Friday, July 01, 2016

More Trump vs The GOP


The video above is Geoff Bennett of NY-1 interviewing Mitch McConnell about his party's presidential nominee. He asked the Republican Senate Majority Leader if Trump is qualified to be president and McConnell just could not say, "yes." Instead he hedged:
Trump clearly needs to change, in my opinion, to win the general election. What I’ve said to him both publicly and privately: 'You’re a great entertainer. You turn on audiences. You’re good before a crowd. You have a lot of Twitter followers. That worked fine for you in the primaries. But now that you are in the general, people are looking for a level of seriousness that is typically conveyed by having a prepared text and Teleprompter and staying on message.' So my hope is that he is beginning to pivot and become what I would call a more serious and credible candidate for the highest office in the land... He’s getting closer. Getting closer.
But is he? The NY Times headline yesterday was more bad news about his hypocrisy-- Trump Has Long Benefited From The Trade Practices He Noe Scorns. "Trump vowed on Tuesday that as president he would put an end to policies that send American jobs overseas," wrote Alan Rapport, "threatening to impose tariffs on Chinese imports and promising to punish companies that relocate their manufacturing to countries with cheaper labor. “It will be American hands that remake this country,” said Mr. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, standing before a hunk of aluminum at a recycling plant in western Pennsylvania. But such declarations are at odds with Mr. Trump’s long history as a businessman, in which he has been heavily-- and proudly-- reliant on foreign labor in the name of putting profits, rather than America, first. From cheap neckties to television sets, Mr. Trump has benefited from some of the trade practices he now scorns."

Basically all the expensive but low grade clothing Trump manufactures is made in China, Bangladesh, Mexico and Vietnam, where wages are extremely low. Virtually everything that's manufactured using the now tarnished Trump brand, is made abroad-- like furniture manufactured in Izmir, Turkey (instead of North Carolina) and crystal made in Slovenia, both for the Trump Home brand. He has a long history of hiring foreign workers, who he exploits, instead of American workers, who are generally protected by unions.

Former McCain chief of staff, Mark Salter penned a column for Real Clear Politics this week, Why This Republican Won't Vote for Trump, that laughs in the face of McConnell's predictions that Trump is moving in the right direction.
He’s an ignoramus whose knowledge of public issues is more superficial than an occasional newspaper reader’s. He casts his intellectual laziness as a choice, a deliberate avoidance of expert views that might contaminate his ill-informed opinions. He excused his failure to consult professionals before commenting on the Brexit vote by dismissing foreign policy advisers in general, including his own. “None of them are any good,” he said, as he likened running the world’s most powerful government and its foreign policy to opening a golf course.

He’s a charlatan, preposterously posing as a business genius while cheating investors, sub-contractors, and his own customers. He’s rich because his father left him a great deal of money. He couldn’t turn a profit with a casino, for crying out loud. The epitome of someone who is famous for being famous, his business model consists mostly these days of selling his surname to a group of (often foreign) investors, who slap it on some vulgar monstrosity that consumers naturally associate with a vulgar reality TV celebrity.

He possesses the emotional maturity of a 6-year-old. He can’t let go of any slight, real or imagined, from taunts about the length of his fingers to skepticism about his portfolio. So shaky is his psyche that he’s compelled to fits of self-sabotage to defend his self-regard, as was the case in his racist, politically devastating attacks on U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel. He views the powers of the presidency as weapons to punish people who’ve been mean to him-- reporters, rival candidates, critics. “They better be careful,” he warns.

He’s unhinged by criticism from women, most particularly female journalists. Who knows what that’s about, but whatever the cause of his misogyny, minor exchanges provoke it. It needn’t take an insult or criticism; sometimes just a lack of fawning deference will have him spewing abuse at the offending woman.

He’s a bigot or is pretending to be one in order to win votes from people who hold “others” to blame for the country’s problems and theirs-- other races, other religions, other classes. He asks nothing of his supporters’ patriotism. Just elect him and he’ll keep out the Mexicans and the Muslims, start trade wars with China and Japan, confiscate Middle Eastern oil and hey, presto, America’s great again. He doesn’t appeal to a single honorable quality or instinct in our society. He exploits fear and incites hatred. They are the emotions that impel him. He wants us to make our way in the world as he does: selfish, insecure, angry, scapegoating, small.

His election would endanger the security of the United States and our standing in the world. The widely respected geopolitical analysis firm, the Economist Intelligence Unit, declared his election a top 10 global threat. I believe President Obama has been the worst foreign policy president in my lifetime. But he’s Winston Churchill compared to Donald Trump.

Trump encourages the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and hints at encouraging their use. He welcomes relationships with the world’s worst tyrants, even homicidal madmen like North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. He seems to hold rivals in higher regard than allies. He professes admiration for Vladimir Putin, maybe our most determined and dangerous adversary. The current administration has proved half-hearted in its opposition to the ruthless Russian autocrat’s troublemaking. But Trump seems almost to take Putin’s side.

Last week in Scotland, Trump celebrated the Brexit vote as if it were his idea, even though weeks earlier he didn’t appear to know what the term referred to, and despite the fact that Scotland had voted overwhelmingly to remain in the E.U.  Even Putin, who believes the U.K. leaving the E.U. will weaken Europe’s ties with the U.S., showed more decorum in discussing the decision. When Vladimir Putin appears more of a statesman than the Republican Party’s presidential nominee, something has gone seriously wrong in American politics.

Trump doesn’t advocate a realist view of the world in which human rights and the global progress of American political values are a secondary concern. He repudiates those values and American world leadership. He calls for murdering the children of jihadists, stealing other nations’ resources, torturing prisoners, ending alliances based on shared values as much as mutual interest, fighting economic wars with former trading partners, making common cause with nativist movements in other countries, and letting the world descend into cataclysms of violence and oppression and terror.

As long as no one is making a sucker out of America-- and by America he means Donald Trump-- he’s doesn’t see why we would want to spend time and capital in helping make the world safer, freer, more just and prosperous.

Whatever Hillary Clinton’s faults, she’s not ignorant or hateful or a nut. She acts like an adult, and understands the responsibilities of an American president. That might not be a ringing endorsement. But in 2016, the year of Trump’s s campaign, it’s more than enough.
A Wall Street Journal editorial points out that "his trade agenda would hurt American workers and companies," coming to the defense of the globalization policies the conservative establishment-- from both Beltway political parties-- has always pushed. Commenting on his speech in Maine, The Journal pointed out that "Most of what his campaign billed as his signature economic message was the most detailed assault on trade by a presidential candidate since-- well, we can’t remember. Mr. Trump wants to make Republicans into the Tariff Party."
Most preposterous is Mr. Trump’s claim that trade protection is a declaration of “independence from elites” in Washington. Trade favoritism is the epitome of crony capitalism that benefits those with the best political connections. Mr. Trump’s tariffs would be the crony equivalent of President Obama ’s subsidies for Al Gore ’s green-energy investments. The only difference is who benefits.

Americans are frustrated by slow economic and wage growth, but the first obligation of political leaders is not to deceive them with false remedies. Mr. Trump’s tariff remedy would face furious foreign opposition, and it would probably end in tears if he imposed it.

As for the election campaign, Mr. Trump’s protectionism contradicts his promise of economic revival. He’ll have a better chance of winning the economic debate if he focuses on the taxes, regulations and monetary policy that are the real cause of our economic malaise.
And his reaction to the lack of enthusiasm for his candidacy from fellow Republicans is also telling. He told his audience in Maine Wednesday that the Republicans who ran against him in the primary and aren't getting behind him now-- particularly Ted Cruz (TX), Marco Rubio (FL), John Kasich (OH), Scott Walker (WI), Kindsey Graham (SC), Carly Fiorina (CA or wherever), Jeb! (FL) and George Pataki (NY)-- "broke their word, and in my opinion, they shouldn’t be allowed to run for office again... because what they did is disgraceful."

UPDATE: Former RNC Chair Prays For A Miracle In Cleveland To Save The GOP From Trump

Marc Racicot is a former governor of Montana and former chairman of the RNC, the job the Reince Priebus does today. He penned an OpEd for the Washington Post explaining why he can't vote for Trumpy the clown.
It is inescapable that every decision made by every leader reflects the character of the man or woman making the decision. Character is the lens through which a leader perceives the path to be followed. It conceives and shapes every thought and is inextricably interwoven into every word spoken, every policy envisioned and every action taken.

Persistent seriousness, solemn and honest commitment to the interests of others, exhaustive study and detailed proposals, sincerity, humility, empathy, dignity, fairness, patience, genuine respect for all of God’s children, durability, modesty and the absence of self-interest are those qualities of principled leadership absolutely essential to presidential decision-making.

Knowing my own imperfections and frustrations, I am hesitant to judge others harshly. And I know that 13 million people, my fellow citizens, have made their initial choice in voting for Donald Trump, thereby elevating his candidacy to presumed nominee. I don’t deny nor diminish the message that each of those votes carries with them. And every one of those 13 million people has a right to be heard and their thoughts fairly and honestly considered.

But after long and careful consideration, I cannot endorse or support their decision to express their frustration, anger and disappointment by selecting Trump as the Republican nominee for president. Trump has demonstrated neither the aforementioned qualities of principled leadership, nor offered any substantive or serious conservative policy proposals consistent with historical Republican Party platform positions. Both, in my humble view, are indispensable preconditions to his selection as the Republican candidate for the office of president of the United States.

As a result, I cannot endorse or support Trump for president. And I offer my prayer for a second miracle in Cleveland.

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