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Sunday, May 15, 2016
Current Affairs ... Politics ...

All I have tonight are some random thoughts — admittedly I haven’t had many inspiring insights to share here lately. So for now, I’m just going to blurt out a handful of things from the top of my head. I’m not going to try to justify them with cites to other sources and articles, I’m not going to dig deeper as I usually try to do. Hopefully I can get back to that soon.

So . . . . these are my unstructured thoughts on the national political situation as of today. Again, I apologize in advance, this will not be one of my better posts.

I’m going to talk about Trump vs. Clinton . . . wow, what a lousy choice!!! Has America ever been given a worse choice between Presidential candidates? If you are grinding a partisan axe, which a lot of people are, then I’m sure that you disagree. Perhaps you see Secretary Clinton’s candidacy as “historic destiny” given that she would be the first female President; perhaps you believe that Clinton will continue the march toward a more fair and just society that President Obama had started 8 years ago. Or perhaps you see Donald Trump as a historical opportunity to wrestle control of the country away from the cabal of professional politicians and their institutional financial enablers, and set our nation back on the pathway that its Founders envisioned.

However, if you’ve “lost your religion” and your desire for some grand cause behind your political beliefs, and you just want the best practical leadership given the current realities and challenges that face the USA, well then . . . you might then agree with me that both the Democrats and GOP are offering candidates with historic levels of leadership deficit. Donald Trump . . . a man with zero government service, a man of questionable character and minimal respect for the notion of Constitutional government, a man who unashamedly lies in public, a man who prides himself on taking the same approach to crucial national issues that takes place nightly amidst the patrons of working-class taverns in, say, Rahway NJ or Mansfield OH. (I don’t mean to be so condescending to the working class; their taverns are places where I feel comfortable, because they are “real”. But their appreciation for the myriad complexities of the wider world leaves something to be desired.)

And then there is Hilary Clinton . . . a woman under FBI investigation for allegedly acting as if she was specially exempted from the grave duty of protecting sensitive national information from espionage. A woman with an extremely checkered financial history, a woman whose family runs a “foundation” which appears to be an international influence purchasing scheme, a woman whose near-escapes from a long list of potential scandals prior to her first attempt at gaining the Democratic nomination in 2008 could have been forgiven, had she made a good faith effort to “stay clean” during her years of service to the Obama Administration . . . and yet over those 8 years, she appears to have done just the opposite, continually digging herself deeper and deeper into the ethics hole.
And a woman who is just not an attractive political figure, in the Kennedy / Reagan / Obama sense. Secretary Clinton is much more in the Nixon tradition, a politician who went amazingly far despite an awkward image and an ugly ducking personality, through an admixture of ability, guile and sheer ambition.

[OH WAIT — I DID FIND A GOOD ARTICLE ON THE 538 SITE ABOUT THE EXTRAORDINARY LEVEL OF DISDAIN THAT AMERICANS HAVE FOR BOTH CANDIDATES. AND HERE IS THE LINK, SO THIS NOTE ISN’T TOTALLY W/O SOME EXTERNAL VERIFICATION !]

But we have to make a choice, and barring an FBI report recommending indictment of Ms. Clinton, I personally would chose her as the lesser evil. However, I think believe the country would be better served if FBI Director Comey ends Ms. Clinton’s candidacy by issuing a condemning report, allowing the Democrats to offer a more capable and respectable candidate such as Tim Kaine (preferably) or Joe Biden. Of course, the problem is that Bernie Sanders and his many supporters are not going to go quietly into the good night.

But even the obvious compromise with the leftists, i.e. Senator Elizabeth Warren, would be preferable to Ms. Clinton. For all my distrust of Warren’s hyper-populist rhetoric and her non-innovative, party-line liberalism, I could at least respect Senator Warren’s integrity. And hey, Congress would probably remain in GOP hands during a Warren presidency, so she could only do so much damage. At the moment, the only escape from American’s current Presidential choice dilemma appears to rest in the hands of the FBI. (Even if Obama and Lynch reject an FBI recommendation to proceed with charges against Secretary Clinton — or especially IF they block any further action — a strong FBI finding of negligent handling of critical US intelligence would probably end Clinton’s candidacy — and yes, the standard for federal intelligence charges is negligence and failure to protect, NOT specific intent and intentional effort to disclose secret documents).

One final thought on Donald Trump. Here’s the bright side . . . for all his terrible faults and for all the obvious reasons why Trump would soon become the American Nero if elected, he has shown the GOP that its current fascination with conservative purity and Tea Party rigidity is NOT where the country is headed. The country as a whole obviously does NOT agree with Ted Cruz that big government is the source of all of our current discontents and must be eliminated in the entirety. (At the same time, it clearly does not side with President Obama’s highly sympathetic and uncritical attitudes towards big government.)

I’ve been chuckling a lot lately while driving to work, listening to radio reports of GOP leaders questioning Trump’s fealty to its conservative principals. Hey, Trump got where he is by shunning most of those principals like the plague. E.g. Social Security and Medicare. People in those blue collar bars in Rahway and Mansfield do NOT share Ted Cruz’s glowing enthusiasm for a world without Social Security and Medicare, even if they do enjoy Trump’s irresponsible talk on immigration and international trade (the two economic factors that have done the most to eviscerate the worlds of relative security and comfort that America once promised to the families of those bar patrons).

Hopefully, Donald Trump will become another footnote to GOP history akin to Barry Goldwater. But hopefully, the GOP will also remember that Trump only got as far as he did because he challenged the current GOP philosophical consensus (without directly saying that he did, craftily avoiding the political anti-body response that would follow). As to Secretary Clinton — I’m hoping that she too will be relegated to interesting footnote territory. I.e., as the woman who could have been the first Presidential candidate that a major political party offered to the public on Election Day, but who was ironically thwarted on two separate occasions, as though this were an ancient Greek morality play and the furies were finally exacting their toll for past sins. Who knows, maybe there is a “higher power” to answer to, after all!!!

◊   posted by Jim G @ 9:24 pm      
 
 


  1. Jim, Well, I’d say everybody is entitled to one (more than one) “not good” blog post; I’ve seen some blogs, written by others, that are always “not good”. So, I doubt there’s an apology needed. My own comments are most of the time in the “not good” category; life’s just that way.

    I might make a couple of comments as you admit you’re just “venting” (if I read you right) and everyone is entitled to a good “vent”; so I’ll not comment on some things you mention I might have different opinions on.

    In general I think we’ve had few, very few, really good presidents. I’ve promised someone I know to read Hamilton (the book from which the Broadway play has been adapted) and, tho I’m not making quick progress in the book, I already notice that likely the politicians from the “old days” were far worse than those from today. (In fact, it seems Jefferson kept his “war” against Hamilton going long after Hamilton was dead. Now THAT’S vicious, I’d say. These days, give it a few days [a few months for those REALLY well known], and nobody remembers anybody any more.)

    In my day I honestly do not think Jimmy Carter was a good politician; he was a very good man and even a good Christian, but not a good politician. Years ago (and here I’m speaking maybe 70 years ago or more) my dad sought counsel about whether or not he should enter politics. He sought counsel from his pastor who told him that if he wanted to remain a good Christian, he should NOT enter politics. I often tho’t about that when Jimmy Carter was president—a good Christian but not a good politician. Obama seems to me to be a kind of “mixture”: A good man trying his best to be a good politician. (A hopeless venture.)

    I think the main trouble with Donald Trump is that he’s NOT a politician AT ALL. I wonder if the politicians of the world will make mincemeat of him in no time. He’s a TV reality star and (even at his age, you’d think he’d know better) seems unable to tell the difference between reality TV and real life. Somehow he’s got the two mixed together in a conglomeration of sorts. (Or so it seems to me at least.)

    In addition Trump does not seem well educated in the political world; he knows about real estate and reality TV, but politics? Sometimes I think I might know more about politics than Trump does; and that’s not saying much at all for Trump. (Continued)

    Comment by Mary S. — May 16, 2016 @ 2:35 pm

  2. (Continue) As to Hillary: I like her because she IS a good politician. With a choice between a non-politician (Trump) and a politician (Hillary) for prez, I’d take the politician (at least in this case). She may not be the best Christian in the world; maybe she’s not much of a Christian at all for all I know; it’s a guess on my part. What kind of Christian she is is not an issue at all when it comes to her [or Trump for that matter]). But “politician” IS a matter of concern, as I see it. She’s been in politics for most of her life; she would not have survived politics this long if she were not a good politician.

    The trouble is with “good politicians” few people may like them, lobbyists probably love them, and the rest hope for the best.

    I like Obama best of all 3, regardless of all the changes he’s made in health insurance. (I do know there have been a LOT of health insurance changes, but I’m not sure if they’ve all been Obama’s “fault”. More likely, the changes have come from the insurance companies heading off what they see coming down the road.)

    So in general, I would not mind a one-time exception to the 2 term rule for Obama (which “ain’t gonna happen”). I remember so vividly listening on the radio to FDR being nominated for a fourth term! Did not go over well in my Republican surroundings. As staunch as my parents were when it came to the Republicans, I find myself wondering these days if they are turning over in their graves with Trump grabbing the GOP nomination? MCS

    Comment by Mary S. — May 16, 2016 @ 2:36 pm

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