Friday, August 5, 2016

Mr. Trump Meets the General Electorate Part III: The Post RNC Edition

By Kit

With the conclusion of the back-to-back Republican and Democratic national conventions the most harrowing two weeks this country has suffered since the Cuban Missile Crisis is over. We had to sit and listen as both parties did their best to put lipstick on not two pigs but two sick and dying hogs that are only fit to be served as the mystery meat in a military mess hall or some failing public school.

And in the week since we have seen what the entirety of the spring-summer of 2014 was for the Obama administration crammed into one week for the Trump campaign and the Republican Party. First he gave interviews to Maureen Dowd and George Stephanopolous where he got into a spat with a Gold Star family, made some bone-headed comments about the events in Ukraine, said “Gretchen Carlson should’ve just found another job,” refused to endorse Ryan or McCain in their primary fights and praised Ryan’s opponent, lashed out at Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte, and all while leaks are coming out indicating a campaign deep in crisis and a Republican Party in panic mode. And it began with an obvious trap.

In fact, it was such an obvious trap one has to wonder if even the Democrats thought it would work. No politician with a lick of sense would fall for it. Heck, Hillary Clinton practically gave it away 24 hours later in her convention speech when she said, in her usual grating and uninspiring style, “A man who can be baited with a tweet is a man who cannot be trusted with nuclear weapons.”

A day earlier the DNC put on their stage the Khans, a a Gold Star Muslim-American couple whose son was killed while serving in Iraq back in 2004. The husband blasted Trump. Most of it was typical, accusing him of not following the constitution, Mr. Khan even waved a pocket constitution, but the biggest line, and probably the one that baited Mr. Trump, was “You have sacrificed nothing and no one!”

Now, if you are the Republican nominee for President you’ve got to be prepared for a media that will throw hard questions at you, especially when the interviewer is a former Clinton press secretary. You should also remember that certain statements will get blown up to the exclusion of anything reasonable you might have said. Even a “reasonable Republican” like John McCain had to deal with this. And on Saturday morning, Trump was questioned about this rather aggressively by George Stephanopolous for This Week, with the relevant clips being broadcast that afternoon.

And, to be a bit fair, Trump’s original statement was innocuous enough. That is, aside from two lines which I’ve put in bold. Here are the excerpts:

TRUMP: …I saw him. He was, you know, very emotional. And probably looked like -- a nice guy to me. His wife, if you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably -- maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say. You tell me, but plenty of people have written that. She was extremely quiet and looked like she had nothing to say. A lot of people have said that. And personally, I watched him. I wish him the best of luck, George.

And the part about sacrifices:

STEPHANOPOULOS: How would you answer that father? What sacrifice have you made for your country?
TRUMP: I think I have made a lot of sacrifices. I've work very, very hard. I've created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs, built great structures. I've done -- I've had tremendous success.

95% of what he said was, at least, passable aside from those two statements. Trump never even really attacked Mr. Khan. Elsewhere he even pointed to San Bernadino and Nice. It was the two statements in bold, “maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say” and “I think I have made a lot of sacrifices” that the media, predictably, focused the bulk of their coverage on. The former, fairly or unfairly, was played up as anti-Muslim, with people arguing that Trump was claiming she couldn’t talk under Sharia.

The second was declaration that “I think I have made a lot of sacrifices,” referring to the sacrifices he made working as a mogul where he “created thousands and thousands of jobs.” Now, let’s be honest, he did not make those sacrifices to give people jobs, he made them to enrich himself in the long-run. There is nothing wrong with that, as long as you don’t engage in immoral or illegal practices, you pay workers to do jobs that you think will provide a net profit for you. It is what makes our economy, and the free market, work.

But, again, he said this as a rebuttal to a man who had lost a son in the Iraq War. If you are a man who was born into wealth and has lived a life of relative ease and comfort it does you no good to, in response to such an accusation by a man who has, in Abraham Lincoln’s words, “laid so costly a sacrifice upon the alter of freedom” as losing their son, try to say “I’ve made sacrifices, too!” You look petty, vain, and childish. And kind of stupid, too.

Which is exactly what happened.

Now, the ideal response to such a fumble would be to apologize, backtrack, emphasize your that “wished him the best of luck,” and do your best to move on. rump did none of those things. First, as the media was running the “Trump attacks Gold Star family” narrative Trump, instead of doing the above, doubled-down and actually gave credence to that narrative by tweeting, “I was viciously attacked by Mr. Khan at the Democratic Convention. Am I not allowed to respond? Hillary voted for the Iraq war, not me!”

His surrogates followed up with the same message as well and this more or less continued for the next 72+ hours. Roger Stone sent out a tweet claiming they had Muslim Brotherhood connections, perhaps an typical campaign bs-move but one that is only tolerable when you can keep the nominee’s hands clean, which is impossible when he’s yammering about them nonstop like Trump. The highpoint (or low point) occurred when Scottie Nell Hughes appeared on CNN and said that “Trump sacrificed two marriages.” It was not until sometime on Wednesday that there was (allegedly) an “URGENT PIVOT” email informing his surrogates to stop going after the Khans and to emphasize that he wished them well.

And that wasn’t the only fight he got into, he also got into spats with a baby and a couple of fellow Republicans, all of whom are facing re-election battles (not the baby, of course). He praised Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s looney primary challenger and, when asked if he would endorse him, he said “I’m not quite there yet,” which was clearly a small way of getting back at Ryan for saying something similar in May. He made a similar statement about John McCain and lashed out at New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, saying “she hasn’t really supported me” and bragged that he is “beating her in every poll” (he is not running against her and she’s ahead of him) Ayotte is in a key swing state that the GOP must win if they hope to hold the Senate, a prospect Trump is making unlikely.

Very unlikely, if this week’s polls are any indication. Just about every poll, including the ones that showed Trump with a slight lead coming out of the RNC, are now showing Hillary with massive leads, some, like FNC and Marist, in the double digits. And those swings states, while they are typically polling better than him, he’s dragging them down with him. A WBUR poll showed Trump 15 points behind in New Hampshire and Ayotte behind her opponent by 10 (again, see Trump’s claim above). Mark Kirk’s race in Illinois looks troubling, too. The good news is that Rubio looks safe. Thank God for the Cubans.

Then came the stories out of the campaign. First it was CNBC’s John Harwood saying a source inside the campaign told him, “Manafort mailing it in… Staff suicide” This was confirmed by one fellow NBC News reporter as well as National Review’s Eliana Johnson, who tweeted out that a Trump aide told her “Everything you’ve heard is true… and it’s been true longer than people recognize.” I don’t know whether that is comforting or discomforting. Anyway, to round it off it was also rumored that Preibus, Gingrich, and Giuliani were supposedly meeting with Trump to stage an “intervention.” Even Sean Hannity seemed concerned. And that was just Wednesday.

Thursday, fortunately, seems to have gone a bit more calmly, though still hectic with Trump surrogates, and Manafort himself, having to fend off questions about the “campaign in chaos” rumors in order to try and calm everyone down, including Lou Hobbs chuckling with Trump Senior Policy Advisor Sam Clovis about the whole matter. Meanwhile, Pence had an interested 48 hours where he endorsed Ryan then refused to endorse McCain and Ayotte, saying we “need new leadership,” and then, after getting a lot of flack for not endorsing two sitting US senators, one of whom is in a tight race, endorsed both of them.

And this isn’t going into the whole matter about his statements about the ongoing war in Ukraine, where he said he was open to recognizing Crimea as part of Russia and claimed the Russians were not in Ukraine (they are), ignoring both Putin’s occupation of and seizure of Crimea and the many soldiers and Spetznaz operatives who have been fighting a proxy in Eastern Ukraine. This prompted former NSA analyst, historian of European history, and staunch Hillary critic John R. Schindler to write in an article for the Observer, “Either (Trump) is clueless about Crimea and Ukraine…Or he is consciously parroting Kremlin propaganda. There is no third choice here.”

All of this indicates a campaign in chaos, even if the stories coming out of the campaign are untrue. This election is setting to be something like the race between the Tortoise and the Hare, a match made considerably easier for the Tortoise when the Hare runs around in circles, fights with the spectators cheering for the tortoise, and starts another fight with his own fans who are urging him to get back into the race because the Tortoise is getting ahead. So, yes, in short this race is shaping up to be like something out of Looney Tunes.

Only 95 days to go…

Note: This is part three of a series.
"Mr. Trump Meets the General Electorate (and some opera thoughts)" LINK
"Mr. Trump meets the General Electorate Part 2: The Limits of Free Media" LINK


ScottDS said...

I'm not a fan of schadenfreude but I must admit my face has looked like this for the past week!

[sigh] And we still have debates to look forward to, assuming Trump doesn't decide to sit them out.

Kit said...

Note: I edited to sentence about referencing the baby and the fellow Republicans.

Kit said...


For those of us on the right who warned that nominating Trump would be a disaster, it's been more like this.

As for the debates, if things stay the way they are then Hillary may decide to sit them out, too. Why bother?

BevfromNYC said...

"In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
- George Orwell

Not saying that Trump is "truthful" per se, but he is not deceitful about who he is. He is exactly who is and and has been this way for a least the last 26 years I have live in his hometown.

tryanmax said...

I'm not sure what the biggest lie in politics is, but "this time it's different" has to be close.

Kit said...


What do you mean?

tryanmax said...

Kit, just that.

AndrewPrice said...

Honestly, the fact that the media chose to turn these lines into an attack is a typical leftist media smear. And the only reason this has legs at all is that the anti-Trumps on the right chose to run with that smear like it was the end of the world. Without that fuel, this thing would have vanished like all their smears do. It takes the right playing into the left's games for them to work: Richard Nixon, Packwood, John Tower, Robert Bork, Douglas Ginsberg, Dan Quayle, George Allen, John McCain/Sarah Palin were all guys brought down because the right bought into leftist smears over things the left routinely dismisses when their own people stand accused of the same thing.

If Reagan had said, "I think I have made a lot of sacrifices," I think every conservative would have defended him. I also can't count the number of conservatives who have pointed out that women have no rights under Islam. Yet, Trump suggests it and the right gets their panties in a bunch.

Did Trump handle it well? No, but show me a candidate on the right who hasn't routinely put his foot in his mouth at these moments. The difference is that Trump finds himself attacked left and right right away and therefore doesn't get the cover others on the right normally do which lets them minimize attacks and throw up trial balloons before punching back.

Kit said...


First of all, Reagan would also have been smarter than to say something that stupid. He also would've been smart enough to distance himself from his own comments in the aftermath and quickly move on rather than double-down on them.

"Did Trump handle it well? No"

Exactly, that is the point. Smart politicians avoid fights with Gold Star families and keep their focus on (1) what they're promising and (2) the opponent. Trump is doing neither.

Second, he pretty much said "Yeah, I hit back!" when he put out that tweet Sunday morning. Because his ego is so big he can't admit to anything that implies softness or vulnerability.

Also, Reagan had many on the right skeptical of him, too. (George Will? Anyone?) and many Republicans hit him in 1980. Didn't stop him from crushing Carter. The right's lack of an endorsement also didn't stop Nixon from cruising to an easy re-election.

Further, two of the biggest and most widely-seen names on the right, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, are both vocal supporters of him.

Oh, and Reagan and Nixon were also disciplined candidates. They had gaffes, yes, but they managed to, again, maintain their focus. Trump can't do that because he refuses to listen to his staff, he puts zero money into

Oh, and the ground game? He doesn't have one which means he'll need local politicians to help him. Good luck of that when you've been slamming Republicans in key states.

AndrewPrice said...

Related, but not about Trump.

Something that has bothered me for years now, and which arises through Trump... I am disturbed by this idea that somehow soldiers are unique and untouchable. Don't get me wrong:

1. I love our military. I love the people and the institution. Their professionalism is amazing. Their dedication and spirit are inspiring.

2. I love that people will put their lives on the line to protect this country or other people. I have major respect for that.

3. I don't disrespect anyone who makes a sacrifice for another person.

But soldiers are not saints or gods, and they should not be given this weird sense of hero worship that comes from the right. Some soldiers are great people and should be honored for being great people... just like some scientists, businessmen or moms are great people and deserve our respect for that. It is the greatness that counts, not the profession. Indeed, some soldiers are shits and need to be called out just like we should call out shit cops, moms, teachers and doctors.

To me, what matters is what kind of person you are. Are you someone who makes the world better? Do you enrich the lives around you? That's the basic measure of a great human being.

Then you ask the next question about achievement. Did you cure cancer? Did you write an amazing play? Did you save the lives of your fellow soldiers? Did you inspire some little kid to grow up right? That's the cherry on top of existing greatness, but it is not the sunday itself.

I respect my mother so much more than Steven Jobs because she's a great human being. I see that every day. Jobs was a monster who had some great achievements. I respect his achievements, but not the man. To me, respecting the man means more.

Further, I believe individuals are special. I don't think we can rank people. I think we can judge people as good or bad based on their actions, but there is no gooder or goodest, just like there's no lover or lovest. I can't/won't say that sacrificing your life to save a fellow soldier or police officer or civilian is better than a doctor saving dozens of lives or a parent inspiring a child to be a better person or a scientist inventing a machine or even a playwright giving humanity "To be or not to be." To me, it's all worthy of our respect and gratitude and I don't think it's right to rank those according to worthiness. This is not a race.

We should honor someone who gives their lives for others without implicitly tearing down all the other people who save lives and improve lives. And we should honor everyone who works to improve the lives of others. And demanding to compare sacrifices is a selfish game that denigrates the sacrifice that was made.

Kit said...

You can blame anti-Trump folks for this week but there is one person above all who deserves the bulk of the blame and that is Donald Trump himself.

And at the rate he is going, he's probably going to drag the Senate and the House and the governors and the state legislatures down with him.

Kit said...


I agree, supporting the troops is very different from worshiping them. I would go even further and say that, as we live in a democracy, the worship and adulation our soldiers get at times borders on dangerous and can veer into a worship of the state.

BevfromNYC said...

Kit - You are right. Trump is doing this to himself. But aren't you playing into it too? I hear many people begging for "the right" and Trump to take on Hillary, but we keep turning back to Trump. Just saying...

AndrewPrice said...

Further comment. I don't want to mix this one with the last:

There is a group, and Kit and I have talked about this privately, who talk about something called the Sheep Dog Theory. These are cops and soldiers who see themselves as superior because they see their role as the most important in society. They see themselves as the only ones with the strength to keep society functioning and everyone else as sheep. They are the sheepdogs.

The result of this is that they believe that gives them the right to control the rest of society. To me, that's crap. For one thing, let me suggest that if society were structured as they wish, most of these guys would suddenly discover that most of the people they see as sheep are more than ready to replace them in the role as sheepdogs, but just don't do so at the moment because they don't see that as a good use of their time at the present. Beware the sheep, for they have teeth.

Indeed, keep in mind, groups like the French Resistance to the Nazis were not staffed with cops and former soldiers, they were staffed by clerks and grocers and mill workers... the very people this group thinks is incapable of protecting themselves.

More importantly, I think that ranking jobs by importance is obscene and stupid. Our world is what it is because so many have a role in it. Police protect society from the uncivilized. Doctors protect the sick. Inventors save lives and bring us happiness. Teachers pass along the knowledge we need for the other professions to come into existence. Parents pass along the values that make society civil. Insurers protect us from catastrophe. Grocers/farmers protect us from famine. Everyone in this chain and everyone who helps make these professions and others work is equally responsible for our society. To try to claim that your particular profession is most important is ignorance fed by arrogance.

AndrewPrice said...


I agree, supporting the troops is very different from worshiping them. I would go even further and say that, as we live in a democracy, the worship and adulation our soldiers get at times borders on dangerous and can veer into a worship of the state.

I agree 100%.

BevfromNYC said...

And as for the military, I whole-heartedly agree. We are stuck in the Greatest Generation/Vietnam era where our military was inscripted and men HAD to go and did heroic things because they had to. Don't get me wrong, Volunteering to serve one's country is a great thing that should be admired.

But what is missing from this, is the way our Liberal government has caste out our vets like yesterday's trash. We have a crisis of suicides and shootings and scandals at the VA, and yet nothing has been fixed or even tried to be fixed. And now they take umbrage at being mean to our military personnel??? Seriously, it's getting jsut stupid now.

But then the Left just discovered that you can buy a pocket version of the Constitution too! Yeah, now the LOVE the Constitution...where just last few years they have spent so much time denying that it was even existed in any relevent form to be useful to a modrehn day society such as ours.

Kit said...


Trust me, I would want for nothing more than to hammer on Hillary, but Trump keeps fighting everyone else but her.

There was no logical reason for the stuff about Ryan, Ayotte, and McCain. Illogical ones, such as vindictiveness and spite, but no logical ones. If he wants unity, then he has to present himself as someone around whom the GOP can unify and still win elections.

He hasn't done that and shows no real desire to. If anything he is demanding absolute fealty from everyone, which not even medieval kings received, and the ones who thought they did usually ended up without a head.

Kit said...

A note on Veterans' suicides: The bulk of those are boomers/Vietnam veterans. Boomers in general, particularly men, have the highest suicide rate, even if you factor out veterans.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, The left is shockingly hypocritical on this stuff. It's amazing how much hate they have for soldiers... "macho racist baby killers" and all... until it suits them to suddenly love soldiers because they can use that love against the right.

BevfromNYC said...

Btw, did they not know that they could get the entire Constitution by simple internet search for free? It hasn't been a great state secret kept like in a vault away from the general population for about 240 years or thereabouts.

Kit said...


As long as they might be reading it, I'm happy. At this point, I'll take what I can get.

tryanmax said...

I am so over this, I hate that I'm even commenting, but let me explain how the Khan thing (or something like it) was never not going to be a story.

In the normal course of things:
- The Democrats would have still paraded their victims on stage.
- Those victims would have still attacked the GOP candidate.
- The media would have still counted their hardships as credibility and objectivity and given them headlines.
- The press would've still asked the GOP candidate to respond.

The only thing that would be different if Trump had demurred is:
- The followup commentary would have accused him of dodging the question and be laced with innuendos as to why. ("Because the accusations are all true!")
- You would be screaming that you don't know why he just sits there and takes it!

It's a Kafka Trap.

BTW, this is not an explanation of my earlier comment. That's just a general truth, as I see things.

tryanmax said...

Also, didn't you notice how the media reacted to Trump before the Stephonopolous interview ever aired, and before any quotes were ever released? I know we're all used to such things, but doesn't that strike you as weird? They primed everybody's responses before anyone even knew what they were responding to. Once everyone was upset, all that was needed was a justification to be upset. That's how cognitive priming works: you simply shift the reaction to precede the event.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, This is all I'll say about Trump.

You want him to be loyal, but the antiTrumps are disloyal even before he opens his mouth. When he opens his mouth, they attack no matter what course he has chosen (as tryanmax says). The "help"/advice they offer is of the schadenfreude, gotcha variety. Then they amplify and stretch out his mistakes, blowing mole hills into mountains and revive them whenever the furor fades. Then they judge him based on how many of them are still talking about it... not whether the public cares.

So does he make mistakes? Yes, they all do. Even Reagan did: "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes." But unlike Reagan, Trump has no friends to help him.

In fact, let me offer this. Have you seen The Caine Mutiny? This speech by Jose Ferrer at the end strikes me as absolutely on point of what I would say at the celebration the antiTrumps will have when they "win" and he loses:


Lt. Barney Greenwald: You know something... When I was studying law, and Mr. Keefer here was writing his stories, and you, Willie, were tearing up the playing fields of dear old Princeton, who was standing guard over this fat, dumb, happy country of ours, eh? Not us. Oh, no, we knew you couldn't make any money in the service. So who did the dirty work for us? Queeg did! And a lot of other guys. Tough, sharp guys who didn't crack up like Queeg.

Ensign Willie Keith: But no matter what, Captain Queeg endangered the ship and the lives of the men.

Lt. Barney Greenwald: He didn't endanger anybody's life, you did, *all* of you! You're a fine bunch of officers.

You know, I left out one detail in the court martial. It wouldn't have helped our case any. Tell me, Steve, after the Yellowstain business, Queeg came to you guys for help and you turned him down, didn't you? You didn't approve of his conduct as an officer. He wasn't worthy of your loyalty. So you turned on him. You ragged him. You made up songs about him. If you'd given Queeg the loyalty he needed, do you suppose the whole issue would have come up in the typhoon?

You're an honest man, Steve, I'm asking you. You think it would've been necessary for you to take over?

Lt. Steve Maryk: [hesitant] It probably wouldn't have been necessary.

Ensign Willie Keith: If that's true, then we *were* guilty.

Lt. Barney Greenwald: Ah, you're learning, Willie! You're learning that you don't work with a captain because you like the way he parts his hair. You work with him because he's got the job or you're no good! Well, the case is over. You're all safe. It was like shooting fish in a barrel.

Queeg was sick, he couldn't help himself. But you, you're *real* healthy. Only you didn't have one tenth the guts that he had. ...

I'm no fan of Trump, but that's how things seem to me right now.

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

Believe it or not, I almost agree with you. I'm no Trump fan either but I can totally see something like this scene happening. "I hope you're all happy!" or words to that effect.

(Though, to be fair, Queeg might've had guts. No one in this equation does!)

Kit said...


That would be a very apt analogy —if in addition to his looniness Queeg was running around the ship saying that FDR was to blame for the war in Japan because of the oil embargo, that Manchuria should rightfully belong to Japan, and that Germany is "fighting a war for Christian civilization" against Communism (to quote Francisco Franco) and was justified in striking back because of the Treaty of Versailles. Oh, and on top of all this, the officers discovered that he had a lot of business deals in Japan and Germany before the war.

Which, given Trump's disturbing statements about Russia and NATO, is not too far from what he is doing now.

Kit said...

I can vote for a lot of mediocre Republicans, Andrew, but if I bend over far enough to vote for Trump I'll break.

I could handle a big government statist, I cannot handle one who has bragged about how much he likes one of America's enemies and shouts nothing but Kremlin propaganda.

If that makes me disloyal then so be it.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I'm almost happy to hear that. LOL!

On Queeg, I see the point to the story being that Queeg was a decent man who had a flaw... he was losing his confidence. These guys could have fixed that if they had given him the help he needed and what they owed him as being part of his team. Then all would have been well.

But instead, they decided they don't like him and they set about making things as hard as possible for him. In effect, they tried to break him. They did it too. And when he broke, they pointed the finger at him and tried to say he was rotten.

I see a parallel here. Trump is a guy who is by no means perfect, but has shown that he can be quite extraordinary. He's made himself a billionaire, married one of the hottest women on the planet, won over the public, and won over some of the most respected conservatives. With a tad better temperance, he could be an ideal candidate. Unfortunately, he has two flaws: he's a novice in politics, so he doesn't understand the art of not speaking. And like all New Yorker's, he's insecure, so he's prone to punching back.

If the antiTrump people had sat with him and said, "Look, we want to work together. Let us offer you our experience, then I think they could have made him a much stronger candidate.

But they didn't because they hated him. So instead, they undermined him. They've been mocking him for things they never would have mocked a professional for, they've threaten to run against him, they've adopted every liberal smear as true -- especially the ones that attack him personally. And they won't let issues go. They are relentless and obsessed.

So is it any wonder that he makes mistakes and isn't good at recovering from them? When all the left has to do is take a normal phrase and spin it and these people run with it like Trump is advocating genocide, it's kind of hard to be mistake free. Nor does it make any sense to turn the other cheek.

I don't know if he'll lose or not. I still don't think so. But the blame for his failure will like almost exclusively on the mutineers.

Kit said...

One more thing on that Queeg analogy:

Queen came to them and asked for help.

Trump, well, who is he going to ask? He has a staff of 70 (probably less now) where people are getting laid off almost every other week. Unless Preibus, Gingrich, and Giuliani can talk some sense into him he's going to continue the path he's gone down.

Because this week was entirely his fault. He stepped in it with the Khans, he stepped in it on Paul Ryan, he lashed out at Kelly Ayotte,, he refused to endorse John McCain. Maybe the Khans would've been a mess regardless of what he did but what about the other crap he pulled? Even in the military I believe they generally avoid dressing down officers in front of enlisted, Trump doesn't, apparently.

In fact, he's not Captain Queeg, he's Captain James Sawyer.

To further hammer the point, this isn't the navy, this is politics.

AndrewPrice said...

Breathe Kit, breathe.

Kit said...


If you won't believe me, here is Peggy Noonan, who was probably Reagan's best speechwriter:

"Here is a truth of life. When you act as if you’re insane, people are liable to think you’re insane. That’s what happened this week. People started to become convinced he was nuts, a total flake."


BevfromNYC said...

"When you act as if you’re insane, people are liable to think you’re insane..."

Kit - Do you know how many times I have read "We had no idea that so-n-so was capable of doing thus-n-such. They seemed so normal!" after a major white-collar crime has been committed (See: Madoff), mass shooting, or serial killings? So do not only look at the words they say. I know you have heard the old saying "Actions speak louder than words", right?

Now you may come to the very same conclusion about Trump which is fine. But it is more than just looking insane, it is what actions has he taken that show that his is really insane.

Now look at the preponderance of evidence with the Clintons. They look completely sane and rational and competent. But are they?

Kit said...

I'm going to step away for a bit. Classes are starting soon and I need to work on a backlog of articles/reviews.

Read John R. Schindler's article, "Yes, American Spies Really Think Trump Is Putin’s Guy" LINK

And Schindler is no Hillary fan, if anything he has excoriated her for her server more than any of the GOP candidates, including Trump.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, I really don't want to argue with you over this. It's honestly not worth it. But I will say this. Look at the chronology of events.

Two/three weeks ago, I noticed that the new angle on Trump was "unstable." Suddenly there were whispers about some still unknown insider who said he was "unstable." Then they found a former employee who said he was insane and dangerous. Then suddenly out comes some unnamed intelligence officer who says that Trump kept asking why we can't use nuclear weapons, i.e. he's crazy! Along come several shrinks who diagnosed him as one form of insane or another.

All of this was obviously a smear campaign and that week's theme was "crazy."

A week later, every leftist blogger and pundit starts talking about Trump being unstable. All the politicians on the left, the NYT and others jump on the bandwagon. Articles were written asking what happens if he needs to step down because he's crazy.

Then this week happens and now Noonan and others on the antiTrump right are worried about him being crazy and blaming Trump for causing it by "acting crazy." They completely ignore the fact that this is an ongoing smear and that the "crazy" is being generated by journalists who are trying to generate contradictions and using unnamed sources to supply intent.

The Putin thing. So he's hired two guys who lobbied for Russian. So what? Do you know how many people lobby for countries like Russia or China? It's very common in DC. So he says he likes Putin? (1) He said it when Putin was bombing ISIS and everyone in the conservative ranks was fellating Putin for it. (2) Every other president or candidate has said the same thing at one time or another. Bush peered into Putin's soul apparently. (3) This is what politicians do. If they say something bad, then they get attacked for being warlike and dangerous. Why is Trump's comment singled out as wrong? Did he lie about knowing Putin? Apparently, he overstated it. Big deal. He's a blowhard. That's not unusual in politics. Not defending NATO. Sure, it was blunt, but how many conservatives have said that NATO countries need to start building up their defenses or we won't help them? How many have speculated that we won't really help some of the fringe countries? Didn't we actually abandon Georgia and Ukraine in their fights? How is his truthful statement pro-Russian influence? Russia didn't invade Georgia? Our government maintains that position officially or we would be obligated by treaty to send troops. Rather than praising him for nuance, he gets attacked for being duped. Why? He has business dealings in Russia? Name a Fortune 500 company that doesn't.

Trump has never tried to work with the antiTrumps? He's met with all the big ones, like Ryan, to try to work things out. He's fired campaign people who the antiTrumps don't like. He's brought in people who are long-time insiders. He's sought and got help from people like Bill Bennett and Stephen Moore and Rush. He's moderated his campaign away from issues that upset the antiTrumps. What more should he do?

In terms of attacking Republicans, he started by attacking the same people the right used to attack as RINOs. Now he's only attacking people who shoot at him first. I don't like it, but that's politics.

Melina was hear illegal? Not true and so what? She posed nude? So? He doesn't raise money? He raised 83 million last month. He doesn't have staff? He had enough to win the primary. He doesn't attack Clinton? He does that every day, the antiTrumps just aren't listening. He threw out a baby? It sounds like a joke. The purple heart thing? Again, it was a joke. He was very sincere in his speech about it. And so on.

I don't like him, but the attacks on him are unfair.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, I just read the Schindler article. To put a fine point on it, it's a smear.

1. He claims that Mike Morell must be unbiased so he can use Morell's opinion to support his article (note: no fact, just opinions). His unbiased claim is false. It's premised on the assertion that long-time government employees are unbiased. That's completely false. Most are very politic, especially those who reach the top -- which you don't do without connections. Then he dismisses Morell's employment with an organization Clinton ties put of hand even though this is much stronger evidence of bias than anything he points out with Trump.

2. Next, he used verbal trickery to turn Mike Pence's dismissal of these charges into a non-denial. That statement alone is evidence of deception and evasion.

3. He points to the same lobbyists as always and says Trump has hired a man who once worked for Gasprom. So? Many Americans work for foreign companies, especially gas, car and consumer goods companies. That doesn't make them foreign agents. And lobbying for foreign countries is common by law firms and lobbyists. Big whoop. I guarantee you that Clinton and Obama have similar people if anyone would bother looking.

4. The rest is "OMG he's had business ties with Russia!" Again, name a Fortune 500 company that doesn't do business with Russia. He darkens this attack too by characterizing these as "rumors of less-than-clean Russian money". Of course, he offers no evidence... none. All he offers is opinions by people in the intelligence community that they have suspicions based on his business ties. A nonsense tautology.

This article is a smear.

BevfromNYC said...

Let's also add this in the litany ties with Russia. Hillary and the reset button, donations to the Clinton Foundation and State Dept. uranium deals after $500,000 speaking fee to Bill.

Rustbelt said...

Okay, given the insanity of this week, I've been trying to monk it out and stay away from the political radar. ("You will love radar. Give yourself to it freely.") Also, I haven't had much time to respond due to busy- and tired- evenings. ("The truth comes out.")
Now, with the guffaws, the Trump hate, and the horror of Hillary, I honestly don't think I have anything to say here that hasn't been said. ("Oh, it's true.) It just sucks all around. ("Watch out for snakes.") Plus, I've almost gotten into fighting matches with family members in my efforts to avoid all of this. ("You didn't think any of these lines through, did you?")
So, while we look into the future with an election to which we are fated, ("though one can delay it indefinitely and have a beer!"), and we deal with ever-increasing daily campaigning frustrations, ("Wife's preggers. No crackers. Now, this!"), I say let us, at least every other day, sit back, relax, and let our minds travel to a place devoid of politics and full of peace. ("But if we pass a sign for Valley Lodge, I'm leaving.")

So, with that, I'm going to spend the evening relaxingly switching back and forth between Steelers training camp on ESPN, Whatculture Wrestling videos on Youtube, and- with the help of the mute button- the Rio opening ceremonies.
("Problem with mob. On lam. Accusingly yours, Rustbelt.")

Koshcat said...

I still hold the position that I will never vote for Hillary. I am still undecided on who I will vote for. I doubt the smear campaign right now is going to go anywhere because everybody is watch other stuff. I found a website that has been pretty accurate on predicting outcome of presidential race and has Hillary at 60% odds. However, 4 states (North Carolina, Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania) she is only a little above 50% odds of winning. If he maintains the other states and can win 2 or 3 of those states, he wins. It really comes down to that.

I suspect Trump will spend a ton of time in these and surrounding states and have Pence go into the fly over country.

Kit said...

Calmed down.

Anyway, I'm watching the Rio Olympics opening ceremony and I'm not screaming "SHUT THE F--K UP!" at the television so I would say things are going well. :-)


Seriously, when J.K. Rowling is reading from a book you shut up.

Kit said...

You think this election ticks me off, you should've seen me watching the 2012 opening ceremony.

Kit said...

Trump endorsed Ayotte, McCain, and Ryan. Apparently that come-to-Jesus meeting worked.

Rustbelt said...

Okay, they just did a whole segment about global warming that was about as subtle as CM punk telling WWE to kiss his a**...and I was perfectly fine with it. ("Liar! Liar!")

Kit, I missed most of the 2012 ceremony before the parade of nations got underway, so I didn't get to see the marxist history lesson. ("Sun was coming up somewhere. Had to get back to my grave.") However, I did catch the tribute to socialized medicine. ("About England's 974th finest hour.")
Fortunately, I caught Mr. Bean's segment and all was well again. ("And then the Russians slipped in the back, took over London, and renamed it Kruschevgrad.")

FYI, at least the Germans dressed like adults this time, instead of babies in the maternity ward like last time. ("Costumes by Osh Kosh B-Gosh.")

Rustbelt said...

Ah the parade of nations...I do love it. ("But not as much as I love Hershey bars.")
Takes me back to that WWI project I did here three years ago, and as I watch countries like Belgium, Austria, and Hungary go by, I swear I can them screaming, "Remember us? We used to be important!" ("Yeah? Well, VCR's can make the same claim, guys.")

BevfromNYC said...

Nothing can match the salute to the London opening "Salute To Free National Healthcare". One of the few complaints that I heard over and over during my visit to the healthcare tourism because of strain on "free national healthcare" system. And they wonder about the outcome of the Brexit vote...

Kit said...

He is still has a lot of problems: He is rather toxic among independents, skepticism about whether or not he has any loyalty to the party that will last beyond November 9, and a lot of conservatives are skeptical of him if not outright hostile towards him. BUT if he shows the discipline he apparently showed tonight he might, might pull through.

My message to him
(1) recognize the toxicity of your brand and that for the time being many Republicans will still keep their distance.
(2) Work on fixing your brand. Calm down the crazy rhetoric.
(3) Have patience. Only when you start picking yourself up in the polls, and holding yourself there, will other Republicans will be more willing to be near you. This isn't a corporation and you're not the CEO, this is a presidential race.

Lastly, make some jokes about your small hands. Because (1) they are small and (2) people love making jokes about them.

But there is some good news: Your opponent is also despised and your recent antics mean that expectations are very low right now.

AndrewPrice said...

Ok, so at this point....

1. Insects brought you Zika.
2. Ninja turtles in diapers took the stage.
3. Honkeys with gas arrived.
4. Brazil built a ghetto
5. A man flew a plane backwards.
6. Brazil has a supermodel.
7. They flipped off England.
8. Acid trip in clown wigs.
9. Global warming will kill you all, but not us. Ha ha!
10. Black kids in Brazil pick weeds.

That's where we are right now.

AndrewPrice said...

Rustbelt, Very nice references. Brought me down memory lane!

Rustbelt said...

You're welcome, Andrew. Anything I can do to provide temporary distraction in these crazy times we live in.

("Rustbelt was found alive, well, and of normal size...there was no melting man.")

Kit said...

Oh, yesterday, the olympic officials in Rio lost the keys to the Olympic Stadium and had to use bolt-cutters to open to get in.


Anthony said...

The only woman Trump wants in his cabinet is his daughter and he wants Japan to go nuclear. Different day, same Trump.

“You know we have a treaty with Japan where if Japan is attacked, we have to use the full force and might of the United States,” Trump said. “If we’re attacked, Japan doesn’t have to do anything. They can sit home and watch Sony television, OK?”

Trump said he had been told Japan pays “50 percent of the cost” of basing U.S. troops in Japan. “Why don’t they pay 100 percent?” he asked.

The GOP nominee went on to criticize his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, for her “dumb talk” on the U.S. commitment to its allies.

Clinton touted her experience as secretary of state in a June address, saying that as president she would maintain and foster U.S. alliances, including with Japan.

Trump slammed Clinton’s position Friday, saying the U.S. must be “prepared to walk” in negotiations to get countries to pay more for U.S. defense.

“It could be that Japan will have to defend itself against North Korea,” Trump said. “You always have to be prepared to walk. I don’t think we’ll walk. I don’t think it’s going to be necessary. It could be, though.”

Japan earmarked ¥189.9 billion ($1.7 billion) to host U.S. military bases in fiscal 2015 through March 31 as part of the costs of stationing nearly 50,000 U.S. personnel here.

Trump said in March that the U.S. would not maintain military bases abroad unless allies like Japan and South Korea coughed up more money to retain them.

The Republican nominee also suggested that Japan might be “better off” with its own atomic weapons, and that he would consider, as president, ending the U.S. defense commitment to Japan and encouraging them to “go nuclear.”

Anonymous said...

Trump's comment about his daughter is a week old. Also, after her speech, everyone was saying that she should be the nominee. How is it crazy to say (without actually saying it officially) that he would like to include her in his cabinet? The left pushes the idea of Chelsea becoming political and joining Hillary. So why is Trump the fool?

On the Japanese thing, the libertarian right has been saying for a long time that we should be closing foreign bases. Conservatives have been arguing for decades that other countries like Germany and Japan need to pay more and need to rebuild their own militaries. This last year, lots of people were talking about Japan going nuclear in response to South Korea lobbing a missile over Japan because they can't depend on the US. Just this week, Trump was mocked for the idea of actually using US nuclear weapons, meaning Japan can't rely on our nuclear deterent.

Again, why mock Trump for picking up on something lots of intellectuals have discussed for some time?

Anthony said...

I never fail to be fascinated by the 'hey, the Democrats do it!' argument. Should the left really be the guiding light of the right? If so, the right should have followed the left's example and made sure their nominee was part of a political dynasty. Jeb Bush was right there...

On the Japan thing, wanting Japan to pay more is one thing, wanting Japan to pay everything is another, wanting Japan to make its military more than rudimentary and go nuclear (which in fairness wouldn't take much effort on Japan's part) is yet another thing.

All three paths have different ratifications for national security and international relations, but Trump seems not to recognize that.

A Japan which paid somewhat more would pretty much just be status quo.

A Japan which paid everything would probably demand major changes in the Status of Forces agreement and elsewhere, which would be a big deal.

A Japan with a strong military capable of projecting a meaningful amount of force into the US would be a massive deal in regional terms. Japan was a nasty neighbor during WW2 and for a variety of reasons they aren't as chummy with their neighbors as say, Germany, so Japan not having much of a military keeps regional tensions lower than they would otherwise be.

That being said, one can take the position (as you note, some have) the possibility of war in Asia shouldn't be a concern of the US so we should withdraw all force from the theater (I'm sure Putin would appreciate that :) ).

What one can't do and what Trump seems to be doing is deny there is any difference between the three positions If one states the US has no interest in a nation or a region, and that only incurring zero financial loss will keep us there (which is literally what Trump has said), that means there is no guarantee of defense.

Wars are very expensive, and defensive wars have no hope of recouping costs since at best they leave the country where it was before the war (though I suppose theoretically it might be in a position to demand financial redress from the attacker).

tryanmax said...

Wow! That is some pretty aggressive spin! More disconcerting than the tu quoque arguments that both sides use is the number of Republicans people on the right parroting Democrat and leftist smears, buying them hook, line and sinker.

I know Andrew is skeptical of media influence on voters, but this should really give pause to that skepticism. Yeah, Trump's numbers are incredibly high considering that the media, left and right, is unified against him. (And the #NeverTrump folks should seriously consider that.) But at the same time, Trump lags because the media is stacked against him. No, the media can't change everybody's minds, but then, they don't need everybody.

BTW, it's the Supreme Court, stupid!

tryanmax said...

You know what the best part about #NeverTrump is? We don't have to talk about that pesky payment to Iran or the hostages they just so happened to release at the same time. Thanks, #NeverTrumpers, for keeping focus on what's really important.

tryanmax said...

Trump doesn't seem to realize the various ramifications of different policies regarding military allies? I'm not sure what the evidence for that assertion is. How thorough must one be in merely offering up anidea (or three)?

As Herbert Stein noted, "If something cannot go on forever, it will stop." That seems a pretty fair assessment of our current foreign policy approach. The left is famous for pointing out problems and offering up bigger government as a solution without any consideration of any ramifications. Trump raises an issue and floats multiple solutions, and that makes him a crackpot?

AndrewPrice said...

Wow! Amazing ending to the women's cyclist race. First, the leader had a MASSIVE crash near the finish line. It looked like she died.

That put an American in second place. She was ten or so lengths ahead of a group of three as they approached the finish line... within site. Then the other three women just turned on the gas, blew past her and left her in the dust to win the medals.


AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I think there is some ability for the media to influence the public in terms of setting the agenda and "feels". But I think the American public by and large knows their game and ignores it.

In this case, I think you tend to have people (both left and right) willingly believing sources they know are spreading propaganda and willfully adopting the media's spin to support their positions. I don't think this is genuine influence.

Anthony said...

Trump is a bad joke. He's been a bad joke since forever. Saying that hasn't been particularly controversial in conservative circles, even this one, up until fairly recently.

Now that he is the nominee some people feel the need to abandon their beliefs and defend whatever Trump is whimsically embracing that particular day.

Anthony said...


Let's look at how Trump dealt with the disturbing money for hostages deal.

All he had to do was say that the fact that the US gave Iran $400 million at the time Iran released hostages means there was a trade and that such behavior encourages hostage taking and funds terrorism.

Trump couldn't do that because that story wouldn't have been enough about him. He had to lie about a secret video (admitting after a few days he had lied), then he had to speculate that Iran wouldn't use most of the money for terrorism (Why does he have such faith in them? Who knows?).

One of the key Republican talking points this week has been the widely-debunked notion that a $400 million payment to Iran was a “ransom” to secure the release of hostages, when it was actually a repayment of funds that have been in dispute since 1979. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump placed himself at the center of that story by repeatedly claiming he had seen video of the cash transfer, which he was finally forced to admit did not exist.

At a rally in New Hampshire Saturday, Trump revived the story, and instead of hewing to the Republican talking point that Iran would use the money to fund terrorism, Trump decided, for some reason, to say the opposite:

I happen to think a little differently, I think they’re going to steal the money, personally. I think they’re not going to use… I think they’re going to use some for terror, but I would be willing to bet that they steal more than they use for terror.

tryanmax said...

Anthony, I appreciate your need to understate things. It's the position you've locked into. Yes, Trump whimsically bounces from idea to idea, as you say. The problem with declaring every idea he momenatily muses over to be insane is that, the way Trump goes, there will soon be no ideas left.

Is Trump playing politics badly? I honestly don't know. His play is too radically different from anyone else's to be sure. But the GOP is screwing themselves for the next 20 years the way they're playing against Trump. No Republucan politician will be able to offer anything up without it being noted that he or his party was against it when Trump was running.

Anthony said...


Who said anything about insane? You're buying into the 'victim of liberals' narrative. Bad, half-based idea (which represents a change of a prior recently stated position) and insane are two very different things.

On a related note, your theory that Trump fans are deeply worried about consistency doesn't convince me. Very, very, very few of Trump's positions haven't been held by him for 20 months, let alone 20 years.

tryanmax said...

Anthony, an untold number of pols are doing the Mexican hat dance around the word "insane" every day. Unfit. Unstable. Unpredictable. Impulsive. Gullible. Brash. Stupid. Narcissistic. Need I go on?

And how on earth do you find that my theory is that Trump fans worry about consistency? Clearly they don't! You need to re-read my statement about the GOP shooting itself in the foot for comprehension.

Post a Comment