This campaign is sinking to somewhere between zany and totally insane. Is there a bottom?
By Charles Krauthammer
September 29, 2016
And now, less than six weeks from the election, what is the main event of the day? A fight between the Republican presidential nominee and a former Miss Universe, whom he had 20 years ago called Miss Piggy and other choice pejoratives. Just a few weeks earlier, we were seized by a transient hysteria over a minor Hillary Clinton lung infection hyped to near-mortal status. The latest curiosity is Donald Trump’s 37 sniffles during the first presidential debate. (People count this sort of thing.) Dr. Howard Dean has suggested a possible cocaine addiction.
In a man who doesn’t even drink coffee? This campaign is sinking to somewhere between zany and totally insane. Is there a bottom?
Take the most striking — and overlooked — moment of Trump’s GOP convention speech. He actually promised that under him, “the crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon — and I mean very soon — come to an end.”
Not “be reduced.” End.
Humanity has been at this since, oh, Hammurabi. But the audience didn’t laugh. It applauded.
Nor was this mere spur of the moment hyperbole. Trump was reading from a teleprompter. As he was a few weeks earlier when he told a conference in North Dakota, “Politicians have used you and stolen your votes. They have given you nothing. I will give you everything.”
Everything, mind you. “I will give you what you’ve been looking for for 50 years.” No laughter recorded.
In launching his African American outreach at a speech in Charlotte, Trump catalogued the horrors that he believes define black life in America today. Then promised: “I will fix it.”
How primitive have our politics become? Fix what? Family structure? Social inheritance? Self-destructive habits? How? He doesn’t say. He’ll will it. Trust him, as he likes to say.
After 15 months, the suspension of disbelief has become so ubiquitous that we hardly notice anymore. We are operating in an alternate universe where the geometry is non-Euclidean, facts don’t matter, history and logic have disappeared.
Going into the first debate, Trump was in a virtual tie for the lead. The bar for him was set almost comically low. He had merely to (1) suffer no major meltdown and (2) produce just a few moments of coherence..
He cleared the bar. In the first half-hour, he established the entire premise of his campaign. Things are bad and she’s been around for 30 years. You like bad? Stick with her. You want change? I’m your man.
It can’t get more elemental than that. At one point, Clinton laughed and ridiculed Trump for trying to blame her for everything that’s ever happened. In fact, that’s exactly what he did. With some success.
By conventional measures — poise, logic, command of the facts — she won the debate handily. But when it comes to moving the needle, conventional measures don’t apply this year. What might, however, move the needle is not the debate itself but the time bomb Trump left behind.
His great weakness is his vanity. He is temperamentally incapable of allowing any attack on his person to go unavenged. He is particularly sensitive on the subject of his wealth. So central to his self-image is his business acumen that in the debate he couldn’t resist the temptation to tout his cleverness on taxes. To an audience of 86 million, he appeared to concede that he didn’t pay any. “That makes me smart,” he smugly interjected.
Big mistake. The next day, Clinton offered the obvious retort: “If not paying taxes makes him smart, what does that make all the rest of us?” Meanwhile, Trump has been going around telling Rust Belt workers, on whom his electoral college strategy hinges and who might still believe that billionaires do have some obligation to pay taxes, that “I am your voice.”
When gaffes like this are committed, the candidate either doubles down (you might say that if you can legally pay nothing, why not, given how corrupt the tax code is) or simply denies he ever said anything of the sort. Indeed, one of the more remarkable features of this campaign is how brazenly candidates deny having said things that have been captured on tape , such as Clinton denying she ever said the Trans-Pacific Partnership was the gold standard of trade deals.
The only thing more amazing is how easily they get away with it.
Just Say No To Contortionists
Peace and Freedom Commentary
By John Francis Carey
We love and admire Charles Krauthammer who, more often than most, can see through the muddle to help us understand what’s really happening.
His unique abilities have helped us cut through the contortions of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and a host of Republican politicians as well.
And that’s the point.
This is the years people are saying “Just say no to career politicians.”
America, at least almost half of us, are strongly voicing, “Throw the bums out.”
Just say no to contortionists.
“There were no emails marked as classified.” (Which we found out later wasn’t true.)
“I never sent or received classified email. There were no classified email.” (Which we found out later wasn’t true.)
“You can keep your doctor. You can keep your plan.” (Which we found out later wasn’t true.)
“The deal with Iran is good for America.” (Almost nobody believes that anymore.)
“We do not pay ransom.” (Ditto on the above.)
This is the year many Americans have decided to throw out all the career political contortionists.
Americans want to hold someone responsible.
Even if they have to hire a businessman contortionist.
They want the economy to work better. They don’t believe Obama’s malarkey (to use a Joe Biden favorite word).
Trump vanquished all other Republican Party challengers. And that means a whole lot of Americans see the good in him that the lying contortionist career politicians don’t get.
Are border controls and a wall a Good Idea? At least half of Americans think so.
Meanwhile, Britain is paying for a wall in France to block migrants in Calais from making their way into trucks bound for the UK. Norway is building a wall to keep the flow of migrants (many Syrian Muslims) from illegally entering Norway from Russia.In Eastern Europe, fences and walls are turing into the norm. And all throughout Europe, about half the people are now worried they were wrong to take in so many migrants in the first place. There’s talk that Angela Merkel may lose her job — even though her challengers from the AfD are called “Nazis.” The cherished EU concept of open borders is under assault all across the EU. And that’s a big part of the reason Britain decided to pull out of the EU. British voters rejected the contortionists who let so many new folks into the UK that the National Health Service (NHS) is near collapse.
So in America, the choice isn’t so very difficult. Donald Trump is often, if not always, not politically correct. He blurts stuff out.
And maybe its time for someone who blurts stuff out. Because ObamaCare was built on carefully concocted politically correct lies. Iran nuclear deal also. Hillary Clinton knowingly put U.S. National Secrets on a completely public email system.
And James Comey’s explanation of the FBI investigation is right out of the Keystone cops.
My dead father, an FBI agent himself, is rolling over in his grave.
So lets not keep saying half the American voters are stupid or crazy or foolish. Their guy beat all the challengers in our system of government, which is still a democracy of the people, by the people and for the people, last time I checked. But it is getting harder to tell what form of government we have now because a lot of the people don’t like their choices and the people are upset with their government and the direction America is currently on.
Many folks are backing Trump. And they don’t care about his tax forms or Miss Piggy.
They are rejecting Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s legacy.
They are rejecting political correctness that isn’t getting us to speak the truth anymore.They are rejecting the demonization of the Border Patrol and law enforcement.
They are tired of seeing news stories about how our government is so stupid that everyone around the globe is laughing at our ineptness in Syria, our inability to say “radical Islamic terrorists,” tired of China building in the South China Sea (even after an international court denied their claims) and how everyone in the world can see the phone numbers, social security numbers and tons of personal data on almost every (legal citizen) American due to hacking, cyberspying and our inability to respond to the cyber threat everyone has known about for years.
They don’t want national secrets on the Internet. They want government to live up to its promises and a president to hold people accountable. They’ve lost their trust in the I.R.S., much of the medical system, the V.A., the E.P.A., the O.P.M. and the mainstream media.
Now you can add the “Justice” Department.
And Jim Comey’s FBI.
They heard everyone say he has great integrity. They got tired of waiting to see it. Just like they are tired of waiting to see it in Hillary and Barack.
Trump’s no saint. But he is a survivor that the mainstream media hates.
That makes him the darling of maybe half of all Americans.
We’ll find out how many people want him — or don’t want Hillary — in November.
And if Hillary wins, mark my words, Trump will be a “loser.” He said so himself. But he’ll keep going.
And if Trump loses, Trump’s voters will still stand for the national anthem.
And pay their taxes.
Photo at the top:
Contortionists on America’s Got Talent
Screengrab from video:
The Coming Danger of the ‘Throw the Bums Out’ 2016 Election
By Edward Morrissey
October 8, 2015
Forget experience, policies, and ideology in the 2016 presidential primary fights, in both parties. Voters have less concern over those traditional priorities for candidates in exchange for another quality altogether – authenticity. While pundits bemoan the rise of political novices and demagogues who have enough of that currency to prosper, that shift comes from a rational reaction to American politics over the last generation, and both Democrats and Republicans alike share the blame for the shift.
In 2010 and again in 2014, Republicans won back control of Capitol Hill by promising not just to stop Barack Obama’s agenda but reversing it, even though simple majority control in Congress isn’t sufficient to do so while Obama remains president. The GOP overpromised and under delivered–a classic set-up for discouragement and backlash.
Democrats have not performed much better with their own base. Obama and the party’s leadership have sounded the usual progressive-populist alarms about Wall Street and supersized banks and corporations, but have done nothing to address those issues. The Obama administration has never prosecuted any corporate leaders over the financial collapse that led to the Great Recession, a point made by Ben Bernanke this past week, despite their fanning of Occupy Wall Street’s rhetorical flames.
Voters are tired of hearing promises and heated rhetoric that turn out to be mere posing, and they want people who say what they think and mean.
Therefore, it’s not a big surprise to see people in both parties turn to outsiders, whether they’re named Donald Trump, Ben Carson, or Bernie Sanders. Voters are tired of hearing promises and heated rhetoric that turn out to be mere posing, and they want people who say what they think and mean. They crave connections to real people, not prepackaged politicians regurgitating focus group tested talking points. As one Wisconsin voter told me, “Bernie Sanders is connecting with people because he’s not flapping with the wind. We know what he believes. That’s important to a lot of people.”
Sanders has upended what appeared to be a second straight coronation attempt by Hillary Clinton by remaining authentic. The former secretary of state has had issues on that quality since the Clintons entered the national political scene, but it has only grown worse – and not just because of the e-mail scandal.
Last year’s book tour turned into another exercise in false victimhood, with Hillary Clinton claiming that the two had left the White House in 2000 “flat broke” – despite buying a second home in New York and running a successful bid for the US Senate. The avalanche of ridicule that followed, as well as the lack of any authentic candor about Clinton’s experiences in either the book or the interviews, buried any hope of a soft-sell entry into the 2016 presidential race.
Now with the e-mail scandal moving into a full-scale FBI probe, Clinton’s authenticity crisis has reached its nadir. Only a third of voters in three key swing states (Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania) believe Hillary to be honest and trustworthy, while two-thirds put their trust in Joe Biden. This may seem ironic, given that Biden’s first presidential bid collapsed due to his plagiarism, but it points to the weakness of Clinton’s position.
Even more than Clinton, Biden would be the de facto incumbent and represent the Obama administration and its disappointments.
Biden has largely avoided damage by staying out of the race, but he might well have the same issues if he jumps in soon. Even more than Clinton, Biden would be the de facto incumbent and represent the Obama administration and its disappointments. Plus, Biden has long championed the corporate class that the progressive Left detests, thanks to the deep interests his home state of Delaware has in them.
This past week, though, Clinton got a gift from House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who told Sean Hannity that the Benghazi Select Committee had purposefully damaged her presidential hopes. The Clinton campaign latched onto this as though it were the smoking gun in an Agatha Christie novel, and launched its first national TV spot trying to argue once again for her authentic victimhood. “The Republicans finally admit it,” the narrator dramatically intones to argue that all of the woes that beset Clinton are merely partisan attacks from another vast right-wing conspiracy.
Even if the McCarthy remarks could make a winning argument, Hillary Clinton undermines it with ridiculous aggrandizement and imperious attitudes.
That doesn’t square, however, with an active FBI investigation and the discovery of secret e-mail systems. Even while going on the attack over McCarthy’s remarks, Clinton still insists that she has done no wrong – and that investigating those activities go “beyond the pale.” NBC’s Savannah Guthrie couldn’t quite swallow that, asking her in reply, “Do you get how bad this looks?” Clinton responded by claiming to have “gone further [in transparency] than anybody that I’m aware of in American history.”
That won’t sell voters on Clinton’s authenticity. It demonstrates that even if the McCarthy remarks could make a winning argument, Hillary Clinton herself undermines it with ridiculous aggrandizement and imperious attitudes.
The natural flow of American politics after eight years of a single president will play against Democrats unless they find an outsider with broader appeal than Sanders to derail Clinton. In this cycle, the candidates who can establish themselves with authenticity and accomplishment stand to emerge as the favorites in the end. Clinton has claims to neither.
But neither will the Republican Party win this by default. If they want to earn trust again, they need a candidate not just with authenticity, but who can articulate a reasoned set of expectations and convince voters that he or she will accomplish them. Otherwise, we will find ourselves back in this same situation four years from now, only with even less engagement from voters.
Authenticity means more than just a personal connection – it means delivering on those promises, a lesson both parties are learning the hard way in 2015.
Tags: American politics, Charles Krauthammer, cocaine addiction, Comey, cyber, cyberspying, data breaches, Donald Trump, E.P.A., F.B.I., FBI, hacking, Hillary Clinton, Howard Dean, I.R.S., Joe Biden, John Francis Carey, Just Say No To Contortionists, Lock Her Up, mainstream media, malarkey, Miss Piggy, Miss Universe,, national anthem, national secrets on the Internet, not paying taxes makes him smart, O.P.M., Obama's malarkey, stolen your votes, suspension of disbelief, The Donald, Things are bad and she’s been around for 30 years, throw the bums out, Trans-Pacific Partnership, Trump blamed Hillary for everything that’s ever happened., V.A., vanity