Tom McLaughlin

A former history teacher, Tom is a columnist who lives in Lovell, Maine. His column is published in Maine and New Hampshire newspapers and on numerous web sites. Email: tomthemick@gmail.com

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Bedeviling Choice

How did we end up with two candidates most of us dislike? Well, we voted them in, that’s how. What does that say about us, the American people? That’s the essential question here. Hillary and the Donald reflect us — and we don’t like what we see. This year we tend not to ask “Who are you voting for?” so much as “Who are you voting against?”
Leaked emails confirm the Democrat National Committee steered the nomination toward Hillary and away from Sanders. They also confirm an incestuous relationship between Democrats and Mainstream Media. Both phenomena were long suspected but the emails are proof in black and white.
Republican leaders never hid their dismay as Trump won primaries. They maneuvered openly to deny him the nomination but failed. Trump got a record number of popular votes and won legitimately. Hillary also got more votes than her opponents, but Sanders supporters ask themselves if his momentum might have carried him past Hillary had the DNC had not covertly worked against him early on. We’ll never know.
Ordinary voters in both parties were dissatisfied with leadership, but only Republicans got a “change” candidate while Democrats got an old battle ax. Lately, however, Republicans feel buyer’s remorse as Trump repeatedly trips over his own tongue. Hillary has political experience and it shows. She is focused and on message as the general election campaign proceeds. 
With zero experience, Trump is neither. Every day he gives the hostile mainstream media more arrows to shoot at him. While he bleeds in the polls, Republicans like Ted Cruz, Susan Collins, and Ben Sasse grab life jackets and jump ship. They’re not facing reelection this year but others are. Party leader Mitch McConnell said he’ll understand if they want to grab their life jackets and jump too.
Aside from refusing to release his tax returns, Trump is an open book. He eschews teleprompters and speaks his mind day after day. That novel approach appealed to voters in the primaries but it’s sinking him in the general. It’s still ten weeks to election day, and that’s an eternity in politics, but it’s not looking good for him. She sticks to script while he shoots from the lip.
Hillary has been caught in lie after lie, but the mainstream media virtually ignore them. Trump says dumb things almost every other day and they focus on him instead. Obama’s “Justice” Department protects Hillary too, but fears more email leaks showing the Clinton Family Foundation as more a money laundering operation and political slush fund than a charity. That could still sink her. If the electorate starts seeing her and Bill’s quarter million dollar “speaking fees” as bribes and payoffs, her polls could flip quickly. She’s a smooth and practiced liar as I personally witnessed last December when I had a 15-minute exchange with her. Lies roll off her tongue effortlessly and she’s been skating away from accountability for decades.
“The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t,” goes the idiom. We know what Hillary will do if she gets in so she would be the devil we know. We’re not sure what Trump would do. He’s been all over the political map during the past thirty years and it’s hard to tell, so he’s the devil we don’t know.
Trump, my least-favorite of the Republicans who ran, is one of the few candidates I didn’t get a chance to interview this election cycle. He says he’s pro-life, pro 2nd Amendment, wants to beef up the military and enforce immigration law — all good, but he used to think differently on some of those issues and has not explained why he changed. He never spoke of reducing the size of government either.
Trump did release a list of judges he would appoint to the Supreme Court — all strict constructionists. The four liberals on the court do not feel bound by the Constitution and would rely on foreign law. One, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, advised Egypt not to use the US Constitution as a model. I was more appalled, however, when Reagan-appointed Appeals Court Judge Richard Posner said: “[T]he original Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the post–Civil War amendments (including the 14th), do not speak to today… I’m not … particularly interested in the text of the Constitution. I don’t believe that any document drafted in the 18th century can guide our behavior today.” Hillary would appoint more like these.
If you’ve ever said: “This is a free country and I can do what I want,” remember: that’s true only because of the Constitution — especially the Bill of Rights. Primarily, however, the Constitution is a document that says to government: “you have these powers only and no more.” It was designed to prevent the federal government from becoming the behemoth it is.
To preserve the Constitution at least, I plan to vote for Trump, the devil I don’t know.

Labels: , , ,

16 Comments:

Anonymous Gregory Benton said...

Well, it certainly is a mess.
I am reminded, however, of Jesus' selection for leader and head of Christ's Church.
Of all those wonderful, dutiful disciples (Judas excluded of course), Jesus chose the one who would betray him...good grief! Peter? The rough one? Go figure.
Trump is often vulgar, rude and something of a blowhard, but he's not a congenital liar or fraud or corrupt politician and if we look closely, his Queens NY heart is emotionally devoted to the things that have indeed made America that make the country great.
If I were a Yank, I'd go for the imperfect guy who still believes in America.

8/16/16, 11:31 AM  
Anonymous steve tanton said...

God bless Gregory Benton - you are spot on my good fellow!!!! Nice explanation.

8/16/16, 1:41 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

I can certainly respect anybodies decision to not vote for Hillary, but I could never respect anyones decision to vote for Trump. What more does one need to know about him other than his cruel mockery of a handicapped man? How do you get beyond that?

Trump is certainly good at rallying his rabid core of followers who are so incredibly naive that they believe his non-stop BS without bothering to verify the facts for themselves. That some people believe that Clinton lies (she does) but that Trump tells the truth is mind-blowing. Almost every word out of his mouth is a bald-faced lie. He has been caught in WAY more lies than Clinton.

http://www.dailywire.com/news/4834/trumps-101-lies-hank-berrien

The only way he can be kept on track is when he uses his teleprompter, which he used again on Monday trying to appear presidential and knowledgeable about mideast terror.

Why did Trump's past feelings about issues change? Because he is jumping on the side of issues that the frothing-at-the-mouth crowd agrees with, totally playing them for fools. Look how he has hoodwinked Christians. All Christians have not bought in though. Here is Matt Walsh from "The Blaze".

"It's very simple. If a man has no moral center, if he does not demonstrate humility or integrity, I will never vote for him for president" Trump, who was not able to name even one book or verse in the Bible, (on Bloomberg) has said he loves god but never asks for forgiveness because he doesn't need it. Walsh went on to say "I see a guy who lies constantly and blatantly. I see a man who changes his positions and his principles at the drop of a hat. I see a deeply immature man".

Yeah, just what we want in a president.


As far as "believing in America", that is one area I would give Hillary much higher marks on. Trump believes in himself. He is certainly not one who cares much for, or believes in, the Constitution.

From Politico (google politico trump constitution guide)

"It would be one thing if Trump merely displayed a lack of knowledge of the Constitution. Ignorance can be corrected. However the problem is not just that Trump is ignorant of the Constitution; it's that he doesn't care. Trump has a dictator's impulse to simply make decisions without regard for his potential constitutional role or it's limits".

All this said, I think that Trump will be a good thing for our country in the long run. He is weeding out the ignorant, hateful masses who will then be crushed in the election, revealing this movement to be a lot of noise with no real power. Well, actually they did have power, the power of nominating the only person on the planet who is enough of a scumbag to lose to Hillary.

8/16/16, 2:10 PM  
Anonymous Doug Harrison said...

"Trump’s campaign-trail falsehoods are so legion that cataloguing them has become a journalistic pastime. With a cocky disdain for anything as boring as evidence, the presumptive GOP nominee confidently repeats baseless assertions"


Conservative columnist David Brooks has judged Trump “perhaps the most dishonest person to run for high office in our lifetimes.”

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/07/2016-donald-trump-hillary-clinton-us-history-presidents-liars-dishonest-fabulists-214024


Pretending that Trump is not a pathalogical liar while screaming that Clinton is one, (*I know you are bu what am I?) seems to be the only way Trump wins, so I understand the effort to paint this picture. But you can't fight reality, which is what many Trump supporters are having to do. The population that has this disconnect with reality is nowhere near enough to elect a lying buffoon like Trump.


8/16/16, 4:11 PM  
Blogger Tom McLaughlin said...

Trump is a lot of things, but liar isn't one of them. In this election, Hillary has an unchallenged monopoly on lying.

"Conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks has judged Trump “perhaps the most dishonest person to run for high office in our lifetimes.”

Excuse me, but David Brooks is no conservative columnist. He may occasionally be to the right of the socialists usually published by the NYT, but that doesn't make him conservative. Saying people think Trump is "dishonest" doesn't make him a liar either.

Trump is sometimes wrong when he talks about certain details, but lying is when you know what reality is but you intentionally represent it as something else. Hillary, and her husband have both done that more times than there is space here to record.

They've done it on camera and it's all still there for anyone to see.

8/16/16, 4:26 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

Donald Trump has repeatedly labeled his political opponents liars. He dubbed Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) Lyin' Ted when it became clear that Cruz was a serious rival for his nomination; he called Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) an "even bigger liar" than Cruz. He dubbed Dr. Ben Carson a "pathological liar" and said former Florida Governor Jeb Bush's lies were almost as bad as Cruz's. Trump has termed virtually every mildly adversarial media member a liar, too.

But there's only one truly massive liar in this race: Donald Trump. When Politico attempted to measure how many lies Trump told over the course of 4.6 hours of speeches, they found that he lied, on average, once every five minutes. His lies over the course of just one town hall event came up with 71 lies.

Politico goes on to name 101 lies Trump told. But you are making the claim that none of these were "lies", it is just that Trump is so incredibly stupid and out of touch with reality that he really thought all those "lies" were real. So under the stupidity test he is not a real liar. Great defense there, Tom!


But can you really excuse ALL of his lies this way?

How about his statement: "I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.”

He "misremembered"?

Or saying he opposed the Iraq war before it began when he is on record on the Stern show saying the opposite. I guess he really might be too dumb to remember all the times he has switched his opinions.

Here is another column entitled "How Trump Gets Away With Lying and the Mainstream Media Colludes With Him"

http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/anatomy-trump-lie

Yes, Trump is a lot of other things...ignorant, a naricissist, obnoxious, mean, a bully, etc...but he is also a huge liar. It is all on camera and recordings for all to see and hear.

8/16/16, 7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trump lies so much that in 2015, Politifact awarded him the Lie of the Year for numerous statements he made, because the team couldn’t pick the most egregious lie. Out of 77 statements checked, 76 of them were found to be mostly false to false to pants on fire lies.

PoliticusUSA goes on to say:

Think of the aging wealthy man who believes the young girl is with him because he’s so hot. That’s the base level deception and emotional motivation driving the Republican party voters – they want someone who makes them feel good about themselves, who holds up a mirror that makes them hot, right and rich.

They love the lie because ideologies comfort the voter. Everyone wants to feel like they are right, righteous, and morally superior. The problem comes when people can’t accept reality because reality says they were not right. And instead of admitting that and adjusting course, they demand that everyone get blamed equally while still claiming they never made a mistake. This level of petulant avoidance of reality is what got the Republican party to the situation they find themselves in.


They don’t care that Donald Trump lies; they love him because his lies soothe them. His lies appease them. His lies make them feel justified and righteous. His lies make them feel good about who they are. The voters are the children who do not want to be grown ups and the grown ups in the party have indulged them and fed them candy to keep from having to parent, and now they are stuck with a monster of a child.

8/16/16, 9:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Trump is a lot of things, but liar isn't one of them." If anyone had any doubts that Tom is nothing more than an empty-headed sycophant, that doubt can now be laid to rest.

8/16/16, 10:16 PM  
Anonymous Johan said...



Change will not come quickly. It may take a decade or more. And it will never come by capitulating to the Democratic Party establishment. We will accept our place in the political wilderness and build alternative movements and parties to bring down corporate power or continue to watch our democracy atrophy into a police state and our ecosystem unravel.

The rise of a demagogue like Donald Trump is a direct result of the Democratic Party’s decision to embrace neoliberalism, become a handmaiden of American imperialism and sell us out for corporate money. There would be no Trump if Bill Clinton and the Democratic Party had not betrayed working men and women with the North American Free Trade Agreement, destroyed the welfare system, nearly doubled the prison population, slashed social service programs, turned the airwaves over to a handful of corporations by deregulating the Federal Communications Commission, ripped down the firewalls between commercial and investment banks that led to a global financial crash and prolonged recession, and begun a war on our civil liberties that has left us the most monitored, eavesdropped, photographed and profiled population in human history. There would be no Trump if the Clintons and the Democratic Party, including Barack Obama, had not decided to prostitute themselves for corporate pimps.

Con artists come in many varieties. On Wall Street, they can have Princeton University and Harvard Law School degrees, polished social skills and Italian designer suits that are priced in the tens of thousands of dollars. In Trump tower, they can have cheap comb-overs, fake tans, casinos and links with the Mafia. In the Clinton Foundation, they can wallow in hundreds of millions of dollars from corporate and foreign donors, including the most repressive governments in the world, exchanged for political favors. But they are all crooks.

The character traits of the Clintons are as despicable as those that define Trump. The Clintons have amply illustrated that they are as misogynistic and as financially corrupt as Trump. Trump is a less polished version of the Clintons. But Trump and the Clintons share the same bottomless guile, megalomania and pathological dishonesty. Racism is hardly limited to Trump. The Clintons rose to power in the Democratic Party by race-baiting, sending nonviolent drug offenders of color to prison for life, making war on “welfare queens” and being “law-and-order” Democrats. The Clintons do a better job of masking their snakelike venom, but they, like Trump, will sell anyone out.

The Clintons and the Democratic Party establishment are banking that the liberal class will surrender once again to corporate power and genuflect before neoliberal ideology. Bernie Sanders will be trotted out, like a chastened sheepdog, to coax his followers back into the holding pen. The moral outrage of his supporters over Wall Street crimes, wholesale state surveillance, the evisceration of civil liberties, the failure to halt the devastation of the ecosystem, endless war, cuts to Social Security and austerity, will, the Democratic Party elites expect, airily evaporate. They may not be wrong. Given the history of the liberal class, they are probably right.

Sanders supporters, however, were given a stark lesson in how the political process is rigged. Some are disgusted and politically astute enough to defect to the Green Party. But once they no longer play by the rules, once they become “spoilers,” they will be ignored or ridiculed by a corporate press, excoriated by liberal elites and chastised by their former candidate.

-----------------
Chris hedges truthdig.com

8/17/16, 9:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny how politicians like Obama and Clinton, that are middle-of-the-road and tied-to-corporations, are called "leftists/socialists" yet are so disliked by real leftists and socialists.

8/17/16, 10:57 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

I’m still thoroughly perplexed by Trump’s candidacy and the true nature of his intent. For months during the primary, I was convinced he never intended to fully run for the Presidency. Ann Coulter even said early on, something to the affect that if Trump is serious about running, I’ll vote for him. Interestingly, there was a NYT Magazine article (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/20/magazine/how-donald-trump-picked-his-running-mate.html?_r=0) about Trump’s process of picking his VP. The author recounts a conversation he had with an unnamed senior advisor to Kasich. The adviser said Donald Jr. called him to ask if Kasich would be interested in “…being the most powerful VP in history?” When the adviser asked how, Donald Jr., replied by saying he’d be in charge of foreign and domestic policy. The adviser then asked what Trump would be in charge of. He replied, “Making America great again.” The author stands by his reporting, and the Trump campaign challenged the account, so the truth will never be known for certain. But if it's true, then it supports the appearance that Trump truly doesn’t want the actual responsibility of being the President. If you read the transcript from the 60 Minutes interview he did with Pence, you’ll see how profoundly unprepared he was to answer any policy questions. (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-trump-pence-republican-ticket/ ).

Granted he has given a couple of policy speeches where he committed the most unforgivable sin in conservative politics – the use of a teleprompter – the majority of is speeches and debates were train wrecks bereft of any ideas or even rational thought. My prediction is if he wins and things begin to turn sour for him, he pulls a Palin and quits mid-presidency.

I’ve reached the conclusion that he's far more interested in simply winning the election than ever actually being President.

Part of me is convinced he never intended to actually follow through with a deliberate campaign to win the Presidency, but when he leapt out to such a clear and barely challenged lead in the polls, he stayed with it probably not wanting to be labeled a quitter. It just doesn't make sense to me. He's an internationally recognized brand with no political ties of any kind. If he injects politics into that brand, then he risks losing, theoretically, half of his customer base. I think his candidacy was a charade from the beginning that Republicans and some Democrat/Independent converts thought was real.

8/17/16, 6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom Said "Hillary has an unchallenged monopoly on lying."

Meanwhile In a recent Washington Post/ABCNews poll, 59% said Hillary Clinton is not honest and trustworthy, while 69% said that about Trump.

So it very much IS challenged as to who the biggest liar is.

Words have meanings, Tom.

8/17/16, 6:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...you are blithely embracing every single thing you say you’re so angry about. Trump is the very embodiment of corruption, deception, cowardice, and elitism. He is precisely the sort of man you supposedly detest. Trump is exploiting America’s frustration with men like Trump. Trump is running against Trump. You are voting for Trump because you hate Trump. You are angry at politicians because they act like Trump and make deals like Trump and go to cocktail parties with men like Trump and look down on the little guy like Trump and so you’re solution is to elect Trump. Your anger at Trump leads you to Trump. Perhaps this explains why you’re so worried about politicians who are “controlled by donors,” but you aren’t at all concerned about a politicians who is the very donor you didn’t want controlling the political process. “I’m sick of these donors influencing the government! I have an idea: let’s make one president!”

Matt Walsh

8/17/16, 9:29 PM  
Blogger Tom McLaughlin said...

This came via email:

Read your article this morning and I, generally, agree to a point. With respect to the other Republican candidates, they self-destructed during the Primaries. Their undoing was, clearly, there own fault. People are attracted to Trump because he was saying things that everyone wanted to say and hear. Now, he is tripping over his own tongue. Perhaps this recent change in his campaign leadership will instill some changes; I cannot predict that.

However, for me, it is MOST important, it is MOST critical that Hillary Clinton, that pathological liar, not step foot (again) in the White House. As noted, you caught her in numerous fabrications. Trey Gowdy has “tuned her up” before Congress. And, I must say, I have tremendous respect for Gowdy. Jason Chaffetz as also been instrumental in interrogation sessions, but to what ends? Any of us would be charged, convicted and sequestered for many years in jail. And, yet, the Clinton farce continues. Lynch is no Lynch. Gruber, from MIT, was schooled by Gowdy. Comey is useless.

So what do we do?

Paul Klenk

8/18/16, 7:43 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

What do we do when we don't want to vote for either candidate? Well, consider the following:

According to 50 senior REPUBLICAN national security officials Donald Trump “would be the most reckless president in American history”. They have signed a letter that claims he would put the country’s national security at risk.

“From a foreign policy perspective, Donald Trump is not qualified to be president and commander-in-chief,” says the letter. “Indeed, we are convinced he would be a dangerous president.”

Among the many high-profile signatories are Michael Hayden, former director of CIA and National Security Agency, John Negroponte, who was the first director of national intelligence, Robert Zoellick, former deputy secretary of state and Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, who are former secretaries of homeland security.

Tell the truth - Trump at the controls of nuclear weapons makes you a bit uneasy, right?

The choice between the devils is absolutely clear.

As if it wasn't already clear the moment he mocked a handicapped man.

8/18/16, 1:21 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

Some of the words used to describe Trump (besides liar) are "unhinged", "egomaniac" "hot-headed" "thin-skinned" and "loose cannon". not exactly things you want in a president.

“One wonders if Republican leaders have begun to realize that they may have hitched their fate and the fate of their party to a man with a disordered personality,” Robert Kagan of the Brookings Institution, a former Reagan administration official, wrote Aug. 1 in The Washington Post.

But it seems there could be a reason for some of these. In today's Daily Sun Robert Gillette wrote about what Trump's problem might be - Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

“Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultraconfidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism….”

This is something that many psychiatrists agree with. Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer — a trained psychiatrist — wrote on Aug. 4 that Trump’s behavior is “beyond narcissism. I used to think Trump was an 11-year-old, an undeveloped schoolyard bully. I was off by about 10 years. His needs are more primitive, an infantile hunger for approval and praise, a craving that can never be satisfied.”

A pampered since birth, spoiled-rotten, hot-headed, thin skinned egomaniac bully. That is who you would vote for?

8/18/16, 5:47 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home