August 26th, 2017

Presidents and lies

Commenter “Big Maq” asks a question:

If it were obama or clinton who made such claims [that he had passed more bills in his first seven months than most presidents had in that time] in the same circumstances, would we still be arguing that either is “substantially right”?

I highly, highly doubt so. I’d bet my retirement on it, and I’m not a big gambler.

Well, I probably wouldn’t have bothered to talk about it all that much because that sort of lie (or misstatement, or exaggeration, or puffery) wasn’t my big concern with Obama. I had major concerns about other sorts of lies, as you will see.

I did write about Obama’s bragging in general and his narcissism, just as I have with Trump, in terms of his character and personality. One exploration of these traits of Obama’s—written during the 2008 campaign—can be found here. I’m going to quote from it at some length:

Self-confidence is an internal state that guides behavior. A self-confident person believes that he/she is capable of weighing situations, making good choices, and taking productive actions. Self-confidence can be conveyed by a calm demeanor, an air of knowledge and authority, the ability to make decisions and stick with them but to remain flexible if facts and situations change (not merely for political expediency).

Arrogance is not an internal state. It’s an external manifestation of an internal state that may or may not include authentic self-confidence. While it’s possible to be truly self-confident and yet not have enough sensitivity to the perceptions of others to curb overt and sometimes offputting expressions of arrogance, it’s also very common for the deeply insecure to convey an impression of arrogance to cover up that deficit (even from themselves, or maybe especially from themselves).

In addition, self-confidence can be objectively justified by a person’s behavior and skills, or it can be misplaced…

Certainly Obama is supremely self-confident; no doubt about that. But does his capacity for leadership match his high assessment of his own abilities? He is fortunate in that his demeanor, his voice, and his smooth speaking style have engendered the confidence of others for much of his life, and therefore they feed his own faith in himself. But his actual record of accomplishment—as has been pointed out time and again—is remarkably thin.

Only time will tell whether Obama can actually do the job well in the event of his election to the Presidency. But that’s true of all presidents. At the moment it’s only possible to say that there is good reason to doubt that his self-confidence is justified…

…Obama’s arrogance now is… symbolic and rhetorical and tone deaf. The redesign of the seal. The “rise of the oceans…” speech. The premature triumphant World Tour. The dismissing of valid questions as being unworthy of his time and trouble. The inability to admit to having been wrong.

Some of this may sound familiar. And in fact it is the latter quality—inability to admit having been wrong—that opponents of George Bush often cite as one of his major flaws.

Arrogance has most definitely been one of Bush’s drawbacks—never more so, I believe, than in his showboaty landing on the USS Lincoln. That panoply of macho swagger was fun for a moment, but in the end it did him no good at all. Nor did his famous “bring them on!” statement, which to his credit, Bush ended up publicly regretting.

Presidents often skirt the fine line between self-confidence and arrogance. But it’s always a bad idea to cross it, although a transgression can be forgiven now and then if it doesn’t become a habit and things are otherwise going well.

In line with the analysis I offered there, I submit that Trump is both self-confident and arrogant, although with a very different style of arrogance than Obama had. Trump’s arrogance involves a more conventional type of bragging. Not only that, but (unlike Obama) his bragging is a very obvious and open part of his personality, something even most of his admirers concede. In contrast, Obama’s demeanor was that of a judicious, laid-back, professorial guy, and yet he still said things that were astoundingly over-the-top in terms of bragging (those oceans) without even blinking. Trump is a much “hotter” personality, and his braggadocio is overt and obvious and a big part of what we already know about him. It’s been discussed—and acknowledged for the most part by both sides—so much for so long that it isn’t something that I would think needs a whole lot more discussion.

In other words, it’s a given.

But bragging of that sort is not lying. Those who call it “lying” are characterizing it in a way that doesn’t fit, and didn’t even fit for Obama. I don’t think I ever referred to Obama’s self-aggrandizement as “lying.” I don’t think I would have liked it if people had done so, either, although I can’t find a post where I discuss this. I did find this post where I described my annoyance at the political use of “gotcha gaffes” on both sides, cases in which mistakes or slips of the tongue are made much of by the opposition. Sometimes I use humor to deal with those incidents of this nature that I consider not all that important. Note, for example, that I used humor just yesterday to deal with Pelosi’s “wolf in a theater” remark, which I consider a gaffe—and I used the term “faux pas” to refer to it.

If you want an example of the way I looked at Obama’s slips of the tongue and/or ignorance of historical facts, take a look at this post from May of 2008 [emphasis added, and Big Maq, please take note of the parts I’ve bolded]:

…[N]ot all of Obama’s errors are created equal. Some fall into the category of slips of the tongue—after all, even his enemies don’t really think Obama believes there are 57 states.

Obama’s most recent error—which concentration camp his uncle (actually, great-uncle) helped liberate—has been blown way out of proportion. As soon as I heard the story, I was nearly certain it was basically true but that he’d gotten the camp wrong.

This is not a case of “lying,” as some have charged, nor of course did Obama’s uncle serve in the Russian Army, as some tongues-in-cheek have suggested. But still, the mistake is a bit more disturbing than his “Heinz 57 states” error. The latter was a slip of the tongue. The former was a sloppy case of ignorance of a detail of history, Obama relying on his memory rather than fact-checking.

There’s much more after that, but the reason I’m referring to it is that I think it demonstrates how reluctant I am to use the word “lie” to refer to an error that comes from campaign hyperbole or ignorance. If it’s ignorance, I’ll criticize the ignorance, not a “lie” that isn’t really a lie. And I try to do the same for each side.

Lies are different, and I come down much more heavily on them. For example, here’s what I wrote about Obama’s whopper “you can keep your doctor,” because it was a deliberate lie and a material lie about government policy.

Much later in the Obama game—February of 2014—I wrote this post about the sort of presidential lies from Obama that bothered me the very most of all. The title is “All Presidents lie”:

I suppose most of them—or at least many of them—do.

About sex.

About any number of things–usually minor things, or self-serving face-saving things when caught in error, or about things like smoking marijuana.

They also make errors: Bush on WMDs would be a good example, or Bush I’s promise not to raise taxes.

But I can think of no president who has lied in the way Obama has: about the fundamentals of who he is politically. About his plans for the United States. About the most basic details of a huge program he’s promoting, knowing he’s lying even as he’s promoting it.

That’s why I get so angry when I hear Obama supporters excusing him by saying “all presidents lie.” Not like Obama, they don’t.

About that most fundamental thing—his political points of view, and his plans for the country as president—Trump (at least so far) appears to have been telling the truth. Which is sort of funny, because during the campaign a lot of us suspected he might have been lying and had no intention of trying to do most of the things he said he would try to do. If during his campaign Obama seemed more trustworthy than he actually turned out to be (although I don’t think I was fooled; see this post), than Trump as president so far has been more trustworthy in that respect than he seemed to be during the campaign.

40 Responses to “Presidents and lies”

  1. vanderleun Says:

    ” I submit that Trump is both self-confident and arrogant,…”

    SFW? How else do you get the job?

    And need I remind the crowd that, in the words of the immortal Dizzy Dean: “It ain’t bragging if you can do it.”

  2. Zigzag Says:

    ^— This.

    IYI (see Nassim Taleb) Backstabbing Beta Chumps who hide their inadequacies behind their verbosity and snark simply cannot get their heads around the concept of actual Doers and Achievers.

  3. miklos000rosza Says:

    I have a friend who’s been in broadcast journalism for a long time. When he was assigned to the Obama plane early in the 2007-08 primary season he saw it as a backwater, made worse by the fact that, as he said, “Obama is the most arrogant politician I’ve ever met. He seems incapable of normal, off-the-record conversation with any of us.” Whereas McCain would come and hang out with the reporters for hours at a time.

    I had said, sort of as a joke, that Obama was my early pick. I was teasing my friend a little. He then said, emphatically: “He’s one of the worst assholes I’ve ever met.” This was a black reporter, by the way.

    Later on, when it was Obama vs McCain, he simply said he’d never voted for a Republican in his life. He only wanted to talk about how unqualified Sarah Palin was. To which my rejoinder was: “What about William Miller? Spiro Agnew? Geraldine Ferraro?”

    I had been much troubled by the Bill Ayers-Bernadine Dohrn connection. I remembered when they’d first formed Weatherman, and their insistence that blacks must be the “vanguard of the revolution.”

    My friend dismissed the connection as “old news.” Likewise, he — along with the rest of the MSM — remained utterly incurious about Obama’s unavailable SATs and GPA. This after all the fuss there’d been made about GW Bush’s school records back in 2004 (which did not turn out to be all that bad.)

    The Obama worship we saw manifest late in te campaign was the last straw for me. I’d never seen this kind of cult of personality build-up in American politics before.

  4. AesopFan Says:

    miklos000rosza Says:
    August 26th, 2017 at 11:08 pm
    * *
    I had an open mind early in 2007. The election was open to new people on both sides, I know nothing of Obama, didn’t care for McCain at all. So I watched and listened.
    Even without the substantive concerns that you raise (Ayers mostly, with Wright as a side note; and I still can’t believe the iron discipline that’s kept someone from leaking his school records), it became very clear that Obama was a jerk. And he was jerking us around.

    I never changed that opinion.
    And I actually did agree with either his statements or his actions on a (very) few occasions. If history just records what he said (sometimes), and leaves out what he did (most of the time), he’ll have a pretty good chapter in the textbooks.

  5. SCOTTtheBADGER Says:

    If Mr. Obama’s Great Uncle was in the 3rd Armored Division, they did liberate Nordhousen, a subcamp of Buchenwald.

  6. Mike K Says:

    Not exactly lying but Obama’s ignorance of the world was shown again and again with such errors as “Speak Austrian” or thinking that Arabic interpreters were needed in Afghanistan. He actually set policy on such topics of which he knew nothing.

  7. Big Maq Says:

    “If during his campaign Obama seemed more trustworthy than he actually turned out to be (although I don’t think I was fooled; see this post), than Trump as president so far has been more trustworthy in that respect than he seemed to be during the campaign. – Neo
    .

    That is a long way from your past statements:

    “With Trump, since he has no such political track record, we have to rely on the evidence of his life, which is that he will do whatever he judges to be best for Trump, and that everything he says is up for grabs except as it relates to that one guiding principle.”
    http://neoneocon.com/2016/05/05/trump-its-all-mutable/

    “But I wonder if they understand that whatever he promises them he will do or say, whatever deal he makes, is completely mutable at his discretion. I cannot imagine why they would believe him. He contradicts himself daily (for example, now it’s that banning Muslims was just a “suggestion” and he’s not releasing his tax returns till after the election—yeah, right!). To even try to determine which is the truth—what he said yesterday, what he says today, what he will say tomorrow, or something else entirely—is a futile waste of time.””
    http://neoneocon.com/2016/05/12/talking-to-trump/

    So, essentially, you are arguing that trump’s character and m.o. has changed.

    Or, perhaps it is not him who has changed?
    .

    So, trump throws out a statement that has plenty of ambiguity against which to judge it’s veracity. What is the purpose?

    It seems to take the eyes off of what he promised, of the few he ever put in writing, for his first 100 days.

    THAT is the standard HE set.

    So, instead of discussing that question after what, 300 days, we are debating if he, in fact, has done the “most” of any president in history.

    This certainly seems part of the same game plan trump’s been playing all along.

    It is a distraction, at best.

    He can “puff” all he wants, but is it not building support beyond his core, nor, like any used car salesman, is he building any credibility and trust by doing so.

    In the meantime, the big substantive stuff gets ignored.
    .

    Now, all that explanation you gave, while addressing YOUR nuanced position, doesn’t address how the wider “right” would behave on this – my original point, and what I would bet on.

    This is, yet again, imho, something that if it were obama or clinton saying this kind of shtuff, ceterus paribus, most on the “right” would have a field day of it, vs e.g. arguing the “technicality” of how “truthful” it is.

    Wouldn’t the Rush Limbaughs and Hannitys of the “conservative” media world see through the “puff” for what it is? And where they go, a large portion on the “right” seems to follow.

    I think we ignore this aspect at our own peril, as while these “voices of the right” line their pockets with this approach, in the bigger picture, it affects our own credibility.
    .

    Our reaction ought to be more along the lines of…

    “Hold it Mr. President, didn’t you promise us X, Y and Z in 100 days. So, what is your plan for delivering on those, and what timeline are you committing to now? And, how is your infighting with Congressional GOP leaders helping get them done? And, how are your statements like this helping get them done?”

    From the “right”, focusing on how unfair the press is on this kind of shtuff, how outrageous the left are in their portrayal of trump, on how the deep state is out to get trump, and how the GOP leadership really are losers that deserve trumps recriminations, etc. gives trump one big pass that he hasn’t yet earned, on something he rhetorically promised he was uniquely capable of dealing with.
    .

    Folks took a big risk on trump, who spoke in terms of big changes, and his own grand abilities to handle the media and competently get things done.

    Time he start delivering on those big changes he promised and we stop abiding by his excuses, finger pointing, and distractions.

    If he were an employee, would we really put up with this cr*p?

    Most would honestly say no and fire the guy.

    We cannot fire him, but we ought to hold him accountable to the standards he set, the promises he made, and not get distracted in a debate about how he was the best ever on some ambiguous measure – that is not what we elected him for, and it is not building us anything beyond the hard core trump supporters.

  8. Big Maq Says:

    Correction: meant after 200 days.

  9. AesopFan Says:

    miklos000rosza Says:
    August 26th, 2017 at 11:08 pm
    ..
    The Obama worship we saw manifest late in te campaign was the last straw for me. I’d never seen this kind of cult of personality build-up in American politics before.
    * * *
    Hard to get a serious worship cult going for Johnson, Nixon, and Carter. Reagan is more of an after-election case (the longer away, the stronger his sway). Kennedy and FDR, definitely cultish; I wasn’t around to watch the build-up, but the after-effects are still with us.

  10. Ymar Sakar Says:

    There are two popular types of lies. Lies about past events and lies about future events that haven’t happened yet.

    If you are lying about the future, at least that can still be changed. All someone has to do is to achieve the effect before the deadline, then the lie becomes truth to most people.

    Since the past cannot be changed, people tend to see exaggerating the past as either accepted practice or dishonorable. Since it cannot be changed, that means everyone can claim to have changed it.

    Lying about the future is a little bit more difficult, since once it happens… true prophecies and false prophecies are easy to distinguish.

  11. The Other Chuck Says:

    Let’s let that inveterate whiner, that Canadian born interloper and son of a conspirator to the JFK assassination, the man destined to lose in politics because of his integrity, the man who refused to criticize Trump during most of the campaign while he practiced Reagan’s 11th Commandment…let’s let Ted Cruz have the final word:

    “This man is a pathological liar, he doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies … in a pattern that is straight out of a psychology text book, he accuses everyone of lying…Whatever lie he’s telling, at that minute he believes it…

  12. Bob Kantor Says:

    If I were in bed with a severe case of malaria and were asked how many states there are, I’m sure I would know the correct answer. I disagree with Neo-Neocon on this one—Obama was not guilty of a slip of the tongue; he really didn’t know. Just as he didn’t know how to pronounce “corps” or where Charleston and Savannah are located.

  13. Irv Says:

    The anti-Trump vitriol of some posters is almost pathological. His every statement and action (past and present) is presented in the worst possible light with the most negative interpretation. Every assumption is is made in the most negative possible way. It really gets tiring. No one could possibly be as evil as he is portrayed.

    I’m only surprised by the intensity of it. I knew from the way Bush was portrayed Trump would get it too but the level of this is so far beyond anything in the past that it surprised even me.

    I would get really depressed if he wasn’t doing such a wonderful job of driving the left, the establishment, the press and the entertainment industry so absolutely crazy. He’s doing a great job showing them up for what they really are…..bad losers!

  14. Tatterdemalian Says:

    “I’m only surprised by the intensity of it.”

    They honestly thought, with the election of Obama, that they had finally brought us all under control, and that we were now a single-party socialist nation forever.

    More than anything else he should be praised for, President Trump deserves respect for bringing the dream of the United Socialist States of America crashing down, before it would take an actual civil war to stop it.

    If the media succeeds in forcing him into Dubya’s position, we will have failed, and civil war, either before or after a Venezuela-style social collapse, will be inevitable.

  15. arfldgrs Says:

    according to Hanen, the government “has announced, and has now confirmed under oath, that it is pursuing a policy of mandatory non-compliance (with the [Immigration and Nationality Act], and that any agent who seeks to enforce the duly-enacted immigration laws will face sanctions – which could include the loss of his or her job.”

  16. arfldgrs Says:

    bragging? try braggadocio…

    after Braggadocchio, boastful character in Spenser’s Faerie Queene (1590), apparently a pseudo-Italian coinage based on brag

    the latter can be said to be a behavior you put on and take off, while the braggart has no such tact or strategic point… in a room of alpha males and no others, such things outside such a room would appear to the normal losers and weak people as something bad (cause they are supperior in their failings)

    things exist for reasons..
    anyone want to follow the weak willed waffling academic?

    napoleon left and marched to paris with no one at his side, by the time he got there, an army assembled… THAT is the purpose of the thing that you see and that is working, and that weak people who dont have the chops want removed so they can play too..

    sheesh
    as i said long ago.
    if you like em, then they are not arrogant and bragging
    if you dont, they cant be humble enough not to be
    either way, the word and ideas are about the otehr, not about teh speaker… because its opinion masquerading as a measurable fact, which it isnt..

    which is why Teddy R was much worse..

  17. Dave Says:

    conservatives need to quit the complacency, this is more like a temporary halt for the liberal agenda than a permanent victory for conservatism. Nothing has changed other than having a republican sitting in the WH, Trump has done nothing to take back free speech from silicon Valley, liberals are still in control 99% of major corporations and fields. Liberals can easily come back and sweep both houses and the take back the presidency in 3 years if conservatives don’t start showing some urgency and collectively giving this progressive fighting president full support.

  18. neo-neocon Says:

    Big Maq:

    You wrote yesterday at 2:05 PM:

    “If during his campaign Obama seemed more trustworthy than he actually turned out to be (although I don’t think I was fooled; see this post), than Trump as president so far has been more trustworthy in that respect than he seemed to be during the campaign.“ – Neo
    .

    That is a long way from your past statements:

    “With Trump, since he has no such political track record, we have to rely on the evidence of his life, which is that he will do whatever he judges to be best for Trump, and that everything he says is up for grabs except as it relates to that one guiding principle.”
    http://neoneocon.com/2016/05/05/trump-its-all-mutable/

    “But I wonder if they understand that whatever he promises them he will do or say, whatever deal he makes, is completely mutable at his discretion. I cannot imagine why they would believe him. He contradicts himself daily (for example, now it’s that banning Muslims was just a “suggestion” and he’s not releasing his tax returns till after the election—yeah, right!). To even try to determine which is the truth—what he said yesterday, what he says today, what he will say tomorrow, or something else entirely—is a futile waste of time.””
    http://neoneocon.com/2016/05/12/talking-to-trump/

    So, essentially, you are arguing that trump’s character and m.o. has changed.

    Or, perhaps it is not him who has changed?

    Your point makes no sense to me. I am being extremely consistent, actually.

    Take a look at a larger version of one of those quotes of mine:

    Unlike Trump, most candidates have a track record in political office to which to compare their campaign rhetoric. So we can at least try to judge or estimate what their real positions are, the ones they are most likely to carry out or try to carry out if elected. With Trump, since he has no such political track record, we have to rely on the evidence of his life, which is that he will do whatever he judges to be best for Trump, and that everything he says is up for grabs except as it relates to that one guiding principle.

    To try to make it perfectly clear (although I think I was being quite clear back then already): Trump was a businessman and a self-promoter. Unlike most people who run for office, he had no background as a politician or officeholder by which we could judge him. So I was forced (as was everyone) to extrapolate from his other roles in life, particularly businessman, and from his behavior during the primaries.

    As a businessman he’s been intermittently shady and often ruthless. He hasn’t always kept his word. He appears to be a narcissist in general. He personally attacked a lot of people during the campaign. His views seemed mutable and changeable. And so on and so forth.

    Now, however, we have seven months of Trump the president, a very different role with very different demands and pressures and responsibilities and constituencies and priorities. So now we can evaluate those seven months, which is what I’m doing here.

    Trump is the same person, of course. But (as with most people), he is subject to change (either incremental or large) based on his experiences and his reaction to those experience. Being president must be a pretty unique experience, to say the least, quite different from what he’s done before.

    In addition (as with just about everyone) there are different roles in life in which people behave differently. Just to take one example, a hard-boiled police officer has one demeanor while at work, and might be very very different in his roles at home as father and husband. It’s the same person, and there is certainly some continuity (most people do not present with totally different personalities and value systems), but there are differences depending on our roles in life.

    In his role (and it is a role) as president, I have always said I would evaluate Trump on how he performs in that role. I have always said I would be glad if he did better as president than I expected, and that the bar was set low because I expected so little (or even really bad things). Nothing about this has changed except now I have some data to go on for Trump’s behavior as president. In that respect he has kept his word—which is what I mean by trustworthy at the end of this post—much more than I expected.

  19. BrianE Says:

    “and how the GOP leadership really are losers that deserve trumps recriminations, etc.”– Big Maq

    Well, at least we agree on one thing. It appears everything the GOP has campaigned on and promised for the last 8 years was just a stinking pile of empty promises.

    Trump’s great mistake was believing the GOP hucksters masquerading as legislators. Are you saying Trump is to blame for believing these frauds?

    It was Trump that sent a budget that actually reduced spending (by a modest amount) and it was Republicans that declared it DOA.

    How many times did the Republicans continue the farce of sending a Obamacare repeal bill to Obama, knowing they were safe?

    You’re right. It’s Trumps fault for believing these charlatans.

  20. BrianE Says:

    “Folks took a big risk on trump, who spoke in terms of big changes, and his own grand abilities to handle the media and competently get things done.” – Big Maq

    Unless you voted for President Trump, you took no risk.

    I’m guessing that Trump mistakenly thought he had some competent partners in Congress to work with. Since that’s not the case, his job is harder.

    That’s not to say he won’t get many important things done. But the “big” things you’re complaining about will probably remain undone.

    Trump has done the country a favor though, by exposing how great the divide is in the Republican party.

  21. neo-neocon Says:

    BrianE (also Big Maq):

    Please read this. I don’t see them as “charlatans,” I see them as split on a major issue that’s perplexing (explained in that post). Calling them charlatans (or losers, although “loser” is technically correct in terms of Obamacare repeal failure) way oversimplifies the matter.

    Also see this.

  22. Big Maq Says:

    “I have some data to go on for Trump’s behavior as president. In that respect he has kept his word—which is what I mean by trustworthy at the end of this post—much more than I expected.”

    Better than expected – well, if that was what this was all about, I’m in agreement.
    .

    But, recall, the matter was that he claims he did the “most” ever. Seems a far different standard.

    You called it “just bragging” – another commenter called it “puff”, in the legal sense that car salesmen and advertisers make exaggerated claims that are nebulous and / or ambiguous, to which they cannot be held accountable for.

    What does that accomplish?

    Who does it “sell” to?

    I’m saying it is all a distraction, part of trump’s same game plan / m.o..
    .

    He made all kinds of claims during his campaign about his unique (“only I”) ability to get things done.

    He promised some specific things in the first 100 days.

    Instead of debating the veracity of his claim for the “most” ever, shouldn’t we be measuring him by the standard he set for himself?
    .

    It is trump’s job to build support for the changes he promised. Not seeing it with claims like these.

    So, let’s spin our wheels going back and forth about how trump is now more “trusthworthy”, “just bragging”, and behaving “better than expected”.

    Meantime, trump will give us another dozen points a week (a day?) equally nebulous or ambiguous to debate among ourselves and with the left – and nothing gets done but the debate about meaning and veracity of these useless distractions (to say nothing of the finger pointing, and excusing).

    It will consume us and take our eye off the ball.

    And is that the point of all this?

    At what point should trump be accountable for what he promised?

  23. neo-neocon Says:

    Big Maq:

    But that was not the subject of the quote of yours I was discussing in my previous comment.

    Of course Trump has done lots of things that I don’t like in terms of his personality, his bragging, etc.. Technically, though, he wasn’t “lying,” which was the subject of my previous posts (rather than whether what he said was something I approved of him saying).

    It seems to me you’re misunderstanding my points to a certain extent.

  24. Big Maq Says:

    “Unless you voted for President Trump, you took no risk.” – BrianE

    Seriously?

    Which part of being a citizen am I exempt from the consequences of the election results?
    .

    Just because the election didn’t go the way I’d like it to, I still want trump to be a success, in conservative terms.

    But I see that success slowly slipping away as trump feeds distractive red meat to his supporters and every one else is treated like an enemy (even his own AG).

    Democracies just don’t work like that – job approval in the 30% range is not sustainable.
    https://realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/president_trump_job_approval-6179.html#!

    Every president needs to broaden his support – the public, Congress, and his own cabinet.

    For instance, he needs competent and accomplished people to volunteer to work for him. Six months in, he seems to falling short on simply staffing his admin, just on lack of willing takers.
    .

    WRT agreeing on that one thing – I was only paraphrasing the sentiment that trump hard core supporters give. It is not a view that I hold. Perhaps should have put quotes around that whole paragraph.

    Now, when it comes to GOP promises – e.g. repeal and replace obamacare – yes, I’m rather disappointed in the results. They were not prepared with an alternative, so had no basis of support and nothing to sell. It further didn’t help that the WH and Congress were not sufficiently coordinated around the effort, and with trump being somewhat ambiguous about what he’d ultimately support. It was just a hot mess.
    .

    “Trump has done the country a favor though, by exposing how great the divide is in the Republican party.”

    Is better to know than not.

    trump doesn’t get “credit”, being one of those who is exacerbating that divide for his own purposes.

    Now, coming from a former dem voter, evidently seems that there must be a divide on your dem side too, right?

    Both parties have not been responsive to their constituencies.

    And, many other external influences have culminated in this divide.

  25. BrianE Says:

    Now, coming from a former dem voter,

    You used to be a democrat?

  26. Ymar Sakar Says:

    33% of the Alt Right are former Dem voters. Some still current.

  27. Irv Says:

    Some posters being 100% critical of Trump in every post with very few or no positives makes people suspicious that there’s an agenda rather than honest critique. It causes people to stop paying attention to certain posters.

    Neo, this definitely does not apply to your posts which are much more like genuine analysis and therefore very interesting.

  28. Arie; Says:

    Neo,

    That was one long tu quoque excuse. Trump and Obama are in two different categories, whatever you use to paint them the same. Or nearly the same. Or, hey, look Obama did this…

    On point, so on point, when did the claim that anything that contradicted the candidate or the President was ‘fake news’ come into being? Was it during the Obama administration? Did Obama call journalists liars every time they contradicted him? Did Obama point to journalists at any political rally and say ‘they are the enemy’?

    We have actually voted in a man that has no qualifications to be President other than a great sales job on that part of the American public that leans to authoritarianism and xenophobia. We have elected a demagogic, narcissistic (in every aspect of his public and his personal life) populist. We’ve elected a guy that can’t admit any error even when shown he’s wrong. He just double-downs with ‘fake news’ out to get him. With this President, it is all about him.

    A lie is when you know it to be untrue, or when you know if you looked more closely what you say would be a lie. It’s all about the knowing. Arpaio in his campaigns made a practice to lie, and lost in court after he was elected.

    Bragging isn’t lying unless the braggart knows it to be untrue. A braggart that brags over real facts is different from a braggart that makes his own facts, then accuses everyone else as liars when they say he’s wrong about his facts. There’s the issue of delusion.

    Hey, I have an Idea, let’s compare Trump to Woodrow Wilson over the press, then Truman over racism, then…

  29. Arie; Says:

    miklos000rosza Says:
    August 26th, 2017 at 11:08 pm

    You do realize that reporters that had excoriated Bush II for being dumb and illiterate were amazed about how he could talk about books that they had and hadn’t read? It’s the perception of the labeling then the shock that the label was wrong, and then the honesty that it takes to admit it. Some didn’t, some did, most stuck to ‘strategery”. Sort of like sticking to decimate as meaning to exterminate. Oh, wait…

    Now, as for your friend, I know Republicans that could never vote for a Democrat no matter how much more the Democrat was qualified and how little the Republican was. None of them are journalists. My dyed-in-the-wool Republican wife convinced me to vote for Goddard versus Brewer, in the parking lot at the polling place, as governor of Arizona by the simple question “which one is an idiot?.” I voted for Goddard.

    “The Obama worship we saw manifest late in te campaign was the last straw for me. I’d never seen this kind of cult of personality build-up in American politics before.” But you’re seeing the same now from Trump supporters, don’t you get it? He hasn’t accomplished anything other than Gorsuch, but blames all the failures on others. Hell, one of the best Republican Senators the state of Arizona has ever offered is Flake, but Trump calls him ‘toxic’ because he doesn’t give Trump what he wants.

    The funny thing in all this is that Trump has used slogans from the American Isolationists of the 1930s who were more Fascist leaning than for a democratic Republic. When I first heard “America First” I thought I was hearing Lindbergh on the short-wave. But then I realized I didn’t have short-wave…not to mention some 70 years or so lost.

    Ahh, Santayana,

  30. Arie; Says:

    Big Maq Says:
    August 28th, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    So damn right in all your comments to Neo.

    To Neo:
    I dropped Conservative when I realized that Conservatives weren’t for the ideals of the Constitution, however much they say they are, but are for their idea of what society should be and the Constitution be damned. Okay, that was mostly about how white Conservatives think it’s all about them and what doesn’t happen to them never happens.

    I was a Republican from 1972 to November 9th of 2016. I realized that I just couldn’t make excuses for this Republican president so I went Independent. That ties into leaving ‘Conservative’ earlier. I just can’t make excuses for the egregious wrong-headedness of either any longer. Trump, by his very nature, will exceed Jimmy Carter as the worst president in my life time. Nixon and LBJ are now third.

    And for the simpletons, no that doesn’t make me a liberal or a Democrat. In fact, guys, you’re the idiots adhering to a false dichotomy. The other democracies with Parliamentary systems know you for the fools you are. It’s called making a coalition.

  31. Arie; Says:

    Ymar Sakar Says:
    August 28th, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    So would that mean that 67% of the alt-right are former Republicans and some are still current?

    It’s a non-sequitur that you thought made a point. Not to mention you didn’t back it up whatsoever. I do like the 1/3 nature, that’s so American.

  32. Ariel Says:

    Ymar Sakar Says:
    August 28th, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    So would that mean that 67% of the alt-right are former Republicans and some are still current?

    It’s a non-sequitur that you thought made a point. Not to mention you didn’t back it up whatsoever. I do like the 1/3 nature, that’s so American.

  33. Ariel Says:

    BrianE Says:
    August 28th, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    You do know that Independents don’t fit into that nice Democrat or Republican framework?

  34. Ariel Says:

    But, but, Neo, it is about the behavior.

    “Nothing about this has changed except now I have some data to go on for Trump’s behavior as president. In that respect he has kept his word—which is what I mean by trustworthy at the end of this post—much more than I expected.”

    Actually, about everything he has promised has failed to be realized while his behavior is to claim it has been when it hasn’t or will be in some nebulous future when those two other branches stop getting in his way. Integrity isn’t just about pursuing a goal.

    Making Executive Orders is not a successful presidency.

    I think you and I have a different definition of ‘trustworthy’. I still respect you, Neo, but I think you’re letting adhering to a political affiliation isn’t clouding your judgment. BTW, I don’t mean conservative because Trump isn’t, he panders and that isn’t the same as having convictions.

    I’m going to rest now.

  35. BrianE Says:

    Neo-neocon @ 4:40pm

    I agree that trying to establish a national health insurance system is complex and the GOP finds itself as divided as the country looking for a solution. After all, legislators should be expressing views of their constituency, although their views should reflect their voters plus the advantage of a more knowledgeable view.

    I take back my accusation of charlatans and accuse them of being hypocrites. Not all of them, but those that voted for the ACA repeal in 2015 and then refused to vote for even incremental changes to the bill in 2017. I’m looking at you John McCain.

    My objection is two-fold. Unprincipled Republicans were more than willing to make empty promises for votes– stringing along gullible voters– sort of like some here are accusing Trump of doing.

    The second is the unwillingness to honestly tell the voters what their vision is and how they would pay for it. It’s a universal problem with legislators– promise shiny programs without presenting the bill at the same time.

    If we actually knew what single payer would cost each person based on AGI, it might dampen the enthusiasm.

  36. BrianE Says:

    Ariel,
    Since you abandoned conservatism, what is your vision for healthcare reform?

    Do you favor keeping expanded Medicaid?

    I’ve never said that Trump is a Republican. He’s a Nationalist. You would think that would encompass a fairly large portion of the Republican world, but they remain enamored with Global trade and the open borders that logically extends from their position.

    Trump is serving a valuable role, as Republicans and Democrats realize they’re not a unified party, but already a party of coalitions.

    Our system doesn’t lend itself well to third parties, and a true third party would create all sorts of new problems.

    The courts have replaced the legislative function of Congress in many areas and had Hillary won, the Legislative Court™ would have grown exponentially, which is why, for all his warts, I firmly support President Trump.

  37. BrianE Says:

    “Hell, one of the best Republican Senators the state of Arizona has ever offered is Flake, but Trump calls him ‘toxic’ because he doesn’t give Trump what he wants.”– Ariel

    Hmmm. Flake’s approval rating in Arizona is 18%. It appears your fellow Arizonians don’t mirror your opinion.

    …but are for their idea of what society should be and the Constitution be damned.– Ariel

    I don’t think it at all out of character that conservatives want to conserve a value system that built this country. It’s certainly not at odds with the constitution.

    Which probably brings us to the core issue that most are dancing around.

    The founding principles of our country did not come from Eastern mysticism or African voodooism or Mesoamerican tradition of human sacrifice but from European philosophies formed by such events as the Magna Carta and the Protestant Reformation.

    We’ve seemed to have lost touch with this, and fallen prey to a multiculturalism that preaches all cultures are equal. They’re not. We ignore this and imperil the fabric of the culture that brought us to this point.

  38. BrianE Says:

    Brent Bozell gets right to the point.

    All this talk about Trump this, and Trump that, masks a far bigger political controversy. The Republican Party leadership in Washington, D.C., has fundamentally betrayed its constituents and they are about to learn that they’ve been double-crossed — for years.

    And the punchline.

    There is no difference between Republicans and Democrats. Put them together. They are the swamp.

    Just as Republicans have the power to enact the agenda they’ve pledged in toto, so too do they now own the federal government, in toto. It’s no longer Obamacare. It’s GOPcare. It’s no longer crazy liberal Democratic spending. It’s crazy liberal Republican spending. It’s no longer socialist Democratic Party taxation, it’s socialist Republican Party taxation. All the legislation authorizing all these programs, all the graft, all the waste, all the obscenity, all the immorality, and where Planned Parenthood is concerned, all the killing — all of it is now formally authored by the Republican Party.

    http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/08/27/exclusive-brent-bozell-the-slow-death-of-the-republican-party/

  39. BrianE Says:

    Trump, by his very nature, will exceed Jimmy Carter as the worst president in my life time. – Ariel

    That’s a little premature. How Carter betrayed the shah and enabled the Ayatollah still ranks as a policy blunder of epic proportions.

    I do think Carter will be Number 2 at some point. Obama will be remembered as the worst president in American history because of, once again, Iran.

    If Trump’s administration manages to contain North Korea, it’s unlikely to ever be considered in the same league as Carter or Obama.

  40. neo-neocon Says:

    Ariel:

    “More trustworthy” than I thought he would be during the campaign does not equal “trustworthy.” Not by a longshot.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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