OPTIMISM ABOUNDS

People ask me how, given the degraded state of political discourse, I can be so confident that Trump isn't going to win. If you consider Monday night at the GOP Convention you'll have your answer. Ignore the plagiarism thing for a moment and consider that the GOP, like any party, is made up of politicians. They may be ignorant and wrong in a million ways in terms of their beliefs and positions and ideology, but nobody gets to where people like Senators, Governors, and Washington insiders without having good instincts. If these people know nothing else, they know self-preservation. And with just a handful of exceptions, they know not to get on an obviously sinking ship.

When TV viewers flip to your convention and the stands look like the third period at a minor league hockey game, it's not a good sign.

When the number of Senators willing to show their faces at their own party's convention can be counted on one hand, it's not a good sign.

When your first night's speakers lineup is a random group of nobodies there to rehash internet comment sections – Benghazi! Obama's a Muslim! Cop Lives Matter! – because no one more substantial in the party wants to appear, it's not a good sign.

When the news media spend the night talking about what went wrong with your campaign on July 18, it's not a good sign.

When the best celebrity you can get to show up is Scott Baio, it's not a good sign.

And more than anything, when your party that lost two straight presidential elections because it couldn't get anyone other than older white people to vote for the candidates decides to devote the opening night to doubling down on the message "Brown people are scary and dangerous" (as one Romney associate summarized the evening), it's not a good sign.

That's why I'm certain he's going down in flames. We already knew going into 2016 that the GOP is up against the wall in presidential elections because they struggle so much to appeal to African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, younger people, and people in urban areas. And rather than even pretending like they care to do something about that, Trump decided to hit people who are already voting for him – authority worshiping racists, basically – with a supersized dose of the message they've been getting all along: vote for me and I will get rid of all the Bad people. The people who don't belong here. The people who aren't Us.

You know how little patience I have for conspiracy theories, but last night was so bad that I found myself doing a double take on the theory that this is all a scheme Trump is executing to destroy the GOP because he's secretly a liberal. It's not true, but I can't blame people who are tempted by it. It's not entirely implausible anymore, not after what this convention is turning into.

I doubt many Republicans read this. If so, I feel sorry for you. This must really hurt to watch.

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86 Responses to “OPTIMISM ABOUNDS”

  1. Andrew Laurence Says:

    This is without a doubt the greatest blog post I've ever read, and I'm pretty old. Dear God (if any), I hope you're right!

  2. Totoro Says:

    Demo-Derby meets Klan rally. What's not to like??? When you add "I was born a poor black child…", well, you can't make this stuff up.

  3. Emerson Dameron Says:

    What Pat Buchanan did to George HW Bush in 1992, Trump is currently doing to himself.

    Rubio vs. Clinton would have been a slam dunk for the GOP.

    http://www.vox.com/2016/7/19/12169274/marco-rubio-winner-alternate-reality

    Hell, Cruz might have had a good shot.

    I'm fascinated to see their strategy for trying to recover from this. Krauthammer?

  4. schmitt trigger Says:

    I also hope that you are right.

    Unfortunately the hatred against anything and everything which permeates different races and social strata.

    I know a fair amount of Mexican Americans which are voting for Trump.

  5. jon Says:

    I see the angry rubes getting angrier, the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments getting more and more vigorous, and the impending Massive Fail of the Trump campaign becoming more and more obvious. There's a ton of second guessing going on by lots of liberals that is suddenly turning into a giddy acceptance that Trump really is a buffoon who really has all the faults of the previous GOP candidates and is doing a great job of glomming on to some new detrimental political positions.

    It's an amazing shitshow dumpster fire clown-car crash into a train. And I'm loving it.

  6. NickT Says:

    I imagine the Republicans can find a certain amount of solace in the lack of enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side of the aisle. No doubt one of her cheerleaders will be along to explain the Principle Of Wishing Upon A Star and how this will make everything doubleplus good, but based on her actual record thus far, I see no reason to expect anything but ineffectual domestic bumbling from Comrade Clinton along with a side order of dangerous stupidity on foreign policy.

    And yes, I've heard the excuses and the proclamations of great (but never specified) achievements and the screams of "It's all Republican lies" etc etc etc. To which my reply is that blind loyalty is not a quality to be respected, nor one worthy of a citizen.

  7. robert e Says:

    I don't think he's a crypto-liberal, I think he's a narcissist and con man who hates losing but is terrified of winning because then he'd be forced to live in the real world for four years–a largely BS-free world of hard work, hard decisions, the weight of the world on his shoulders, and necessary compromises. He only got into the primaries to pump up his brand and sell more stuff, never dreaming he'd be nominated. But he's narcissistic enough to want to see how far he can take it & sociopathic enough to set the GOP on fire to make sure he doesn't get the job or the blame.

  8. c u n d gulag Says:

    Ther's a nasty norovirus at the GOP covention, so it may literally become shitshow!

    What I wouldn't do to see, during his big speech, tRUMP urp on his Chinese-made tie, and shit his pants!!!
    That would summarize the entire state of Modern Conservatism!

  9. Ten Bears Says:

    Sums it up quite nicely, though I remain unconvinced he's not merrily trolling us all while doing everything he can to get Clinton elected.

  10. Lless Says:

    It really does look like something cobbled together by Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder doesn't it?

  11. J. Dryden Says:

    The clown car hits the ramp, but off-center–it tilts, almost recovers, doesn't, and slams onto its side, skidding to a slamming stop into the churro cart, splashing everyone in the vicinity with scalding oil and cinnamon sugar. Amid the screams, the passenger door–now on the top of the car–is forced open, and the first of only some few survivors emerges, croaking "Benghazi" and trying to get his boutonniere to squirt seltzer–alas, what comes out is clearly his own blood.

    From within the car comes, as from a great depth, the murmur of "Party of Ronald Reagan" and a dying gasp of "All Lives Matter."

    Those of the crowd not now en route to the burn unit try to work up a chant of "USA-USA-USA" but the attempt dies, and all one hears is muted sobs and unmuted flatulence–the Cleveland cuisine is unkind to the GI tracts of the untested.

    Before the cameras fade to merciful black, we catch a glimpse of Wolf Blitzer and Don Lemon running past, their eyes locked onto their phones, in pursuit of an elusive Squirtle.

    Welcome to your nightmare, America. And no, you cannot awaken.

  12. Craig Says:

    Trump's campaign isn't based upon appealling to the mainstream.

    It's based on getting out the Klan base, and stopping anyone else from voting via voter suppression and violence. I expect to see a gaggle of open-carry Trumpeters standing outside every polling booth, aggressively interrogating any brown person who dares to vote.

    It probably won't succeed, but the demolition of the VRA made it possible.

    Even if he loses, he isn't going to gracefully concede. He'll be screaming about stolen elections and the second-amendment solution. It's gonna be bloody.

  13. mago Says:

    Jesus. Diagnostic Statistic Manual number whatever would have a field day with this shit, inventing behavioral categories never imagined before. Just kidding. Hey! What kind of personality would run for president anyway, let alone city council?

    We're screwed.

  14. Nick Says:

    Does J Dryden consult on the CAMPAIGN OF THE DAMNED Facebook posts?

  15. Alex SL Says:

    It is my understanding that the stats are against him winning, although obviously extreme events could happen. What worries me a bit about your country, and about situations like these in general and globally, is that after all that has happened he is still projected to get more than 40% of the votes, including many evangelical voters who should theoretically have to see him as anathema anyway.

    That makes it look as if the electorate is really so polarised and tribalist that one party could nominate the the left sock of Attila the Hun, and it'd still get 40% of the vote because at least it isn't the other candidate. That kind of thinking makes me somewhat uneasy. Sure, in a two party system options are rather limited, but aren't there some limits?

  16. HoosierPoli Says:

    I worry what the unexpectedly strong showing of affable nobody Gary Johnson means for the electoral calculus. If the 20 percent of undecided voters swing for Clinton, then it's a cakewalk. If they go Johnson or Stein (puke), then suddenly it's a neck-and-neck race. Shit could go downhill in a big old hurry.

  17. wetcasements Says:

    It's the Electoral College math, stupids.

    Trump needs to flip FL, OH, and PA. Not one of them, all of them.

    Not gonna happen.

  18. SiubhanDuinne Says:

    You are probably correct, Ed, and for the reasons you lay out. Nevertheless, I plan to spend the next 3-1/2 months assuming that Trump could win, and will devote a good chunk of time and energy to working on voter registration and GOTV for Hillary. The worst thing we can do is get complacent about this election.

  19. Talisker Says:

    Yeah, the smart money is on Trump losing, and losing big. But the smart money has been wrong before. (See also: The Brexit vote.) So I won't relax until after Election Night is over.

    The convention is looking dismal, though. The FiveThirtyEight blog mentioned Bob Dole was the only living former Republican presidential nominee to attend, since McCain, Romney and both Bushes are sitting it out.

    That begs the question of where the unliving nominees are. Mummified Reagan's spokesghoul said he had other commitments. There are unconfirmed reports of Vampire Goldwater being present, but all anyone has found is a series of bloodless corpses. Zombie Gerald Ford is definitely lurching around, but he's only there for the free nachos.

  20. Katydid Says:

    Thanks, NickT, for repeating the rightwing talking points. Why, if Fox news doesn't like Hillary Clinton, then she must be a monster! Squawk!!! Squawk!!!

    A two-second Google turned this up:
    ◾Even though her major initiative, the Clinton healthcare plan, failed (due to Republican obstruction), you cannot deny that it laid ground for what we have today, the Affordable Healthcare Act, something Clinton supports and would continue.
    ◾She played a leading role in the development of State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides the much-needed state support for children whose parents cannot afford nor provide them with adequate healthcare coverage.
    ◾She was also instrumental in the creation of the Adoption and Safe Families Act and the Foster Care Independence Act.
    ◾Successfully fought to increase research funding for prostate cancer and asthma at the National Institute of Health (NIH).
    ◾She spearheaded investigations into mental illness plaguing veterans of the Gulf War; we now have a term for it – Gulf War Syndrome.
    ◾At the Department of Justice, she helped create the office on Violence Against Women.
    ◾She was instrumental in securing over $21 billion in funding for the World Trade Center redevelopment.
    ◾Took a leading role in the investigation of health consequences of first responders and drafted the first bill to compensate and offer the health services our first responders deserve (Clinton’s successor in the Senate, Kirsten Gillibrand, passed the bill).
    ◾Was instrumental in working out a bi-partisan compromise to address civil liberty abuses for the renewal of the U.S. Patriot Act.
    ◾ Proposed a revival of the New Deal-era Home Owners’ Loan Corporation to help homeowners refinance their mortgages in the wake of the 2008 financial disaster.
    ◾Was a major proponent of sensible diplomacy which brought about a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, and brokered human rights with Burma.
    ◾Oversaw free trade agreements with our allies such as Panama, Colombia, and South Korea.
    ◾Was the most traveled Secretary of State to date.
    ◾The Clinton Foundation, founded by her and her husband, has improved the living conditions for nearly 400 million people in over 180 countries through its Initiative program.

    http://addictinginfo.org/2015/04/13/heres-a-list-of-hillary-clintons-accomplishments-so-quit-saying-she-doesnt-have-any/

  21. Katydid Says:

    Another source, partial list, but zomg, this totes doesn't count because she WEARS PANTSUITS:

    * Chair of the American Bar Association's Commission on Women in the Profession
    •twice named by the National Law Journal as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America
    •created Arkansas's Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youth
    •led a task force that reformed Arkansas's education system
    •Board of directors of Wal-Mart and several other corporations
    •Instrumental in passage of the State Children's Health Insurance Program
    •Promoted nationwide immunization against childhood illnesses
    •Successfully sought to increase research funding for prostate cancer and childhood asthma at the National Institutes of Health
    •Worked to investigate reports of an illness that affected veterans of the Gulf War (now recognized as Gulf War Syndrome)
    •Helped create the Office on Violence Against Women at the Department of Justice
    •Initiated and shepherded the Adoption and Safe Families Act
    •First FLOTUS in US History to hold a postgraduate degree
    •Traveled to 79 countries during time as FLOTUS
    •Helped create Vital Voices, an international initiative to promote the participation of women in the political processes of their countries.
    •Served on five Senate committees:
    -Committee on Budget (2001–2002)
    -Committee on Armed Services (2003–2009)
    -Committee on Environment and Public Works (2001–2009)
    -Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (2001–2009)
    -Special Committee on Aging.
    •Member of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
    •Instrumental in securing $21 billion in funding for the World Trade Center site's redevelopment
    •Leading role in investigating the health issues faced by 9/11 first responders.
    •In the aftermath of September 11th, she worked closely with her senior Senate counterpart from New York, Sen. Charles Schumer, on securing $21.4 billion in funding for the World Trade Center redevelopment.
    • Middle East ceasefire. In November 2012, Secretary of State Clinton brokered a ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas.
    •Introduced the Family Entertainment Protection Act, intended to protect children from inappropriate content found in video games.
    •First ex-FLOTUS in US History to be elected to the United States Senate (and re-elected)
    •Two-term New York Senator
    -(senate stats here: https://www.govtrack.us/…)
    -(voting record here: http://votesmart.org/…)
    •Former US Secretary of State
    •Author

  22. Wim Says:

    Pretty much every Trump supporter I've met in person* says the exact same thing: "He's not Hillary." That will probably be their enduring campaign slogan.

    *Five, to date

  23. Greg Says:

    And meanwhile, the NYT has a piece on how Trump got to Pence that contains an image of how he envisions the job. The Vice President is proposed as "the most powerful Vice President in history" in charge of domestic and foreign policy. So what's Trump responsible for? "Making America Great Again."

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/20/magazine/how-donald-trump-picked-his-running-mate.html?&hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=b-lede-package-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

  24. X-RWU Says:

    Ed: I'm not one for conspiracy theories or that crowd* either, but my father has been saying this for months (and I'm starting to believe it too), that Hillary and the Democrats set Trump up to the task to destroy the Republicans and the GOP. It's actually not that far-fetched when you consider Trump's history before this, like his friendship with the Clinton family. And now I can't help but wonder if Trump is saying and doing all this stuff (bashing different groups of people, letting family members plagiarize speeches, etc.) as a desperate attempt to flush himself out without actually quitting. Because no one likes a quitter, after all.

    *Now whenever I think of the conspiracy theory crowd, I think of hacks like Alex Jones using fear, paranoia and hate to squeeze money out of those types of people. Especially with his favorite scapegoats: The United Nations, the Jews, the Illuminati, the Jews, the Council of Foreign Relations, the Jews, Agenda 21, the Jews, the supposed lizard-people, and, oh yeah, the Jews. (Especially when they bundle together "the Jews" and "the Zionists" and "Israel" as if all 3 entities are interchangeable and one and the same, when they're not at all.)

  25. Mark Says:

    Please, one of you Hillary supporters, tell me why you support her. I am no fan of Trump, but Hillary Clinton is a chronic liar. I truly want to know why someone supports her.

  26. John Danley Says:

    The Gadsden flag just got covered in churros.

  27. Major Kong Says:

    Leaving aside the fact that Trump is also a chronic liar?

    She at least has the benefit of being sane. She hasn't talked about how much she admires Vladimir Putin. She probably wouldn't start World War III trying to prove how big her dick is. She hasn't talked about re-creating the Berlin Wall across the southern US border. Her fiscal policies probably wouldn't destroy the US economy.

    As I tell my conservative co-workers: Trump will be the dictator you guys all think Obama is.

  28. Mark Says:

    Major Kong, missing from your response was one reason that you support her, all you do is cite talking points against Trump. That is quite telling.

  29. Andrew Laurence Says:

    @Mark: Please name two lies Hillary Clinton has ever uttered.

  30. J.D. Says:

    @Mark

    I have two reasons to support Hillary.

    For one, she's not a chronic liar. She's had a few instances where she's stretched the truth, for sure. If you want to call them lies, fine. But it's actually remarkably few for someone who has been in the political eye for 25 years. And she hasn't lied about anything consequential, unlike many other politicians.

    For two, she's probably the single most qualified presidential candidate, from either party, in at least the last 50 years. She has experience in the White House, in the Senate, and in the Cabinet. She's led campaigns for change with regard to both domestic and foreign issues. She has experience fighting terrorism successfully.

    The email issue is bad, for sure. But it's not that bad, and certainly doesn't hold a candle to any of the numerous falsehoods and abuses regarding Trump (the guy is literally being sued for fraud, right now). If you think the email issue is disqualifying, that's your prerogative. But even if you disagree with her policies, you have to admit that Hillary has every other qualification you could want in a President. There's nothing else you could put on her resume that would make her more qualified.

  31. Katydid Says:

    What Major Kong said, plus her 30 years of experience actually doing things to make lives better for families, children, women. She also has real Mark, tell us why you so frothing-at-the-mouth hate her, without resorting to the Fox News lies or mindless idiocies such as "she lies!".

  32. llama Says:

    In reply to Mark, Clinton is not a "chronic liar" statistically speaking. The number of her statements this campaign rated as "pants on fire" or "false" by Politifact pale in comparison to Trump. In fact, Clinton is basically truthful in what she says when she is fact-checked:

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2016/jun/29/fact-checking-2016-clinton-trump/

    Beyond statistics, people that know Clinton believe she is honest and trustworthy:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/28/hillary-clinton-honest-transparency-jill-abramson

  33. waldoh Says:

    The US election is a bizarre caricature and so are its candidates.
    That herr Drumpf is taken seriously politically by anyone presents a mockery of the democratic process, and the Clinton dynasty is only an iota less morally bankrupt.
    A pox on both their houses.

  34. Ohio Mom Says:

    Mark, somehow or other I don't imagine you were this wrought over GW and his pals' lies that got us into the Iraq War. Next to that, any truth stretching HRC may or may not have done pales into complete insignificance. I mean really, if you don't like being told untruths, that should have turned you off from the GOP for life.

    I like Hillary plenty for all sorts of reasons but probably the most personal is, as a mother of a kid on the autism spectrum, I love that she has outlined what she will do to address disability issues and that I've seen at least one adult with disability in an ad of hers. These are issues most candidates ignore. She didnt; Hillary is both extremely detailed oriented and able to see the bigger picture at the same time.

    And she has grow and developed as a political thinker. That is what I hope you are trying to do with the question you ask: to endure the cognitive dissonance that comes with sincerely wrestling with new ideas and hard facts that go against what you think you want to believe.

  35. Emerson Dameron Says:

    @wetcasements:

    This is the only relevant argument left about this. Pandering to people who grudgingly voted for Socialist Heretic Romney over then-rather-unpopular Obama does approximately zilch for Trump. It only hurts him in the three or four states he desperately needs to flip. And he's doubling down on Red Meat as though it's going out of production. He's not taking this seriously.

  36. John Danley Says:

    @Ohio Mom Says. Trump *vehemently* advocates for disability rights. Just ask Serge Kovaleski.

  37. Katydid Says:

    @Ohio Mom; Hillary Clinton also took care of the veterans and active-duty military that the Pubes say they love, but actually don't care about.

  38. mm Says:

    I'm worried that a lot of voters are going to vote Trump as a protest because he's not a politician.

    Didn't Brexit pass because so many people voted for it as a protest without realizing what damage it would do if implemented?

    Also, changing the subject slightly, go check out documentary "The Brainwashing of My Dad" available for rent on iTunes this week for 99c. Dad was a Kennedy Democrat who started listening to Limbaugh and watching Fox News and turned into the relative we all know. His daughter tried to find out why.

    These are the Trump voters.

  39. mary Says:

    Please inform me when you post new comments. Your comments are spot on!

  40. Hwooda Says:

    "When the best celebrity you can get to show up is Scott Baio, it's not a good sign." Your best line ever. I mean, EVER!

  41. Mark Says:

    @ Andrew Laurence –
    1. I did not have classified government documents on my home server.
    2. I turned over to the FBI all work related documents off of my home server.

  42. Katydid Says:

    1. True, she did not.
    2. Yes, she did, unlike BushCo who "disappeared" thousands of emails, and VP-hopeful Sarah Palin who used her Yahoo account to conduct state business with her husband CC'd on all the emails.

  43. Mark Says:

    @JD – When she said that she came under sniper fire in Bosnia, that is a blatant lie, not stretching the truth.

    @Ohio Mom – No one despised GWB more than me. He lied and got us involved in a protracted war that seems endless. He never saw a spending bill that he did not like, and spent this nation into debt that we may never recover from. Please do not make assumptions that because I am not a Hillary supporter that I support all things GOP.

  44. Mark Says:

    @Katydid – Did you and I watch the same press conference that FBI director Comey gave? You are delusional if you think that all was okay with her e-mail scandal. Director Comey came out and said "she did it". Is that not true?

  45. Andrew Laurence Says:

    @Mark: You're right about the Bosnia thing. That was a blatant lie. However, it is utterly inconsequential, like me bragging about the huge fish I caught. And that's why I asked for two lies.

    So you're basically left with a choice between someone who told one tiny, inconsequential lie and someone who lies every time he opens his mouth, and you're going for that guy? I sure hope you don't live in a swing state.

  46. Tim H. Says:

    Trump/Pence is starting to resemble Harding/Coolige, not a good sign.

  47. Skipper Says:

    Reports today are saying that Hillary has narrowed her VP choices down to Tim Kaine and Tom Vilsack. That's pretty much indicating she wants millennials and progressives to vote for someone else — or just stay home.

    OTOH, she can't risk having someone in the Number Two spot who is more appealing than she is, lest they steal the spotlight from her. Can't have the VP making the evening news while Hillary is off overthrowing democracies.

    Also, she can't have someone who is going to complain about being locked in a closet — trotted out only for funerals — while Bill becomes co-president.

    Interesting times.

  48. Mark Says:

    @ Andrew Laurence – You telling a couple of buddies at the local watering hole a lie that you caught a big fish is inconsequential. A national political figure lying to the public by telling the nation that she was shot at should sully her reputation forever. It was not not a tiny, inconsequential lie, it was a blatant attempt to enrich her reputation.

  49. Andrew Laurence Says:

    @Mark: Agree to disagree. Who cares whether she was or wasn't shot at? I'm concerned about politicians who lie us into wars, not politicians who lie about sniper fire or getting their dicks sucked.

  50. Katydid Says:

    @Mark, let's see what the expert say: .."since Comey’s announcement on Tuesday the public has learned that in fact only 2 of the 55,000 email were marked as classified, and better yet, the two that were deemed classified were actually marked that way by accident. After many months of making headlines, countless hours the FBI spent investigating, and millions of taxpayer dollars later, no classified emails were actually sent. Similarly to Benghazi, the Clinton email “scandal” has been proven to be something blown out of proportion by Republicans and right-wing media outlets who cater to an anti-Democrat audience."

    http://bipartisanreport.com/2016/07/07/state-department-declares-fbi-director-was-wrong-about-clintons-emails-they-were-not-marked/

    So, you got any facts to back up your fantasies? Because all you've posted so far are rightwing talking points about what they imagine reality to be.

  51. Katydid Says:

    From the same source as previous: "Yet, we never hear Republicans bringing up the 22 million emails that were deleted after the public discovered that eight U.S. Attorneys were fired by the Bush Administration in 2007. Years later it was discovered the emails that “could not be produced,” according to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, were actually sent on a private domain server run by the Republican National Committee."

  52. Katydid Says:

    Further destroying Mark's masturbatory fantasies about Clinton's emails: "As Comey later testified in response to questioning from Congressman Cartwright, since classified items require specific headings indicating their status, it was reasonable for Secretary Clinton to infer that items without such headings – including the three items he mentioned and every other email among the 30,000-plus emails reviewed — were not classified. " The entire list is very revealing. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/07/17/1548591/-Escape-from-the-Echo-Chamber-Rebut-the-Lies-about-Clinton-Emails

  53. Art Says:

    "@JD – When she said that she came under sniper fire in Bosnia, that is a blatant lie, not stretching the truth."

    Please, anyone who knows how VIP transport is done knows that the VIP is usually told before landing to walk quickly to the vehicle designated to limit their exposure to possible sniper fire or other attacks. This routine warning is, in the context of a civilian going into a potential war-zone, is taken as much more ominous than it is intended.

    It is also entirely possible that a handler, possibly seeking to dramatize the need for swift compliance by the VIP and her entourage, VIPs have been known to stage a photo-op in the worse possible locations, had said that they would be under fire.

    VIPs are a pain in the ass to deal with. You can't force them to do squat but, even if they do something stupid, if they get hurt your career is over. It is entirely natural that you would want to put the fear of God into them. Even if that means that you exaggerate the danger just a bit.

    Odds are that someone told Clinton that she was, or potentially was, under fire and that she believed she might be. It might have been true. Sniper routinely hit targets at over a mile away. Can anyone really guarantee that there wasn't shooter within a mile? Pretty routine for even trained troops to not know when they are being shot at until after several shots, or if someone gets hit.

    This isn't some case of 'stolen valor' by someone claiming to be a SEAL. She visited a war zone as a necessary part of her job. Lesser people have steered clear to avoided any risk while others have put troops at risk to grandstand. Clinton did neither of those. She bravely faced danger, have you looked at the radical flight paths taken to avoid fire, we regularly lose aircraft to equipment failure and pilot error, and did her job.

    If she says she was under fire I figure she had reason to believe that. the entire area was a war zone. She doesn't position herself as a 'warrior queen' so I give her a pass.

  54. mothra Says:

    Mark, it sure does seem like you don't want to vote for Hillary. So why are you even here asking these questions and wasting our time?

  55. ScrewyCanuck Says:

    Here's a link back to the first fifty comments on this post.

  56. Katydid Says:

    @mothra; I noticed that, and that Mark also doesn't volunteer who he does want to vote for, which I find telling.

  57. Robert Says:

    My older son is voting for the first time this year. It occurs to me that HRC has been a target of disproportionate animosity from certain quarters longer than he's been alive. She'll probably be the first President with pre-election experience of how hated she'll be in office.

    I read "It Can't Happen Here" for the first time earlier this year. It hasn't made watching this unfold any easier.

  58. Scout Says:

    Anyone who uses the excuse that they can't vote for Hillary because "she's a liar" is a liar. They don't really care about lying. Or they'd never vote for Trumpfth.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2016/03/22/all-of-donald-trumps-four-pinocchio-ratings-in-one-place/

  59. Mike Says:

    Mark,
    I'm not actually a big fan of Hillary. I expect at least a year or two of attempting to compromise with Republicans, followed by her championing at least one major Republican program in the name of the Third Way.

    But as for the chronic liar thing, that is a lie in itself. Statistically*, it appears that she is unusually honest for a politician. And considering the smear campaign that's been going on against her for decades, and the amazing number of investigations of her, the fact that the email thing is the worst that there is any evidence for (not "conclusive evidence," ANY evidence at all) suggests that those calling for investigations had no valid reason to do so.

    What makes that lie work, at this point, is the sense that she's pretty much always under investigation, and must just be really, really sneaky to get away with it all the time. But a more logical explanation for why she always gets away with "it" is that "it" is fictional. Or at least any connection between "it" and her is fictional.

    Not to be mentioning the alternative, but a certain candidate who claims not to be a politician would be statistically extremely dishonest (contested statements found true 3% of the time) for a politician, if he were a politician. Me, I don't see him as lying so much as portraying a fictional character running for a fictional office in a fictional country. Any resemblance to any actual country is strictly coincidental. And doesn't happen often enough to worry about anyway.

    * The statistics are based on contested statements, not all statements. The number of times people accuse her of lying that the Atlantic Ocean may contain water skews the statistics in her favor. The fact that the other character's numbers are so bad may reflect people only calling him out on his most outrageous statements and letting a lot of questionable stuff slide.

  60. Delbort Says:

    Mark's objections have always been about ethics in gaming journalism.

  61. Mark Says:

    This entire conversation, from my end, started when I asked Hillary supporters to explain why they support her. So far the only definitive answer I have seen is someone said they supported her because of her stance on helping autistic children, but who doesn't? So far it has been "she didn't lie and she's a great person" but no real answers a for the support.

  62. Skepticalist Says:

    Trump: Embarrassing. At best: Silly.

    Hillary: Not afraid of Trump and an adult.

  63. Mark Says:

    @Skepticalist – Again, crickets. Me thinks that most of you are mesmerized by ideology that you cannot think for yourselves. No real answers. Sad.

  64. Jude Says:

    Mark: Tell me why you want to vote for Hillary.

    Commenters: *supply dozens of affirmative reasons*

    Mark: No, really. Tell me why you want to vote for Hillary.

  65. robert e Says:

    @Mark, Even if "she didn't lie and she's a great person" is all you gleaned from the litany of Clinton's qualifications and accomplishments from the previous page of comments (which is hard to believe), it's already enough to make her the best candidate running. Sad but true.

  66. Robert Says:

    No matter what we say, Mark has that goalpost on wheels.

    Here's my best effort – based entirely on her record as Senator and Secretary of State, I believe that she would be the most effective President of all the current candidates.

  67. democommie Says:

    Late to the conversation, but is Mark filling in for Cruddstain?

  68. Khaled Says:

    Hillary Clinton is not Trump. Good enough for me.

    Her policy positions involve actual math instead of bogus numbers (Sanders) or just bogus statements (Trump). She realizes that we are in the 21st century and supports policies that reflect reality (same-sex marriage, etc.). She is not a snake-oil peddler (Rubio, Walker, Paul Ryan, etc.) that rely on bad economic policies that shovel money to the rich while screwing the poor and middle-class. She is not a theocrat that seems to think God put her on the earth to be president (Cruz). She supports Planned Parenthood (unlike Kasich and the rest of the clown car).

    I would have liked to see what other Democrats had to say about their vision of running the country, but I'll vote for Clinton.

    @Mark Also "you cannot think for yourselves" after spewing right-wing talking points and whining about "spending" when talking about Bush. Are you a libertarian? If you are, you are a fraud like almost every other libertarian, and look at Ed's post on that and Ayn Rand.

  69. Peggy Says:

    Mark, I support her because I agree with her policies. Does that help?

  70. Katydid Says:

    I find it quite telling that Mark can't say who he's voting or and why. I believe he's just a troll. Maybe he's not even old enough to vote.

    @Khaled; Sanders wasn't interested in Planned Parenthood either. He deemed it not worthy of discussion. As a veteran, a woman, and a mother of an adult woman, that disregard bothered me.

  71. Nate Says:

    @Delbort I thought I was the only nerd here who would use a line like that! *high five*

  72. Khaled Says:

    @Katydid:

    Kasich also has a pretty awful record when it comes to charter schools as well. Lots of money from those groups has gone to supporting him, and the schools are a clusterfuck of scams heaped upon the unsuspecting poor and middle class of Ohio.

    Dayton Daily News did a study and found that charter schools did no better in low-income areas than public schools. Turns out growing up in poverty matters a whole lot more than if your teacher is a member of a union or not. The schools themselves are full of liars and thieves. They get reimbursed from the state based on enrollment. The state did an audit and found tons of overstating of attendance numbers by the schools. My personal favorite was a school in Youngstown which claimed a certain number of students (it wasn't a whole ton, less than 200 iirc) but not a single student was at the school when the state auditor showed up. Not a single student. So the owners of the charter school were literally getting paid to do nothing. There was no mechanism in place to double-check enrollment numbers or names against expected enrollments. Another school in NE Ohio closed up midway through the year. The parents had to pay to send their kids to a different school because their vouchers had already been used to pay those scam artists, and no refunds were available. No system set up in case a school closed, you see, and the owners didn't even break a single law.

    The issue with "competition" when it comes to education is that while it works in the University system, it does so because of a variety of reasons. You have a ton of ways of evaluating the product the school is selling (college rankings, job placement, cost, etc.) but there is almost no way of determining that on an elementary school level other than test scores, and poverty rate tends to dominate those rankings. Colleges and universities also are not in the business of educating everyone, they are in the business of educating those a) who pay and b) who want to show up. A high school has the obligation to provide and education to the members of the community, even those who would rather throw rocks and those who have rocks in their heads. And the other part is that while colleges have substitute goods (trade schools, community colleges, other colleges, just getting a damn job, etc.) there is no substitute good for early education. If your schools is shitty, you can't go back in time and learn it all over again, you are just out of luck.

    Anyway, rant over. Having lived in Ohio, the "Kasich is a moderate" crap annoys me, because he is not a "moderate". He was the only sane member of the clown car, but that's a pretty low bar to cover.

  73. RosiesDad Says:

    I don't feel sorry for them. Fuck 'em, they brought this upon themselves.

  74. Robert Says:

    I just read about Duane Flowers of the Licking County Board of Supervisors. He was in a meeting, complaining how Melania Trump's speech was being criticized when Clinton 'should be hanging from a tree'.

    He explained later that just thinking about her makes his brains want to pop out of his ears. He just can't believe that she gets to run for President!

    He's not alone, apparently; just a bit more explicit than some others in his cohort. What could it be about her that inspires such fulminating rancor?

  75. Khaled Says:

    Sorry for the double post here, but I forgot the most obvious point about charter schools. The way you can tell it's a scam is because the wealthy and those that advocate them don't actually send their kids to them.

  76. Khaled Says:

    @Robert: Is that Licking County, Ohio? I used to drive through there on the way from Dayton to PA all the time. It's the kind of place people are from, not where people go.

  77. Major Kong Says:

    Mark's worried about "spending"? What does he think "rebuilding the military" is going to be?

    That shit costs money. REAL money.

    The GOP wants a big tax for the upper class along with a big increase in military spending.

    Despite what you believe, cutting the relatively small amount of money we spend on food stamps is NOT going to make up the difference. It will be a drop in the bucket.

  78. Andrew Laurence Says:

    There was no sense bringing up Planned Parenthood in the Democratic debates because both candidates were pro-choice. A debate is for talking about where the candidates differ, and why.

  79. Andrew Laurence Says:

    @Khaled: If I were dictator, people who commit fraud against the public purse like the charter school you describe would go to prison for a long, long time. Same for those who prey financially on the elderly and infirm. In my mind, those crimes are in the same ballpark of seriousness as arson and rape. A society that tolerates them is a corrupt society.

  80. Andrew Laurence Says:

    @Khaled: If Licking County lived up to its name, I'd move there in a heartbeat. :-)

  81. Tim Says:

    I'm old enough to remember Republicans that I might feel sorry for, but all of them were run out of the GOP on a rail over 30 years ago.

    As to your main point: from your blog to Dog's ear.

  82. Delbort Says:

    @Andrew Laurence
    Exactly, in a sane country we wouldn't even bring up Planned Parenthood, because it wouldn't be seen as the government's duty to backhandedly criminalize abortion. It's duties would be folded in with Medicaid and that would be that.

    But that's for a sane country.

  83. Andrew Laurence Says:

    Yep. I grew up in a sane country, and I didn't move, but I don't live in one now.

  84. Katydid Says:

    @Khaled; agree with your words 100%, but I was talking about Sanders, not Kasich. Just to be clear. :-)

    @Robert; Hillary Clinton is a smart, accomplished woman, and that terrifies conservative men (and some conservative women). Conservative men like their women like they like their minorities; servile and helpless against them.

    @Andrew Laurence; as Delbort said, the rightwing nutjobs have been declaring all-out-war on health care (97% of what Planned Parenthood does is nothing to do with abortion, and a shocking majority of PPs don't even offer abortion as a service) for women *and* men (men are welcome at PP for screenings, physicals, and other basic health care). PP offers a sliding fee scale so even the poorest people can get health care there. To quote Joe Biden, "This is a big fucking deal" and the fact that Sanders couldn't be bothered with something that affects more than half the country (women plus the men who use PP) matters. It matters a lot.

  85. anotherbozo Says:

    After reading years of posts here that are so persuasively pessimistic it's all I can do to resist slitting my wrists, this positive post has real weight. Thanks, Ed!

    I was just despairing yesterday talking to my brother-in-law. Out in the hinterlands they've been indoctrinated so thoroughly in Hillary hatred that they're beyond help.

  86. skwerlhugger Says:

    One reasonably spectacular Islamic terrorist attack in mid-October and Trump is President. Basically, 5-10 competent people with one or two clever ones.