Friday Reads: Unintelligible YellingPosted: February 26, 2016
I was in sore need of a pick me up last night after wading into the Republican debate for a period of time when this picture showed up on Scott Eric Kaufman’s facebook newsfeed. It came with the following brief message “I’m deaf enough that even when I watch things online, I have the subtitles on, and people, CNN just the won the Internet.”Last night, he posted the same to Salon. He obviously “inspired” this in Esquire by Charles Pierce. It’s obviously a lede worth nabbing since I’m about to do it too albeit I’m giving him full credit and luscious linky goodness.
If you expected to find out about any positions on issues last night watching that debate you would’ve been sorely disappointed. If you like National Geographic specials of monkeys flinging poo, well, this made the monkeys behavior look absolutely rational by comparison. I will borrow Pierce’s bottom line from his piece I attributed above. Unintelligible yelling was a good as description as any one could’ve found for the entire evening’s discourse.
To be honest, there were some moments of clarity. Trump was the only one on stage with anything close to a reasonable position on the question of Israel and Palestine. Kasich gave a reasonable answer to the stupid “religious liberty” question. (“If you’re in the business of selling things, if you’re not going to sell to somebody you don’t agree with, OK, today I’m not going to sell to somebody who’s gay, and tomorrow maybe I won’t sell to somebody who’s divorced. I mean, if you’re in the business of commerce, conduct commerce. That’s my view.”) And, to be completely honest, Trump probably gave the best closing statement of the bunch. But, at that point, those people watching who hadn’t turned away from this intellectual demolition derby that, like me, they were numb and willing to believe almost anything. I felt like I’d stumbled into the ladies garden club from the beginning of The Manchurian Candidate.
There were, of course, no questions about the climate crisis. There, of course, were no questions about gun violence, even though the third mass shooting in a week was occurring at virtually the same time these guys were fighting over who was the biggest crook, con man, liar, and choke artist on the stage. Priorities, gentlemen, please.
You said it, pal. Whoever you are.
I’m not sure that you could find any moments of clarity. Strump defended Planned Parenthood right before he said that the few abortions they do would make him completely defund the outfit. Kasich basically said the Supreme Court spoke on Gay Marriage and that you can’t discriminate in the public market even if he still considers religious freedom to be akin to bigotry. Cruz and Rubio were absolutely unhinged proving they could outDonald The Donald. As we know, Cruz is a very smart and dangerous man. Rubio basically just does what he’s told.
Earlier this month, the English version of Der Spiegel had an excellent piece on how “Donald Trump is the Most Dangerous Man on Earth.” That’s probably because he is headed towards the Republican nomination and his closest rivals look completely off the planet by comparison. Hell, Chris Christie just endorsed him this morning. You can read the Rubio attack puppy mode along with Christie labelling him “desperate” at the link. But, back to Spiegel. Germans, as you know, have experienced fascism enough to know it when they see it. They see it.
Donald Trump is the leader of a new, hate-filled authoritarian movement. Nothing would be more harmful to the idea of the West and world peace than if he were to be elected president. George W. Bush’s America would seem like a place of logic and reason in comparison.
Well, there’s your mic drop.
And, there’s even a Nixon connection. You know there had to be. This is their take on the upcoming Clinton/Trump general. I’ve lifted an entire section and the entire article is a very long, well thought out read.
This is evident on a bitter cold January evening in Burlington, Vermont. A line has formed in front of a local theater. Mary Loyer, 44, and her son Tim, 28, are hoping to catch a glimpse of Trump. Tim works as a waiter, Mary is unemployed. They’re supporters of the left-wing democrat Bernie Sanders, a long-time mayor of Burlington. But Mary says something that one hears over and over again on the campaign trail: “If it came down to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, I don’t know who I’d vote for. But it wouldn’t be Clinton.”
“Hillary is corrupt,” Tim says. “She does what Big Money wants her to do, and she’s a flip-flopper.” Sanders and Trump have more in common than it seems, he adds: “Both of them are the only politicians who say what they think and do what they say.” His mom nods.
For a long time, the Clinton camp fantasized about taking on Trump. The way they saw it, it would be Clinton, an experienced, middle-of-the-road candidate, versus Trump, the radical leader of the old, white guard. Many democratic strategists viewed such a matchup as a unique opportunity. Vice President Joe Biden said if Trump won the Republican nomination, Hillary Clinton would “win in a walk.”
In the meantime, it has become apparent that Clinton can’t even rely on the unconditional support of her own people. For many, she represents a political system that is symbiotically entwined with Big Business. Trump, the big capitalist, however, bills himself as someone who is not for sale. He doesn’t accept big donations and doesn’t owe anyone anything. The fact that he, unlike Clinton, has never held a political office is an advantage in this election campaign.
Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg is one of the few in his party who openly addresses how difficult it could be for Clinton to handle a Trump candidacy. The founder of the progressive think tank “New Democratic Network” believes that the widespread frustration about the status quo within the American electorate and his ability to handle the modern media better than anyone else in the race would make Trump a strong opponent in the general election. “Trump would be a lot harder to defeat than most of us think”, he says. “There were more than a dozend Republican candidates and he basically destroyed all of them. It is unbelievable what he did.”
But many democrats aren’t panicking yet. They’re betting on Clinton’s campaign coming around and gaining momentum once she secures the nomination. At the same time, they are anxious that this could become the dirtiest duel in the history of American presidential campaigns.
If it does, Roger Stone will be the man to blame. The unscrupulousness that has come to define Trump’s campaign is largely Stone’s doing. He learned the tricks of the trade from Richard Nixon in the 1970s, and later helped Ronald Reagan get into the White House. By the end of the 1980s, Stone was already trying to convince his friend Trump to run for president. Almost everything Trump knows about politics and power, he learned from Stone — including the art of manipulation. Stone is considered a master of defamatory rumors.
Stone also helped Trump lay the foundations for his campaign last spring. Then in summer, he was abruptly fired. Trump’s people cited a disagreement between the two, but observers now believe the split could have been staged, a trick.
“I remain an unabashed Trump supporter and Trump enthusiast,” Stone said when reached on the phone last autumn. “I just finally made a decision that I could have a greater impact on the outside. Trump is still a very close friend.” As before, the two talk regularly and Stone obviously gives Trump important advice. And just like old times, Stone spends nearly every evening on TV touting Trump and his “movement.”
Since he is no longer an official member of Trump’s campaign team, Stone has the freedom to be even more ruthless in his derision of Trump’s opponents, without the risk of the mud-slinging coming back to haunt the candidate. Trump biographer D’Antonio describes Stone as “pure evil.” He is a “deeply disgusting person,” someone who doesn’t understand anything but “brute force.”
Stone’s favorite victim is Hillary Clinton. His recently published book, “The Clintons’ War on Women,” is a nasty piece of work. But it could also be seen as a blueprint for Trump’s campaign against Hillary. Without credible proof, Stone claims that Chelsea Clinton is not Bill’s biological daughter and that Bill has fathered at least one son with a black prostitute. Stone calls the former president a serial rapist and Hillary his henchwoman. He also suggests that Hillary has the death of a man who knew about Bill’s escapades on her conscience.
In television interviews, Stone claims Hillary is the “point person in the terror campaign to intimidate and bully women into silence.” That she once waged a “nuts and sluts campaign to discredit Monica Lewinsky to make it her fault that she was seduced by a man three times her age.” He has also stated that “Bill rapes women physically and Hillary rapes them psychologically.” He claims Hillary Clinton “has no right to call herself an advocate for women and girls.” Trump recently released a campaign video with a similar message.
“The Clintons are money-making opportunists and criminals,” Stone says. Their foundation is nothing more than a “luxury travel service to augment the lifestyles of Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton.” People with those kinds of friends and advisers don’t leave much to the imagination as to their character, he says.
This is what worries me as I deal with BernieBots and undecideds. The long, horrible list of lies slung at Hillary has taken root even in folks that should appreciate her contributions and her tribulations. I hate it every time a Bernie Bot tells me she’s not trustworthy because she’s taken money for speeches or because she took Bill back or because email server or because, heaven forbid, BENGHAZI! The years and years of Fox News like slander and the relentless battle of some republicans to take her down just gives me the Rubio flop sweat.
No Republican is positioned to beat Trump in the primary. They all should realize that by now some where in the darkest deepest part of their dark hearts. And so, the Trump Mean Machine will take aim direclty at Hillary and a lot of the ammunition will be put there already by Bernie Sanders and friends as well as the 20 something year Republican Crusade. It will be ugly, folks.
Another statistical affirmation comes from Bloomberg Analysts (full pdf below) who conducted polling of the “Super Tuesday” states and found Donald Trump leading in every contest, every demographic, and every metric in the multiple races.
Donald Trump isn’t just winning, he’s way ahead of Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz – AND even more substantially Trump beats each of them as individuals in head-to-head matchups. It’s not even close – heck, he’s even more supported than Pope Francis:
With three state wins under Donald Trump‘s belt, Hillary Clinton is now ready to acknowledge something many on both sides of the aisle never could have imagined saying: that the real estate mogul turned reality-TV star will likely be the Republican presidential nominee.
“Yes,” Clinton said on “Morning Joe” today when asked by Joe Scarborough whether she thinks Trump will beat the remaining GOP contenders.
“I mean, right now it looks like that,” she continued. “But I’m not going to handicap their race. I want to let them decide that.”
I woke up to the trolling and howling of the BernieBros. Bernie’s the only one that can beat the STrump. It’s all over the usual suspect places including Current Affairs where I wonder if the author of this article even shaves yet. (BB’s put it up before.) Here’s one at Slate. But, I’m actually beginning to look at this like the endless and endlessly boring Rocky movie franchise. If any one was set up for a long term battle fully knowing what’s going to be thrown at you, it’s Hillary Clinton. Here’s the voice to the contrary at TNR with some hesitation.
According to RCP’s average of polls, Clinton enjoys only a slim lead over Trump in a head-to-head match-up. You have to think that her lead will climb once the Democratic Party revs up the Trump attack machine, which the GOP has so far mysteriously declined to use.
But at the same time, in a polarized, nearly evenly divided electorate, there’s only so much the Democratic Party can do to expand its coalition. It’s unlikely that the editors of National Reviewand other anti-Trumpists will flock to Clinton. The real question is whether Trump can consolidate the GOP and perhaps even make inroads with blue-collar workers who have traditionally voted Democratic. As Noam Scheiber reported, even labor unions are interested in Trump, given his idiosyncratic position on trade.
So, getting out, supporting and voting for Hillary may be the most important thing we do this year. This argues that it’s more important than voting for Obama in 2008. Okay, I should probably tell you who wrote this first at the Daily Beast. Sit down. Swallow any drinks you may be sipping. Ready? Jon Favreau.
Recently, though, there are signs that Hillary is finding this courage. About a month ago, Buzzfeed’s Ruby Cramer asked Clinton a simple question that, for some strange reason, no reporter or staffer ever thought to press her on: Why are you doing this? What truly motivates you?
Her response was not to talk about fighting for this constituency or that issue. There is no pablum about real solutions for real people with real problems, or the poll-tested garbage about coming from the middle of America with the middle class at the middle of her priorities (I can no longer remember if that’s a joke we used to make as speechwriters or an actual line).
There is only this, from Hillary: “love and kindness.” She mentioned it for the first time after the shooting in Charleston, and then expanded on the theme a few weeks later: “I want this campaign, and eventually my administration, to be more about inspiring young people, and older ones as well, to find that niche where kindness matters, whether it’s to a friend, a neighbor, a colleague, a fellow student—whether it’s in a classroom, or in a doctor’s office, or in a business—we need to do more to help each other.”
You think it might be another cynical ploy. But this turns out to be a theme that she’s repeated throughout her life. In her announcement speech, Hillary talked about being raised to believe Methodist founder John Wesley’s admonition to “do all the good you can, in all the ways you can, for as long as you can.” In her 1969 Wellesley Commencement, she called for a “mutuality of respect.” After working at the Children’s Defense Fund, she would often cite Marian Wright Edelman’s quote that “Service the rent we pay for living. It is the very purpose of life and not something you do in your spare time.”
As First Lady, Hillary spoke about the need for “a new ethos of individual responsibility, “a great renaissance of caring in this country,” and “going back and actually living by the Golden Rule.” In the State Department, she’d talk about Alexis de Tocqueville’s “habits of the heart,” and says in Hard Chocies that “I’ve also returned again and again to this question of universality—how much we all have in common even if the circumstances of our lives may be different.”
If nothing else, you’ll notice that Hillary Clinton’s words are the very antithesis of the mean-spirited, xenophobic bile that spits from the mouth of Donald Trump.
In her campaign against Sanders, Hillary has begun to tell that broader, more inclusive story about the future. There she is, comforting a crying child in Nevada who worries that her parents might be deported. There she is in South Carolina, with five mothers of African American children who died of gun violence, who told Mother Jones, “She listened and followed through for us. You can’t fake that…She cares. Not only does she care about victims of gun violence but she cares about women, she cares about African Americans. She cares!”
Hillary Clinton isn’t perfect. She isn’t flashy or entertaining. She isn’t cool or hip, so please stop forcing the poor woman to learn the Dab on Ellen. As someone who’s been in politics for a few decades, she’s made plenty of mistakes, and will probably make many more.
But Hillary is also more than just a policy wonk who can’t wait to start shuffling through white papers in the Oval. She cares. She tries. She perseveres. And now she has a chance to tell the story she’s always wanted about America: the story about a country that found the courage to turn away from our darkest impulses; that chose to embrace our growing diversity as a strength, not a weakness; that pushed the boundaries of opportunity outward and upward, until there are no more barriers, and no more ceilings.
At stake in this election is control of a Tea Party-run Congress, at least one Supreme Court vacancy that could tip the balance for a generation, and the very real chance that a highly unstable demagogue could become the 45th President of the United States. So while I may not have imagined myself saying this a few years ago, I certainly believe it now: It’s far more important to elect Hillary Clinton in 2016 than it was to elect Barack Obama in 2008.
See. That ObamaBot grew up. There’s hope for the BernieBros. Let’s just hope it’s soon so we can stop Trump.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?