I Don’t Even Know What to Say…

More of the wit and wisdom of the 45th President of the United States.

More concerning statements from the President of the United States. In the first he congratulates Poland in the context of an event that is supposed to mark the anniversary of the start of WWII (congratulate them for what?), and he then goes on a non sequitur about the number of Polish Americans in the US (the clip about guns isn’t exactly confidence-inspiring, either).

Like the Cat5 business, this is just profoundly weird. He lacks even the ability to speak some platitudes about the anniversary of WWII.

In the second he clearly demonstrates no clue about what is currently happening in Colombia, a major US ally.

The context is that one of the leaders of FARC calling for a return to the armed struggle (Colombia’s Former FARC Guerrilla Leader Calls for Return to War). While I would not expect any president, let alone Trump, to be able to deliver a lengthy extemporaneous speech on this subject, I would expect any president to has at least some idea of what was going on.

His indifference and ignorance are stunning (albeit, neither is surprising). I would note that US leadership might have helped pressure the Colombia government towards implementation of the peace process. Instead, Washington has been indifferent at best.

The vacuity of this president is truly amazing.

Do I believe this guy asked if nuking a hurricane would stop it? Yes, yes I do.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    I also believe that when someone (Ryan, maybe) mentioned John Boehner to him, he said: “Who’s that?”

    Of course he has no idea what FARC is.

  2. CSK says:

    And Jayzus, man, that photo is an affront to the eyeballs.

  3. michael reynolds says:

    As some close observers may have noticed, I have a high opinion of myself. But beneath that I am well-aware of the limits of my education, (10th grade plus University of Life) and the limits of my intellectual capacity. (Words yes, numbers no) I’m also well-aware of my moral, um, flexibility, though I’ve improved. It should not be the case that the President of the United States is actually vastly less well-informed, significantly dumber (with words and numbers) and makes me look like a plaster saint.

    If you are less-informed than a high school drop-out, dumber than a kidlit hack, and less ethical and moral than a former burglar, I really don’t think you should be POTUS.

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  4. Kathy says:

    Poland was overrun three times during WWII. First jointly by the nazis and soviets, then by the nazis on their way to the USSR, then by the soviets pushing the nazis back to Germany. On top of that, most concentration camps and death camps were in Poland.

    And after those six years of hell, they had to endure decades as a communist puppet state of the soviets.

    It does boggle the mind anyone would contemplate the anniversary of the beginning of that sorry era and say “congratulations.”

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  5. CSK says:

    Maybe he can congratulate Japan on surrendering to the U.S. aboard the Missouri.

  6. charon says:

    The position of Trump’s arms in that photo at the top of the post is a neurological symptom, he is trying to control involuntary muscle spasms.

  7. CSK says:

    @charon: He assumes that pose a lot when he’s angry or defensive.

  8. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: 75 years ago on this date the Warsaw Uprising was still holding out. I expect you know this, but for the general audience, it was an effort by the Polish Home Army to oust the German occupiers. Also to install an anti-Russian government before the Russians arrived. They apparently thought even Stalin wouldn’t be so cynical as to not take military advantage of the situation and come to their aid. They were wrong. They were slaughtered and Warsaw was destroyed.

  9. Joe says:

    @gVOR08: There’s a great explanation of this in the book Last Hope Island, including the comparison to Paris that was liberated at roughly the same time with all sorts of help and cooperation from the Americans and Brits, all of which was denied to Warsaw.

  10. Andrew says:

    He does not care. He wants to play golf. He wants to hear his own voice spout his own brand of TRUMP bullsh!t, and he wants to get on the links.

    I bet $1 that when Trump heard the name Columbia he immediately thought of :

    https://www.columbiagolf.org/

    A course not too far away from Manhattan for a person with a jet and a helicopter.

  11. charon says:

    @CSK:

    Arms crossed is very normal body language for being closed to the other person’s position, that is how people interpret it when they see it.

    But, this goes beyond that, he is actually hugging himself.

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  12. CSK says:

    @charon: Who else will?

  13. Gustopher says:

    @charon: He’s trying to either stop his evil hand from pressing the button and vaporizing all life on Earth, or his good hand from strangling him.

    It’s a petulant baby pose, not a sign of neurological degeneration. He’s just an angry, frustrated, impotent little man chock full of weird tics because he has surrounded himself with people who indulge or ignore those tics.

    We’re lucky we haven’t heard of him having his assistant help him pee in a jar, because his bodily fluids are precious and must be saved but he won’t dirty himself by touching his own penis. Or something.

  14. CSK says:

    If we still had the Caption Contest, my entry would be “And I’ll hold my breath till I turn blue.”

  15. charon says:

    So, DJT is presenting progressive neurological degeneration of some sort, which is already severe and is rapidly progressing. Based on what we can see, this is probably one of the FTD (Frontotemporal Dementia) diseases such as Pick’s Disease, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, Cortico Basal Syndrome etc.

    Early on, these diseases present mostly in three main ways:

    1) Behavior changes

    2) Difficulties with speech and language usage, reading comprehension etc.

    3) Difficulties with balance and muscle control.

    I would not venture to say anything about Trump’s behavior, as it has been very unusual for a very long time.

    As for speech and language facility, many and various problems which appear to be getting worse rapidly. For example, this example contrasting his current and previous speaking ability.

    . https://twitter.com/atrupar/status/1167183515433230349 ..

    He is frequently observed dragging his feet, because he has lost control of his foot muscles. Here is an example of his balance issues:

    .. https://mobile.twitter.com/maddogpac/status/1165699052891181056 ..

    .

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  16. charon says:

    With FTD, problems with memory develop eventually, but are not seen early in the disease progression. (In contrast to Alzheimer’s where memory problems are among the first signs). Trump’s disease has progressed far enough that his memory is giving out. He should for example know names like “Syria” and “Crimea” given how much he has had to say on these topics. And yet,

    .. http://yastreblyansky.blogspot.com/2019/08/literary-corner-very-big-and-important.html ..

    Except evidently for the story, first noticed by Robert Mackey of The Intercept, I think, that Trump doesn’t know the names of Syria (“a very, very big and important area in the Middle East”) or Crimea (“a certain section of Ukraine that you know very well”).

  17. charon says:

    @CSK:

    @Gustopher:

    So are you also going to hand wave away the links I posted, you’ll not be first.

  18. CSK says:

    @charon: Not at all. My reservation would be that these symptoms are hard to conceal, and, given the rate at which Trump’s staff bails on him, wouldn’t someone have ratted him out by now?

  19. Kari Q says:

    @charon:

    Are you a medical professional or an expert on neurological disorders? I’m genuinely curious, not arguing or criticizing what you say.

  20. Sleeping Dog says:

    @charon:
    Parkinson’s? Shuffling feet, confused speech, early evidence of dementia.

  21. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    “If you are less-informed than a high school drop-out…”

    And yet, 80% of the GOP disagrees with you according to the last polling data that I saw. Hmmm…

  22. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: As a person with a benign tremor, allow me to note that your observation of why is also consistent with loss of motor control of the sort charon is referring to. Just sayin’…

  23. charon says:

    @Kari Q:

    No. I am aware of the Goldwater Rule. The answer to that is you do not need to be a zoologist to know when you are looking at a giraffe.

    @CSK:

    Not at all. My reservation would be that these symptoms are hard to conceal, and, given the rate at which Trump’s staff bails on him, wouldn’t someone have ratted him out by now?

    Some are trying, consider Scaramucchi.

    Better yet, read George Conway’s twitter feed. Whatever else she is, my guess is Kellyanne is pretty smart, and she can see what is going on. My interpretation of George’s feed is Kellyanne talks to George, and George is positioning the Conway family for the post-Trump future.

  24. charon says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Pick’s disease used to be diagnosed as Parkinson’s before it was recognized as a separate disease.

    A lot of these diseases have symptoms in common, which is why even medical professionals (I am not) need careful observation to make a real diagnosis.

    (I have just been using the Google a lot. And there are many many links online to videos of Trump’s physical issues, speech issues etc. once you look for them.)

  25. de stijl says:

    This is an observation; by no means am I calling anyone out here.

    Remember back in the before time when people called our last President Bambi and Obummer and Nobama? Was that persuasive to you? Did you want to engage with that commenter?

    When they claimed he was inarticulate unless reading off a teleprompter?

    I am not a fan of name calling in comments even about a President I disdain as unfit. He has a name.

    Highlight the behavior, the statements, the thin skin of the man, but I refrain from name-calling Trump or people who support him.

    We bemoan the lack of smart, respectful conservative voices here willing to engage on substance. Don’t make this place inhospitable then.

    My 2 cents.

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  26. Mister Bluster says:

    Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787
    Monday August 6th

    ARTICLE X.
    Sect. 1. The Executive power of the United States shall be vested in a single person. His style shall be, “The President of the United States of America,” and his title shall be,
    “His Excellency.” He shall be elected by ballot by the Legislature. He shall hold his office during the term of seven years; but shall not be elected a second time.

    I sure am glad they changed this!

  27. de stijl says:

    Re the pic up top. That’s a Mussolini pose.

    I believe it’s inadvertant, but that was my first, immediate take.

  28. gVOR08 says:

    I see Trump has tweeted a response to the Alabama kerfuffle.

    Such a phony hurricane report by lightweight reporter @jonkarl of @ABCWorldNews. I suggested yesterday at FEMA that, along with Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, even Alabama could possibly come into play, which WAS true. They made a big deal about this…

    He knows his sycophants will accept his version and won’t look up his original tweet.

  29. Gustopher says:

    @charon:

    (I have just been using the Google a lot. And there are many many links online to videos of Trump’s physical issues, speech issues etc. once you look for them.)

    It’s hard enough to diagnose yourself of any common ailment, let alone diagnose someone else of dementia — particularly someone who has controlled his past media as carefully as possible to protect his brand.

    His a dim-witted, angry, forgetful failure of a man, and he may have balance issues. But, you don’t really have a good sense of how he was a decade ago. This may be normal for a stressed Donald Trump.

    And, you can scour video of someone constantly filmed to find his worst moments, and frame them as medical issues. Remember how sick Hillary was, according to Trumpers?

    I think you might be wandering into a black hole of conspiracy theories. Particularly your belief that he is declining so fast that he won’t be able to stand for re-election in a year.

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  30. de stijl says:

    Telediagnosis was a bad idea when Boehner et alia did it with Terri Schiavo. It is a bad idea if 1. Not a doctor, and 2. Haven’t performed the requisite tests, and 3. Not in the same room with him so you evaluate with your own senses.

    This speculation is utter bs.

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  31. liberal capitalist says:

    @Gustopher:

    Particularly your belief that he is declining so fast that he won’t be able to stand for re-election in a year.

    Don’t forget… the GOP re-elected Reagan, and Nancy ran the place.

    So, yes: the GOP will have no compunction at all in electing someone that has already said that it might be fun to gut Social Security and Medicare in his second term… even if he was wearing diapers on the outside of his pants, and saying that Mars is part of the moon everyone gets their own Putin inflatable doll.

    As long as they get what they want, they will do it.

    Trump has already sold his soul a long time ago. But now, he has even more folks that are telling him that Hell is just like summer in Miami, so no worries.

    And middle America in their 60’s will line up to vote for him.

  32. charon says:

    @liberal capitalist:

    Don’t forget… the GOP re-elected Reagan, and Nancy ran the place.

    Although I have not tried to check this myself, I have seen it said Trump already looks worse than Reagan did in 1989 when he left office.

    Trump has already sold his soul a long time ago. But now, he has even more folks that are telling him that Hell is just like summer in Miami, so no worries.

    He probably has Kompromat on a lot of pubbies, afraid to cross him by tattling.

    @CSK:

    wouldn’t someone have ratted him out by now?

    Scaramucci, here:

    https://twitter.com/TomJChicago/status/1162891587040501766

    And, George Conway has been saying he should be examined by neurologists.

    As I have said, I think by mid-2020, maybe sooner, something happens, perhaps a nasty fall, (or whatever), that causes people to really take notice.

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  33. de stijl says:

    @charon:

    Even if what you suggest is true, what does it matter?

    Republicans will not abandon Trump or turn on him.

    In your world the best case scenario is we end up with President Pence. Pence would be way more competent at enacting policies you disagree with. Is that better?

    We have 14 months to elect someone who is not Trump and of a different party, and has policies you probably will like a whole lot more.

    Which is the better option? Pursuing speculative telediagnosis towards an unknown end at the rump end of the Trump era, or helping to elect a competent successor?

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  34. charon says:

    @charon:

    Although I have not tried to check this myself, I have seen it said Trump already looks worse than Reagan did in 1989 when he left office.

    I was around during Reagan’s second term, and I do not recall the press or the public speculating about Reagan perhaps having neurological issues, or seeing any noticeable symptoms. Times were different, information media was different etc. but even so?

    @de stijl:

    Even if what you suggest is true, what does it matter?

    Why does any news matter? Why does anything matter? I am not really much into theological discussions.

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  35. charon says:

    @de stijl:

    OK, on second thought I’ll bite.

    I think this is relevant to ideas about which candidate is “electable,” and to whether to prioritize winning the Presidency or flipping the Senate, winning other downballot races (i.e., who has better downballot coattails).

    It also might relate to getting voters thinking about the relative merits of an elderly Democratic gentleman who is himself showing signs of having lost a step or two cognitively.

  36. charon says:

    @de stijl:

    Even if what you suggest is true, what does it matter?

    Way back when, a long time ago, Sun-Tzu understood that knowing the enemy and knowing the battlefield matters.

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  37. @Gustopher:

    It’s hard enough to diagnose yourself of any common ailment, let alone diagnose someone else of dementia — particularly someone who has controlled his past media as carefully as possible to protect his brand.

    His a dim-witted, angry, forgetful failure of a man, and he may have balance issues. But, you don’t really have a good sense of how he was a decade ago. This may be normal for a stressed Donald Trump.

    I concur.

    A lot of this is him being exposed as ignorant of much of the world and of his current job.

  38. @charon:

    I have seen it said Trump already looks worse than Reagan did in 1989 when he left office.

    Trump before he came to office was looking worse, in terms of much of what we are talking about, than Reagan did in 1989. That speech at CIA HQ right after he was sworn in was a hot mess.

  39. @charon:

    I think this is relevant to ideas about which candidate is “electable,” and to whether to prioritize winning the Presidency or flipping the Senate, winning other downballot races (i.e., who has better downballot coattails).

    It is quite clear that Trump’s base is not going to be swayed by this stuff.

    If blatant lies and clear lack of understanding of basic issues of governance do not persuade, speculation about his mental state will have no influence.

  40. JohnMcC says:

    @Kathy: In the must-read book ‘Bloodlands’ Timothy Snyder has computed that some 14 MILLION people died in the spaces of eastern Europe because they were officially stateless. Not soldiers or partisans. Not Jews or gay. Just people who belonged to a group that had lost their passports, basically. Fourteen Million.

    That’s in addition to the Holocaust. And the war.

    Congratulations.

  41. Mikey says:

    @charon: I know Pick’s very well. It killed my father. I watched his decline over the years.

    I don’t doubt something is going on with Trump, but I don’t think it’s Pick’s. Maybe he just can’t handle the stress of a job that actually might hold him to account for something, eventually.

  42. CSK says:

    Sarah Palin’s inarticulacy and ignorance were BIG features, not bugs, with the Palinistas, who are now the Trumpkins. Possibly Trump saw the inarticulacy as something to be adapted to his own purposes. The ignorance he didn’t have to feign.

  43. de stijl says:

    @charon:

    But what you’re alleging isn’t news. It’s speculation.

    For future historians it might be interesting if there is a later diagnosis a la with Reagan’s second term, but for now it’s an unanswerable question.

    What matters is 2020 and getting an incompetent person out of the Oval Office.

  44. Blue Galangal says:

    Mikey, Steven, de stijl – I’m going to respectfully disagree. There is a notable decline over the past 6 months, let alone the past 26 months. Aside from Trump’s decline – whatever may be causing it (along with charon, I think there is a good case to be made for some kind of dementia) – this is relevant because it is being covered up/excused/normalized. The GOP and the people close to Trump refuse to admit that this is not normal. Even if this is just Trump under stress, this is not normal and he cannot and should not be in office. That is what needs to be hung around the neck of the GOP every single day.

    Ivanka on the Asian trip; Jared in that G-7 meeting… He has a babysitter with him pretty much full time now, and it was clear after the G-7 that any further trips OCONUS would be cancelled. It may be that he is “just” a doddering old fool (watch the 5 separate times he said he’s never heard of a Cat 5 hurricane over the course of two years) but he is a doddering old fool with the nuclear codes who is enabling Stephen Miller yet who cannot remember the word “Crimea” and cannot remember that Poland was invaded by Germany. All he can remember are words like “great” and “tremendous” (and “nasty”).

    This may not convince the die hard Trump supporters. But is it really about that? Or is it about fighting back against this normalization of absolute, utter incompetence and malfeasance?

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  45. charon says:

    My two cents again:

    Trump is displaying a large variety of possible FTD symptoms, and displaying them all frequently.

    Individually, most can be explained away as really “something else” instead of dementia.

    However, the same “something else” does not work for them all, by no means. Instead, you would need several different “something else” to make this “not FTD.”

    Several different “something else” would break Occam’s Razor pretty badly, you only need one FTD to explain them all. Occam’s Razor says FTD is the best assumption.

  46. de stijl says:

    @charon:

    Unless you are his doctor, your assertions are flat out unanswerable.

    Also, seemingly, obsessive.

    @Blue Galangal:

    I don’t disagree that Trump behaves oddly. That’s not a secret and no one is trying to hide or diminish that fact.

    The news is that he behaves in a un-Presidential manner and is demonstrably bad at his job. Outside of The RW newsphere it is commonly reported and acknowledged. His thin-skin and tweet rages drive the news cycle for days. His behavior is not excused or swept under the rug. It is widely and routinely reported.

    I don’t care about why he acts out and cannot behave like a President. I care that he does it, and I want him gone in November 2020.

    No one is going to go 25th Amendment on the dude between now and then. It’s just not going to happen. If by some unforeseen miracle it did happen, we’d have President Pence.

  47. charon says:

    @Blue Galangal:

    There is a notable decline over the past 6 months, let alone the past 26 months.

    This is what all this stuff about “He is old” or “he is cranky” or “he acts out” etc. etc. does not even address, these are not even part of what I meant by various “something else” i.e., some actual disease process’ to explain the speech/locomotion/balance/memory symptoms that all stuff that “he acts out” etc. is not even responsive to.

    @de stijl:

    Unless you are his doctor, your assertions are flat out unanswerable.

    I am getting a bit tired of this all, but I do want to throw this out as not mentioned yet:

    Trump is highly motivated to refuse to see a neurologist or to grant/permit any neurologist access.

    So: Na Ga Hoppen.

    Also, there is some belief out there that Trump’s symptoms are being masked with drugs and that a coverup is occurring. This would not need many people to do, just the Trump family, Jared and Mick Mulvaney – all people with lots of motive to keep dementia ideas suppressed.

    So, again, neurological examination – na ga hoppen.

    And, as mentioned earlier, “Goldwater Rule,” whatever, but you do not need to be a zoologist to know that you are looking at a giraffe.

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  48. de stijl says:

    @charon:

    Your theory might be correct, but you’re obsessing.

    And what you’re obsessing about is a sideline that does not matter one whit between now and November 2020.

  49. @Blue Galangal:

    Even if this is just Trump under stress, this is not normal and he cannot and should not be in office.

    Indeed. I utterly agree it isn’t normal.

    In fact, blaming it on dementia helps normalize, IMHO. I think he has been horribly abnormal going back decades.

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  50. @charon:

    Several different “something else” would break Occam’s Razor pretty badly

    Being an unfit egotist whose main skill is conning audiences and that his name means far more that it really does (Trump Steaks, Trump University, Trump Vodka, Trump Towers, President Trump) is mostly all I need from Occam’s Razor.

    I am not saying dementia or other issues aren’t possible, but I don’t think you need it to explain most of his bizarre behavior.

    He doesn’t read.

    He doesn’t care about knowledge.

    He acts from his gut.

    He gets most of his info from TV.

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  51. charon says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    This is orthogonal to his symptoms and you still do not address the progression.

    dementia

    he has been horribly abnormal going back decades.

    ¿Porqué no los dos?

  52. @charon: I don’t think that progression can be established via TV clips, as it it becomes subjective. I, personally, don’t see a deterioration since the campaign, but I recognize that that is a subjective evaluation.

    And sure, it could be both.

  53. charon says:

    @de stijl:

    Your theory might be correct, but you’re obsessing.

    I have taken the trouble to do some investigating before doing a lot of public opinionating.

    And what you’re obsessing about is a sideline that does not matter one whit between now and November 2020.

    This is not an objective fact, it is an opinion and a subjective assessment.

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  54. de stijl says:

    I have a theory that Trump is a golem comprised of clay, resentment, personal pique, a super-abundance of misguided pride and self worth, and somewhere buried deep is profound shame and regret that must be fought off and never acknowledged no matter the cost, but it effects his behavior every minute.

    He was fired in a kiln constructed with the bones from the Trail Of Tears by the reanimated corpse of Dr. Mengele.

    Prove me wrong.

  55. Guarneri says:

    I don’t even know what to say. From an educated, thoughtful perspective mind you….

    https://hotair.com/archives/ed-morrissey/2019/09/03/mattis-wont-believe-obama-biden-bungled-iraq-allowed-rise-isis/

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  56. de stijl says:

    @charon:

    Your claims about Trump’s mental health have no material, provable basis.

    You very well might be correct, but it’s conjecture.

    We will find out later.

    Let it go for now.

    (Btw, if you pushed me I’d argue his oddness is due to psychological rather than a neurological condition, but I’m spit-balling, as are you. We don’t know.)

  57. An Interested Party says:

    Sorry, de stijl, but it really is a shame that there is no long a caption contest around here…the responses to that pic of Mr. Grumpy Pants would be doozies…

    From an educated, thoughtful perspective mind you….

    Oh, if we are looking to James Mattis for opinions, let us not lose sight of what he thinks of his former boss, even if his criticisms aren’t direct…”unusual president” indeed…

  58. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Guarneri: Interesting. Did Mattis give any perspective beyond we shouldn’t have left? I ask because it’s not uncommon to see career military advocate for eternal war and, we wuz gonna has to go sumtime. Did he suggest a better exit strategy? If he did, I didn’t see it and would appreciate you pointing it out.

    Frankly, I never thought that war was well thought out or carried out, and it certainly isn’t one of the Obama administration’s premier foreign policy victories. Some say that I lost at least one teaching job for saying so in public forums. Still, blaming the following administration for bollixing up a quagmire created by the opposition party is bad form, even for you.

    And when ya gonna answer Reynold’s question?

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  59. @Guarneri:

    I don’t even know what to say. From an educated, thoughtful perspective mind you….

    1. Nice whataboutism.

    2. It doesn’t even fit the point.

    3. I would love to see you defend Trump in the above (and the Cat5 stuff). Please. Be my guest.

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  60. @Guarneri: Heck, I will go a step further. Let’s pretend like Obama was the worst. Just. The. Worst.

    Now, defend Trump (and in the process, explain the logic of how Obama being The Worst has anything to do with your defense of Trump).

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  61. The O says:

    Not sure whether to laugh about it or be worried.

  62. wr says:

    @charon: “Occam’s Razor says FTD is the best assumption.”

    I find “loathesome sack of shit” handles it all without the added burden of diagnosing from afar.

  63. DrDaveT says:

    @de stijl:

    We bemoan the lack of smart, respectful conservative voices here willing to engage on substance. Don’t make this place inhospitable then.

    I love the fact that this got 15 upvotes, probably from the very people being called out, and no downvotes (yet). This is why OTB is unique on the Interwebs.

  64. Mister Bluster says:

    …respectful conservative voices…willing to engage on substance.

    name one