Is Donald Trump our ‘most honest president?’

"Believe me..."

“Believe me…”

Frank Bruni reminds me of this point I’ve been thinking about making for two or three years now, but I’ve just never gotten around to it.

We know that no one who has ever held the office of president — in our lifetimes, at the least — utters more falsehoods that this guy. Certainly, no one can boast more “Four Pinocchio” scores (OK, I tried to back that up with a link, and Google failed me. Oh, I saw that the Post had to come up with a new “Bottomless Pinocchio” just for him, and that in 2018 they broke his falsehoods into two categories to keep him from dominating the standings, but I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for. I think what I’m running into is the ancient horror journalists have of saying someone or something is the most anything ever — because someone might always come up with a worse example.).

He seems the personification of the old gag, “How can I tell when he’s lying? His mouth’s moving.”

The thing is, though, what if he’s not lying, technically? What if he actually believes all of these laughably false things that he asserts with such vehemence? The guy’s not terribly bright, and he’s such a narcissist that it’s possible that he convinces himself that any assertion that is helpful, or that he perceives as helpful, to Donald Trump is automatically true.

There’s plenty we can point to that supports this position on the matter. How else do you explain, just to grab a recent example, his repeated assertion that his July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian president was “perfect?” Or that the whistleblower (remember the whisteblower, that guy whose role in all this long ago became redundant in light of subsequent revelations, a fact that has not yet penetrated the Donald’s skull?) is peddling untruths. He continues to assert both of these things even though the rough transcript the White House itself released shows him to be obviously wrong on both counts. Not to mention all of the subsequent revelations that show that phone call to be just one piece of a large, consistent pattern.

Maybe you want to say he’s crazy rather than dumb. Either way, you can say his ability to discern the truth is severely limited.

So in that case, is he a liar? Don’t you have to mean to lie for it to count?

Anyway, I’m thinking about this again after reading the recent Frank Bruni column headlined “‘Human Scum,’ ‘Lynching’ and Trump’s Tortured English.” (Subhed: “The president needs a thesaurus and a therapist, though not necessarily in that order.”)

It’s another piece addressing a thing that probably explains as well as anything why people who work with words tend to see Trump as dumb, while it is less obvious to certain other people:

The other day he turned to the bounteous trove of the English language for a pejorative worthy of his critics’ awfulness, at least as he sees it. He decided on “human scum.”

He sought to capture the horror and injustice befalling him. What he came up with was “lynching.”

There’s being crude with language, there’s being loose with it, and then there’s being Trump, who uses words the way a toddler does marbles, grabbing the ones that are most bluntly colorful and tossing them into the air just because he can.

Trump is as inept at English as he is at governing. He’s oxymoronic: a nativist who can’t really speak his native tongue….

And so on. But the passage that prompts this post is this:

I’ve written before that Trump, “in terms of the transparency with which he shows us the most eccentric and ugliest parts of himself,” may inadvertently be “the most honest president in my lifetime.” His language is obviously central to that. It’s a glimpse into his fury and fears…

Which is slightly different from what I said above. Basically, Bruni is saying that no matter how untrue and badly chosen his words are, the emotion behind them reveals the true Trump.

My point is that maybe we can’t label Trump’s perpetual flow of falsehoods as lies, because he really doesn’t know any better.

Either way, Trump comes across as less dishonest than a mere examination of facts would suggest.

What do y’all think?

 

185 thoughts on “Is Donald Trump our ‘most honest president?’

  1. Karen Pearson

    All presidents lie. They may do so for state reasons (as in let’s not tell our enemies exactly what we plan to do next), for political reasons, or for personal reasons. But do they lie as much as Trump does? Or for the reasons that Trump does. Presidents sometimes inflate the truth to make themselves look good, but everyone until now has had the good sense not to lie about facts that are easily refuted. That doesn’t bother Trump at all. What irritates and confuses me is that it doesn’t bother those who think he’s great. I recently spoke with someone who thought he was such a wonderful Christian because he was appointing judges who opposed abortion. That person gave no consideration as to whether that was a primary reason to consider someone for nomination to the supreme court or not. It simply justified her liking for Trump. I’ve also heard others who have stated loyalty to Trump for other single things he advocates, ignoring other ideas and/or actions that damage our country. People like them scare me.

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Me, too. Even though I agree with the position those folks say they hold on abortion.

      I’m disturbed, of course, not only by the single-issue pro-life people, but by the single-issue types on the other side.

      I don’t blame them so much as I blame the harm that Roe v. Wade has done to our politics. By creating a RIGHT to abortion, the Court removed the issue from political consideration — so that now, the only way people can get their way (or maintain their way) politically is to reduce the office of presidency (in their minds) to the sort of justices they think this or that candidate for president will nominate.

      That reduction of the office to a decision that a president MIGHT get to make once or twice a term, out of all the thousands of other momentous things a president does, is a gross distortion. It’s a lousy way to pick a president. But so many people on both sides do it.

      If you doubt that people do it on the pro-choice side, I urge you to go back and rewatch the last Democratic debate, and listen to those several minutes during which every other issue is shoved aside while the candidates strive to demonstrate that THEY are the ones most committed to protecting abortion rights.

      As someone who is NOT a single-issue voter, and who thinks it is of the utmost importance to the nation that the Democrats get their act together and nominate someone who can actually win the general election, I found those minutes painful to sit through. It’s like they don’t even know that the actual election comes AFTER the Democratic nomination…

      Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Oh, and by the way, this is one of those issues on which Democrats, like Trump, say untrue things in all innocence, because they believe them to be true.

        For instance, it’s an article of faith among pro-choicers that they are the champions of WOMEN, and those who oppose abortion are “anti-women.”

        This ignores the fact that men and women pretty much view abortion roughly the same way — maybe not at Democratic Party committee meetings, but in the public at large.

        It just doesn’t occur to them that in order to win an election, they’re going to need the votes of some of those women who don’t agree with them on abortion.

        Either that or — and with some I suspect this is the case — they just don’t WANT to win if that is necessary…

        Reply
        1. bud

          It just doesn’t occur to them that in order to win an election, they’re going to need the votes of some of those women who don’t agree with them on abortion.
          -Brad

          You’ve made this point before. It was when Doug Jones was running for the Senate in AL. I said then and I’ll reaffirm this obvious truth now – a Democrat cannot win a major election as an anti-choice candidate. For the tiny number of anti-choice voters who might be impressed by such a candidate at least 10 other otherwise Democratic supportes will stay home election day.

          Reply
        2. Harry Harris

          “For instance, it’s an article of faith among pro-choicers that they are the champions of WOMEN, and those who oppose abortion are “anti-women.”’

          “It just doesn’t occur to them that in order to win an election, they’re going to need the votes of some of those women who don’t agree with them on abortion.”

          I find erroneous thought, deceptive tactics, and unnecessary polarization on all sides of the abortion issue. I sometimes argue with myself. Needing the votes of some who disagree with them needn’t require those who support legal abortion to abandon their positions on the issue. A middle way that defends secular legal policies while effectively reducing abortions (as through better birth control, adoption, etc) would be preferable to me.
          The history since Republicans and their allies learned to use it as a wedge issue to dupe religious people to vote for politicians who shape policy against their other interests and values has not allowed much compromise. They have pushed, accused, and pushed some more to polarize the issue around election time – much the way they have gun hyperbole, voter ID, and any other tactic that will ramp-up turnout among their following.

          Reply
          1. Barry

            I am a Chrtisan and I agree with your statement “A middle way that defends secular legal policies while effectively reducing abortions (as through better birth control, adoption, etc) would be preferable to me.”

            I am against abortion in most cases. But I don’t want the government making it illegal because it won’t stop it, and women of means will be able to still get wanted abortions, poor women won’t.

            If my young daughter was raped and was pregnant, we’d be on a plane within 24 hours flying to wherever we need to go in the world. American law would not stop us. But people that can buy a plane ticket to anywhere in the world at the drop of a hat can do that.

            But, I don’t vote over a single issue outside of the fact I won’t vote for Trump under any circumstance.

            Reply
          2. Brad Warthen Post author

            Yes, they have — cynically manipulated abortion as a wedge issue…

            I’ve thought that for decades. But Trump has taken it down to a whole new depth.

            Anyone who thinks he gives a damn about the unborn is profoundly deluded.

            Trouble is, many of those who voted for him on this issue KNOW he couldn’t care less, but are persuaded that HE is persuaded that his self-interest lies in nominating justices believed to be pro-life.

            The dynamic created by Roe has made people on both sides very ruthless. And if you’re on the pro-life side, you know that it’s going to take an unrelenting focus, over years and years, to tilt the court your way.

            And that means they’ll do a deal with any devil that gets them there, because they don’t see themselves as able to pass up a single opportunity…

            Reply
      2. bud

        As someone who is NOT a single-issue voter, and who thinks it is of the utmost importance to the nation that the Democrats get their act together and nominate someone who can actually win the general election, …
        -Brad

        I could have written those exact words, and probably millions of others agree. But WHO can actually win is probably where we part company. Based on the tiny number of polls right now Biden looks ever so slightly the better choice. BUT. There just is not much polling right now and I think many voters still have not tuned in. Name recognition is key. I’m starting to think that maybe, just maybe Pete Buttigieg might be the best bet. He’s certainly not as far left on most issues as the Sanders/Warren faction. Unlike Biden he seems thoughtful and attentive to detail. And he’s not so damn old, a factor that will not play well with voters when the septuagenarians start to falter physically. Plus he’s polling pretty well outside of South Carolina. If he can break through with black voters then maybe he’s the guy. Yes, he’s young and inexperienced. That is both a blessing and a curse. What is really puzzling is why the middle aged candidates – Booker, Klobuchar- are not polling better? They split the age/experience difference and have both looked competent or better in the debates.

        Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          As for Pete…

          This post started with a column by Frank Bruni. So I’ll refer to an earlier Bruni column, headlined, “The Agonizing Imperfection of Pete Buttigieg.”

          Bruni has liked Pete from the start, and he starts out this piece by noting how in many ways, Pete fits the bill of Bruni’s ideal candidate.

          But then he gets to the “agonizing imperfection” part:

          He’s a champion of the sensible. In that way, he seems much older than his age.

          But, ugh, that age. My wish for a young candidate didn’t mean a 37-year-old one. There’s much wisdom in this life that’s accrued only with the passage of years, and he’d be better off — and significantly less vulnerable in a general election — if he had even five more of them.

          In 2016, I visited and spent many hours with him in South Bend, then wrote a column with the headline “The First Gay President?” I was looking at least a decade into the future, after he’d extended his résumé beyond South Bend, which has only about 100,000 people.

          I’d be a lot more comfortable if there were an additional zero in that population figure, if he had a better record on race, and if there weren’t quite so many elitist mile markers on his journey to this point….

          Reply
          1. Doug Ross

            Any commet on the Charleston Catholic priest denying communion to Joe Biden because of his support for legal abortion? Was in the news today.

            Seems like that has to be a rule for every Catholic Church Biden attends, right?

            Reply
                1. Doug Ross

                  Do you agree with the decision? Should Joe Biden be allowed to take communion AND support abortion?

                2. Brad Warthen Post author

                  I’m torn about it. I can make the case for denying communion, in the abstract — but in the end, I wouldn’t do it. You know why? Because I look at the whole man, and I also look at the real-world effect of such a gesture: It helps the Trumps of this world.

                  And I’m quite confident that’s not something God would want me to do…

                3. Brad Warthen Post author

                  To the extent that I would WANT to do it, it would be out of weariness at Democratic politicians putting their electability ahead of doing the right thing.

                  This is, of course, one of several reasons why I am not a Democrat.

                  Of course, I recognize that if someone is going to be elected and be able to serve in public office — which I consider to be a noble thing to want to do — it will have to be as a Democrat or a Republican.

                  And Trump has damaged the GOP to where running under that banner is currently unthinkable.

                  So that just leaves Democrats. And Democrats just will not let go of this abortion obsession. (They will continue to do what several of them did in the last debate: Stand up and say, Hey! We’re not talking enough about abortion!)

                  So if you’re going to support someone who has a chance to win and isn’t totally compromised by Trump, you’re stuck with someone who (most likely) has this abortion thing going on.

                  There are rare exceptions like Bob Casey and our own Vincent Sheheen, but too many Catholic Democrats have persuaded themselves they can straddle this fence…

                4. Barry

                  I wonder how many people the priest willingly offered Communion to that are currently:

                  cheating on their spouse
                  In a same sex relationship
                  Divorced and remarried
                  conscious of a grave, unconfessed sin
                  engaged in illegal activities
                  engaged in cheating a business partner
                  practicing unethical dealings in their job

                  Or maybe it’s just about their belief in abortion rights under the law.

                5. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Barry, it seems like you’re trying to imply the priest is somehow a hypocrite — which is an all-too-prevalent accusation that is flung at people who take difficult moral stands in public.

                  That’s not fair. You’re supposing perfect knowledge of these sins on the part of the priest, and you’re also supposing that the congregant has steadfastly refused to repent for these sins. Or that the priest could publicly deny the person communion without violating the sanctity of the confessional.

                  This is a very, very different situation from those you raise. The person in question is standing on a national stage and deliberately, publicly and consistently embracing a position that is directly opposed to a fundamental church teaching about our obligations with regard to a life-and-death issue.

                  The priest not only has an obligation with regard to this one Catholic and his positions, but to take a stand so that other Catholics will see that being famous and powerful doesn’t exempt you from important church teachings.

                  THAT’s the position for this sort of excommunication.

                  I wouldn’t deny communion to Joe. But I can certainly see, and even respect, the case for doing so…

                6. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Also, I’m not entirely sure what you mean when you write, “Or maybe it’s just about their belief in abortion rights under the law.”

                  I think we can all agree what current abortion rights are under the law.

                  A presidential campaign is about a lot of things, and one of them is about what the laws will be GOING FORWARD.

                  Respecting the current law does not excuse a candidate from pursuing policies that are moral in the future.

                  This isn’t a church where everyone gets together and votes on what moral teaching will be this week. I wouldn’t belong to a church like that. I choose to belong to one that has worked hard for 2,000 years to discern constants in the moral universe to the best of human ability, and communicate those beliefs clearly to the world.

                  Joe Biden chooses to belong to that same church. And in this non-democratic institution, it is the clergy’s job to communicate which beliefs are actually the Catholic ones.

                  To be Catholic is to believe certain things. Those things are known, and should not be sloughed off by someone who choose to be Catholic.

                  Again, in the priest’s place I would not deny Joe communion, because I think there are other moral considerations that should be part of the decision. But again, I can certainly see the arguments for doing so….

                7. Harry Harris

                  Heaven forbid if they have used birth control and not repented – or even advocate for availability to other people. I suspect Biden can withstand the withholding of communion by a priest, and can find another opportunity from a priest who’s not into public shaming.
                  I’ve got no quarrel with anyone taking a public moral stand – I just don’t support moral meddlers – priest, politician, Judge Judy, environmental crusader, Trump hater, or Pharisee. Respect conscience while working for what you advocate. Influence the culture to change the wrongs you see happening, but don’t coerce.

                8. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Who’s coercing? Biden takes his stand; and the priest takes his.

                  Although neither stand is merely personal, of course. Biden is showing his support of the party position; the priest is showing his support of the church’s. And mind you, while the pope has made it clear that he’d rather not waste the church’s moral capital on these cultural political battles, he at the same time has reinforced the authority of bishops and priests to deny communion under such circumstances.

                  Joe’s got his politics to deal with, and so does the pope.

                  I’m sort of smiling at myself here, because my strong disapproval of Joe’s position on this does not affect the fact that he’s my guy — and ir reminds me of that hilarious debate sketch on SNL in 2008 in which Joe (Jason Sudeikis) says of John McCain,

                  Look, I love John McCain. He is one of my dearest friends. But at the same time, he’s also dangerously unbalanced…. and again, this is a man I would take a bullet for… he’s a raging maniac… and a dear, dear friend.

                  Great skit…

                9. Bill

                  “I’d like to commend Father Morey for the discretion with which he conducted his holy office, making sure that the local newspaper was informed of his act of public piety. Well done, Father. I expect we will soon be seeing commercials on the television advertising your services like one of those personal-injury law firms. This was a political act and, as such, with a clear sin of pride, profaned the sacrament worse than any vote Joe Biden ever cast.”
                  Charles Pierce

                10. Mark Stewart

                  I’m with Bill, Barry and Harry on this; the priest’s decision to withhold communion from a public official, or anyone he did not have a pastoral relationship with, was a bit rich. It also makes me wonder how he treats his own flock…

                11. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Well, again — he doesn’t have any presidential candidates in his parish. He doesn’t have anyone there in Florence who is taking a national stance — while running for a job that entails nominating justices — that is contrary to the church’s.

                  And doing so on a much, much bigger and bullier pulpit than the one the priest stands at.

                  As for “his own flock”… y’all understand, don’t you, that the Catholic Church is universal, right (which is what “catholic” means)? There’s no wall between members of this parish and visitors like Biden. Their status as members is equal.

                  It’s not like being a Baptist, where if you go to a Baptist church other than your home one, you’re a visitor.

                  When Biden walks into that church, it’s the same as if he’s walking into his home parish church in Delaware or Washington. He’s a member. He’s one of the “flock.”

                  It’s actually one of the reasons I’m Catholic. You’re in communion not only with all other members of the church in the world today, but (at least as I see it; I can’t swear as to the theology), with everyone who has ever been a member across the ages, or ever will be.

                  Maybe it’s because I’m a Navy brat and spent my childhood moving around. I like being a member wherever I go.

                  I also like Starbucks better than local, independent coffee shops. Wherever I go, my Starbucks app works and the coffee is excellent…

                12. Barry

                  “Barry, it seems like you’re trying to imply the priest is somehow a hypocrite ”

                  I wasn’t implying it. I was stating it.

                  The “Rev” Robert E. Morey is a hypocrite.

                13. Barry

                  “It’s actually one of the reasons I’m Catholic. You’re in communion not only with all other members of the church in the world today, but (at least as I see it; I can’t swear as to the theology), with everyone who has ever been a member across the ages, or ever will be.”

                  And it’s one of the many, many, many reasons I am thankful I am not Catholic.

                  I don’t care if a local church thinks I am a visitor or a member. As a Christian, membership in a particular church or church body isn’t my goal or concern.

                  I’m a member of a church, but that fact is a secondary (or lower) concern.

                14. Barry

                  “The priest contacted the paper.”

                  Yep, he did.

                  I always enjoy it when our local Pastor goes public with a private church matter. (Actually the pastor of the church I attend would never do such a stupid thing)

          2. Barry

            “He doesn’t have anyone there in Florence who is taking a national stance — while running for a job that entails nominating justices — that is contrary to the church’s.”

            So for the priest, the issue is “taking a national stance” as opposed to members of his own church who are engaged in:

            cheating on their spouse
            In a same sex relationship
            Divorced and remarried
            conscious of a grave, unconfessed sin
            engaged in illegal activities
            engaged in cheating a business partner
            practicing unethical dealings in their job

            So “taking a national stance” is the key? Is that old or New Testament?

            So those partaking in just “local” sins out in the open in Florence is ok for communion but a “national stance” (whatever that means) is over the line………

            Good gracious what a ridiculous rationalization.

            Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        I think it’s safe to assume that, in a forum such as this in which people share their views on a variety of issues, if you can’t TELL someone voted for Trump, he or she probably did not…

        Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Although now that I think about it, there might be one or two regulars here who voted for Trump (or “against Hillary” as they might tell themselves), and aren’t inclined to share the fact.

          I strongly suspect that some people I am quite close to, friends and family members, voted for Trump in 2016, but have avoided the subject quite carefully. These would be people who I realize suddenly, after three years, have never mentioned Trump in my hearing.

          I don’t confront them about it. We all have done things we’d probably not want to discuss publicly.

          Or rather — MOST people have done things they’d rather not discuss. Some of us are less discreet. I long ago realized that, as someone who won’t shut up about what he thinks, I am not normal…

          Reply
        2. Bill

          Access to safe abortion services is a human right. Under international human rights law, everyone has a right to life, a right to health, and a right to be free from violence, discrimination, and torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

          Human rights law clearly spells out that decisions about your body are yours alone – this is what is known as bodily autonomy.

          Forcing someone to carry on an unwanted pregnancy, or forcing them to seek out an unsafe abortion, is a violation of their human rights, including the rights to privacy and bodily autonomy.

          In many circumstances, those who have no choice but to resort to unsafe abortions also risk prosecution and punishment, including imprisonment, and can face cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and discrimination in, and exclusion from, vital post-abortion health care.

          Access to abortion is therefore fundamentally linked to protecting and upholding the human rights of women, girls and others who can become pregnant, and thus for achieving social and gender justice.

          Reply
      2. Karen Pearson

        Hillary, of course. I checked out all the evil and/or illegal things that Hillary was supposed to have done, or at least as many as I could find that weren’t completely absurd and found that none of them were illegal, and few that appeared unethical when one looked at the facts. Then I looked at what Trump has done. After doing that I didn’t even have to pause while selecting my choice.

        Reply
    2. Bob Amundson

      Single issue voting scares me. A friend, with whom I’ve never discussed politics until the other day, likes President Trump because the economy is so good. I had absolutely no luck trying to explain a strong economy is much more complex than having a President set certain policies (tax cuts!). After all, how many understand the difference between fiscal and monetary policy?

      Reply
      1. bud

        The president is important to the health of the economy. But what constitutes a healthy economy? Wage growth has been pretty tepid for years. The budget deficit is exploding. People are losing healthcare coverage. Apparently the situation for many is desperate enough that suicide rates are skyrocketing. While it is true that some economic metric numbers are good they don’t tell the whole story.

        Reply
  2. Mr. Smith

    “…it’s possible that he convinces himself that any assertion that is helpful, or that he perceives as helpful, to Donald Trump is automatically true.”

    Yes, the man has been a salesman, a shameless self-promoter his entire life. So whatever helps the “brand” is good. Even if it’s something bad, so long as it keeps him in the public eye, stirs up his base and makes them feel they have to rally to his defense, because some part of them identifies with him, then it’s still good.

    More importantly with respect to his fans: Is a lie a lie if your audience wants to believe it? In an objective sense, yes. But the art of politics is more about perception than factual truth. You can reshape the political landscape, even the world, if you can get people to believe the “greater truth” you have to tell. Every political movement has been built on this to one degree or another.

    Reply
  3. Mark Stewart

    Trump manifests extreme personality disorder. Full stop. That’s it. Yes, he is honest in that he telegraphs his inner demons, projects onto others what he clearly feels about himself and is, deep down, just a terrified little boy.

    I pity him , not hate him. But I want him gone from office; he is incapable of fulfilling the obligations – and the responsibilities – of the office of President.

    Reply
  4. Harry Harris

    There’s certainly a difference between erroneous and lying. There is a difference between disregarding or disputing facts that don’t support one’s positions and being hyperbolic in stating one’s conclusions. I think President Trump is pervasively guilty of all four. The big conclusion I draw is that he cares nothing for honesty. Truth and honesty are irrelevant to him as he pursues his ends and interests. This is corroborated by numerous persons who have known him for decades as collaborators, business associates, a co-author, and recent appointees. Only the most crass – spelled Graham (Lindsey and Franklin) defend him. Evil, I tell you.

    Reply
    1. Bill

      His ghostwriter on The Art of the Deal, Tony Schwartz, told Reddit during an Ask Me Anything session that the president is “the most purely evil human being” Schwartz has ever met.
      “I believe deeply that most people are better than their worst behaviours,” he wrote. “I also believe there are some who are simply irredeemable and evil. [Psychiatrist and author] Scott Peck called them ‘People of the Lie’. They lack any conscience, as Trump does, and so they’re almost purely evil. Trump is the most purely evil human being I’ve ever met, and also the most insecure.”

      Reply
  5. Karen Pearson

    Hillary, of course. I checked out all the evil and/or illegal things that Hillary was supposed to have done, or at least as many as I could find that weren’t completely absurd and found that none of them were illegal, and few that appeared unethical when one looked at the facts. Then I looked at what Trump has done. After doing that I didn’t even have to pause while selecting my choice.

    Reply
    1. bud

      Karen I couldn’t agree with you more about Hillary. She’s been investigated more than any human being on earth. And very little (I won’t say nothing) has come of it. I find her to be a decent and honorable human being.

      Reply
      1. Barry

        Trump also found her to be decent and honorable (though that makes her look worse to me considering his judgment)

        Recall after Benghazi Trump stated on video that she had done a good job as Sec. of State.

        Reply
  6. Doug Ross

    Was Joe Biden being honest when he said he wouldn’t take Super PAC money now that he is… going to be taking Super PAC money? Yeah, there is NO coordination ever between a campaign and PACs. Everyone is totally ethical on both sides.

    Or is this just another case of anything said during a campaign doesn’t actually have to be truthful?

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Look, Joe Biden has only disappointed me twice as a candidate, and both times were when he was trying to change to please the adamant partisans.

      And now that I start to type this, I can’t remember what one of the instances was. I had been carrying it around at the back of my mind as a possible blog post… and now I’ve forgotten it, for the moment.

      But the one I DO remember was abandoning the Hyde Amendment after being for it for 40 years.

      What else was there like that? Maybe y’all can help me remember…. It was something else that made me think something like, “Oh, don’t go bowing down to those people, Joe. Be yourself…”

      You’ve got to think like me to come up with it, though. The things that bother y’all aren’t necessarily the things that bother me…

      Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Nah… the opposite of that. It was something where he was pandering to the base.

          Actually, you know, the thing Doug brings up about promising not to take super-PAC money sort of fits. But frankly, I wouldn’t care about that one way or the other. Take the money or don’t take the money; I don’t care. It’s just money, and you need it to run a campaign.

          No, it was something more like caving on the Hyde Amendment…

          Reply
          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Which reminds me of a story I remembered and told my wife last night about the campaign…

            There were questionnaires from various group that Phil Chambers and I would sort of tag-team filling them out, with the hopes that if they liked our answers they’d give money.

            Recently, I found one of those thick, multi-page questionnaires wadded up in my laptop bag — one that I sorta kinda “forgot” to finish filling out, in part because I didn’t want to give them the kinds of answers they wanted, but I really didn’t want to make a problem for James by giving answers they would NOT like. It’s one thing to not get money; it’s another to have them come out against you.

            No, I didn’t do anything wrong by not getting it done. There were SO many things that should have been done that I didn’t have time for — as our campaign manager Scott Hogan kept saying, there should have been five of me, but we couldn’t afford it. It’s just that this particular thing that didn’t get done was also something I didn’t WANT to do, so there’s a twinge of guilt there…

            Reply
          2. bud

            What’s wrong with his change on the Hyde Amendment? Seems like a perfectly reasonable change to make that allows all women access to a legal medical procedure. That’s not pandering, but rather a recognition of what is right, finally. But as you say I don’t think like you on this issue and will never understand the outlaw-something-but-don’t-have-a-penalty-for-it position. Clearly the most absurd policy position ever. But that is the law in Alabama.

            Taking the PAC money on the other hand IS pretty bad. But both are clear flip-flops. Not that I’m all that big on criticizing the whole flip flop thing. Sometimes changing your mind is appropriate. Like when Obama changed his mind about DOMA. At the urging of Joe Biden I might add.

            Reply
            1. Barry

              Flip flops don’t bother me at all because everyone does it repeatedly, including supporters who SAY they hate flip flops.

              It’s as human as breathing.

              Reply
    2. Barry

      Biden was being honest when he said it and is honest when he changed his mind. Big deal. Flip Flops are as routine as drinking water.

      The only person who doesn’t change their mind is someone buried in the ground.

      Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        I agree with you Barry. But then I don’t see some great morality play in whether someone takes money from a super PAC. If you decide not to do it and want to tell people, fine. If you change your mind and want to tell people that, too, fine again. Whatever…

        Reply
  7. bud

    I had an interesting discussion with my liberal brother today about the “lock him up” chant at the world series. I’m actually of the opinion that this is inappropriate, even for someone as vile as Trump. Liberals should be better than that. A better reaction would have been stone cold silence.

    Reply
    1. Doug Ross

      I agree, bud. I don’t think liberals understand that they are setting the bar lower and lower for “normal” behavior if a Democrat wins next year. Republicans did it to Obama and Democrats have followed suit… and, in my opinion, sunk even lower. A day doesn’t go by now that some well known person writes something akin to “F$$$ Trump” on Twitter.

      Just wait til Biden or Warren wins. It’s going to be brutal.

      Reply
    2. Barry

      I disagree. Nothing said in political speech is inappropriate anymore in such a setting. The “lock him up” chant was beautiful.

      When women at Trump rallies are saying Trump can grab their private parts and they are happy with it, and describe it in detail, it’s revealing where we are at.

      Reply
      1. David T

        So now the Democrats are using the same chant that they once chastised Trump supporters from using when they would chant, “Lock her up” when he’d talk about Hillary. Do they even know what they want or just go with whatever depending on which way the wind blows that day?

        Reply
        1. Barry

          There is nothing to be gained from taking the high road.

          If trump supporters want political opponents jailed, there is ZERO reason why democrats should not return the favor.

          You aren’t going to be able to have it both ways David T. Just isn’t going to work that way.

          Reply
    3. Brad Warthen Post author

      I’m with you on that, Bud. Which is why I liked this Tweet earlier today:

      Reply
    4. Mr. Smith

      Silence shows too much respect for that pile of excrement.
      But given the venue, I would have preferred the chant: “Throw him out!”

      Reply
      1. David T

        Wow, you are really wound up today. Did you not get a good night’s sleep last night? Now I know what arguing in a nursing home sounds like.

        Reply
  8. Harry Harris

    Now, I’m depressed. Probably residual from my Boy Scout days. I’ve got this “follow the rules, but don’t be mean to those who don’t” syndrome.

    On abortion, I get frustrated by folks’ not seeing the difference between secular law and theology-driven morality. Most argument I’ve heard against Roe v Wade-determined legal abortion is theology or scripture-based, and much of it I consider questionable interpretation of scripture or distorted theology.
    Why should some people be allowed to force their doctrine-based view of personhood on others through force of law? The way the latest wave of state level Republican-backed anti-abortion laws are written, they seem to be intended to intimidate as well. I think most of us understand the main reason behind them is rallying parts of their constituency to vote in upcoming elections.

    Reply
  9. Norm Ivey

    Either he knows he’s lying or he’s a sociopath. I’m not sure which is worst.

    In my most cynical, pessimistic moments, I look at what’s happening on so many fronts and I can believe that we have peaked as a nation. Trump’s lying and the rest of his clueless, egotistical, self-serving behavior is repulsive, but, as Karen observes, the fact that people I know and love can see and hear the same things I see and hear and NOT be repulsed is disheartening.

    We don’t get out of this spiral until we quit picking political sides like we’re deciding who to pull for in a baseball game.

    Reply
    1. Barry

      A former friend of mine at my church wrote on Facebook page this week that all he cares about are results from Trump. (Someone sent me a screenshot of his post)

      When one of his own family members posted that they disliked Trump because of his repeated insults to so many people, my former friend stated he just “cares about the results.”

      Now as you can likely predict, all he cared about when OBama was in office was where OBama was born and how he was a socialist and “wouldn’t work with republicans.”

      I just don’t want people like that in my life.

      Reply
      1. Realist

        “I just don’t want people like that in my life.”

        Did your “former friend” become a “former friend” because of his opinion of Obama or because of his position on Trump?

        If it was because of his opinion of Obama and you chose to end it, then I can to a degree understand but if it was ended because of Trump, then I have a difficult time reconciling it.

        My reasoning is that when your favorite was in office, you had the advantage and still maintained the friendship even with his opinion of Obama. However, when Trump was elected and in office, apparently you chose to end the friendship because you as you stated, “I just don’t want people like that in my life.”

        Query. Did your “former friend” ever try to end the friendship because of your support of Obama or dislike of Trump? If he didn’t, then it is apparent the “friendship” didn’t exist to begin with or was never strong enough to be considered a “friendship”.

        My reason for stating such is that I have friends who are adamantly against or for Trump and some who were adamantly against or for Obama. I won’t sacrifice them over differences and/or preferences of a politician.

        I am not a Trump supporter and believe he should be removed from office but members of my family and some friends who are solidly behind him will remain friends and I won’t be the one to end it. That is the unfortunate legacy that will be a result of his time in office and will continue to widen the gap between normally civilized and reasonable people.

        Reply
        1. Barry

          I didn’t have a favorite. I didn’t vote for OBama and almost never supported his policy proposals.

          The answer is “ both”

          His blatant hypocrisy is why he is now a former friend ( and he is aware of my reasoning)

          Reply
      2. David T

        I find it interesting that people will disown family, end life long friendships all over who’s in the White House. My best friend since the 2nd grade was heavily involved in the Obama campaign in Minnesota. I didn’t lose any sleep over it, nor did it affect our friendship. I guess we’re just insecure petty people. This type of action reeks of “I’m taking my ball and going home” mentality.

        Reply
        1. Barry

          I haven’t disowned family over anything. He wasn’t a lifelong friend. He had been a friend for about 20 years.

          I’m not disappointed in the outcome. A guy that hypocritical isn’t to be trusted with anything.

          I’m not telling this story for sympathy because there is no regret on my end at all. It’s just the reality of the deal.

          Reply
          1. David T

            What hell, it was a good 20 years… but it’s over now because you have a political disagreement. Makes sense to me. Actually it sounds like a wasted friendship and that you weren’t really friends in the first place.

            Reply
            1. Barry

              It’s irrelevant at this point. Who wants to be friends with a raging hypocrite who changes his stances based on who wins the presidency…….. I sure don’t.

              Is like getting rid of a bad virus. You are only glad it’s gone.

              Reply
              1. Realist

                Thanks for further clarifying your original post and the one I responded to.

                The only other comment I have to offer is that apparently your former friend was a raging hypocrite on issues other than who is POTUS. Someone who is driven by the changing winds of fortune instead of one who stays the course on issues unless he or she is presented with compelling evidence to change their position on an issue or individual. Even then it is impossible to get a firm reading on who and what they really are about.

                Agree with the virus comparison. See, it is not difficult to change an opinion once sufficient evidence or clarification is provided.

                Reply
        2. Brad Warthen Post author

          “I find it interesting that people will disown family, end life long friendships all over who’s in the White House.”

          You don’t get it, David — at all. Like many Trump supporters, you think having Trump in the White House can be compared to having previous people in the White House.

          It can’t. You can’t make comparisons to Obama, or Bush, or Clinton, or the other Bush, or Reagan or Carter or Ford or Nixon, and on and on.

          All of those people were more or less qualified for the job, even those — Nixon and Clinton — who brought shame on the office.

          There has never, ever, been anyone who disgraced the office simply by holding it to the degree that Trump has done since Day One.

          The others, even Nixon and Clinton, knew how to behave in public. Trump does not. He has no clue.

          There has never been anyone so entirely unqualified and unprepared, and who couldn’t care less about it. There has never been anyone so immune to learning on the job. There has never been someone so vulgar, so vindictive, so self-absorbed, so ready to do things to benefit himself, even MATERIALLY, right in front of everybody, without the slightest trace of shame or embarrassment.

          This guy is EXACTLY the kind of person our Founders feared getting into the office, the guy they were thinking of when they created the Electoral College, impeachment, and every other form of hedging our bets to prevent it.

          So it just makes zero sense to say, “Well, I didn’t act this way when Obama (or Bush or Nixon or whoever) was in office…”

          This is not politics as usual. This is a profound national crisis. Comparisons have no value…

          Reply
          1. Barry

            “You don’t get it, David — at all.”

            Understatement of the year. Thank God I only have to respond to his repeatedly “not getting it” online.

            Reply
            1. David T

              You could always just ignore me rather than get bent all out of shape over something I write. We’ve never met, yet things I write seem to keep raise your blood pressure and keep you up at night. I don’t agree with what a lot of you write, but I don’t get deeply concerned over what a stranger says.

              Reply
              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                “things I write seem to keep raise your blood pressure and keep you up at night”

                Nope.

                You no what keeps me up at night? Baseball. I’m tired this morning. Happy, but tired…

                Reply
                1. David T

                  Well I’m guessing you now have an adrenaline boost this morning now that the House has voted right down party lines (except fro two Democrats) to go forward with impeachment. 2020 is going to be a bloodbath compared to 2016. I blame Nancy Pelosi, the best thing that can happen for this country is for Nancy to choke on her dentures.

                2. Brad Warthen Post author

                  You must not read what I say here, David.

                  What have I said to indicate that I’m in any way pleased by the impeachment process? This thing is going to be a mess, almost certain to increase polarization in the country, and highly unlikely to have any sort of positive result.

                  I do believe the Congress is obliged to pursue this course, however. It has a constitutional duty to react and do its best to check such grossly inappropriate behavior as a president using hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money to press a foreign government to help him get political advantage at home. If that’s not impeachable, NOTHING is.

                  It was bad enough when the White House released that transcript of the phone call. That was pretty much all that was needed to understand that Congress can’t ignore its duty. All these witnesses, one after another, adding to that narrative has been overwhelming.

                  But I still don’t expect a good result.

                  I’m dreading the day that the Senate disgraces itself by declining to convict. That will be an ugly day for our Republic…

                3. Doug Ross

                  Can someone clarify – did Trump actually make a deal with the Ukrainians on investigating Biden? Was there an exchange that was completed – the quo to the quid?

                  If so, that would seem to be easy to prove. If it’s only about Trump “saying” something that would suggest a potential quid pro quo arrangement, is that an impeachable offense? Words not deeds?

                4. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Yes, that is an impeachable offense. Taking hundreds of millions in congressionally appropriated money and holding on to it — keeping it from the country Congress intended it for — while telling the leader of that country about the personal favors you wanted from him…

                  Yeah, that’s impeachable.

                5. Harry Harris

                  “No person shall knowingly solicit, accept, or receive from a foreign national any contribution or donation prohibited by paragraphs (b) through (d) of this section.”

                  Is asking for something a solicitation? Contribution is defined as “anything of value” in the law. Without the withheld aid in the picture, the asking for dirt on the Bidens from a foreign official looks like a clear violation of campaign finance law. While campaign finance violations usually get less than a wrist slap, this one will likely add to the list of impeachable offenses because of the grave and dark nature of the events surrounding it.

                6. David T

                  “I’m dreading the day that the Senate disgraces itself by declining to convict. That will be an ugly day for our Republic…”

                  Well I guess they could always contact you as an expert witness, because according to you Trump is already guilty and should be packing his bags and heading back to NYC.

                  You try to come off as impartial and non-partisan but you’ve all but tattoo’d a donkey across your forehead.

                7. Harry Harris

                  “So there was dirt (the value) on Biden that was obtained?”
                  Doesn’t matter. Soliciting an action aimed at finding something was illegal. So is holding up a guy who has no money. It’s the act, not the results.

                8. Doug Ross

                  So he asked for something he didn’t get (an investigation of potential corruption by a candidate running for President) by offering something that Ukraine ended up getting anyway (foreign aid)?

                  That’s going to play out well.

                  “I said I was going to shoplift a candy bar but then I paid for it”

                9. Doug Ross

                  Just so I’m clear – Trump’s phone call was worse than this:

                  “Senior administration officials secretly facilitated the sale of arms to Iran, which was the subject of an arms embargo.[ The administration hoped to use the proceeds of the arms sale to fund the Contras in Nicaragua. Under the Boland Amendment, further funding of the Contras by the government (except for the Office of the President and the National Security Council) had been prohibited by Congress.”

                10. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Yep, it was. As an impeachable offense, it was.

                  That was wrong, but it was carried out by people who were pursuing policies they saw as being good for the country. They wanted to support the Contras, and that was a discrete way of doing so. They were trying to be clever, but in order to facilitate something they saw as in the country’s interest.

                  Whereas Trump is twisting U.S. policy toward Ukraine — undermining and firing loyal, capable diplomats in favor of Rudy and his shifty friends, not to mention the things at stake in that July 25 call — all for the benefit of Donald J. Trump.

                  So yeah, it’s worse.

                  Never thought anyone would provoke me into defending Ronald Reagan, but when you ask me to compare to Trump — yeah, Trump’s worse…

          2. David T

            So what I’m hearing from Brad is that he would disown a family member if they supported Trump. Brad would end lifelong friendships if the friend was a Trump supporter. End personal relationships over something he has 0% control over or is unlikely to personally suffer from anything any President of the United States said or did during his term. I feel sorry for people like this, they get way too wound up over things they have absolutely no control over. It reminds me of Clemson vs USC sports fans.

            Reply
            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              “So what I’m hearing from Brad is that he would disown a family member if they supported Trump. Brad would end lifelong friendships if the friend was a Trump supporter.”

              Where on Earth do you get this? I’ve said nothing that in any way suggests such a conclusion.

              My previous comment was prompted by you saying, “My best friend since the 2nd grade was heavily involved in the Obama campaign in Minnesota. I didn’t lose any sleep over it…” (I should have included that part when I quoted you, because that’s what those paragraphs are responding to.)

              That comment points to the communications barrier between us. You think the current situation can be compared to previous ones. No. Never, ever in American history has someone so outrageously unfit been president of the United States.

              I wouldn’t expect you to “lose sleep” over someone’s support of Obama, or Bush, or any previous president in our lifetimes. Why on Earth would you?

              Reply
              1. David T

                “I find it interesting that people will disown family, end life long friendships all over who’s in the White House.”

                You don’t get it, David — at all. Like many Trump supporters, you think having Trump in the White House can be compared to having previous people in the White House.
                —————
                You didn’t state anything where you disagreed with my comment. You are so consumed by Trump it seems that it dictates your every comment and action in your waking life. It’s sad that there are people out there who will end or have ended personal relationships over political differences. Maybe I just don’t have the political passion that some do, at this level I don’t base personal relationships on politics like say Barry does.

                Reply
                1. Barry

                  “ It’s sad that there are people out there who will end or have ended personal relationships over political differences.”

                  It’s not sad. It’s actually fine. It has been for me (and others)

                  That’s not to say all political differences are a big deal. They aren’t. When Obama was President, I had friends that supported his policies and we had good discussions and differences.

                  Trump support, in some cases, revealed to me that some of my friends had racist views. It’s also revealed to me the pure hypocrisy of many of them given their previous near constant refrain of how strong morals In a leader was always of preeminent concern- until Trump came along then only policies mattered.

                  It’s not a sad outcome to be rid of people in your life that are 100% pure hypocrites on important matters.

                2. Barry

                  “It’s sad that there are people out there who will end or have ended personal relationships over political differences.”

                  It’s not sad. It’s actually fine. It has been for me (and others)

                  That’s not to say all political differences are a big deal. They aren’t. When Obama was President, I had friends that supported his policies and we had good discussions and differences.

                  Trump support, in some cases, revealed to me that some of my friends had racist views. It’s also revealed to me the pure hypocrisy of many of them given their previous near constant refrain of how strong morals In a leader was always of preeminent concern- until Trump came along then only policies mattered.

                  It’s not a sad outcome to be rid of people in your life that are 100% pure hypocrites on important matters.

          3. David T

            I’ll go back with a response that’s an oldie but a goodie and one that can only be expressed by the one and only Archie Bunker.

            Reply
          4. David T

            What’s going to be interesting is when Trump gets re-elected. The reaction from the left is going to downright despicable, and I expect I won’t be able to hold back my laughter. I don’t know what’s going to happen on places like this blog, I suspect Brad will just give up all hope for humanity and stay in bed for next four years praying that 80-something Joe Biden can beat Pence in 2024…. that is if he can beat Bernie Sanders in the primary first.

            Reply
            1. Barry

              It won’t matter much other than increase the blowback for hypocritical conservatives when the next democrat wins the presidency and dismantles everything to the extreme in the other direction.

              Reply
              1. David T

                It’s only degrading for those who want to see it degrade. For me the past few years have been some of the best in recent years. In fact my retirement has been moved up five years from where I earlier planned.

                Reply
                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  That was an odd jump in subject matter.

                  What does the degradation of the country the last couple of years have to do with you and your retirement?

                  That’s not one of those “I’m doing well financially, so everything is fine” things, is it?

                  I’ve accused you of failing to understand my points. But I have to confess, I absolutely don’t understand people who think that way. But I’m always running into it. You know, people who agree with the Clinton campaign dictum, “It’s the economy, stupid.”

                  I always thought that was offensive, and I’ve had kind of a negative opinion of James Carville ever since.

                  Yes, I know lots of people vote on the basis of their sense of economic well-being, but to me that’s unimaginable. And I am insulted by any politician who promises to do something to benefit me

                2. Doug Ross

                  The country as a whole HASN’T degraded. Certain pockets of people FEEL like it has — compare that to the number of people who actually felt it in reality back in 2008-2010.

                  The economy is strong. Anyone who wants a job can work. When I go out, I see restaurants that are jam packed, theme parks are doing record business, plenty of disposable income being spent. As I’ve said before, there has never been a better time in American history if you are a minority, a woman… maybe it’s only a little worse for us old white guys thanks to the constant blame we get.

                  What you see as degradation is really a defense against the idea that the world may not conform to your views. Yeah, we have an oafish egotistical guy in the White House… but, guess what? The world keeps spinning, the country keeps moving forward…

                  What we have is a bunch of people who looked very foolish in 2016 by showing just how out of touch they were… and they’ve spent 2.5 years of daily whining and moaning to compensate. There is so much surrogate outrage from the left now — feeling outrage for nameless, faceless others… constantly “fighting”, endlessly jumping on every single tweet and word that Trump says. It has to be exhausting to be THAT bothered by Trump.

                3. David T

                  What’s odd about it? I’m simply stating that since Trump was sworn in my situation has done nothing but improve. Most I know would say the same thing. Unemployment numbers are at all time lows, people are working, people who were on government subsidies are getting off them, and overwell the economy is in positive numbers. The only people I know who are miserable are those who enjoy being miserable and try to make everyone elses lives around them miserable. I’m sorry Brad that we pulled out of Syria, I agree with Trump in saying that we don’t need to be in the middle of a never-ending war. The history of that part of the world is constant land grab where whoever wins that week’s battle takes control. Next week it’ll likely change. What happens over there doesn’t play any part in my life. I don’t live in the lifetime of the founding fathers like you dream about. Civilization is fluid, you can’t lock yourself into what you consider to be the utopian period of this country’s history. Well I guess you could have worn a powdered wig to work today and nobody would have said anything…

                4. David T

                  “It has to be exhausting to be THAT bothered by Trump.”

                  I’ve mentioned something similar here, but apparently those people who wake up mad every morning simply because Trump is still in the White House say and do nothing but bitch and moan about what he tweeted out that day say they’re fine. The fact is they are where Trump wants them, they’re obsessed with his every move, they are constantly thinking and talking about what he’s doing and that’s what he wants. It a Battle 101 technique to get into your opponents head. What have the Democrats accomplished since Trump took office… nothing. Their entire agenda is focused on what can they do to disrupt or get rid of Trump. So far Trump is winning because he’s getting things done, and the Democrats are tossing out anything and everything hoping something sticks. From the Republican side, it’s actually comical to watch.

                5. Mark Stewart

                  I have been a lifelong Republican. I also don’t think what is happening today is funny. We have to choose, now, between the Constitution and the man in the office of the President. That’s a no-brainer for me.

                  Saying “Trump has got things done” is completely beside the point. It’s a non sequitur at best. And I disagree that his politics of hate and avarice are “good.”

                6. David T

                  “Saying “Trump has got things done” is completely beside the point. ”

                  Okay. Let’s just focus on the negative then. I swear I don’t know how some of you people make it through the day without looking for a building to swan dive off of. Life must really suck if this is the way you look at everything.

                7. bud

                  When I go out, I see restaurants that are jam packed, theme parks are doing record business, plenty of disposable income being spent.
                  -Doug

                  That’s one way to look at it. Here’s another. Life expectancy is declining. Suicide rates are up. The opioid scandal runs unabated. Retail stores are closing at record levels. The uninsured rate is rising. Sectarian violence is soaring. Farmers are hurting. Debt, both private and public, are at record levels. The Fed just cut interest rates so there must be evidence of a slowdown to justify this action. Many, including teachers, are working second jobs to make ends meet. Immigrants and religious minorities are targeted for discrimination by our government. And the Gamecocks are suffering through a losing season on the gridiron. :) Whether we’re doing well as a nation or not depends on your zip-code. Apparently Blythewood is in the good place.

                8. David T

                  bud states a perfect example of what I’m talking about with people who live to be miserable. Rather than reflect on what’s positive in this country he states a laundry list of the negative. Some people just aren’t happy unless they’re unhappy.

                  bud, Brad and I all live in Lexington County. I’m happy and bud and Brad are miserable… so bud’s theory of well being based on location isn’t true.

                9. Doug Ross

                  bud, if you think Donald Trump caused those situations or that some Democrat can solve them, you’re in for a lot of disappointment in the coming years.

                  I see the glass half full, bud and Brad see it broken and empty and are stepping purposefully on the shards of glass to make sure they can feel the pain continuously.

                  Life’s about choices.

                10. David T

                  “How am I miserable living in Lexington County? I like it fine.”

                  How can you be happy and fine in Lexington County? bud lives there and he’s stating you have to live in Blythwood to be happy. I’m the exception because I too live in Lexington County and I’m not one here stating how miserable things are in this country all because of Trump, in fact I’m here stating just the opposite.

                11. Barry

                  “ It’s only degrading for those who want to see it degrade. For me the past few years have been some of the best in recent years. In fact my retirement has been moved up five years from where I earlier planned.”

                  I didn’t vote for Obama but I made more money (and had bigger pay increases, and business success) in his tenure than under any President in my lifetime.

                  But I didn’t use those facts to talk about how great Obama was as a President.

                12. bud

                  Everybody see what Doug just did. He sets up a particular premise, i.e., the nation has not degraded over the course of the Trump presidency. He uses several examples, theme parks are crowded, that allegedly support this premise. When challenged with examples that refute this premise Doug changes the subject. Typical deflection tactic. If you can’t win an argument on the merits talk about something else.

                13. Harry Harris

                  A huge key factor that Republicans choose to ignore and take pains to cover up is the folly of building an economy on debt (public and private). Reagan did it profoundly. Bush 1 did it somewhat. Bush 2 did it. Trump is doing it. Brag about an economy built on debt and lie about it. That’s what they do.
                  What did the Democrats do? They worked to clean it up.

                14. Doug Ross

                  Sorry, bud, I didn’t deflect.. I challenged YOU to prove that those supposed examples of degradation can be correlated to the election of Donald Trump. My contention is that whoever in the White House has little effect on the general status of the nation as a whole. Donald Trump isn’t responsible for opined addiction, suicide rates, or insurance coverage. Several of the items you mentioned are just plan hyperbole. There is no “sectarian violence”…

                  The country isn’t degrading. It’s better in many areas and has problems in others.

                  I ask you directly – would you rather be in 2009 now or 2019?

                15. Doug Ross

                  The “Misery Index” as calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is at 5.21. The trend has been steadily going down since February 2017.

                  For those who like charts, here’s the data from 1948 forward:

                  https://inflationdata.com/articles/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Misery-Index2-September-2019a.png

                  The worst period was June 1980 when it was at 20%. Remember those good old days of high inflation and high unemployment? Oh, to be back there again when everyone loved everybody else, Ronald Reagan was our Lord and Savior, Democrats and Republicans never had a cross word between them.

                  Consumer Confidence is also high.

                  So keep looking for the rocks in the rose garden.

                16. bud

                  I ask you directly – would you rather be in 2009 now or 2019?
                  -Doug

                  That’s easy, 2009. By a country mile. In 2009 we had hope. The future looked bright. A decent, honorable man was in the White House. And indeed much good was happening in Washington. We would finally have a national health care policy that could address the senseless situation where families were being destroyed by illness. The government would finally work for the people instead of big business. The recession would soon end and these Obama policies would carry forth for a decade to come.

                  Today we’re staring into the abyss. People are losing their health insurance and many with pre-existing conditions could lose health insurance thanks to the Trump administration’s quest to destroy the ACA in the courts.
                  https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/07/09/739653482/the-affordable-care-act-is-back-in-court-5-facts-you-need-to-know

                  Our environment is being destroyed by the big polluters thanks to Trump and his minions. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/climate/trump-environment-rollbacks.html

                  Big pharma is poisoning people while they simultaneously extort ailing families with exorbitant drug pricing. https://www.bloomberg.com/quicktake/drug-prices

                  Violence by white nationalist groups is growing.
                  https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/white-nationalism-fueled-violence-rise-fbi-slow-call-it-domestic-n1039206

                  We continue to have good jobs reports but this won’t last forever. The inverted yield curve and the Fed’s cutting of interest rates indicates the good economic times may soon be coming to an end. All the Trump supporters should understand he is not on their side. This will be readily apparent, even to the orange koolaid drinkers come the first bad job numbers.

                17. Barry

                  Bud wrote “Everybody see what Doug just did. He sets up a particular premise, i.e., the nation has not degraded over the course of the Trump presidency. He uses several examples, theme parks are crowded, that allegedly support this premise. When challenged with examples that refute this premise Doug changes the subject. ”

                  With respect Bud, that is his approach to every post. It’s not new. Example:

                  You think Santa Claus is real?

                  Response: uh, what?

                  The Santa at the mall has a fake beard so Santa is obviously not real.

                18. David T

                  “What did the Democrats do? They worked to clean it up.”

                  How so? The national debt doubled under Obama. Obama’s administration pumped money into the Federal Reserve at a constant and record pace. How did they do that? They had the Treasury printing money and pumping it into the economy like no other period in this country’s history.

                  It’s almost like some of you don’t even try to present facts on this blog.

                19. David T

                  “I didn’t vote for Obama but I made more money (and had bigger pay increases, and business success) in his tenure than under any President in my lifetime.”

                  Unless you retired under Obama, I’d be interested to hear how your wages decreased since Trump has been in office. For the most part my wages were pretty much stagnant under Obama, not bad but I wasn’t getting raises and bonuses like I had in the past.

                20. Doug Ross

                  “With respect Bud, that is his approach to every post. It’s not new.”

                  Thanks, “barry”. Insightful as ever. Don’t go changing to try and please me. I’ll send the rent check for the space I occupy in your psyche next week.

                21. David T.

                  “That’s easy, 2009. By a country mile. In 2009 we had hope. ”

                  I believe that was “Hope and Change”. Neither of which blossomed into anything. The only good thing was that the national debt in 2009 was half of what it was in 2016.

                22. Barry

                  “Unless you retired under Obama, I’d be interested to hear how your wages decreased since Trump has been in office. For the most part my wages were pretty much stagnant under Obama, not bad but I wasn’t getting raises and bonuses like I had in the past.”

                  1) I didn’t say anything about my wages decreasing under anyone. Don’t make up stuff.

                  2) I said, i didn’t vote for Obama but I made more money (and had bigger pay increases, and business success) in his tenure than under any President in my lifetime.

                23. David T

                  “2) I said, i didn’t vote for Obama but I made more money (and had bigger pay increases, and business success) in his tenure than under any President in my lifetime.”

                  So if I read this correctly, you made more money under Obama than Trump. What happened?

                  I’m going to say most people made more money under Obama than any President prior to Obama. I’ve made more money under Trump than I did under any year while Obama was President.

                24. Barry

                  You didn’t read it correctly (shocked)

                  “and had bigger pay increases, and business success) in his tenure than under any President in my lifetime.

                  History lesson for you.

                  1) OBama was President for 8 years. Not sure about you but I made more money over his 8 years than Trump’s 3 years. But that’s me.

                  2) as I stated, I had “bigger pay increases and business success” when OBama was President than I have under Trump. That’s just the fact of the matter for me.

                  3). I didn’t say I made less under Trump. You made that up as you are prone to do.

                25. Barry

                  “Thanks, “barry”. Insightful as ever. Don’t go changing to try and please me. I’ll send the rent check for the space I occupy in your psyche next week.

                  I am sure it would bounce.

  10. bud

    This guy is EXACTLY the kind of person our Founders feared getting into the office, the guy they were thinking of when they created the Electoral College,
    -Brad

    OMG! How do you even have the audacity to bring up the vile, reprehensible Electoral College? Shame on you for defending this revolting travesty. It is a scourge on our nation and absolutely needs to go. It serves no purpose. It is a sick manifestation of something the founding fathers believed would prevent Trump. How’s that working out? Whatever was INTENDED with the electoral college let’s be clear about what it actually IS now. It is a crude, wildly ineffective way of APPROXIMATING the popular vote. It does nothing positive. It is 100% wrong. It disenfranchises voters. It is evil, dumb, preposterous and dangerous. Let the people decide! Regardless of where they live. I’ve been saying that since 1976 when Gerald Ford explained the problems with the damn thing. Events have proven Ford right on this.

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Take it easy, bud. I was describing the Framers’ intent, not the current, toothless form of the college. I thought that was clear…

      My point, if I may repeat it, was that Trump is exactly what the Framers feared…

      Reply
      1. David T

        “My point, if I may repeat it, was that Trump is exactly what the Framers feared…”

        I must have missed that, what exactly did they fear? That 240 years into the future a man would come that liberals would not approve of yet become President? Maybe we should go back to Brad’s wishes, back to elections being held the way the founding fathers meant elections to be carried out, that the only people allowed to vote would be male property owners. That would be fine by me.

        I fear in the year 2260 the first cyborg will be elected President after the all transexual Supreme Court ruling in 2258 stating that robots were granted the right to vote.

        Reply
        1. Doug Ross

          Pretty sure the framers had no idea a black man would become President either… otherwise some of them might have tried to put in a clause to prevent it.

          Reply
          1. David T

            Had they, they would have likely kept the monarchy style of governing rather than one day risk the chance of the field help ruling the country.

            Reply
                1. Doug Ross

                  It’s interesting how people think the framers were some kind of super geniuses not seen before or since.

                2. David T

                  Let’s put this out there. The framers were all older white males who were all successful and very wealthy people, most of whom were slave owners. How would they be viewed today? Probably closer to Trump than Sanders.

                3. David T

                  “It’s interesting how people think the framers were some kind of super geniuses not seen before or since.”

                  Here’s a fun challenge, who today would be a framer? Donald Trump, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet, Larry Ellison and a couple of the Walton family. What do they all have in common?

              1. David T

                Please explain it to me then. I’m going to throw out a cliche internet fight statement and say that I’m likely more intelligent than you are. I just don’t have a constant bleeding heart like you do.

                Reply
                1. Mark Stewart

                  “Let’s put this out there. The framers were all older white males who were all successful and very wealthy people, most of whom were slave owners. How would they be viewed today? Probably closer to Trump than Sanders.” David T

                  Intelligence is one thing, education another.

                2. Doug Ross

                  Education is limited to what you are exposed to… and people as they age tend to limit themselves to material that conforms to their world view.

                  But, really, there is no uncertainty about exactly what the framers of the Constitution meant 230 years ago. They were all prescient super beings capable of predicting all sorts of political, sociological, and technological advances more than two centuries in the future. They anticipated Civil War, a population that would increase 110-fold, a country that expanded across the continent, and “eventually” treating women and blacks as equals 200 years later.

                  I regret missing school the day that was taught.

                3. Brad Warthen Post author

                  I’m sorry you missed class that day, too. We had a wonderful time. We had an extra-long recess, and ice cream was handed out. We were all saying, “Doug is going to be so ticked that he missed this!”

                  Sad as your absence was, I’m glad you’ve caught up with the material and see the full picture now.

                  :)

                4. Brad Warthen Post author

                  I need to correct one thing, though. You said “people as they age tend to limit themselves to material that conforms to their world view.”

                  “As they age” has nothing to do with it. Confirmation bias is a real thing that pretty much crosses all demographic groups.

                  Of course, it’s somewhat more prevalent among people who are comfortable in one or another of our political tribes, and can embrace that group’s talking points.

                  But we’re all human, and fallible.

                5. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Oh, by the way, I’ve been tested on this.

                  Those of you who are familiar with the Myers-Briggs model may recall that the last of the four scales runs from “Judger” to “Perceiver.”

                  A Judger makes his mind up about something and that’s it. He’s not moving off that position. A Perceiver has an affinity for constantly taking in new information and re-evaluating his position.

                  I’m a Perceiver (seems like that should be the title of a Monkees song).

                  That said, by way of full disclosure, I’m not on the extreme end of perceiving. I’m an INTP. I’m an extreme I (introvert, meaning I get my energy from within, rather than from what others think of me) and an extreme N (meaning intuitive).

                  But I’m closer to the middle on T (thinking, rather than feeling) and P….

                6. David T

                  “Intelligence is one thing, education another.”

                  Okay, I think I’ll play this hand. Can you beat a Master’s degree in Computer Science and about halfway through an MBA program (which I dropped out of realizing that everyone and their cousin was getting an MBA at the time) with a handful of advanced computer certifications and 30 years in the field?

                  So are you going to bluff or fold?

                7. Doug Ross

                  Brad – if you think you are a perceiver vs. a judger, the test is broken. I’ve been following your blog for as long as anyone.. and you are as intractable in your opinions as anyone — to the extreme. Once you decide something (“Joe Biden is great”) , you ignore every bit of evidence to the contrary.

                8. David T

                  “David T(roll)”

                  When you can’t win and have nothing to add, namecall. It’s an arguing tactic mastered by junior high school girls.

                  “I will hold my cards.”

                  So you’re going to bluff, because you can’t beat my hand. Pretty much what I thought, all talk with nothing to back it up.

                9. David T

                  “Give it a break; you’re just embarrassing yourself.”

                  It’s probably better advice to do what everyone else does around you, not take your advice. The only person embarrassed is you, you can’t keep up with the discussion so you keep trying to change the subject.

          1. Mark Stewart

            I am in awe of the structure that they negotiated in and around our Constitution. Doug will say that they were just “normal” people. In a way they were. But they were also well aware that they were envisioning a new civic model unique in the world. As educated individuals many of them also had the ability to peruse history back to anxiety Greece. They understood it was a momentous opportunity, and while they had many small-minded dithers – some of which have now been unwound – they focused on creating a framework that both inspired and could endure. Even under some stress.

            It was a remarkable achievement by men who thought more of the future than of the present and made choices that “equalized” society as it had never been done before.

            Reply
            1. Doug Ross

              I never suggested they were normal people. They were likely the best and brightest FOR THAT TIME. There are people now who are just as intelligent.. But I wouldn’t think anyone today could anticipate what America will be like 200 years from now. The framers created a system that has is merits but it is not perfect and it wouldn’t be the system we would create from scratch now.

              Consider this.. do you think the framers anticipated that life expectancy would increase to the point where some politicians stay in office for 30 or 40 years? Had they known that, I bet they would consider term limits for Congress. Would they have anticipated massive government debt? If so, they might have put in a balanced budget amendment. Would the framers be satisfied with the intrusiveness of our national security agencies? Would they support endless undeclared wars?

              They knew what they knew in the context of their time and experiences.

              Reply
              1. Mark Stewart

                No, Doug, they created an entirely new civic structure. One which has endured because they were able to negotiate a broad framework of power and of responsibility.

                Of course it isn’t perfect. But it is flexible, and that has worked out quite well.

                Love the line “it wouldn’t be the system we would create from scratch now” – wow, that’s a doozy.

                Reply
  11. bud

    A Judger makes his mind up about something and that’s it. He’s not moving off that position. A Perceiver has an affinity for constantly taking in new information and re-evaluating his position.
    I’m a Perceiver.
    -Brad

    I must say you hide it well. You still maintain the Domino Theory was never disproven. Or the carrier crew hung the mission accomplished banner without the WH’s knowledge. Or the Catholic Church doctrine on birth control is tenable. Sorry. Just not buying it.

    Reply
  12. Doug Ross

    For bud:

    Overdose Deaths Drop Sharply in States Hard Hit by Opioid Crisis (1)
    BY SHIRA STEIN

    Oct. 30, 2019, 10:44 AM; Updated: Oct. 30, 2019, 4:52 PM
    5.1% decrease in overdose deaths
    Sharp declines seen in Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky
    The nation’s deadly opioid epidemic shows signs of ebbing as the Trump administration Oct. 30 reported a 5.1% drop in overdose deaths, with sharper declines in some of the most hard-hit states.

    The administration saw a 5.1% decrease in overdose deaths in 2018, including a 24% reduction in Ohio, 17% in Kentucky, and 9% in West Virginia, White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway said in a call with reporters.
    ——

    Sorry about the good news, bud.

    Reply
    1. Barry

      About 48,000 people lost their lives to opioids in 2017, the latest year for which complete data is available, according to a new study. Synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, accounted for almost two-thirds of those deaths.

      Middle-aged black adults see rise in deaths
      Jen Christensen, CNN
      Updated 4:38 PM ET, Thu October 31, 2019

      In large metropolitan areas, black adults saw the largest increases in rates of drug overdose deaths involving opioids and synthetic opioids, with rates increasing 103% and 361% respectively, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

      From 2015 to 2017, nearly all racial and ethnic groups and all age groups experienced significant increases in opioid-involved and synthetic opioid-involved overdose death rates.

      African Americans ages 45-54, and 55-64 in large central metro areas, saw notable increases in deaths, according to the report.

      https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/31/health/opioid-deaths-african-americans-study/index.html

      Reply
      1. Doug Ross

        So 2015-2017 is mostly Obama’s second term plus whatever policies were in effect when Trump took office in January 2017. Ok. I’ll accept that Obama didn’t do anything to help address the crisis. The degradation apparently was an Obama problem. Agreed.

        Reply
        1. Barry

          If trumpers give credit for the trump economy back to Nov 2016, the 2017 opioid deaths is his responsibility.

          Obama’s responsibility ended election night.

          Reply
  13. Barry

    Thanks to Trump’s trade wars:

    Farm bankruptcies in Sept. soared to 24% — highest level since 2011.

    Nearly 40% of projected farm profit this year will come from trade aid, disaster assistance, & federal subsidies.

    Farm aid has now cost more than double the 2009 auto bailout.

    Reply
    1. David T

      “Farm bankruptcies in Sept. soared to 24% — highest level since 2011.”

      Or to put it another ways:
      Farm bankruptcies in Sept. soared to 24% – highest level since the Obama administration.

      Trump still has the support of the highly agricultural flyover states.

      Reply
        1. Barry

          Actually, that report is from 2018 and does not include the $20 billion or so Trump has used to bail out the farmers- which was not apart of the congressionally approved Farm Bill. (The same hypocrites railed against the auto bailout)

          And Trump and conservatives hate socialism… sure they do..LOL

          And of course many in those states support Trump. Why would they hate a president bailing them out and sending them taxpayer money? After all, these are many of the same folks who have said they don’t care what Trump says or does, they’ll support him regardless. Hypocrites acting like hypocrites is not new.

          Reply
          1. David T

            ” Hypocrites acting like hypocrites is not new.”

            Well that would explain why all those urban areas love Democrats.

            Reply
            1. Barry

              “Well that would explain why all those urban areas love Democr”

              Not sure how that makes them hypocrites (not that democrats aren’t hypocritical)

              Wanting bailouts and being for them isn’t hypocritical.

              Saying you hate the auto bailout but gladly accepting the farm bailout is hypocritical

              Reply
              1. David T

                Well would you rather have farmers go out of business and we import all of our crops like other countries? There’s an old saying among farmers, “Buy at retail, sell at wholesale”. You really should take a look at what it takes to work as a farmer for a year.

                Reply
                1. Barry

                  Heck of a rationalization. Congratulations.

                  Rationalizing is what auto bailout proponents did

                  So Trump creates a mess for farmers then tries to pay them off with taxpayer money (which doesn’t work as bankruptcies are going up fast) and that’s good

                  Auto bailout is bad because, well it’s just bad.

      1. Barry

        “The report cites U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that farms will bring in $88 billion in 2019 — 29% below the record set in 2013.”

        And the record amount of income was also set under the OBama administration.

        Of course I didn’t vote for OBama either.

        Reply
        1. David T

          “Of course I didn’t vote for OBama either.”

          Sure you didn’t. You love Obama more than Brad and bud combined.

          Reply
              1. Barry

                You aren’t thinking, just reacting

                If you believe I supported Obama when he was president you are either lying to yourself or just saying things without knowledge of them.

                I suspect both.

                Reply
              2. David T

                “If you believe I supported Obama when he was president you are either lying to yourself or just saying things without knowledge of them. ”

                You don’t seem to admit to supporting any sitting President for the past two decades. Why bother voting if you know your vote won’t mater and you won’t support those in office?

                Reply
                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Because there’s always that time when it comes out right.

                  With 2008 being the ultimate example.

                  I had supported — and we had endorsed — both McCain and Obama for their respective parties’ nominations. And they both won. So that general election was a win for me either way.

                  I voted for — and endorsed — McCain in the general, but I was perfectly happy to see Obama win.

                  That’s the only election quite like that I can recall. Although in every election before 2016, with one exception, I was fairly OK whichever one won, because the two parties both came up with nominees who were more or less acceptable, as they had done my entire lifetime. Until, of course, 2016.

                  I have long disparaged both parties, but at least they did the job of winnowing down to someone sort of acceptable — until 2016.

                  Oh, which was that “one exception” to my being sort of OK either way? 1980. I really, REALLY wanted Jimmy to get re-elected, and was really unhappy to see Reagan get it. But at least Reagan knew how to be president, or at least to play one on TV. I’d love to have him in the White House now…

                2. Barry

                  “Why bother voting if you know your vote won’t mater and you won’t support those in office?”

                  That’s a silly question.

                  When I vote:

                  1) I don’t know the future/who will win.

                  2) I can’t control who wins. I can only control making the decision on who I will support with my vote.

                  3) When I vote for anything (political office, or the coolest looking football uniform) I am not signing a legal document that states I will blindly support my choice regardless of the circumstances.

                  I am not a sycophant, cheerleader, or robot. I don’t support “my choice” no matter what even if the other side is attacking him/her. I’m not their defense attorney. People who get my vote have to earn it each day.

        2. Brad Warthen Post author

          Is that a new spelling — OBama?

          Is it a play on words? Something Irish?

          I ask because I was watching a movie last night (“Dolemite is My Name”) and they were playing the Sly Stone song “Thank you for letting me be myself again,” and I cracked up when the subtitles said, “Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin.”

          Then I looked it up, and the title IS spelled that way. I mean, I wasn’t surprised by the “Falettin,” but the “mice elf” was news to me.

          So the subtitles were way smarter than I am. Which is bad, because usually they’re pretty stupid….

          Reply

Leave a Reply to Mark Stewart Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *