Conscience starts gaining ground in the GOP

We’ve seen some impressive moves lately by U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan in recent months: First, he wouldn’t, then he reluctantly did, now he’s steadily creeping, step by step, day by day, back toward “wouldn’t.”

Here’s what I mean:

A decision Monday by House Speaker Paul D. Ryan to not campaign with or defend Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump through the November election sparked a public feud with his party’s standard-bearer within a matter of hours, suggesting that a widening split within the GOP could reverberate long after the presidential race is decided.

Profile in gradual, incremental courage

Paul Ryan: Profile in gradual, incremental courage

Ryan’s move — and a blunt assessment of the race that he and other congressional leaders delivered during a conference call with House GOP lawmakers Monday morning — underscored the perilous choice Republican officials now face in the wake of Friday’s release of a 2005 videotape in which Trump made lewd comments about women:

They can remain in line with their nominee, which would please their base but could alienate swing voters critical to maintaining their hold on Congress. Or they could renounce Trump and offend Republicans eager for a direct confrontation with Hillary Clinton and her husband.

For his part, the speaker — who canceled an appearance with Trump after the videotape surfaced Friday — did neither. He won’t publicly campaign with Trump, but he also did not rescind his endorsement of his party’s controversial nominee or back away from his pledge to vote for him….

That’s today, three days after he refused to appear at one rally with Trump. What will he do tomorrow?

Meanwhile, since I didn’t take note of my man John McCain’s abandonment of the Trump cause over the weekend, let me to do so now:

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) released the following statement today withdrawing his support of Donald Trump:

“In addition to my well known differences with Donald Trump on public policy issues, I have raised questions about his character after his comments on Prisoners of War, the Khan Gold Star family, Judge Curiel and earlier inappropriate comments about women. Just this week, he made outrageous statements about the innocent men in the Central Park Five case.

“As I said yesterday, there are no excuses for Donald Trump’s offensive and demeaning comments in the just released video; no woman should ever be victimized by this kind of inappropriate behavior. He alone bears the burden of his conduct and alone should suffer the consequences.

“I have wanted to support the candidate our party nominated. He was not my choice, but as a past nominee, I thought it was important I respect the fact that Donald Trump won a majority of the delegates by the rules our party set. I thought I owed his supporters that deference.

“But Donald Trump’s behavior this week, concluding with the disclosure of his demeaning comments about women and his boasts about sexual assaults, make it impossible to continue to offer even conditional support for his candidacy. Cindy, with her strong background in human rights and respect for women fully agrees with me on this.

“Cindy and I will not vote for Donald Trump. I have never voted for a Democratic presidential candidate and we will not vote for Hillary Clinton. We will write in the name of some good conservative Republican who is qualified to be President.”

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Not that a write-in accomplishes anything in terms of stopping Trump, but at least he’s not backing the guy anymore.

Oh, and in case you missed it, there was this Tweet from our own Lindsey Graham:

Not that there is a general stampede away from Trump on the part of Republicans in general. Far from it. But their arguments in defense of him are started to get a bit… strained.

Here’s Jeff Sessions’ attempt:

Sessions: ‘grab them by the p___y’ not sexual assault

So, there’s that…

106 thoughts on “Conscience starts gaining ground in the GOP

  1. Bill

    Forgive me for being somewhat less than impressed with this sudden outburst of conscience.

    In 2008, the Republican foisted on us the travesty that was Sarah Palin. And while the blame for that particular selection might be placed on Steve Schmidt and others in the McCain campaign, the party as a whole nevertheless could have taken a lesson from it. They didn’t. Instead, they took the outrage one step further. As (conservative columnist) Michael Gerson writes:

    “This sad Republican fate is deserved. It is the culmination, the fruition, of an absurdly simplistic anti-establishment attitude. The Trump campaign is what happens when you choose a presidential candidate without the taint of electoral experience — and all the past vetting that comes with it. It is what happens when you pick a candidate who has not engaged in serious public argument over a period in which his or her views and consistency can be tested. It is what happens when you embrace a candidate only on the basis of an outsider persona, who lacks actual political skills — like making a policy argument, empathizing with a voter or avoiding a constant stream of distracting gaffes.

    This is what Republicans get for devaluing the calling of public service. When you have contempt for politics, you often get a politics worthy of contempt.”

    Reply
  2. bud

    “Conscience starts gaining ground in the GOP”

    No it isn’t. This is a party that puts the wealth of the few above the welfare of the many. This is a party that puts the endless acquisition of war hardware ahead of the many important domestic interests of this nation. This is a party who shuts down the government instead of working to solve the nations problems by working with the opposition party. This is a party that denies the vote on a supreme court justice out of some petty effort to disenfranchise the twice elected POTUS just because he’s a Democrat. This is a party that attempts to repeal the best prospect for provided health care, the ACA, for everyone rather than working to find ways to improve it. This is a party that disenfranchises voters on the basis of the color of their skin. In short this is a party with no conscience, no soul, no intellect and at least for now no hope of getting a member of its party elected to POTUS. Rather than defending this bunch of deplorables let’s work to eradicate this outfit in it’s current state and hopefully bring about a decent new party to serve as an honorable opposition party to the Democrats, who for all their faults are attempting in good conscience to solve the nations problems and create a better world. Only with the complete death of this reprehensible organization can we begin to build move forward again as a nation.

    Reply
    1. Bryan Caskey

      “let’s work to eradicate this outfit in it’s current state and hopefully….” “Only with the complete death of this reprehensible organization can we begin to build move forward….”

      New game for us to play: I’ll put up a quote from bud, and y’all have to guess if he’s talking about the GOP or ISIS.

      Seriously bud, it amazes me the absolute contempt you have for the other side of the aisle.

      Reply
      1. bud

        Bryan it comes down to the relative nature of the threat to my health, finances and long term welfare. While it’s true the motley band of terrorists called ISIS or ISIL are really, really bad dudes they aren’t really much of a threat to me or my family. The GOP on the other hand, while not as craven, is a real and present danger to me and my family because of their policies and attitude. I’d love to see a new and improved GOP rise up like a phoenix from the ashes of the burning carcass of the depraved Republican party as it exists today. That would be good for me, my family, the country and the world. Donald Trump is proof of the completely odious and hostile nature of this organization. Did anyone not see his threat to jail his political opponent at the debate the other night? That’s scary talk that you generally see only in some type of banana republic. Since it’s party leadership will not completely disavow this strongman wannabe the only conclusion I can reach is that the entire party is a dangerous menace. Depraved like ISIS? No. Dangerous to me and the ones I love? Absolutely.

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  3. David Carlton

    I’ll accept McCain’s change of heart as genuine. He’s always been reluctant, only supporting Trump because he thought that that’s what good soldiers do. Also, I appreciate it that he premised his reversal not just on the Access Hollywood tape, but also on Trump’s scurrilous attack on five innocent kids of color who got railroaded for a crime they didn’t commit and for whom Trump had demanded execution.

    Ryan, on the other hand, I have no sympathy for. He supported Trump because he expected to be able to use him in a scheme to railroad his draconian budget through the Congress and place it on Trump’s desk to sign before he even got to the Oval Office. He’s like Lucius Malfoy, who cozied up to Voldemort because he thought the Dark Lord would restore purebloods like himself to their “rightful” place–only to find that the lowlife thug was the one who held the whip hand. Ryan’s finding that out now.

    On a different topic: Have you heard the Drive-By Truckers’ new song “Surrender Under Protest”? It’s a stunning, bitter, ironic meditation on Lost Cause mythology and how it poisoned the South–inspired by the Mother Emanuel tragedy.

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  4. Harry Harris

    The silliness of our media mouthpieces combines with our obsessions and hangups about sex to sic all of the sanctimonious politicians I can think of on Trump. All of this noise over crude adolescent language from a crude guy – to the point of horror that “my son or daughter might hear this” bleeped-out bragging. Get a life, and tune-in to the real world. Notice the crudeness of public hip hop culture. Wake up to the reality of date rape and a hook-up generation and get angry that too many parents , institutions, and monied interests condone it. Sex, even the brutish macho variety, sells.
    Better yet, get incensed over a politician whose anti-ISIS solution was stated as “We should take the oil.” Putting thousands of American troops at risk to seize and control illegally taken resources and territory is more acceptable than using gutter language to brag in private conversation? Look at some accurately-scored (though vague) economic proposals that would explode the deficit and grossly extend the dept and further exacerbate wealth distribution. Question the good sense of a candidate whose pronouncements have caused numerous Republican diplomats and foreign affairs advisers to publicly call him not fit. Just lay off the puritanical righteousness for a while.

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    1. Doug Ross

      This is a country where an animated vulgar movie called “Sausage Party” was #1 at the box office this summer and has taken in over $125 million dollars in box office. If you think Trump is going to lose over vulgar comments he made 10 years ago, you’re being distracted by the media.

      It’s interesting to see that the biggest stories about Trump in the past month have been about his tax returns from 20+ years ago and some offensive language from 10+ years ago. Trump the candidate hasn’t made any slipups in months. Trump the candidate (apparently since I didn’t see it) recovered during the last debate to hold his own with Hillary. Trump the candidate has been on the campaign trail constantly and still drawing large crowds. Meanwhile, Hillary spent four days preparing for a debate that she didn’t win. She’s a weak candidate who has pinned her hopes on Trump’s historical bad behavior overshadowing his current transition into an “acceptable” alternative. Everyone who thinks Trump is stupid is being proved wrong on a daily basis.

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      1. Mark Stewart

        Trump was not ever, and will never be, an “acceptable” candidate for political office.

        He is a defender of Putin. That says it all. It’s bizarre that it doesn’t bother his “base”; the only logical explanation is that they are as clueless as he of the real world.

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      2. Harry Harris

        I don’t think Trump will lose over the tape issue. I just would rather the media folks get on to weightier issues. My worry is that he drops out over the fallout from such a peripheral, but headline-prone event.

        Reply
      3. Brad Warthen Post author

        “Trump the candidate hasn’t made any slipups in months.”

        As my grandson would say, “What the WHAT?”

        Apparently, you haven’t paid attention to anything he has said lately. Did you not watch ANY of the debate — either of them? The man can hardly open his mouth without reveal a lack of knowledge and total void of judgment! Every day, he gets up and puts in a full day’s work proving that he is not presidential material, to say the least.

        He is a wonder, a miracle. His unsuitability is perfect; there are no gaps in it. There has never been a major-party nominee like this — ever! He is a prodigy of perfect awfulness.

        How on Earth can you say that?

        Reply
        1. Bryan Caskey

          Your comment of “Every day, he gets up and puts in a full day’s work proving that he is not presidential material, to say the least.” reminded me of this passage from Catch-22.

          Now that I go back and re-read it, I say this is pretty close to Trump. Not perfect, but pretty close.

          Major Major’s father was a sober God-fearing man whose idea of a good joke was to lie about his age. He was a longlimbed farmer, a God-fearing, freedom-loving, law-abiding rugged individualist who held that federal aid to anyone but farmers was creeping socialism. He advocated thrift and hard work and disapproved of loose women who turned him down. His specialty was alfalfa, and he made a good thing out of not growing any. The government paid him well for every bushel of alfalfa he did not grow. The more alfalfa he did not grow, the more money the government gave him, and he spent every penny he didn’t earn on new land to increase the amount of alfalfa he did not produce. Major Major’s father worked without rest at not growing alfalfa. On long winter evenings he remained indoors and did not mend harness, and he sprang out of bed at the crack of noon every day just to make certain that the chores would not be done. He invested in land wisely and soon was not growing more alfalfa than any other man in the county. Neighbors sought him out for advice on all subjects, for he had made much money and was therefore wise. “As ye sow, so shall ye reap,” he counseled one and all, and everyone said, “Amen.”
          Major Major’s father was an outspoken champion of economy in government, provided it did not interfere with the sacred duty of government to pay farmers as much as they could get for all the alfalfa they produced that no one else wanted or for not producing any alfalfa at all. He was a proud and independent man who was opposed to unemployment insurance and never hesitated to whine, whimper, wheedle and extort for as much as he could get from whomever he could.

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        2. Doug Ross

          Ok, enlighten me. What has Trump said or done in the past two months that was newsworthy? Anything equivalent to the “basket of deplorables” comment or passing out?

          Any impact on his campaign has been a result of old news dredged up from a decade or more ago. He has run a better campaign than Hillary… there is no question about that. He has put the effort in. I don’t want him to be President but I’m not blind to the fact that he has run harder and better than John McCain ever did. McCain made tactical errors all along — picking Palin, denying that a recession was coming, etc.

          Reply
          1. bud

            Starting with a 3am tweet storm about the former Ms. Universe about 2 weeks ago we have this craven exchange:

            “Did Crooked Hillary help disgusting (check out sex tape and past) Alicia M become a U.S. citizen so she could use her in the debate?”

            She “gained massive weight,” Trump told “Fox & Friends” the morning after the debate in order to explain why he referred to Machado as “Miss Piggy.”

            “She did not do well. She had a lot of difficulties,” he continued the next day on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor.”.

            I could go on but what is the point. Doug you’re just being a contrarian on this.

            Reply
  5. Norm Ivey

    Foreign Policy magazine has endorsed Clinton. They give the crudeness of Trump’s behavior a single line, and then spend the next several paragraphs explaining why he is completely unacceptable for the office of POTUS. Here’s a sample:

    Beyond this, however, in the areas in which we at FP specialize, he has repeatedly demonstrated his ignorance of the most basic facts of international affairs, let alone the nuances so crucial to the responsibilities of diplomacy inherent in the U.S. president’s daily responsibilities. Trump has not only promoted the leadership of a tyrant and menace like Vladimir Putin, but he has welcomed Russian meddling in the current U.S. election. He has alternatively forgiven then defended Russia’s invasion of Crimea and employed advisors with close ties to the Russian president and his cronies. Trump has spoken so cavalierly about the use of nuclear weapons, including a repeated willingness to use them against terrorists, that it has become clear he understands little if anything about America’s nuclear policies — not to mention the moral, legal, and human consequences of such actions. He has embraced the use of torture and the violation of international law against it. He has suggested he would ignore America’s treaty obligations and would only conditionally support allies in need. He has repeatedly insulted Mexico and proposed policies that would inflame and damage one of America’s most vital trading relationships with that country.

    The endorsement is worth your time to read.

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Not least because Foreign Policy doesn’t endorse candidates. This is the first in that esteemed journal’s history…

      People who know what they’re talking about are deeply alarmed at the possibility of such a know-nothing buffoon being in charge of our country, and representing it with other countries. So you have the boffins at Foreign Policy and others similarly situation doing everything they can to speak out.

      And no, “boffin” is not a word that Donald Trump uses in “locker-room talk”…

      Reply
  6. Doug Ross

    I’ll vote for Hillary when someone convinces me what Trump said is worse than what Bill did.

    It didn’t seem to matter that John McCain was a foul mouthed grump with a hair trigger temper.

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    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Doug, I don’t know why you don’t get it. I don’t know why you don’t see how grossly unqualified this guy is — intellectually, morally, and temperamentally — and what a danger it would be to have him acting on our behalf on the world stage.

      I’m a word guy, and a pretty good word guy, and I just don’t know what to say.

      I was not a Bill Clinton fan, and believed — and still believe — that he should have resigned the moment it was known he had been lying about that sordid Monica Lewinsky business.

      But to compare Bill Clinton’s suitability as president to the nightmare possibility of this doofus being president — it’s more dramatic than the difference between night and day. It’s ones and zeroes.

      The terrible thing about Clinton is that he was such an able man who threw away the respect of the world so stupidly. No one with a clue would say that about Trump. No one would say, “Oh, what a loss to the nation! If only he hadn’t had that unguarded moment in that bus!”

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      1. Claus

        When you get done with Doug, you can start on me. Because I can’t for the life of me see any way I’d cast a vote for Hillary Clinton. There are very few people in this world that repulse me, but she’s one of them. If she walked in the room the first thing I’d do is look for an exit.

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        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          See, it just happened again. I’m explaining to someone WHY Trump is so awful, and I get, “Yeah, well, how about that Hillary Clinton.”

          Well, I’ll tell you. She’s not one of my favorite people. But I wouldn’t expect her to drive the country off a cliff.

          OK, I’m done with her. Anybody want me to ‘splain some more about Trump? Because I will NEVER understand why anyone could look at him and contemplate him being president of the United States without going, “Oh, my God, NO!…”

          Reply
          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            And maybe that’s the problem.

            Some of us are able to take one look at him and say without hesitation, “No. Freaking. Way.”

            Others have to have it explained to them, and keep going, “But what about…?”

            And maybe, just maybe, there aren’t enough words in the world to convince someone who has to be persuaded. Either you see what he is or you don’t… Like my brother — he’s a very smart guy (beats me like a drum in “Words With Friends” — as does Doug, by the way), but he’s color-blind. There are things he can’t see that are extremely obvious to others. I can’t EXPLAIN him into seeing “green” when he just doesn’t see it.

            Maybe. But I’m going to continue to have faith in reason, and keep saying everything I can to help head off this disaster…

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            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              And maybe this is why mansplaining is so futile — there are things that are obvious to us that women just don’t…

              Oh, never mind. Didn’t mean to go there. I was wrong — oh, so very wrong… :) :) :)

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      2. Doug Ross

        You can say he doesn’t have the temperament – (neither did McCain – probably worse). You can say he doesn’t have the morality (neither did Bill Clinton even before he was elected – definitely worse). But you can’t keep trying to push the incorrect notion that he doesn’t have the intellectual capacity to do the job. He wouldn’t be where is he today without an above average level of intelligence. You can say he’s incurious. You can say he’s misguided. You can say he’s self-centered. But he’s not dumb… not by any stretch. He’s already adapted, learning as he went along to stay close enough to Hillary that he won’t do any worse than McCain.

        Dan Quayle was intellectually deficient. Sarah Palin was even worse. But Trump is smarter than you and smarter than me. You may think you’re smarter because you know certain things but could you run a multi-billion dollar global business? You wouldn’t even know where to start (and neither would I).

        Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Yeahhhh… I’m just going to have to go ahead and disagree with you there…

          On every point.

          John McCain is much more the master of his temper than Donald Trump. He does not have daily eruptions. He doesn’t completely go postal at the slightest criticism. He is a man who has a temper (which is why people people who’ve known him a long time can tell one or two stories about him losing it) who is very, very much about controlling it, and succeeds the overwhelming majority of the time. Trump does not have an iota of John McCain’s self-discipline.

          And while I would have been surprised back in 1998 to ever be faced with a major-party nominee who would cause me to say this, but Bill Clinton is a much better man than Donald Trump. In terms of the things he tries to accomplish in the world, he is far better.

          And Donald Trump is not smarter than I am. There are politicians I’ve met who I might say that about (say, Barack Obama), but most assuredly not this guy. And he’s not smarter than you are, either. You are just way, way too impressed by people making money. It’s never impressed me. I’ve always thought the main qualification for making a lot of money is that you have to really, really WANT to make a lot of money, and devote yourself to it.

          Which is not something I would want to do. Which, by the standard you’re applying, makes me dumber than Trump. But that’s the only way.

          This is a 70-year-old man who has not learned the fundamentals of living with other people that we expect kindergartners to have learned. Worse, he’s a man whose ignorance is so complete that he doesn’t believe he needs to learn anything! He already knows more than the generals, and the foreign-policy experts.

          People whose abysmal ignorance is evident practically every time they open their mouths, but who insist they know all they need to know, are the very dumbest people in the world…

          Reply
          1. Doug Ross

            Could you run even a single business Trump has created? You wouldn’t even know how to start. Could you run for office and win an election? Any election. Trump has skills you do not possess. His brain works in a different way. You can use the excuse that you don’t care about money but that’s all it is. I can’t be a concert pianist just because I don’t want to but because I lack the talent. Trump knows stuff you could never understand. Accept it.

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        2. bud

          Starting with a 3am tweet storm about the former Ms. Universe about 2 weeks ago we have this craven exchange:

          “Did Crooked Hillary help disgusting (check out sex tape and past) Alicia M become a U.S. citizen so she could use her in the debate?”

          She “gained massive weight,” Trump told “Fox & Friends” the morning after the debate in order to explain why he referred to Machado as “Miss Piggy.”

          “She did not do well. She had a lot of difficulties,” he continued the next day on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor.”.

          I could go on but what is the point. Doug you’re just being a contrarian on this.

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          1. Doug Ross

            I’m not voting for Trump. I don’t defend any of his bad behavior. I’m not voting for Hillary. I don’t defend any of her bad behavior.

            Trump the businessman has been successful. That’s it. He has skills none of us have. He’s not a racist nor misogynist. He’s a buffoon and an egocentric, crass guy. Hillary’s character flaws are different but equally offensive to me.

            I’M NOT TELLING ANYONE TO VOTE FOR TRUMP. Is that clear enough? I am saying that a vote for Hillary is just as bad as a vote for Trump. Different people, different reasons why they are unacceptable.

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        3. bud

          Sorry Doug there is absolutely nothing about Trump that suggests he is in any way shape or form intelligent. He never invented anything. He is a skilled surgeon or athlete or actor. He didn’t create a successful business, his daddy did (actually granddaddy started it). Since he hasn’t paid taxes he hasn’t “earned” anything. He does live a lavish lifestyle based on his daddy’s wealth and connections in addition to his craven way of lying and cheating people. Today his income, whatever it is, is based on licensing his daddy’s last name. So no, there is zero evidence that this depraved, scary man has any intellectual skills or for that matter useful skills of any kind.

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          1. Doug Ross

            You’re living in dreamland, bud. The more hyperbolic you get, the more foolish your statements sound. We’re into paranoid delusion at this point.

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    2. Mark Stewart

      Doug, it isn’t what Trump says; it is everything that he is which is the problem. Trump’s speech vs. Bill Clinton’s actions is a false dichotomy. It’s beside the point anyway.

      How about between the two choices that we do have before us, who should we elect as President? I know you like binary – this is the binary choice before us as much as we all wish it were not. Not Trump vs. Johnson, nor Johnson vs. Hillary Clinton, nor Pence vs. Hillary Clinton. Or any other such flight of fantasy. Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. For the President of the United States. To lead this nation forward. I know, we are all gagging. But that’s the choice we have to make. There is no other.

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      1. Doug Ross

        If I was forced to choose, I’d choose Trump. I’ve had more than enough of the Clintons in my lifetime and am willing to take a boor over more of the same broken system with phony liberal multimillionaires who trade access for money and power.

        A Trump win will result in some change… If he can kill Obamacare, that’s good. If he can do something about illegal immigration, that’s good. I have ZERO fear that he is going to nuke anyone. Ain’t going to happen. With Hillary, we get Obama’s third term.

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        1. Doug Ross

          What would you expect Hillary’s major accomplishments to be in the next four years? A hike in the minimum wage? That will do nothing. A tweak or two to Obamacare? Kicking the can down the road. Lip service to dealing with race in this country? You bet.

          I can’t think of a single issue where she will be able to enact positive change.

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          1. Doug Ross

            And if she does anything that results in amnesty for illegal immigrants, I will certainly regret that Trump didn’t win.

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            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              So basically, the whole world can go to hell, just as long as we are sufficiently mean to poor people who came here to work their butts off, but did so without the proper paperwork.

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              1. Doug Ross

                Wah..what about the children?!?

                I have too many good friends who have done it the right way and legally that to support any amnesty would be a slap in their face.

                The whole world doesn’t have to go to hell. That first make their problems or problems.

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                1. Doug Ross

                  That doesn’t make their problems our problems. You want to help them, use charities and churches, not tax dollars.

          2. Brad Warthen Post author

            “What would you expect Hillary’s major accomplishments to be in the next four years?”

            To put it in terms Trump might understand, her greatest accomplishment would be not “f___ing up everything she touches, day in and day out.

            I don’t look for candidates to DO things for me. I don’t see it as a transaction, in which I vote for X, and she does Y.

            What I look for is competence. If I can get inspiration, great, but that only comes along about once a generation, if that….

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            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Lincoln was inspirational. So was Teddy Roosevelt, in his own way. And FDR. And JFK. And Obama.

              In between, we need to make sure we elect people who can keep us from going over a cliff…

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                1. Douglas Ross

                  Huh? It’s a big deal because he screwed up the one thing he said he was going to do. Obamacare isn’t Social Security or Medicare in its scope. It’s a poorly executed insurance program that is falling apart. That is his signature legislation. Something no Democrat even talks about any more because it was all smoke and mirrors.

              1. Claus

                In what world is Obama inspirational??? The man hasn’t accomplished anything in eight years in office except to commute prison sentences for drug dealers.

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                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  The key word was “inspirational,” which is not the same as “effective.” I realize my comment may have confused, seeming to conflate the two.

                  Note that I wasn’t including LBJ — who was supremely effective — in the “inspirational” category, because he wasn’t that.

                  But the main reason Obama was ELECTED was that he inspired, while Hillary and McCain did not…

            2. Doug Ross

              Obama was supposed to be transformational. He did little and most Americans believe the country is on the wrong path. Hillary will be worse.

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              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                That’s not Obama’s fault. And it wouldn’t be Hillary’s, either. It’s the state of our politics today.

                I like to praise LBJ, and the incredible streak of major accomplishments he had in 1964-65. And he WAS a masterful politician.

                But it was also the country — a confident, booming country that was just starting to be run by the young men who had won the Second World War, and who saw each other as fellow Americans more than Democrats and Republicans. The country was READY to pass the Civil Rights Act and all those other things. It might not have happened without LBJ, but LBJ couldn’t have gotten it done without the country being the way it was then, ready to work together to improve things.

                Now, a president enters office with half the country just champing at the bit to start hating him, or (as will be the case with Hillary) having a long history of hating her already. Half the country, and half the country’s politicians, are bound and determined that the new president accomplish nothing — they see it as their mission in life to make sure they accomplish nothing, and if they DO halfway accomplish something, they devote the rest of their lives to trying to UNDO it.

                We are very, very sick in a political sense. So sick that a man like Trump can rise to this position, which would have been utterly unthinkable in LBJ’s time — or even eight years ago.

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                1. Douglas Ross

                  If we voted for a President who didn’t demonize the other side (hello, third party) you wouldn’t have the problems we have. Hillary targets the rich and the deplorables. You think that’s a path to reconciliation?

                  Both sides are awful, led by corrupt people. As long as we keep voting for Democrats and Republicans, the situation will remain as it is.

                  I would have voted for Bernie over Trump. We need a house cleaning and Hillary ain’t going to do it.

          3. Scout

            What would Clinton’s accomplishments be vs. Trumps? How about the survival of our government. Clinton understands the constitution and the way our government works and respects and honors the system.

            I have no confidence that Trump understands our government or plans to respect the constitution or the rule of law.

            He has repeatedly demonstrated that he feels entitled to do whatever he feels like and that he doesn’t think rules apply to him. Did you hear that recently the attorney general of NY sent a cease and desist letter to the Trump Foundation to tell them to stop fundraising because they hadn’t filed the proper papers to be an entity allowed to do that. So is that ineptitude or a complete disregard for doing anything by the rules. Neither is good but I think it is the latter. And that is just one small example in a much bigger pattern.

            He is a snake oil salesman with the personality of a totalitarian dictator.

            You think being successful in business marks intelligence? It may indicate a certain skill set but it is not the same thing as intelligence. He is a bully and a con man who made his money in a field where convincing people there is value in a thing is enough to make the market believe it is so. Yes, he’s good at snowing people – I’ll give you that. Not the same thing as intelligence.

            And not the same skill set needed in a President. Actual facts matter in this job. You don’t get to make them up to suit your mood or the people you are currently trying to snow. Cultural sensitivity and respect for foreign customs is also an important part of the job unless you want to cause an international incident. He may not care.

            Seriously, he thinks a single Senator can accomplish changing any law they want all on their own (he said this in the debate you missed). He thinks the constitution has at least 12 articles (and he’s not talking about ‘the’). So I have no confidence that he understands how our government works.

            So why don’t we just put enormous amounts of power at his disposal. I’m sure he won’t abuse it or try to do anything inappropriate with it. I’m sure he’ll respect the boundaries of the various institutions.

            I just hope the institutions can survive it. So Hillary may be the establishment candidate, but I kind of like what we have established and hope that it continues.

            Reply
            1. Douglas Ross

              The sad thing is people sit around thinking that the people who actually create jobs, build buildings, run businesses are just average people with no special skills. ANYONE can do it if they want to… those that don’t just don’t want to. Most of them get paid by the government, put their 30 years in, collect a pension, and then live depressing lives griping about how terrible people who have more than they do must be.

              I have never spent a second thinking about how much money someone else has. If they don’t steal it, I hope they can get as much as they want. And if they want to spend it on luxuries, more power to them. If they’re buying something that means someone else is selling it and making money as well. They create the jobs that the rest of us peons depend upon. They pay the taxes that keep the government afloat. They pay your Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid, They have skills we don’t have and never will have. That doesn’t bother me.

              Reply
              1. Scout

                OK, – disagree about government workers…..but what does any of that have to do with what I said?

                I am saying I think a Trump presidency is potentially a threat to our democracy.

                And you talk about people who create jobs.

                I don’t have a problem with people who create jobs.

                But I prioritize maintaining our democracy over creating jobs.

                It’s like the house is burning down and I’m saying let’s go outside and call the fire department and you say, no I’m going to bed (in the burning house) because I have to get up and go to work in the morning.

                I mean I don’t get how you don’t see the seriousness of this situation. If you don’t prevent the fire, the other point is going to become moot.

                In case it’s not clear, Trump is the fire. Clinton is going outside and calling the fire department. I think this analogy works well since having to call the fire department is something nobody typically plans to have to do on purpose yet is something that you sometimes must do in a crisis to avert disaster.

                Which is where we are.

                Reply
                1. Doug Ross

                  Without jobs, there is no democracy. Who will pay for all the government programs liberals want if there aren’t job creators like Trump? Consider just his one hotel in Las Vegas. There are likely 1000 people who get a paycheck every week because Trump built that hotel.

                  Our system of checks and balances would prevent Trump from doing anything to harm democracy. The “world is ending” crowd need to do a refresher course from their high school civics class. Trump would try to appoint a Supreme Court justice who would have to go through the same partisan process that Hillary’s nominee will go through. Hysterical Democrats would speak of abortion being outlawed, racial bias, etc. Trump would be tougher on illegal immigrants. He’s probably use executive orders just like Obama has to circumvent laws.

                  It’s the sheer hysteria that liberals are demonstrating about Donald Trump, real estate magnate and TV reality star, that is so bizarre. Twelve months ago he was a joke candidate. Now he’s Hitler thanks to being spoon fed a daily dose of panic by the media. Why can’t you all see that what you are doing now is EXACTLY what Republicans did when Obama went from a nobody to the Presidency. In that case, it was Fox News and other outlets creating the boogeyman. Then, it was about race. Now it’s about class. Same irrational emotions. Now Democrats sit in front of their TV’s watching performers on CNN and MSNBC forecast death, destruction, and mayhem if Trump wins. The level of self-inflicted anxiety over this is unreal. It’s a great lesson in group think. Watching how a talking point from either side goes out through the media is very interesting.

                  Brad has gone off the deep end with his rhetoric lately which only serves to fuel the anxiety of some people.

              2. bud

                They pay the taxes that keep the government afloat.
                -Doug

                Seriously Doug??? Do you not see how incredibly false that statement is about Donald Trump? The man openly acknowledged he DOESN’T pay federal taxes. Whatever else you want to believe about Trump we now know that he doesn’t do his part to “keep the government afloat”.

                Reply
                1. Doug Ross

                  Are you suggesting he has never paid any taxes? State, local, property, Social Security, Medicare? He pays more taxes in one month than you’ll ever pay in your lifetime.

                2. Doug Ross

                  Watch this recent video of three billionaires discussing the election on CNN. T. Bone Pickens talks about not paying income taxes for the past three years due to losses suffered in prior years. But then he also mentions that during an 18 year period, he paid $675 MILLION in taxes.

                  This should be required viewing for Democrats who demonize successful people.

                  http://money.cnn.com/video/news/2016/10/11/langone-pickens-cooperman-round-table-trump-american-dream.cnnmoney/

                3. Doug Ross

                  Here’s the facts on the property taxes paid by Trump on just his homes:

                  “First and foremost, there’s his penthouse apartment at Trump Tower. Trump paid $175,444 in property taxes last year on the 30,000-square-foot residence, according to city records”

                  “In addition, Trump paid a total of $190,905 in taxes on three properties in Palm Beach, Fla., near his Mar-a-Lago home, according to the Palm Beach Post”

                  “Trump’s Rodeo Drive residence in Beverly Hills had a $111,451 property tax bill last year”

                  Add the bills up and Trump paid at least $477,800 in property taxes last year just on his homes. JUST ON HIS HOMES. A half a million dollars. How much did you kick into the coffers?

                4. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Re those taxes on his apartment.

                  I still, after all these decades, have trouble wrapping my head around the condo concept. How does one “own” an apartment? At what point in the wall between your apartment and the one next door — or in the floor below or the ceiling above — does your property end and the neighbor’s property begin? Where are the boundaries on what you have a right to alter and what you don’t?

                  It’s just a weird concept to me…

                5. Doug Ross

                  I’m sure Trump could educate you on that topic. He’s world class intelligent when it comes to real estate. He could probably dumb it down so you’d understand. :-)

        2. bud

          A third Obama term would be great! Continued prosperity and a chance to improve on the success of Obamacare. Given Obama’s high approval ratings most people agree he’s been a very good President. His failures are due to the obstructionist congress.

          A Trump presidency would likely plunge us into recession and it’s likely he’d become something of a strongman. Is that really what you want Doug, a dictatorial strongman like Putin? All the evidence suggests that’s just what he’d try to become.

          Reply
          1. Douglas Ross

            Obama had nothing to do with whatever prosperity exists — I thought we had a big problem with income inequality – is that solved?

            I am not afraid of a Trump presidency… even though it is a longshot. I am not afraid of a Hillary presidency either – just depressed by the thought that Democrats think she actually represents them. She doesn’t care one bit about the poor, the disadvantaged – no more than Trump. She’s all talk and no action and has taken that to the bank for the past decade. It must be terrible to be duped by someone so shady.

            Here’s the pledge all Hillary supporters should make:

            “I support Hillary’s action in her defense of her husband’s many affairs, including her support when he slept multiple times with a young intern. She was just standing by her man. That is a good quality.”

            “I support Hillary Clinton making millions of dollars for speeches to Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs. I am sure she imparted wisdom on them and has no plan to make their business more profitable in the future.”

            “I fully support Hillary’s use of a private email server while Secretary of State even though Colin Powell told her not to do it. I am 100% behind her efforts to block access to any of the emails that were on that server and that any actions that resulted in deleting emails were all accidental. I believe her when she says that she didn’t understand that classified emails had a special designation. I believe her when she said she only used a single device for emails. There is nothing in the emails that would incriminate her.”

            “I support every action Hillary took to deal with the terrorist attack in Benghazi. She quickly identified the motivation for the attack and she firmly dealt with it in a clear and decisive manner.”

            I know bud has that tattooed on his back. Anyone else?

            Reply
            1. Bill

              “… depressed by the thought that Democrats think she actually represents them.”

              The Nation magazine, arguably this country’s foremost publication on the left, has endorsed her – and not just because they think Trump would be worse. The magazine supports her on her own merits:

              https://www.thenation.com/article/why-progressives-should-vote-for-hillary-clinton/

              But maybe they’re just deceiving themselves, too. Maybe only Douglas Ross sees the world for what it really is.

              Reply
              1. Claus

                So let me see if I understand this, the most left-wing publication is supporting Hillary Clinton. Question, who else would they support? I bet t hey even have nice things to say about Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid too.

                Reply
          2. Claus

            bud, you’re forgetting about the national debt. This country can’t afford Obama for another four years.

            What will be Obama’s legacy? A health plan that isn’t working?

            Reply
          3. Claus

            I believe we may be headed back to a recession regardless of who is in office. The nation’s balance sheet is being propped up by borrowed money and money being printed by the Treasury Department that has no backing, as long as there is paper and ink they’re going to keep the presses running.

            Reply
        3. Bill

          “multimillionaires who trade access for money and power.”
          Hm, sounds like this guy:

          http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/18/nyregion/donald-trump-tax-breaks-real-estate.html?_r=0

          In a nutshell: “[Trump] used his father’s, and, later, his own, extensive political connections, and relied on a huge amount of assistance from the government and taxpayers in the form of tax breaks, grants and incentives to benefit the 15 buildings at the core of his Manhattan real estate empire.”

          Not enough? How’bout this:

          http://fortune.com/2016/09/13/donald-trump-politicians-donations/

          The takeaway: “Trump’s decades-long record of evading campaign finance rules, giving big sums to politicians whose help he needed. ‘When you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do,’ Trump said earlier this year.”

          Reply
          1. Doug Ross

            So you’re agreeing with me that trading access for money is a bad thing? Thank you. Don’t vote for Hillary or Trump. Vote for Gary Johnson.

            Reply
            1. Bill

              Nope. I’m just pointing out that Trump may not be the masterful businessman you’ve suggested he is. Looks like his “unique skills” don’t have a lot to do with free enterprise.

              Reply
              1. Doug Ross

                Right. Anyone who wants to become a billionaire real estate tycoon can do it. Just have to grease a few skids. No other skills required. Happens every day.

                Reply
  7. bud

    Doug all you’ve proven with that screed is that you can successfully regurgitate long debunked Roger Ailes spin. Hillary has a long history of promoting children’s issues, women’s needs and the welfare of the international community. The fact that you mentioned the 9 times investigated Benghazi incident pretty much makes you little better than a troll.

    Reply
    1. Douglas Ross

      Promoting. That’s a good word. As in “Let me make millions of dollars promoting causes that I know will attract the most donations to the foundation my husband and I run”.

      She’s your multi-millionaire champion of the little people. How ironic.

      Reply
      1. Scout

        Except that her promotion of these causes pre-dates the formation of the Foundation. She co-founded Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families in 1977. The Clinton Foundation was founded in 2001.

        A minute a go you said “I have never spent a second thinking about how much money someone else has. If they don’t steal it, I hope they can get as much as they want.”

        Now you say, “Promoting. That’s a good word. As in “Let me make millions of dollars promoting causes that I know will attract the most donations to the foundation my husband and I run”.”

        It sounds like you have a problem with the money Hillary Clinton makes even though you just said you didn’t. Why should it bother you that you she would promote causes that would attract donations her foundation? I would think that would be how it is supposed to work. I don’t see anything dishonorable or duplicitous here. If people are willing to pay you to speak, should you not take the money. This seems very much like, if there is a legal tax break I can take, why should I not take it. If you believe in the causes you are promoting and the work that the foundation does, then why wouldn’t you promote those causes and promote the work of your foundation.

        Reply
        1. Doug Ross

          Hillary did essentially steal her money. She didn’t do something to earn it other than trade access and favors using her government position. Today’s email dump shows the unethical connection between the State Department and the Clinton Foundation very well. The earthquake in Haiti resulted in a $10B relief effort. Emails going to the State Department show that people who were friends of Bill Clinton (i.e. donors) got special treatment. You would have to be incredibly naive to not understand that the connection between Hillary’s role at the State Department and Bill Clinton’s role at the Clintom Foundation wasn’t essential to filling up their coffers with money from people who could be used later on.

          https://www.yahoo.com/gma/fobs-hillarys-state-dept-gave-special-attention-friends-231800812–abc-news-topstories.html

          Reply
          1. Claus

            Hillary stated they were dead broke in 2014 and struggling day-to-day. My what two years makes. She and Bill must be working their fingers to the bone to go from “struggling” to where they are now, just two years later with multi-millions in the bank.

            Here’s the ABC interview:

            Reply
  8. Douglas Ross

    How many of the women who are offended by Trump’s language from a decade ago bought copies of Fifty Shades of Grey? Only 80 million copies sold… I’m sure it was all redneck alt-right bloggers who bought them all.

    Reply
    1. Scout

      Right because what people read in fiction is automatically an endorsement of how they expect the real world to work?

      Fiction is fiction and reality is reality, and most people know the difference.

      I read Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and the Lord of the Rings and I don’t necessarily expect to find any of the attributes of those stories to hold true in this non fictional world.

      Even though He Who Shall Not Be Named is currently trying to take over the world. Luckily I have my wand from Diagon Alley handy just in case 😉

      Reply
      1. Doug Ross

        Uh huh… those women who read the three installments of 50 Shades were all deeply offended by what they read. And then went to the movie just to confirm their disgust.

        Reply
      2. Brad Warthen Post author

        We joke about He Who Shall Not Be Named, but in my case it’s no joke.

        All through the Republican primaries, I refused to create a blog category for Trump. Anything about him would be categorized Elections, 2016 Presidential, Republicans, The Nation, etc. But I was NOT going to dignify him by naming a category for him. Also, there may have been some atavistic superstition involved. I was avoiding naming calls.

        Ditto with email. I got loads from or about Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and so forth, so I created mail folders for them in case I needed to refer to them sometime. But I refused to create a folder called “Donald Trump.”

        I was waiting for the farce to be over.

        Finally, I gave in and created a category named “Donald Trump” just before the GOP convention. Finally, it was time to name the threat and confront it directly. The very first post to bear that stamp was headlined “WashPost gets it exactly right: ‘Donald Trump is a unique threat to American democracy’.” It was posted on July 22…

        Reply
  9. Doug Ross

    It’s hilarious that every response by Democrats to a damaging leaked John Podesta email immediately tries to make it all about Russian hackers. Donna Brazile feeds questions to the Clinton campaign prior to a debate with Sanders and her response was one or two sentences about how she was really working for everyone (lie) and three paragraphs about how Donald Trump and Russia are coordinating the email hacking.

    This is like a criminal blaming a snitch for informing on him. If the emails are false, all you have to do is say they are false. But when they are true, apparently the only response is to deflect. If you have nothing to hide, you shouldn’t have to worry about being hacked.

    Reply
    1. Doug Ross

      If, as Hillary’s spin team is stating, Russia is behind the Wikileaks email dumps and they believe the intent is to influence the U.S. election, why isn’t the Obama administration doing anything about it? Surely if Russia was scheming to end democracy as we know it and send the U.S. toward devastation, someone would, you know, do something about it, right? I mean can’t Obama draw a line in the sand? That would undoubtedly cause Putin to stop whatever he is doing immediately. Those lines are all that protect us.

      Seriously, if anyone has actual evidence that this is a coordinated plan, Obama should be escalating our response immediately and with full force. Treat Russia like Iran starting tomorrow. Otherwise, the Democrats are just bluffing and trying to distract the sheep.

      Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Obama should definitely draw a line in the sand over this. Of course, Putin will immediately step over it; he won’t be able to stop himself.

        So then Obama should draw another line, a little farther on — which Putin will of course step over without thinking.

        This process should be repeated until finally, Obama is in position to draw a line along the very edge of a cliff…

        Reply
  10. Doug Ross

    Democrat Governor of Minnesota first rat to leave sinking ship S.S. Obamacare.

    http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2016/10/12/gov-dayton-affordable-care-act/

    ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota’s Democratic governor said Wednesday that the Affordable Care Act is “no longer affordable,” a stinging critique from a state leader who strongly embraced the law just a few years ago. “The reality is the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable for increasing numbers of people,” Dayton said, calling on Congress to fix the law to address rising costs and market stability.
    Few states embraced the health care law stronger than Minnesota under Dayton, where lawmakers created a state-run online market exchange for shoppers who aren’t covered by employers or public programs to buy individual coverage. When those policies first went on sale in 2013, Dayton and state officials proudly touted the lowest health insurance rates in the nation.

    But after several years of steadily increasing premiums, top state regulators said this fall that Minnesota’s individual market is in “a state of emergency.” The state scrambled to stop all seven companies that sell insurance directly to consumers or through the state exchange, MNsure, from fleeing for 2017, but the state’s largest insurer is still exiting. Health care insurance shoppers will see premium increases that range from 50 percent to 67 percent on their plans for next year. Minnesota lawmakers are mulling potential fixes to get costs under control and ensure the individual market can survive. While Dayton said that’s worth considering, he said the bulk of the problem lies at the federal level.

    “It’s got some serious blemishes right now and serious deficiencies,” he said.

    You think it was coincidence that all the good stuff in Obamacare was front loaded into the bill with all the bad stuff scheduled to happen after Obama left office? Tax penalties for mandatory insurance rise significantly next year. It’s too bad all we can talk about is what Trump said 10 years ago or what taxes he didn’t pay 20 years ago.

    Reply
  11. bud

    Doug you’ve done the impossible. The various points raised here have finally convinced me that if this election was between Democrat Donald J. Trump and Republican George W. Bush I would have to vote for the loathsome, odious, lying scoundrel Bush. YIKES!!! What a horrible thing to admit. It makes me feel dirty. But Trump is THAT scary.

    Reply
    1. Douglas Ross

      I’d vote for Trump over Bush (knowing what I know now). Trump couldn’t do worse than failed war funded by deficits, an economic collapse, and the stewardship of the Patriot Act.

      I’d even take Bill Clinton over Bush.

      Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Doug, you’re being perverse. The difference between Trump and anyone else who has ever come close to the presidency — even Andrew Jackson, even William Jennings Bryan — is as stark as night and day.

        I know you like to be a contrarian, but this is ridiculous….

        Reply
        1. Douglas Ross

          I am not a contrarian at all. I believe what I say. George Bush (and his puppeteer Dick Cheney) were a disaster for this country. Clinton’s sexual harassment of one of his employees pales in comparison to sending thousands of troops to their deaths and killing tens of thousands of innocent people all for a phony war that did NOTHING to make America safer. He unleashed an unnecessary level of intrusion into our lives through the Patriot Act. I go thru TSA lines twice a week and hold Bush responsible for such a pointless, wasteful bureaucracy. He was a clueless frat boy who was handed the job based on his name alone.

          Reply
          1. Douglas Ross

            And, once again, I will say I will never vote for Trump and don’t encourage anyone else to. But Trump would have to go a long, long way to match the incompetence and recklessness of Bush.

            Reply

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