The Republican Party Jumps the Shark

In the immortal words of the Fonz, I was wr-wr-wr-wr . . . not exactly right.

fonzie-shark

In the immortal words of the Fonz, I was wr-wr-wr-wr . . . not exactly right.

When he became the Republican frontrunner close to a year ago, I was confident that the Donald Trump balloon would soon burst. While my party had flirted with clownish characters or extreme right wingers before, it had, in my lifetime, always come back to nominate a sensible, qualified candidate for the presidency.

By early spring, when it became clear that my preferred candidates, Jeb Bush and John Kasich, were not going to win the nomination, I held out hope for a brokered convention in which the Establishment would select a more plausible nominee. While the political scientist in me knew that this had traditionally been a pipe dream, as recently as a month ago, it looked like a very real possibility.

With Ted Cruz and Kasich finally dropping out after their latest defeat, Trump is literally the last man standing. Barring tragedy, he’ll easily amass enough delegates to win the nomination on the first ballot at next month’s convention. He’ll represent the GOP in the fall against—again, barring tragedy—Hillary Clinton.

I’ve voted, if not always enthusiastically, for every Republican presidential nominee for three decades, going back to my vote as an 18-year-old college freshman to re-elect Ronald Reagan. Like both former Presidents Bush, I can’t bring myself to endorse, much less vote for, Trump.  At this juncture, ditto Clinton.

Reagan famously explained his switch from being an FDR Democrat to a Goldwater Republican by declaring that, “I didn’t leave my party, my party left me.” Given both my personal evolution and changes in the party, I’ve been a Republican in Name Only for several years now, labeling myself such things as “Chuck Hagel Republican” and “Jon Huntsman Republican,” in which the adjective all but obviates the noun. For reasons both philosophical and tribal, I’m not ready to go Full (Reverse) Reagan and switch to the Democrats. Absent some radical swing back to the center by the GOP, I suppose I’ll simply be an Independent for the time being.

For a variety of reasons, my political blogging output has fallen drastically in recent months. Not having a dog in the fight may make it hard to rekindle the enthusiasm once my work schedule eases after graduation next month. To the extent that I comment on the race, it’ll be from the standpoint of a neutral policy analyst who happens to hold a serious personal disdain for both candidates.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Best of OTB, Campaign 2016, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Mu says:

    I think the problem with the GoP is that for years everybody assumed that there was something beyond the theocrats and the bigots, some form of large block or reasonably conservative voters interested in a reasonable government. The fact that especially the house showed a strong lack thereof lately was written off as an aberration of the voting mechanism that made moderates subject to challenge from the right without endangering the “safe R” status of the district.
    Now this primary has shown there just isn’t much else. You got 40% bigots and 25% theocrats, that leave only 35% in the “reasonable” column. Subtract the 5% libertarians and you got less than a third of R voters actually interested in a productive government.
    One can only hope that that third will blend with centrist independents and the non-liberal wings of the democrats to form a center party. This country could need some timeout where you have to work with another party to form a government that works.

  2. Pch101 says:

    Not sure how representative that she is of the norm, but a friend of mine who is Republican has had the last straw. She’s not switching parties, but she is going to stop calling herself a Republican and she is not going to vote in the November election.

    She considers herself to be a social conservative on some issues (pro-life, for example), but she is tired of the misogyny and the anti-immigrant fervor and even the attitudes toward gay marriage. (Interestingly enough, she sees commitment as a traditional value, and believes that all people, whether gay or straight, should be encouraged through marriage laws to be in committed relationships.)

    She loathes Trump because of the racism, and is tired of defending the GOP’s tolerance of racism. It’s also becoming clear to her from all of the Obama-monkey emails that she has received from her local party chapter that Trump is not a fluke.

    The GOP’s decision during the 1970s to win over disaffected Dixiecrats was the proverbial deal with the devil. It would be smart at this point for the GOP to stop catering to that group; at this point, the Democrats will never take them back, so it is possible to make them politically irrelevant vis-a-vis presidential elections.

  3. Moosebreath says:

    Thanks, James. That took some courage.

  4. Sleeping Dog says:

    The unintended consequences or perhaps, Murphy’s Law of Citizen’s United allowed the too many clown’s in the field as long as they could find one or two sugar daddies to fund a campaign. Then along came the Donald who took advantage of the dissonance of what the Party Establishment wants and what the party grassroots wants.

    Years ago there was a NYT’s Magazine article on conservative, then young Turks and one of the things I remember about that article is the smugness that the interviewees displayed about the ability of the establishment to keep control of the religious right and what were then the original Reagan Democrats. It took a long time but the 3-legged stool finally broke.

    What happens next for the repugs will be interesting.

  5. Rafer Janders says:

    While my party had flirted with clownish characters or extreme right wingers before, it had, in my lifetime, always come back to nominate a sensible, qualified candidate for the presidency.

    George W. Bush.

  6. al-Ameda says:

    @Pch101:

    Not sure how representative that she is of the norm, but a friend of mine who is Republican has had the last straw. She’s not switching parties, but she is going to stop calling herself a Republican and she is not going to vote in the November election.

    I have a feeling that a fair amount of that might happen.

    A short time ago, a couple of my colleagues, both of whom are bio-tech business and science guys, and Republicans who voted for McCain and Romney, told me that they’re voting for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian former governor of New Mexico if he’s on the ballot.

  7. Jen says:

    You are at the point I found myself back in the mid-90s. I was doing a lot of state-level Republican party work in the middle of the country and found that an increasing number of the grassroots level volunteers were starting to espouse beliefs that I just couldn’t stomach being around, similar to what Mu has described above. It’s only gotten worse.

    I’ve been an Independent for the last 16 years, but am ready to give up the pretense and just go register as a Democrat. Given the polling numbers I’ve seen about the number of Republicans who support Trump’s proposed “Muslim ban,” I just don’t see the GOP changing anytime soon.

  8. KM says:

    @Pch101:

    (Interestingly enough, she sees commitment as a traditional value, and believes that all people, whether gay or straight, should be encouraged through marriage laws to be in committed relationships.)

    Your friend is not alone: I know plenty of conservatives who are pro-SSM because it represents a stable long-term social commitment and is an iteration of the structural family unit they are familiar with (2 adults, possibly children). Honestly, extended families are considered far stranger because in America children are supposed to leave at 18 and the elderly rarely live with their grandchildren. Marriage is a deeply traditional value as opposed to “free love” so it’s only the religious nuttery that’s keep it from being accepted by the GOP.

    In an alternate universe somewhere, the GOP fiercely fought for the right for marriage for everyone as a necessary social good against the Democrats who could have cared less since marriage is a old-school restrictive social custom so why bother changing laws about it? It would be an interesting world…..

  9. Franklin says:

    I made the slow transition as well. Basically Republican when I turned 18, then went through a Libertarian phase that morphed into something resembling modern Democrats. I still don’t call myself that, though, I prefer the Independent label. Anyway, I do sympathize with reasonable Republicans, and I know quite a few.

    I just can’t figure out who amongst my friends and colleagues voted for Trump. Obviously somebody must have.

  10. Mikey says:

    @Rafer Janders: If Trump’s elected, he’ll make W look like Socrates merged with Einstein.

  11. While I’ve never actually voted for a Republican President, I was for my adult life a registered Republican and when younger tended to vote that way on most of the down ballot races. My breaking point with the Republican Party was 2006, where I was disgusted by the fact the obvious disaster the Iraq invasion had become was met with a doubling down on crazy rather than any meaningful internal challenge to George W. Bush’s adventurism.

    I formally switched to independent registration when I moved in summer 2008. Since then, my opinion of both parties has continued to decline, to the point that the last few elections I’ve been blank voting (going to the polling place and then casting a blank ballot) because I’m just too disgusted by politics to support anyone for anything.

    I describe myself a politically alienated these days:
    1. My participation in the political process has no effect on the state of government; I am powerless.
    2. Even if it did, there’s no way to predict what candidates will do in office based on how they campaign; political participation is meaningless
    3. There are no moral or legal limits to what politicians do beyond pure political will; politics is normless
    4. My political opinions are neither respected nor even really tolerated by the community at large; I am politically isolated.

    I see politics generally like the weather now; something that impacts my life but which I never had any control over; my youthful belief to the contrary was just a delusion of grandeur that I’ve finally grown out of. The only issue for me anymore is deciding how to respond to what goes on in my personal life.

  12. MikeSJ says:

    It took long enough but like I always say nothing good comes from embracing Zombies.

    By that I mean the zombie belief in supply side economics. This has been recognized as nonsense for decades (voodoo economics anyone?) and yet this belief still shambles along wrecking havoc in all who get bitten by it.

    You start by embracing something that is demonstrably false and in the end you find yourself with a buffoon like Trump as your candidate.

    Head shot. That’s the only solution at this point.

  13. Zo0tie says:

    @Pch101: If Trump chooses Jon Huntsman as his running mate the old Republican party that tried to shut down the government and support mass disenfranchisement of voters will be over. I could see that happening since Huntsman’s moderate sensible stance is exactly what Trump needs to counterbalance his personal deficiencies. It could happen. Trump has signed Huntsman’s No Labels National Strategic Agenda pledge composed of four goals based on a nationally conducted poll of voters:
    • Create 25 million new jobs over the next 10 years
    • Secure Social Security and Medicare for the next 75 years
    • Balance the federal budget by 2030
    • Make America energy secure by 2024
    You’d have to be either a muslim terrorist or a total wack job to see these goals as evil. And Trump has admitted he doesn’t want certain people to be part of the party. I think he means the die hard Dixiecrats for instance. Despite his habit of talking like a drunken sailor on leave underneath he’s a shrewd businessman. Sometimes you need to delegate to people who can do some things better than you. That’s just business.

  14. Scott says:

    Well, I have been a registered Republican since 1972; however, that really doesn’t influence who I vote for. At the end of the day, what party you register for doesn’t matter except in states with closed primaries. As with a lot of people, I don’t believe I’ve moved too much left or right but the parties have done the movement instead. Besides, I don’t view myself as a political liberal or conservative but more of a rationalist and will act accordingly.

    At this stage in the game, I will be voting for Clinton. And that is pretty firm.

    And I’m not optimistic that she is a shoo-in.

  15. Pch101 says:

    @Zo0tie:

    And Trump has admitted he doesn’t want certain people to be part of the party. I think he means the die hard Dixiecrats for instance.

    Well, that would certainly explain Trump’s efforts to be the voice of misogyny, immigrant bashing and Islamophobia.

  16. EddieinCA says:

    Dr. Joyner –

    No. No. No.

    You don’t get to absolve yourself of your own complicity in what has become of the Republican party. You can’t.

    You, and those moderates like you, are fully to blame for the clown car that the GOP has become. For YEARS, probably since Pat Buchanan’s speech in 1992 (which was my tipping point to switch from GOP to Independent), the GOP has been lurching further and further into irrational policy positions, ludicrous conspiracy theories, and has embraced racist elements. During this time, there has been a solid 30%-40% of the GOP base that has shown they are more interested in purity dogma than policy.

    In the 90’s, the Vince Foster Death investigations, and the subsequent Whitewater Investigations were just the start of it. In 2000, the GOP smear of McCain in South Carolina furthered the craziness. In 2004, the smears against John Kerry, by all accounts a decent public servant with a stellar record, pushed the bounds of decency even further. By 2008, with the rise of Barack Hussein Obama, we thought the fever swamp had hit peak craziness.

    Wow… Were we wrong.

    Meanwhile, many of us told YOU, and others like you that the GOP was heading in a path that was not only unsustainable, but would lead to the death of the party. You can search your archives. There was no shortage of those posts. Michael Reynolds, especially, called this exact scenario, while not naming Trump, about three years ago. You, and others like you, kept up the tribal alliance, regardless of Sarah Palin, Sharon Angle, Richard Murdock, Christine O’Donnell, Todd Akins.

    During this time, Sam Brownback and the GOP right wing won in Kansas… and they have run it into the ground.

    During this time, Bobby Jindal and the GOP took over Lousiana… and they ran it into the ground. So much so that a DEMOCRAT won in Louisiana.

    During this time, Scott Walker and the GOP took over Wisconsin…. and take a look what’s happening there.

    Yet you still stayed true to the GOP. Tribal alliance is strong for you, isn’t it?

    Which brings us to today….

    You can’t vote for Trump… well, because you have a brain and know, intrinsically, that Trump is a dangerous demagogue who will actually harm the country in real ways. You know that handing nuclear codes to someone so erratic is a bad idea. But…HIllary is icky. “I don’t like her.”

    GROW THE EFF UP. Tell me which Clinton policies with which you actually disagree. Tell me which appointments she’ll make with which you disagree. If you can’t vote for her because of those reasons, I can respect that. However, if your rationale for not voting for her is because you don’t like her, then you’re acting like a child. Oooooh… You don’t like Hillary Clinton? Who gives a SH*T? You don’t know Hillary Clinton. You probably won’t ever know Hillary Clinton. What you know is 25 years of Hillary Clinton being attacked.

    The truth is that the Hillary Clinton of 2016 is similar to the Barack Obama of 2008 in terms of their policies. They’re center-left reasonable politicians. In fact, Obama’s policies are pretty much the GOP policies of 1992.

    So grow up. Or grow a spine. But you don’t get to say “Woe is me. What happened to my Party?”

    You were part of it all this time.

  17. Hal_10000 says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    George W. Bush.

    No.

    George W. Bush was an experienced and popular governor, the son of a President, someone who had put together bipartisan legislation while governor of Texas. He specifically rejected racism, addressing audiences in Spanish, speaking forcefully against anti-Islam bigotry after 9/11 and supporting immigration reform. Bush was a crap President, I will grant you. But he was nothing like Trump. I remain convinced that Bush was a decent man who was in over his head and chose to surround himself with incompetent and power-hungry people.

    I do think this is the end of a long road that saw me leave the GOP in 2004. I had hoped, based on some of the sensible Republicans out there, that the illness had passed and I would be able to vote for a Republican President again. Among other things, I’m worried about the balance on the Supreme Court. But this is a long-building poison hatching out: a result of toxic talk-radio-fueled wind that the GOP leadership thought they could sow without reaping a whirlwind.

    My only hope, both for conservatism and for the country, is that Trump crashes and burns in November, causing either a realignment of our parties or a reform of the GOP. I am not optimistic about that. Trump has a big hill to climb, but bigger electoral upsets have happened. If he wins … I don’t even want to think about that. We can look forward to a generation of politicians trying to out-Trump Trump, like clueless guys using bad pickup lines because they saw it work once.

  18. EddieinCA says:

    @Zo0tie:

    Despite his habit of talking like a drunken sailor on leave underneath he’s a shrewd businessman.

    The facts state otherwise.

    Trump Vodka – Failed
    Trump Airlines – Failed
    Trump Steaks – Failed
    Trump, The Game – Failed
    Trump Magazine – Failed
    Trump Mortgage – Failed
    Trump Travel – Failed
    Trump Coms – Failed
    Trump Tower Tampa – Failed
    Trump University – Failed

    Had he taken his net worth from 1982 and just invested in an S&P stock fund, he’d be worth $20 Billlion, not the $10 Billion he claims.

    http://www.moneytalksnews.com/why-youre-probably-better-investing-than-donald-trump/

    He’s not a shrewd businessman at all.

  19. James Joyner says:

    @EddieinCA: It’s possible that, as the campaign goes forward, I’ll come to reluctantly support Clinton vice simply opposing Trump. But an election, especially for president, isn’t simply about stated policy positions but rather about the character and temperament of the candidate. Clinton is smart and reasonably competent. But I don’t trust her.

    As for the rest, a catch-all party in a diverse country of 310 million people is always going to be unwieldy. I’ve lamented the slow decline of the party for years. I took an early and strong stand against the Swift Boat smears of Kerry. Denounced the Palin choice within minutes of the announcement. Railed against Sharon Angle, Richard Murdock, Christine O’Donnell, and Todd Akins and noted that they cost the GOP the control of the Senate in a cycle when it would have been a cinch to take it.

    But the Tea Party taking out weak incumbents in local primaries is a very different thing than nominating a presidential candidate in a series of races over a yearlong campaign. That’s a much more fundamental problem than a few one-offs.

  20. John D'Geek says:

    @EddieinCA:

    It doesn’t work that way.

    Up to this point, I have stayed in the Republican Party because it was better than the alternatives. But now … Trump is a bridge too far.

    In the 60’s, the Democratic Party was hijacked by what was then called Radicals (q.v.), now the Republican Party has been hijacked. As much as I would love to believe I could make a difference, I simply can’t. Ain’t gonna happen.

    Simple fact is that Dr. Joyner is (was) only one Republican, as am (was?) I. When the crazies outnumber the sane, then you loose your party.

    Happened to the Democrats; happened to the Republicans.

    At this point, I will suggest you look up the “Five Phases of Revolution”. It’s not looking pretty …

    You asked a question: Why will I not vote for Hillary Clinton? Answer: she has no regard for national security (aka e-mail scandal). FWIW: Before then, I was willing to vote for her. (I would have had to use a gas mask — holding my nose wouldn’t have been enough — but I would have done it).

    Right now … I have no idea what I’ll do. But, living in PA it doesn’t really make a difference anyway … Right now it’s clear that no one speaks for me.

    So much for Democracy …

    (Caveat: yeah, I’m more than just a little depressed at this latest turn of events.)

  21. Mr. Prosser says:

    @Zo0tie: Huntsman is a No Labels member but I’m sure would not want to be the leash handler for Trump. Joe Lieberman? Well, maybe. Scott Walker? Not a No Labels centrist but for sure he’s snap up the position.

  22. @EddieinCA:

    But you don’t get to say “Woe is me. What happened to my Party?”

    He doesn’t? What’s going to stop him from saying that?

  23. @John D’Geek:

    I have no idea what I’ll do. But, living in PA it doesn’t really make a difference anyway

    It doesn’t make a difference anywhere. In six months, either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump is going to be elected President, and whichever one it is, it’s going to them whether you vote for Clinton, Trump, or Mickey Mouse.

  24. Pete S says:

    @Mu:

    One can only hope that that third will blend with centrist independents and the non-liberal wings of the democrats to form a center party. This country could need some timeout where you have to work with another party to form a government that works.

    But wouldn’t a third truly Centrist Party just make things worse, even if there is the support you expect? That would still leave two blocks, representing about 2/3 of the population, that we assume are not willing to work with anyone at all. At least despite the current partisan nature of the two party system we have now occasionally a few Republicans or a few Democrats will vote with the other party to get something passed. If we take all of those people and put them in a third party the gridlock will get even worse as this could not happen. The Centrist Party would need to pull a full half of one of the hardened leftover parties to vote with them. How likely does that seem?

    Or alternatively, we can assume that the remaining Democratic 1/3 and the Centrist 1/3 would work together just fine. But in that case why not just become Democrats and try to influence the party from within? And I think it is safe to assume that your “40% bigots and 25% theocrats” will not be the ones to compromise and work nicely with others.

    But I think the biggest issue with a third party is how it is going to get anyone elected to the House. I wouldn’t know the exact data, but it seems to me that the way the districts are drawn now about 45% of seats are safely R and 40% are safely D. The districts have been specifically drawn those ways for a reason, and in most of those districts the real election takes place during the primary of the dominant party. What are the odds that the voters in those districts are really looking for an opportunity to vote for another party? And if the composition of the House doesn’t change the political process in Washington does not really change.

  25. Jenos Idanian says:

    In a democracy, people tend to get the government they deserve.

    We earned this, all of us.

    There is no hand-washing allowed.

  26. EddieinCA says:

    @John D’Geek:

    Up to this point, I have stayed in the Republican Party because it was better than the alternatives. But now … Trump is a bridge too far.

    How so?

    Trump is worse that what Brownback and the GOP has done to Kansas?
    Trump is worse than what Jindal and the GOP have done to Lousiana?
    Trump is worse that the mess that Snyder has caused in Michigan?
    Trump is worse that what Rick Scott is doing in Florida?

    Really?

    Trump is what sent you over the edge? Not Sarah Pailin? Not Sharon Angle? Not Tom Cotton? Not Jeff Sessions? Not The government shutdown over Obamacare?

    Your party has had alot of crazies for a long time, yet you tolerated it, enabled it, and even supported the crazies. If you live in PA and you’re a Republican, then you probably supported Pat Toomey, who was head of one of the worst organizations out there – The Club for Growth – which is responsible for many GOP primary challenges to centrist, mainstream GOP members for not beng tribal enough in regards to tax-cutting policies.

    Yes. It does work like that. You were a part of it. People like you created Trump by enabling those like him for the last 20 years.

  27. EddieinCA says:

    @Stormy Dragon: @Stormy Dragon:

    But you don’t get to say “Woe is me. What happened to my Party?”

    He doesn’t? What’s going to stop him from saying that?

    Well, it’s like killing your parents and then complaining you’re an oprhan. You don’t get to do that.

  28. Electroman says:

    I had already seen the Tea Party for what it was, so I was already uncomfortable with the Republican party, but I stopped self-identifying as a Republican shortly after McConnell’s “one-term president” speech in 2010. The actual quote is “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

    Sure, as a prominent Republican, it’s an understandable goal to unseat a Democratic president to replace him with a Republican. But I saw a darker, more sinister meaning to his statement – after all, he didn’t say “replace Obama with a Republican” – and he said it was his top priority.

    A Senator’s top priority should be doing his job as a Senator (which, I will give you, includes fund-raising). Since I live in a state with open primaries, this had no real repercussions.

  29. Jenos Idanian says:

    @EddieinCA: Had he taken his net worth from 1982 and just invested in an S&P stock fund, he’d be worth $20 Billlion, not the $10 Billion he claims.

    I thought that line was a load of crap, but couldn’t quite figure out why. But then I read somewhere (I’ve forgotten where) that spelled it out.

    If Trump had taken his net worth in 1982 and put it into an S&P index fund, 34 years later he’d have $20 billion. And in that 34 years, he’d have had access to none of it. No money for other investments, no money for his lavish lifestyle, no money for his divorces, no money for his family — just what he could earn, each and every year. No Trump-labeled anything.

    What the hell kind of financial advisor would ever suggest to their 34-year-old client “take every single penny you own, put it in this fund, and don’t touch it for 34 years. In the meantime, go out, get a job, and live off that and nothing more. Then, when you’re 69, you’ll have $20 billion to play with.”

    Yes, Trump could, theoretically, be a lot richer than he is now, had he the benefit of all this wonderful hindsight. But he’d have had a hell of a lot less fun and excitement and adventure in his life — including his second and third wife, I’d wager.

    I’ll repeat an earlier point: if Trump is such an awful, stupid, evil, bad person, why can’t people stick to honest, legitimate angles of attack, instead of lies and sheer stupid attacks?

  30. steve s says:

    Eddie, I sympathize with you–especially because Rick Scott is destroying my home state of Florida just as McCrory is destroying NC, Jindal did LA, Brownback is Kansas, etc etc.

    But don’t be too mean to Dr. Joyner. He’s not the Deranged Dipshit Base of the GOP. Even if he’s been an enabler, he’s better as your mixed-bag ally than your enemy.

  31. EddieinCA says:

    @James Joyner:

    Thank you for the thoughtful reply. I guess we will just continue to disagree.

    You don’t “trust” Clinton. I’d just ask why. I’ve been trying to understand the people who say..

    “I don’t like Clinton”.
    “I don’t trust Clinton”.
    “Clinton wont’ make a good President”.

    Here are the answers I get:

    “She did nothing about Benghazi”
    “Email issue”.
    “Whitewater”.
    “Vince Foster’s Murder”
    “Monica Lewinsky”.
    “Goldman Sachs Speeches”.

    So why don’t you trust her?

  32. J-Dub says:

    It was the takeover of the party by the religious right that let me to switch from R to D, with Bush’s banning of stem cell research that pushed me over the edge. I wish I had switched in time to vote for Al Gore.

    And you wreak havoc, you don’t wreck havoc. Sorry, internet pet peeve.

  33. EddieinCA says:

    @steve s:

    Dr. Joyner knows I have a great deal of respect for him. I value this blog immensely. Although I’ve never met him, I’m sure we’d have a good time chatting over a nice Irish Whiskey. I feel a special affinity to him as I, too, lost my wife suddenly, way too young.

    I give him crap about his tribal alliance every couple of months. Rinse. Wash. Repeat. It’s my goal to have him vote for a Democrat for President before I die.

    I lived in South Florida for four years during Rick Scott’s first term. He’s killing the entertainment business in Florida, single handed.

  34. J-Dub says:

    @J-Dub: Christ, now someone said “loose” instead of “lose”. Now all my pet peeves have been addressed.

  35. J-Dub says:

    @EddieinCA:

    He’s killing the entertainment business in Florida, single handed.

    Did he ban strippers?

  36. Moosebreath says:

    @John D’Geek:

    “But, living in PA it doesn’t really make a difference anyway … Right now it’s clear that no one speaks for me.”

    Sorry, but PA is one of the states Trump is hoping to pull out of the the D column to have a shot of winning. So it does matter which you vote for,

  37. steve s says:

    The GOP is a good minority party to have. They should just never have any actual power.

  38. charon says:

    There has been a long term trend within the Conservative Entertainment Complex toward more and more openly and increasingly open expressions of racism, nativism, anti-Muslim attitudes etc. etc. I guess that stuff sells, so competitive pressure produces increasing amounts of that.

    Donald Trump or someone like Donald has been the inevitable result of that trend.

  39. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Actually, that’s what I did with my inheritance when my parents died unexpectedly. I shoved it into a portfolio that was being run by a local bank that did this sort of thing and didn’t touch it for 20 years while I lived off my own earnings. It turned into quite a nice sum.

    Trump could have done this as well, but chose not to. He wants to live like a pasha, surrounded by what he thinks is “classy” and which looks to me like the inside of a Kremlin reception hall. He has no self-control and no self-introspection. Everything is MINE MINE MINE I WANT MINE. If he were as good as business man as he claims he is, there wouldn’t be the long string of failures and bankruptcies attached to him. Do you know why Trump has to go looking for money outside the NYC financial circles? Because they won’t lend to him any more.

  40. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    In a democracy, people tend to get the government they deserve.

    We earned this, all of us.

    There is no hand-washing allowed.

    This comes remarkably close to an admission that Trump winning the nomination is not a good development for the country.

    Anyway, people that voted for Trump in a GOP Primary did this. The people who have ginned up fake controversy after fake controversy to keep the GOP voters in a constant state of rage did this. The Iraq war cheerleaders did this. The people always repeat the GOP nonsense, no matter how ridiculous or untrue did this. You. Did. This.

  41. KM says:

    @Jenos:

    What the hell kind of financial advisor would ever suggest to their 34-year-old client “take every single penny you own, put it in this fund, and don’t touch it for 34 years. In the meantime, go out, get a job, and live off that and nothing more. Then, when you’re 69, you’ll have $20 billion to play with.”

    Fair enough, no one would suggest every penny. But had he done say 50%, he’d still have been fabulously wealthy, had money to piss away on bad business ventures and remained richer then when he began throughout the process (always the goal!).

    The point however is that his touted status as a success is a lie. In order to be a success, one must actually succeed, not stay afloat. If you were present with an anonymous resume for someone who had failed business ventures in multiple diverse fields strengthen across 2+ decades, you’d think twice before handing them the reigns. Spinning losses into wins doesn’t make you a winner, just a BS artist.

  42. Jen says:

    @EddieinCA: Thanks for asking that question, as I was just about to.

    As mentioned above, I worked in Republican politics when Bill Clinton was elected, and I had this reflexive response to the Clintons too, that they just couldn’t be trusted. Over the years, and watching investigation after investigation turn up nothing, I have arrived at the conclusion that a) there’s no “there” there; and b) if Hillary Clinton seems overly guarded, it’s probably due in no small part because of the microscope she’s been under and the number of times she’s been accused of an amorphous “something…she’s hiding something.”

    I trust her–and I trust her a whole heck of a lot more than I’d ever trust Trump.

  43. reid says:

    Unfortunately, not only has the modern GOP devolved into the party of god, guns, and rich people over the last few decades, “they” have also done a wonderful job of demonizing the Left to the point that people like James can’t possibly bring themselves to vote for one of Them. Even though Hillary is by all accounts a fine candidate for representing the interests of moderate Republicans (as is Obama). It’s amazing to witness the power of propaganda. I wonder if James would vote for Obama if it was him and not Hillary running this year?

  44. James Pearce says:

    it’ll be from the standpoint of a neutral policy analyst who happens to hold a serious personal disdain for both candidates.

    Maybe it’s my age (turning 40 in Nov) or the historical context I’ve lived with my adult life (President’s Clinton, Bush, and Obama), but I’ve come to regard the “likeability” of a candidate to be rather irrelevant. I don’t want to have a beer with any of them. But I don’t think I’d mind too much if someone I detested did something good for this country.

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I’ll repeat an earlier point: if Trump is such an awful, stupid, evil, bad person, why can’t people stick to honest, legitimate angles of attack, instead of lies and sheer stupid attacks?

    Human nature. Neither Trump nor Clinton will escape lies and sheer stupid attacks this cycle. If I had a dime for every time someone said Hillary was going to jail for her email server, and you had a dime for every time someone said Donald Trump sucks at business, we’d be very rich men.

  45. C. Clavin says:

    Clinton is smart and reasonably competent. But I don’t trust her.

    And why should you? Being absolved by millions of dollars and decades spent in investigations doesn’t mean anything.

  46. jewelbomb says:

    @Hal_10000:

    George W. Bush was an experienced and popular governor, the son of a President, someone who had put together bipartisan legislation while governor of Texas.

    So what? None of what you say speaks to Bush being “sensible” or “qualified.” Paul LePage was popular enough to get reelected as Gov. and I doubt anyone thinks he’s sensible or qualified to be president. Michael and Ron Reagan are sons of a President and no one thinks that qualifies them for the office. One can find evidence of bipartisan legislation in the records of Jan Brewer, Pete Ricketts, and a host of other governors who are patently unqualified to be President.

    Long story short: the metrics you mention don’t speak at all to GWB’s qualifications for the Presidency, and the fact that the state of the nation was markedly worse by almost any definition after his tenure as President suggests powerfully that he was not. Perhaps the Republicans wouldn’t be where they are today if they could at least be honest in retrospect about their enormous screw up in the 2000 primary. (Although, in defense of that year’s electorate, their choices were pretty weak. Alan Keyes anyone?)

    Is Trump more unqualified than Bush? Sure thing. But that doesn’t mean Bush wasn’t an in initial step in defining down the qualifications for the office. It’s not that hard to trace a clear line from the nomination of an unqualified son of privilege from Texas to the subsequent nomination of an even more unqualified son of privilege from NYC.

  47. grumpy realist says:

    @jewelbomb: I remember one of my business friends , who had interacted with George Dubya in his Texas incarnation, say that Bush was the stupidest idiot he had ever had to work with.

  48. Jenos Idanian says:

    @EddieinCA: You don’t “trust” Clinton. I’d just ask why. I’ve been trying to understand the people who say..

    “I don’t like Clinton”.
    “I don’t trust Clinton”.
    “Clinton wont’ make a good President”.

    Let me offer you a few answers that have already been said zillions of times, but apparently you missed.

    “I don’t like Clinton.” To a lot of people she’s just not a likable person. For example, for all her touting her support for women, as both Senator and Secretary of State didn’t pay women equally with men. During her husband’s presidency, she was the leading figure in trying to destroy the lives of the women who dawdled with him.

    “I don’t trust Clinton.” That’s because she’s got a very lengthy record of being untrustworthy. From “landing in Tuzla under sniper fire” to the constantly-evolving story of her e-mail server, she just lies a hell of a lot. Just on the e-mail, her story has evolved from “I didn’t want to use more than one device,” which lasted until photos showed her with her Blackberry, her IPad, and her IPhone, to “I only had one e-mail address,” until at least two were uncovered, to “there was nothing classified on that server” to “I never sent anything classified” to “I never sent anything marked classified,” each time she’s copped to the least she could until the latest round of facts proved her last excuse was a lie.

    “Clinton won’t make a good president.” As First Lady, she flopped at health care reform, but aced “destroying her husband’s girlfriends.” As Senator, her highlight was voting for the Iraq War. As Secretary of State, she oversaw our relations with the resurgent Russia, contributed to the genocidal civil war in Syria, and led the charge on turning Libya into a chaotic hotbed of radical Islamism.

    So let’s put her in charge of all the things! The only theory that makes sense is that “she’s already used up her life’s quote of screwups, so she can’t screw things up any more!”

  49. James Joyner says:

    @EddieinCA: Even at the height of my hatred of Bill Clinton, I never bought into the Vince Foster and similar conspiracy theaters. And, while I think a number of mistakes were made during Benghazi, any made by Hillary Clinton were venial. I thought Bill was rightly impeached and should have been removed over the Lewinski perjury; I don’t really blame Hillary for any of it, understanding even her standing by her man.

    The “Email issue” is a big deal, not because of actual risk to national security but because it demonstrates the Clintonian view that they are simply above the rules that apply to ordinary folk.

    Neither Whitewater nor Cattle Futures nor the Lincoln Bedroom Hotel nor Goldman Sachs were or are illegal. But they’re all of a piece with the Clintons shrewdly manipulating their “public service” to get rich. Having two of them made the game easier, in that the one outside office could cash in on the other being in office or having the real potential to sit in it again to generate wealth for access.

    Moreover, I’ve never thought the Clintons ever stood for anything other than accruing wealth and power to themselves. They’re sheer opportunists.

  50. John H says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    So, he could have blown five billion on his lifestyle over those years and still been 50% further ahead?

  51. Jenos Idanian says:

    @grumpy realist: Actually, that’s what I did with my inheritance when my parents died unexpectedly. I shoved it into a portfolio that was being run by a local bank that did this sort of thing and didn’t touch it for 20 years while I lived off my own earnings. It turned into quite a nice sum.

    That was your choice, and it sounds like it worked out quite well for you.

    Trump could have done this as well, but chose not to. He wants to live like a pasha, surrounded by what he thinks is “classy” and which looks to me like the inside of a Kremlin reception hall. He has no self-control and no self-introspection. Everything is MINE MINE MINE I WANT MINE. If he were as good as business man as he claims he is, there wouldn’t be the long string of failures and bankruptcies attached to him. Do you know why Trump has to go looking for money outside the NYC financial circles? Because they won’t lend to him any more.

    I believe Trump has tremendous self-control. He doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t do any illegal drugs — that puts him ahead of a lot of other people. (Including Obama, who has copped to all three.) He’s also manged to hold on to a YUUUUGE amount of money while living that “pasha” lifestyle. (BTW, I think I might quibble with that term. Trump’s lifestyle is a bit more hedonistic and egotistical than is customarily attributed to pashas. “Sultanic,” perhaps?) Quite a few people see Trump’s persona as something he carefully cultivates and projects, and it’s hard to believe that if that persona were all he was, he hasn’t totally self-destructed by now.

    When I think of people with no self-control, I think of John Belushi, Chris Farley, Charlie Sheen, Miley Cyrus, and Ted Kennedy, along with others I’ve actually known personally. To me, Trump is more like Madonna or Prince — they might project the image of being out of control, but it’s all part of their plan.

    To put it in rather blunt and crass terms, I see Trump as a consummate BSer — but not one who actually believes his own BS. Most politicians have this to a certain degree, but I see Trump as superior to them on the first part, and YUUUUUGELY superior to them on the second. For example, I get the scary feeling that Sanders actually does believe his own BS.

  52. Jenos Idanian says:

    @John H: Damned if I know. That takes 20/20 hindsight, and I don’t particularly feel like carrying out that particular exercise.

    You wanna, go ahead. But that kind of thing always struck me as akin to the people who come out after the battle is fought, and bayonet the wounded. So I’ll pass.

  53. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    When I think of people with no self-control, I think of John Belushi, Chris Farley, Charlie Sheen, Miley Cyrus, and Ted Kennedy, along with others I’ve actually known personally. To me, Trump is more like Madonna or Prince — they might project the image of being out of control, but it’s all part of their plan.

    He is who he is, he really is who he appears to be – a real estate developer and salesman.

    As Bill Maher recently said of Trump’s authenticity, paraphrasing, “he actually is a d**che bag from Queens.” It’s not an act. Oh, there are some theatrics to be sure, but the Donald Trump we’ve seen for the better part of 6 to 8 months is authentically, as Maher said, that d**che bag real estate developer salesman from Queens.

  54. EddieinCA says:

    @James Joyner:

    Again, thank you for the thoughtful response.

    With all due respect, I think you’re holding the Clinton’s up to a standard to which you probably don’t hold others.

    Was GW Bush trading on the family name to enrich himself personally a disqualifying trait for his presidential ambition? After all, he borrowed $500,000 to purchase a minority interest, which ballooned to a $603,000 stake within a few years, and then, while Governor, saw a public stadium built which increased the value of the franchise. When the team was sold to Tom Hicks, a family friend, for $250 Million, Bush walked away with $15 Million. That didn’t bother you?
    http://static.espn.go.com/mlb/bush/timeline.html

    Or Dick Cheney continuing to own stock in Halliburton after becoming VP, and getting a $34 Million payout from Halliburton as he’s about to become VP. That didn’t bother you?
    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2010/may/24/chris-matthews/chris-matthews-says-cheney-got-34-million-payday-h/

    It’s almost like you’re comparing two thieves. But you’re only angry at the couple stealing quarters from the vending machines at Disneyland, as opposed to the man stealing bearer bonds at the treasury.

  55. al-Ameda says:

    @James Joyner:

    The “Email issue” is a big deal, not because of actual risk to national security but because it demonstrates the Clintonian view that they are simply above the rules that apply to ordinary folk.

    I suppose the fact that both Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell used private email in when they were posted to cabinet level positions doesn’t rise to Clintonian levels of being above the law. Also, the rules for being a Secretary of State are not quite the same ones that apply to ordinary folk.

  56. Jenos Idanian says:

    @al-Ameda: It’s now down to a simple binary equation: Trump or Hillary?

    I have plenty of equally derogatory (and accurate) descriptors for Hillary. And if the election was today, I’d have to vote for Trump. (For me, abstaining isn’t an option, but that’s my personal beliefs in action.)

  57. Jenos Idanian says:

    @al-Ameda: I suppose the fact that both Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell used private email in when they were posted to cabinet level positions doesn’t rise to Clintonian levels of being above the law.

    Did Rice and/or Powell set up their own server to handle their official correspondence? Did they deny its existence, repeatedly? Did they delete a bunch of their e-mail, saying it was all “personal?”

    That is like blaming Bush for Fast & Furious. The thinking seems to be “if a Republican did it, then a Democrat can take the same thing, turn the STUPID up to 11, and no one has a right to complain.”

  58. @EddieinCA:

    He just posted an entire “Woe is me. What happened to my Party?” article, so from an empirical standpoint, you’re clearly wrong. He does get to say that; he just DID say it.

    Unless you’re implying some sort of punishment is now going to be meted out for violating your rules about what he does or doesn’t get to say. So please educate us: what is going to happen now that Dr. Joiner has dared to say something he “doesn’t get to say”?

  59. Jenos Idanian says:

    @David M: This comes remarkably close to an admission that Trump winning the nomination is not a good development for the country.

    It might be a good development, it might be a bad development. Time will tell. Right now, I see it as a mixed bag. To steal another person’s line about Trump, “Once you’ve allowed the barbarians through the gates, any swashbuckling ruffian who is willing to pick up a sword and push them back out again is an ally.”

    Either way, we all get to own a little piece of it. “You didn’t build that,” and all that.

  60. EddieinCA says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    It’s already happened. Eventually, you’ll figure it out.

  61. CB says:

    @jewelbomb: @grumpy realist:

    I think Hal’s point was that he might have been a lot of things, but a bomb throwing racist demagogue wasn’t one of them. Which counts for something, I guess.

  62. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Trump has “tremendous self control” because he doesn’t drink or do drugs? You do realize that according to that extremely low bar you’ve basically said that a sizable percentage of Americans have “tremendous self control..” And they’re not flaming egoists, either.

    I note that Trump’s “tremendous self control” didn’t extend to not cheating on his first wife. So much for that. Nor was he able to correctly analyze the business situation/ market demand when it comes to a) airplanes b) casinos in Atlantic City c) football.

    If you lie that much to yourself trying to convince yourself how marvelous you are, where in the heck is this “tremendous self control”? It doesn’t exist.

  63. Rafer Janders says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Are you being deliberately stupid, or do you not actually understand the way the English language works?

  64. Jenos Idanian says:

    Or, if I may wax lyrical…

    I shouted out,
    Who killed the Kennedys?
    When after all
    It was you and me

  65. Rafer Janders says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Trump has “tremendous self control” because he doesn’t drink or do drugs? You do realize that according to that extremely low bar you’ve basically said that a sizable percentage of Americans have “tremendous self control..

    An alcoholic who doesn’t drink has tremendous self-control. A teetotaler who doesn’t drink isn’t exhibiting any self-control, because he’s not resisting any urge.

  66. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Been there, done that, got the hat, the t-shirt and the souvenir bumper sticker for my car.

    James, posts from a neutral analyst with a disdain for both parties sounds like a good addition to the mix to me. I welcome reading them!

  67. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Wow. Jenos is getting dumber.

    “Trump is a financial genius. He used his money to pay off the wives he cheated on. Vote Trump!!!”

  68. MBunge says:

    @Jen: watching investigation after investigation turn up nothing

    The investigations actually turned up a lot, just not criminal charges. That Democrats led the way in redefining political standards so that “I wasn’t convicted of a felony” became a viable defense against scandal is one of the undiscussed things that helped bring us to where we are today.

    Mike

  69. grumpy realist says:

    Actually the most amusement I’ve obtained so far from the whole Trump circus is watching the WSJ running around in circles trying not to swallow their back teeth while trying to “educate Mr. Trump” about what they always want, namely Free Trade, globalization, and more tax cuts.

    I predict that by the day before the election, the WSJ will have come around 180 degrees on Donald Trump and will be patting itself on the back about “how much Mr. Trump has learned” and “how remarkably qualified Mr. Trump is” even if Trump hasn’t changed a bit.

  70. EddieinCA says:

    @MBunge:

    “I wasn’t convicted charged of a with felony anything.”

    Fixed that for you.

  71. MBunge says:

    @Hal_10000: George W. Bush was an experienced and popular governor, the son of a President, someone who had put together bipartisan legislation while governor of Texas.

    Everyone knew George W. Bush wasn’t really qualified for the Presidency by the standards of the past. He was a lightweight. Everyone knew it. The media knew it. The GOP knew it. They just didn’t think it mattered.

    Which, to be fair, is the same thing Democrats thought about Bill Clinton’s character flaws.

    In the post-Cold War world, we dramatically lowered our expectations for our political leaders because we thought history was over and nothing bad was ever going to happen again. We know better now, so it’s fair to hold Trump to a higher standard but we shouldn’t lie to ourselves that the rest of us didn’t play a part in opening the door that he’s walked through.

    Mike

  72. MBunge says:

    @EddieinCA: “I wasn’t convicted charged of a with felony anything.”

    Has Dick Cheney been charged with war crimes? George W. Bush? Donald Rumsfeld?

    Thanks for demonstrating my point. “Not being charged with a crime” is the standard our political leaders should be held to?

    And, of course, Bill Clinton was found in contempt of court for lying under oath and he agreed to lose his law license for five years in order to avoid being disbarred.

    Mike

  73. Rafer Janders says:

    @MBunge:

    The investigations actually turned up a lot, just not criminal charges. That Democrats led the way in redefining political standards so that “I wasn’t convicted of a felony”

    Um, you can’t be convicted of a felony if you weren’t even charged with a felony.

  74. EddieinCA says:

    @MBunge:

    I wasn’t aware that Blill Clinton was running again.

    HIllary.
    Hillary.

    Focus. What was Hillary ever charged with? Whitewater? Rose Law Firm? Vince Foster? Benghazi?

    What?

    Tell, please, Mike.

  75. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Shorter Jenos: “I will parrot back anything on Red State and believe it makes me look smart!”

  76. wr says:

    @James Joyner: “The “Email issue” is a big deal, not because of actual risk to national security but because it demonstrates the Clintonian view that they are simply above the rules that apply to ordinary folk.”

    Sorry, James, respect you as I do, this is complete nonsense. Name one person in power in this country who doesn’t feel and act the same way.

  77. grumpy realist says:

    @Rafer Janders: For some reason that’s bringing to mind Gingrich’s excuse that the reason he cheated on his wife was because he “loved America very much.”

    (I hope Trump decides to go for his inner Donald and pick either Newt or Sarah for VP. )

  78. wr says:

    @James Joyner: “Moreover, I’ve never thought the Clintons ever stood for anything other than accruing wealth and power to themselves. They’re sheer opportunists.”

    Is this why they expended tons of political capital fighting to bring healthcare to everyone during his presidency? Is it why the economy boomed under his stewardship? Is it why he raised taxes on the wealthy, when it pays much better to suck up to rich folks?

    I think so much of this is class based. Those Clintons aren’t of the national aristocracy. They don’t deserve to take out of it what people like the Bushes lay claim to uncontested.

  79. wr says:

    @MBunge: “In the post-Cold War world, we dramatically lowered our expectations for our political leaders because we thought history was over and nothing bad was ever going to happen again”

    Maybe you did. I didn’t and don’t care who Clinton had sex with. I also didn’t and don’t care who FDR, JFK and LBJ had sex with. This is not about “lowering expectations” — it’s about caring that we have a president who does what’s right for the country, not one who only has sex with his wife.

  80. David M says:

    There’s kind of a weird comparison going on between personal behavior by a public official that was maybe less than ethical and war crimes by different public officials.

    I feel pretty confident in saying I’m willing to accept the first to avoid the second. The fake concern over the “unethical” behavior by Hillary Clinton is a sad joke. It’s like the Iraq War cheerleaders gleefully celebrating over the corpses at Benghazi, trying to gin up a fake controversy.

    The minor personal failings that are of no consequence are roughly equal between the two parties. But only one party is trying to stop American citizens from voting. Only one party prefers to let people die rather than expand Medicaid. Only one party cheered on the disaster in Iraq. Only one party is working to prevent any progress on climate change. Only one party is nominating Trump.

    I’ll start caring about minor personal failings when there is more than one choice on offer.

  81. Matt says:

    James Pearce: Apples and oranges. Trump has a long line of business failures behind him. That’s a fact.

    The only reason Trump kept what was left of his fortune is because the wallstreet bankers decided they could make more money off using his name than forcing him into personal bankruptcy.

  82. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    but not one who actually believes his own BS

    Please tell us what parts of his BS does Donald not believe or is it all of it?

  83. steve s says:

    Shorter Jenos: “I will parrot back anything on Red State and believe it makes me look smart!”

    Actually, RedState is calling for Merrick Garland to be quickly confirmed now, because they know they were full of it the whole time. I don’t expect the local RWNJs to be able to admit that.

  84. Tillman says:

    @MBunge:

    “Not being charged with a crime” is the standard our political leaders should be held to?

    Dude, this is war. As long as the other side is charged with and convicted of more crimes — lower on the slope in the race to the bottom — that, by any sense of rationality, rules out consideration of whether your side should aspire to a higher standard. Long as the other dude is more of a bastard, it doesn’t matter.

    And the other dude will always be more of a bastard because politics is a tribal affair.

  85. KM says:

    @James Joyner:

    “Moreover, I’ve never thought the Clintons ever stood for anything other than accruing wealth and power to themselves. They’re sheer opportunists.”

    And Trump’s an excellent example of an altruist. He’s not about accruing wealth and power at all; I mean, it’s not like he’s ever cut deals that actively screw over people just to make a few extra bucks or been on TV for the sole purpose of promoting his name.

    **sigh** Honestly, James, you’re killing me here. If sheer opportunism ism is a turnoff, then your decision to even consider voting for Trump is a complete headbanger. If Hillary is slimy, Trump is happily wallowing in a lake of his own ooze.

  86. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Jen: I am someone who doesn’t “trust” Hillary (beyond being in this game for whatever she can get from it) but then again, I didn’t “trust” Bush or Obama either. Trust is something that I don’t value politicians; I expect them to be venal and self-serving above all. Having said that, Hillary is still the person who is least likely (among all the candidates running from the start of this particular clown car demolition derby) to make a hash of it during the next 4-8 years. I wish that she was less inclined to want to plant the tree of liberty in other people’s yards and then to water it with the blood of temp-labor patriots, but that bit of hubris is common to all of the candidates (maybe even all of the citizens), so I won’t get that wish no matter what. In any event, it’s all over but the wailing and gnashing of teeth (not to mention the endless recriminations).

  87. EddieinCA says:

    @KM:

    **sigh** Honestly, James, you’re killing me here. If sheer opportunism ism is a turnoff, then your decision to even consider voting for Trump is a complete headbanger. If Hillary is slimy, Trump is happily wallowing in a lake of his own ooze.

    No. Dr. Joyner has said on multiple occasions that he will not, and cannot vote for Mr. Trump under any circumstance. I believe him.

    The issue for Dr. Joyner, and others like him, is that regardless of not voting for Trump under any circumstances, they cannot bring themselves to pull a lever for Secretary Clinton. So the problem becomes:

    1. Do I sit it out on the presidential line of the ballot?
    2. Do I vote for one of the minor party candidates?
    3. Do I write someone else in.
    4. Do I stay home?

    I think there will be many like Dr. Joyner, if not Dr. Joyner himself, who sill find Mr. Trump so odious that they’ll pull the lever for Clinton, especially if she picks a mainstream VP candidate.

  88. James Pearce says:

    @Matt:

    Trump has a long line of business failures behind him. That’s a fact.

    And Spielberg has had some flops.

    Look, I’m not here to defend Trump’s business acumen, but if you point me to all his failures all day, you still won’t find the one that ruined him.

    That’s not to say his business acumen qualifies him for the presidency. We should be confident in making the argument that Donald Trump’s talents are quite appropriate for Trump enterprises, just not for the White House.

  89. gVOR08 says:

    @Mr. Prosser: Hadn’t thought about Lieberman. He and Walker both offer a willingness, probably an eagerness, to take the veep job that might be hard to find elsewhere.

  90. Stan says:

    @James Joyner: “Moreover, I’ve never thought the Clintons ever stood for anything other than accruing wealth and power to themselves. They’re sheer opportunists.”

    Both of them are sincerely devoted to helping African-Americans and other minorities improve their station in life. For people who got their political start in Arkansas, this is the opposite of opportunism. Also, they’ve worked hard to get medical care for people too poor or too sick to afford it and they’ve consistently tried to help low paid workers by supporting a higher minimum wage. They’re bad on the small things but good on the big ones.

    As far as your own party goes, its opposition to Medicaid expansion strikes me as hardhearted and cruel. But that’s nothing compared to its effort under Nixon and Reagan to make itself into the white man’s party and its apparent willingness to impose a religious test on those seeking to immigrate to the US. George Washington’s letter to the Newport synagogue expresses what’s best about the US. The Republicans, particularly Trump, express what’s worst.

    I realize you’re a good guy, and you have as much right to your opinions as I have to mine. But in this case you’re placing too much weight on personalities.

  91. EddieinCA says:

    @James Pearce:

    And Spielberg has had some flops.

    Actually, he’s had one. One. It was called 1941 and it was over 30 years ago. Speilberg doesn’t direct flops.

    http://www.boxofficemojo.com/people/chart/?id=stevenspielberg.htm

    On a side note – I know a couple of people who know both Trump and Speilberg. Most of them think that Speilberg is actually richer than Donald Trump.

  92. KM says:

    @MBunge:

    “Not being charged with a crime” is the standard our political leaders should be held to?

    Well it certainly shouldn’t be “considered convicted under BS unsubstantiated charges because that’s what I feel should happen”

    There is a difference between wrong and illegal, true. Given that “wrong” is a subjective standard and the law is codified attempts at objective standards, the law is the better choice. The law has not fully caught up to the digital age; that is the fault of Congress who job it is to create those standards. That’s why the Constitution is so important; we are a nation of laws, not transient scruples.

    Let’s be honest: the vast majority of the country doesn’t know why Emailgate is a -gate, just that they were told she did something wrong. Considering the most common password in America is “password1”, the finer points of cyber-security and classified documents are beyond them. (FYI, if you need wifi and are near a church, try “Jesus”. #1 on the list!). Pointing out no crime has been committed then seems like a cop-out as the necessary context is missing. They’re thinking “its like knowing someone committed murder but there’s no DNA evidence for court” instead of “the best practices may have been less then ideal or skirted lines but were within guidelines at the time.” There’s never going to be a Hillary perp walk nor criminal charging, despite fervent desires.

  93. stonetools says:

    First of all , thanks Dr. Joyner for a well-written column.
    I sort of pity Doug and James. Both are conservatives but they are also rational and I believe moral men. As such, they understand that Donald Trump shouldn’t be allowed within a mile of the nuclear codes and that it’s their patriotic duty to keep him out of the Oval Office by voting for his major opponent .This major opponent is a reasonably competent center-left politician who most likely will not FUBAR the nation, so she would be an acceptable choice even if the alternative was not Trump.
    Despite that, ideology and tribalism are holding them back from doing the right thing, although their preferred rationale is that Clinton is somehow not “trustworthy” .Well, she may not be trustworthy compared to George Washington, but compared to Trump…
    Oh well, I have hopes that one or both of them will do the right thing. Not high hopes, mind you, but hopes.

  94. anjin-san says:

    @James Joyner:

    I took an early and strong stand against the Swift Boat smears of Kerry. Denounced the Palin choice within minutes of the announcement. Railed against Sharon Angle, Richard Murdock, Christine O’Donnell, and Todd Akins and noted that they cost the GOP the control of the Senate in a cycle when it would have been a cinch to take it.

    This is all true. And in the end you were simply shouting into a hurricane.

    In the 80s, I was a registered Republican and self-identified as a conservative. In 1988, language along the lines of “Jesus Christ is the last, best hope for America” nearly made it into the party platform. That was enough for me, I registered as an independent, and remained there until the insanity of the Iraq war got me off the fence.

    At some point, you have to realize no one on your side cares what you are saying, and vote with your feet. Most of us have been telling you for years that your party is now batshit crazy, terminally so. I for one, would welcome you to the Democratic Party.

  95. @EddieinCA:

    Tell me which Clinton policies with which you actually disagree.

    Every politician has the same policy: to use their political power to benefit their tribe at the expense of the enemy tribes. The only difference from one to the next is who specifically they consider their tribe and who specifically they consider the enemy tribes.

    Everything beyond that is either post hoc rationalization because people like to pretend they have principles beyond “might makes right” or signaling to help members of the same tribe identify each other.

    So the only meaningful question when it comes to evaluating a politician is, “do they consider me part of their tribe?” And I’m pretty sure both Trump and Clinton consider me part of the enemy tribes.

  96. anjin-san says:

    @EddieinCA:

    Most of them think that Speilberg is actually richer than Donald Trump.

    Possibly true. My guess is they both occupy roughly the same sub five billion ballpark. By the standards of the average person, Trump is indeed fabulously wealthy. In the hierarchy of billionaires, I’m not sure if he is even a light middleweight. It’s also worth noting that no one handed Spielberg an empire, he is entirely a self-made man. Trump on the other had, was born on home plate and he thinks he hit a home run.

  97. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I believe Trump has tremendous self-control. He doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t do any illegal drug

    This has nothing to do with “self-control.” I was a teenager in the 70s, when partying was practically an Olympic sport. Yet quite a few of my contemporaries did not, and do not, indulge in drinking, smoking, or taking drugs. It just doesn’t interest them. It has far more to do with the way a person is wired than “self-control”.

    It would seem that you are already grasping at straws in an effort to pump Trump up. Tell me, has he ever saved a drowning man?

  98. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    more like Madonna or Prince — they might project the image of being out of control

    Huh? Madonna and Prince have both reeked of remarkable focus, discipline, and self-control from day one. Certainly both have/had a plethora of personal eccentricites, but neither has ever come across as being “out of control”…

  99. grumpy realist says:
  100. anjin-san says:

    I think Jenos is confusing a flamboyant/over the top public persona (pretty useful to a performer who want’s to maintain a high profile) with being “out of control” – perhaps it’s too subtle a distinction for the denizens of Chicken Neck, or wherever it is that he hangs his hat.

  101. EddieinCA says:

    @grumpy realist:

    A self-professed conservative Christian refuses to help a woman with disabilities because she’s a Sanders supporter.

    A self-professed conservative Christian supports, for President, a twice divorced, serial adulterer, torture-loving, lying, racist, misogynistic, man who has supported Hillary Clinton with checks, and who has spoken positively about Planned Parenthood, and who is only nominally Christian.

    Wow. Doesn’t get more ironic than that, does it?

  102. Mikey says:

    @EddieinCA:

    Actually, he’s had one. One. It was called 1941 and it was over 30 years ago.

    Was 1941 really a flop? I thought it was pretty good, anyway.

    Looking at that list of movies, though–wow. Sometimes I forget just how many total blockbusters that guy has directed.

  103. KM says:

    @anjin-san :

    Huh? Madonna and Prince have both reeked of remarkable focus, discipline, and self-control from day one. Certainly both have/had a plethora of personal eccentricites, but neither has ever come across as being “out of control”…

    I think what Jenos means when he says “out of control” could better be termed as “not straight-edge” or “not 100% wholesome and clean-cut”. Remember, viewed from the preferred 50’s-era nostalgia that is GOP morals, Prince was an utter hedonist. The Beaver he was not. It’s kinda like the Madonna/Whore complex – one is either intentionally family-friendly or depraved.

    Still, Trump doesn’t meet any of the 50’s hit list – he’d have been a “out-of-control” douche even in the Mad Men era. While he definitely inflates his public image from TotallyExtra to OMGWTFExtra, he’s still lacking in any self-control necessary for this job.

  104. Jenos Idanian says:

    @grumpy realist: I note that Trump’s “tremendous self control” didn’t extend to not cheating on his first wife. So much for that.

    Last I heard, Trump’s been supported by both his exes.

    Have we heard from Gennifer Flowers, Monica Lewinsky, or Elizabeth Ward Gracen yet?

  105. Jenos Idanian says:

    Hillary Clinton set up her e-mail server because she wanted to conduct her official business and her personal business in a way that would not be subject to official scrutiny — be it the Freedom of Information Act, Congress’ Constitutional right of oversight, or even the Obama administration (who had banned Sidney Blumenthal from any role). It also helped cover up just how much overlap there was between her official and personal business — the list of donors to the Clinton Foundation and the list of groups that got favored treatment at the State Department is quite the fascinating Venn diagram, with tremendous overlap.

    In the process of doing that, she was responsible for a great deal of classified and sensitive information being on her unsecured server, which not only could have been hacked by foreign interests, but was hacked by at least one foreign hacker.

    And then, when caught out, deleted a whole ton of those e-mails, but she pinky-promised that they were all purely personal matters, nothing official. And of course we can trust her on that point.

    She put her own interests (political and financial) ahead of national interests, while serving as Secretary of State. Her actions not only would have put a less prominent person in jail, it has done so.

  106. Matt says:

    @James Pearce: Of course I can’t point to one that ruined him because the ones that should of ruined him didn’t because the bankers involved decided they could make more money of Trump’s name than they could taking all his assets.

    Read any?

    He’s the perfect example of how a rich connected kid can’t fail in America today.

  107. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian: We’re not talking about Bill Clinton. We’re talking about Trump. The fact that his ex-wives “support” him does not absolve him of the sin of cheating on them in the first place. Or do you believe that the two ex-wives would have the same attitude towards The Donald had they not received large amounts of cash in divorce settlements?

  108. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    HRC email conspiracy theorizing

    That is the sort of nonsense that has built up and led directly to Trump. Especially as much of it you know isn’t true, you’re just willing to repeat anything, no matter how untrue, in your efforts to try and make the Democrats look bad.

  109. grumpy realist says:

    This whole kerfluffle about Hillary’s email server reminds me forcibly of patent trolls trying to use overly-broad and ill-defined computer patents to claim infringement on well, just about anybody.

    If you don’t have an outlined government policy for dealing with servers at home and you don’t have most of your terms defined, then it’s absolutely ridiculous to try to create a crime around behavior that was acceptable back then. And as for post-facto classification? Yeesh. No one ever got fired for classifying something, which is why the Navy was brain-dead enough to try to classify a bog-standard hydrodynamics equation. How much of this classification stuff is simply for government bureaucrats to make themselves feel important?

  110. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I believe Trump has tremendous self-control.

    Can someone explain to me how an megalomaniacal conspiracy theorist who has been married 3 times, cannot speak without lying and/or contradicting himself, reportedly sleeps only a few hours a night, impulsively tweets at all hours, and improvises wildly about stuff he doesn’t have a clue about is exhibiting self-control???

  111. James Pearce says:

    @EddieinCA:

    Actually, he’s had one. One. It was called 1941 and it was over 30 years ago. Speilberg doesn’t direct flops.

    No, he does not. (Even 1941 made money.) But he has produced his share of flops. (Not splitting hairs here either. Spielberg is not just a director.

    Point was that failure comes with success. Focusing on the Donald’s failures will waste energy better used pointing out why his vision is wrong for America.

  112. dmhlt says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Can $omeone help me to di$cover any PO$$IBLE rea$on why Trump’$ exe$ would want to remain $ilent?
    $o far, $uch rea$on$ ju$t allude$ mo$t of u$.

  113. humanoid.panda says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Did Rice and/or Powell set up their own server to handle their official correspondence? Did they deny its existence, repeatedly? Did they delete a bunch of their e-mail, saying it was all “personal?”

    Running your own server is probably more safe then using a commercial server, so this is a red herring.

    And Powell and Rice didn’t delete *some* of their emails: they simply didn’t turn ANY of them to the government.

    Bettter talking points plz.

  114. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I see Trump as a consummate BSer — but not one who actually believes his own BS

    With your intimate knowledge of Trump you should be able tell us which BS he does not actually believe.

    Perhaps then you could explain how that specific BS (that he doesn’t “actually believe”) is different from a LIE

  115. Mister Bluster says:

    @John D’Geek:… (I would have had to use a gas mask — holding my nose wouldn’t have been enough — but I would have done it).

    So who would get more votes by distributing this gas mask with VOTE FOR ME! stamped on the brow?
    The Donald or Hillary?
    http://www.smokersheavenshop.co.uk/images/P/1-MaskGreen.jpg

  116. humanoid.panda says:

    @MBunge:

    Everyone knew George W. Bush wasn’t really qualified for the Presidency by the standards of the past. He was a lightweight. Everyone knew it. The media knew it. The GOP knew it. They just didn’t think it mattered.

    Which, to be fair, is the same thing Democrats thought about Bill Clinton’s character flaws.

    In the post-Cold War world, we dramatically lowered our expectations for our political leaders because we thought history was over and nothing bad was ever going to happen again. We know better now, so it’s fair to hold Trump to a higher standard but we shouldn’t lie to ourselves that the rest of us didn’t play a part in opening the door that he’s walked through.

    I don’t see how, say, JFK, was any less of a lightweight entering the White House than W was in 2000.

  117. humanoid.panda says:

    As a general point, I just don’t get the “I just don’t trust Hillary” line. I don’t know who she is a person ,and AFAIK, she and Huma Abedin enjoy kicking puppies together. I also have no idea how will she act after she leaves the White House- and am reasonably certain that would involve some enrichment. However, anyone who observes the political scene knows EXACTLY how she will behave as president: she will be a tad to the left of Obama on domestic affairs, tad to his right on foreign affairs, very liberal on judicial appointments, and maddeningly inept on the public/aspirational aspects of the presidency. Like seriously, what is that people who “just don’t trust her” expect she will do: sell Alaska to the Russians? Declare she is a Communist? Suddenly decide to destroy the Democratic party by privatizing Social Security?

  118. Mu says:

    @Pete S: Pete, just as the Republicans have made “pro-life” the litmus test of their party the liberal wind of the Democrats is working very hard to make “anti-gun” their conditio sine qua non. Leaving a third of their party in the lurch, just like the R. As for safe districts, they’re only safe as long as there’s a guaranteed majority. A 60-40 split can easily become a 35-25-40 for the other party. Or a 30-40-30 for the new kid on the block.
    My hope is simply if we get any kind of distribution in which no party has the majority someone will get the message and go back to cooperation. As our current system strongly depends on congress being run by a “majority leader/speaker” someone will have to step up to even get elected to those positions in a bipartisan fashion. That might just make enough people humble enough to not wanting to go through that mess again..

  119. grumpy realist says:

    @James Pearce: But looking at HOW The Donald failed brings out character traits that would present the same problem if he were POTUS, no?

    In the three cases I mentioned, there’s a theme of a) grandiose idea, b) over the top promises, c) little or no actual planning, market research, back-of-the-envelope calculations as to how many people would have to use the service if the project were to be profitable or even break even, and then d) sliding down to disaster, usually staved off momentarily via a handout from Donald’s father or another of Trump’s buddies or bankruptcy court before Trump sells off the entire deal at a loss and scampers away. Oh, and yes–Trump always claims that his lack of success was due to a situation he couldn’t have possibly have predicted (totally ignoring that the original back-of-the-envelope calculation already showed that the project would only have succeeded had Trump immediately captured 100% of the market.)

    If you can’t learn your weaknesses after three rounds of failure, why should we assume that you can learn at all?

  120. R. Dave says:

    @EddieinCA: Eddie, I get your frustration, but I really recommend you check out the following article: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/05/hard-truths-about-how-to-beat-donald-trump/481158/

    Key quotes (not in original order):

    On a gut level, millions would rather vilify neighbors with political disagreements than persuade them. In spite of themselves, many activists relish an emotionally satisfying protest more than an effective one….[but] what more fitting way to beat Trump than to use one’s brains to triumph over one’s gut?

    Telling someone they’re scum for supporting a cause or a candidate causes most people to stubbornly redouble their position. In contrast, persuasive scholarship shows that even short conversations with voters can change their minds about even the most polarizing issues if the persuader engages respectfully, listens attentively to their conversation partner’s viewpoint, and forges a human connection while explaining why they came to different conclusions based on their experiences.

  121. MBunge says:

    @humanoid.panda: I don’t see how, say, JFK, was any less of a lightweight entering the White House than W was in 2000.

    War hero.

    Mike

  122. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @dmhlt:
    Trump Non Disclosure Agreement:
    “No Disparagement. During the term of your service and at all times thereafter you hereby promise and agree not to demean or disparage publicly the Company, Mr. Trump, any Trump Company, any Family Member, or any Family Member Company or any asset any of the foregoing own, or product or service any of the foregoing offer, in each case by or in any of the Restricted Means and Contexts and to prevent your employees from doing so.”

    My deceased Aunt, employed by the Trump Organization, was required to sign a similar agreement many years ago. Trump SOP.

    As she understood it, if she said anything that might be construed as disparaging she would not only be fired, she would be loose “everything” in legal costs fighting Trump’s lawyers (even if she was speaking the truthfully and honestly).

  123. MBunge says:

    @humanoid.panda: As a general point, I just don’t get the “I just don’t trust Hillary” line.

    What’s not to understand? They don’t trust her to tell the truth. That doesn’t mean they don’t have some idea of what she will and won’t do as President. They don’t believe she’s a basically honest person.

    Which they’re wrong about. Hillary is as truthful as most politicians. Her problem is that she’s picked up her husband’s political habits but lacks any of his personal/political skills for pulling them off.

    Mike

  124. grumpy realist says:

    @MBunge: I loved JFK’s comment about how he became a war hero: “It was involuntary. They sank my boat.”

  125. humanoid.panda says:

    @MBunge: And a playboy, absentee senator, and painkillers addict.

  126. humanoid.panda says:

    @MBunge:

    What’s not to understand? They don’t trust her to tell the truth. That doesn’t mean they don’t have some idea of what she will and won’t do as President. They don’t believe she’s a basically honest person.

    So what? you are not picking a friend or a priest or spouse. Once you know what someone wants to do as president, what do you care about anything else?

  127. humanoid.panda says:

    @grumpy realist: Well, that’s too modest: the guy was a cripple, and he fought like hell to be in the Navy.

  128. Tillman says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    The only difference from one to the next is who specifically they consider their tribe and who specifically they consider the enemy tribes.
    Everything beyond that is either post hoc rationalization because people like to pretend they have principles beyond “might makes right” or signaling to help members of the same tribe identify each other.

    The deployment of military language around here can attest to this. While there’s plenty of truth to this, it is a real danger to be alienated from the political process long enough such that holding on to and nurturing that alienation becomes a principle in itself. This is not productive.

    That said, you dodged the specific question and I am interested in your perspective.

    @R. Dave: oh, leave him his frustrations. It gets upvotes, and it’s not as if any minds can be changed in a comments section. No one here is trying to be persuasive. I gave up on that years ago.

  129. Ben Wolf says:

    Dr. Joyner,

    Both liberalism and conservatism are in long-term decline. It won’t be enough to say you aren’t a Republican without a re-evaluation of ideology in a transitioning society. Democrats face the same challenge.

  130. Ben Wolf says:

    Dr. Joyner,

    Both liberalism and conservatism are in long-term decline. It won’t be enough to say you aren’t a Republican without a re-evaluation of ideology in a transitioning society. Democrats face the same challenge.

    Ron Beasley was one of the few telling everyone (and being dismissed for it) that politics were changing and Trump was the likely nominee. His insight will be missed.

  131. Scott says:

    The deployment of military language around here can attest to this.

    Funny you should write that. I’ve been seeing a lot of that ever since reading this article in Slate.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/cover_story/2016/05/donald_trump_baby_boomer_how_the_candidate_was_shaped_by_his_generation.html

    Not sure I agree with the premise but it did get me thinking at current events from a different perspective.

  132. Jenos Idanian says:

    @R. Dave: An excellent companion piece to that — and to my eternal astonishment, I’m praising an article from Vox — is this one.

  133. Raoul says:

    JJ: your party is getting what it deserves and you are still in denial. The email situation in no way shows Hillary been above anybody. What she did was done by her predecessors and truth be told we are still in a new world concerning electronic communications. The fact that you consider this to be a big deal speaks more about you than her. I hope you vote for Trump because I honestly don’t want to hear whine the next four years about her claiming you actually voted for her.

  134. @Tillman:

    That said, you dodged the specific question and I am interested in your perspective.

    As per point two or four above, I don’t think you can predict what a politician is going to do from what they say they’re going to do when they’re running for office. So I don’t consider my agreement or disagreement with a particular politician’s policies to be of any use in evaluating them.

    As per point four or four, I don’t think any disagreements I might have with Clinton’s policies would be considered legitimate here, so I don’t see any point in laying them out just to elicit more verbal abuse.

    I’m sorry if that answer doesn’t satisfy your interest, but I’m not interested in sharing my perspective beyond that. In fact, I’m sure I’ll end up regretting sharing even that much, but sadly my OCD tendencies frequently prevent me from biting my tongue when I’d be much happier in the long run having done so.

  135. Steve V says:

    @MBunge: The funny thing is, these people also claim to be somewhat jaded about politics and not to trust *any* politicians. (At least Doug I think has said this; I think James has too at some point.) Somehow the Clintons’ perceived dishonesty is a deal-killer though.

  136. CB says:

    @dmhlt:

    Subtle and spectacular

    @anjin-san: @Jenos Idanian:

    Hillary Clinton set up her e-mail server because she wanted to conduct her official business and her personal business in a way that would not be subject to official scrutiny — be it the Freedom of Information Act, Congress’ Constitutional right of oversight, or even the Obama administration (who had banned Sidney Blumenthal from any role).

    I know we’re way too far gone in this interesting here thread for one comment nitpicks, but is this even remotely true? What’s the evidence? If that’s true, she’d have to assume that no one anywhere would ever find out about the servers, which doesn’t pass the smell test. It couldn’t have just been done for convenience by someone who felt blihtely entitled to expeditious means, and then spun because, of course, the game needs to be played? I’m genuinely curious what your sources are here. Though I’m also so far past cynical at this point that this doesn’t feel like a major deal to me, so..

  137. CB says:

    @Tillman:

    Can you and Stormy not ever go anywhere? I forgot why I came here for a little while, but that little back and forth reminded me.

  138. CB says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    You too.

  139. wr says:

    @CB: “What’s the evidence?”

    The evidence comes from idiot Jenos’ magical mindreading ability. It’s the same way he knew that Zimmerman was desperately afraid for his life when he murdered a teenage black kid. Basically, whatever Jenos imagines people think is magically what they think.

  140. Steve V says:

    @CB: I think Jenos is inferring. Personally, I think she did the personal server because she didn’t want the “VRWC” making finding out about and making fun of the minutia of her life, like how much she spends on haircuts or whatever odd thing might turn up in an email, and didn’t seem to understand she could just use a gmail account or whatever for personal email. (I also don’t know if the timing of the server coincides with Chelsea’s engagement and/or wedding, but if it does I assume also she didn’t want stuff about their presumably grandiose wedding expenditures being on a .gov email server.)

    So, Jenos thinks she did it to hide some kind of nefarious corruption; I think she did it to hide personal stuff. Whatever.

  141. CB says:

    @Steve V:

    Whatever.

    Amen.

  142. Steve V says:

    @Steve V: According to Politifact, Clinton, Sanders and Kasich are all about equally honest (and are the most honest of the “remaining five” candidates as of March 24, 2016). Trump is basically a walking “pants on fire.” Cruz was almost as dishonest as Trump. Interesting.

    But, as they say (or as James may say?), perception is everything.

    http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/article/2016/mar/27/final-five-truth-o-meter/

  143. Ben Wolf says:

    @CB: That’s a semantically null sentence fragment.

  144. stonetools says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    However, anyone who observes the political scene knows EXACTLY how she will behave as president: she will be a tad to the left of Obama on domestic affairs, tad to his right on foreign affairs, very liberal on judicial appointments, and maddeningly inept on the public/aspirational aspects of the presidency.

    Amen & Amen. Another way of describing what a Clinton presidency would be like is that it would be pretty much Obama’s third term, with some Clintonian touches. Maybe that’s what Doug and James would find objectionable. If so , they should just say so, and get off this vague “she’s untrustworthy” charge. We should also look at this:

    Jill Abramson reported in The Guardian on Monday that PolitiFact, a Pulitzer prize-winning fact-checking organization, judged Hillary Clinton to have “the best truth-telling record of any of the 2016 presidential candidates.”

    PolitiFact judged 43 of Clinton’s claims, nearly one quarter of all of her claims that the organization investigated, to be “true.” That compares with 12 of Bernie Sanders’ claims, or 15 percent of those investigated.

    Fifty-five percent of claims by Sanders that the organization investigated were either “true,” “mostly true” or “half-true,” compared with 72 percent by Clinton. These numbers mean little on their own, as they are limited by the number of claims by each candidate that the organization decided to devote time and resources to investigating.

    Of those investigated, PolitiFact judged 3 percent of Republican Donald Trump’s claims to be true, and 6 percent of Ted Cruz’s.

    So by objective measures, Clinton is at least as truthful as any other candidate-and far more so than the two major Republican candidates. But somehow, Hillary is the untrustworthy one.

  145. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    @al-Ameda: It’s now down to a simple binary equation: Trump or Hillary?

    Most presidential elections come down to a simple binary choice.
    It’s Hillary – if only for one reason – I know with certainty which of those two I want to be making nominations to the Supreme Court.

  146. stonetools says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    s per point two or four above, I don’t think you can predict what a politician is going to do from what they say they’re going to do when they’re running for office. So I don’t consider my agreement or disagreement with a particular politician’s policies to be of any use in evaluating them.

    Actually, the political scientists have found out that politicians do in fact try to carry out their promises.

    Political scientists, however, have been studying this question for some time, and what they’ve found is that out-and-out high-profile broken pledges like George H. W. Bush’s are the exception, not the rule. That’s what two book-length studies from the 1980s found. Michael Krukones in Promises and Performance: Presidential Campaigns as Policy Predictors (1984) established that about 75 percent of the promises made by presidents from Woodrow Wilson through Jimmy Carter were kept. In Presidents and Promises: From Campaign Pledge to Presidential Performance (1985), Jeff Fishel looked at campaigns from John F. Kennedy through Ronald Reagan. What he found was that presidents invariably attempt to carry out their promises; the main reason some pledges are not redeemed is congressional opposition, not presidential flip-flopping.

    Its considered cool, I guess, to strike a cynical pose about politicians , as Stormy Dragon did above. but frankly that’s a bull sh!t pose, based on well, bullsh!t. I think that when Clinton says she’s going to try to get the American people paid family leave and universal pre-K, she will try to do exactly that. If she doesn’t achieve it , it will be because of Republican opposition, not because she will renege on her promises.

  147. Mikey says:

    @CB: I read somewhere–I wish I could remember now–that Clinton’s use of a private server in no way insulated her official communications from the FOIA, because those communications were by definition subject to it regardless of where they were stored, and in fact made unofficial communications subject to the FOIA that would not otherwise have been because they were stored alongside the official communications.

    Essentially, then, reality is the exact opposite of the right-wing talking point.

  148. Todd says:

    @James Joyner:

    But an election, especially for president, isn’t simply about stated policy positions but rather about the character and temperament of the candidate. Clinton is smart and reasonably competent. But I don’t trust her.

    This.

    In the end, as Trump picks his policy team, and especially as he is pinned down on exactly who he would choose to replace Justice Scalia on the Supreme Court, I will almost certainly end up not only voting for, but probably even openly supporting supporting Hillary Clinton.

    … but at this point in time I’m still not at all happy about it.

    Many people have been saying for a long time now (pretty much every election cycle) that in a country of 300+ million people why can’t we come up with two better choices for President? But this year really takes the cake. :-/

  149. Steve V says:

    @Mikey: Right wing messaging always talks about “common sense” … but when it comes to hating on liberals, conservatives seem to be willing to create the most elaborate and not-entirely-sensible schemes and motives. Someone should tell them, we’re people just like they are; we aren’t cartoon characters.

  150. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Last I heard, Trump’s been supported by both his exes.

    And that would mean that Trump is doing something that a lot of wealthy people do – using money to control the people around them. Look at McCain’s first wife – I mean he really and truly screwed and humiliated her after she kept the home fires burning for years.

    Yet she never says anything but nice things about him in public. A big check every month can do that.

  151. Steve V says:

    James,

    When I was a much younger man and had no idea Sean Hannity was a partisan Republican, back in the 1990s, I used to listen to him fairly regularly and thought he made a lot of sense about many things … I remember him saying at some point in the late 1990s about Bill Clinton, “All he wants is power. He doesn’t stand for anything except acquiring and maintaining power.” I remember at the time thinking that was an odd thing to say about Clinton, whom I saw on TV all the time arguing strenuously about policy issues of the day, and on that day I started wondering whether Hannity was really objective in his critiques.

    Then I remember in the mid-2000s, during that sad attempt to launch a liberal talk radio network, Randi Rhodes (whom I couldn’t stand) complained about Bush that he didn’t stand for anything except acquiring and keeping power. When I heard her say that I remembered Hannity’s identical critique of Clinton from the 1990s and thought to myself, “a ha, I get it now, this is what people say when they are totally out of ammunition.”

    It took me a while, but I figured out that Hannity wasn’t a neutral commentator after all. I recall how he’d call Bill Clinton a liar (“slick willy”) all day long, and then I’d watch Clinton in a press conference or giving a speech and I’d pay close attention to analysis of what Clinton said to find all the lies. As it turns out, Bill Clinton was surprisingly forthright and honest when he discussed policy and the underlying facts driving the policy debates back then. In fact, he was kind of famous for his command of the facts in policy debates, if I recall. Anyway, I realized that Hannity just wanted to say Clinton lied all the time. Of course there is one big lie for which Clinton is well known, but that as it turns out was pretty much an outlier.

    Anyway, that was a long time ago. Now it’s 2016 and Hillary is running for president, and it seems an awful lot of people know as sure as anything that Hillary Clinton (or just “the Clintons” generally) are well established liars and criminals, while off in some corner no one pays attention to — let’s call it the fact-checking area — Hillary seems to be considered unusually honest. It’s the strangest thing.

  152. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Did Rice and/or Powell set up their own server to handle their official correspondence? Did they deny its existence, repeatedly? Did they delete a bunch of their e-mail, saying it was all “personal?”

    A much more relevant question is: Were Powell and Rice investigated multiple times (say 8 or 9 times) by congressional committees trying to fix the result to fit their narrative?

  153. Pch1101 says:

    Facts that can support the “don’t trust Clinton” brigade’s suspicions are conspicuously absent.

    After 20+ years, you would think that it would be easy to offer a meaningful and specific list. But apparently not.

  154. Ben Wolf says:

    @Todd: We’re only allowed an affirmative vote which forces us to endorse someone. All you can do is what you think to be right.

  155. James Joyner says:

    @EddieinCA:

    I think there will be many like Dr. Joyner, if not Dr. Joyner himself, who sill find Mr. Trump so odious that they’ll pull the lever for Clinton, especially if she picks a mainstream VP candidate.

    It’s possible. If Joe Biden were the presumptive Democratic nominee, I wouldn’t have any qualms endorsing him. I think I’d even support Bernie Sanders, who is far further from me on the issues than Clinton. It’s not her policies that keep me from endorsing her but rather her character.

    Given that I think Trump’s character is in many ways even worse than hers and they’re probably a wash on policy, I’d marginally prefer her as president to him. I won’t be able to stomach actually voting for her unless it’s necessary. My guess is that she’ll be well ahead in the polls, both nationally and in Virginia, by the time the election rolls around.

  156. MBunge says:

    @Pch1101:

    The reason why people don’t give you a list is because literally 10 seconds with a search engine and the words “Hillary Clinton lies” gives you a gajillion links like this.

    http://m.democracynow.org/stories/16122

    Mike

  157. J-Dub says:

    @Todd:

    why can’t we come up with two better choices for President?

    Because as a job, it sucks. Super-stressful, 24 hours a day, for what amounts to minimum wage for a job with that much responsibility. You’d have to be crazy to want to be POTUS.

  158. Pch101 says:

    @MBunge:

    Of course. It’s not as if anyone had ever accused the United States of engaging in realpolitik prior to Hillary Clinton’s time in the State Department (**cough cough**).

  159. MarkedMan says:

    @MBunge:

    The reason why people don’t give you a list is because literally 10 seconds with a search engine and the words “Hillary Clinton lies” gives you a gajillion links like this

    Aha. At last. Something concrete that will show Hillary’s character flaws. So I click. And what do I find? Well, it takes me a while, because this is not a straight forward piece of reporting. It starts with a series of quotes of a couple of people hyperventilating to each other that it is literally unbelievable that someone that had run for President and was now Secretary of State could utter such blatant lies. And what was it? That she had accepted the new government of Honduras and not declared it an illegal coup, which would have prevented us from opening relations with them. And the smoking gun? A report written by an embassy official that says it was an illegal coup. Was there another report written by someone else with a different opinion? We wouldn’t find out here. But even if not, it boils down to the horrible character flaw being that the SoS made the call that we would work with the new government. Because of our laws, she couldn’t make that decision if she had declared it an illegal coup. And this – this is unique in American or any other history! This is duplicity beyond belief! Give me a break. These are the decisions a SoS needs to make every day. It’s “welcome to the real world and grow the F up” time.

  160. Moosebreath says:

    Vox has an interesting interview with Norm Ornstein, who saw Trump’s rise earlier than most:

    “if you delegitimize government, and make every victory that occurs partisan and ugly, and then refuse to implement the policies to make things work as much as you can but instead try to undermine them, and you cut government funding, and you freeze the salaries of people in government — well, then eventually you’re gonna have a public out there that basically says, “Anything would be better than these idiots.”

    So when you get a Donald Trump, who is contentless, and knows less about policy, domestic or international, I would say, than any candidate in the last 50 years — including Pat Paulsen, the comedian — you have a large share of the public who say, “You know, the people who know about policy were the ones who fucked all of this up! And how could Trump do worse?””

  161. Moosebreath says:

    Moderator, can you release my comment from its holding cell?

  162. Pch101 says:

    @MarkedMan:

    These are the decisions a SoS needs to make every day.

    More to the point, the Secretary of State serves at the pleasure of the president, and it was her job to carry out his policy. Those who object to the policy should blame the White House.

  163. MBunge says:

    @Pch101:

    Hey! What’s that in the distance? I do believe it’s the goalposts! Why, they’ve been moved all the way into a new zip code.

    The issue is Hillary Clinton lying. I provided you with one of a gajillion examples Your response is to make an excuse. That’s fine but saying someone is honest and making excuses for their lies are not the same thing and the latter kind of nullifies the former.

    Mike

  164. Pch101 says:

    @MBunge:

    I had asked for something that was “meaningful and specific.” While I applaud you for being specific, you failed to meet the meaningful requirement.

  165. MBunge says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Uh, the “real world” is where people don’t trust Hillary Clinton and don’t think she’s honest. It’s place you might want to visit some time. And if you had the brains or the emotional maturity to examine your response, you’d understand why people feel that way.

    I don’t think Hillary Clinton lies more than the average politician. It’s entirely possible she lies slightly less. Her problem is that her political skills and instincts are so terrible that her spin/messaging/deceit looks and sounds so much worse. Well, that and she and her husband have something of a knack for getting themselves into questionable situations.

    For example, telling people that Hillary doesn’t lie when there is voluminous evidence she does, denying that evidence she lies exists and then making excuses when you are proven wrong on both counts is pretty much the least effective way of defusing the whole “untrustworthy” thing.

    Mike

  166. MBunge says:

    @Pch101:

    And that’s why no one cares to give you a list. It’s the same reason no one wants to argue cosmology with a flat Earther. You won’t accept any evidence that challenges your belief system.

    Mike

  167. MarkedMan says:

    @MBunge:

    Hey! What’s that in the distance? I do believe it’s the goalposts! Why, they’ve been moved all the way into a new zip code.

    The issue is Hillary Clinton lying. I provided you with one of a gajillion examples

    We are probably arguing about different things here. I accept that Hillary Clinton lies. As a a candidate she says “I love your county fair”, when she is probably sick of county fairs. As a candidate and SoS she says “Your point is a good one.” when she is probably thinking “What a moron”. And as SoS, like every SoS from John Kerry on back to when the laws were first passed, she “certifies” that Saudi Arabia does not promote terrorism and that China is making progress on human rights, and that Columbia’s police are not so corrupt we can’t give them money to fight drug trafficking. And that Honduras’ new group of thugs is legitimate.

    So if you can’t vote for her because she has told lies, I’ve got no argument. Although I may argue that many people (I don’t know about you) seem to apply that standard only to her and not to the other SoS’s we have. But – she definitely lies. But James and others have talked about her character being a disqualifier. And, while I accept that to you the example you gave shows a character defect, it doesn’t to me.

    I’ve been around the intertubes long enough to realize we are probably at the nut of it and are not going to convince each other of the utter rightness and unwavering logic of our opinions.

  168. Pch101 says:

    @MBunge:

    I’m not sure how foreign affairs are conducted on your planet, but over here on Planet Earth, diplomats often use, er, diplomatic language when commenting about external affairs.

  169. KM says:

    @MBunge :

    I don’t think Hillary Clinton lies more than the average politician. It’s entirely possible she lies slightly less. Her problem is that her political skills and instincts are so terrible that her spin/messaging/deceit looks and sounds so much worse.

    So….. you want a duckspeaker. A truly effective liar rooted in doublethink, someone who can look you in the face with a smile in their eyes and tell you the sky is orange and make you bellyfeel it. God bless Orwell, his vocabulary is so useful for this (irony alert!)

    No offense, but I find that insane on the face of it. I’d rather take a bad liar in a heartbeat because then I know I’m being lied to. Why in the seven hells would you prefer having to guess if each and every little thing is genuine? If you know lying is part of the job, why do you want to waste more time and effort then necessary sorting out the truth? It might be the unpopular choice, but I’d take a President that you can tell is trying to pull on over on you then someone who puts a car salesman to shame.

  170. An Interested Party says:

    I love these pure people who just can’t stand Hillary because she’s such a LIAR!!!!!! Perhaps they would like her more if she were a better liar like, say, her husband? Or Paul Ryan? Or Dick Cheney? Or a hundred other politicians? Sadly for these purists the election will be a choice between her and Donald Trump, the latter being such a champion of veracity…

  171. Ben Wolf says:

    @MarkedMan: Twenty years ago Clinton wouldn’t be having many of these problems. She’s tried to recreate her husband’s political success by being the most neo of New Democrats, the most triangular of triangulators and now the tide has turned against Third Way. That’s why her base is over 45 years of age; they remember the 90s fondly. My generation not so much and millenials not at all.

  172. wr says:

    @Todd: “… but at this point in time I’m still not at all happy about it”

    Welcome to the world.

    But if not being deliriously happy with your choice of presidential candidates is somehow a shocking slap in the face… I want your problems.

  173. wr says:

    @MBunge: How is that example possibly a lie? It’s a judgment call — presumably one made at levels higher than hers. You can disagree with it — and I do — but it’s hardly any kind of “lie” that goes to her character.

  174. Monala says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    Can you give examples in this campaign of Clinton being “the most neo of New Democrats, the most triangular of triangulators”?

  175. Moosebreath says:

    The title says it all:

    Erick Erickson Demands GOPers Apologize For Impeaching Bill Clinton

    While one can never hit peak weirdness, we are coming pretty &^%$#@ close.

  176. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @anjin-san: Showed a video about Cornelius Vanderbilt to some history students recently. The video claimed that his wealthy was about $70 billion in modern terms.

    IOW: last time i checked at least, he was within striking distance of being richer than Bill Gates and Carlos Slim combined. Gilded Age indeed!

  177. DrDaveT says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Every politician has the same policy: to use their political power to benefit their tribe at the expense of the enemy tribes. The only difference from one to the next is who specifically they consider their tribe and who specifically they consider the enemy tribes.

    Not even close.

    The key difference between them is whether their self-serving tribalist acts will actually be good for America or bad for America. I could not care less what their motivations and morals are; I care what they are going to do. Jimmy Carter was one of the best human beings to ever be President. Bill Clinton was… not. But Bill Clinton was much better for America. (And I don’t know what Ronald Reagan was like as a person, but his sabotage of America will take a century to heal.)

    We can’t afford the luxury of caring about our politicians’ morals and character. There’s too much at stake.

  178. Pharaoh Narim says:

    @EddieinCA: Yes, that’s exactly what the country needs. More businessmen passing on traditional ventures in order to dump even more money in the stock market for risk-free gains. I get that people hate Trump but the blind criticism of every angle of decision making the man has made strikes me as the Democrat version of Republican ODS. The areas the dude was successful in….he won BIG. Many times a homerun hitter in baseball is near the top in Strikeouts. To look at that body of work and only see failure is to have willful blinders on.

    Trump, was a candidate with 1% support this time last year. Despite my personal feelings about him …. that warrants some credit. I’m not smug enough to believe it’s because all of his supporters are racists, Muslim hating, islamophobes…even though a very noisy portion are. Just like it would have been foolish to believe that Obama’s base were welfare recipients who wanted free stuff.

    Use to be some good commenters around here who could give some good perspectives regardless of their personal affinity for a candidate. Now its all partisan attacks and praise or condemnation of people who can either do no wrong …or are pure evil. I think Trump is smarter than Bush right out of the gate for dumping the Evangelicals and Neocons. I don’t need to like or support him to call it that way either. If only there were a Democratic Party shakup that dumped smug Liberals…..

  179. Pharaoh Narim says:

    @grumpy realist: This is the sort of Rationalizing that makes Party sycophants frustrating…. THERE IS CLEAR POLICY! It was put in place by Colin Powell. Just say that her violation of the policy isn’t important or relevant to you. I experience the SAME sort of frustation here as I do reading Red State….and this crowd is the one I’d expect to know better.

  180. Chris says:

    Hello there. We’re the Republican Party. We’re one of the two main parties in the most powerful nation on Earth, a country of over 320 million people which for two centuries has been a by-word for freedom, tolerance and democracy.

    We’ve just nominated as our presidential candidate a fascist populist demagogue who calls women pigs and dogs, who said women should be treated ‘like shit’ in a magazine interview in the 1990s, who told a debate moderator asking difficult questions that she must be angry because she’s on her period, who encourages violence against protestors at his rallies, who believes in torture and the flouting of international law, including the extra-legal murder of innocent family members of suspected terrorists, who flailed his arms around in public to ridicule a disabled reporter, who failed to emphatically reject the endorsement of a white supremacist, who called citizens of a neighboring country rapists and theives, and who called for every single member of a world religion of over 1 billion people to be barred from entering the US, which would include the leaders of three G20 nations.

    Wait, why are you crying? Why are you gnashing your teeth and punching yourself repeatedly in the face whilst howling like an injured wolf?

    Come back…. come… Where are you going? Come back…

    Where’s everyone gone?

  181. Barry says:

    @Moosebreath: “Thanks, James. That took some courage.”

    Not really. When the GOP has spent since Gingrich diving deeper and deeper into the cesspool, James finally got to the point where he’s not voting Republican. After only twenty years.

    And he’s not voting Democratic, because [mumble, mumble].

  182. Barry says:

    @Zo0tie: “If Trump chooses Jon Huntsman as his running mate the old Republican party that tried to shut down the government and support mass disenfranchisement of voters will be over. ”

    Step 1: Collect underpants………….

  183. Barry says:

    @EddieinCA: “You were part of it all this time.”

    Seconded, thirded and fourthed. James, where the frack where people like you in the loooong slide of the GOP to this point?

  184. Barry says:

    @Hal_10000: “I remain convinced that Bush was a decent man who was in over his head and chose to surround himself with incompetent and power-hungry people.”

    When right-wingers want to excuse evil, they say ‘he is a decent man’.
    Read Krugman and Ivins on Dubya. He was a nasty piece of work and they had his number from way back.

    As for chosing to surround himself with the scum he did, just how did a ‘decent man’ do that?

  185. Barry says:

    @James Joyner: “Clinton is smart and reasonably competent. But I don’t trust her.”

    James, IMHO you are just making excuses.

    She has a track record, including working well in the Senate, and working for her former opponent as Secretary of State.

  186. Barry says:

    @James Joyner: “But the Tea Party taking out weak incumbents in local primaries is a very different thing than nominating a presidential candidate in a series of races over a yearlong campaign. That’s a much more fundamental problem than a few one-offs.”

    It’s just as fundamental. The Tea Party had massive across the board success over many states and three election waves, from the local level to governors, representatives, Senators and state houses.

  187. Barry says:

    @John D’Geek: “In the 60’s, the Democratic Party was hijacked by what was then called Radicals (q.v.), now the Republican Party has been hijacked. As much as I would love to believe I could make a difference, I simply can’t. Ain’t gonna happen.”

    Yes, the disastrous administration of McGovern echoes through the years, doesn’t it?

  188. Barry says:

    @Jenos Idanian: “We earned this, all of us.”

    The people who quite deliberately f*cked things up say ‘all of us’.

  189. Barry says:

    @EddieinCA: “Yes. It does work like that. You were a part of it. People like you created Trump by enabling those like him for the last 20 years.”

    Agreed. The majority of the problems that Tump opponents have with him is not his positios, but the fact that he’s saying out loud that which is supposed to be done in code.

  190. Barry says:

    @MBunge: “Has Dick Cheney been charged with war crimes? George W. Bush? Donald Rumsfeld?”

    Wow, people with extremely deep connections to the Deep State were not charged with crimes which were intimately connected with furthering the aims of the Deep State.

  191. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Yes, but none of that was illegal at the time, and regarding the personal qualities that shows, refer to my comment up thread. (And I still keep hoping that you will get more work, if only for your own economic security and sense of self-esteem.)

  192. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @MBunge:

    It’s entirely possible she lies slightly less [dishonest] . Her problem is that her political skills and instincts are so terrible that her spin/messaging/deceit looks and sounds so much worse. Well, that and she and her husband have something of a knack for getting themselves into questionable situations.

    So why not say, “she’s bad at politics/a horrible campaigner/inept at messaging/” instead of “lying/corrupt/untrustworthy?” Is it because those first reasons don’t make a convincing argument for non-support of an otherwise capable choice? Do businesses hire people using the same methodology? (If so, no wonder the job situation is lagging.)

  193. Tillman says:

    @DrDaveT: That’s incredibly reductive. “Good” or “bad” for America is one of the more apparent conflicts in politics. Hell, it’s the reason political parties exist!

    I could not care less what their motivations and morals are; I care what they are going to do.

    Their motivations and morals will guide what they do and shape how they do it. Yours is a false distinction. If you are concerned about corruption and civic virtue, a focus on motivations and morals will get you to the truth faster than a scan of a candidate’s platform and speeches.

    And more of this “too much at stake” nonsense. This, and the treating of politics as war, is a damn Get Out of Thinking Free card. Every presidential election has too much at stake; every presidential election is the most important of our lifetime. This is a media narrative, and I can’t believe everyone buys it when they deplore horse-race coverage otherwise.

    Finally, it cannot possibly be considered a luxury, especially for anyone who has the free time to comment on political blogs, to evaluate a politician’s moral and ethical character. So what, we’re supposed to hunker down and devise process arguments and go over numbers all day? You may as well go fish, you’ll be slightly more productive.

  194. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Pharaoh Narim: Wait..isn’t the “policy” established by Colin Powell to use a private server and decline to turn over its contents to the government at the end of your service?

  195. Barry says:

    @Tillman: “And the other dude will always be more of a bastard because politics is a tribal affair.”

    You aren’t even going to address just what the misdeeds are, are you?

  196. Barry says:

    @KM: KM says:

    @MBunge:“Not being charged with a crime” is the standard our political leaders should be held to?”

    KM: “Well it certainly shouldn’t be “considered convicted under BS unsubstantiated charges because that’s what I feel should happen””

    It’s far worse than that; MBunge’s standard is ‘not charged despite pursuit by highly motivated partisans with vast resources, who didn’t even need a justified charge’.

  197. Barry says:

    @Stormy Dragon: “Every politician has the same policy: to use their political power to benefit their tribe at the expense of the enemy tribes. The only difference from one to the next is who specifically they consider their tribe and who specifically they consider the enemy tribes.”

    Bull f*cking sh*t. The policies of the Clinton administration, Obama administration have clearly helped those who’d kick them right back.

  198. Barry says:

    @humanoid.panda: “As a general point, I just don’t get the “I just don’t trust Hillary” line. ”

    It’s an excuse, just like ‘he’s a decent person’, or ‘I’d have a beer with him’.

    As you’ve pointed out, Clinton has a track record, and it’s better than any of the others, who either have little, or simple evil.

  199. Barry says:

    @James Joyner: “…they’re probably a wash on policy..”

    Honestly, James, your university should recall your Ph.D. at this point.

  200. Pharoah Narim says:

    @Barry: How short-sighted of you. There isn’t a policy position out there that doesn’t produce winners and losers. Middle class and lower class wins are throw ins to the real battle waged farther up the economic food chain. Bottom line is some industries will do well under a Clinton or Trump Presidency and some will suffer. That was Stormy Dragons point.

  201. mannning says:

    James, you have highlighted the agony of many of us that wanted to see a presidential candidate of stature that had little baggage to be smeared by. We want to vote along party lines, cannot vote for Clinton, yet cannot vote for Trump either. However, as I see Clinton as an Obama kind of follow-on candidate, who may end up in jail, and I cannot really predict what Trump will do with the reins of power, I may just sit this one out. The problem with that is, if all of us conservatives stay home, it will put Clinton in the WH, possibly for 8 years! I would die before the pendulum swings back. (Both morality and truthfulness must be criteria we set aside.)

    We know that campaign promises and party platforms yield to expediency and convictions once winning the office, but it is almost all we will have to go on come November, so there is a chance that Trump will make the right noises in the interim: a weak chance, but real. Will he be the lessor liar, and will he champion more conservative causes? I will wait and see.

  202. DrDaveT says:

    @Mikey:

    I read somewhere–I wish I could remember now–that Clinton’s use of a private server in no way insulated her official communications from the FOIA, because those communications were by definition subject to it regardless of where they were stored, and in fact made unofficial communications subject to the FOIA that would not otherwise have been because they were stored alongside the official communications.

    This is correct. As far as the law is concerned, it’s no different from taking papers home, generating more new papers, and not ever getting those new ones back into an official filing cabinet in your office.

  203. DrDaveT says:

    @Pharaoh Narim:

    I get that people hate Trump but the blind criticism of every angle of decision making the man has made strikes me as the Democrat version of Republican ODS.

    That says a lot more about you than you think it does. Especially the choice of the adjective ‘blind’.

    The areas the dude was successful in….he won BIG.

    No, he didn’t.

    Of course, to understand that you have to understand the game he was playing. That game is called “the rich get richer”. If you start with the head start he was given, it’s almost impossible to actually lose. You have to be an epic screwup (or extremely unlucky) to merely break even.

    I don’t fault him for wanting to play the game actively, rather than sitting around collecting dividends and drinking expensive liquor between wives. But I don’t give him any credit for merely playing, either, when the game is so hard to lose.

    As for “Democratic version of Republican ODS”, you again have it completely backwards. Republicans criticized/vilified/ignored EVERYTHING Obama claimed as a success. In Trump’s case, this is the only thing he can point to as a reason to think he’s not a complete idiot. And guess what — it shows that “not a complete idiot” is about as charitable an interpretation as you can put on it. Trump pointing at his business record as a reason to admire his acumen is a lot like me pointing at my 25 handicap as a reason you should respect my golf game.

  204. DrDaveT says:

    @Tillman:

    That’s incredibly reductive. “Good” or “bad” for America is one of the more apparent conflicts in politics. Hell, it’s the reason political parties exist!

    Yep. It’s rare that the differences between them are as apparent as they are now.

    Their motivations and morals will guide what they do and shape how they do it.

    Nope, sorry, that’s an unjustified (and facile) axiom, much beloved of the radical right. Reality is much messier than that. JFK was a complete scumbag as a human being, but it did not show up in his policy actions. Calvin Coolidge was an honorable man whose Presidency was terrible for America. How is this controversial?

    As others have pointed out upthread, it’s not hard to know what Hillary Clinton would do as President — regardless of how she feels personally about that. That dog won’t hunt.

    Every presidential election has too much at stake; every presidential election is the most important of our lifetime.

    Oh, please. If you genuinely can’t tell the difference between how critical this election is compared to (say) Bill Clinton vs. Bob Dole, you’re wasting everyone’s time.

  205. grumpy realist says:

    @DrDaveT: Reminds me of some of the NDAs companies have tried to get me to sign, which are along the lines of “we claim intellectual property rights to everything that you have developed, are developing, or will develop on Topic X.”

    Those are the paragraphs I take special delight in crossing out with red pen.

    I’d be a lousy government employee in anything involving national security.

  206. DrDaveT says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Reminds me of some of the NDAs companies have tried to get me to sign […]

    Well, except for being the exact opposite.

    FOIA says “Every record held by the government must be made available to the public on request, with the following specific exceptions.” Those exceptions are for things like classified national security materials, proprietary corporate financial information, records relating to active criminal investigations, and pre-decisional deliberations and advice. For anything else, the public is presumed to have a right to know.

    So, whereas the point of an NDA is to prevent you from sharing information, the point of FOIA is to prevent you from NOT sharing information unless you have a statutorily-recognized good reason.