Trump

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Posted by w0ep on December 22, 2019 at 10:56 am

[Today’s run: 5k on the treadmill]

So this week the US House of Representatives passed articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. If I were in the US House, I don’t think I would have voted to do that.

On the other hand, the US House was officially elected and represents the people in a reasonable way, and a lot of people wanted this to happen.

One of the jobs of a politician is to find political solutions. And frequently political solutions mean that a lot of people are going to be unhappy. A tried and true way of avoiding unhappiness is to dodge the truth. Which means that political solutions often involve some measure of deception; if not deception of others, at least self-deception.

Donald Trump is an interesting guy. It’s my feeling that he has risen to this position by being a mocking counterpoint to the straight-faced, somber deceptions of “normal” politicians. But in the end being impeached seems to indicate a lack of survival skills in a political environment.

I frequently think of the current situation in comparison to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton 20 years ago. Clinton was, in the end, a very good politician. Clinton committed an actual on-the-books crime: perjury. But he found a way through the minefield he built of bad personal decisions and secured for himself some respect as a statesman and power broker. (At least up until recently.)

Trump’s problems have revived the debates about what personal character means in the Presidency. Clinton’s supporters at his impeachment excused his character flaws and Trump’s supporters are now doing the same thing. How much does character matter? I think we’ve enjoyed two rounds of double-election presidents of good character, one from each party. Both Bush and Obama were reviled for all sorts of things. But they both had pretty good middle-class personal character traits.

In my opinion, I’m glad that Hilary Clinton didn’t have the opportunity to extend the Clinton Dynasty by becoming president. I don’t think she has the skills of either Trump or Bill. I didn’t want Trump to be president, but if it had to be either Trump or Hillary I’m glad Hillary lost.


It will be interesting to see what Trump can do with the current situation. Will he somehow turn a corner and become a good politician, or will he have a personal meltdown, or something in between. What things I’ve seen so far seem to lean toward the meltdown.

And, now that I’ve moved back to Iowa, I’ve been thinking about how I might make my own little statement. The Democratic Caucus is coming up in February. As far as I can see there is nothing I can accomplish on the Republican side, but I might be able to encourage a Democrat candidate of the more moderate flavor. I’m seriously considering going to the Democratic Caucus and voting for Tulsi Gabbard or Andrew Yang: Gabbard because she can at least talk sensibly about the trade-offs in issues like foreign military interventions and abortion policy, Yang because he’s talking about new important things in the technology world while the top dogs are still arguing dead subjects. I don’t think either of them can win. But a boost in their Iowa Caucus results maybe would shake up the stupidity, particularly of the Warren/Sanders variety.

If Trump makes some sort of positive turn, I may let the Democrats continue to go off the rails without my corrective intervention. But I really think it would be nice to push the system back toward center. Having only one party assent that abortion means death, or even bothers to push back against the wokeness group-think that seems to have gripped a significant segment of the population, it severely limits my options. I don’t like the bad vs. worse choices I’m being given.

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8 Comments

  • On December 22, 2019 at 5:21 pm Jonathan Hwoard said

    I love this Trump thing. It’s beyond anything I could ever imagine for the GOP.

    And the right wing Christians voted for a 3X married a guy who paid off a porn star to have an affair. I really get a kick out of that. And we all heard the audio before he was elected that Trump excused as “locker room talk” as though, well, men talk like that behind closed doors and it’s not unusual. That behind closed doors men talk about pursuing married women. Get over it.

    As for Iowa. Farmers voted for Trump and farm bankruptcies are climbing when interest rates and the cost of operating loans are very low. 40% of farm income is govt aid in one form or another. They are losing markets that took decades to create, as well as building the supporting infrastructure. American foreign policy is a joke (North Korea 3 in-person meetings with Trump and zero to show for it, Kurdish allies betrayed almost literally overnight, etc.). Tea party (once a force in the GOP) fizzled as federal deficits skyrocket past $1T/year with no decrease in sight.

    So the GOP has no fiscal high road, has no moral high road. This is working for me. But people still go to his rallies about dishwashers and toilets – issues that resonate with his people.

    Trump won’t turn around- after the senate gives him a pass he will be emboldened to do more of the same and then some.

    • On December 24, 2019 at 7:20 am w0ep said

      So take the next step and ask yourself what was so important that people would bend their standards to such a degree. Maybe they are just empty-headed bigots and hippocrites… but mostly people do what they perceive is in their best interest.

      The GOP leaders didn’t (and don’t) want Trump.

      On the economic side, both parties have concluded that endless deficits are the way to go. I find that distressing.

      That Christians and farmers will probably re-elect Trump says that the Dems are even less acceptable.

  • On December 23, 2019 at 5:24 am Sue said

    The vast majority of signs I see in the Des Moines area are for Tulsi, so I think she has a real chance in the caucuses here.

  • On December 24, 2019 at 8:16 am Jonathan Howard said

    Bending standards to some is bald-faced hypocrisy to others. Besides, it’s not bending – it’s discarding. I do not see how someone with a daughter, a mother, or a sister, can countenance such behavior in a leader of a great nation – let alone support it in the voting booth.

    I _do_ ask myself – and have since a Wednesday in November in 2016. Personally, I think it is fear of lost hegemony. That is their best interest. It certainly was not his economic plan – he had none beyond catch phrases. Who could possibly take “Mexico pay for wall” seriously? I know more than the generals? It’s a farce. And now his supporters suffer the most – I’m fine with that. (But what he has done to our allies in the field of battle has consequences and that’s upsetting.)

    Deficits were trending down as the economic recovery continued under Obama. This reversed under Trump. The closest we came to a balanced budget was under Clinton. Like Bush before him, Trump pushed through tax cuts without insisting on spending cuts (to the contrary – spending is way up under Trump).

    • On December 25, 2019 at 9:46 pm w0ep said

      As I define it, hypocrisy is the act of applying to someone else standards which one proclaims but does not then hold for themselves.

      With that definition a Democrat who voted for Bill Clinton would be a hypocrite to excuse their vote but hold a Trump voter to account in the area of sexual excess. (And, as far as I know, no one has connected Trump to bad behavior during his term of office. There are other reasons not to like Trump, I grant.)

      Of course with the passage of time it might be that said Democrat has seen the error of his/her ways and now doesn’t want that mistake to happen again. OK. But of course that is not how the issue is framed is it? : ‘I voted for Bill Clinton but I’ve come to regret it and I think you should avoid the mistake I made…’ etc etc. No. Actually the Clinton impeachment was a sexual-excess pass card. And having Mrs. Bill Clinton as the 2016 opponent was a stark reminder that sexual impropriety was not enough to make someone ineligible for the Presidency.

      As for hegemony, the actual power brokers, the rich bi-coastal folks, are not Trump fans. The people who voted for Trump were more likely to be the “outs” than the “ins”.

      I don’t think your analysis holds up.

      I agree with you 100% about the deficit. We are currently in a strong economy and it seems like the right time to be paying things down. But instead we are still pumping up the debt. Neither party cares in the slightest. At one time there were still some Republicans who cared, at least enough to make it a squawking point in opposition to Obama. Maybe there are some Democrats doing that now with Trump? I haven’t seen it. Paul Ryan is gone.

  • On December 26, 2019 at 1:48 pm Jonathan Howard said

    In this context, I use the word hypocrisy here to mean condemning presidential candidate for moral lapses then not being consistent with other candidates (who, arguably, are far worse transgressors). I see this all the time in the media (e.g., Franklin Graham notably condemned Bill Clinton in 1998 and such condemnation is absent now – just the opposite). And it saddens me that some put Bill’s baggage on Hillary. I see her as a victim in the events 20 years ago, not a collaborator. Blame the wife for not leaving her husband… It’s bizarre and upside-down thinking. She kept her marriage vows. Trump broke his 2 times.

    I agree on Trump voters being the “outs” – they feel that they have no power and things are ran by others – the feeling of lost hegemony. Steel jobs coming back, coal jobs coming back – Trump promised but no executable plans offered as to how. Hollow promises that attract desperate people. Trump is a snake oil salesman and who buys snake oil? Desperate people. That’s who. The less educated and more rural a person is, the more desperate they will be in the modern tech-driven economy. Building a wall won’t stop the march of automation and big data – no matter if Mexico pays for it or not.

    Trump and the GOP (there was no Democratic support) passed a tax bill 2 years ago this week. It set the stage for tax revenues not keeping up with GDP and, thereby, exacerbating the deficit just as baby boomers are retiring and drawing down the Social Security surplus that was financed with payroll, not income, taxes. This hole in debt finance has to be filled simply owing to actuarial circumstances that are no surprise to anyone. But instead, the fellow who boasted he would remove the debt entirely in 8 years is accelerating the debt burden with higher deficits. And the GOP boasts about lower taxes. It’s fiscally irresponsible and sets the stage for an even greater calamity than what Bush gave the nation in summer 2008 after 8 years of irresponsible fiscal actions (which was worse than any recession in 80 years prior).

    (Note: The 2017-enacted tax reductions for corporations are permanent. Tax reductions for regular folk are designed to end. That sends a huge signal that the GOP and Trump supports apparently ignore. The “power brokers” under Trump – who I guess are not on the coasts? – are happy with it.)

    Here’s the thing – my family has a lot saved up. We are not rich by Bay Area standards but are doing pretty well by rural America standards. Our money that is invested in the stock market went up tremendously under Trump. Up 50% in three years. My family should be huge Trump supporters – his policies work for us. Aggregate wages, on the other hand, are anemic and barely outpace inflation. Does Trump policy help the common man (the “outs”) or does it help the elites? The evidence is clear to me. People re-elected Bush in 2004 and America reaped what it sowed four years later. History may very well repeat itself with Trump. Nationalism and jingoism works for the “outs.”

  • On December 26, 2019 at 7:08 pm w0ep said

    I don’t disagree with your economic points. The only thing you are missing is an alternative party that will lead on the issue. Do you see any sign that the Democrats will take the situation seriously?

    I do put a goodly chunk of Bill’s transgressions also in Hillary’s column. I think they are complimentary enablers.

  • On December 27, 2019 at 11:10 am Jonathan Howard said

    Enabler meaning she should have divorced him instead? What were her options as First Lady? Yes, the wife who stays with an abusive husband is an enabler. So what? Blaming the victim for being a victim doesn’t work for me. Bill’s a scoundrel and I put none of that on her. I’ve always said so – and now I enjoy reading people on the right defend Trump – boys will be boys etc. Even on the porn star payoff stuff. It makes it easier to believe what I’ve thought all the while – before Trump came to power. It helps me justify my point of view about the phony political religious right. My quiver is full of arrows on that one now.

    Trump is Barnum and the flyover states are buying season tickets to the circus. As long as our troops aren’t sent overseas to die or be injured or permanently psychologically damaged owing to a ridiculous cause I’m not all that upset. And, personally, we are doing very well – can retire early if we like. Trump has a long way to go to be as bad as Bush in Iraq. (My heart does go out to our allies that Trump left high and dry with little warning, though. That is America’s shame.)

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