The “Character Problem” and the U.S. Election


Peace and Freedom Commentary

Poll after poll tells us that the American people think the United States is headed in the wrong direction.

Polling also tells us that the American people do not like the idea of voting for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.

The problem is this: Americans like to think that their leaders have character.

We Americans don’t generally approve of adultery, money laundering, pay to play, bribes and other forms of corruption lesser nations seem to tolerate. We keep talking about transparency as if it was the Holy Grail.

But the truth is, Americans are also eminently practical people. We’ve always accepted Bill Clinton’s philandering because he’s charming and his presidency seemed OK to most of us. After all, he was “America’s first black president.”

Americans could have chosen war hero John McCain or the man that brought health care to everyone in Massachusetts before the word Obamacare even became a word. Mitt Romney saved the world from a corruption tainted Salt Lake City Olympics. Like Mr. McCain, he is an example of “The American Character.” But we passed on him becoming America’s President because we really prefer the smooth talk of Barack Obama over the honesty, transparency and accountability promised (and often demonstrated) by both Mr. McCain and Mr. Romney and other like them.

Donald Trump eliminated all the Republicans With Character during the primary season. Partly because people with genuine character could never say the kinds of things Mr. Trump says all the time. Marco Rubio tried to make a joke of Mr. Trump’s small hands saying “we all know what that means” but he couldn’t pull off the bad boy look. He just looks like he has character — because he does.

Which brings us to Colin Powell. Went to West Point. Distinguished military career. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Accomplished in war and peace. Secretary of State. National Security Advisor. Man of Character.

So how could he possibly be happy with the choice of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump for President of the United States?

He can’t.

One of our retired military friends who served with Colin Powell said, “If Colin liked either one of them, it would be entirely out of character.”

So there we have it. The choice is between Hillary Clinton, who put national secrets on the Internet for everyone to see and never met a lie she didn’t like and “collapsed at the curb” and Donald Trump — a guy with a lot of the same character defects as someone like, let’s say, Bill Clinton — just not as universally charming as Bill Clinton is (or was).

But one thing is sure: Donald Trump has some steel in him. And that may be what America needs after President Barack Obama retires to the golf course full time.

Because once Mr. Obama is out of the White House, all the problems that he is leaving to his successor will need to be addressed. China. Russia. Iran. North Korea. Islamic State. Middle East cascading toward — an even worse Middle East. Plus all those difficult domestic issues like lead in the water in Flint and people killing other people in Chicago as if we were back in the days of John Dillinger. Actually much worse than the days of Dillinger because the police can’t stop the killings in Chicago today — because around American the police are being vilified — or killed.

Many of us have even lost respect for the FBI.

If we wanted real character we could have had it in the primaries. Now we have to take sides with a winner or a loser.

We have to decide who is the bigger liar. Who has actually damaged America already?

Who “almost fell and bit the curb,” as one of our indelicate colleagues said.

Who went to Mexico and flood soaked Louisiana while Barack was playing golf and Hillary was explaining her concussion? And blood clot.

In politics as in life, the past is often prologue.

We get what we vote for.

Unfortunately, too often the White House is not an award for the ones with “best character.”

It’s where the last winner lives.



Colin Powell Says Bill Clinton is “Still (Boffing) Bimbos At Home”

Colin Powell wrote in a jaw-dropping e-mail that he doesn’t want to vote for his pal Hillary Clinton because she’s a greedy defender of the status quo whose husband is “still ­d–king bimbos at home (according to the NYP)” — the New York Post.

“I would rather not have to vote for her, although she is a friend I respect,” the former secretary of state wrote Democratic donor Jeffrey Leeds on July 26, 2014.

“A 70-year person with a long track record, unbridled ambition, greedy, not transformational, with a husband still d–kng bimbos at home (according to the NYP),” reads the explosive e-mail obtained by the Web site DCLeaks. Hillary is actually 68.

Powell sent the message just days after The Post revealed in May that Bill Clinton allegedly has a blond mistress who visits his Chappaqua home so often, she was dubbed “the Energizer” by the Secret Service.

The story referenced Ronald Kess­ler’s book “The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of Presidents,” which named Clinton’s Chappaqua neighbor Julie Tauber McMahon as the other woman.

Asked about the e-mail’s authenticity, Powell told The Post, “Jeez, don’t remember this one. Best to ignore, don’t you think?”

Powell also wrote several other e-mails critical of his fellow former secretary of state. In one dated Aug. 18, 2015, he blames her for his losing a lucrative speaking engagement.

“Everything HRC touches she kind of screws up with hubris. I told you about the gig I lost at a University because she so overcharged them they came under heat and couldn’t [pay] any fees for awhile. I should send her a bill,” Powell griped.

On Aug. 23, 2016, he blasted the controversy over the private ­e-mail server in the basement of Clinton’s home, in an e-mail to Harlan Ullman, a former naval officer who is now a government security consultant.

“She didn’t need any advice or OK from me; she was already doing it. I gave her written guidance on why and how I had been doing it,” he wrote. “I warned her staff three [times] over the past two years not to try to connect it to me. I am not sure HRC even knew or understood what was going on in the basement.”

Powell doesn’t spare Donald Trump either, calling him “a national disgrace” and an “international pariah.”

On Aug. 21, 2016, he wrote to former Clinton administration aide Marybel Batjer that people hate Trump — but also can’t stand Hillary.

“Most folks up here detest Trump and won’t vote for him, but dislike her intensely at the same time. Ah, well the country will decide,” Powell wrote.

In the same message, he mocked the GOP nominee’s ham-handed attempts to reach out to minority communities, writing, “Trump just looks stupid trying to appeal to blacks and Latinos.”

In another e-mail, he blasted the birther movement, which Trump stoked by questioning where President Obama was born. “The whole birther movement was racist,” Powell wrote.

Trump lashed back in a tweet just before midnight Thursday, writing, “I was never a fan of Colin Powell after his weak understanding of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq = disaster. We can do much better!”

The e-mail chain referring to “bimbos” began July 26, 2014, when Leeds wrote, “Spent the day with Rudy [Giuliani] and [former Maine Gov.] Jock McKernan. Fun golf and interesting politics. I got Rudy to admit the president is a decent man. They don’t think Hillary is stoppable. Everyone is beatable,” Leeds replied.

Giuliani on Wednesday got a good laugh when he read Powell’s e-mails — but disputed any claim that he ever believed Hillary Clinton was “unstoppable,” saying, “I never thought Hillary wasn’t beatable.”

But he agreed that Obama is a “decent” man.

“I always thought Obama was an honest man,” Giuliani said.


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