Monday, October 31, 2016

Bluie Collar Populism? Hardly.

"The point is," NBC News remarks, "Donald Trump has brought a different kind of energy and appeal to the 2016 presidential race, built upon populism and blue-collar support."

Voters in Texas seem not to have gotten the memo, for

The surge in early-voting interest in Texas may be linked to how close the presidential race is there, compared with previous elections. Data from RealClearPolitics, which combined five Texas presidential polls, shows Hillary Clinton is trailing Donald Trump by just five points. To put that into context, Texas has not been won by a Democrat since Jimmy Carter beat Gerald Ford in 1976.

“I definitely think Texas is a battleground state. We’ve been working towards this for the past several election cycles,” said  Iliana Holguin, El Paso County Democrats chairwoman.

But it's a battleground state only in the presidential race. Politico quotes Austin-based GOP operative Brendan Steinhauser (who believes Trump probably will prevail in Texas) as recognizing "I think that Texas is competitive this year. I think it'll be much closer than usual. I think it's because of the Trump factor."

And so it is. In 2012, President Obama, en route to re-election by nearly 4 percentage points, was creamed by Mitt Romney in Texas by nearly 16 percentage points. Four years after the Democrat ran 20 points+ worse in Texas than nationally (with Texas included in the national results), Mrs. Clinton is running roughly 7 points worse in Texas than she is nationally.

That's a startling difference- but perhaps no more startling than what is happening in Iowa, which Obama won in 2012 by nearly six points and in which Clinton is said to be trailing by probably two points.

Compared to Obama, Clinton now is +13 in Texas and -8 in Iowa.

The NBC News reporter believes the difference in places such as Iowa is "populism and blue collar support." Spare me:  as Jamelle Bouie tweets, black people "are rarely in the conversation" when  "working class" is mentioned. So, too, are hispanics largely excluded; "working class" has largely become proxy for "not affluent" and "white. Lots of minorities  are blue-collar; most of them are voting for Hillary Clinton.

However, according to the 2010 census, 88.7% of Iowa is non-hispanic whites. In Texas, the corresponding number is 45.3%.  The difference, of course, is not between Barack Obama, as of 2012 a centrist, conventional Democrat and Hillary Clinton, a centrist, conventional Democrat.

The difference is Donald Trump, one of the original birthers, whose word association with "Mexican" is "rapist," and who declared "our great African-American President hasn't exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are so happily and openly destroying Baltimore." Donald Trump, who calls President Obama "weak," "unfit to serve," and "the worst president, maybe, in the history of our country," who praised FDR's concentration camps; and who referred to a judge born in Indiana as "a Mexican."   Donald Trump, who told a contestant on The Apprentice, "that must be a pretty picture, you dropping to your knees," called President Obma (and Mrs. Clinton ) the founders of ISIS, and has asked supporters to patrol polling places because he has "heard some stories about certain parts of the state and we have to be fery careful." These are not dog-whistles. They are a pound on the head with a baseball bat.

Although Trump trails Clinton badly among female voters, tens of millions of women are voting for him because they share an ethnic characteristic.  They and the (more numerous) men voting for Trump are not necessarily racist, and the vast majority are not. But they want to "make America great again" and they understand what Grump means when he says that. It is not for a more equitable tax system or for a higher minimum wage, both of which he opposes, or any sort of populism, other than protectionism. This once was a Christian, white, male-dominated America, it's slipping away, and many people will do whatever they can to stop that- even, or especially, by voting for Donald Trump.

Share |

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Boost For Republican Senate

James Comey is a career Republican who was a high-ranking official in the extremist, divisive, and destructive Bush 43 Administration. And now he has released, in a manner which was sure to be viciously exploited by surrogates of Trump supporters, which might tip the election to the GOP presidential nominee.

That's all true, and grossly misleading, given that then-Deputy Attorney General Comey demonstrated unusaul integrity by standing up to the White House at a key point in its domestic surveillance program.

But Comey evidently would have no problem with anyone ignoring context and painting him as a GOP partisan out to scuttle the election of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic effort to retake control of the U.S. Senate.

He told us as much himself.  Shortly after he informed Republican and Democratic congressional leadership of the new review of e-mails of Huma Abedin, the FBI director wrote FBI employees

Of course, we don’t ordinarily tell Congress about ongoing investigations, but here I feel an obligation to do so given that I testified repeatedly in recent months that our investigation was completed. I also think it would be misleading to the American people were we not to supplement the record.  At the same time, however, given that we don’t know the significance of this newly discovered collection of emails, I don’t want to create a misleading impression.  In trying to strike that balance, in a brief letter and in the middle of an election season, there is significant risk of being misunderstood, but I wanted you to hear directly from me about it.

I don't want  to create a misleading impression.  Comey may not have wanted to create a misleading impression, but he clearly did so. As Greg Sargent explains, we don't know whether the e-mails were classified or even that they weren't mere duplicates. Although they may have been sent between Abedin and Clinton, they may have been sent only from Abedin to Clinton, or that they were simply emails printed out by Abedin for Clinton to read.

We don't know any of this but we do know, as investigative reporter extraordinaire Jane Mayer notes, that the Director of the FBI is a Justice Department employee subject to its rules and regulation and

You don’t do this,” one former senior Justice Department official exclaimed. “It’s aberrational. It violates decades of practice.” The reason, according to the former official, who asked not to be identified because of ongoing cases involving the department, “is because it impugns the integrity and reputation of the candidate, even though there’s no finding by a court, or in this instance even an indictment.”

Traditionally, the Justice Department has advised prosecutors and law enforcement to avoid any appearance of meddling in the outcome of elections, even if it means holding off on pressing cases. One former senior official recalled that Janet Reno, the Attorney General under Bill Clinton, “completely shut down” the prosecution of a politically sensitive criminal target prior to an election. “She was adamant—anything that could influence the election had to go dark,” the former official said.

The Washington Post has found much the same, reporting

Senior Justice Department officials warned the FBI that Director James B. Comey’s decision to notify Congress about renewing the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server was not consistent with long-standing practices of the department, according to officials familiar with the discussions.

Comey told Justice Department officials that he intended to inform lawmakers of newly discovered emails. These officials told him the department’s position “that we don’t comment on an ongoing investigation. And we don’t take steps that will be viewed as influencing an election,” said one Justice Department official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the high-level conversations.

“Director Comey understood our position. He heard it from Justice leadership,” the official said. “It was conveyed to the FBI, and Comey made an independent decision to alert the Hill. He is operating independently of the Justice Department. And he knows it.”

He knows also that Donald Trump, who as President might impose martial law and/or precipitate a nuclear war, still is not likely to be elected.  And he probably was aware that most reliable election forecasters had thought that the election would bring a Democratic senatorial majority. Release of this tantalizing, partial information is far more likely to result in continued GOP congressional dominance than a Trump presidency. Although it may not have been Director Comey's intent, it probably would bring a smile to his face on November 9, 2016.

Share |

Friday, October 28, 2016

Ill-Informed, Not Racist

Beauty, it is said, is in the eye of the beholder.  Offensiveness is in the eye of the subject, to be determined by the alleged target.

So let us stipulate that Illinois Republican Senator Mark Kirk was being offenseive when he remarked at a debate with challenger Tammy Duckworth Thursday night “I forgot your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington."

Duckworth lost two legs serving in the armed forces in Iraq and had stated

My family has served this nation in uniform going back to the revolution. I am a daughter of the American Revolution. I’ve bled for this nation. But I still want to be there in the Senate when the drums of war sound because people are quick to sound the drums of war and I want to be there to say this is what it costs and this is what you’re asking us to do.

Spokesperson Lara Sisselman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee responded in a statement

Senator Mark Kirk’s attack on Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth’s family tonight was offensive, wrong, and racist.  Senator Kirk has been caught lying about his military record over ten times, but he was quick to launch false attacks questioning Congresswoman Duckworth’s family’s long history of serving our country. A struggling political campaign is no excuse for baseless and despicable attacks, and Senator Kirk owes Congresswoman Duckworth and her family an apology.

Presumably, Ms. Duckworth did find it offensive. Additionally, it was wrong because although she was born in Thailand to a mother of Chinese descent, her late father was an American of British descent and U.S. Marine who traced his family’s military roots to the Revolutionary War

But it wasn't racist, not by a long shot. Kirk did not launch an attack against anyone Asian nor any Asian-American because of an Asian background.  Further, Duckworth herself had raised the issue of ethnicity, proudly noting her membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution.

The DAR ended its prohibition on black members in 1977 and now performs worthy civic functions. However, as a lineage-based organization which, as described by Wikipedia,"is limited to "women who are directly descended from a person involved in the United States' struggle for independence," it restricts membership by ethnicity. In a nation which prides itself on being a "country of immigrants," the DAR inevitably includes few members of, say, Italian, Greek, Polish, or Latin background.

That doesn't mean the DAR is "racist," and it is not. But it is in fact an ethnically-restrictive organization, one which does not "look like America," however many African-Americans it now may admit.   That doesn't make it racist- but it does make irrational the condemnation on that basis of an individual questioning someone's membership.

The U.S. Senate is in dire need of a member who reminds the chamber of the financial and human costs of warfare.  Well ahead in her race in a Democratic state, Tammy Duckworth will be that member, but the DSCC's attack on her opponent's statement should be viewed as offensive as the remark which inspired it.

Share |

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Affliction Doesn't End On January 20

En route from Tampa on Wednesday,

“I certainly intend to reach out to Republicans and Independents, the elected leadership of the Congress, which you mentioned,” she told reporters on her campaign plane as it returned to New York after a two-day campaign stretch in Florida. “I’m going to be doing everything I can to reach out to people who didn’t vote for me because I want to be president for everybody and I think that’s going to require a lot of effort on my part to demonstrate my commitment to that. And I intend to do as much of it as I possibly can before the inauguration and afterwards."

Via Daily Kos via Greg Sargent via Michael Grunwald (all 2012), Vice President

Biden says that during the transition, he was warned not to expect any cooperation on many votes. “I spoke to seven different Republican Senators, who said, `Joe, I’m not going to be able to help you on anything,’ he recalls. His informants said [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell had demanded unified resistance. “The way it was characterized to me was: `For the next two years, we can’t let you succeed in anything. That’s our ticket to coming back,’” Biden says.

The vice president says he hasn’t even told Obama who his sources were, but Bob Bennett of Utah and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania both confirmed they had conversations with Biden along these lines.

She may now be reaching across the aisle to appeal to independent voters, but Hillary Clinton currently believes she can succeed where the guy who once declared "There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America" failed.

Good luck with that.

But don't take it from me.  "I promise you that we will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president," would put up," Arizona senator John McCain informed a Philadelphia radio audience on October 17 before adding "I promise you. This is where we need the majority."

The unpredictable McCain could have been talking out of turn,  going rogue. Apparently not, however. Nine days later, House Oversight committee chairperson Jason Chafetz told The Washington Post “Even before we get to Day One, we’ve got two years’ worth of material already lined up. She has four years of history at the State Department, and it ain’t good.”

While campaigning Wednesday for a Senate candidate in Colorado, Senator Ted Cruz remarked "There will be plenty of time for debate on that issue ... There is certainly long historical precedent for a Supreme Court with fewer justices. I would note, just recently, that Justice [Stephen] Breyer observed that the vacancy is not impacting the ability of the court to do its job. That’s a debate that we are going to have."  The same day, a Federalist and CATO Institute fellow wrote "if Hillary Clinton is president it would be completely decent, honorable, and in keeping with the Senate’s constitutional duty to vote against essentially every judicial nominee she names."

The GOP has thrown down the gauntlet; Hillary Clinton has responded with an olive branch.  It (seemingly) took President Obama nearly eight years to understand, as he recently noted, "The problem is that they’ve been riding this tiger for a long time. They’ve been feeding their base all kinds of crazy for years, primarily for political expedience."

Hounded by Republicans for a couple of decades and witness to the disease infecting their Party for the last eight years, Hillary Clinton should understand this. And she should realize it was not only because Barack Obama is black, and she will be unable to tame a Republican unable and unwilling to stand up to its popular or donor base.  Mrs. Clinton's kind words for Republicans- minus Donald Trump- all during this campaign may be only political posturing.  If not, President Clinton is in for a rude awakening.

Share |

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Him- Really?

Who am I? I

- married my high school geometry teacher- whom I had been dating since I was 16- in 1962 after my  freshman year of college;
- presented my wife with terms of divorce in 1980, one day after she had undergone surgery for    uterine cancer and while she still was in the hospital, thereafter often refusing to pay alimony and    child support;
- proposed marriage to a second woman well before I was divorced, and married her in 1981;
- was subject to an intervention by colleagues because of erratic behavior, which continued  afterward;
- periodically participated in extra-marital oral sex, at least one time in the back seat of a car in  public;
- carried on, for approximately six years and for a period in the marital bed, an extra-marital affair;
- confessed the affair to my (second) wife, shortly before I gave a speech touting family values;
- was reprimanded by my colleagues, only partially because I was ethically lacking, and lost my leadership position;
- married yet again, after gaining a divorce.

In the midst of this, in 1980 he had declared "Woody Allen having nonincest with a nondaughter to whom he was a nonfather because they were a nonfamily fits the Democratic platform perfectly."

This is delicious. On Tuesday night, that same Newton Leroy Gingrich told Fox News' Megyn Kelly "I mean, you want to go back through the tapes of your show recently, you are fascinated with sex, and you don’t care about public policy.”

Megyn Kelly, seriously? Though Fox's predominantly male audience breathlessly thought "if only," Gingrich complained "it’s worth 23 minutes of the three networks to cover" allegations of sexual assault committed by Trump while Wikileaks revelations receive less attention. As Steve M. explains, Donald Trump is responsible for that, in part because his campaign relies upon himself and "surrogates (who) apparently can't craft an effective message and who can't be bothered to stick to a message, especially when he's distracted by, say, an insult from anyone on the planet."

Gingrich would claim also “And, therefore, we’re going to send Bill Clinton back to the East Wing, because after all, you are worried about sexual predators."  A moment later, smile affixed, he would add "No, I just want to hear you use the words. I want to hear you use the words ‘Bill Clinton, sexual predator.’ I dare you. Say ‘Bill Clinton, sexual predator.’” Now, that's a grownup!

The temptation to accuse Newt Gingrich of engaging in some sort of psychological projection, of talking about himself, or being a brazen hypocrite is nearly overwhelming. However, inasmuch as a human predator is one who "ruthlessly exploits others," it should be enough to point out that the disgraced former House Speaker has no clue that he has no clue.  Regrettably, failing to understand the word "consent" is one of a number of modern GOP diseases.

In July, Donald Trump narrowed his short list of vice presidential candidates to three individuals: Mike Pence, occasional New Jersey governor Chris Christie, and Gingrich.  In selecting Mike Pence- a dangerous but humorless individual- Trump denied us hilarity unparalleled.

Share |

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

To Little Effect

Mike Crapo is not (insert stupid joke here). He

backed Donald Trump once he became the presumptive Republican nominee in May. But Crapo then revoked his endorsement earlier this month, citing Trump’s offensive comments — caught on tape — boasting of sexually assaulting women.

But now, Crapo is back on the Trump train.

"The choice we have is between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Given that choice, I will vote for the Republican ticket, Trump and [vice presidential nominee Mike] Pence,” Crapo said in a statement on Monday.

The senior senator from Idaho represents a state arguably as conservative as any other, and therefore one safely in the GOP presidential nominee's column. Nonetheless, his switch from Trump supporter to non-Trump supporter to Trump supporter is notable for a reason largely ignored.

On Friday, October 8 David Farenthold of The Washington Post reported that his newspaper had obtained a video in which "Trump bragged in vulgar terms about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women during a 2005 conversation caught on a hot microphone, saying that 'when you’re a star, they let you do it.'"

Four days later, Rachel Maddow displayed a graph (below) of results of a survey of likely Wisconsin voters conducted by Marquette University Law School over the four-day period that began Thursday, October 6 and ended Sunday, October 9.   On Thursday, Hillary Clinton had held a one-point advantage over Donald Trump among likely Wisconsin voters. That increased to six points in polling conducted Friday and soared to 19 points among the Wisconsinites polled Saturday and Sunday.

Maddow cautioned it might not be "reasonable to expect the extreme polling effect that we saw from the 'Access Hollywood' tape." Good thing that, because it appears- albeit with evidence less than conclusive- that any effect has worn off.

No recent Marquette University poll has been released. However, it appears the surge of support for Clinton was more a bounce than a bump as Clinton's lead over Trump in Wisconsin has dropped dramatically since October 9.  Additionally, this eastern Pennsylvania site argues

The latest poll of the presidential race in Pennsylvania showed Hillary Clinton with a 6-point lead over Donald Trump. But the polls that came out last week showed Clinton with a 9-point lead in one and a 4-point lead in the other.

And when Real Clear Politics averaged the most recent polls together, it actually showed Trump polling slightly closer to Clinton than before the “Access Hollywood” tape was published by theWashington Post.

Trump is polling slightly closer to Clinton than before the "Access Hollywood" tape was published by The Washington Post.  Gnaw on that a moment.

The impact is very difficult to discern because it requires results by the same outfit from the day before the tape, the day after the tape, and days and/or weeks beyond. But it at least appears that the offending video/audio has had little net effect. We ought to determine definitively whether that is the case, and whether there has been a different impact among men than among women. Perhaps Trump suffered among women by the controversy but benefitted among men. Alternatively, the differences, positive and negative, post- and pre- may be slight for each sex.

Admittedly, it might be simply that the cake was already baked, that virtually everyone in a country in which 40% of the electorate want him to lead the Free World already knew he routinely sexually harassed women in an illegal, crude and gross manner.  Obviously, under this scenario, little difference in the race would be expected.

And I am the King of Siam.

More likely, people (men and/or women) were initially revolted by the revelations; then, were not.This has nothing to do with the loss of jobs in the heartland, rising health care premiums, hard working Americans being left behind by crony capitalism,or working class angst. Whatever it does say about the country, it's not good.


Share |

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Career Move

The late Karen Carpenter once sang "we've only just begun." (No link herein provided; I'm opposed to torture.)   The post-election campaign has only just begun.

That's the post-election campaign of Kellyanne Conway nee Fitzpatrick.  And so it was that this seemingly odd exchange took place on CNN's State Of The Union on Sunday

TAPPER: Let's talk about this idea that everything is rigged. Yesterday, Mr. Trump once again arguing that the election will be rigged. It's a charge that he makes, with no real evidence to suggest it, that many Republican secretaries of state and others are very upset that he's making. 

Now, back in April, when you were working against Donald Trump, when you were supporting Ted Cruz and advising his super PAC, you had some tough words for Mr. Trump when he was lashing out -- lashing out at the time against the system being rigged. 

Take a listen.


CONWAY: We hear from the Trump campaign rules -- that rules change, it's not fair, the system is rigged, the system is corrupt. You can whine and campaign all you want that you didn't know the rules. 


TAPPER: Is this a pattern with Mr. Trump? If he starts losing, he starts lashing out and calling the system corrupt and calling it rigged?

CONWAY: We love watching that clip together. But that was actually about what was happening on the weekends, where....

In the spin that seemingly won't die, Conway went on to the fallacious analogy between Trump's reluctance to accept results of the upcoming election and the Gore challenge to the Florida disputed results in 2000.

But Conway was- uncharacteristically- telling the truth when she admitted  "We love watching that clip together," . As of November 9, she will be out of a job. As of November 10, she will be sure to have spread far and wide the story that had she not reined Trump in, he would have been more of a monster if not for her.

Thursday night in New York City, Hillary Clinton joked "I have great respect for Kellyanne Polls, and since she's a contractor, he probably won't be paying her."   Mrs. Conway promptly tweeted "A shout out from @Hillary Clinton at #Al Smith dinner."   Usually an individual wouldn't want to draw attention when her candidate is being called out for his disonesty and for herself being played for a sucker, but Conway really isn't being played for a sucker, even if Trump never pays her.

She has something else in mind. As notorious and reprehensible the candidate she works, the whole charade is, for the veteran pollster, a career move and resume-builder.  At the previous night's debate, Trump had declared "We'll get out, secure the border and once the border is secured at a later date we'll make a determination as to the rest. but we have some bad hombres here and we're going to get them out."   Moments later, Conway re-tweeted reporter Bob Costa's tweet:   "Bad hombres"= Trump being Trump   Trump's other answers+Conway-esque.

In the end, Kellyanne Conway is a classic careerist, loyal to no one besides herself. She'll go far in Republican Party politics.

Share |

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Trump Disrupts Narrative

Oh, this was bad timing.

Asked at the last and final presidential debate whether he "will absolutely accept the result of this election," Donald Grump responded

I will look at it at the time. I'm not looking at anything now. I'll look at it at the time.

What I've seen -- what I've seen is so bad. First of all, the media is so dishonest and so corrupt, and the pile-on is so amazing. The New York Times actually wrote an article about it, but they don't even care. It's so dishonest. And they've poisoned the mind of the voters.

But unfortunately for them, I think the voters are seeing through it. I think they're going to see through it. We'll find out on November 8th. But I think they're going to see through it.

This was re-interpreted, in some quarters (though not many), as Trump refusing to accept the results of the election, rather than the candidate refusing to pledge to accept the results. So on Thursday morning, Mika Brzezinski defiantly stated "He did not say I will not accept the results."

"Look, we can play with semantics," former US Representative Harold Ford (D-Tenn) replied.

Joe Scarborough counted with "Semantics? It's called the English language." A moment later he added "He was Donald Trump being Donald Trump saying 'I'll look at it at the time." Willlie Geist would chip in with "It's also what everyone else on his campaign said all night long. Ivanka said, Kellyanne too, Rudy Giuliani said it, Mike Pence said it to Brian Williams thirty minutes before. 'Of course we'll accept the outcome.'"

Brzezinski/Scarborough deserves credit for boring down on Trump's actual words: "I will look at it at the time." Unfortunately, for MSNBC's morning drive-time crew, however, that time came later in the very same day when the GOP nominee told a crowd in Ohio

Ladies and gentlemen, I want to make a major announcement today. I would like to promise and pledge to all of my voters and supporters, and to all of the people of the United States, that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election.... if I win.

It would be unfair to call these MSNBC dupes "dopes"- they're right about some things. But Brzezinski and Geist, both of whom should know better, and Scarborough all swung and missed. When Trump stated "We'll find out on November 8th. But I think they're going to see through it," he was all but admitting that he'd cry about the results if he didn't win. (Of course, not being deeply psychotic, he wouldn't complain if he won.)

Ivanka Trump. Kellyanne Conway. Mike Pence. Rudy Giuliani.  If the guys and gal at Morning Joe believe any of them- ever- they haven't been paying attention.

Share |

The Nasty Woman's Opponents

This news item from CNN on September 12 summed the situation up well:

The Democratic presidential nominee sparked an uproar late Friday when she described Trump's supporters at a fundraiser.

"To just be grossly generalistic, you can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables," Clinton said. "Right? Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it."

She added: "And unfortunately, there are people like that and he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people, now have 11 million. He tweets and retweets offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric."

Clinton then said some of these people were "irredeemable" and "not America."

She described the rest of his supporters as people who are looking for change in any form because of economic anxiety and urged her supporters to empathize with them.

The Democratic presidential nominee made similar comments in an interview Thursday with an Israeli television station. But when they were widely reported Friday night, Trump and Republicans quickly pounced on the remarks, which drew comparisons to President Barack Obama's comments about clinging to "guns and religion" at a 2008 campaign fundraiser and Mitt Romney's "47 percent" remark in 2012.

Exactly four weeks later Trump spoke to a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania  and warned his supporters about the election being "taken away from us." He added "and everybody knows what I'm talking about. And this croooked media. And you talk about crooked Hillary- they're worse than she is."  The crowd responded with a lengthy rendition of "Hillary sucks."

It was ten days later at another Pennsylvania rally, this one in Newtown, that the crowd went with the same "Hillary sucks." Not much creativity with these guys (and gals).

It's not only Pennsylvania, however.  Three days earlier at the rally for the state GOP in Green Bay, Wisconsin (to which Trump had been invited and disinvited), the crowd had chanted "Paul Ryan sucks."

Okay- that one's accurate. Still, the verb usage is a little hackneyed and rude, while making up in simplicity what it lacks in class.  And it's a safe bet that the Trumpists are by far- by maybe 100 times- more upset that Ryan's endorsement of Trump has been unenthusiastic rather than that the Speaker's aim, as Charlie Pierce has recognized it, is

privatizing Social Security, voucherizing Medicare, a further investment in the ridiculous notion of supply-side economics, the deregulation on the federal level of just about everything from the stock market to canned tuna, the sell-off and pillage of public lands, the revival of block-grants so that the governors and state legislatures can have a feeding frenzy on the federal tab, and the continued refusal to do anything about the climate crisis.

Ryan has not withdrawn his endorsement of Trump, notwithstanding- well, everything. CNN, which reported on Clinton's damaging remarks in September, went over two months paying Corey Lewandowski while he was still on Donald Trump's payroll. Yet, "CNN sucks" and "Paul Ryan sucks."

It's enough to make you think some of the GOP nominee's supporters are- with apologies to the guardians of proper English- deplorables.

Share |

Thursday, October 20, 2016

He Learns Fast

The news out from that hot August evening (in Phoenix, obviously a safe bet) was

Donald Trump’s latest immigration proposals would require a dramatic and costly expansion of the U.S. border-control system — targeting millions more people for immediate removal while also making it much harder for millions of others to enter the country legally.

The deportation priorities outlined by the Republican presidential nominee during a policy address here late Wednesday would target at least 5 million and as many as 6.5 million undocumented immigrants for swift removal, or about half of the 11 million estimated to be living in the United States. And he left open the possibility that he would seek to deport many more as well.

“Anyone who has entered the United States illegally is subject to deportation,” Trump said.

Trump delivered a series of similarly sweeping statements and proposals during the hard-edged speech, following a tortuous two-week period in which he had signaled that he might soften his tone on the issue instead. He not only called for removing all undocumented immigrants who had committed crimes, but also said he would prioritize the deportation of those who have overstayed their visas.

To accomplish that goal, he said he would triple the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and create a “new special deportation task force” to track the most serious security threats.

At the debate on Wednesday, Donald Trump inadvertently (and to no notice) demonstrated that his immigration policy has taken a similar route as has his abortion policy.

Interviewed by Chris Matthews several months earlier, Mr. Trump had truly been politically incorrect and had let the cat out of the bag: if abortion is prohibited, the woman procuring the illegal procedure would have to be punished somehow.

He learns fast, pushed along by both the pro-choice left and the forced-birth right, both of which unsurprisingly condemned the gaffe.  Thus, when Hillary Clinton charged, disingenuously, "he said women should be punished, that there should be some form of punishment for women who obtain abortions," Trump avoided responding to the attack, instead condemning late-term abortion.

In Las Vegas, Clinton asserted "I don't want to rip families apart. I don't want to be sending parents away from children. I don't want to see the deportation force that Donald has talked about in action in our country." To that, Trump had one response: none.

In his immediate prior remarks, Trump had conceded (emphasis mine) "And once the border is secured, at a later date, we'll make a determination as to the rest. But we have some bad hombres here, and we're going to get them out."  No one ever lost a vote denouncing the "drug lords" Trump said he wanted deported.

Rather than calling for removal of any individual here illegally, Trump stated "I want to build the wall. We need the wall. And the Border Patrol, ICE, they all want the wall." He maintained "drugs are pouring in through the border" and called- in that one replay- five times for "strong borders." Additionally, he used the generic term "border" or "borders" six additional times.

Commenting on the immigration exchange, the Washington Post's Aaron Blake noted "Polls show very few Americans want mass deportation."Trump has backed away from that idea a little bit..."

He (Trump) learns fast. At a September town hall meeting hosted by Sean Hannity- thus dominated by anti-immigrant Trump supporters- the candidate explained took a push poll, asking the audience whether it wanted to have deported "somebody who's been in the country for 20 years, has done a great job, job and everything else." Receiving the expected response, Trump observed  "They want toughness, they want firmness, they want to obey the law. But, but, they feel that throwing them out as a whole family where they've been here for a long time, it's a tough thing. They do feel that."

To acclamation, Trump advocated comprehensive immigration reform- but of course, a wall. The thought (and especially the visual image) of throwing out individuals and families is discomfiting.

So a wall, with a cost of roughly $25 billion, must be built to keep people out. Those (except hardened criminals) who came in because of the absence of that wall would be given a pass by the candidate who strenuously opposes "amnesty."  And a doctor who performs an illegal abortion is to be prosecuted while the woman who pays him to commit the murder is to be given a free pass.

The two positions, each thoroughly illogical and lacking internal consistency, are formulated for political expediency. Donald Trump discovered early that defrauding people and playing ball with La Cosa Nostra can pay major dividends, and now he has learned the same about taking cowardly positions on major social issues. He learns fast.

Share |

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Rigging Not Easy, Even For GOP

Josh Levitt of Loyola Law School in Los Angeles found that of approximately one billion ballots cast in federal, state, and local elections from 2000 to 2014, there were 31 instances of possible voter impersonation fraud.   And he believes

some of the 31 will end up debunked: a problem with matching people from one big computer list to another, or a data entry error, or confusion between two different people with the same name, or someone signing in on the wrong line of a pollbook.

But facts are for losers and some Democrats. Politico's Kyle Cheney reports

Interviews with more than two dozen members of the Republican National Committee reveal abiding fears of Democratic voting fraud and widespread belief that at least part of the process or outcome is rigged....

Not all of the RNC members who spoke with POLITICO believe the election is rigged. Some contend Trump is wrong about the scale of the conspiracy he describes and others believe he should be targeting his ire at the media, which, they believe, are indeed conspiring against him.

But rather than knock down Trump’s claims, most lauded his focus on ballot integrity and pointed to instances of what they say is fraudulent voter registration as proof that he may be onto something.

With numerous anecdotes embedding themselves into the paranoic virus infecting Republican brains

Only a handful of RNC members expressed confidence in their own states’ ability to police voter fraud or noted that overwhelming evidence suggests such fraud is rare and inconsequential.

If there is any rigging going on, it's not likely it's the Democratic Party. Think Progress' Josh Israel notes

In all, 29 states have GOP-controlled elections processes, representing 302 electoral votes. 17 states and the District of Columbia have a Democratic-controlled process, representing just 173 electors. The remaining 4 states, with a total of 63 electoral votes, have bipartisan boards.

In some states, the GOP throws its weight around. Three months ago, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit struck down a North Carolina law which, The Washington Post explained at the time, included "requiring residents to show identification before they can cast a ballot, the law also eliminated same-day voter registration, eliminated seven days of early voting and put an end to out-of-precinct voting." The judges

found that North Carolina lawmakers requested data on racial differences in voting behaviors in the state. "This data showed that African Americans disproportionately lacked the most common kind of photo ID, those issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)," the judges wrote.

So the legislators made it so that the only acceptable forms of voter identification were the ones disproportionately used by white people. "With race data in hand, the legislature amended the bill to exclude many of the alternative photo IDs used by African Americans," the judges wrote. "The bill retained only the kinds of IDs that white North Carolinians were more likely to possess."

In particular, the court found that North Carolina lawmakers requested data on racial differences in voting behaviors in the state. "This data showed that African Americans disproportionately lacked the most common kind of photo ID, those issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)," the judges wrote.

So the legislators made it so that the only acceptable forms of voter identification were the ones disproportionately used by white people. "With race data in hand, the legislature amended the bill to exclude many of the alternative photo IDs used by African Americans," the judges wrote. "The bill retained only the kinds of IDs that white North Carolinians were more likely to possess."

Voter identification requirements are particularly popular among GOP politicians and the base but

The data also showed that black voters were more likely to make use of early voting — particularly the first seven days out of North Carolina's 17-day voting period. So lawmakers eliminated these seven days of voting. "After receipt of this racial data, the General Assembly amended the bill to eliminate the first week of early voting, shortening the total early voting period from seventeen to ten days," the court found.

Most strikingly, the judges point to a "smoking gun" in North Carolina's justification for the law, proving discriminatory intent. The state argued in court that "counties with Sunday voting in 2014 were disproportionately black" and "disproportionately Democratic," and said it did away with Sunday voting as a result.

The federal court sitting in Richmond, Va. clearly observed

the primary purpose of North Carolina's wasn't to stop voter fraud, but rather to disenfranchise minority voters. The judges found that the provisions "target African Americans with almost surgical precision."

“The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary — but also at many polling places- SAD," Donald Trump has tweeted.  However, the only sad thing is that Trump sees a broken system (image above from Cleveland Plain Dealer in 2012, that below from Nationald Election Defense Coaliton) and blames the victims, rather than the victimizers- which is one of the things his campaign is about.  

Share |

At Its Best: Pathetic

Business Insider's Michelle Mark reports

Lt. Bob Kroll, head of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis. told the Associated Press that Cunningham's remarks were "asinine" and perpetuated the notion that law enforcement is full of "bad guys."

"Our profession is under attack right now," Kroll said. "We've got officers dying on almost a daily basis now because of this environment, and statements like that don't help."

R-E-L-A-X,  Lieutenant Kroll.  The remarks on Monday of Terrence M. Cunningham, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and chief of the Wellesley, Mass., police. are not asinine. Useless and self-serving yes; asinine, no.

Speaking at the International Association of Chiefs of Police in San Diego, Chief Cunningham maintained

Events over the past several years have caused many to question the actions of our officers and has tragically undermined the trust that the public must and should have in their police departments…The history of the law enforcement profession is replete with examples of bravery, self-sacrifice, and service to the community. At its core, policing is a noble profession....

While we obviously cannot change the past, it is clear that we must change the future…For our part, the first step is for law enforcement and the IACP to acknowledge and apologize for the actions of the past and the role that our profession has played in society’s historical mistreatment of communities of color.

A skeptical Carimah Townes of Think Progress notes

Cunningham’s statement also characterizes mistreatment as a thing of the past, ignoring the current reality that communities of color grapple with: widespread racial profiling, disproportionate arrest rates, sentencing disparities, and violent police interactions.

But the absurdity of what is being billed an "apology" goes beyond its limitations, “At the same time," Cunningham added, "those who denounce the police must also acknowledge that today’s officers are not to blame for the injustices of the past."

Tonight's main debate features Trump vs. Clinton. On the undercard, we must have Chief Cunningham vs. Chief Cunningham.  "Today's officers are not to blame for the injustices of the past," Cunningham courageously said, in a statement as bold as "it is what it is."

The accuracy of the Chief's statement is self-evident, though apparently not to him.  "For our part," contends the guy who claims to understand that current officers are not responsible for the past," the first step is for law enforcement and the IACP to acknowledge and apologize for the actions of the past and the role that our profession has played in society’s historical mistreatment of communities of color."

He is claiming to apologize for past actions he himself argues current officers "are not responsible." An individual cannot apologize for something he or she is not responsible. Police officers in the old days, the Chief contends, were bad boys; not so much anymore, now that I'm one of the top cops. Law enforcement cannot apologize for actions of the past for which it is not responsible. Acknowledgement of past sins by others is laudable; apology for past sins of others is impossible.

"I would feel better about this," the Philadelphia Daily News' Will Bunch tweets, "if rank-and-file FOPs weren't solidly behind Trump," a candidate so dedicated to community relations he has called Black Lives Matter a "threat" which is "essentially calling death to the police."

Lieutenant Kroll believes the statement of the president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police was "asinine."  It was not, but instead was inadequate, disingenuous, and rather pathetic.

Share |

Monday, October 17, 2016

He Likes Rigged

We will absolutely accept the results of the settlement. Look, the Judge will decide in a ruling she will deliver next month.  But American males are tired of the obvious bias in courtrooms all across the nation. That's where the sense of a rigged settlement goes here. And oh, by the way, my wife cheated on me first.

That would be Mike Pence's statement were his wife to seek a divorce from him.  We know that because when he was asked on Meet the Press whether he would "accept the results of the election," he replied

We will absolutely accept the results of the election. Look, the American people will speak in an election that will culminate on November the 8th. But the American people are tired of the obvious bias in the national media. That's where the sense of a rigged election goes here, Chuck.

A suitably skeptical Chuck Todd asked whether the vice-presidential candidate is "concerned that the more you say it ("rigged election"), the more you actually undermine our democracy unintentionally?

Pence went on and on, conceding only " I'll say to you again today, we're going to accept the will of the American people."  Acceptance does not mean a concession speech from to mimic that of Al Gore, who in December 2000 asserted he would "also accept my responsibility, which I will discharge unconditionally, to honor the new president-elect and do everything possible to help him bring Americans together." However, it does suggest that the results will not be protested.

And yet, Pence told Todd "so many Americans feel like this election is being rigged by a national media that's constantly trying to change the subject away from and practice willful ignorance toward the corruption and misdeeds and pay for play politics of the Clintons."

When Pence pledges to accept results of the election, it bears resemblance to public figures who "accept responsibility" while not conceding error.  But if he believes the election is rigged, he shouldn't accept the results and instead fight like the place of damnation to contest the election results. The question begs to be asked: why are not Pence, Trump, Giuliani and their fellow travelers asked why they would accept results they believe are fixed?

Share |

Sunday, October 16, 2016


Volunteer to be a Trump Election Observer. Help Me Stop Crooked Hillary From Rigging This Election! 

So reads the Donald J. Trump for President website. On October 1 in Manheim, Pennsylvania he put meat on those bones when he told an adoring crowd in Manheim, Pennsylvania

You’ve got to go out. You’ve got to go out. And you’ve got to get your friends. And you’ve got to get everyone you know. And you got to watch your polling booths, because I hear too many stories about Pennsylvania. Certain areas. I hear too many bad stories, and we can’t lose an election because of you know what I’m talking about.

Certain areas?  Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani made clear on CNN's "State of the Union" that he wasn't talking about Fulton County, Pennsylvania. Rather

There are -- there are -- there are a few places, and not many in the swing states, there are a few places where they have been notorious for stealing votes, Pennsylvania, Chicago. There have been places where a lot of cheating has gone on over the years.

I know that from my own knowledge of bussing people in from Camden. When I ran for mayor of New York City the first time, some people voted eight and 10 times. And the second time, I had -- I had firefighters and police officers outside checking on the buses, so we take down the number of the bus. The bus had voted 10 times. And then we wouldn't let the bus vote again. 

Sure he did. If any of this resulted in charges, let alone convictions, Giuliani didn't mention it, and soemone would have noticed. Of course, if they're allowing buses to vote in New York City- let alone 10 times- the city has far greater problems than Giuliani's voter fraud hallucinations. But maybe the media wouldn't report the prosecution of such culprits because, as Giuliani remarked

You can find just as many wacko nuts on her side that write us horrible and awful things. So, when he talks about a rigged election, he's not talking about the fact that it's going to be rigged at the polls. What he's talking about is that 80 percent to 85 percent of the media is against him, that when you look at "The New York Times," when you pick it up every morning, on the top of the paper, there are three stories that are anti-Trump, some of them totally baseless, some of some silly.

The fact that it's going to be rigged at the polls. It seems that Giuliani is all in with the Trump theory of rigged eleections, rigged debates, rigged media, and rigged voting, with vigilante poll watchers the remedy.  "It's pitchforks and  torches time," warns another of Trump's surrogates, Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin.  Just don't call the likes of Clarke and Giuliani "deplorable."

Share |

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Echoing Trump

Promoting Ted Strickland, challenger of incumbent Senator Rob Portman in Ohio, President Obama on Thursday quipped "People like Ted’s opponent — they stood by while this happened. And Donald Trump, as he’s prone to do, he didn’t build the building himself, but he just slapped his name on it and took credit for it." And after quoting Claude Rains as Louis Renault, President Obama Thursday in Ohio warned Republicans "So don’t act like this started with Donald Trump. He did take it to a whole new level. I got to give him credit. But he didn’t come out of nowhere."

That's clear not only - as Obama emphasized- by the policies and prejudices of the GOP- but also in the dogged determination of Party officials to continue to support Donald Trump in the face of the obvious threat he presents to continuation of liberal democracy and the republic it undergirds.

On Tuesday, Salon's Gary Legum noted

Journalist Josh Marshall has coined a term that he uses to describe the Republicans who try to make common cause with the Trump campaign and wind up humiliated and dominated by the alpha male at the top of the ticket: dignity wraiths. (They) have to show fealty to Trump by blatantly lying for him in public forums, mounting absurd attacks on enemies, or through even less dignified displays ,like when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was spotted picking up the candidate's to-go order at McDonald's.

Legum  nominates Mike Pence (who might become the de facto president if Trump is elected) as the latest to sell whatever soul he ever had.  Just in the few days since his article, however, someone even more significant has emerged as a "dignity wraith."  Politico's Racchel Bade reports that on Friday a "Republican VIP"

warned of an America with “a gloom and grayness to things” if  Democrats take over. “They rig the system,” he told the crowd, and want a “government for the elites.” “Instead of this fear and uncertainty,” he added, the country should choose a leader who would “secure our borders” and “confront radical Islamic extremism once and for all.”

You could write off as poorly-informed a Republican arguing that a President who has ordered roghly ten times as many drone strikes as his GOP predecessor does not "confront radical Islamic extremism."    And you might excuse a populist Republican (were there any) or perhaps an Ann Coulter, unconcerned about tax rates, for slamming Democrats for allegedly being elitist.

But this is no ignoramus nor working-class warrior, but one who enjoys $350 bottles of wine and is dedicated to redistributing income upward.  "This wasn’t," Bades writes, "Donald Trump talking. It was Paul Ryan, the can-do optimist and avatar of the Republican establishment."

This was not off-the-cuff or a a case of one two many glasses of that Jayer-Gilles 2004 Echezeaux Grand Cru. "Brendan Buck, a spokesman for the speaker," Bades adds, "said that Ryan did not use more alarmist rhetoric in his speech Friday than he has in the past."

Nor is it about rigging "the system" because if anyone were to rig the system, it would be the Speaker of the House and former House Budget Committee chairpreson.  As College Republicans (at the University of Wisconsin-Madison), his audience hears "rig"- as they do from Donald Trump- and they think "elections."

What is true of the crude and rude Donald Trump is true of the intelligent, erudite, handsome and healthy Paul Ryan, who condemned the notion of a Clinton presidency three days after being attacked by Trump (video, below).  Dignity wraith, indeed. "The problem" with Trump, Vox's Dara Lind explains

is that his supporters believe what he says. If he says a Trump loss means the election has been stolen, there are millions of people prepared to believe it. And on the day after the election, professional provocateurs on talk radio and the internet may be ready to tell them to reject the results of the election and the peaceful transfer of power that comes with it.

The critical difference between Donald Trump and Paul Ryan is this: after November 8, Trump will on the outside looking in and undermining the legitimacy of the election of Hillary Clinton.  Paul Ryan, likely to remain Speaker of the House, will be on the inside, and celebrated as a "can-do optimist."

Share |

Friday, October 14, 2016


On Tuesday in North Carolina, President Obama's speech on behalf of Hillary Clinto was interrupted by individuals wearing T-shirts reading "Bill Clinton Rapist." The following day, Hillary Clinton was met, The Washington Post reported, with"protesters accusing former president Bill Clinton of rape. Clinton’s campaign appearances were interrupted two days in a row this week by people shouting while holding or wearing T-shirts that brand her husband a rapist."

With election of the Democratic nominee probable and such protests unlikely to affect voters, the charge, unproven though plausible, is less important than the perspective it reflects.

The current "rape" fever among Republicans may have begun when back in May Donald Trump accused Mr. Clinton of rape. After recent confirmation that Donald Trump believes his star status allows him to do with women as he wishes, many Republicans, as Amanda Marcotte notes, are disavowing Trump. However, they

do so in language that reinforces this notion that women are objects that men own, instead of people in their own right. Most Republican men who released statements condemning Trump invoked their wives and daughters, framing sexual violence as a property crime against male-controlled female bodies, rather than a crime against people with rights.

This may have reached its most absurd when on Wednesday Rush Limbaugh maintained

You know what the magic word, the only thing that matters in American sexual mores today is? One thing. You can do anything, the left will promote and understand and tolerate anything, as long as there is one element. Do you know what it is? Consent. If there is consent on both or all three or all four, however many are involved in the sex act, it’s perfectly fine. Whatever it is. But if the left ever senses and smells that there’s no consent in part of the equation, then here come the rape police. But consent is the magic key to the left.

It must be great for Mrs. Limbaugh, being married to a man who believes "consent" is a four-letter word spelled r-a-p-e. The failure to distinguish between sexual behavior and sexual assault is common among Republican politicians.   After learning of the Bush/Trump tape, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan stated

I am sickened by what I heard today. Women are to be championed and revered,not objectified. I hope Mr. Trump treats this situation iwth the seriousnesss it deserves and works to demonstrate to the country that he has greater respect for women than this clip suggests. 

Then in a commentary in which the following passage is mysteriously omitted in the video below,, Oliver (sarcasm in italics) responded

Championed and revered? You do know that women are human beings and not pedigreed show dogs, right? 

Women should be looked after with the utmost care: thrice-weekly grooming, regular vet appointments, and then fed high-protein kibble to maintain the luster of their coats.

Put on a pedestal, women cease to be human beings and are denied autonomy. The notion of rape as distinct from consent becomes blurred as females are assumed to be unable to make up their own minds. If things worsen, some conservatives may even suggest that women be forced against their will to carry fetuses to term!  There is no limit to the damage which may result when women are believed to lack the capacity to make their own decisions or that their consent is immaterial.

Share |

Thursday, October 13, 2016

New Definition Of Apology: "HIs Question Was Bad."

Alert CNN: the definition of "apology" is not "a statement which must include nothing more than the assertion that an apology is being made."

A fellow named Eli Watkins at CNN (probably also "Eli Watkins" elsewhere) wrote Tuesday night

Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold struggled Tuesday to identify the line Donald Trump would have to cross before he lost his support, saying he'd "consider" pulling it when posed with a hypothetical scenario in which Trump said he liked raping women. Farenthold later apologized.

One wonders whether Farenthold apologized for refusing to say he's rescind his endorsement- or for even considering it, as the passage in question literally means.

It turns out the answer is neither.  This came about when

Farenthold was interviewed by MSNBC host Chris Hayes on the political fallout from a leaked video showing Trump, among other things, saying he could grab women by the genitals.

Asking the Republican congressman about the recent wave of party leaders, like Sen. John McCain and Rep. Paul Ryan, pulling their support from Trump, Hayes tried to size up Farenthold's commitment.

"Until he does something so bad to make him worse than Hillary, I'm still in," Farenthold said.

Hayes posed a hypothetical: "If someone off the record, in a locker room -- this was not in a locker room, it was a workplace -- said, 'I really like raping women,' would that be locker-room talk?"

Farenthold answered, "Again, it depends, you don't know the entire context of all this."

"But you would be fine with that?" Hayes interjected.

"I don't like what he said," Farenthold began to answer.

So Hayes repeated his hypothetical: "If a tape came out with Donald Trump saying that, saying 'I really like to rape women,' you would continue to endorse him?"

"Again ... that would be bad. And I'd have to consider it, but again, we're talking about what Donald Trump said 10 years ago as opposed to what Hillary Clinton has done in the past two or three years," Farenthold said. "She's been a failure."

Hayes returned to the question and asked if there was a single, conceivable thing Trump could do to earn Farenthold's opposition.

"Absolutely, but I think actions speak louder than words," Farenthold said, dismissing the controversy over the leaked tape as a "kerfuffle."

We learn from Mr. Watkins that the Texas Republican promptly thereafter "tweeted an apology," which read

I apologize for my failure to immediately condemn anyone who would say something as outrageous as they like raping women. During an interview on MSNBC with Chris Hayes tonight, I was thrown off by the anchor's use of a hypothetical question. I do not, and have not ever condoned rape or violence against women. That is not the kind of man I believe Donald Trump to be.

The question, however, was not whether he would "condemn" Trump, but rather whether "he would continue to endorse him."   Further, "that is not the kind of man I believe Donald Trump to be" does not answer the question. Worse yet, it's an attempt, however lame, to turn the question back on Hayes, implying the question is moot. (It's not.)

We have many examples of Republican politicians condemning Trump while refusing to pull their endorsement. Especially notable is the most powerful Republican in the country, House Speaker Paul Ryan, who charged the candidate with making a statement which is a "textbook definition of a racist statement," was "sickened" by Trump's recent remarks about his sexcapades. and refuses to rescind his endorsement.

Farenthold's argument "that is not the kind of man I believe Donald Trump to be" renders ever more evident the obvious answer to the query "If a tape came out with Donald Trump saying that, saying 'I really like to rape women,' you would continue to endorse him?"

The answer is "no," which is not only morally right but tactically safe. If "that is not the kind of man" Trump is, there is no reason to believe that he ever has been caught on tape saying he likes to "rape women." Trump may never have been caught on microphone even implying that, far much less likely to have used the term "rape." In the extremely unlikely event Trump is discovered definitively endorseing rape, Farenthold could easily join the huge number of Republicans who finally would unreservedly denounce Trump and his candidacy.

The failure to say "no" suggests that the congressman fears that Trump may actually be found to have explicitly endorsed this behavior. When a politician tries to de-legitimize a question by labeling it "hypothetical," demeans the premise by claiming- against overwhelming evidence- the subject is not that kind of guy, and boldly comes out against rape, he is not apologizing. He is playing the media and sidestepping accountability.

Share |

The Ignominious Thirteen

Say their names. There are fifteen members of the United Nations Security Council , of which five are permanent: China, France, Russia Fe...