Friday, May 13, 2016

No, We've Never Seen Exactly This






It may be unfair to knock Ivanka Trump for contending her father "has elevated- he has created a dialogue around issues, which really is a powerful thing."  That is valid- after all, Pol Pot created a dialogue around the important issue of genocide. So, too, was Mrs.Trump Kushner reasonably accurate when she credited Donald Trump with "setting the agenda and he has set the agenda on all the issues that were discussed. And I think that is quite powerful."

Smearing all- most, anyway- Mexican immigrants as drug smugglers or "rapists" did set the agenda on immigration, and it was, in its own way, quite powerful.  Still, the whistle must be blown on Ivanka as she claims "He's honest. With him, what you see is what you get even if you don't like the topic. I think people respect the fact that he is bold enough. That is something we have never seen in politics."

Yeah, actually, we have- 2000 presidential candidate Ralph Nader, Dennis Kucinich, John McCain on Iran, as recently as Bernie Sanders now and Hubert Humphrey in 1948.  And that's only off the top of my head and only in presidential politics. "What you see is what you get" and if you don't like what you see, it's like the weather in Chicago: wait a minute, it'll change.

What you see is not what you get when the candidate who may be intentionally sowing confusion. Rolling Stone's Tessa Stuart notes Trump was in favor of an assault weapons ban in 2000, against it in 2016.   Throughout this primary campaign, he bragged that his campaign was "self-funding" but- having reaped favorable publicity- he now says he will accept donations for the general election campaign.  In November, it was "wages (are) too high" but now that he'll need Independents and a few Democrats, it's ""I don't know how people can make it on $7.25 an hour."

On May 3 he said of Ted Cruz "there's a whole thing and, you know, his father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald's being shot- you know, shot." The next day, he claimed "all I was referring to was a picture that was reported in a magazine." In late March, he flatly declared "I'm not going to cut it (Social Security)." Now his chief policy adviser admits it may be done "after the Administration has been in place" (as against reducing benefits before Trump takes office, apparently).

The national debt can be reduced, he argued  on May 5, by persuading creditors to take a reduced payment. On May 9 he agreed he wouldn't do it.  He didn't wait even a day after acknowledging that a woman who procures an illegal abortion should be penalized to maintain that he was opposed to such action.

Sometimes we don't even know whether Trump's current position is his last one or the one before last. The New York Times reported yesterday

Mr. Tump set off the speculation a week ago, shortly after becoming the presumptive Repbulcian nomiinee for president, when he told the business cable network CNBC that his months-old tax plan was jsut a starting point for a final deal. As for his plan's tilt toward the rich and corporations, Mr. Trump said, "i am not necessarily a huge fan of that," adding, "I am so much more into the middle class, who have just been absollutely forgotten in our country."

Since then, he has vacillated on his intentions- repeatedly saying wealthy individuals and businesses would pay more taxes if he were president, and then clarifying that he means the richest taxpayers would pay more than under his original tax-cuts plan, but less than under current law.

Understand that? Of course not. At least on his signature issue- immigration- he has been consistent.

Except that he hasn't, because on September 1 the CEO of the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce told Chris Hayes

The Donald Trump I sat with today was hospitable, he was a gentleman. He listened much more than he spoke. He asked questions. We continue to disagree, particularly on the wall. We agreed on this notion of mass deportaion of 11 million people.

They disagreed on the deportation of illegal immigrants? That should have been news, but wasn't. Fortunately, it was news when on Wednesday he claimed that upon "calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States," he was merely making "a suggestion." Then he implied it was more than a suggestion, but he would make exceptions.

In January, Donald Trump bragged "I'm all man. I'm also as big as Lexington Steele. I could have gone into the pron business, if I wanted to. How do you think I've been able to keep marrying these hot women I will be the most well-endowed president in history."  Of course he is. As conservative author Brad Thor recently remarked, "the guy's got more positions than a porn star."
















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