Monday, July 18, 2016

Clinton's shadow obscures Trump's faults

As the Republican Convention gets underway, Donald Trump, as mentioned before, strode onto a New York stage this past Saturday after an interminable delay, to officially introduce his pick for vice president, a position that seems to have more importance than is justified.  Having finally arrived, Trump launched into a rather bizarre and meandering harangue, a jumble of thoughts mostly read off sheets of paper that felt like it went on for hours. Instead of simply explaining and then introducing his pick for running mate, Trump seemed to be performing a (very) rough draft of his nomination acceptance speech. If he doesn’t round off the rough edges, he might be in some trouble. 

Other than the expected “Make American Great” clichés, which was more of the same shtick of white racist xenophobia, Islamophobia, free trade-phobia, and other paranoia, Trump hatched some new slogans and theories. His new name for Hillary Clinton is “Crooked Hillary,” although there has to be something catchier than that. Trump caught listeners off-guard when he stated quite candidly that Clinton has “Gotten away with murder.” What followed was either a “pregnant pause” or an uncomfortable silence. Was Trump trying to get people to remember Vince Foster? Of course Clinton didn’t physically “murder” him; but the irony is that Foster was one of the few males that the misandrist Hillary respected, because he reminded her of the upright lawyer Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, as portrayed by Gregory Peck in the film. 

The problem was that Hillary was a corrupt, unethical hypocrite, and it is clear that Foster felt betrayed by the Clintons when they demanded of him the task of covering-up their perfidy as a White House counsel. He could have confessed all; but his relationship with Hillary Clinton was such that he chose death instead—unlike other Clinton disciples, who’d rather merely “kill” their principles and ethics than expose the Clintons for the brutally corrupt people they are.

But I’m supposed to be talking about Trump here; some of us already know the evil that lives behind the media-enhanced façade of Hillary.  After a brief silence in which even Trump seemed uncomfortable with, he “clarified” the insinuation by addressing Clinton’s email scandal, in which the FBI allowed Clinton to “get away” without punishment. As a “side note,” it is preposterous that the FBI refused to press criminal charges against Clinton, merely allowing the public to soak-in statements made by the FBI director  about how Clinton and her associates were negligent and  “extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information,” and  that “the security culture of the State Department in general, and with respect to use of unclassified email systems in particular, was generally lacking in the kind of care for classified information found elsewhere in the government” and “Any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation.” 

Isn’t it amazing that however much we want to talk about Trump’s numerous deficiencies, Clinton’s just seem more brazen and more pertinent to the conversation?

Anyways, Trump made other comments that seem more opportunistic than rooted in any principle, since he is clearly unprincipled. His call for repeal of the so-called Johnson Amendment of 1954 (of which again Trump displayed his habit of not getting his history—let alone his facts—right, as he did once more in wrongly asserting that the Scots voted for “Brexit”) was aimed at the evangelicals, who supposedly have their tax-exempt status challenged if they voiced an opinion about their political preferences. This is not true; all organizations—not just religious— that claim to be “nonprofit” are supposed to be under the tax code “nonpartisan,” and they are banned from actively campaigning and contributing money to political campaigns as organizations. But individuals within those organizations are allowed to do as they wish. 

But to get back to basics, the overall tone of Trump’s speech reveals a man who isn’t particularly interested in details or facts. He certainly isn’t any more “informed” as say, the average couch potato who watches Fox News or listens to Rush Limbaugh all day. He has “opinions” about certain subjects, but they are influenced by his personal prejudices. The fact that he repeatedly had to refer to his notes suggests that his off-the-cuff style will make him look like a dolt in front of a press asking hard questions and demanding hard answers. It isn’t a reach to believe that Trump would react with angry frustration, making for a very bad relationship with the press, and no doubt this would spill over into his relationship with Congress. 

In a debate, I suspect that Clinton’s well-polished, well-practiced lies will impress voters. Trump obviously has to convince independents that he actually knows more than he’s letting on now, and that may have to include doing a little studying-up on his part. Right now, if Trump and his campaign are smart (and I’m not entirely certain they are as much as they think they are) they’ll save their “secret” weapon against Clinton for the last few weeks before the election.  They should run a series of ads, about a half-dozen or so, that chronicles Clinton’s career of corruption dating from 1974 when she was fired for unethical behavior as a legislative aid, juxtaposing her statements with subsequent investigations determining she perjured herself, time and time again.

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