Sunday, October 30, 2016

Today, A Bigendered 11th Hour AppealTo The Chump's Minions

Somewhere, the founding Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, J.(ohn) Edgar Hoover is weeping at the spectacle of the 13th Director of the Bureau, James Comey, drew the traditionally nonpolitical FBI into the 2016 campaign with his October Surprise. When Comey laves the Bureau, he can become a ghostwriter for Donald T. (for "The") Chump. The now-political FBI Director has given Chump new rally-material to spout at his knuckle-dragging minions. However, this blogger soldiers on despite being waist-deep in the Big Muddy. If this is a (fair & balanced) comic opera, so be it.Vannevar Bush HyperlinkBracketed numericsDirectory]

[1] A Political Gastrointestinal Exam (Eags/Timothy Egan)
[2] A Stupid Woman's Plight (Sarah Elizabeth (S.E.) Cupp)

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American Gut Check
By Eags (Timothy Egan)

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At least one of my siblings, and some of my friends from high school, will be among the 50 million or so Americans waking up on November 9 after giving their vote to a man who thinks very little of them, and even less of the country he wants to lead.

Allow me one last attempt to help you avoid a hangover that will stay with you the rest of your life.

If you ignored every blast of hatred from Donald Trump, every attempt to defraud people or stiff those who worked for him, every bellow from the bully, consider his low view of humanity in general. “For the most part you can’t respect people,” he has said, “because most people aren’t worthy of respect.”

This is the credo of a loveless man in a friendless world. He also says he has no heroes — not a Lincoln or Mandela, a Jackie Robinson or a Captain Chesley Sullenberger.

If you’re an evangelical Christian, you’re about to cast your lot with someone who goes against nearly everything you believe. I have a sister in this category. Her preacher told her that electing Trump is “part of God’s plan.” I’m not sure if the plan is apocalyptic, but that sounds like a deity who’s given up on all of us.

I would tell my sister and all like-minded souls to look at whether Trump has tried to live by the Ten Commandments. He’s consistently violated at least eight of them, from worshiping the God of Mammon to running up the biggest “pants on fire” liar score of any presidential candidate in history. As for adultery and coveting others, he’s bragged about cheating on the mother of his children in one interview, and outlined his methods for hitting on married women in another.

True, he hasn’t committed murder, but he did say he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue, “and I wouldn’t lose any supporters.” If that’s who you want your children looking up to, those kids will be, like Trump, bereft of heroes.

If you’re a member of the white working class, “the poorly educated” that Trump once professed to love, your sense of dislocation is real. The economic gap between the wealthiest cities and the rest of the country has widened. So has the divide between college-educated workers and those who never went beyond high school. More than 20 percent of American men under age 65 had no paid work last year.

But a trade war, which Trump proposes, and his tax and immigration policies would bring widespread pain, and do nothing to help the most economically troubled of his supporters. Trump likes to remind people that he took business classes at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Well then, let’s listen to a report from his alma mater: It predicts that Trump’s policies could cost the United States four million lost jobs.

His tax plan, a giveaway to the rich and a budget buster, would likely lead to another recession. His overall economic proposals could cost the United States economy $1 trillion over the next five years, according to a report from Oxford Economics, a forecasting firm.

Building a wall, of concrete on the southern border, or through tariffs coming from Washington, is not going to bring steel mills back to Pennsylvania, or thousands of coal jobs to West Virginia. Even from a blunt, xenophobic perspective, the wall makes no sense. For over the last 10 years, more people have immigrated from the United States to Mexico than vice versa. Trump never mentions that.

I should add that 15 million new jobs have been added under President Obama’s watch, and that incomes grew across the board last year, especially at the bottom. Trump never mentions that, either.

Vice President Joe Biden has made it one of his final missions to ensure that Democrats don’t forget those living in places like his hometown, Scranton, Pa. One solution is to put people to work on roads, bridges, airports and other “big stuff.” Hillary Clinton has at least put forth a $275 billion infrastructure jobs plan. Trump promises nothing more than a slogan on a silly hat and a pipe dream of a plan with no way to pay for it.

Finally, if you’re a true deplorable, I have nothing to say to you by way of persuasion. You should follow the endorsements of neo-Nazis, and current and former members of the Ku Klux Klan who say Trump is the embodiment of their beliefs. A vote for anyone but Trump, as the former Klansman David Duke says, is “treason” to your heritage. He’s talking about a lineage that goes directly back to slavery.

For the rest of the Trump supporters, remember that resentment is not a political philosophy and hatred is not a sustainable force for governing. Remember, also, the words of a global citizen — Bono. “America is like the best idea the world ever came up with,” he said, “but Donald Trump is potentially the worst idea that ever happened to America.” ###

[Timothy Egan writes "Outposts," a column at the NY Fishwrap online. Egan — winner of both a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 as a member of a team of reporters who wrote the series "How Race Is Lived in America" and a National Book Award (The Worst Hard Time in 2006) — graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in journalism, and was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters by Whitman College in 2000 for his environmental writings. Egan's most recent book is The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America (2009).]

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The Lonely Life Of A Republican Woman
By Sarah Elizabeth (S.E.) Cupp

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As has become typical in an election marked by its often unpleasant surprises, I awoke to a storm of outrage on Twitter on Wednesday morning. Newt Gingrich had told Fox’s Megyn Kelly that she was “fascinated with sex” and didn’t “care about public policy.”

Mr. Gingrich unleashed this boorish attack after Ms. Kelly tried to pin him down on whether the many accusations of sexual assault against Donald J. Trump, and his own words on the matter, should disqualify him from the presidency.

That Mr. Gingrich (with whom I once hosted a television show) thought the best way to deflect attention from Mr. Trump’s awful behavior with women was to attack another woman tells you so much about the depths to which Mr. Trump has dragged the Republican Party.

It’s also a sobering harbinger of how hard it’s going to be for the party to win back Republican women, let alone appeal to new female voters in the future.

As a conservative woman who wanted very much to support the Republican nominee, it’s been a deeply disappointing year and a half. After helping the Republican National Committee address some of the troubling deficiencies the party faced after 2012, as outlined in its so-called autopsy report, and witnessing some real progress in our outreach to women in the ensuing years, I did not expect an egomaniacal arsonist to come along and set all that ablaze.

Mr. Trump has sent the party back to the Dark Ages — or at least the 1950s — with his provincial notions of masculinity and misogynist notions of femininity, his cartoonish bombast, his vulgar jocularity and his open hostility to women who question him. In short, he’s reaffirmed the worst stereotypes about Republicans that Democrats have pushed for decades.

It would be nice to be able to argue that Mr. Trump is an aberration, but clearly he has found a great deal of support. Who will believe us when we say that he does not speak for us?

In 2012, an unknown, inconsequential congressman from Missouri’s Second District, Todd Akin, sent the Republican presidential race into a tailspin when he argued that rape victims should not be allowed to get abortions, saying, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.”

The stench of Mr. Akin hung around the party for months, if not years. Mr. Trump is neither unknown nor inconsequential. His will be the stink of a hydrogen sulfide explosion. Containment will be impossible.

What’s surprising is just how many Republicans — men and women — have been all too happy to smell like him. Political operatives feigned ignorance about whether grabbing a woman’s genitalia is sexual assault (it is), while female supporters claimed these weren’t important issues to women (they are). Voters will punish the party for this collective shrug.

Alienating women — who vote in higher numbers than men, and who have voted Democratic in every presidential election after 1988 — would seem a flawed business model for the “Art of the Deal” mogul.

Women are not unwinnable for Republicans. Ronald Reagan won a majority of them in both of his elections, and by 10 points in 1984. The largest spread in recent history was in 1972, when Richard Nixon, even with that mug, won women by a whopping 24 points.

Still, more than 20 years is a long time to go without women. I’d argue conservative policies were badly explained and liberals benefited from more emotional messaging. But it’s going to be much harder to make that case now.

When women flee the Republican Party in the coming years, no autopsy will be necessary. The explanation is all too clear.

And yet we have to try to repair the relationship between the Republican Party and women. Not just so that Republicans can be competitive in national elections, but because I believe our policies are genuinely better for women.

Democrats’ lofty language about empowering women sounds great (and way better than Mr. Trump’s), but President Obama’s economy has done just the opposite. By many metrics, women (and men) are worse off. The poverty rate is higher than it was in 2007. Real median household income is down. More Americans are dependent on the government for assistance. Homeownership is down. Student debt has skyrocketed, along with the national debt. We now know that Obamacare is becoming unaffordable.

None of this is empowering, not for working women, mothers, small-business owners or students. Whether you’re a veteran or a millennial, it’s hard to argue that big government has solved your problems efficiently, if at all.

But before we can make that case to women, Republicans will have to earn the right to be heard at all. That will require emptying the party of Mr. Trump’s enablers. Who knows how long that will take, but in the meantime, women would frankly have to have been lobotomized to believe anything the Republican Party tells them.

We will also need better communicators. There are plenty of good, rational, compassionate and talented conservatives who deserve a microphone and a platform. It’s time to pass the baton to a new generation of leaders who don’t speak — or think — like Archie Bunker.

I was first drawn to the Republican Party as an 18-year-old at a liberal university. The party’s appeal wasn’t about barring Muslims, arming our enemies with nuclear weapons or joking about sexual assault. I didn’t become a conservative because someone told me to hate liberals, or to blame people who didn’t look like me for my problems.

I became a conservative because of words like “self-reliance” and “individualism,” because it actually seemed the more optimistic philosophy. Conservatism measured compassion by how much you gave, not by how much you told other people to give. Conservatism believed that individuals, not bureaucracies, produced the best solutions. And conservatism saw American democracy as a beacon of hope to share with the world’s oppressed, not something to apologize for.

Now that I’m a mother, those ideals matter more to me than ever. In the era of Donald Trump, it’s hard to argue to the women of America that the Republican Party deserves their vote this year. But we must return to our aspirational roots if we’re going to have a party left at all. ###

[Sarah Elizabeth (S.E.) Cupp is a conservative political commentator and writer. She received a BA (art history) from Cornell University and an MA (religious studies) from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University. She is the author of Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media's Attack on Christianity (2010).]

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