Monday, October 10, 2016

Trump Punches and Paces, Clinton Stands Firm, Policy Takes Backseat

If there was any indication this would be one of the more cynical and disturbingly nasty debates in America’s history, it started hours before the Town Hall presidential debate when Donald Trump paraded four of former President Bill Clinton’s accusers in front of a flashy news conference. This after a 72 hours utterly dominated by released tapes from just a decade ago that exposed Trump’s open misogyny and sexual hostility toward women. 

Yes, Trump was going to do whatever it took to will that exposure away. He declared some five times that it was just ‘locker room talk’ during the debate itself. He even managed to bring those Bill Clinton accusers into the debate hall to further create a hostile environment and provide more deflection and chaos, smoke and fire, as a backdrop for what should have been the time for the People to have their moment to be heard by the two major party candidates.
+Wonderful World

The first question directly addressed that elephant in the room, how the tenor and tone of the presidential campaign was affecting today’s youth. Hillary answered the question. Donald did not. The moderators called him out on outright dodging answering the question and followed up with a direct question regarding the leaked tapes. He juxtaposed this with violent terrorist imagery, saying there was no comparison, “It’s just words.” 

From there, Hillary laid out a very eloquent and thoughtful analysis of how Trump wasn’t fit to be President of the United States, from his words, actions, and his behavior throughout his adult life but more specifically by his words throughout his campaign against women, minorities, POWs, and people with disabilities. 

Trump punched back fairly consistently and incessantly throughout the debate, not allowing for much, if any, of a policy discussion. He accused Hillary of much, which fact-checkers have summarily refuted. The one point of attack he was accurate about was the deleting of some 30,000 emails.
+Wonderful World

At one point, and quite possibly the most disturbing response he gave throughout the 90 minutes, was his threat to use the government to prosecute her and send her to prison if he were to become President. This obviously sells well in the rabid Republican and Trump base. However, any student of American and world history would know that in America we don’t throw in jail our political enemies. That’s something they do in Russia, China, Iran.

This willingness of Trump to abuse power should concern every American.

Hillary stood toe-to-toe with Trump throughout every attack. She actually bothered to listen to each voter’s question. She mostly used the question in her answer, including the voter’s name. She strived to stay out of the way when Trump was answering, or rambling, which he did from time to time. Trump, however, was pacing the floor, huffing and puffing, throughout the 90-minute debate. 

+Wonderful World
Hillary was the clear winner. She showed extreme capability to withstand a barrage of insults, attacks, many of which were outright lies, insults on her family, and denigrating to her life’s work. She was interrupted countless times by Trump.

It was truly a sad display of democracy and a sad display of decorum and debate. 

What really lost out last night was an honest and sober exchange of ideas, policies, principles, and ideals. Somewhere in the last few decades, some of the far right and the far left have truly lost their way. They enjoy reveling and supporting others that tear down their political enemies. To hell with the facts, to hell with progress, and to hell with actually having a discussion where we listen to one another. 

This is not the way a democracy works. 

+Wonderful World
Donald Trump deserves some credit. He has galvanized a great deal of energy and has garnered an extreme amount of attention on this election. However, it has come at a grave cost. Civility, decency, and reason are withering away. 

Trump’s diehard supporters will love his behavior last night. That’s the way they talk about politics and Hillary Clinton all the time. That’s not how anything actually ever gets accomplished in this country, though. 

I feel much sympathy for the children growing up and watching all of this unfold in front of them. Having a grown adult behave like the biggest, baddest bully on the grade-school playground is not something most reasonable adults applaud and support with votes and encouragement.

What are we teaching our children and grandchildren? 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Are There Any Compelling Reasons to Support Trump?

In a massive show of his character and focus in this presidential race, Donald Trump has paraded a few of President Clinton’s accusers in front of reporters and cameras. I gather those who hate Hillary will just embrace such behavior, using alleged victims as political props. 

Obviously, Donald Trump isn’t sorry about what he’s said and done. He’s too busy deflecting attention and pointing the finger at someone who’s not even running for president to bother with being sorry. 

And, of course I do feel compassion for these women who I’m certain must be deeply wounded and feel wronged. Bill Clinton isn’t running for President. Hillary Clinton is. Donald Trump is.
+Wonderful Wildlife

There’s plenty of compelling reasons to be for a candidate. Can you list any reason to be for Donald Trump? I can write for days my reasoning for supporting Hillary Clinton. 

I see people defending Donald all over social media, accusing Hillary Clinton of actions she’s never actually done and that there’s no evidence of her actually doing. 

There are mountains of evidence regarding Donald Trump’s corruption, bad behavior, and dangerous temperament. 
+Wonderful Wildlife

From money donated from his “charitable” foundation to political campaigns of attorneys general. That’s actually pay to play. There is no evidence of pay to play between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department. None. 

There are mountains of audio and video evidence of Trump’s bizarre mentality regarding women and minorities. Not from a decade ago, but since he’s been running for president.

+Wonderful Wildlife
He’s failed at business, multiple times. And, yes, he did turn his business around, but he lost a billion dollars in one year alone. He’s bankrupted businesses throughout his career. He’s not followed through on paying contracts at all or in full for work and services completed and delivered. That should be damning evidence of his business ethics to anyone who’s ever worked or ran a small business.

He created a fraud on students of his failed Trump University that used dishonest recruitment methods and false promises. He paid attorneys general through his charitable organization who then dropped the charges. 

What are the compelling reasons to support Donald Trump?

Let’s watch him face the voters tonight in the Presidential Town Hall. I’m curious to see how it unfolds. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Pence Wins, Kaine Ruffled, Facts Definite Loser

From a distance, I’ve got to give this debate to Governor Mike Pence. That’s going to be a bit painful for some to hear. Pence wisely didn’t take the bait on much of the Trump quotes and attacks. He took every opportunity and certainly every attack as a way to stick the knife into both Clinton and President Obama, which will certainly please conservatives of all stripes. That being said, Senator Tim Kaine really made as many accurate attacks against both Trump and Pence as he could, just in the least beneficial way

As far as demeanor, Pence was also much more calm and put together than Kaine, who seemed to be a bit flustered and frustrated by the format and by the at times outright lies and misinformation Pence was espousing.  

Kaine was obviously uncomfortable in a defensive position. Pence was obviously most  comfortable in a partisan stance attacking Clinton and President Obama with bad information and statements designed to stoke anger and outrage in the base and in blue collar America. 

+Wonderful World
Pence, rather eloquent in narrating nearly any partisan point. Kaine, not so much when interrupting, but on criminal justice and sensible gun reform was definitely on point. 

Kaine defended Hillary’s tenure at Secretary of State from Pence’s lies about Iraq and ISIS. The broken down talks on a status of forces agreement which resulted in a departure time table were led and negotiated by President George W Bush, not President Obama and Secretary Clinton.

Pence on the economy-1980s and 60s economy. Small businesses and family farmers. Coal. Repeal Obamacare. Red meat and bread & butter for blue collar America. Doesn’t seem to budge the needle on the groups Trump-Pence need to reach to win the election.

Kaine was much more specific with plans on both domestic and foreign proposals.

  • Invest in manufacturing
  • Invest in workforce
  • Invest in education, teachers, debt free college.
  • Increase income fairness. 
  • Focus on small business growth and tax reform where the rich who haven’t been paying their fair share will and tax relief for the middle class and small business. 

+Wonderful World

This is in direct contrast to the Trump plan, which he said would cost 3 million jobs, plunge us deeper into debt, and give him and his family million dollar tax breaks.

Squabble on Trump tax returns. 

Kaine laid out the terrorism strategy.  

  • Take out leaders on battlefield
  • Disrupt finance networks
  • Disrupt recruitment
  • Work with allies to surge intelligence

Pence had nothing but attacks on Clinton and President Obama with regard to foreign policy. Any quotes or criticisms of Trump, his statements, or policies, he would just exclaim “no” or “not true.”
+Wonderful World

In the long run, Kaine may win the debate just on fact-checking alone. Add to that the more substantive rollout of comprehensive policies, both foreign and domestic, and it would be a slam dunk. However, the demeanor of Pence won the night. He just kept Kaine on his heels, didn’t budge regardless of what was lobbed in his direction. 

Pence appeared more presidential. Unfortunately, the facts won’t line up with what he presented in the debate. And, what’s worse with regard to Kaine’s demeanor is that is obscured that painful reality. 

“Trump can’t start a twitter war with Miss Universe without shooting himself in the foot.” That might be true, but Kaine couldn’t make a point without obscuring the lack of substance in his opponent. 

VP Debate Issues: Social, Cultural, Tax & Spend

Tonight, I look for social issues, cultural competency, taxes, and spending to be highlighted, between these two VP picks and between their respective campaigns. 

Certainly, Governor Pence's own abysmal record in Indiana will be under the microscope. He passed one of the country’s first Religious Freedom Restoration acts, creating a cultural clash in the heartland that cost Hoosier jobs and convention business for Indianapolis due to opening the door for discrimination against the LGBT community.

Also, Senator Kaine’s evolving stances on abortion and marriage equality coupled with his Jesuit missionary work will provide an equally compelling point of comparison to that of Pence, who passed restrictions on abortion and who pushed for a gay marriage ban amendment to the Indiana State constitution.
+Wonderful World

Besides the intersection of cultural and social issues, look for Pence to buttress the flailing Trump campaign, who has spent the last week creating self-inflicted wounds over a war of tweets and words with the former Miss Universe, Alicia Machado. Also, look for Pence to defend Trump over his curiously leaked tax returns, exposing nearly a billion dollars worth of losses in one year, which could have allowed him to not pay any taxes in the 18 subsequent years.

For Kaine, a relative unknown on the national stage, his goals are to not make any big blunders, to highlight the social and cultural disparities between the campaigns, and to shine a spotlight on the policies Hillary has been unable to accomplish over the last month. 
+Wonderful World

Watch for Kaine to highlight Hillary’s tax and investment policies that juxtapose Trump’s lack of transparency by not releasing his tax returns, losing a billion in one year, and with Trump’s tax plan that gives giant tax breaks to billionaires.

Watch for Pence to be the stable, concerned voice of conservative principles that will highlight the Supreme Court, social values, and out of control tax and spending that would come with a Clinton presidency. 

With the high unfavorables of both leading names on both tickets, who knows what lens, what visibility, and what scrutiny this VP debate and these VP picks might be under this evening. Considering over 80 million tuned in last week for the first Clinton-Trump head to head debate, anything is possible in this race.