Every time we get a new president, somebody puts up a billboard with the previous president’s picture with the words, “miss me yet?” W when Obama took office…. Bill Clinton when W took office, etc. We may be seeing these even before Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president.
Good news. Still more than 40 days before taking office, Donald Trump has reassured a world that is worried he’ll send out an errant, thoughtless, provocative tweet…. that he’s more than capable of creating an international incident the old-fashioned way…. with an old-style, 20th century phone call!
I look forward to Kellyanne and Kaleigh and Jeffrey and Sean and Reince and Pence and the rest of the Excuse Squad trying to tell us this was not Trump thoughtlessly and ignorantly thrilled to get an attentive, ego-boosting phone call that had nothing to do with any commercial conflicts of interest he has in Taiwan. To those of you too young to have lived through the Cold War and the Sixties and hiding under your desk to protect yourself from nuclear fallout (yea that was gonna help!)….
I think those days will be back, in a sense. Trump is so impulsive, so thoughtless, and so ignorant of the world that we may be finding ourselves continuously on the brink of disaster. Are you not tired of this guy ALREADY, and he’s more than 45 days from taking office?
His “victory tour” (really an “FU If You Didn’t Vote For Me” tour) which features continued attacks on a free press, much to the delight of the followers, is reminiscent of authoritarian dictator rallies that none of us thought we’d ever see or live through in our own country.
No, everything Trump does that is unprecedented and flagrarantly obnoxious, ethically/legally indefensible and self-serving, will not succeed because Trump is some kind of magical, transformative figure sent by God to Drain the Swamp (possibly the most tedious call and response chant, right after “lock her up.”)
With one major takeaway from the 2016 election being demagoguery works, one has to write this stuff with a foreboding sense of humility that any facts may be deflected like bullets off of Superman. Facts did not matter in the campaign, and Trump’s full embrace of George Orwell “The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it” and Machiavelli “One who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived” sets us up for a future that we thought just couldn’t happen here. Vigilance and a Never Again resolve move to the forefront in a way that we haven’t seen in the United States for generations.
I believe that Donald Trump is such a shallow, ignorant, transactional, whatever-it-takes to grab the world’s consciousness 24-7, regardless of the consequences, that we’re entering a time of dangerous unpredictability analogous to the obvious pivot points of the past: the Cuban Missile Crisis, World War II, the Great Depression. And we voted for it. With a little help from our friends, the Russians.
Nixon and JFK, moderated by Howard K. Smith, then of CBS, in 1960…
Don’t Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow) played by Fleetwood Mac at the 1993 inauguration celebration of Bill Clinton can be seen here:
No wonder 68-year-old Hillary Clinton… unfairly, in my opinion, is not connecting with younger voters the way her husband did (he was 46 at the time), let alone Barack Obama (47 at his inauguration). Putting aside the obvious sexist overtones that under-thirty favorite Bernie Sanders just turned 75, Bill and Hillary’s move into the White House in ’93 may as well have been 1893 for anyone under 40. It’s as far back for them as Eisenhower was for me. I was five when he left office so I have no direct memory of him as president…. he was only this old, white-haired guy from the moment I was aware of him. Just like Bill is for younger voters now.
Donald Trump is actually older than Hillary by almost two years, and would be older than Reagan taking the oath. But as of this writing, he has successfully cornered her on the strength, stamina, and healthy enough to do the job lie. She’s an old lady who got pneumonia recently; he told Dr. Oz he never gets sick and hasn’t been in the hospital since he was 11. American voters are no more questioning than that stupid, simplistic evaluation of the presidential medical scene. He has a much younger wife and a young boy at home; she’s married to Dwight Eisenhower (at least visually for younger voters).
The polls have recently moved in Donald Trump’s direction the past few weeks. It seems impossible to believe that it is just the “deplorables” comment that offended undecideds and a few Hillary voters to swing his way. It can’t be those widely not-paid-attention-to teleprompter speeches on his phony economic and child-care ideas. Credit seems to have been going to slightly fewer completely off-the-rails insults, gaffes, blooper, bleepers, fights, and foulups… a grading on the curve display of presidential discipline shown. 24 hours without drooling on himself is a march to victory, so it seems. The stakes for the first debate could not be higher. Hillary has all the experience and knowledge going in; Trump is being coached by the Angelo Dundee of debate preppers, Roger Ailes, disgraced, ousted head of Fox News, serial sexual harasser, and spiritual advisor to Trump, and who knows…. Bill Cosby? That’s just idle speculation, and I no longer believe Ailes and Cosby to be buddies. Now, can we get on to the real issue in front of us?
As horrible a human being as Donald Trump is… as unqualified as he is… as ignorant as he is on any public policy… as uncouth, ostentatious and bullying as he is….as dishonest as he is in every facet of life on display… the hiding of his tax returns…. the fake charity scandals… the fleecing of Trump “University” victims and the unpaid bills….the bribing of public officials such as the Florida AG… the fudging of his medical records, his draft-dodging (I know, that description only applies to lefties, right?)… his direct appeal to violence against Hillary and support from white supremacists, Nazis and the rest of the rightwing fringe…. free association riffs about using nuclear weapons…as bad as that all those things are…. ***read the entire Keith Olbermann list of 176 reasons…(needs updating already) HERE*** would his election mean all those predictions about The End Times for us be much closer than we skeptics thought? Keeping in mind the election and reelection of Barack Obama was framed in similar apocalyptic terms also before the ’08 and ’12 elections. Is it different this time? Will those of us who see Trump in Hitlerian terms have to simply depend on his being such a phony candidate that we can only hope he morphs into a normal person as president and that he really never meant ANY of his thin, detail-less claims and boasts and promises to dissemble the entire United States in his own image?
NBC: “Trump has changed his position on a lot of things over the years. But if there’s one consistent thread, it has been his seeming obsession with conspiracy theories that touch on race, religion, or ethnicity.In the case of Obama, Trump spent years spreading separate rumors about not only the first black president’s nationality, but also his religion, and whether his accomplishments were the result of affirmative action.
On the narrow issue of Obama’s birthplace, Trump’s theories were so elaborate that limiting it to the narrow question of whether the president was born in America barely scratches the surface.” Need more? Check it out below:
As the week ended, Trump went off ‘prompter again, both threatening Hillary with assassination while advising her to ditch her Secret Service detail, which he also has, of course. He never uses that term… they’re always “bodyguards,” which sounds like she’s got Suge Knight’s protection detail… AND… revealing his inner con man persona by lying to the media over a press conference he never intended to have as he hyped his new Trump-branded hotel, got a bunch of military hero guys to extol his virtues, then, like a good husband knows CAN’T be done, he spent 7 seconds fake retracting his birther crusade against the president, then walked out the door. No apology, no why-I-did-it in the first place, no excuses, and two new lies in less than 25 seconds: that Hillary “started birtherism” and he, Trump, “ended it.” Yea, just like the Warren Report ended and solved any questions about who killed Kennedy.
BONG…. this is a Fox News ALERT!
BARACK OBAMA DECLARED THE DUMBEST (not white) MAN EVER ELECTED PRESIDENT. I know this because he was dumb enough to appoint as his first Secretary of State the person who absolutely, positively, deliberately demanded Obama show his papers, questioning his citizenship and his eligibility for the nation’s highest office, Hillary Hussein Clinton (all Trump surrogates and spokespeople have thankfully informed me of this fact). What a fool! Did he not know? Did he not realize what was going on? He unfairly has been attacking Donald Trump, who heroically picked up this important story and demanded Obama prove himself a natural-born American. I suggest he withdraw his support for Hillary Clinton and get behind Mr. Trump, whose only laudable purpose was to affirmatively legitimize Barack Obama’s presidency, securing his place in (the back of) the Hall of Presidents at Disney World. This has been a Fox News ALERT!
Forget Mondale, 1984 (won one state + DC, 13 electoral votes to Reagan’s 525, got 40.6% of the vote to Reagan’s 58.8). Forget Goldwater, 1964 (won 6 states to Johnson’s 44+DC, got 38% of the vote to LBJ’s 61%). Right now Trumpus the Tank Engine is determined to set a new standard for losing a presidential election. Down there with the 1940 NFL Championship Game, won by the Chicago Bears over the Washington Redskins, 73-0. Trump wants to make history, and currently seems determined to do so, but not in the way he anticipated after scientifically targeting a surely-shrinking group of blindly loyal followers. As of midweek, he’d triggered talk of a new show on A&E… Celebrity Politician Intervention.
Smart CEO’s underpromise and overdeliver. Before the Republican convention, this:
“It should be a monumentally magnificent convention and it should be brilliantly staged,” is what Trump told the Washington Post earlier this year. “The convention in Cleveland will be amazing,” is an exact quote of a tweet by Trump himself.
When the chalk dust finally settled, it was a radical case of overpromise and underdeliver. Apparently Scott Baio, the UFC guy, the wife plagiarizing Michelle Obama, and the 75 minute Rebel Yell Acceptance Speech didn’t move the needle the right way:
Two Gallup surveys of 1,000 adults after each convention found that just 36 percent said they were more likely to vote for Trump after watching the GOP proceedings, while 51 percent said they were less likely, a 15 percentage point disadvantage. That was the first time since Gallup began asking the question in 1984 that a candidate has left a convention with a net negative. Previous conventions left candidates with a net positive ranging from a couple percentage points to a 45 point advantage. More below, courtesy Time Magazine:
Less than 100 days before election day, and melting down in front of us is what is left of the Republican Party Hardly of Lincoln. When he said in 1858 that a “house divided against itself cannot stand,” Lincoln was referring to the divisions over slavery, not a political party itself. But it sure applies right now, and it’s a party establishment against its own voters, many of whom have decided that frustrated anarchy carried out by an ignorant, unprepared, authoritarian one-man-band of bully is better than anything. It’s like telling your 5-year-old to go to his room. Time out. Next thing you know you hear things crashing and breaking he’s so mad at you. It never ends well. The lack of courage…. the outright fear in the souls of the members of the Republican party unwilling to put the welfare of the country… the world possibly…. above their own elected selves is a sad, mass case of Profiles in Cowardice. So far, a few corporate executives and retiring members of Congress have stepped off the runaway train. But very few.
Finally, a quick math lesson. In 2012, Barack Obama harvested 66 million votes. Mitt Romney got 61 million. In the 2016 Republican primaries, Donald Trump piled up 14 million votes, which was 45% of the Republican primary vote. In other words, 55% didn’t like him much. So, he needs every person who’s already voted for him, plus literally every person who didn’t (17 million). That gets him to 31 million, if he were perfect in the preliminary Republican category. He’s got to more than double that to win, assumedly by appealing to lots and lots of folks who don’t dislike him as much as they hate Hillary Clinton. Good luck with that. She may be best advised to take a 3 month cruise around the world and let Trump roll.
Another math lesson. Trump seems to start out fast and then fade over time. His glory days as a developer of real estate are certainly behind him, but you’d never know that from the outward sheen of conspicuous consumption… the airplane and the helicopter with his name on them, the younger wife (latest model…. literally), and a braggadocious, bigger-than-life persona that makes one greatly appreciate the understated elegance of Hugh Hefner. His boasting about the popularity of his Apprentice shows on NBC was always based on knowing no one would ever look up the raw numbers. Let’s do it here, and you’ll quickly see the fade over time, and don’t add up to presidential consensus popularity:
Number of viewers the first six seasons of The Apprentice, 2003-2007:
Rebranded as The Celebrity Apprentice, 2008-2015… a slight bump then the final fade out into political obscurity:
It’s not fair to assume Trump’s tv ratings over time are now being reflected in his poll numbers as a presidential candidate. It’s not fair. But one can certainly hope.
It’s almost as if there’s a pathological need by the Clintons to periodically supply their enemies with a new Dangling Participle of Scandal That Never Was, which gets added to the Permanent Pile of The Never Really Proved. Nice move there…. shifting the “can he be disciplined and not say or do stupid stuff?” card, even temporarily, away from Trump.
Two versions of this latest entry from the What the Hell Were You Thinking Dept, Unforced Error Division:
An aide to Bill Clinton confirmed to CBS News that the meeting wasn’t planned in advance: President Clinton saw the attorney general on the tarmac and wanted to say hello, so he boarded her plane to talk….
The meeting comes as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is still under investigation for her email practices–and also came the day before House Republicans released a report criticizing the Obama administration’s response to the 2012 Benghazi attacks.
Lynch told reporters that the topics of Benghazi and Clinton’s email server did not come up, and that she and Clinton spoke largely about his grandchildren, golf and travel.
“Actually, while I was landing at the airport, I did see President Clinton at the Phoenix airport as I was leaving, and he spoke to myself and my husband on the plane,” she said. “Our conversation was a great deal about his grandchildren. It was primarily social and about our travels. He mentioned the golf he played in Phoenix, and he mentioned travels he’d had in West Virginia.”
“There was no discussion of any matter pending for the department or any matter pending for any other body,” Lynch added. “There was no discussion of Benghazi, no discussion of the State Department emails, by way of example.”
Yes, we know Bill Clinton is just so damn friendly that his good, Southern manners absolutely wouldn’t allow him to not pay a visit to the one person on earth who, if she were not above reproach, might possibly be influenced by the husband of Hillary Clinton, subject of the Hardy Boys latest: The Case of the Dripping E-Mails. How serendipitous for them: two ships in the Hillary Navy passing one another in open water in the Phoenix airport!
The stupidity of putting Attorney General Lynch in the position of having to say specifically the things the two of them didn’t talk about (no discussion of Benghazi, no discussion of the State Department emails) will mean to the Never Hillary crowd, led by Trump, to say those items were exactly what they talked about. If I was advising the Republicans here I’d take the Lynch denial and merge it with “I want you to listen to me,” he said. “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” And the issue will float along right up until election day, even though nothing can be proven and Lynch’s integrity is unassailable. Just add it to the list. Just don’t call it Lorettagate.
Back in January, Bill Maher said this of the President (of whom he’s a big fan) who seemingly has appeared everywhere you can think of except Bill’s Friday night HBO program. “Let’s just say our invitation has gotten lost in the mail for seven years, which would be OK except for the fact that in that time, this president has done virtually every other show in the known universe.” Petitions were gathered instantly, and the White House response was tepid, at best….. “we’ll keep in mind Bill’s open invitation for a presidential appearance and give it the respectful consideration that Bill and his large audience deserve. Thanks again for raising your voices (we know Bill always raises his). We hope you’ll continue to use the platform to call on the Administration to address the policies and priorities you care about.” Now, the greatest insult of all– Obama even does this Cuban guy’s show!!!
It’s the worst hand at the blackjack table. You draw a hard 16 (no ace) and the dealer is showing a 17 or better. If you hit you win, on average, 30% of the time and lose 70%. If you stand you will, on average, win 26% and lose 74%. We’ll return to the table later.
I almost, and I mean almost, feel sorry for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who’s drawn a political 16. His party is disintegrating right in front of him, courtesy of Donald Trump….the Madman Across The Hudson–The Disrupter From the Golden Tower– honest enough to strip away any pretense of simple decency– all of the hate and bigotry and misogyny that has been the real Republican Party foundational base during my lifetime. Going back to Goldwater and Nixon… right up through now; Trump is the Cynical Black Hole of Megalomaniacal, Anti-Intellectual Republicanism exploding like an Electoral Death Star. McConnell’s final stoke of abject hate for the very idea of Barack Obama as president, shown in his viscerally hateful refusal to consider any Supreme Court nominee, completes the full implosion of the Republican Party. The condescending disrespect for Obama literally dripping from his mouth as McConnell, with his trademark stoneface, declaring with not a hint of public irony, but surely with well-hidden self-awareness, on the floor of the Senate:
“It seems clear that President Obama made this nomination not with the intent of seeing the nominee confirmed, but in order to politicize it for purposes of the election.”
If Mitch McConnell wants to be mad at anybody, he should be mad at Antonin Scalia for dying at such an inconvenient time. Why couldn’t he have hung on another year or so, to spare McConnell this charade, the hassle and the pain? And gee, couldn’t it at least have been one of the liberal justices instead of Scalia? The phoniness of having to take seriously the “Biden Rule,” which does not exist. It’s as real and on the law books just as much as “Cochran’s Rule” is…..“if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”The 1992 version ofBiden, then Senate Judiciary Chairman, ruminated about holding off on any further nominations, should they have occurred, due to the national insanity of the recent Clarence Thomas nomination fiasco. Here’s the Politifact take:
“Biden’s floor speech was on June 25, 1992, more than three months later in the election cycle than it is now.
There was no Supreme Court vacancy to fill.
There was no nominee to consider.
The Senate never took a vote to adopt a rule to delay consideration of a nominee until after the election.
You can only intelligently take a shot at what McConnell and the Republicans are trying to do here…. delay filling Scalia’s seat until well into 2017 and a new president… if the odds are in your favor. Unless you’ve trained your people to expect you to always obstruct… even shutting down the government itself, plainly at the cost of you looking foolish. But you can never disappoint the troops. Beginning with the probability right now that Hillary Clinton will be the next president at 69.2% (electionbettingodds.com), those odds are almost exactly what they are when you draw a 16 at blackjack and the dealer is 17 or over. Remember, if you hit you win on average 30% of the time and lose 70%. If you stand you will on average win 26% and lose 74%. In other words, you’ve been dealt a losing hand, Mitch. Scalia died, Hillary is the likely next president, and your only hope is that Trump, who you hate, gets literally every white male vote in America. And he still would probably lose. In McConnell’s case, he’s both likely to lose the election andwould face both humiliation and the possibility of a more liberal nominee than Merrick Garland. All of which would fit in perfectly with the Great Republican Meltdown of 2016.
Sometimes the cards just don’t fall right and you blow your stash at the table. Even when you know the time-tested, basic blackjack strategy… you lose. But the Republicans have seemingly split 8’s when the dealer’s showing a 10 (which you never do). The chances of them winning even one of those hands are slim; they’re likely to lose both. They should have taken the medicine and the obeyed the God Who Smited Scalia, wanting him replaced with previously overlooked-but-perennial first draft choice, acknowledged heavyweight, 100% qualified and acceptable candidate, Merrick Garland. Considering the circumstances, Mr. McConnell, he was the least liberal, oldest guy (63) Obama could find (oldest nominee since Lewis Powell, 64…. by Nixon)…. making you look even more petty, small and, by the way, Anti-Anonin in your rejection of the clear, explicit originalist text of the Constitution. You’ve spit on Justice Scalia’s grave, sir. This isn’t what Nancy Reagan meant when she said, “Just Say No.”
A very smart man, Coach Vince Lombardi was undoubtedly more concerned with winning football titles than when we would be putting men on the moon. He may have personally cared about the US space program, but I couldn’t find any on-the-record remarks from him about the subject. I bring it up only as an excuse to knock out a myth about the first Super Bowl and the false narrative that all Americans were gung-ho about beating the Ruskies to the moon as soon as possible, no matter the cost. Are the two things really connected? Hell no, but when you run through a NY Times archive of that day’s paper to read about the first Super Bowl….. you get a bonus! You are reminded that Republicans are ALWAYS against progress, they ALWAYS have an excuse that involves spending, and they have been and continue to be against the New Deal, the Great Society, and of course, today, Obamacare. Oppose it, derail it, defund it, kill it. It’s all the same to them if it helps people and a Democratic president suggested it.
I hear Joe McCarthy has already been put on retainer to return from the dead to lead a possible presidential campaign against self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist (a redundant term to Joe, of course) Bernie Sanders should he get the nomination. But let’s start with football……
Of course, the Times may have retroactively changed the article all these years later, just as the Honolulu newspapers later magically inserted the “birth” announcement of Barack Obama into their archives long after 1961:
Meanwhile, back to Super Bowl Sunday back in 1967 and that NY Times front page, which also featured this piece:
It’s what they do. It’s who Republicans are. Nothing much has changed, but hostility to President Johnson, who, by then was the embattled Vietnam president, knew no domestic bounds even on our striving to land on the moon before the Soviet Union. From the article, check out this 1967 variation on Hillary Clinton’s famous “what difference does it make?” remark to the Benghazi committee:
Everett Dirksen is considered to be a highly thought-of senator. His flippancy about not caring when we finally might make it to the moon was, if anything, consistent. Dirksen is famous for having said, on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, “A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you’re talking real money.”