My favorite living historian Victor Davis Hanson has some predictions about what is to come in the presidential election campaign this summer. As I do, he understands that the normal political rules simply do not apply this year:
Before summer is over, we may see things now scarcely imagined that will make Brexit seem anticlimactic.
Trump’s Attack Mode
I think the following is an accurate statement: No major public figure has ever before attacked the Clintons in the manner that Donald Trump did last week. The details and tone of his charges can be endlessly analyzed, but their central theme resonates: The Clinton couple, broke when they left the White House in 2001, leveraged Hillary Clinton’s planned political trajectories to amass a personal fortune of between $100 and $200 million — all in the form of quid pro quo investments by wealthy individuals and foreign governments in the likely continuance of Clinton political power. Government is not the jungle of Manhattan real estate, and should have demanded at least a veneer of honesty.
The scandals of the Clinton Foundation, Bill Clinton’s various get-rich and jet-set escapades, and much of Hillary Clinton’s paranoia over the audit of her e-mail communications all revolve around a Clinton circle that can never be squared even by liberal pieties: The wealthy do not make politicians fabulously rich — unless they assume that they will receive something of much greater value in return.
The Clintons are unique — like no other first couple in recent American history. Not the Carters, not the Reagans, not the two Bush couples, not any first family emeritus has so unapologetically charged banks, foreign governments, corporations, and universities so much money for overtly so little, but on the expectation of clandestinely offering so much.
The Clinton ethical miasma is emblemized by the Laureate International Universities scandal — the highbrow version of Trump University, but a public not a private debacle. Between 2010 and 2015 “Chancellor” Bill Clinton was paid $16.5 million by the for-profit Laureate — but for what services he was to become one of the highest-paid university officials in history is not clear. Mirabile dictu, an educational affiliate of Laureate saw its support from the State Department more than triple from a pre-Clinton $15.1 million.
True, Hillary Clinton, who deleted over 30,000 of her private-server e-mails, can demand hard proof of such payola, but she still cannot rationalize why her husband was paid so much for so little demonstrable work, while she, after stepping down as the nation’s top diplomatic official, followed his reprehensible cue in her retirement.
Trump will continue to expand these charges, no doubt in his characteristic nihilist, take-no-prisoners fashion. Hillary is already replying in like kind, rather than in exalted “Have you no shame?” stature. But the rounds of fire between the two candidates are not quite symmetrical. Trump is brash, crude, and a brawler. Hillary is a carefully scripted and choreographed establishmentarian. Recently, speech coaches seem to have had some success in sedating her screech-owl, nails-on-the-chalkboard rants. She has seemed calmer, quieter, more deliberate.
But in response to Trump’s charges, Hillary is starting to resort to her naturally unpleasant side, both in form and in content. She should learn from Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz. When Trump unloaded on them in turn, each eventually stooped to reply in like kind — and seemed suddenly unpresidential. Trump, of course, never claimed to be or perhaps could be completely presidential. But his establishment targets became less presidential once he scraped often their veneers and they climbed down into his muck.
Donald Trump’s comments thus far on the Supreme Court’s Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision on Monday striking down the key provisions in the Texas abortion law: Continue reading
The Trump campaign is launching a series of videos that will highlight lies by Hillary Clinton. They will have a rich field to choose from. Continue reading
If Donald Trump becomes President of these United States, the speech he gave yesterday, flaying Hillary Clinton, I predict will be remembered as The Speech, much as Ronald Reagan’s speech for Barry Goldwater in 1964, which launched Reagan’s political career, is recalled in Reagan lore as The Speech. We saw a new Trump yesterday, one on message, disciplined, using a teleprompter and oh so effective as he depicted Hillary Clinton as the transparent crook she truly is, and as the personification of the status quo. This is not partisan analysis. Here is a quote from Michele Goldberg at uber liberal Slate:
Donald Trump’s Wednesday morning speech about Hillary Clinton’s record is probably the most unnervingly effective one he has ever given. In a momentary display of discipline, he read from a teleprompter with virtually no ad-libbing, avoiding digs at Bill Clinton’s infidelity or conspiracy theories about Vince Foster’s suicide. Standing in a low-ceilinged conference room bedecked with square chandeliers in the Trump SoHo, a lawsuit-plagued hotel and condo development, Trump spoke for 40 minutes without saying anything overtly sexist. Instead, he aimed straight at Clinton’s most-serious weaknesses, describing her as a venal tool of the establishment. “Hillary Clinton gave China millions of our best jobs and effectively let China completely rebuild itself,” he said. “In return, Hillary Clinton got rich!” He added, “She gets rich making you poor,” and called her possibly “the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency.” Continue reading
If a similar attempt had been made to assassinate Hillary Clinton, you would be hearing about little else:
Did the left-wing “climate of hate,” which has been plaguing Donald Trump and his supporters for many months, incite an autistic British man to take extreme measures to “stop” him? If Sarah Palin and the tea party could be blamed for the assassination attempt on Gabrielle Giffords in 2011, then it’s fair to question if Donald Trump’s critics can be blamed for the attempt on his life.
A few days ago, 20-year-old Michael Steven Sandford attempted to kill the Republican presumptive nominee at a rally at the Treasure Island Casino. Sandford tried to take a gun from a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officer in order to assassinate Trump but failed in his attempt, according to court documents filed in U.S. District Court in Nevada.
The British national, who was living in the United States illegally on an expired visa, now faces up to ten years in prison after apparently making a confession to a Secret Service agent. Media coverage of what should be a major story has been somewhat less than wall-to-wall. Would the media be this curiously disinterested if the assassination attempt had been on Hillary Clinton? Continue reading
How I despise Donald Trump. Leftists are doing their very worst however to make me have sympathy for his supporters. The lady above in San Jose, California last week had the temerity to think that in America, an ostensibly free country, she could go to a Trump rally without being assaulted by a violent anti-Trump mob. She learned better. Go here to read about it. The Democrat Mayor of San Jose surrealistically blamed Donald Trump and his supporters for the violence the next day. Continue reading
I never thought I would agree with liberal loon Frank Rich about anything, but he has an interesting comparison between Ronald Reagan and Trump, and how I hate having those two names even close to each other, as candidates in a New York magazine article. The money quote:
And the Democrats? Hillary Clinton is to Trump what Carter and especially Mondale were to Reagan: a smart, mainstream liberal with a vast public-service résumé who stands for all good things without ever finding that one big thing that electrifies voters. No matter how many journalistic exposés are to follow on both candidates, it’s hard to believe that most Americans don’t already know which candidate they prefer when the choices are quantities as known as she and Trump. The real question is which one voters are actually going to show up and cast ballots for. Could America’s fading white majority make its last stand in 2016? All demographic and statistical logic says no. But as Reagan seduced voters and confounded the experts with his promise of Morning in America, we can’t entirely rule out the possibility that Trump might do the same with his stark, black-and-white entreaties to High Noon. Continue reading
As I have noted, in the general election campaign Trump will start with Hillary’s jugular and go from there. Hillary’s cackle at the end was a nice touch. One would never know from the ad that the Donald and the Clintons were best buds just a few brief years ago. In any case the Democrats are now running against a Democrat, Trump, who will campaign in precisely the same filthy manner as most Democrats. We will see how much they like it.
I expect the Democrats to highlight Trump’s well known connections to the Mafia and various independent gangsters and swindlers. Reporter David Cay Johnston outlines what is known about such contacts:
These questions ate at me as I wrote about Atlantic City for The Philadelphia Inquirer, and then went more deeply into the issues in a book, Temples of Chance: How America Inc. Bought Out Murder Inc. to Win Control of the Casino Business. In all, I’ve covered Donald Trump off and on for 27 years, and in that time I’ve encountered multiple threads linking Trump to organized crime. Some of Trump’s unsavory connections have been followed by investigators and substantiated in court; some haven’t. And some of those links have continued until recent years, though when confronted with evidence of such associations, Trump has often claimed a faulty memory. In an April 27 phone call to respond to my questions for this story, Trump told me he did not recall many of the events recounted in this article and they “were a long time ago.” He also said that I had “sometimes been fair, sometimes not” in writing about him, adding “if I don’t like what you write, I’ll sue you.”
I’m not the only one who has picked up signals over the years. Wayne Barrett, author of a 1992 investigative biography of Trump’s real-estate dealings, has tied Trump to mob and mob-connected men.
No other candidate for the White House this year has anything close to Trump’s record of repeated social and business dealings with mobsters, swindlers, and other crooks. Professor Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian, said the closest historical example would be President Warren G. Harding and Teapot Dome, a bribery and bid-rigging scandal in which the interior secretary went to prison. But even that has a key difference: Harding’s associates were corrupt but otherwise legitimate businessmen, not mobsters and drug dealers.
This is part of the Donald Trump story that few know. As Barrett wrote in his book, Trump didn’t just do business with mobbed-up concrete companies: he also probably met personally with Salerno at the townhouse of notorious New York fixer Roy Cohn, in a meeting recounted by a Cohn staffer who told Barrett she was present. This came at a time when other developers in New York were pleading with the FBI to free them of mob control of the concrete business.
From the public record and published accounts like that one, it’s possible to assemble a clear picture of what we do know. The picture shows that Trump’s career has benefited from a decades-long and largely successful effort to limit and deflect law enforcement investigations into his dealings with top mobsters, organized crime associates, labor fixers, corrupt union leaders, con artists and even a one-time drug trafficker whom Trump retained as the head of his personal helicopter service. Continue reading
Oh, not in regard to having orange hair or in possessing several billion dollars, but rather in their mode of operation in matters of controversy. Dave Griffey at his blog Daffey Thoughts nailed this back in March, and now that Shea has given his blessing to votes for the pro-abort
Cruella de Ville Hillary Clinton in pursuit of his crusade against the Trumpster, I thought the readers of TAC would be interested in Griffey’s sharp observations on the subject:
Donald Trump, Mark Shea and the Facebook Generation
By that, I don’t mean Mark supports or likes Donald Trump. Quite the contrary. Mark routinely takes on Trump and Trump’s supporters the way Mark does most things: in the same manner as Donald Trump. In fact, that’s my point. If you want to be brutally honest, you’ll admit that Mark Shea is simply a Catholic Internet version of Donald Trump. If you visit Facebook or similar Social Media sites, you’ll see that Mark is far from the glaring exception. Go onto most Internet sites, including major media outlets, read the comments and you’ll see Donald Trump all over. And in some cases, such as Daily Kos or Salon.com or even such esteemed sites as the Huffington Post, you might find published editorials that aren’t much different.
I hate to say it, but my boys are correct. Donald Trump is the candidate that the Facebook generation deserves. And it isn’t because of a few radical exceptions to the rule. It is the rule. We are the generation that liberal society has been striving for over the decades. From the 50s through the 60s and 70s and beyond, Trump is what we’ve been aiming at.
Just look at Mark Shea as an obvious example. Mark is familiar to most Catholics on the Internet and is highly regarded by many. And yet, not only does he resemble Trump in his approach to topics and interaction on his various sites, he does so as a representative of the Catholic Church. At least Trump just represents politics. And yet Mark is quite the hero for many Catholics. For many non-Catholics, too. Including those who are quick to attack and bemoan the Trump phenomenon.
How can I be so heartless and judgmental to compare Mark to Trump? Or compare others on Social Media to Trump? Easy. I read. I listen to Trump and what people criticize him for, and then visit various Facebook pages, including Mark’s, and I see no difference. Trump, beyond the policies he advocates – when we can figure them out – is brash, crude, rude, vulgar, sinful, mean spirited, ill-informed and simply a lousy person because of how he interacts with others and treats others who dare disagree with him.
So how is that different than Mark, or even Mark’s own followers? Or the followers on any one of a million sites? For instance, Mark’s own lack of substance and knowledge of topics he comments on outside of Catholicism is legendary. Even those who support him and agree with him have hung their heads over his approach to such topics as the Death Penalty or Gun Control. The same is a common complaint about Trump. Mark thinks nothing of using the same language Trump is condemned for using. Mark attacks through name calling and condescension and scorn any who dare disagree, unless Mark happens to be friends with the violators. Mark isn’t even above making false and slanderous accusations against people, even to the point of libel.
But Trump says horrible things! He mocks people for things they can’t help. He made fun of Carly Fiorina’s looks. He talks about killing people. He talks about destroying other countries. So does Mark. One of his Facebook followers recently said that things would be better off if America was burned to ashes. Mark only disagreed because he said Americans, being the murderous barbarians that we are, would take millions of innocent lives with us. Mark justified his view of America by reminding us of the millions of Indians and Slaves who fell to our murderous, barbaric ancestors. Imagine if Trump or a Trump supporter produced the same dialogue about another country, like Mexico or China. Imagine the outrage and anger.
And Mark not only uses death and suffering to advance his opinions, he even has begun to mock people murdered by guns – if those same people were hard right wing activists. That might seem understandable to some. But remember, Mark and many others were shocked at how many celebrated the death of Osama bin Ladin or Hugo Chavez, saying that the only appropriate Christian response was to pray for their souls. Yet many of those same Catholics are rightly shocked when Trump appears so callous and cruel to other people in the world. Notice a trend? What about making fun of others like Trump does? Last election cycle Mark was forced by his own readers to remove a post he had submitted that made fun of Michelle Bachmann’s eyes and facial features. Sound familiar? Continue reading
Well, Mark Shea has restarted his old blog and is giving a big thumbs up to Catholics who want to vote for the complete pro-abort Hillary Clinton in order to stop Donald Trump:
you do not have to say a word in praise of Hillary’s evil policies. You can bash them all you like (and I do). Her support for abortion is evil (just like Trump’s). Her cynical ease with lying is repellent (just like Trump’s). Her bellicose ease with violence and war is wicked (just like Trump’s). Her shady associations are creepy (just like Trump’s).
But if you support Trump, you also are supporting evil she does not advocate such as torture, racism, misogyny, mockery of the disabled, mockery of POWs, and fiscal fantasism. You have to, like Mike Huckabee, say stuff like “We’re electing a President, not a pope” and chuck overboard your claims to be thinking with the mind of Christ in order to pretend that Trump has “grown in virtue” and “evolved” on abortion when the reality is that he has not changed a bit. You need to back him on *his* “non-negotiables” while abandoning your own.
I will be voting third party since Hillary won’t need my help to win Washington and the goal is to stop Trump, not help Hillary. But I will not fault any Catholic who takes Benedict XVI’s permission and votes to lessen the clearly greater evil posed by Trump.
The greatest of those evils is the fact that every single “prolife” Christian who supports him will invariably find that they must immediately abandon the fight against abortion and devote all their *real* energies to *his* non-negotiables of racism, misogyny, Mammon-worship, violence, and grinding the faces of the poor.
Go here to read the comments. Now as faithful readers of this blog know I am not going to be voting for Trump because I view him as a liberal Democrat in Republican disguise. However, I can understand people who decide to support Trump in order to stop an unprincipled crook like Clinton from running the nation, especially due to the fact that while I am dubious about Trump’s conversion to the pro-life cause, I have no doubt that Clinton is an ardent pro-abort. However, it is truly laughable for an ostensible pro-lifer like Shea to champion Clinton. His arguments in her behalf are delusional. She revels in anti-white racism in order to whip up the black vote; she supports partial birth abortion which is torture as well as murder; in regard to misogyny, anything Trump has done on that score pales in comparison to her rapist hubbie Bill, who she has assiduously shielded from such charges; she supports abortion for unwanted disabled kids; she was partially responsible for our men in Benghazi being left to die and then lied to their parents about it; and as for fiscal fantasism, I guess Shea has been asleep for the last eight years in regard to the administration that Clinton was a proud part of. Shea’s arguments are rubbish and he is intelligent enough I trust to realize they are rubbish. The simple truth is that Shea has gone hard left, and on that score, and only on that score, Clinton would be preferable to Trump.
Back in 2009 Shea referred to the Catholic leftists of Vox Nova as the debate club at Auschwitz, because of their downplaying of the fight against abortion in order to support Obama. Go here to read that post. Well boys and girls, welcome the newest member of the Catholics Who Don’t Really Give a Damn About Abortion Club. Give a big hand for Mark Shea!
In all my voting life there is only one candidate I have voted for, rather than as the lesser of two evils: Ronald Wilson Reagan. Reagan biographer Paul Kengor explains why Trump is the anti-Reagan:
I have published six major books on Reagan, several of them bestsellers, ranging from (the first) God and Ronald Reagan (HarperCollins, 2004) to Reagan’s Legacy in a World Transformed (Harvard University Press, 2015). Some of those in between include The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism (2006) and 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative (2014). Two of these books are the basis for the Reagan/film bio-pic, Reagan: The Movie. That film, like my books, are positive affirmations of Reagan. I am and have long been a Reagan conservative. I am hardly an “establishment RINO.” In fact, I literally wrote the book on Reagan conservatism. And my next book, scheduled for release next spring, is a 1,000-page-plus Cold War work on Reagan.
I have done thousands of articles, speeches, and radio and TV and print interviews on Ronald Reagan. I have personally interviewed hundreds of people who lived with or knew or worked with the man and I’ve spent endless days in the Reagan Library, at the Reagan Ranch, at Reagan’s Eureka College, in his hometown, at the river where he lifeguarded, in nursing homes talking to elderly women who were baptized with Reagan in the summer of 1922, etc., etc., etc. I have read countless letters written by Reagan, and still far more pages of words scribbled by others. It’s quite possible that I’ve read more by or about Ronald Reagan than any living person on the planet. I assure you I’m in the top 10.
This is very much a short list (two paragraphs) of my (embarrassing) amount of life activities dedicated to illuminating the person, life, and mind of Ronald Reagan.
My point in presenting this isn’t to toot my own horn. (Quite the contrary — all of this Reagan focus makes me seem rather strange, I think.) The point is that this is what I study. I have some credibility on the matter of Ronald Reagan. If someone wants to try to compare Donald Trump to Ronald Reagan, my opinion ought to have at least some degree of informed merit.
So, with that said, let me state unequivocally and undeniably that not only is Donald Trump not the “next Reagan,” but he is the anti-Reagan. Really, I find not only that the two men have preciously little in common, from their policies to their person, but I think there may be no two men more glaringly different. Donald Trump is a polar opposite of Ronald Reagan. Continue reading
Faithful readers of this blog know that while I detest Trump and will not vote for him, I also believe that he likely will beat Clinton in the fall. Polling evidence is beginning to indicate this:
In Florida, Clinton leads Trump, 43 percent to 42 percent, while Sanders earned 44 percent to Trump’s 42 percent. While Clinton holds a 13-point advantage among Florida women — 48 percent to 35 percent — Trump’s lead among men is equally large, at 49 percent to 36 percent. Independent Florida voters are split, 39 percent to 39 percent, while along racial lines, white voters said they would vote for the Republican candidate 52 percent to 33 percent. Among nonwhite voters, 63 percent to 20 percent said they would vote for the Democrat. Clinton’s favorability in Florida is a net negative 20 points (37 percent to 57 percent), though Trump earned the same numbers. For Sanders, 43 percent said they had a favorable opinion of him, 41 percent unfavorable and 14 percent said they did not know enough to have an opinion.
In Ohio, registered voters preferred Trump to Clinton, 43 percent to 39 percent, while Sanders edged Trump 43 percent to 41 percent. Trump leads among men in Ohio, 51 percent to 36 percent, while women prefer Clinton in the state 43 percent to 36 percent. While 49 percent to 32 percent of white voters go for the Republican candidate, a whopping 76 percent to 14 percent of nonwhite voters said they will go for the Democratic candidate. Among voters ages 18 to 34, Clinton leads 43 percent to 39 percent, while voters older than 65 preferred Trump 46 percent to 40 percent. Among independents, 40 percent said they would back Trump and 37 percent would go for Clinton.
In Pennsylvania, Clinton leads 43 percent to 42 percent, mirroring the gender and racial gaps in the other swing states. Among women, Clinton leads 51 percent to 32 percent, while Trump leads with men 54 percent to 33 percent. Clinton holds a 7-point lead among voters ages 18 to 34 (49 percent to 42 percent), while Trump commands the same level of support among voters 65 and older. White voters said they would support the Republican candidate 48 percent to 37 percent, while nonwhite voters said they would support the Democrat, 74 percent to 14 percent. Continue reading
Donald Trump let us in on his fiscal policy yesterday. Apparently it consists of borrowing and debt repudiation if necessary:
After assuring Americans he is not running for president “to make things unstable for the country,” the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump, suggested that he might reduce the national debt by persuading creditors to accept something less than full payment.
Asked on Thursday whether the United States needed to pay its debts in full, or whether he could negotiate a partial repayment, Mr. Trump told the cable network CNBC, “I would borrow, knowing that if the economy crashed, you could make a deal.”
He added, “And if the economy was good, it was good. So, therefore, you can’t lose.”
Such remarks by a major presidential candidate have no modern precedent. The United States government is able to borrow money at very low interest rates because Treasury securities are regarded as a safe investment, and any cracks in investor confidence have a long history of costing American taxpayers a lot of money.
Experts also described Mr. Trump’s proposal as fanciful, saying there was no reason to think America’s creditors would accept anything less than 100 cents on the dollar, regardless of Mr. Trump’s deal-making prowess. Continue reading
Chris Cilliza understands how difficult it can be to run against a candidate willing to say or do anything:
The best way to explain Trump is through pickup basketball. (Pickup hoops is the best way to explain lots and lots of things in life. I have long maintained that I can tell what kind of person someone is in their life by playing two games of pickup basketball with them.) In any pickup game, there are usually one or two excellent players — guys who played at some level in college who know the game, know how to get their shots and just make it look easy. Those guys aren’t easy to guard — they’re athletic and good after all — but, if you play against them enough, you can develop a strategy on how best to slow them down. Crowd them. Make them drive. Deny them the ball. Make them work on defense. Whatever. There is a game plan that can be built against them, because while they are good, they are predictably good — they usually do the same good stuff in roughly the same way over and over.
Then there is the one guy who plays super unorthodox. It’s usually someone who is a good athlete but has never played organized hoops in his life. He jumps off his right foot to shoot a right-handed layup. He takes shots from all sorts of weird angles that go in. He passes when he should shoot. He shoots when he should pass. That guy, weirdly, is harder to game-plan for than the predictably excellent guy, because you have no idea what he’s going to do next. He might pull up from 30 feet and shoot. He might try some weird up-and-under layup move. And somehow it works for him in a way it wouldn’t for someone who spent 15 years playing organized basketball. He breaks rules he doesn’t even know exist, even as you are trying to defend him within those rules.
That’s Trump as a candidate. He touts his own unpredictability as an asset, and in the context of a campaign it absolutely is. The likes of Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz could never develop a consistent plan of attack against Trump because he was, day in and day out, not only doing and saying things no “normal” candidate would but also changing up what he said and how he said it constantly. Bush always seemed somewhere between bemused and alarmed at Trump during the campaign. Why? Because Bush is the classic example of a pol who wants to know the rules of the game, commit them to memory and then play as hard as he can by them to win. He has no idea what to do with a guy who laughs at the rules and is willing to do whatever it takes to win. Continue reading
Trump Cultists will explain how this is a grand development:
Donald Trump’s presidential campaign announced Thursday that Steven Mnuchin, a former partner at Goldman Sachs who has donated to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, will serve as his national finance chairman.
Mnuchin has also worked as an investment professional for Soros Fund Management LLC, a hedge fun management firm run by George Soros, a billionaire Democratic donor who has sent millions to pro-Hillary Clinton PACs this election cycle. Continue reading
If Donald Trump is elected president a TrumpWatch will be joining PopeWatch. Superficially these men, who obviously have little use for each other, have little in common. Dig a bit deeper, however, and certain similarities emerge.
1. Vituperation-Both men have endless names for those who rouse their ire, although the Pope never descends to the vulgarity of Trump.
2. Facts-Both view facts not as stubborn things, but infinitely malleable tools.
3. Conspiracy Theories-Both are given to believing and broadcasting conspiracy theories.
4. Conservatives-Neither of them are conservatives.
5. Stream-of-consciousness-Both of them make stream-of-consciousness speeches when they depart from texts. Continue reading