Thursday Reads: “We’ll Be Lucky To Live Through It.” — Daniel Drezner


Good Morning!!

I’ve been sitting in front of my computer for hours now without writing anything. I’m so overwhelmed by the insanity Donald Trump has been spewing since the end of the conventions, that I’m really at a loss. I honestly feel as if I’m in shock.

This morning, the media is struggling to explain away Trump’s latest–his claim in a speech last night that President Obama “founded ISIS” and “Crooked Hillary Clinton” was the co-founder.

“Isis is honoring President Obama,” Trump said of Islamic State. “He is the founder of Isis. He founded Isis. And, I would say the co-founder would be crooked Hillary Clinton.”

Trump’s declaration echoed an attack he made against Clinton last week, also in Florida, in which he said the former secretary of state “should get an award from them as the founder of Isis”.

Republicans have long sought to blame the turmoil in the Middle East on the Obama administration’s foreign policy, often criticizing the president for underestimating the threat posed by Isis. But Trump has routinely gone a step further by stating directly that Obama is sympathetic to terrorists.

The former reality TV star employed the same tactic on Wednesday, referring to the president by his full name – Barack Hussein Obama – and repeating it several times for emphasis of his claim that Obama had founded Isis.

The origins of Isis trace back to the aftermath of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. The group has been deemed an offshoot of al-Qaida, which carried out the attacks on 9/11. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian militant terrorist viewed as the founder of Isis, was killed in a US airstrike in Baghdad in 2006.

I’m afraid to think what ghastly thing Trump might say today, but I’m sure there will be something. Just imagine how Vladimir Putin feels!


The first link I opened this morning was from Time Magazine: Inside Donald Trump’s Meltdown. Next I opened Twitter and found that the article had been trending for a couple of hours. It’s an extended list of Trump’s outrageous remarks along with hand-wringing by desperate Republicans who just want him to stop saying stupid things. But Trump obviously can’t help it. The piece is a must-read. Here are just a couple of samples:

When Donald Trump mucks things up, the first person to let him know is usually Republican Party boss Reince Priebus. Almost every day, Trump picks up his cell phone to find Priebus on the line, urging him to quash some feud or clarify an incendiary remark.

The Wisconsin lawyer has been a dutiful sherpa to the Manhattan developer, guiding him through the dizzying altitude of the presidential race and lobbying the GOP to unite behind a figure who threatens its future.

But every bond has its breaking point. For this partnership, the moment nearly arrived in early August. Priebus was on vacation when he learned that Trump had declined to endorse Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House and a close friend. The chairman had a frank message for the nominee, according to two Republican officials briefed on the call. Priebus told Trump that internal GOP polling suggested he was on track to lose the election. And if Trump didn’t turn around his campaign over the coming weeks, the Republican National Committee would consider redirecting party resources and machinery to House and Senate races.

Trump denies the exchange ever took place. “Reince Priebus is a terrific guy,” Trump told TIME. “He never said that.” Priebus could not be reached for comment. But whatever the exact words spoken on the phone, there is no doubt that the possibility Republicans will all but abandon Trump now haunts his struggling campaign.


Of course. Trump also denies the Secret Service spoke to his campaign about his implied threat against Hillary.

Republicans groan that the difficult task of keeping their Senate majority gets tougher with each outré remark. Which is why the RNC is considering shifting some cash and staff away from the presidential race and toward down-ballot contests. That plan is already in motion among powerful outside groups that typically spend hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of the party nominee. “There’s going to have to be some resource reallocation,” says a senior Republican official familiar with internal party deliberations. A second senior party official routinely instructs Senate campaign managers to distance their candidates from Trump. “Don’t worry about the appearances,” the official said on a recent conference call. “Worry about winning.”

That explains why Republicans running for office this year don’t meet Trump’s plane at airports or introduce him at rallies. In some places, the avoidance strategy seems to be working. Senator Pat Toomey is in a statistical tie in his re-election bid in Pennsylvania, a state where Trump trails by about 10 points. In the key swing state of Florida, Senator Marco Rubio is running ahead in his re-election bid even as Trump narrowly trails Clinton. But in New Hampshire, Trump’s troubles may be dragging down Ayotte, who plummeted from a virtual tie to 10 points down in a recent poll.

On calls with Senate campaign donors, Trump often comes up, as moneymen probe for details on coordination with the top of the ticket. “What Trump campaign?” one swing-state Senate campaign manager snapped at a volunteer recently. “We have more offices than they do.” ….

Like the rest of the party, Trump’s staff has been flummoxed by his political naiveté. They describe a candidate who doesn’t understand the basics of modern campaigns, from why you knock on doors to how to read a poll to why he should be dialing for dollars more aggressively. His headquarters has enough palace intrigue and warring fiefs to rival the fictional badlands of Westeros. “You’re always afraid of getting fired,” says one staffer, “but it’s his fault, not ours.”

These staff members are still cashing checks but have begun to lose faith that their boss can or should win the top prize in American politics. Most highly regarded Republican operatives have stayed away from the campaign, wary of being blackballed for future gigs. “If someone applied for a job and brought in a résumé that had Trump 2016 on it,” says a GOP fundraising consultant, “I wouldn’t give them an interview.”

There’s much much more at the Time link, so be sure to check it out.

Secret Service guard Trump's mouth

Secret Service guarding Trump’s mouth

So what’s Trump up to this morning? He’s doubling down on his “found of ISIS” and “second amendment people” remarks. Politico reports: Trump ramps up attack on Obama as founder of Islamic State.

Donald Trump on Thursday escalated his attack on President Barack Obama, doubling down on his accusation that he’s a founder of the Islamic State and claiming that both Obama and Hillary Clinton remain the terrorist group’s most valuable players….

After first leveling the terror-related accusation against Obama and Clinton at a Wednesday night rally, Trump made the claim three more times on Thursday — all before noon.

“Our government isn’t giving us good protection. Our government has unleashed ISIS,” he said as he addressed the National Association of Home Builders in Miami. “I call President Obama and Hillary Clinton the founders of ISIS. They’re the founders. In fact, I think we’ll give Hillary Clinton the — you know, if you’re on a sports team, most valuable player, MVP, you get the MVP award — ISIS will hand her the most valuable player award. Her only competition is Barack Obama.”

His remarks echoed his sentiments earlier Thursday during a phone interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” during which he also named Obama the MVP of ISIS.

“He gets the most valuable player award. Him and Hillary, she gets it too. I gave her co-founder if you really looked at this speech,” Trump said. “But he and Hillary get the most valuable player award having to do with Iraq, and having to do with the ISIS situation, or as he would call it, ISIL. He calls it ISIL because nobody else does and he probably wants to bother people by using another term, whether it’s more accurate or not.”

And Trump sees no problem with calling the President of the United States a terrorist.

The Manhattan billionaire bristled at the notion that referring to the president and his former secretary of state as the co-founders of a terrorist group intent on killing Americans was somehow inappropriate. He said that he has been successful thus far as a political outsider throughout the election cycle by speaking his mind, and if that ends up costing him the general election, so be it.

“Is there something wrong with saying that? Are people complaining that I said he was the founder of ISIS?” Trump said. “Look, all I do is tell the truth. I’m a truth teller. All I do is tell the truth.”

Unbelievably, there is even more at the link.


Here’s Daniel Drezner at The Washington Post in response to Trump’s implication that Hillary should be assassinated: The 2016 campaign is getting out of control. We’ll be lucky to live through it.

The Trump campaign is trying to spin this every which way they can. Claims that his remark about Democratic rival Hillary Clinton was just a “joke” don’t really hold water in the sense that jokes still mean something, particularly in presidential campaigns. Furthermore, the statement was serious enough for the Secret Service to have a conversation with the campaign about this kind of rhetoric. The fact that Trump won’t apologize for a joke gone bad is indicative of the many other dangerous statements that he never walks back.

And there are consequences for this kind of violent rhetoric. Read some examples at the link.

This is the kind of thing that Trump supporters think is funny. From the Buffalo News last month: Festival apologizes for ‘Hillary Clinton in a coffin’ car show entry.

It seems there’s no escaping the politics of bad taste when a presidential campaign is in full swing. Just ask Leslee Chilcott.

The Village of Hamburg resident has attended BurgerFest for 20 years. But this year, she cut her visit short after visiting the car show with her four children. Hitched to a 1920s Model-T Ford was an open coffin on a trailer hitch with a full-sized doll inside representing Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. An image of Donald Trump’s face, attached to the rear car window, making it appear as if Trump is looking down on Clinton’s smiling-but-dead mannequin body. The coffin also featured beer taps on the side.

“That was enough for me,” said Chilcott, who abruptly took her disappointed children home early Saturday afternoon.

When her 6-year-old son asked her why there was a coffin with a dead woman in it named Hillary, Chilcott said, “I had to explain to him that some people are mean. For me, it wasn’t a political stance for this person to have the dummy. It was a living person.”


What’s next? I shudder to think. Please post your thoughts and links on any topic in the comment thread. I’ll add a few more stories there too.


66 Comments on “Thursday Reads: “We’ll Be Lucky To Live Through It.” — Daniel Drezner”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Hey BB. Glad the technical glitches didn’t eat the whole post. It’s really good analysis and the links are interesting. I can’t believe that Woodard got on Morning Joe today and blamed Hillary supporters rhetoric for inciting Trump. Mad men don’t need to any motivation. Can’t believe he equivocated between campaign rhetoric and lies, smears, and calls for assassination and violence. Ghouliani has been out too. Call some one from ZNation. We have a zombie politician outbreak!

      • bostonboomer says:

        Thanks. I was going to post it, but I had to take a break after my epic struggle with WordPress.

        • dakinikat says:

          Yeah. Figured you were ready to scream so I thought I’d do it. 😉

          • joanelle says:

            One would think with all the anti spyware programs, and backup external hard drive I was safe. But last week I got hacked – everything was encrypted and they were holding all my files for a tidy ransome. Needless to say I have no ‘extra’ shekels so, it’s all gone including 20+ years of creative writing, my over 40 years of poems, grant proposals , etc, etc, etc.
            I can’t see how it would have any real value to anyone else, particularly my grandkids baby pictures.

            My computer guy said it’s been happening more and more, randomly to individuals and companies alike. Yes, I had an external backup hard drive and they even wormed in to partially mess that up too.

            So, dear friends, hide the fruits of your labor somewhere totally inaccessible.

          • dakinikat says:

            Omg… how’d that happen?

          • joanelle says:

            I don’t know, I don’t wander into unknown sites or even open emails from folks I don’t know. My guy said it cold have come in on a ‘trusted’ email who was unaware. Fortunately I was writing and not in the midst of emailing so no one else was contaminated.

          • quixote says:

            They’ve been doing this to hospitals (hospitals!) and businesses. I hadn’t heard before that they were attacking individuals too. The lowest form of industrial sludge.

            From what I see on the tech press, it’s pretty well impossible to recover the data. It’s either pay or lose your work. And law “enforcement” attitude is don’t-bother-us-we-don’t-understand-it-just-pay-them. Literally. That was their response to a big hospital that was one of the first hit in the Los Angeles area. Set a great precedent that’s really helped stop the problem. Not.

            They say the only thing you can do is make sure you have a system of rotating backups. (Eg. weekly backups, only changes saved after the first week so that file sizes aren’t huge, but the number of weeks it goes back is up to you. So if a file corruption turns out to have happened a month ago, you can go to the 5 week old backup. Even though only changes are saved things are interlinked in a way that gives you the whole file. Rotating backups are the way to go.)

      • ANonOMouse says:

        By Bob Woodward’s standard Hillary should be given the green flag to go after the rails too. Really, if the excuse for Trump going off the rails is “somebody said something mean about him” is legitimate, then Hillary should be able to go batshit crazy on these MF’ers.
        It’s just this simple, Woodward and Bernstein have never liked Hillary. I’m assuming they both became totally impotent trying to find some dirt to dish on her and OF COURSE they both failed. But it’s obvious to me that many of these male journalists knock their whackers off trying to make excuses for Trump, while bitch slapping Hillary on everything from her voice to her choice of clothing. When Hillary becomes POTUS it’s likely to be the final straw for these old codgers.

      • Fannie says:

        As this article states, he might have been the famed journalist back when. But he is no fucking friend of the democratic party. Piss on his opinion.

        • ANonOMouse says:

          Really, no one really gives a shit what Bob Woodward has to say. He’s about as relevant as I am. Crazy old bastard!

      • Enheduanna says:

        And so Woodward thinks Trump’s “children” are deserving of a “zone of protection”. hahahahahahahaha please.

        His adult children who are only too happy to grift off his nefarious real estate deals and sucker victims into buying property that never gets developed? Those kids?

        • Fannie says:

          I keep wondering, how do they really feel about their father, and his comments. Next thing I know they are all out hunting polar bears. Shit.

      • Fannie says:

        Oh no, Joanelle, that’s a damn nightmare. I have had that problem in the pass, and paid dearly to get some information back. Sorry about the lost of life’s work.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    This is hilarious.

    Too good to check: Sean Hannity’s tale of a Trump rescue

    • ANonOMouse says:

      It is hilarious and about as absurd as Rudy Ghouliani’s Convention story about Trump giving money to people in distress in NY but doing it anonymously. I don’t believe Donald Trump has done a magnanimous thing in his life. He’d step on basket of kittens if they were in his way. He’s a brutal, selfish, self absorbed, petty, pathetic little man and it is my fondest hope that this campaign hurts him professionally in ways that nothing else could have.

    • Fannie says:

      Yup, in 1990 the world richest people, billionaire tally, left Donald J. Trump off their list. The value of his real estate and airline empire had crumbled. And some say he made less than 1/2 billion. He was even offering free cigarettes to those willing to fly on his shuttle. He was a loser then, and he is a loser now.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Miami Herald:

    Trump golf club renovation hit with 23rd lien, this time for $236K

    Read more here:

    • ANonOMouse says:

      Why can’t he pay his bills? He’s sooooooo rich. He’s big, really, really big, huge Major league big. Big as big can be. He’s bigly big and he has huge, very huge, the very most massive huge piles of money, major league money, very, very big money, more money than you can imagine. Like you wouldn’t believe his bank account is so major league huge.

  4. ANonOMouse says:

    Good post today BB. I’m holding my breath waiting for the next email droppapalooza. Nothing of any consequence in the last batch. Just people doing what people do, talk to people they know about hiring or introducing folks to other folks. And none of the emails were directed to Hillary or were from Hillary. Such a SAD spectacle this email story.

    • Enheduanna says:

      Most people aren’t as dumb as Trump’s fans. We’ve been hearing about these emails for so long now and where is the email that was definitive proof of anything? Nowhere. It does not exist. The longer the press flogs the email story the less people believe anything they say.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Mouse, have you seen what Joe Cannon thinks is coming?

      Take a look.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        I checked it out, but I disagree with Cannon. I think the October surprise will be something to do with what has been called, (without a shred of evidence to support it)”Play for Pay”. They’ve been hyping that the Clinton Foundation was using State Dept to do favors for Foundation donors. I don’t believe that’s true because the emails I’ve seen so far indicate more of a cozy relationship than one of quid pro quo. The cozy relationship is explainable and even normal because both Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin worked for and/or with the Clinton Foundation before going to the State Dept with Hillary. Cheryl Mills has worked for Bill Clinton since he was POTUS. Huma has worked for Hillary since she was Senator from NY. There is nothing unseemly in the emails I’ve seen so far. Mostly conversation and interaction between former colleagues. Sprinkled with “can you help someone get a job” sort of comments. People helping friends and associates get jobs or get interviews is nothing uncommon in business hiring, especially in government. I had a government job many years ago and I got that job because I had help from someone on the inside.

        I do agree with Cannon on one thing, I think it will happen mid to late October for maximum damage with little time to recover, but unlike Cannon I think the groundwork that is being laid now isn’t about “murders” I think it is about the Clinton Foundation’s relationship with the State Dept.

      • Fannie says:

        I tell you I am so turned off about hearing emails everyday, that I don’t even listen anymore.

  5. palhart says:

    They hate her because she has broken through their defense of male superiority (we call the shots) and is running to the goal posts with only their idiot throwing stink bombs at her and signifying nothing.

  6. purplefinn says:

    Thanks, BB. Excellent points. You included the link about the fact that jokes matter, which I find to be true. When I think about it, I can’t remember ever laughing with Trump at a joke he made. I never thought he was funny. I don’t think he tries to be funny. He’s all of the things that Mouse said above. So implying that Trump is joking about anything is a stretch. His intent doesn’t seem intent on making people laugh, but in ridiculing and/or shocking others or aggrandizing himself.

    • joanelle says:

      I agree with my hubby (a rarity) that trumpy is going to push the envelope until the RNC ‘fires’ him (if they can) I have come to believe that he no more wants to be president than I do. He couldn’t live his life as a raging bull if he were president- what fun would that be to The Donald?
      I have a question, who on earth is advising or styling Hilz hair lately.,she no longer has that great cut she had.

      • purplefinn says:

        I noticed the different style too. I also prefer the previous one.

        • Sweet Sue says:

          I think it’s heat and humidity doing a number on her hair, rather than a new “do.”

          • joanelle says:

            I like her shorter hair as well, she looks more energetic, but the last picture I saw of her had her hair, combed back, about shoulder length. Perhaps it was an older picture, and it appears to me that they seem to hunt for the worse picture they can find of her.

      • NW Luna says:

        I like her shorter cut! I saw the video of her economics talk in Michigan.

  7. janicen says:

    Here’s the thing, though. Given the ghastly press coverage of Hillary in this election, I honestly feel that if she were running against someone who was just a tiny bit saner than Trump, she wouldn’t stand a chance. The media wants to destroy her, But Trump is so far beyond the pale that he draws their attention away from her. If the GOP had run anyone other than Trump, Clinton might be in trouble because of the hammering she’s been getting from the media.

    • NW Luna says:

      No, I don’t think so. Look at all the votes she got in ’08. In popular votes she edged Obama. There is a good % of voters who see thru the media’s Hillary derangement.

      • quixote says:

        I don’t know, Luna. Maybe it’s just the lack of trust talking,but I feel that if Clinton were running against anyone remotely normal –eg Kasich, hideous policies, but presents as “normal” — the media would spend 24/7 taking her down.

        Look at the 3-4% dip in the polls after Comey came out with his BS about her “carelessness.” Constant repetition will get enough people to believe anything. If it didn’t, we wouldn’t have an advertising industry. It won’t get everyone. Just enough to tip the scales.

        So I hope you’re right, but I worry you’re not. That’s my biggest fear right now. The Trumpsterfire flames out fast enough for the Repubs to substitute some guy made up to look human. With a huge sigh of relief enough of the country goes with its sexism and thunders on over the cliff.

        • ANonOMouse says:

          I agree! I think that if the GOP had run a viable candidate, with the exception of Cruz, that Hillary would be having a really difficult time overcoming the MSM’s effort to depict her as “untrustworthy” “unlikable”. The MSM has hyped that narrative this entire election and they’re still hyping it even though she running against a madman.

          • joanelle says:

            I agree mouse, perception is reality, and whether we like it or not, or admit it or not, it’s still mostly a man’s world. We are getting a handle on that but they are fighting hard not to lose thier grip on it.
            Let’s face it Hillz is the brightest candidate in our lifetime and yet some folks aren’t willing to give her the reigns so ahe can get us on the right track.

          • ANonOMouse says:

            Ditto. In my lifetime there has never been a candidate, from either party or any party, that was/is more qualified than Hillary.

      • janicen says:

        Except I think there was a lot of Republican crossover in the ’08 primaries. Hillary got 18 million plus and Obama got close to that. Where did all these Democrats come from and where were they in the 2016 primaries? Hillary got 15.8 million and Sanders got around 12 million this year. I think the enthusiasm for Obama in ’08 came from the black community who came out in record numbers but Hillary’s extra 2 million plus votes in ’08 is more likely Republicans and Independents who did not want a black POTUS. I think Clinton would probably beat any Republican they could put up, but it would be a lot harder and a lot more expensive because of the media pounding she would be getting. She’s getting it badly enough now, but imagine if they didn’t have Trump’s bizarre, insane statements to cover. It would be all Clinton bashing, all the time.

  8. Fannie says:

    I just want to share more facts, I know that we have discussed them time and time again here, but here is a rehash of how Isis was formed: As you can see Pres. Obama had to comply to Bush’s agreement.

    • Fannie says:

      Sorry about that link, some damn security crap. In regards to withdrawing the troops Bush signed an agreement in 2008, and Pres. Obama had to comply to this.

    • janicen says:

      I tweeted that to Joe Scarborough this morning. Told him to google Iraq Status of Forces Agreement signed by GWBush. I’m so sick of this BS of blaming Obama for leaving a vacuum in Iraq.

  9. Fannie says:

    Here’s a documentary that I watched couple years back:

  10. Fannie says:

    One other thing that really pisses me off is that the NRA was not for McCain, and was not for Romney, but they are all in with Donald J. Trump. Trump went on and on about Hillary Clinton voting for the war, of course Obama didn’t. But notice when he brought Pence on board, he said he didn’t care that he voted for the Iraq war. It just fries my ass.

    I am really upset with another police shooting in Fla. They were in training, and volunteers helped, one woman was a 73 year old librarian who was shot dead, because they didn’t realize they had real bullets in their guns. That friggin pisses me off. I just can’t understand why that had to happen.

  11. NW Luna says:

    I want Trump to last just long enough to bring the whole Republican Party down with him. At the rate he’s going, that should be soon.

  12. NW Luna says:

    Here’s a link to a video of Hillary’s earlier speech on economics in Michigan. She starts at about 5:45 in.

  13. NW Luna says:

    Donald Trump gets day wrong twice while implying Clinton lacks mental stamina

    Addressing a rambunctious crowd in Florida, a crucial swing state, he added: “I watched Hillary today, which was really boring. It’s hard to watch. I have an obligation to watch. Fortunately she never goes on very long because she wants to go home.”

    But Trump himself, locked in a grueling campaign, twice made a slip of the tongue. “By the way, is there any place to be that’s better than a Friday night in Florida at a Trump rally? No place.” A few supporters shouted: “It’s Thursday!”

    Later he said: “We joke. It’s Friday night and we’re having fun.” More supporters yelled: “It’s Thursday!” but he appeared to assume it was more cheering. In another, perhaps more deliberate lapse, Trump claimed: “This place is incredible. We’ve got 2,000 people outside trying to get in.” In fact there were still hundreds of empty places in the 8,000-seat arena in Kissimmee, near Orlando.

    • Sweet Sue says:

      Super scary, Luna.
      Trump’s veering into Lonesome Rhodes territory.

    • Enheduanna says:

      That’s interesting – he is the most blatant projectionist I’ve ever seen. What he says about her is what’s happening to him. Maybe the Times cover put him over the top.

      He’s also no spring chicken and eats a lot of cr@p from what I gather. I don’t wish a stroke or heart attack on him – but maybe he needs that intervention now more than ever.

      P.S. I don’t believe for one second he’s a teetotaler although I admit I haven’t seen any pictures of him with a drink in his hand. You’d think there would be some pictures of him out clubbing in New York at Studio 54 or somewhere back in the day. I guess I’m wrong?

  14. bostonboomer says:

    Hillary up by 9 in North Carolina, folks.


    • Enheduanna says:

      Cue the Venture’s song “Wipe-Out” hahahahahaha

      Iowa is proving a bit difficult – I think they’re tied there. It’s unfathomable to me that he is anywhere near her in any state.