Patterico's Pontifications

6/5/2024

President Biden, His Usual Self

Filed under: General — JVW @ 6:33 am



[guest post by JVW]

The Biden Administration/Reelection Campaign braintrust allowed their man to sit down and have a full interview with Time magazine last week. Clearly they expected Time to come through with a respectful encapsulation, and for the most part Time played ball and smoothed over some of the President’s notorious flights of fancy and inability to complete his thoughts, and seemed willing to accept his typically self-serving and far-fetched stories at face value. They did include a fact-check section of the President’s interview, and dinged him on some clear factual inaccuracies, some obviously incorrect anecdotes, and some assertions that are clearly bathed in political spin befitting a candidate whose 40 months in the Oval office have thus far been entirely lackluster.

But the most interesting part of the interview is that Time — no doubt sensitive to accusations that they would soft-pedal the elderly President’s clear infirmities — chose to publish the transcript of the 35-minute session and, it would appear, at most only very lightly cleaned up the President’s meandering and garbled narrative. We don’t have the audio version to check against the transcription, but from a cursory read it doesn’t sound as if they did Joe Biden any favors here. Allow me to pull out a few items of interest:

TIME: So understanding Putin’s aims, the world, the West, the United States, and you find yourselves facing a difficult situation in Ukraine. The war is stalled every day, an average of 42 Ukrainian civilians are killed or wounded. Is Russia’s proposal for, to end the war in Ukraine, the best that Ukraine can hope for at this point?

BIDEN: No, it’s not. And by the way, I don’t know why you skip over all that’s happened in the meantime. The Russian military has been decimated. You don’t write about that. It’s been freaking decimated. Number one.

Number two, NATO is considerably stronger than it was when I took office. I put it together. Not only did I reestablish the fact that it was the strongest alliance in the history of the world, I was able to expand it. While I was in one of the G7 meetings in Europe. when I got back I called on the President of Finland because when I had met earlier in the year with Putin, he said he wanted to see the Finlandization of NATO. I told him, he’s gonna get not the Finlandization, the Natoization of Finland. And everybody thought, including you guys, thought I was crazy.

And guess what? I did it. I did it. And we’re now the strongest nation. We have the strongest alliance in all of America, all of history. In the meantime, what we keep skipping over is what the consequence of the success of Russia in Ukraine would be. That’s why I brought this along. You probably haven’t read it. Most people haven’t read it. He says this is part of reestablishing the Soviet Union. That’s what this is all about. It wasn’t just about taking part of—He wanted, he wanted to go back to the, to the days when there was NATO and there was that other outfit that Poland, everybody belonged to. So that’s what it was about. And in the meantime, what happened was, we were able to—and by the way, we spent a lot of money in Ukraine, but Europe has spent more money than the United States has, collectively. Europe has spent more money than the United States has, collectively Europe has spent more money in taking on Russia.

Here we see two of Joe Biden’s most off-putting character traits: his petulance when he doesn’t feel that he is being given enough credit for his — ahem — accomplishments, and his annoying narcissism in taking full credit for anything he feels has gone right during his administration. “I was able to expand it.” “I did it.” He’s a chip off the ol’ block of the guy under whom he served as Vice-President in his gross usage of the first-person singular pronoun. (Donald Trump is a narcissist too, but that’s a given.) He also has the destructive habit of virtually all progressives in equating spending money with accomplishing objectives. Unsurprisingly, after making the points he (and his handlers) wanted him to make, he quickly gets bored with the conversation and runs out of gas:

TIME: I want to switch to Israel. But on that last point, is there a danger that NATO is on a slippery slope to war with Ukraine—with Russia, as things stand?

BIDEN: No, we’re on a slippery slope for war if we don’t do something about Ukraine. It’s just not gonna…anyway…

Speaking of Israel, the President tries to be much more supportive of our longstanding ally when he has been prepped by his team for a full interview, but he still can’t help but undermine his own message with a clunky response:

TIME: On what Hamas has done, are the eight US hostages there in Gaza is still alive?

BIDEN: We believe there are those that are still alive. I met with all the families. But we don’t have final proof on exactly who’s alive and who’s not alive. And by the way, I’ve been calling for—we should have a ceasefire, period. And to get those hostages. That’s the main reason why we push. Both the Israelis desperately want a ceasefire in order to get the hostages home. And it’s a way to begin to break the momentum. And so that’s why we’re pushing hard for the—and we’re—Is our intelligence chief in? Where is he now?

KIRBY: He is back, sir. He was just over in Europe, in Brussels, over the weekend.

TIME: And whose fault is it that the that deal, the ceasefire for hostages has not been consummated? Is it Hamas or Israel or both?

BIDEN: Hamas. Hamas could end this tomorrow. Hamas could say (unintelligible) and done period. And, but, and the last offer Israel made was very generous in terms of who they’d be willing to release, what they’d give in return, et cetera. Bibi is under enormous pressure on the hostages, on the hostages, and so he’s prepared to do about anything to get the hostages back.

[. . .]

TIME: [. . .] Some in Israel have suggested that Netanyahu is prolonging the war for his own political self-preservation. Do you believe that?

BIDEN: I’m not going to comment on that. There is every reason for people to draw that conclusion. [. . .]

As National Review reported yesterday, President Biden walked back the assertion that there is “every reason” to believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu is prolonging the war for political reasons. So much for the deft touch of an old pro in foreign relations.

There is lots more in the interview, but one striking feature is that it is clear to me that the longer the interview goes on, the more rambling and disjointed the President’s responses become. By the end he is mostly at his Biden-est, mixing up names and numbers, relating semi-incoherent anecdotes that very likely never happened, and being his usual grouchy and demagogic self. I’m sure his partisans will judge him to have been “feisty” and “combative” and will hail the return of “Dark Brandon,” but I am left deeply lamenting that our two major parties ended up choosing two of the dumbest schmucks imaginable to lead the greatest country in the history of the planet at a moment when our future is so uncertain. May God have mercy on the United States.

– JVW

100 Responses to “President Biden, His Usual Self”

  1. President Pedo™ is losing his marbles, in rather rapid fashion.

    His campaign can’t afford to play hide-n-seek in the basement… but, they can’t control the optics that clearly shows that President Pedo™ needs to be sent to a home where he’s monitored 24/7.

    That’s why from here on out, his campaign will be nothing about President Pedo’s™ policies… but, almost exclusely, “at least I’m not a convicted felon”.

    In reality, it’s going to be President Pedo™ vs Former President Felon (until overturned).

    whembly (86df54)

  2. This is the end result of the Left’s takeover of the country’s education system. The voters have no clue about history, economics, math, science or politics. They operate either on celebrity endorsements or naive cynicism.

    Welcome to “interesting times.”

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  3. Nikki Haley would beat Biden by 20 points. But we can’t have nice things.

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  4. @3

    Nikki Haley would beat Biden by 20 points. But we can’t have nice things.

    Kevin M (a9545f) — 6/5/2024 @ 7:39 am

    Any strong Republican not named Trump would’ve beaten Biden by 20 points.

    Something around 20% of registered Republicans (same with Democrats too), participate in the primaries where the rabid fans has outsized influence in the candidate selection process.

    Until we get more engagement during the primaries, we’re stuck with the rabid base making our choices in the future.

    I tried so hard, here and in everywhere else I could to encourage people to participate in the primaries…as I was as a DeSantis voter.

    THAT…should be the lasting lesson learned that must be embraced and understood.

    ‘Tis the only way to learn from the past…

    Will we?

    whembly (86df54)

  5. On The Dispatch Podcast, George Will was a guest, and his basic position is that both parties did not produce acceptable products in the political marketplace, referring to the candidates as two Edsels, and so isn’t buying either one and is keeping blank the vote for prez, which is akin to a protest vote, IMO.

    Paul Montagu (895dc0)

  6. Will said that in his column a month or so ago.

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  7. George Will: In Defense of Not Voting

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  8. As someone who didn’t vote for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or Joe Biden, I still have a real problem with leaving the Presidential ballot space blank. I’ve mentioned it before, but in 2016 I wrote in Evan McMullin (which I admittedly regret) and in 2020 I voted for Jo Jorgensen. Unless there is absolutely no candidate on the ballot you find acceptable, you should always strive to find somebody on the ballot you feel comfortable voting for.

    In 2020, Joe Biden received 81.3 million votes, Donald Trump received 74.3 million, Libertarian Party candidate Jo Jorgensen received 1.9 million, and Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins received 400k. Other candidates combined for 650k votes. Now think of two different scenarios for 2024, and consider which one would more likely get the attention of the two major parties (we’ll assume the same number of voters as in 2020 for comparison’s sake):

    SCENARIO 1 – Leaving the Presidential field blank
    Joe Biden – 69 million votes
    Donald Trump – 69 million votes
    Libertarian – 2 million votes
    Greens – 400k votes
    Others – 600k votes
    No vote recorded – 17 million votes

    SCENARIO 2 – Finding an acceptable candidate among other parties
    Joe Biden – 69 million votes
    Donald Trump – 69 million votes
    Libertarian – 9 million votes
    Green – 3 million votes
    Others – 5 million votes

    It’s my contention that scenario 2 would be a better catalyst for making the GOP and the Democrats try to broaden their appeal and find better candidates. If they fail to do so, it would help these minor parties split off from the two major parties and could conceivably help Congressional candidates. Who knows that maybe in 2028 the Libertarians increase their total to 15 million votes and the Greens bump theirs up to 7 million votes. That could conceivably cause havoc in several states and completely skew the Electoral College results. In any case, I think it would either allow the parties to shed their most ideologically-stubborn voters, or else it would cause them to recast their platform to try to win them over. But hopefully it would help ensure that we never again have a Clinton-Trump-Biden type of election.

    JVW (b02843)

  9. Nick Catoggio – Choosing to Choose

    Sam G (87ab56)

  10. Well, for one thing I’d expect fewer votes anyway as the pandemic voting rules are not in effect, so it will be no more than 150m total.

    For another, the 2016 election had sizable votes for third parties, with the Libertarians doing their best ever and even the Greens broke 1%. And we still got Biden-Trump in 2020.

    The one thing that everyone noticed was in 1992, with Perot got 19% of the vote on a balanced-budget platform. They balanced the budget. Then W came along and busted it again.

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  11. A new centrist party is really the only way to break this duopoly.

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  12. Will said that in his column a month or so ago.

    That was my 2nd link.

    Paul Montagu (128447)

  13. Cataggio’s basic argument is that there is only one candidate on the ballot and we MUST vote for that one candidate because the only alternative is cannibalism.

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  14. That was my 2nd link.

    My bad, although my link is free to non-subscribers.

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  15. “It’s my contention that scenario 2 would be a better catalyst for making the GOP and the Democrats try to broaden their appeal and find better candidates.”

    I think the GOP had a range of acceptable primary alternatives, but none of them had a chance. 70% of the GOP wanted Trump. 85% have coalesced around Trump. It will drift above 90% by election day because of perceived existential partisan policy distinctions.

    The problem with Scenario 2 is that upon closer inspection, the Libertarians, Greens, et al are either unqualified (little to no actual experience for the most important political position in the country) or they drift into policy whackiness (like in 2016 where the Libertarians had a historic opportunity to be relevant). I guess it’s a message…but ala McMuffin…there’s few people that might divine the right conclusion to that message. Most will say McMuffin was not qualified…and just talked a good talk….for a while….just like Ramaswamy.

    There are hard problems with process and media. The primary process is way too democratic….elevating personality cults and outsider memes that cater to populism and fire, rather than light. The media exacerbates the problem. And as long as populists control the process and drive the media, my opposition vote or non-vote frankly doesn’t matter. The people who look at Trump as the ultimate middle finger in politics will continue to do so and may even look for even-worse-than-Trump.

    The Democrats I think are being held hostage by Biden’s hubris. If they go against him, they eviscerate the incumbent advantage…and buy into the GOP narrative that things are terrible. They are stuck with him too because there is no obvious super-star that would transcend attacking an incumbent. Cuomo might have been on that track but he obviously imploded. Newsom is handcuffed by the state of California and his greasiness. Biden had to voluntarily step down, open up the primary field, and let a younger moderate emerge. Biden thought he would still be better than any potential alternative. Going forward, I think the DEMs have an improving bench of options. Unlike asset, I’m not sure I see them going off the rail to push a bomb-thrower.

    So, write-in or 3rd-party? Meh. It all gets distilled through a dysfunctional political media ecosystem. Too much noise and spin. My form of vote can’t dissipate it.

    AJ_Liberty (5f05c3)

  16. For another, the 2016 election had sizable votes for third parties, with the Libertarians doing their best ever and even the Greens broke 1%. And we still got Biden-Trump in 2020.

    Your math is a bit off, Kevin M. In 2020 the Greens got 400k out of 158.5 million votes cast, or about 0.25% of the total. The Libertarians got 1.8 million, or about 1.2%. My scenario envisions the Libertarians getting around 6% of the Presidential vote and the Greens getting 2%. I think that would be enough to get the attention of the two major parties — a surge in Libertarian voters would have to shake up the GOP braintrust, for instance.

    JVW (b02843)

  17. Cataggio’s basic argument is that there is only one candidate on the ballot and we MUST vote for that one candidate because the only alternative is cannibalism.

    Thanks for link. I read the piece, and a have a lot of respect for Nick Cataggio, but I vehemently disagree with where he is coming from on this and I think that some of his assumptions are misleading at best and flat-out wrong at worst. I am mulling over writing a more detailed reply to the ideas he proposed, but I may just let it go at that. Perhaps closer to the election will be a more opportune time to engage in that debate.

    JVW (b02843)

  18. JVW — The problem is that I have to take Trump seriously when he says he wants to unleash the Justice Department against his enemies, when he demands absolute immunity for himself aganst everything, and the executive branch needs far more power at the same time the Hatch Act must be disabled. These aren’t the same issues a typical voter would consider — they are more wrapped up in inflation and immigration. But a Republican of my era, who has Libertarian leanings, tends to believe that giving the federal government and the executive more power and less restraint is a recipe for tyranny. I don’t trust the GOP to attempt to restrain Trump. They are currently in the Trump enablement business.

    Biden is not somebody who thrills me. I doubt he even thrills himself. He’s not the same level of threat to the institutions that keep us a Republic.

    Whembly — I’m afraid your TM is already taken. Somebody thought would be funny to apply it to Trump, given his tendency to hang with Epstein, the whole Ivanka thing, and his lacivious march through the changing room at the Miss Teen USA pagent.

    Appalled (88a1a3)

  19. My last comment is stuck in moderation… not sure why though.

    [The term “TDS” is no longer welcome at this site. You can make a cogent argument without resorting to using that hackneyed phrase. – JVW]

    whembly (86df54)

  20. The problem with Scenario 2 is that upon closer inspection, the Libertarians, Greens, et al are either unqualified (little to no actual experience for the most important political position in the country) or they drift into policy whackiness (like in 2016 where the Libertarians had a historic opportunity to be relevant). I guess it’s a message…but ala McMuffin…there’s few people that might divine the right conclusion to that message. Most will say McMuffin was not qualified…and just talked a good talk….for a while….just like Ramaswamy.

    I believe that as a nation we grossly overrate the idea of “qualifications” and “experience” in seeking out a President. Right now we have probably the most “experienced” person we have ever had in the Oval Office — 36 years as a United States Senator and 8 years as Vice-President — and the man is a halfwit (even before the dementia), a blowhard, and a crank. You can’t tell me that someone who has never held public office but who has a modicum of common sense and a reverence for the Constitution (think of our host, for example) wouldn’t be oodles better in the role than Biden would. How much experience did Abraham Lincoln have prior to 1861? Eight years in the Illinois House, two years in the U.S. House of Representatives, and a failed Senate candidacy. How many current idiot office-holders have a much more impressive resume?

    As for “qualified,” all the Constitution says is that the President has to be 35 years old and a natural-born citizen. We don’t subject them to an IQ test, or to a psychological evaluation, or to even a formal health examination, nor should we. We need to stop expecting to get a John Quincy Adams or a William Howard Taft or a Dwight Eisenhower to serve as President and accept that as long as we can do better than what we have ended up with the last three election cycles we are making progress.

    JVW (b02843)

  21. > The problem is that I have to take Trump seriously when he says he wants to unleash the Justice Department against his enemies, when he demands absolute immunity for himself aganst everything, and the executive branch needs far more power at the same time the Hatch Act must be disabled. These aren’t the same issues a typical voter would consider — they are more wrapped up in inflation and immigration. But a Republican of my era, who has Libertarian leanings, tends to believe that giving the federal government and the executive more power and less restraint is a recipe for tyranny. I don’t trust the GOP to attempt to restrain Trump. They are currently in the Trump enablement business.

    Aside from the fact that I’m not a Republican, this is roughly where I am. Trump *openly* calls for unrestrained tyranny driven by unrestrained personal impulsivity, and the politicians of his party have rallied behind him in support of that.

    He is the biggest threat to the Republic since the Civil War, and unfortunately, i’m pretty sure he’s going to win.

    aphrael (99fd6b)

  22. > I believe that as a nation we grossly overrate the idea of “qualifications” and “experience” in seeking out a President.

    The minor parties keep offering up candidates I think don’t have the skill to run a lemonade stand, let alone a large organization.

    Running an organization is a *skill*. It can be acquired. But it seems really bad to me to hand the job of running one of the largest organizations in the planet off to someone who hasn’t acquired that skill yet.

    aphrael (99fd6b)

  23. @18

    JVW — The problem is that I have to take Trump seriously when he says he wants to unleash the Justice Department against his enemies,

    I mean… turnabout is fair play.

    I’m already voting for the guy… you don’t need to convince me even more.

    when he demands absolute immunity for himself aganst everything,

    Yeah, that’s grating…

    and the executive branch needs far more power at the same time the Hatch Act must be disabled.

    POTUS cannot unilaterally disable the Hatch Act.

    These aren’t the same issues a typical voter would consider — they are more wrapped up in inflation and immigration.

    Agreed.

    It’s called “The Kitchen Table Issues”. If things are still as bad as this fall, Democrats are going to struggle to energize their voters.

    But a Republican of my era, who has Libertarian leanings, tends to believe that giving the federal government and the executive more power and less restraint is a recipe for tyranny.

    I actually agree with this principle.

    I simply don’t trust our government, particularly at the federal level.

    I don’t trust the GOP to attempt to restrain Trump. They are currently in the Trump enablement business.

    He’ll be restrained, like his 1st term.

    Wanna know why?

    Trump will be term-limited AND lamed ducked (sp?). The GOP Congressional critters would likely be able to keep their jobs in the future, and will factor that desire in with determining whether or not to go with some short-term Trump policies.

    Biden is not somebody who thrills me. I doubt he even thrills himself. He’s not the same level of threat to the institutions that keep us a Republic.

    I vehemently disagree with this.

    Current Biden polices are exactly the kind of things that threatens the institutions of our Republic.

    Whembly — I’m afraid your TM is already taken. Somebody thought would be funny to apply it to Trump, given his tendency to hang with Epstein, the whole Ivanka thing, and his lacivious march through the changing room at the Miss Teen USA pagent.

    Appalled (88a1a3) — 6/5/2024 @ 12:05 pm

    Nope.

    The now verified Ashley Biden diary has further cemented Joe Biden’s title as President Pedo™.

    Gosh it sucks arse that our two largest political parties gave us these two crappy choices…

    whembly (86df54)

  24. @13

    Cataggio’s basic argument is that there is only one candidate on the ballot and we MUST vote for that one candidate because the only alternative is cannibalism.

    Kevin M (a9545f) — 6/5/2024 @ 11:00 am

    One of the prime political commentator affected by a severe case of affliction that shall not be named.

    He’s absolutely convinced that if Trump wins, he’ll never leave the Whitehouse…

    …when, in fact, Trump did leave the Whitehouse in 2020.

    Whatever lies you have to tell yourself to get through the day… different strokes for different folks I guess.

    whembly (86df54)

  25. @JVW

    [The term “affliction that shall not be named” is no longer welcome at this site. You can make a cogent argument without resorting to using that hackneyed phrase. – JVW]

    Any chance a link on the sidebar could be placed that describes the swear filters and other ‘hackneyed phrase’ so that commentators here aren’t blindsided in the future?

    whembly (86df54)

  26. I can respect those of you who are concerned about a vindictive Donald Trump returned to the White House. But I am with Charlie Cooke in thinking that this concern is slightly overwrought:

    I do not think that Donald Trump should be president again. If he is the Republican nominee — which he should not be — I will not vote for him. In my view, Trump should have been disqualified from consideration by Congress in 2021, after he attempted to rewrite the Twelfth Amendment and the Electoral Count Act to help him stay in power illegitimately. This behavior represented an unforgivable abrogation of his oath of office, and it ought to have made him permanently toxic to voters. Irrespective of their capacity to follow through on their promises, we should not put people who vow to violate the law into the White House. Trump frequently muses about violating the law. A sober electorate would decline to give him the opportunity.

    As Jim [Geraghty] notes, though, it does not follow from this that Trump has a realistic chance of becoming a dictator. Despite the best efforts of the progressive movement over the last century, we still have the vast majority of our checks and balances in place — and they work. Back in 2016, when Trump first won, I was asked whether I was worried that he was going to end the American republic, and my immediate answer was “no.” It’s “no” now, too. Taking issue with Liz Cheney’s hyperbole, Jim suggests that there are very few people who argue that “the country is ‘invulnerable’ to any attempted illegal or unconstitutional acts on the part of a president.” He’s right, of course: Sometimes, presidents do get away with committing “illegal or unconstitutional acts.” But there is a massive difference between a president getting away with a series of illegal or unconstitutional acts — even terrible ones — and a president becoming a dictator. Even Woodrow Wilson — a man who wanted to be a dictator, and who used the First World War to get as close to that state as he could — did not achieve this. Why not? Because the system really is that good.

    As the election approaches, we are going to see a concerted attempt to pretend that the two arguments I’ve made above are logically incompatible. But they aren’t. It is entirely possible to believe that Trump should not be president because he wants to act in a manner that is inconsistent with our Constitution, but that, if he does become president, he will fail to escape the system’s core constraints. To make this case is not to “defend Trump,” but to profess confidence in the American model of government against those who would undermine it.

    Joe Biden failed to heed his oath of office by allowing untrammeled illegal immigration into this country. Not only that, but he actually enabled it by removing regulations designed to curtail it. (And of course now he is hastily trying to restore those regulations as the massive unpopularity of his border agenda has at last sunk in on Democrats.) Joe Biden flagrantly extended the rent moratorium after being warned by the Supreme Court that it was no longer legal to do so; not only that, but he then bragged that even though the Court would likely strike it down, he will have extended relief for a couple more months. Joe Biden has spent three-plus years attempting to unilaterally cancel up to one trillion dollars of student debt — a gross payoff to a constituency (young people and the higher education cartel) he desperately needs to win reelection — without any Congressional authorization whatsoever. And Joe Biden’s Justice Department tried to cut a sweetheart criminal plea bargain deal on behalf of the President’s son which not only would have got him off the hook for the crimes he knowingly committed, but would also have exempted him from being prosecuted for any as-yet unknown crimes committed prior to 2021.

    I’ll stipulate that none of the above rises to the level of Trump openly arguing that he should be exempt from crimes he commits, or brazenly suggesting that he will use the levers of power to go after his political enemies (though it can be argued that Joe Biden has done the same, he’s just been sensible enough not to publicize it), or that he will ignore Congress and just attempt to rule via fiat (though again, Biden has quietly gone this route). But as I argued eight years ago where Hillary Clinton was concerned, one benefit of having Trump instead of Biden is that the Washington establishment will offer a check to Trump’s extralegal meddling in a way that they simply won’t do with Biden.

    So sure, those who vote for Trump will own responsibility for any dictatorial moves he makes in office (speaking about Nick Cattagio’s piece again, by the way, I find his contention that Trump might seek to remain in office beyond 2029 pretty laughable, but Cattagio is entitled to it). By the same token, though, anybody who votes for Joe Biden will bear responsibility for the degree to which our democratic republic slips more and more into an establishment autocracy which will be cheered on by the academic/media/bureaucratic axis. Wander into the Capitol Rotunda to take pictures on January 6? Prepare to spend years in legal hell and be vilified nationally. Spend two weeks in a tent in front of academic buildings forcing 40,000 of your fellow students to switch to online classes and denying them access to services they paid tuition money for? Two-day suspension and then a general amnesty in return for your promise not to do it again (until you deem it necessary), all while your sympathetic professors give you academic credit for your activism. This is what a vote for Joe Biden will bring more of.

    I’ll say it again: the only moral choice is to refuse to vote for either of these clowns.

    JVW (b02843)

  27. “I believe that as a nation we grossly overrate the idea of “qualifications” and “experience” in seeking out a President.”

    Jumping on aphrael’s point, we don’t go to a phone book to find our military leaders and companies don’t just elevate a clever blogger to be CEO. Leadership does have a skill set and great leaders tend to also be individuals of character. Defects inevitably get exposed.

    I would argue that governor is the sort of experience that is relevant to the job of President — though international policy experience is needed too (you need to damn well know why Aleppo was important). Biden was never an executive until he was selected VP to give Obama the pretense of having someone “experienced”. Prior to 2020 would anyone have viewed Biden as a top tier candidate? I sure wouldn’t have and most voters agreed. Experience just doesn’t mean time served…but decision-making, creative deal making, innovative legislation, inspiring oration, and the ever-elusive wisdom. I fall in the bucket of believing that Biden has been on the wrong side of most big decisions over his career. He’s an accidental President…a product of a mismanaged Democrat bench.

    I actually do believe that the political herd knows who the 2 or 3 true leaders are in their party. People with the knowledge, temperament, integrity, passion, and experience to lead. If you put our representatives in a sealed room with no cameras and complete anonymity, do we really believe they would pick Trump? What if we were more closer to an international or economic crisis? Yes, it’s more complicated because the base is currently deluded, but the history of the GOP suggests more of a next-in-line approach. Reagan, Bush, Dole, Bush, McCain, Romney….no one in that lineup was under-qualified (in an experience sense rather than the minimalist Constitutional sense).

    Ben Carson was unqualified (experience sense). Ramaswamy is unqualified. The Presidency with its clear international responsibilities these days…is not an introductory position. You need to demonstrate leadership, not just regurgitate policy platitudes…ala McMuffin. How do you react under stress and when there are only bad options to take? Trump play-acted being President. Fortunately, he had enough people around him that we were shielded from his worst impulses. I’m not convinced we will be as lucky next time….

    AJ_Liberty (5f05c3)

  28. Any chance a link on the sidebar could be placed that describes the swear filters and other ‘hackneyed phrase’ so that commentators here aren’t blindsided in the future?

    It’s an interesting idea, but I don’t see it happening. There are an awful lot of words and phrases that have been banned, many of them of course being profanity. Try to think of anything happyfeet continually repeated, and you can bet it’s on the list. Same goes for some of our long-gone lefty trolls.

    JVW (b02843)

  29. Running an organization is a *skill*. It can be acquired. But it seems really bad to me to hand the job of running one of the largest organizations in the planet off to someone who hasn’t acquired that skill yet.

    True, but leadership is also a gift, and some people are just naturally better at it than others.

    I come from a career mostly working in medium-to-large corporations where I have seen all sorts of nimrods rise to the top based upon nothing more than they have put in decades shimmying up the greasy pole. So that’s why I am not too keen on the idea that executive experience is much of a harbinger of leadership ability. I didn’t think Barack Obama was a particularly good President — in fact I think the long-term effects of his eight years in the Oval Office will turn out to be almost completely negative — but I can understand that Democrats generally believe him to have performed well in the job. Yet as has been noted, he showed no real leadership ability prior to being elected other than looking dashing in a suit and speaking with a sonorous voice. But would anybody even venture to argue that Howard Dean or John Kerry or Bill Richardson would have been better?

    JVW (b02843)

  30. AJ_Liberty (5f05c3) — 6/5/2024 @ 12:52 pm

    Biden was never an executive until he was selected VP to give Obama the pretense of having someone “experienced”.

    He was considered experienced in terms of being familiar with the matters he would deal with.

    He had never run anything bigger than a Senate office- and some political campaigns that failed -except for 2020.

    Prior to 2020 would anyone have viewed Biden as a top tier candidate?

    Only because he was not so well known. I thought he was the best Democrat in 2008. His instincts were centrist but he had the problem of caving into the left. I didn’t realize he had another problem: Sheer incompetence, because of lack of executive experience. Richard Nixon had the same problem. He was overwhelmed by the amount of material reaching his desk and Haldeman became a gatekeeper..he had no idea how to manage so many diverse activities

    Now familiarity can substitute for personal experience but only if his judgment about the future -as as to what would really happen turned out to be right.

    Experience just doesn’t mean time served…

    Case in point: George Herbert Walker Bush (Bush 41>everybody perceived him as incompetent.

    Senator Bob Dole had campaigned against him in 1988 with the slogan “A record, not a resume”

    but decision-making, creative deal making, innovative legislation, inspiring oration, and the ever-elusive wisdom. I fall in the bucket of believing that Biden has been on the wrong side of most big decisions over his career. He’s an accidental President…a product of a mismanaged Democrat bench.

    He was the best of a bad lot.

    Sammy Finkelman (e4ef09)

  31. I actually do believe that the political herd knows who the 2 or 3 true leaders are in their party. People with the knowledge, temperament, integrity, passion, and experience to lead. If you put our representatives in a sealed room with no cameras and complete anonymity, do we really believe they would pick Trump?

    Of course not.

    But campaign finance law chose Trump, plus his skill at arguing. He took deliberately wrong positions that no opponent as willing either to support or to disagree with. He wasn’t so original, but he looked at arguments made by other people that were neither rebutted (with good rebuttals that went to the heart of the proposition) nor supported..Ad he also lied.

    What if we were more closer to an international or economic crisis?

    It’s not bad enough?We’ve never been nearer to nuclear war. China, I believe, is trying to destroy nuclear deterrence, so that, by 2027 or so, they can cow Taiwan into peaceful surrender. It’s not working out so well, but I think they want some other nation (Iran or North Korea) to get away with the use of a nuclear bomb – which means the government surviving in power – – or to not get away with it but for retaliation to be forsworn and condemned. Then they can credibly threaten Taiwan and take it over which Xi Jinping wants to do in order to erase Chinese history, especially of the years 1898 to 1966.

    Yes, it’s more complicated because the base is currently deluded, but the history of the GOP suggests more of a next-in-line approach. Reagan, Bush, Dole, Bush, McCain, Romney….no one in that lineup was under-qualified (in an experience sense rather than the minimalist Constitutional sense).

    Bush I was. That’s why he did so bad in 1992. And Quayle was to follow. That was too much. Dole had Senate experience, and he didn’t always change his position to comply with his party base. Biden had to take positions but he didn’t have to be right about <i.one thing.

    He couldn’t have a record of failure until after he became president..

    Sammy Finkelman (e4ef09)

  32. I wouldn’t consider pre-2008 Obama as an experienced leader and I would not grade him high in subsequent Presidential leadership (I recall being in a hot tub detailing the 10 things I disliked about McCain, while still believing he was by far the better choice). At best, Obama was a great speech maker. But he had no executive experience and he had only modest legislative experience. He faced a very adversarial opposition party, but he also demonstrated very little negotiation skills or an ability to broaden his coalition. There was never an attempt to compromise meaningfully on Obamacare….and his Middle East policy was little more than “the opposite of what Bush would do.” I always viewed him as a facile tool of Reid and Pelosi. He brought us Obamacare primarily because he had 60 Senate votes…the fallout of the housing collapse and war fatigue.

    The Left has tended to like charismatic folks….the JFK’s, Bill Clinton, and Obama types…maybe even the ever-smiling big-toothed Carter. Sure, there are always the odd ducks like Dukakis, but they like talkers. I think the GOP traditionally prized competence over charisma. Obviously that has changed….

    AJ_Liberty (5f05c3)

  33. Trump has a knack for convincing uninformed people that he is the only one on the stage who is right.

    Sammy Finkelman (e4ef09)

  34. In my view, Trump should have been disqualified from consideration by Congress in 2021, after he attempted to rewrite the Twelfth Amendment and the Electoral Count Act to help him stay in power illegitimately. This behavior represented an unforgivable abrogation of his oath of office, and it ought to have made him permanently toxic to voters.

    But they didn’t choose to impeach him for that,

    Sammy Finkelman (e4ef09)

  35. I think the GOP traditionally prized competence over charisma. Obviously that has changed…

    You can only lose to the Bill Clintons and Barack Obamas of the world so many times before you find yourself saying, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” Though that development is indeed a true shame.

    JVW (b02843)

  36. Trump has a knack for convincing uninformed people that he is the only one on the stage who is right.

    He certainly does have an odd sort of charisma. And it’s not only uninformed people who fall for him, plenty of smart and engaged people do too. I don’t generally find him to be too interesting and that’s the biggest reason that I mostly avoid blogging about him, but I confess that I am fascinated at how so many people are taken in by what I see as absolute flim-flam.

    JVW (b02843)

  37. > but leadership is also a gift, and some people are just naturally better at it than others.

    One of the most interesting things about the last year (for me) is that i got pushed into a leadership role I wasn’t quite ready for, and i’ve had to do a lot of self-reflection and analysis to understand that (a) i have some natural leadership ability but (b) my natural ability is *strengthened* by developing skills rather than trying to coast on the ability.

    aphrael (99fd6b)

  38. To make this case is not to “defend Trump,” but to profess confidence in the American model of government against those who would undermine it.
    -Cooke

    110% this!

    whembly (86df54)

  39. I think this election the VP slot might be the deciding factor for me, best case, realistically Trump’s on the ticket so no. If either party chose someone that was not so noxious, it might tip the balance. Mitt Romney maybe, potentially Nikki, there’s a non-zero chance that happens, so if Trump got ganked by the pauper’s court and can’t find $600M to pays his fines, get’s another 50 felonies, has to go to jail, etc, may elevate the potential.

    There is a zero chance the Dem’s make a change in either slot without actual death, but Mayor Pete is probably their best option.

    Realistically, we’ll bobble through Biden winning a nailbiter and dottering through. I’ve got real reservations of what Trump’s response will be, starting with calling for his nutbags to go full nutbag, to him being still alive in 28 and doing this all again.

    Good lord, that is the worst possible outcome. Trump MAGA becomes the GOP till he keels over.

    Colonel Klink (ret) (96f56a)

  40. @27

    I’ll say it again: the only moral choice is to refuse to vote for either of these clowns.

    JVW (b02843) — 6/5/2024 @ 12:51 pm

    This is where you and I differ JVW…

    I consider the direction we’re going under a marxist-fueled governance, helmed by today’s Democrat a far more serious danger, largely because of the media/elites embraces these progressive models in governance themselves.

    Whereas, as you said, if Trump wins… he’ll be scrutinized to the degree that he’ll have to defend his every policies he wishes to advance.

    Are Biden’s failure simply Biden’s unique failures? Or is it, as I believe, a failure no matter who the Democrats elects?

    I believe in the latter…

    Ergo, my vote is transactional that is agnostic to the person in my party.

    Just give me someone with a pulse who’ll advance my preferred policies.

    whembly (86df54)

  41. my natural ability is *strengthened* by developing skills rather than trying to coast on the ability

    That’s one thing the military does extremely well.

    It’s up or out, except with much more support. Think Deloitte or McKinnsey, just with actual BS detectors and talent development. Yes, I’m a partner at the former, and work at the latter. The leadership management process is kind of terrible, we actually do a better job educating customers at Deloitte University (Here now) than growing folks into the partner ranks as leaders instead of good sales folk.

    Colonel Klink (ret) (96f56a)

  42. > Trump MAGA becomes the GOP till he keels over.

    Why stop it there? He’s got kids.

    aphrael (99fd6b)

  43. I’m sure that Kimberly Guilfoyle would love nothing more than an epic Eric Trump vs. Gavin Newsom battle.

    aphrael (99fd6b)

  44. worked at the latter

    Colonel Klink (ret) (96f56a)

  45. The Trump kids just don’t have the weird “thing” that Donald has.

    Colonel Klink (ret) (96f56a)

  46. (a) i have some natural leadership ability but (b) my natural ability is *strengthened* by developing skills rather than trying to coast on the ability.

    I don’t doubt that one bit, aphrael. But the important takeaway is that you have natural leadership ability. Believe me, I have seen executives and other people in leadership positions who simply do not have that innate ability. I doubt very much that Joe Biden has much of it, but Lyndon Johnson and Bill Clinton both did/do. I doubt that Richard Nixon really had much of it, but Ronald Reagan and (amazingly) Donald Trump both did/do.

    It’s like trying to be an athlete: you can have almost no natural athletic ability yet work your rear-end off, and maybe with some luck you become a passable athlete. That kind of describes my own athletic history. But you can also be gifted with a great deal of athletic ability — be naturally tall, muscular, coordinated, quick, etc. — and pay zero attention to developing those gifts, yet still be a pretty competent athlete. It’s one of those mysteries of life.

    JVW (b02843)

  47. Sorry, that should be a Donald Trump Jr vs. Gavin Newsom battle. Same thing to me, different thing to her.

    aphrael (99fd6b)

  48. I’m sure that Kimberly Guilfoyle would love nothing more than an epic Eric Trump vs. Gavin Newsom battle.

    I am equal parts intrigued and appalled at the idea.

    JVW (b02843)

  49. https://www.nationalreview.com/news/georgia-court-of-appeals-halts-trumps-election-interference-case-indefinitely/

    A Georgia appeals court has paused the 2020 election-interference case against President Donald Trump indefinitely, until a panel of judges determines whether or not Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis can prosecute it.

    The case will be heard in October, so even if the Appeals Court don’t kick out Willis, there’s the State Supreme Court, then SCOTUS. Looks like this won’t ever conclude until 2025 at the earliest.

    whembly (86df54)

  50. @43

    > Trump MAGA becomes the GOP till he keels over.

    Why stop it there? He’s got kids.

    aphrael (99fd6b) — 6/5/2024 @ 3:27 pm

    Stop it!

    **swats aphreal’s nose**

    I doubt it that will ever happen. Most people don’t like “dynasties” in presidential elections.

    whembly (86df54)

  51. > I doubt it that will ever happen. Most people don’t like “dynasties” in presidential elections.

    The number of people who voted for Bush II, or for that matter Hillary Clinton, strongly suggests that you are wrong here. Both of them *were* dynasties in presidential elections, and both of them got enormous number of votes.

    (I voted against Clinton in the primary both times in large part because I loathe political dynasties).

    aphrael (99fd6b)

  52. @52 I’d be concerned if the Trump kids starts campaigning for lower office.

    Until then, I doubt they would be able to “jump” from where they are now, to the presidency.

    The Bushes and HRC had extensive political experiences in government. None of the Trump kids has any of that sort.

    whembly (86df54)

  53. This is where you and I differ JVW…

    I respect your thoughts on this, whembly. I’ve actually spent a good deal of time trying to intellectually adopt the same argument: that a sleaze ball like Trump with policies I agree with 70% of the time is far superior to a sleaze ball like Biden with policies I agree with only 30% of the time. But I just can’t get there. Trump is too toxic for me, and I just won’t have it on my conscience that I voted for him to occupy the office that George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Calvin Coolidge, and Ronald Reagan once occupied, even if that office also at times belonged to Andrew Johnson, Woodrow Wilson, Bill Clinton, and Joe Biden.

    Is there a scenario where I relent and vote for Trump in the fall? Probably, but it’s astronomically unlikely. Trump would have to pick a competent and independent-minded VP (some people have been floating Tom Cotton, that would be a good pick), he would have to pledge to appoint a cabinet made up of mainstream Republicans and then vow to be a hands-off manager and trust them to do their jobs in a way amenable to him (frankly, the way he handled Nikki Haley from 2017-18 is an excellent example), and he would have to essentially campaign like a decent human being and not turn this summer into an airing of his ancient grievances and issue vows of revenge. I find those prospects so remote that it’s not even worth hoping for.

    JVW (b02843)

  54. @54

    This is where you and I differ JVW…

    I respect your thoughts on this, whembly. I’ve actually spent a good deal of time trying to intellectually adopt the same argument: that a sleaze ball like Trump with policies I agree with 70% of the time is far superior to a sleaze ball like Biden with policies I agree with only 30% of the time. But I just can’t get there. Trump is too toxic for me, and I just won’t have it on my conscience that I voted for him to occupy the office that George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Calvin Coolidge, and Ronald Reagan once occupied, even if that office also at times belonged to Andrew Johnson, Woodrow Wilson, Bill Clinton, and Joe Biden.

    Is there a scenario where I relent and vote for Trump in the fall? Probably, but it’s astronomically unlikely. Trump would have to pick a competent and independent-minded VP (some people have been floating Tom Cotton, that would be a good pick), he would have to pledge to appoint a cabinet made up of mainstream Republicans and then vow to be a hands-off manager and trust them to do their jobs in a way amenable to him (frankly, the way he handled Nikki Haley from 2017-18 is an excellent example), and he would have to essentially campaign like a decent human being and not turn this summer into an airing of his ancient grievances and issue vows of revenge. I find those prospects so remote that it’s not even worth hoping for.

    JVW (b02843) — 6/5/2024 @ 3:45 pm

    What if…

    Our Sweet Aloha™ was tapped to be his VP? Would that change your vote?

    …seriously, just watching Gabbard destroy Harris again would be worth it.

    whembly (86df54)

  55. JVW, your thoughts mirror mine. I often think about Huey Long in this context.

    If DJT would keep his id under control (just like WJC keeping his pants zipped), things would be better.

    What others me is how few people (other than here) state how both candidates are really crap. The question is how much crap on our Presidential sandwich is acceptable.

    Instead, we get people who deify and demonize. As usual.

    Again, I worry about the current heirs to the Kingfish.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  56. @54 But, to your point JVW, I respect your position as well.

    IMO, the dynamic we must change in the future is to encourage more engagement of our party’s primary system.

    The fact that only 20% of registered party member votes in selecting their candidate is a huge part of the problem as to how we end up with both Biden and Trump.

    I’m just at a loss how we can change this dynamic…

    whembly (86df54)

  57. Both of them *were* dynasties in presidential elections. . .

    I am happy to concede that George W. Bush won election as Governor of Texas largely on the family name, but I think his election as President (narrow though it was) was more a function of him being seen as an effective governor of our second-largest state. Hillary Clinton was obviously elected to the Senate from New York (despite being a carpetbagger) entirely on her last name and connection to her husband (especially the sympathy she garnered from suffering through the humiliation of his philandering). Perhaps it’s the partisan in me, but I think her 2008 run was largely based upon her name and her status as potentially the first woman President. I don’t think she had any accomplishments as a Senator that otherwise warranted the attention she was receiving. And of course the 2016 nomination was a lifetime achievement award, handed to her mostly for sucking it up and serving as a loyal lieutenant to Barack Obama, a man she is said to largely disdain, as well as being yet another attempt to have Democrats elect the first woman President.

    JVW (b02843)

  58. One of the most inane things I recall from my Democratic-leaning friends in 2016 was the people who claimed that Hillary was the most qualified candidate in history (as opposed to, say, *Buchanan* or, perhaps, Bush I) and who *explicitly cited her time as first lady as an important qualification*.

    What?

    aphrael (99fd6b)

  59. > The fact that only 20% of registered party member votes in selecting their candidate is a huge part of the problem as to how we end up with both Biden and Trump.

    What’s the point in voting when everyone but one guy has dropped out of the race? By the time California votes the primary is over and your choice — for President at least — is ratify the already-made choice or cast a meaningless protest vote.

    aphrael (99fd6b)

  60. What if…

    Our Sweet Aloha™ was tapped to be his VP? Would that change your vote?

    I’ve been meaning to blog about this. I heard a very interesting podcast with My Little Aloha Sweetie (get it right, whembly!) where she both reaffirmed my desire — no, I mean respect, that should read “respect” — for her while also making me just a little bit skittish about the degree to which she might be trimming her sails in order to appeal to the Trump crowd. There was a rumor floating around last week (I believe I saw it on The Spectator’s gossip page) that Team Trump has already bluntly informed her that she’s not under consideration, but I take that with a grain of salt.

    JVW (b02843)

  61. @60

    > The fact that only 20% of registered party member votes in selecting their candidate is a huge part of the problem as to how we end up with both Biden and Trump.

    What’s the point in voting when everyone but one guy has dropped out of the race? By the time California votes the primary is over and your choice — for President at least — is ratify the already-made choice or cast a meaningless protest vote.

    aphrael (99fd6b) — 6/5/2024 @ 4:08 pm

    You do have a very good point.

    But, I was talking about early in the primary process in those early states. The primaries (no clue on caucus states) are woefully attended by voters.

    Back to your point – maybe a fix is to condense the allowable voting window across the US?

    Like every state agrees with dates within a 4 week window? Like the month of June?

    Candidates can still start campaigning as normal in January…

    whembly (86df54)

  62. @61

    …My Little Aloha Sweetie (get it right, whembly!)…
    JVW (b02843) — 6/5/2024 @ 4:11 pm

    My sincerest apologies!

    whembly (86df54)

  63. One of the most inane things I recall from my Democratic-leaning friends in 2016 was the people who claimed that Hillary was the most qualified candidate in history (as opposed to, say, *Buchanan* or, perhaps, Bush I) and who *explicitly cited her time as first lady as an important qualification*.

    Yeah, I agree! And that brings me exactly back full circle to my issue with a candidate allegedly being “qualified” (but I think in HRC’s case they really meant “experienced” or “prepared”) for the office. Experience and preparation mean very little without leadership ability, and in certain cases I would argue they can be detrimental.

    JVW (b02843)

  64. @61

    I’ve been meaning to blog about this. I heard a very interesting podcast with My Little Aloha Sweetie (get it right, whembly!) where she both reaffirmed my desire — no, I mean respect, that should read “respect” — for her while also making me just a little bit skittish about the degree to which she might be trimming her sails in order to appeal to the Trump crowd. There was a rumor floating around last week (I believe I saw it on The Spectator’s gossip page) that Team Trump has already bluntly informed her that she’s not under consideration, but I take that with a grain of salt.

    JVW (b02843) — 6/5/2024 @ 4:11 pm

    I suspect that rumor is correct.

    Our Little Aloha Sweetie simply has too much baggage as a former Democrat.

    Which I find a little ironic as our very own Ronald Reagan was a Democrat as well…

    *shrug*

    A man can dream…

    From a tactical standpoint, it sorta makes sense from Trump’s perspective.

    She’s a telegenic person who can articulate positions and also be that tough “bulldog” when needed.

    She’s a woman.

    She offers a bit of an anti-impeachment insurance that wouldn’t exist if Haley or DeSantis was the VP pick.

    Again, she’s a woman who can appeal to urban women voters that Trump sorely needs.

    whembly (86df54)

  65. Speaking of clunky responses:

    “NEW YORK — Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin said Sunday President Reagan ‘hurt me very deeply’ when he described a massive Israeli airstrike on Beirut as a ‘holocaust’ during an angry phone call.

    Begin, in an interview published Sunday, said he later told Reagan ‘I know what is a holocaust.’ He described the phone call as ‘one great misunderstanding.’

    In an interview with The New York Times, Begin also said the PLO is a ‘beaten organization’ and expected U.S. help in negotiating a withdrawal of Syrian and Israeli forces from Lebanon ‘on a certain date.’

    Can you imagine the furor if Biden used such language?

    JRH (734b95)

  66. One of the wierdest things i’ve experienced was watching some movie from the 30s — I don’t remember which — where the word ‘holocaust’ was used basically to mean ‘a really large massively destructive fire’, except it was a *figurative* use as part of a metaphor.

    Completely dropped me out of the story, even though intellectually I understand that the meaning of the word in common use today … just didn’t exist in the 30s.

    So I can sorta forgive Reagan for this; he learned the vocabulary *before the war*. The meaning changed on him.

    aphrael (99fd6b)

  67. At least they are making progress on EV chargers. The $5 billion program has managed to install SEVEN charger stations in the last 3 years.

    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/democrat-calls-only-7-ev-182511859.html

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  68. Your math is a bit off, Kevin M. In 2020…

    Your calendar is what is off. I said “2016”

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  69. Our Little Aloha Sweetie simply has too much baggage as a former Democrat.

    Yes, and even though she ended up voting to acquit Trump in his impeachment trial, she was very critical of his behavior and I think that flunks the loyalty test in Trump World.

    But her interview in the podcast was really, really interesting. She has now fully rebranded as a populist who is dead-set against the Deep State, whether it be oriented to the left or to the right. She has also ditched, or at least greatly downplayed, her former affection for the economic agenda of Bernard Sanders. That could be because it has dawned on her that a nation $35 trillion in debut simply can’t afford democratic socialism, but it also might be a sign that she is wiping away her past to improve her prospects in the near future. But she remains very anti-big business and is still quite wary of the effect that corporations have on public policy.

    I actually agree with her on a lot of issues, but I do think that she goes a bit overboard in seeing conspiracy lurking everywhere. For example, sure the defense industry benefits handsomely from our commitment to supply armaments to Ukraine, but that doesn’t make Putin’s invasion any less fiendish or intolerable. I respect that she doesn’t think the U.S. should concern itself with other nations’ disputes, but at the same time the world is a nasty place and with great power comes great responsibility, or so Spiderman’s uncle once told me.

    JVW (b02843)

  70. Your calendar is what is off. I said “2016”

    Ah, I stand corrected.

    JVW (b02843)

  71. What I am trying to figure out is who Trump would chose as “impeachment insurance.”

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  72. Yes, and even though she ended up voting to acquit Trump in his impeachment trial

    Gabbard did this? How?

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  73. Reagan also was part of a cold war world where “nuclear holocaust” was used very frequently. A common antipose to cold war was holocaust and the word appeared in nearly every Sunday paper during events like the Cuban missile crisis, Vietnam, the Seven Day War etc. (which was every Sunday it seemed)
    Holocaust was also very common word used here in California (where Reagan lived) when referring to brushfires. I hope Reagan told him to the STFU and excuse me for using vocabulary-properly- that didn’t meet your approval

    steveg (0b92ff)

  74. I don’t remember which — where the word ‘holocaust’ was used basically to mean ‘a really large massively destructive fire’, except it was a *figurative* use as part of a metaphor.

    I’m stealing Sammy’s thunder here, but “holocaust” was originally used to describe a burnt offering of a small animal, done in atonement in various cultures, for example as in the 29th Chapter of Exodus. The word itself is Greek, and derives from holos meaning “whole” and kaustos meaning “burnt.” The word has a similar-sounding Hebrew equivalent.

    JVW (b02843)

  75. Gabbard did this? How?

    You’re right. That should be “voted against impeaching him.” Got me twice.

    JVW (b02843)

  76. I would have said ??? to that, too, but I guess you mean the first time.

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  77. That’s why I [Biden] brought this along. You probably haven’t read it. Most people haven’t read it. He [Putin] says this is part of reestablishing the Soviet Union. That’s what this is all about. It wasn’t just about taking part of—He wanted, he wanted to go back to the, to the days when there was NATO and there was that other outfit that Poland, everybody belonged to [Warsaw Pact]. So that’s what it was about. And in the meantime, what happened was, we were able to—and by the way, we spent a lot of money in Ukraine, but Europe has spent more money than the United States has, collectively. Europe has spent more money in taking on Russia.

    I actually understand what Biden seems to be trying to say here, but it takes some work.

    Putin wants to reestablish the Soviet Union, the Warsaw Pact and in the meantime we’ve spent a lot of money in Ukraine but Europe has spent more. OK.

    steveg (0b92ff)

  78. #71 who Trump would chose as “impeachment insurance. Me. No one would risk it

    steveg (0b92ff)

  79. Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin said Sunday President Reagan ‘hurt me very deeply’

    He should have called it a giant terrorist hotel bombing. Begin would have understood that, too.

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  80. Since we were just discussing this, Yashar Ali reports on Twitter that Team Trump is considering the following people for the VP slot:

    Doug Bergum
    Ben Carson
    Bryon Donalds
    Marco Rubio
    Tim Scott
    Elise Stefanik
    J.D. Vance

    These are the folks to whom the campaign has allegedly sent “vetting paperwork.” Of course it could all be a ruse, and perhaps the Trump campaign will pull a surprise of the magnitude when George W. Bush suddenly chose Dick Cheney, the guy who was supposed to be vetting his VP choices, as his second-in-command.

    JVW (b02843)

  81. That crew would ensure a NFW vote instead of a most likely NFW vote from me. Sniveling Buttkisser’s Union all.

    Colonel Klink (ret) (96f56a)

  82. The WSJ

    “Behind Closed Doors, Biden Shows Signs of Slipping” Seriously. Behind closed doors.

    https://archive.is/OmOXd

    “When the topic moved to an immigration overhaul, [Mike}Johnson, the House speaker, offered Biden a list of dozens of executive actions he could undo to improve border security. Biden, rather than responding to Johnson’s suggestions, chided him, according to people at the meeting, “I’ve forgotten more about immigration than you’ll ever know.”

    [Gregory]Meeks, the New York Democrat, said he didn’t come away from the meeting worried about Biden’s acuity. “I found him to be the same Joe Biden that I’ve known since I came to Congress,” said Meeks, who was elected in 1998

    steveg (0b92ff)

  83. [Mike] Johnson brought up a new administration energy policy that halts future permits for shipping LNG to many countries, including in Europe, while the climate, economic and national-security impact of those exports are studied. The policy fanned concern that the ban would scuttle new projects and ultimately force U.S. allies to import more from energy-rich adversaries like Russia. The policy also affects several multibillion-dollar projects in Johnson’s home state of Louisiana by denying them, for now, key export permits.
    “Mr. President, you are helping Vladimir Putin,” Johnson told the president, according to one of the people briefed on the exchange. Biden said that wasn’t true, and that the new policy was only a study, according to several people familiar with Johnson’s version of what happened. Johnson was dismayed that Biden appeared to have forgotten details of his own policies, they said.
    Bates, the White House spokesman, said that those who have heard Johnson’s version are repeating “a false account.” He said the study is part of the new policy, and that the pause doesn’t affect current exports. Administration officials said Biden was attempting to signal to Johnson that the policy wouldn’t have the detrimental effects he worried about.

    OK hold on. So let me get this straight. Its OK because the study is part of the policy and Biden was “trying to signal….” Clear as day. Thanks for that.

    steveg (0b92ff)

  84. When [Former Speaker] McCarthy and other lawmakers met with the president the next day, McCarthy said, Biden lacked the spontaneity he had projected on the plane. “He was going back to all the old stuff that had been done for a long time,” McCarthy said. “And he was shocked when I’d say: ‘No, Mr. President. We talked about that meetings ago. We are done with that.’”

    “Administration officials said that during a negotiation it is not unusual for the White House to reassert its original position at various points, sometimes to show Democrats that the president is still pushing for their priorities.”

    Doesn’t sound like no. Sounds like unconvincing obfuscation

    steveg (0b92ff)

  85. Just found out about this article, titled “Choosing Not to Choose” and written by Matthew Franck in The Dispatch:

    [. . .] For at the end of the day, that is what voting is: a kind of investment. Not of our money, but of ourselves—our will, our intention, our passion, and our conscience. Of course, our investment can be a light matter to us, if we cast our vote in a throwaway mood, thinking “better this guy than the other guy.” Then we might cut our emotional losses when he disappoints us. “Live and learn.” Yet paradoxically, if it took a great effort to “screw your courage to the sticking place,” as Lady Macbeth put it—if, that is, you had to swallow hard to vote for a candidate, and he won—you may find your investment in him very heavy, and your felt need to defend him equally so.

    Franck relates that he did not vote for either Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump in 2016. He continues:

    There is nothing in what I said then that I would now retract. I rejected the idea that I, as one individual, must treat my choice as confined to the binary of Clinton versus Trump, as though the weight of the outcome were on me alone. It is frequently the case that we vote for one major-party presidential candidate principally because we are against the other one—usually because we find “our guy” a less than optimal choice but “the other guy” strongly repellent. But when we conclude that both of them are wholly unfit for office, our habitual partisan commitments, and our fond hope that the one representing “our side” will be normal, or guided by normal people, do not compel us to cast a vote in that direction. What we must consider, I argued, is not our role in the outcome of the election (which is negligible, and unknown to us when voting), but the effect on our conscience and character of joining our will to a bad cause.

    Four years later, Franck found himself in the situation of approving of some things that President Trump had accomplished, but still believing him to be unfit for the job. But Franck is from Delaware and has suffered through Joe Biden as his Senator since his teen years, and he had zero interest in voting for him either. He ended up voting third party. Continuing on:

    And here we are in 2024, with the same choice again. Only this time the overwhelming majority of voters have already voted at least once—successfully!—for these feckless men. That means the emotional investment of many voters in both Trump and Biden is very high, since each has a term as president to be defended—which ain’t easy to do in either case. Trump’s signature qualities were incompetence and recklessness, constrained to positive effect only by Congress, the courts, and many of his own appointees. Then he did his utmost, up until the evening of January 6, to steal the election from Joe Biden. A second term for Trump would be a four-year master class in indecency and mendacity, strongly inflected by an urge to authoritarianism that may sorely test our civic institutions.

    Biden, as all can see, is showing many of the weaknesses of his advanced years (though here, Trump appears in better shape only by comparison). Never a strongly principled man even in his prime, Biden has long enjoyed an undeserved reputation as a “moderate” Democrat because he is a trimmer. Now his sails are trimmed to capture the wind that blows from his party’s hard left. As populism is the GOP’s most energetic element, progressivism is the Democrats’. Thus the worst excesses of the Elizabeth Warren faction in economics and of the intersectional “rainbow” factions in cultural issues are fully on display in the Biden administration’s governing agenda. A second Biden term would feature more of the same, unless the president’s freedom from electoral concerns enables him to move to the center. I see little hope of that.

    Do go on and read the rest. I think he pretty much captures my thinking as well, though I probably detest Team Biden even more than he does.

    JVW (b02843)

  86. speaking of being their usual selves rep. byron donald and wesley hunt speaking as surrogates for trump. Donald said that blacks were much better off when they were living under jim crow! (DU)

    asset (b35470)

  87. asset

    Byron Donald was noting that the black family was in better shape during the Jim Crow era than it is now, the people in the audience understood what he was saying and agreed. The article I read titled “Byron Donald Nostalgic for Jim Crow” was unfair, even though he should have known those types of statements will be intentionally misconstrued

    steveg (0b92ff)

  88. Better title and quote would be

    “Democrat Jim Crow Policies were Good for Blacks” says black Rep. Donald. “We were better off in some ways back then when their hate for us was out in the open”

    steveg (0b92ff)

  89. @87 Emmit till the scottsboro boys and medger evers among others who were lynched would disagree

    asset (b35470)

  90. asset Trump gets the coveted ex-Black Panther endorsement

    https://www.instagram.com/p/C71903tO2vB/?hl=en

    steveg (0b92ff)

  91. @81

    Since we were just discussing this, Yashar Ali reports on Twitter that Team Trump is considering the following people for the VP slot:

    Doug Bergum
    Ben Carson
    Bryon Donalds
    Marco Rubio
    Tim Scott
    Elise Stefanik
    J.D. Vance

    These are the folks to whom the campaign has allegedly sent “vetting paperwork.” Of course it could all be a ruse, and perhaps the Trump campaign will pull a surprise of the magnitude when George W. Bush suddenly chose Dick Cheney, the guy who was supposed to be vetting his VP choices, as his second-in-command.

    JVW (b02843) — 6/5/2024 @ 5:56 pm

    From that list, in order:

    Vance
    Stefanik
    Donalds (Trump would have to move residence to NJ)
    Carson
    Rubio (Trump would have to move residence to NJ)
    Scott
    Bergum

    whembly (71ef4c)

  92. @90 25% of black men support trump in latest polls.

    asset (b35470)

  93. He’s a chip off the ol’ block of the guy under whom he served as Vice-President in his gross usage of the first-person singular pronoun.

    Eugene Volokh debunked that Obama-vertical-pronoun meme as empirically false. I can’t find the link, but I remember him citing Mark Liberman at Language Log. That post led me to this one, which in turn links to his other posts on the subject, only a couple of which I read before I’d pretty much gotten the point, but apparently he did quite a long series.

    lurker (cd7cd4)

  94. The Democrats I think are being held hostage by Biden’s hubris.

    I suspect that what the Dems are hostage to is the dual identity group revolt that would ensue if Harris was passed over by another replacement candidate, as she would have to be if the point was to run someone with a chance of winning. Without that pressure, I could see the Dem powers-that-be nudging Biden aside. But we’ll never know.

    lurker (cd7cd4)

  95. Can you imagine the furor if Biden used such language?

    JRH (734b95) — 6/5/2024 @ 4:30 pm

    I couldn’t care less that Reagan used a word Begin didn’t like. What I did care about was that Reagan threatened sanctions if Israel continued its military assault on the PLO in Lebanon, and ultimately he withheld delivery of cluster munitions and F-16s.

    I don’t approve of Biden’s threats any more than I did Reagan’s, and obviously, unlike Biden so far, Reagan went well beyond threats. But neither of them did anything anomalous in the history of our alliance with Israel. Few presidents since Ike haven’t pressured Israel one way or another to conform to America’s perceived interests. The tightrope Biden is walking is dumb and counter-productive IMO, but it hardly makes him the Hamas-lover people like Rob risibly claim.

    lurker (cd7cd4)

  96. @95 I know its called structuralism. The text book example is the catholic church. The careerists at the D.N.C. future depends on the biden/clinton corporate establishment wing of the democrat party and their donor class who pays their salaries. Older black and other liberal women gives them support to keep the progressive base from gaining control. It is somewhat matriarchal which is why men now mostly black and latinx left clinton and now biden for trump.

    asset (b35470)

  97. Biden is dumb and counter productive. The tightrope should be absolved and restored to its neutral status

    steveg (c9b491)

  98. Biden’s medical report from February says he is taking Eliquis (apixaban): which is a blood thinner. One possible side effect of blood thinners is anemia or loss of blood

    https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/apixaban/side-effects-of-apixaban

    Other common side effects
    These common side effects of apixaban happen in more than 1 in 100 people. There are things you can do to help cope with them:

    Tiredness and lack of energy
    Feeling dizzy or light-headed….

    The tiredness or dizzyness is attributed to possible anaemia.

    It is said to have or negligible influence on the ability to drive and use machines. (unless you feel dizzy)

    There’s a tough definition o fatigue. It takes a lot to call it fatigue.

    https://www.myphteam.com/resources/can-blood-thinners-cause-fatigue

    Fatigue goes beyond feeling tired, generating a lack of energy that interferes with your daily life.

    It doesn’t go so far with Biden.

    Sammy Finkelman (e4ef09)

  99. Biden intends to give a speech at Point du Hoc tomorrow, trying to grasp some of Reagan’s mystique as he does so.

    President Biden will not be the first president to try to walk in Mr. Reagan’s footsteps in Normandy, and it is a risky gamble. To many in both parties, Mr. Reagan’s speech remains the gold standard of presidential oratory and none have matched it at Normandy since. But like Mr. Reagan, Mr. Biden wants to use the inspiring story of the Rangers at Pointe du Hoc to make a case for American alliances in the face of Russian aggression — and, implicitly, for himself.

    My takeaway? It used to be that troubled presidents tried to compare themselves with Lincoln. Now they reach back to Ronald Reagan in moments of stress. As it should be.

    Of course, Biden is a day late here, too.

    Kevin M (a9545f)

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