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Monday, February 29, 2016

Cruising the Web

Well, it was a red-letter day yesterday for Trump to expose his contemptible, racist, authoritarian tendencies. He was asked three times on CNN to disavow the endorsements by white supremacists and KKK wizard David Duke. Trump professed to not know anything about David Duke. And he outright refuses to denounce the KKK. He repeated that several times.
"I have to look at the group," Trump told Jack Tapper on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday. "If you would send me a list of the groups I would do research on them and I would disavow."

He said that he knew nothing about Duke, a nationally-known former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan who said that voting against Trump is a vote against white heritage.
Of course, that is a total lie since, as Dan McLaughlin points out, he had said that the reason he left the Reform Party in 2000.
Mr. Trump painted a fairly dark picture of the Reform Party in his statement, noting the role of Mr. Buchanan, along with the roles of David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, and Lenora Fulani, the former standard-bearer of the New Alliance Party and an advocate of Marxist-Leninist politics.

"The Reform Party now includes a Klansman, Mr. Duke, a neo-Nazi, Mr. Buchanan, and a communist, Ms. Fulani," he said in his statement. "This is not company I wish to keep."
Is this just a sign of his weak memory. Maybe, he's just aging. And he also stated that he didn't want Duke's support and would repudiate it back in August, 2015. Maybe he can't remember from fifteen years ago or seven days ago, but how about two days ago? Is his memory that short and fragile? He disavowed David Duke's support on Friday as Yoni Appelbaum points out in The Atlantic. Why would he suddenly refuse to repudiate David Dukes support and pretend he doesn't know who he is? Appelbaum has an interesting theory going back to Trump's father. Who knows, but it is certainly remarkable that Trump refused three times to disavow someone he disavowed two days previously and pretends that he needs to do research on the KKK and David Duke before commenting. I thought this was the greatest leader in the country who has the greatest advisers ever working for him and he doesn't know enough about the KKK to speak out on them.

Like John Kerry, he was against the Klan before he was for them. It is hard to escape the perception that he is pandering to what he thinks voters in the Southern states voting on Tuesday might think.

As McLaughlin writes,
The broader problem is that whether or not Trump is consciously pandering to white supremacists, he lacks the consistent backbone to say so clearly, or even the rudimentary political skill to remember what he said earlier this week. That means it will be child’s play for the Democrats to use him to Krazy Glue every horrible they can imagine to the entire party. As bad as this interview looks if you think Trump is truly on board with the white supremacists, from a political perspective, it’s even worse if he’s not.
Gosh the Democratic oppo file on Trump must take up several rooms. Just imagine the ads they will run against him if he's the nominee. And every Republican running down ticket will be asked whether or not they support Trump on this or that racist, or idiotic or contemptible quote from Trump. They didn't do this for Barack Obama's association with Bill Ayers, but Republicans shouldn't expect such consideration from the MSM if Trump is at the head of the ticket. He will be a disaster up and down the line for Republicans.

Allahpundit can't get over Trump being stumped when asked to condemn the KKK.
Why pass on a gimme? Your answer, I think, depends on how charitable you want to be to Trump. Most charitable: He was tired and had a brain fart under pressure, knowing that Tapper was putting him on the spot. How hard is it, though, to field a question that boils down to “KKK, yes or no” even when you’re tired? A less charitable theory: Trump is so narcissistic that he can’t bring himself to harshly criticize someone who’s praised him, even if that someone is David Duke. In Trump’s world the moral fault line between good people and bad people seems to lie between whether they’re pro- or anti-Trump. (See also Putin, Vladimir.) The problem with that, though, is that Trump’s condemned Duke before, as noted. Maybe not “harshly” (at least not since 2000), but if all you want is to hear him say that he doesn’t want the support of a particular Trump fan, well, he’s said it already.

Which brings us to the least chartable possibility. Maybe he really is mindful of the racist minority among his supporters and didn’t want to say anything in a high-profile format like a Sunday news show that might piss them off before Super Tuesday. It’s one thing to perfunctorily disavow Duke in a brief exchange during a Q&A at a press conference that’s devoted to another matter. His alt-right fans have evidently convinced themselves that Trump saying he loves Israel and “the blacks” are just lies he’s telling the media to keep himself viable for the election. Viewed that way, Friday’s disavowal of Duke was just another opportunistic lie and therefore forgivable. The risk posed by this morning’s interview was that Tapper might have drilled down on the subject to try to get Trump to say he despises Duke, loathes the alt-right and so forth, which would have risked convincing some of those same supporters that he’s been lying to them, not the media, in pretending to worry about “Mexican rapists” and Muslim visitors from overseas, etc. So, pressed by Tapper, he played dumb with the cameras rolling and then did another perfunctory disavowal on Twitter later to try to clean up the mess for the benefit of media types. He’s triangulating, essentially. It’s just that, instead of triangulating between Republicans and Democrats, he’s triangulating between the mainstream right and David Duke.

For a refreshing contrast, read how Ronald Reagan responded when the KKK endorsed him in 1984.
"Those of us in public life can only resent the use of our names by those who seek political recognition for the repugnant doctrines of hate they espouse.

”The politics of racial hatred and religious bigotry practiced by the Klan and others have no place in this country, and are destructive of the values for which America has always stood.”

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Also this weekend, Jay Nordlinger links to a Playboy interview from 1990 when Donald Trump expressed his opinions on Mikhail Gorbachev on the Chinese government's actions in Tiananmen Square. Apparently, Trump thought that Gorbachev should have acted more strongly as the Chinese did when they sent in the tanks against protesters for freedom.
What were your other impressions of the Soviet Union?

I was very unimpressed. Their system is a disaster. What you will see there soon is a revolution; the signs are all there with the demonstrations and picketing. Russia is out of control and the leadership knows it. That’s my problem with Gorbachev. Not a firm enough hand.

You mean firm hand as in China?

When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it. Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength. Our country is right now perceived as weak … as being spit on by the rest of the world–
So that's the sort of strength that Trump admires.

Charles C. W. Cooke notes that Trump made those comments back in 1990 so he can't blame the situation in the country on Obama or George W. Bush or the GOP Senate.
And yet it turns out that Trump isn’t talking this way because he has diagnosed a recent problem with American life; he is talking this way because this is how he talks. That Playboy interview, you will note, was published in 1990. Back when the country was riding high after the Reagan years. Back when the American military was capable of kicking Iraq out of Kuwait with no problems at all. Back when the Soviet Union was on the verge of collapse. This isn’t about Obama. This isn’t about the Republican Congress. This isn’t about the recession. It’s about Trump’s being little more than a third-rate, wannabe strongman — a man with one hammer and one nail. Trump doesn’t praise Vladimir Putin because he thinks America is going through a weak period! He praises Vladimir Putin because that’s what he thinks leadership is. The Chinese Communist Party? Weak. The USSR? Weak. George H. W. Bush? Weak. Trump? Il Duce!
Cooke points out the promises that Trump made in that Playboy interview about how fantastic the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City and the Trump Shuttle airline were going to turn out to be.
The Trump Shuttle never turned a profit and collapsed within a year. Because he had taken out so much debt to finance the project, Trump was forced to default on his loans and lost the company to his creditors.

The Taj Mahal, meanwhile, is now the poster child for a failed and crumbling Atlantic City, and a perfect example of the disgraceful way in which Trump’s businesses practices tend to screw over the little guy.

Weak? Donald Trump knows a lot about weak.

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All these stories fit with the story of how Donald Trump, the smartest man evah, was tricked into retweeting a quote from Benito Mussolini.
Didn't the handle of "ilduce2016" give Trump a clue of the source of the quote? It turns out that it was Gawker that orchestrated that moment by creating a Twitter bot to post Mussolini quotes and sending them to Trump's Twitter feed. And he totally bought into the trap. So much for how he's so smart at making deals if he was fooled by a few guys at Gawker.
Our Fascist bot was anything but subtle. It was, after all, directly named after Mussolini. The New York Times today swiftly recognized that it was a parody account. At the time of the account’s creation, Gawker Media Executive Editor John Cook expressed some concern that the joke behind the account was far too obvious, and wouldn’t trick anyone but a complete idiot.

Today, Donald Trump proved him—and all of us—right.
And Trump is basically unapologetic about the whole thing.
Chuck Todd asked about the tweet, and Trump replied, "It's okay to know it's Mussolini. Mussolini was Mussolini. It's okay to—it's a very good quote, it's a very interesting quote, and I saw—I know who said it. What difference does it make whether it's Mussolini or somebody else?"

Todd also asked, "you want to be associated with a Fascist?"

"No, I want to be associated with interesting quotes," Trump replied. "I have almost 14 million people between Instagram, and Facebook, and twitter, and all of that. And we do interesting things."
As always, he resorts to touting his popularity as an excuse for his egregious behavior.

Garret Ventry on Twitter summarizes the day for Trump.

It was both strange and appalling to read this story just as I was preparing to teach the 1920s and Mussolini's rise to power in Italy and how he used violence, intimidation, and even assassination to usurp power. I know that many progressives, particularly those who were advising FDR, admired Mussolini. Historian Wolfgang Schivelbusch details the similarities between the New Deal and both Mussolini's Italy and Hitler's Germany in the 1930s in his excellent study, Three New Deals. The parallels are really startling and disturbing.
In the North American Review in 1934, the progressive writer Roger Shaw described the New Deal as “Fascist means to gain liberal ends.” He wasn’t hallucinating. FDR’s adviser Rexford Tugwell wrote in his diary that Mussolini had done “many of the things which seem to me necessary.” Lorena Hickok, a close confidante of Eleanor Roosevelt who lived in the White House for a spell, wrote approvingly of a local official who had said, “If [President] Roosevelt were actually a dictator, we might get somewhere.” She added that if she were younger, she’d like to lead “the Fascist Movement in the United States.” At the National Recovery Administration (NRA), the cartel-creating agency at the heart of the early New Deal, one report declared forthrightly, “The Fascist Principles are very similar to those we have been evolving here in America.”

Roosevelt himself called Mussolini “admirable” and professed that he was “deeply impressed by what he has accomplished.” The admiration was mutual. In a laudatory review of Roosevelt’s 1933 book Looking Forward, Mussolini wrote, “Reminiscent of Fascism is the principle that the state no longer leaves the economy to its own devices.… Without question, the mood accompanying this sea change resembles that of Fascism.” The chief Nazi newspaper, Volkischer Beobachter, repeatedly praised “Roosevelt’s adoption of National Socialist strains of thought in his economic and social policies” and “the development toward an authoritarian state” based on the “demand that collective good be put before individual self-interest.”

On a whim, and to distract myself from grading tests on World War One, I checked out the Wikiquote page on Mussolini.There were quite a few quotes that seemed just a more literate, well-phrased version of something Trump would say. If I had the time, I could have created a quizlet for people to guess if these quotes were from Mussolini or Trump:
"I want to make my own life a masterpiece."

"This is the epitaph I want on my tomb: 'Here lies one of the most intelligent animals who ever appeared on the face of the Earth.'"Sounds like a guy who brags all the time about how smart he is and how he went to Wharton School and wrote a best-seller.

"Everything I have said and done in these last years is relativism by intuition."
That sounds like a man who has changed his position on abortion, immigration, Obamacare, and Hillary's abilities as a leader.

"They ask us for programs but there are already too many."

"The watchword is only one, categorical and challenging for everyone. It already flies across and lights the hearts...: Winning!"

"We do not argue with those who disagree with us, we destroy them."
That is the attitude Trump has demonstrated in how he decides to insult anyone who imposes him.

"I am making superhuman efforts to educate this people. When they have learnt to obey, they will believe what I tell them."
Yup, that sounds like a man who brags that he can murder a person on Fifth Avenue and his supporters will continue to vote for him.

"When, ... I delivered my first speech...I concluded by invoking the assistance of God in my difficult task.... It remained for me to make this bold innovation!"
Trump likes to portray himself as such a strong Christian even though he doesn't seem to know much about the Bible or the church service.

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Jonah Goldberg reminds us that Trump claimed he has been audited every year for 12 years because of his religious faith.
“I'm always audited by the IRS, which I think is very unfair -- I don’t know, maybe because of religion, maybe because of something else, maybe because I’m doing this, although this is just recently,” Trump said in an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo immediately following the 10th GOP debate on Thursday night.

Cuomo cut in: “What do you mean religion?”

“Well, maybe because of the fact that I’m a strong Christian, and I feel strongly about it and maybe there’s a bias,” Trump said.

Cuomo cut in again: “You think you can get audited for being a strong Christian?”

“Well, you see what’s happened,” Trump said. “You have many religious groups that are complaining about that. They’ve been complaining about it for a long time.”
Remember that Trump derided the pivotal moment in Ben Carson's life when he faced his own sinning as a teenager and struggled with it in the bathroom and came out with his life transformed. Trump's response to this rather typical story of a Christian evangelical experiencing a a moment of Christian conversion.

Goldberg describes his "spit-'take" reaction to Trump's claims that he was audited because of his faith.
Anyway, all of this public religiosity is fairly new. Before he ran for president, if you played the word-association game with 100,000 Americans, I’d venture that not one of them would have said “Christian!” when asked, “What first comes to mind when you think of Donald Trump?”

Apparently, according to Trump, that’s only true of normal Americans. The IRS is different. It’s like the eye of Sauron searching the land for “strong Christians.” When its cruel gaze landed upon the failed casino magnate, beauty-pageant impresario, thrice-married and confessed adulterer who’s talked about how his own daughter is so hot he’d date her if she wasn’t his daughter and bragged about how it doesn’t matter what critics say about you so long as “you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass,” and who told Howard Stern that his ability to avoid getting the clap while sleeping around was his “personal Vietnam,” the IRS immediately saw the truth of the matter.

Suddenly, the alarms at the IRS Christian persecution squad started flashing. Over the P.A. system came: “Code Red! We’ve got a ‘strong Christian’ in sector 7!”

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not making light of the IRS’s well-earned reputation for inappropriately scrutinizing conservative Christian groups. (But let’s not forget, they target them because they are conservative. And for most of Donald Trump’s audit period he was a major Democratic donor.)

What I am doing is unapologetically mocking the idea that Donald Trump, a bankruptcy impresario and formerly mob-tied businessman, who likes to mock the disabled at that, was singled out by the IRS for his tendency to ask “What would Jesus do?”

Oh, and keep in mind, according to Trump, this potential Christian persecution started on George W. Bush’s watch.
Goldberg goes on to explain what it is about Trump supporters, the ones who spend a lot of time on Twitter attacking anyone who dares to criticize Trump.
Indeed, this is why I take such deep offense at all of the people saying I have to get onboard the bandwagon, join the team, accept the inevitable, give in to the dark side, etc. Resistance is futile, they say. The long arc of the universe bends towards Trump. These arguments are a constant feature of my e-mail box and Twitter feed and have also come from some very prominent people -- not just about me or at me, of course, but about National Review and other shirkers in the long march to Trumpistan. (One day, the story will be written about how many media types have been lobbying colleagues to join the cause behind the scenes.)

Anyway, the reason I take offense is that it presumes I take my positions purely out of some commercial or careerist calculation. I want to reply to some of these people who say it’s time to give in, “So is that how you form your opinions? Just because you have so little self-respect please don’t assume I do as well.” Until the Trumpian moment, I really thought Dick Morris was more of an isolated case.

I’ll be as honest as I can about why I dislike Trump. A big part of it is I think he’s a fraud. I think he’s part of the grand and glorious tradition of bunk artists in American history. I think he’s always lied about how rich he is and is lying to this day. And bear in mind, I don’t care how much money he has. The point is he cares. Specifically, he cares that other people think he’s really rich. In fact, that’s his business model. Most long cons require convincing marks that the conman doesn’t actually need the mark’s money. That’s his schtick to a T.

But I can actually get past that. That con-man aspect of him is also kind of charming. It’s not remotely presidential, but as an American character, I can see why some people are amused by Trump, and on occasion I am as well.

The thing I don’t find amusing is that he’s an insecure bully. He really does strike me as Biff from Back to the Future (Part II). His cheap macho posturing and boasting is simply tacky. I see him as a sad and insecure man. And what I truly find so depressing is that millions of Americans see the same blowhard overcompensation and mistake it for strength.

And the notion he’s Reaganesque is bizarre. Reagan was quietly self-confident, largely immune to flattery, and he knew what he stood for thanks to years of thoughtful introspection and deep reading. Moreover, he was a gentleman. Is there anything gentlemanly about Donald Trump? I’ve heard stories that in private he can be a nice guy. Good. But it’s always easy for the richest guy in the room to seem magnanimous, particularly when he owns the room. Regardless, the public Trump is an insecure bully and a boor, and I can’t help but believe that is the truer face of the man.

It's not surprising that people are seeing the similarities between Trump and Mussolini. Think of how often he talks about the federal government taking care of our nation's problems or whatever bothers him whether it's health care or Social Security. Think of his love of eminent domain. Think of how he expresses admiration for dictators.

And in the same line, think of how many times Donald Trump has threatened to sue someone who says something derogatory about him? Or has tried to get a reporter fired or banned from TV for dissing him? Just this weekend he went on a riff about the nation's libel laws and how he wants to "open up" those laws.
"One of the things I'm going to do if I win, and I hope we do and we're certainly leading. I'm going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We're going to open up those libel laws. So when The New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace or when The Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they're totally protected," Trump said.
My AP Government class is studying civil liberties and just went over the landmark Supreme Court case, New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, that established those very laws that Trump is complaining about. Apparently, Trump's authoritarian impulse lets him think that he can single-handedly "open up" and change a unanimous ruling by the Supreme Court. Walter Olson at Overlawyered schools Trump and predicts the litigiousness that Trump would bring to the White House.
The President has no direct power to change libel law, which consists of state law constrained by constitutional law as laid out by the Supreme Court in New York Times v. Sullivan. A President could appoint Justices intent on overturning the press protections of Sullivan or promote a constitutional amendment to overturn it. Assuming one or the other eventually was made to happen, further changes in libel law would probably require action at the state level, short of some novel attempt to create a federal cause of action for defamation.

But although Trump is unlikely to obtain the exact set of changes he outlines, the outburst is psychologically revealing. Donald Trump has been filing and threatening lawsuits to shut up critics and adversaries over the whole course of his career. He dragged reporter Tim O’Brien through years of litigation over a relatively favorable Trump biography that assigned a lower valuation to his net worth than he thought it should have. He sued the Chicago Tribune’s architecture critic over a piece arguing that a planned Trump skyscraper in lower Manhattan would be “one of the silliest things” that could be built in the city. He used the threat of litigation to get an investment firm to fire an analyst who correctly predicted that the Taj Mahal casino would not be a financial success. He sued comedian Bill Maher over a joke.

I have been writing about the evils of litigation for something like 30 years, and following the litigious exploits of Donald Trump for very nearly that long. I think it very plausible to expect that if he were elected President, he would bring to the White House the same spirit of litigiousness he has so often shown as a public figure.

Kevin Williamson ponders Trump and the First Amendment and how the law works.
Because a claim must be false to be libelous, truth is an absolute defense against libel. So, for instance, if I write that Donald Trump is a blazing jackass who has driven his companies into bankruptcy four times, mainly because he doesn’t know how to handle debt, Trump can’t do anything about that, because it is true. If I write that Trump is poorly positioned to take on Wall Street because he owes practically every bank on the street enormous sums of money, I’m golden, because it is true. If I write that Donald J. Trump is a lowlife who has cheated on his wives and betrayed his own family and the families of others through his remarkable personal commitment to adultery, Trump has no recourse, because this is true. If I write that the fact that Melania Trump was a client of Trump’s dopey little modeling agency strikes me as creepy indeed — I advocate the separation of sex and payroll — I’m on solid ground, because the facts of the case are not in dispute. If I write that you credulous yokels who believe that Trump is self-funding his presidential campaign have fallen for an obvious lie, I am protected by the fact that this is documented truth.

The second issue — whether a claim is defamatory — can get complicated. “Defamation” means damaging someone’s reputation, and if you are a serial adulterer, serial bankrupt, serial liar, an incompetent, and a tangerine-colored buffoon with the worst comb-over in the history of comb-overs, it is difficult to damage your reputation. The courts have held that some people are “libel proof,” meaning that their reputations already are so low that you cannot actually damage them. The textbook case of this is the serial killer Randy Kraft, whose libel case against a true-crime writer was thrown out on the grounds that serial killers have no good name to damage....

Then there’s the problem of “fair comment.” For example, if I note that it’s really weird that Trump spends so very much time talking about his sex life (in contrast, to, say, a George Clooney or a Brad Pitt) and that this seems to me especially strange and unseemly given, e.g., his fondness for wearing cosmetics, his poodled-up hair, his being an unnatural shade of orange, his goofy and effeminate mannerisms, his boys’-school background, his habit of blaring the music from Cats and Phantom of the Opera at campaign events, the fact that he makes Liberace look butch by comparison, etc. – that sort of thing is covered under fair-comment protections....

Truth is an absolute defense against libel. No wonder Trump is unhappy with that state of affairs.

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For all the ridiculing of Rick Santorum for being unable to list a Rubio accomplishment, Chris Christie didn't seem to be all that prepared to answer questions about Trump.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Donald Trump will “have to give more complete answers” to a number of policy proposals, like building a wall along the Mexican border and how to cut waste, fraud and abuse in federal government, which the Republican governor criticized him for before he exited the race.

“The answer is: He will do it,” Christie said of Trump’s plan to build a wall on ABC’s “This Week.”

When George Stephanopoulos asked “How?” Christie said, “The fact is that he's going to have to answer that question. And he will.”

“But you know, to me, I'm not answering the question for him this morning. That's his — that's the way he will answer it,” he said.
He couldn't answer George Stephanopoulos when confronted with his previous statements about Trump. He bumbled those questions as badly as he accused Rubio of being.

Stephen Hayes contrasts Chris Christie's campaign and the issues he ran on with his self-serving, petulant decision to endorse Donald Trump.
Chris Christie, who ran for president on the sober promise to "tell it like it is" and whose campaign was built around the urgency of entitlement reform and restoring U.S. national security, on Friday endorsed Donald Trump, a national security ignoramus who is running for president adamantly opposed to any serious entitlement reform and whose campaign is built around outrage and egesta.
Yes, he helped Trump change public discussion on Friday, the day after Trump had been shown up by Rubio and Trump as a hypocritical know-nothing on public policy with a personal history of supporting the very policies he is now running against as well as hiring illegal immigrants and being sued for fraud. Hayes reminds us that Christie has for years talked about tackling hard problems like entitlement reform and strongly supporting the policies that George W. Bush put in place on national security.
With his endorsement of Trump, Christie has chosen to support a man who: a) believes that George W. Bush should have been impeached, b) believes that Bush and his colleagues deliberately lied to take the country into an illegitimate war, c) has propagated unfounded conspiracy theories about 9/11 and its aftermath. (Given Trump's false claims that "thousands" of New Jersey residents celebrated those attacks in the streets, Christie is embracing a man who has slandered the residents of his own state, a particularly disgraceful reality).

Christie further argued one of the top priorities of any new administration would be restoring a proper understanding of allies and enemies – and treating them accordingly. "Our willingness to stand with those who share our values and interests," Christie says, "defines us as a country." He adds: "We need to make it clear to our friends and allies that we stand with them in the cause of freedom, and against all the gathering threats."

The same man who said these things endorsed Trump just days after Trump literally announced that he would not stand with Israel in the cause of freedom and against the gathering threats. Trump said he would remain "neutral" between Israel, one of America's closest allies, and the Palestinians who have embraced terror as a legitimate tool against this ally.

Trump, of course, has aligned himself with Bashar Assad and praised Saddam Hussein as someone who liked to kill terrorists. Trump has also openly defended and praised Vladimir Putin, whom General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said presents the greatest threat to the United States, its interests, and allies. Trump's resolve on even the least controversial aspects of the war against jihadists -- not how to fight ISIS but whether to do so -- has corresponded with the prevailing sentiments of the day. In a September debate, he said we shouldn't be fighting ISIS. He later said we should "bomb the shit out of them."

Christie ran as the candidate who would finally bring a level of seriousness and urgency to national security and entitlements, what he described as our most pressing national problems. With his endorsement of Trump, Christie has embraced a candidate who knows very little about these issues and whose public pronouncements on them contradict virtually everything Christie emphasized during his unsuccessful presidential run.
Hayes goes on to remind us that Christie has always been about himself as he expanded entitlements in New Jersey.
He's the guy who declared in that speech that failing to reform Medicaid would lead to the "ruin" of the country and later chose to expand the program as he sought reelection. He called this Medicaid expansion under Obamacare "extortion" by the federal government and then eagerly agreed to be extorted.
This was clear from anyone who remembers Christie's speech at the 2012 convention which he used to talk about himself. He urged the Republicans in the Senate to confirm Sonia Sotomayor and then lied about it while running this year.

He is also a man who criticized Trump's authoritarian impulses while he was in the race and argued that only a man of experience could become president, a governor like himself, not a reality-TV star. There is a governor remaining in the race, John Kasich. If Christie believed any of the things he said during the campaign, he would have supported Kasich. Or just remained silent. Instead he sold his support for a mess of pottage.
Christie once lamented that Trump's election would "hurt the credibility of the presidency." He was right. And his willingness to endorse Trump anyway shreds the credibility of Chris Christie.

Maybe, if voters think about these things, Christie's endorsement of Trump won't end up being terribly important. It's little more than a politician with a long history of phony candor offering his support to pseudo outsider who long ago mastered the politician's art of rhetorical feculence.
Maybe he will get a vice-presidential nomination out of it or, if Trump were elected, the job of attorney general. But he's tarnished forever his public reputation. As Thomas More says in A Man for All Seasons.
it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world... but for Wales?
Instead of Wales, he got a few days headlines and a chance to be on the public stage again instead of sticking around New Jersey, where he is increasingly unpopular.

C. Edmund Wright ridicules Trump's claim that he had to hire immigrant labor because those were jobs that Americans wouldn't do.
He sounds like, well, almost every contractor you can find who is involved with the unskilled and semi-skilled labor markets.

Almost every single one of them will tell you the same thing.

But why should we listen to these people when media bigs like Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Steyn and others have mocked this very same this claim about ten thousand times since 2005? After all, a columnist, author, speaker and talk show host -- not to mention an internet troll -- would certainly know a helluva lot more about hiring at the low end of the labor market than someone who merely does golf courses, towers, lawn maintenance, janitorial services, housekeeping and so on.

Are you laughing yet?

If not, it's because the irony has not dawned on you as of this moment. Or perhaps -- and this is where it starts to get a tad comical -- you have been one of those listeners, readers and internet trolls laughing at the notion that there are jobs Americans won't do, while being one of those over the top Trump supporters since June as well. And it could be that -- and this is the really funny part -- you are one of those who suddenly got the "jobs Americans won't do" religion as a result of the Houston Republican debate.

In case you missed it, and I doubt you did -- this is the debate where Marco Rubio mocked and embarrassed Trump for having illegals and mostly foreign labor involved with certain aspects of his projects. Trump, apparently unaware of the paradox he was about to step in, insisted that he "hire(s) foreign workers because those are jobs Americans won't do."

Yes, he said that. He even repeated it as Rubio pressed the issue. He repeated himself a lot in that debate, frankly -- but the salient point is that he was and is standing by the claim that there are jobs Americans won't do.

To be clear, the point Trump is making is that there are jobs Americans won’t do at a price point that other Americans are willing to pay. I don't blame consumers for this either; it is each of our responsibility to provide for our families and businesses as cost effectively as we can.

There is of course the claim that the labor market has been driven down by foreign labor -- and that’s true to a point. But the bigger perversion is by our own government in the form of absurd welfare and related benefits. So few want to talk about that, or consumer thrift, because nuance and complication are the anathema to demagoguery.
So what do those who have supported Trump because of his supposedly strong stand on immigration when he now claims that he had to hire foreigners because Americans didn't want those jobs, despite evidence that there were hundreds of citizens applying for those very jobs? Let's hear from Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham who have defended Trump since he first started campaigning.


Rick Caird said...

Sheesh, I go away for a month and Betsy is still obsessing on Trump. Get a life Betsy. Trump is no more responsible for who endorses him than any Democrat was that Harry Byrd endorsed. If the American Communist Party endorsed Bernie, is that something he should address? Why?

I'll be back in another month, maybe.

Suvy Boyina said...

It seems pretty clear to me that it's gonna be Clinton vs Sanders. A new national poll came out today saying Trump has 49% support among likely GOP voters. So Trump basically has this in the bag unless something radically changes.

In the case of Clinton vs Sanders, Nate Silver went through all of the numbers if Clinton and Sanders were tied. He came up with the expected margin of victory for Clinton in South Carolina to be 20% if they were tied. Sure enough, Clinton won SC by 47%. Clinton also has superdelegates that Sanders' supporters are (literally) threatening to switch sides because "equality", "democracy", and "will of the people" although the rule of law clearly states that the superdelegates get to choose.

All of this makes for a crazy Presidential race. I think that the chance of BOTH parties having brokered conventions is closer to 5% than 1% and we could easily see a brokered convention for the GOP.

Suvy Boyina said...

I will say that I completely disagree with the idea that Trump is like Mussolini. Mussolini was a politician for most of his life who was a socialist. He did a lot of stuff in literature, art, and other things like that. Mussolini also fought in World War I. Mussolini and every single fascist in history has radically centralized education and made the state the center of everything.

Trump is a businessman who was a draft dodger. This guy understands little else except for balance sheets and financial flows that comes out and says we need to drastically decentralize education to give parents and teachers more control. No fascist would ever say anything like that.

I also disagree with your assessment on Trump's businesses. Bankruptcy for businesses isn't what it is for individuals and some businesses are gonna go bust. Bankruptcy is a way to restructure the capital structure of a firm when its capital structure is unsustainable. Bankruptcy is a WONDERFUL thing that we need to encourage. I don't think he's the world's best businessman, but he's certainly not a bad one and I'd even say that he's a good businessman. He's clearly excellent at marketing.

Remember that in business, it's not about the number of failures vs the number of successes, but the total amount that the successes bring in vs the total amount the losses are. So you can only "succeed" 1/10 times and still be a great businessman or "succeed" 99/100 times and be a horrible businessman.

Hina Khan said...

Why pass on a gimme? Your answer, I think, depends on how charitable you want to be to Trump. Most charitable: He was tired and had a brain fart under pressure, knowing that Tapper was putting him on the spot. How hard is it, though, to field a question that boils down to “KKK, yes or no” even when you’re tired?

8th class result 2016