Thursday, November 10, 2016


Political Mayhem Thursday: IPLawGuy's take on things

I was really intrigued by IPLawGuy's comment yesterday, and it deserves broader consideration. It is reprinted below.  What do you think?

Americans vote for Change Agents: Harding, FDR, Ike, JFK, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Bush, Obama all ran as agents of change. I think that's true of McKinley, Cleveland, Harrison, Cleveland, Lincoln, and every single elected pre-Civil War President starting with Andrew Jackson through Buchanan.

The ONLY time where an elected Democrat followed an elected Democrat since that pre-war period (when the Whigs were in disarray due their two elected Presidents dying in office), was Truman after FDR. And Truman was in the office for almost 4 years. And he ran as a change agent himself.

The only Republicans to do it were Taft, Hoover and GHWBush... all of whom lost bids for second terms.

Many of us remember Bush the elder's campaign -- he too ran as a change agent. What were his two big themes? "Kinder, Gentler" and "No New Taxes!" Reagan has become a secular saint for the GOP, but he was mistrusted by the right wing by 1988. He agreed to several tax increases as President.

Hillary Clinton forgot the lesson her husband taught us -- "It's The Economy Stupid!" And lest we forget, Bill Clinton's first big misstep as President was ending the ban on gays in the military. NOT an issue he campaigned on and one that got him all tangled up with controversy right out of the gate. This isn't a commentary on the policy, it was the timing and prominence of the policy change that were all wrong.

Hillary needed a positive, simple theme, like "Kinder, Gentler," or "Its the Economy Stupid," or "Morning in America," or "Hope and Change," or even "Return to Normalcy." But she had none. It reminds me of Teddy Kennedy's fatal interview with Roger Mudd in 1980 when he could not answer the question "why do you want to be President?" He had no one sentence answer. And neither did she.

Americans could hang their hats on "Let's Make America Great Again." It's simplistic, but so are all of the other, WINNING, slogans I just mentioned.

Most of those campaign slogans turn out to be lies. American is always great and since the R debacle of 2008, Obama led a major recovery, among the longest in U.S. history. And many economists believe that Trump will take us into recession rather quickly with his trad policy threats, attempt to renegotiate with Iran, etc. Smile, spout lies, and make the people on the way to ruin believe you care.
Sixty million Americans who had been mostly ignored and dismissed in the corridors of national power for eight years found a vehicle on Tuesday by which to make their voices heard. Democracy in action. We'll see how it goes.

FTR: As of January 20, our seat of national government will look a lot more like what has been happening out in the states since 2010. And that trend of unprecedented GOP strength in state governments continued to accelerate this week.
One More Thing: IPLG Rocks!
I would encourage this as a post election read. Being a suburban raised child of privilege it is hard to understand the real plight of rural America as it is impossible for me to walk in shoes other than my own. I can empathetic and charitable but I have walked a different path that shaped who I am and my outlook on life and humanity. So how does America help lift these communities and make them understand that they matter?

And IPLG Rocks!
The two professors I confer with from time to time are Mark, and David Schultz, a professor of political science and elections and election law at Hamline University in the Twin Cities. Both have been guests at Drinking Liberally, the political club in Minneapolis that I host.

One of David’s persistent criticisms of the Clinton campaign was the lack of a theme or narrative arc. As IPLawGuy says, Trump had one you could hang your hat on. Or put it on your hat!

Quick, finish this sentence: “I supported Hillary Clinton because . . . .”

If your answer is, “Because she has such a great resume,” your candidate loses. “I’m with Her” is a form of “Because she has such a great resume,” I submit.

We voted for a national leader, not our oncologist.

Continuing in this vein, people complained the Trump campaign was all about Trump. But Trump is the one who talking about making American great again (while Clinton said that America was already great, which must have landed with a thud in the Rust Belt), and some ideas about how he would do it, whether you liked the ideas or not.

Again, quick finish this sentence: “My favorite policy idea from the Clinton campaign was . . . .” No resorting to Google, either.

I’d assert it was the Clinton campaign that was all about the candidate. Many of her identity politics supporters ignored glaring weaknesses in Hillary Clinton: her unquestioning adherence to neoliberalism, which I think has another name, Social Darwinism; her errors in foreign policy judgment concerning Iraq, Libya (she was the principal architect of that one), turning a blind eye to the coup in Honduras, being foursquare behind the idea of shoving missiles up Putin’s fundament, and her utter disdain of half the country as “deplorables.”

In her concession speech, Clinton said that the campaign was “never about one person.” I had to laugh, really.

I agree with Waco Friend, most of those slogans were lame, if not lies. And Trump's trade policies, among other things, are frightening.

But to govern, you have to be elected. Steve's fill the blanks questions are awesome.
The article on Cracked that Christine linked is excellent. Hilarious, crude and sad too.

When did Cracked go from low rent MAD Magazine to social commentary source anyhow?
I was wondering the same thing about "Cracked" Magazine.

Waco Farmer, do you think that Trump and the Republicans in Congress can agree on a legislative agenda? After 8 years of opposing things, now they have the opportunity to actually legislate.

Yes. Not a slam dunk--but there is a lot the Trump Team and Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell can agree on. An amazing legislative session is possible. Can Trump overcome Trump to be an effective leader? Only the good Lord knows...
Just so you know I am not a regular reader of Cracked Magazine. I stole this from a friend who posted the link on FB this morning. Yes - funny, crude and sad - especially the drug use and suicide points.

A legislative agenda that will feature Infrastructure spending will enrage as this was part of Obama's agenda and he was stonewalled on this item from day 1 to day 2,920 + or - a few days. It will finally happen and should happen.

Perhaps it will also include building more VA facilities so they can take care of all the soldiers that are seeking care.
I understand that this discussion is about policy. But, just a gentle reminder for everyone: Donald Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women.

He bragged about sexually assaulting women, and he openly mocked a disabled reporter. His first act of national prominence was denying equal housing opportunities to black Americans, something for which he has never repented. He mocked John McCain for being held as a prisoner of war. He mocked the parents of a soldier killed in combat. He has openly advocated war crimes in wanton violation of the Geneva Convention. He has named as his head of the EPA a man who does not believe in climate change. The first act of his presidential campaign was calling Mexicans rapists and murderers, and he attacked a judge presiding over a lawsuit regarding his sham university for being of Mexican descent. Displaying an egregious lack of knowledge of the Constitution, he has advocated governmental discrimination based on faith. According to the ACLU, his proposed policies violate the First, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution, at very least.

The list goes on, and on, and on.

I find it profoundly disturbing how quickly Trump's behavior has been normalized. I'm dead terrified of the precedent it sets for our nation and future generations if we basically let the man get away with these things.

Don't get me wrong -- he won fairly. Clinton ran an exorbitantly flawed campaign. He will become president and for four years he will serve as our lawful president. That is how our system works.

But that doesn't mean we - Democrats and Republicans alike - have abdicated our moral responsibility to denounce him for the atrocious things he has done.
It occurs to me that part of Hillary's problem with narratives is that the good ones were taken by Trump and Sanders. There was no way she could be seen as a legitimate populist. And that's what the zeitgeist demanded. She was left to work the room without a story, just to be the anti-Bernie or the anti-Donald.

It's hard to do effective campaign messaging with that.

I do note in passing that there are news reports this afternoon that Sens. Sanders and Warren said there were some issues they thought they could work on with Trump.
My take is in The Hill today:

Micah - earlier today I was asked the following question by a dear, dear friend and fellow Democrat.

Question: Do you think people really believed him when he said he would build a wall and Mexico would pay for it, that he bomb the s--- out of them, that he knew more that the generals about ISIS, that he going to repeal the affordable health care act and provide something spectacular, that he would put Hillary Clinton in jail? I mean, really, these are all things that will be apparent. The rural white men, who polls say, were his largest voters, are they looking for these things to happen. Get real people.

As you can see, the question didn't even touch on misogyny, sexual assault and a whole host of other abhorrent things that our President-Elect has done or been accused of. But here was my response..

I think a lot of gullible people think he is going to build a wall with Mexico and a lot of lesser educated people don't understand ISIS and the threat or that we all ready vet people for two years before we let them immigrate from the Middle East (I call that extreme). But we read, we listen and watch things from multiple sources. We make that time and in our case have the time and leisure and interest to do so. We are lucky.

I do think they want him to put Hillary in jail. This from a man with 70+ outstanding law suits against him. Hopefully Obama told him he needs to settle them and move on.

The rural white men want their towns to have an employer other than McDonald's and BoJangles or Walmart. They want some of their dignity back. They are watching neighbors commit suicide and overdose at a higher rate than urban areas. They want opportunity, not to be rich, but to be able to live with dignity.

I don't know how one makes that happen and I am pretty sure Trump really has no idea how to make that happen. The fact is being a white male in America is quickly making one a minority. There is a lot of fear in all corners of this great nation.

You question how we can be dismissive and move on from the many horrible, horrible things Trump has said.

Maybe part of it is age and having lived through many elections. I have been reading about the small, but significant, hateful things that have happened in the past day since the election ended. Black students being called n****rs and told to sit in the back of the school bus, and people ripping hijab's from the heads of Muslim girls and women. All by angry, marginalized white males and young people living in homes apparently professing hate. It scares the hell out of me. I have read posts by my millennial friends and I feel their fear (your fear). I am scared that the Supreme Court is lost for at least a generation of young people in our nation. I am scared for my gay and lesbian friends, for my friends who have foreign adoptive kids - the kids think they could get deported. I am scared for the loss of women's rights. I am scared that so many men feel marginalized by the changing demographic of our country. I am scared that one of the lessons apparently NOT taught in school is how to respect other people.

I remember the election in 2000 and how every day for a month or more it felt like a knife was being twisted in my gut as I waited to hear the result and then my investment in the 2004 election and the pain I felt for a good month after Kerry lost to Bush. I am reminded of 9-11 and the fear people around me had and at that time I made a choice; I choose to not live in fear.

And today I saw a map of the youth vote in our great nation. Do you know it was mostly blue (save for five or six States). This gives me hope for the future. Do not lose your idealism, it is important. Study, learn, watch, be open minded, do not lose faith. Become a responsible leader. Be our future.

Wonderful food for thought in these posts, in the "Cracked" article and in Mark's.

I'm teaching at an international high school in Bosnia-Herzegovina. I've been humbled by colleagues who lived here through the war 20+ years ago, a few of whom said to me that now the US is beginning to know what it feels like to have chosen an authoritarian narcissistic misogynistic buffoon (well, they actually said "a sh*t politician"). I felt numb on Wednesday morning, but being here puts the election of Trump in some kind of perspective . . .

One colleague added that no one in the Balkans ever believes anything their politicians say. Nothing. Ever. She's amazed when she hears people say they do. It made me think: Is it a Western, rich-country luxury to believe your politicians, even to partly believe what they promise? And maybe that's why we fall so hard, and why we want change rather than a great resume: because we want to believe them.

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