’m a data nerd (worked in analytics in the past), and I have been paying close attention this election cycle so I thought I would unpack these three statements and see what sort of evidence there is for them. 
He (she? whichever) examines these three one by one, starting with "untrustworthy", and without my going into all the detail, he chooses to "disregard all unreliable statements based on personal observation such as 'she just looks phony', or 'you can tell she is lying'", instead decides to take a look at the comparative findings of Politifact on Hillary vs Bernie:
As you can see, It’s not exactly obvious from this data which of the candidates is the “honest” one. Clinton has a much higher “true” rating at 26% vs. 16% for Sanders. Sanders however, has more “mostly true” claims. Regardless, I’m not seeing any backup here for a narrative that Clinton is a dishonest politician on the stump.
He also includes a New York Times "infographic", comparing the truthfulness of almost all (I don't see John Kasich) the 2016 candidates, along with a few other random politicos (Cheney, Biden, Obama and Bill Clinton), with Donald Trump taking second-highest "Percent of Mostly False and Worse", at 76% (just behind Ben Carson's first-place 84%), and with Hillary taking fourth-from-last-place, at 28%, just above third-from-last Bernie, at 26%, followed by Martin O'Malley's 25% and Bill Clinton, the least untrustworthy on the list (despite his famous "I did not have sexual relations...") at 24%.

Hillary's not really a liberal? Actually, the article cites a "ontheissues.org" graphic that shows Bernie to be as "left-liberal" as one can get, with Hillary way over there with him, and only slightly to his right.

MotoCat also references another Daily Kos article, by someone else ("Phenry"), that found Hillary Clinton to be the 11th most liberal Senator while she was there, with Bernie Sanders being the first-most. (Incidentally, MotoCat adds this: "According to the data presented in Phenry’s diary, conservatives are MUCH more conservative than Clinton. It’s not even close.")

And as for Hillary owing Wall Street big-time, MotoCat does cite "OpenSecrets.org" with the information that 3.9 percent of her contributions come from people who work on Wall Street, but also notes that 25% of her income comes from speaking fees, which is a lot. Still, he argues:
I think making the logical jump from campaign donations and speaking fees to favors owed requires overlooking some big inconsistencies. 
1. If Hillary Clinton has indeed been trading favor to Wall Street for donations, then why is her record so consistently liberal despite receiving donations from those same Wall Street companies for her entire career as a Senator? That would require one of two things to be true. Wall Street executives may actually be asking her to promote liberal policies, or she has been playing an incredibly long con where she has been collecting money for decades while advancing a liberal agenda as a cover with the sole purpose of eventually becoming President of the United States and returning those favors. I’m not sure I can imagine either of those scenarios being true. 
2. If dollars donated and paid for speaking fees is equivalent to favors owed, what happens when different donors interests collide? Do the Boys and Girls club and Goldman Sachs have the same agenda? 
3. If she is in fact in the “pocket” of Wall Street, why would she be advancing a platform that could be argued to be more restrictive than any other candidate on Wall Street? This is a matter of debate of course, but if expert economists cannot agree on whose plan is more restrictive on Wall Street then they are probably both pretty restrictive in their own ways. 

And by the way, does she, as Trump charges, play the "women's card"?

According to a Gallup poll released in March of 2014, "Americans say the best or most positive thing about a possible Hillary Clinton presidency -- if she were to run and be elected in 2016 -- would be her serving as the first female president in the nation's history." The next top choices were, "Experience/Foreign policy experience, Best choice, Capable/Competent/Qualified, Intelligent/Smart/Educated", and "Bill Clinton would be back in White House/Help her".

And she probably knows that. In fact, after the first Democratic debate back in October, Huffington Post reported it this way:
Clinton largely avoided playing the gender card during the 2008 presidential campaign, but famously declared in her concession speech to Barack Obama that her candidacy had put “18 million cracks” in the glass ceiling. If there was any question of how much she’d focus on gender this time around, it was answered repeatedly on Tuesday night. 
The former secretary of state delivered one of her strongest lines on the issue right out of the gate, saying during her introductory remarks that with her in the White House, “finally fathers will be able to say to their daughters, ‘You, too, can grow up to be president.’” 
Asked how her presidency would be different from President Barack Obama’s, she quickly responded, “Well, I think that’s pretty obvious. Being the first woman president would be quite a change from the presidents we’ve had, including President Obama.”
So yeah, I guess I agree with Donald, that she plays that woman card. Still, who really cares? I know I don't.

Yep, she didn't play that card back then, and nor did Obama play the race card. Moreover, I didn't vote for him because he'd be the first black president, I voted for him because he was the the smartest guy in the room -- and like many others, I won't be voting for Hillary because it will make her the first female president, I'll be voting for her because she's the smartest guy in the room.

Trump says it's about the only thing going for her, and that she knows many will vote for her solely based on her gender, and that if she were a man, she'd probably be only about 5% in the polls.

Okay, so when you think about it, Trump similarly seems to be playing the asshole-card.

He must know that a whole lot of people are pulling for him simply because he acts like such a huge asshole, and that if he were to stop being an asshole, he'd probably be at about 5% in the polls.

Think about it! Being a giant asshole is the only thing Trump's got going for him! Take that away, and he'd be nothing.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Response to At Peak Trump

(See: Just Above Sunset: At Peak Trump)

Interesting! I think we're getting closer to figuring out who all these Donald Trump supporters are.

For one thing, there's that nagging question of just how conservative Trump is -- a question that will be highlighted by his upcoming meeting with Paul Ryan, who, as leader of the so-called "Republican Establishment", represents the kind of Republicans who think true conservatives have to believe in a free-market economy (e.g., trade deals), small government and low taxes, especially for rich people -- all things Donald Trump and his merry gang of Trumpheads either pay very little attention to or outright reject.

In fact, traditional conservative Republicans accuse Trump of being a closet liberal, an accusation that obviously puzzles many of us actual liberals: If this guy's so liberal, why am I not tempted to vote for him?

Yes, Trumpheads are conservatives, but no, they are not that kind of conservative. So what kind are they?

Trump continually brags that he has brought millions of voters into the Republican fold (although there is also evidence that the net migration has been the other way, that departures are greater than arrivals). So who's joining up? One good guess might be that many of them pretty much stayed politically detached up to now, simply because they couldn't find a home for their particular ideological leanings in either party.

To grossly oversimplify the subject, all political leanings pretty much boil down to one of two approaches to life, advocates of each holding the other in near complete disdain:

(a) There's "Be nice", and
(b) there's "Be nasty".

"Nice" people are optimists. Like Will Rogers, they never met a (person) they didn't like. They believe we're all in this together and need to look out for one another, and that there's no social problem that can't be addressed by both sides trying to understand and empathize with each other and sitting down to discuss it. Whether or not they are religious, they believe in the basic prediction of Matthew 5:5: "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth", and that peace is preferable to war. They believe in the principle that it matters not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game.

"Nasty" people are pessimists. They think "meek" is another word for "weak", and definitely that those namby-pamby meek people are too naive to inherit much of anything, much less the whole fucking world -- because if they try, the "strong" will just walk in and kick their collective ass. They claim to believe that winning is not the most important thing, it's the only thing. (See what they did there? Clever, right?)

And need I tell you which is which? Let's face it, liberals are, traditionally speaking, "nice" people, while conservatives, who confuse it with "realism", lean toward the "nasty".

Yes, there are other beliefs that go along with the two ideologies, depending on what part of the world you live in, but these are usually marginally superfluous add-ons, especially in the case of "movement conservatives" -- which, nowadays, is another term for "Establishment Republicans".

For example, lower taxes for rich people and international trade agreements, while part of the Republican orthodoxy for years, are not conservative tenets that hold natural appeal to mostly middle- and working-class whites who object to all the gains being made by minorities in recent decades, which they see as adversely effecting white people. After all, lower tariffs just mean American jobs go overseas, and why should rich people on Wall Street get special tax breaks, after all they've been doing to our economy? For years, national Republicans have joined with Democrats in telling us what's acceptable to do and say, and the "nasty" wing of the conservative electorate is fed up with all that.

Black and Hispanic people, the argument goes, get special consideration in going to college and in getting jobs, whether they're qualified or not -- which implies millions of  "qualified" white people are obviously being discriminated against. (Remember back in 2012, Donald Trump offering $5 million to Barack Obama to show us his college transcripts? He never did mention why, but one has to assume Trump wanted to show Obama was an "affirmative action" beneficiary, and got into Harvard Law without being qualified -- which would presumably also help Donald explain to the world how he only got into Wharton as an undergrad.)

Are the Trumpists racists? Yeah, maybe, but whatever. That's definitely part of it, but almost beside the point.

More to the point is, all this politically-correct taking my tax dollars and using it to give special breaks to minorities is happening because we're letting the meek walk all over us. We used to be a meritocracy, where you earned your breaks! Now, okay, we also used to mistreat black people, but we passed laws against that, so it doesn't happen anymore!

Back in the day, America stood for something around the world, and nobody would give us lip, but ever since the elites took over, they're all laughing in our face, crossing the border and taking our jobs, and all those Muslims taunt us by chopping off Christian heads! It didn't used to be this way. Why are we allowing this?

And yes, liberal Democrats are to blame, but it's not just them, it's also the Republican politicians who cooperate with them! They're just as bad! As George Wallace once said, there's not a dime's worth of difference between the two parties.

(And to top it off, queers can now marry each other? Hey, what's up with that?)

The point here being that, while Republicans like the pointy-headed intellectuals at National Review magazine may question Trump's conservative bonafides, they will not convince liberals, for example, that Donald Trump is a liberal, since we know he, being even nastier than they are, is actually more legitimately conservative than they are.

But they also will not make even the tiniest dent in the movement that Trump is leading, because none of those people gives a shit, even about being so-called conservative, and don't even really care if Trump says one thing today and totally contradicts himself tomorrow.

Nor do any of the Trumpette women care that he disrespects women -- they're tough; they can take it; and they dislike America's political correctness much more than dislike any nasty insult Trump dishes out to anyone, who probably deserved it anyhow. Hell, Trump voters probably don't even give a shit if he ever builds that stupid wall, nor whether he really has Mexico pay for it. After all, it's the thought that counts.

None of that matters. All they know is that the kinds of things he says pretty much matches the way they think about the world, and figure if he gets in, there's just a chance they'll see the kind of stuff done that they want done.

And, they probably figure, what do they have to lose? No other candidate is talking about this stuff, so you might as well vote for the crazy guy.