blueollie

Clinton and Trump: getting it on!

Hillary Clinton: This Los Angeles Times editorial said it well. She isn’t perfect and there are a few things that I wish were different. But:

Clinton may seem inauthentic to some or to lack that drink-a-beer-with-me quality that voters often look for in a candidate. But she has a grasp of the complexities of government and policy that is unmatched by any of the other candidates who ran for president this year — or by most candidates in most years. She is sober and thoughtful, in possession not just of the facts she needs to make her arguments but of a depth of experience that undergirds her decisions. These qualities are reassuring in juxtaposition to a primary opponent who does not offer, at the end of the day, a serious alternative and, and a likely opponent in the general election who is unprepared, unsuited for the job and dangerous.

[…]

Compared to the intoxicating altruism of the Sanders’ campaign, Clinton’s candidacy might seem unexciting. But nominating a candidate for president is, or ought to be, serious business. As Obama himself likely would admit after almost eight years in the White House, there is more to being president than grand promises, whether they are about “hope and change” or a political revolution. We admire Bernie Sanders’ passion for progress and equality, but our endorsement goes to the candidate who is more likely to translate ideals into action.

The whole editorial is worth reading. It does give a fair airing to her faults, and she does have them.

And like it or not, real change, the type of change that might actually make it through a Democratically controlled Congress (which we will NOT get, sans a lot of Blue Dog Democrats from conservative districts) will likely be small and incremental.

Of course, much of what is thrown at her is nonsense, as this article cheerfully lampoons:

Am I supposed to hate Hillary Rodham Clinton because she’s too left-wing, or too right-wing? Because she’s too feminist, or not feminist enough? Because she’s too clever a politician, or too clumsy?

Am I supposed to be mad that she gave speeches to rich bankers, or that she charged them too much money? […]

So today I’m performing a public service on behalf of all the voters. I went back and re-read all the criticisms and attacks and best-selling “exposés” leveled at Hillary Rodham Clinton over the past quarter-century. And I’ve compiled a list of all her High Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Here they are: […]

9. When Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas, she was a partner in the state’s top law firm, and it sometimes did work involving the state government.

10. She once invested in commodities futures on the advice of a friend and made $100,000, proving she’s a crook.

11. She once invested in real estate on the advice of another friend and lost $100,000, also proving she’s a crook.

12. Unnamed and unverifiable sources have told Peggy Noonan things about the Clintons that are simply too terrible to repeat.

13. The personnel murdered at Benghazi make her the first secretary of state to lose overseas personnel to terrorism — apart from Condi Rice, Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright, George Schultz, Dean Rusk and some others.

[…]

15. She illegally sent classified emails from her personal server, except that apparently they weren’t classified at the time.

16. She may have cynically wriggled around the email law by “technically” complying with it.

17. She once signed a lucrative book contract when she was a private citizen.

[…]

44. She’s really ambitious and calculating, unlike all the other people running for president.

[…]

Read the rest, and think about these the next time your favorite conservative recites her alleged “sins”.

Donald Trump

What more is there to say that, while he is entertaining, he really doesn’t know what he is doing and really does NOT know who the “great people” are:

Meanwhile, however, we can look at the candidate’s policy proposals. And what has been going on there is just as revealing, in its own way, as his attempt to dodge scrutiny of his personal finances.

The story so far: Last fall Mr. Trump suggested that he would break with Republican orthodoxy by raising taxes on the wealthy. But then he unveiled a tax plan that would, in fact, lavish huge tax cuts on the rich. And it would also, according to nonpartisan analyses, cause deficits to explode, adding around $10 trillion to the national debt over a decade.

Now, the inconsistency between Mr. Trump’s rhetoric and his specific proposals didn’t seem to hurt him in the Republican primaries. Neither did the wild irresponsibility of those specifics, perhaps because all the major contenders for the G.O.P. nomination were proposing huge, budget-busting tax cuts for the rich. True, none of them were quite as off the charts as the Trump plan, but such distinctions were probably lost on primary voters — $4 trillion, $10 trillion, who cares?

Having secured the nomination, however, Mr. Trump apparently feels the need to seem more respectable. The goal, I suspect, is to bring the headline numbers down enough to let the media’s propensity for false equivalence kick in. Hillary Clinton has a plan that actually adds up, while Donald Trump has a plan that will cost $4 trillion, but which he claims is deficit-neutral? Hey, it’s the same thing!

Oh, and meanwhile he suggested once again that he might raise taxes on the rich, then walked it back, with credulous media eating it all up.

But what’s really interesting is whom, according to Politico, Mr. Trump has brought in to revise his plans: Larry Kudlow of CNBC and Stephen Moore of the Heritage Foundation. That news had economic analysts spitting out their morning coffee all across America.

For those who don’t follow such things, Mr. Kudlow has a record of being wrong about, well, everything. In 2005 he ridiculed “bubbleheads who expect housing-price crashes in Las Vegas or Naples, Florida, to bring down the consumer, the rest of the economy, and the entire stock market” — which was exactly what happened. In 2007 he predicted three years of “Goldilocks” prosperity. And on and on.

Mr. Moore has a comparable forecasting record, but he also has a remarkable inability to get facts straight. Perhaps most famously, he once attempted to rebut, well, me with an article detailing the supposed benefits of state tax cuts; incredibly, not one of the many numbers in that article was right.

So why would Mr. Trump turn to these of all people to, ahem, fix his numbers? […]

But my guess is that the explanation is simpler: The candidate has no idea who is and isn’t competent. I mean, it’s not as if he has any independent knowledge of economics, or even knows what he doesn’t know. For example, he keeps asserting that America has the world’s highest taxes, when we’re actually at the bottom among advanced nations.

Now this will NOT hurt him with conservative voters. After all, they don’t really care what is actually true; they judge a policy as to how closely it conforms to what they think *should* be true.

And now there is the Trump tax returns, which he won’t release. He noisily said that his tax rate is “no one else’s business”. Paul Krugman gleefully suggested that he is afraid to show that he isn’t as wealthy as he boasts that he is.

trumptax

Greg Sargent of the Washington Post has a different take:

With the battle continuing to rage over Donald Trump’s ongoing suggestion that he may not release his tax returns before the November election, this exchange with ABC News’s George Stephanopoulous, which took place a few moments ago, provides a glimpse into what Trump really thinks about all this:

TRUMP: I fight very hard to pay as little tax as possible.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What is your tax rate?

TRUMP: It’s none of your business. You’ll see it when I release. But I fight very hard to pay as little tax as possible.

Trump’s claim that his tax rate is “none of your business” is generating buzz this morning. But the more important quote is his boast that he “fights very hard to pay as little tax as possible.” He deliberately repeated this, as if to make sure we would not miss it.

In one sense, this is dream fodder for Democratic ads, particularly since Dems are hoping to continue pressuring Trump to release his returns, and to portray his refusal to do so as evidence he’s trying to hide shady or immoral business practices, a line of attack that was probably effective against Mitt Romney in 2012.

But Trump plainly sees this as a positive for him, and that goes to the heart of his whole case for the presidency. In the interview, Trump said that he fights to keep his tax burden low because government “wastes” our tax dollars. Trump’s immediate goal is to undercut the potency of the attack on him over taxes: By openly boasting that he works to keep his tax burden low, he hopes to dispel the notion that he’s hiding something.

There’s more to this, though. With Dems likely to grow more aggressive in unearthing and targeting Trump’s business past, his pushback on whatever revelations pop up will basically be this: You’re damn right I’ve been a scummy businessman. Now I want to be a scummy businessman on your behalf and on America’s behalf. It cannot be overstated how important this idea is to his candidacy, and indeed, to his entire self-created mystique. The idea is that, having long been a member of the elite that has milked the corrupt system for decades, he is very well positioned to end their scam — he knows how it works from the inside — and reform that corrupt system.

That is an interesting angle: if you want to keep yourself safe from sharks, hire some sharks to protect you.

May 13, 2016 - Posted by | 2016, political/social, politics, politics/social | , , ,

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