Thursday, September 08, 2016


Political Mayhem Thursday: The Absurd Certainty That Hillary Clinton Will Win

There are two really scary things that I am noticing in the news lately. One, of course, is the prevalence of creepy lurking clowns breaking out across the nation.  I've always been highly suspicious of clowns, anyways, and this is not helping!

The second trend, which I also see among many people I know, is a blithe assumption that Hillary Clinton will win the November election. That assumption is not grounded in reality.

I do think it is more probable than not that Clinton will win-- but in no way is it a certainty. After all, she is running against a candidate that the experts counted out at every stage of the primary, yet Donald Trump prevailed. And how many times has a Trump gaffe led to the smug assertion that his campaign was finally doomed? Yet, the latest CNN poll shows Trump leading the race by two points.

Trump could win, and he is especially likely to win if Clinton voters don't care enough about the race to turn out. I think that is a real possibility, too-- Clinton's cautious nature seems aimed at showing competence, not igniting passion. Do American voters care a lot about competence? I'll bet John Kasich has concluded that they don't.  

Trump seems to now have a campaign team that is doing some things right, and that is having an effect. At the same time, facts about Hillary Clinton-- most recently, the smashing of her phones with a hammer-- dribble out little by little, supporting Trump's narrative. 

Clinton supporters, I suspect, simply cannot imagine a world where Donald Trump is president. They probably need to imagine that now-- because that might create the passion that has been missing so far in the Democratic camp.

I don't find it a foregone conclusion that Hillary will win. I am scared everyday and even more so after watching TRMS last Friday and finding out that David Bossie is now a member of the Trump campaign staff. He has been haunting, or perhaps the better word is hunting, the Clinton's since before Bill received the nomination in 1992. If I were Hillary, I would be very scared.

That said, she did very well in the IAVA Presidential forum last night on the Intrepid. She sidestepped some questions but fewer than Trump.
Donald Trump is a scary guy. I am intrigued by his new use of two teleprompters. He has one on each side which he alternates staring at and carefully reads words given to him. He always keeps one hand at his side and out of sight.
He sometimes reveals the real Donald when he turns to face the camera and becomes animated. He then looks familiar, using both hands as he spews out absurdities which usually brings attention from the subject of his written speech to himself.
I found it fascinating to watch.
I give his handlers credit to get him to read, something he seldom does.

I hear you. Even as I reserve the right to vote for Donald Trump, I continue view him as the grotesque culmination to a long political trend emphasizing image over substance in the election of a president of the USA. Not only is Donald Trump no Washington, he is a flesh and blood caricature of the unhinged demagogue so long dreaded by sincere defenders of the American experiment in republican government. I continue to find the election of Donald J. Trump unimaginable (literally). I just can't quite take it seriously--even in the face of all my previous errors in this regard over the past 15 months.

Having said that, I am not sure that HIllary's problem revolves solely on the inability of the American electorate to value her competency; rather, her lack of skill as a candidate and various untimely revelations concerning her record undermine her "competency" narrative as an able administrator and statesman. That is, other than "God help us if we elect the other guy," Mrs. Clinton basically has one other campaign theme: "I am really good at whatever I do." On the days when she appears really inept at what she is doing, her campaign sputters.
WF Please help me out. I have been trying to get a specific example of " lack of competency".

This is what I think until I get your info:
When she was a US senator and Secretary of State she had a 80% performance approval rating from both Democrats and Republicans. When she left office and was an obvious candidate she has been scrutinized by countless Republican committees. That is politics. There have been claims that her careless use of emails could have caused our country harm, maybe, well they didn't, but they could have. She is married to Bill Clinton and worked with and admired President Obama. Their errors are now attributed to her. These innuendos are far less important to me than her significant real service.

You are right that she has a serious fault - she can't clearly define herself. She doesn't understand that knowing and doing don't get you elected today. She is boring, thin skinned and sometimes aloof.

Hillary Clinton is also very smart, is a good study and is a hard worker who has dedicated herself unselfishly to public service. She has the highest rating of truthfulness of all the candidates who ran for president in both parties, which doesn't translate to perception in the public polls.

I am concerned with the competency of the electorate. There could not be a greater contrast in the candidates ability to govern. I believe we are in a drought of national critical thinking that may allow a bigoted , dangerous, self serving, incompetent, inexperienced. and usually unchallenged blowhard to become President of the United States. Hillary's inept political skills could contribute to this. She is an extremely competent and well prepared woman. I think most people know this but like a dirty mud pit fight. She is a lousy competing in the mud so perhaps she won't be a WINNER.

It is extremely important to clearly look at the harm we the voters may cause by not getting behind a candidate. I enthusiastically support a competent woman, Hillary Clinton. Shame on you if you don't support one candidate over the other. There will be consequences for inaction.

Dear John ,

I am tempted to turn this around and ask you to give me one example of her competency. When I ask that question, generally, I seem to get a lot of "she is very smart and a hard worker and a tireless public servant," all sentiments with which I basically agree. All good things. All things that Mitt Romney and John McCain and most of the seventeen GOP candidates for the nomination this cycle had in spades. But not quite evidence of competency for the highest office in the land (or any of the lower offices Hillary occupied). Again, nice qualities. And I tend to think she is a nice and well-intentioned person as well. But, alas, not evidence of competency.

But, as an example of what I am talking about in terms of revelations that undermine her reputation as a super competent person, I offer up the email imbroglio. In her own defense, in her own words (when asked if she intentionally set up a private server to avoid FOIA accountability and in response to charges that she had intentionally sent classified emails on unsecured servers), she assured the FBI that her mistakes were ones of failure to comprehend and/or failure to remember all the rules and procedures. Again, perhaps these are little items (as Minority Leader Pelosi said, "technicalities"), but a story like that and other stories from mainstream news orgs like the Associated Press and the NYT inflict damage. These stories seem to reaffirm recent descriptions like "extreme carelessness" from FBI Director Comey, and, again, they play against her uber-competent brand.

And, as you observe, Hillary's "inept political skills" are a severe disadvantage to a person running for president, which only exacerbate her current (and probably temporary) difficulties.

As for Trump, anything you might say against him I will either agree with whole-heartedly or come up with something MUCH worse (as I tend to think that many of Trump's critics focus on things that are petty distortions while laying off some of his worst qualities).

But, in general, why might the electorate give him a pass on competence (or even sanity)? Because he is not running as a competent manager. He is running as a maniac. He is running as a "disrupter." He is running as the guy who says every one of these politicians (all the Bushes and all the Clintons) are in the tank and part of a system that is rigged. Things are going South. The house in on fire. WAKE UP! These so-called sane people started the fire. You aren't quite sure about me? How much worse can I be than this coterie of smug elites who broke the world? "WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO LOSE?"

I remain uncommitted, but I reserve the option of voting for Trump. For reasons I have stated many times (perhaps most recently in a conversation we had on 6/9/2016 in this space), I will NOT vote for Hillary Clinton (mostly for the same reasons you will vote for her). It has nothing to do with her competency or honesty or trustworthiness or her ability to articulate her message or her health or her emails. I will vote against Hillary because she is committed to a governing philosophy that I sincerely and, hopefully, honorably oppose--and I believe she is "competent" enough to push our nation farther down the path in a wrong direction.
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