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“Serial Husbands”: A Trump-Gingrich Ticket Would Make A Mockery Of Family Values

If, as some pundits are speculating, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald John Trump picks Newton Leroy Gingrich as his running mate, the two will go down in history as a presidential ticket unrivaled in its mockery of this country’s most traditional and honored symbol of commitment: holy matrimony. Trump and Gingrich, two standard-bearers of family values, are serial husbands. Between them, the two have had six wives.

Let us count the ways.

Fifty-four years ago, at age 19, Gingrich married his 26-year-old former high school geometry teacher. He left her in the spring of 1980. However, he did return to see her. Gingrich dropped by the hospital where she was getting treatment for cancer to discuss divorce terms. Formally divorced in 1981, Gingrich got married six months later.

That marriage lasted until 2000. By his own admission, Gingrich started an affair with a woman 23 years his junior during his second marriage. Incidentally, it was around the time Gingrich was taking Bill Clinton to task over Monica Lewinsky.

Gingrich’s second marriage ended in 2000, and he married his then-girlfriend, the current Mrs. Gingrich, the same year.

Trump had to play catch-up to Gingrich.

The real estate mogul didn’t land his first wife until 1977. A few years later, however, 40-year-old Trump started dating a 23-year-old beauty pageant winner. That little affair on the side apparently went swimmingly until girlfriend and wife No. 1 ran into each other on the ski slopes in Aspen. That didn’t go so well.

The angry wife filed for divorce, which reportedly was quite messy. Trump married girlfriend, and went on to run up boodles of debt. By 1999 and with hard work, however, Trump wiped out his financial misfortune, and shed his second wife.

He continued dating the woman he was seeing while married to wife No. 2. In 2005, Trump made that girlfriend wife No. 3, about five years after Gingrich married for the third time.

Both men are now tied for the lead.

And, if a Trump-Gingrich ticket is successful in November, could we witness a tiebreaker and fourth nuptial in the White House?

What, in the name of the nuclear family and a moral society, will Donald Trump do next?

Afraid to ask.

 

By: Colbert I. King, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, July 1, 2016

July 2, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Family Values, Newt Gingrich | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Oh, The Irony”: Donald Trump Just Asked Judge Gonzalo Curiel For A HUGE Favor

Oh, the irony.

After calling Judge Gonzalo Curiel a “Trump hater” and casting aspersions on his objectivity because of his “Mexican” heritage, Donald Trump is now asking Curiel to help him out by not releasing video footage of his depositions in the Trump University wealth seminar lawsuits over which Curiel is presiding.

As reported by Politico, the presumptive Republican nominee’s lawyers are doing everything they can to stop the public from seeing the tapes, arguing that the videos should be kept hidden because of Trump’s status as a presidential candidate. “Undoubtedly, these videos…will be used by the media and others in connection with the presidential campaign,” read a motion filed on Wednesday night with Judge Curiel. From Politico: 

“‘[V]ideotapes are subject to a higher degree of potential abuse than transcripts. They can be cut and spliced and used as “soundbites” on the evening news or sports shows….’ And unlike in other cases where it was unclear that ‘out of context snippets’ would be broadcast because the ‘media frenzy’ around the case had died down…the ‘media frenzy’ surrounding this case is certain to continue through the election,” Trump’s legal team added, quoting cases from federal trial courts in Indiana and New York.

To support their point, Trump lawyers cited several federal appeals court rulings rejecting the release of videotaped depositions by Bill Clinton when he was a sitting president.

“These same cautions and concerns apply with full force here to a presidential candidate whose every move is being covered by the media. Mr. Trump may be a sitting President by the time [one of the Trump University’s suits] goes to trial, in which case these principles apply with even greater force,” wrote Trump’s lawyers, lawyers referring the November 28th trial date that Judge Curiel has set.

The Trump camp’s move comes after a coalition of major media organizations, including The New York Times and Chicago Tribune, filed a motion for the footage’s release on June 11. Even Fox News joined their effort on June 16.

 

By: Germania Rodriguez, The National Memo, June 17, 2016

June 19, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Gonzalo Curiel, Trump University | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Trump’s Delusions Of Competence”: Running A National Economy Is Nothing Like Running A Business

In general, you shouldn’t pay much attention to polls at this point, especially with Republicans unifying around Donald Trump while Bernie Sanders hasn’t conceded the inevitable. Still, I was struck by several recent polls showing Mr. Trump favored over Hillary Clinton on the question of who can best manage the economy.

This is pretty remarkable given the incoherence and wild irresponsibility of Mr. Trump’s policy pronouncements. Granted, most voters probably don’t know anything about that, in part thanks to substance-free news coverage. But if voters don’t know anything about Mr. Trump’s policies, why their favorable impression of his economic management skills?

The answer, I suspect, is that voters see Mr. Trump as a hugely successful businessman, and they believe that business success translates into economic expertise. They are, however, probably wrong about the first, and definitely wrong about the second: Even genuinely brilliant businesspeople are often clueless about economic policy.

An aside: In part this is surely a partisan thing. Over the years, polls have generally, although not universally, shown Republicans trusted over Democrats to manage the economy, even though the economy has consistently performed better under Democratic presidents. But Republicans are much better at promoting legends — for example, by constantly hyping economic and jobs growth under Ronald Reagan, even though the Reagan record was easily surpassed under Bill Clinton.

Back to Mr. Trump: One of the many peculiar things about his run for the White House is that it rests heavily on his claims of being a masterful businessman, yet it’s far from clear how good he really is at the “art of the deal.” Independent estimates suggest that he’s much less wealthy than he says he is, and probably has much lower income than he claims to have, too. But since he has broken with all precedents by refusing to release his tax returns, it’s impossible to resolve such disputes. (And maybe that’s why he won’t release those returns.)

Remember, too, that Mr. Trump is a clear case of someone born on third base who imagines that he hit a triple: He inherited a fortune, and it’s far from clear that he has expanded that fortune any more than he would have if he had simply parked the money in an index fund.

But leave questions about whether Mr. Trump is the business genius he claims to be on one side. Does business success carry with it the knowledge and instincts needed to make good economic policy? No, it doesn’t.

True, the historical record isn’t much of a guide, since only one modern president had a previous successful career in business. And maybe Herbert Hoover was an outlier.

But while we haven’t had many business leaders in the White House, we do know what kind of advice prominent businessmen give on economic policy. And it’s often startlingly bad, for two reasons. One is that wealthy, powerful people sometimes don’t know what they don’t know — and who’s going to tell them? The other is that a country is nothing like a corporation, and running a national economy is nothing like running a business.

Here’s a specific, and relevant, example of the difference. Last fall, the now-presumed Republican nominee declared: “Our wages are too high. We have to compete with other countries.” Then, as has happened often in this campaign, Mr. Trump denied that he had said what he had, in fact, said — straight talker, my toupee. But never mind.

The truth is that wage cuts are the last thing America needs right now: We sell most of what we produce to ourselves, and wage cuts would hurt domestic sales by reducing purchasing power and increasing the burden of private-sector debt. Lower wages probably wouldn’t even help the fraction of the U.S. economy that competes internationally, since they would normally lead to a stronger dollar, negating any competitive advantage.

The point, however, is that these feedback effects from wage cuts aren’t the sort of things even very smart business leaders need to take into account to run their companies. Businesses sell stuff to other people; they don’t need to worry about the effect of their cost-cutting measures on demand for their products. Managing national economic policy, on the other hand, is all about the feedback.

I’m not saying that business success is inherently disqualifying when it comes to policy making. A tycoon who has enough humility to realize that he doesn’t already know all the answers, and is willing to listen to other people even when they contradict him, could do fine as an economic manager. But does this describe anyone currently running for president?

The truth is that the idea that Donald Trump, of all people, knows how to run the U.S. economy is ludicrous. But will voters ever recognize that truth?

 

By: Paul Krugman, Op-Ed Columnist, The New York Times, May 27, 2016

May 30, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Economic Policy, Economy | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Keeping The Jackasses Out Of Power”: Trump’s Unique Ability To Help Clinton Unite Democrats

One of the most common questions in Democratic politics is obvious, though it’s not easy to answer: Once the primaries are over, how will Hillary Clinton unify progressive voters ahead of the general election? Much of the discussion involves speculation about Bernie Sanders’ strategy, the party’s convention, the party’s platform, Clinton’s eventual running mate, etc.

But there’s a piece to this puzzle that sometimes goes overlooked: Clinton will try to bring Democrats and progressive independents together, but it’s Donald Trump who’ll seal the deal.

Last October, Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi covered the House Republicans’ Benghazi Committee and its 11-hour grilling of Clinton, and he wrote a very memorable piece soon after. Taibbi, a Clinton detractor, conceded at the time that he started to feel more sympathetic towards the Democrat, not out of pity, but in response to the GOP’s outrageous antics.

Those idiots represent everything that is wrong not just with the Republican Party, but with modern politics in general. It’s hard to imagine a political compromise that wouldn’t be justified if its true aim would be to keep people like those jackasses out of power.

In context, none of this had anything to do with Bernie Sanders or the Democratic primary, but Taibbi’s point – there’s value in compromise if it means keeping “those jackasses out of power” – lingered in my mind because I suspect many of Sanders’ die-hard supporters will be making a similar calculation in the coming months.

And Donald Trump, whether he realizes it or not, is going to help.

This is sometimes forgotten, but for much of Bill Clinton’s presidency, he was popular with Democrats, but not that popular. The former president developed a reputation, which was well deserved, for adopting a “triangulation” posture and taking advice from the likes of Dick Morris. Among congressional Democrats at the time, they supported Clinton, but often through gritted teeth.

How did Bill Clinton eventually bring Democrats together, uniting them behind his presidency? He didn’t; Tom DeLay did. The more intense the congressional Republicans’ anti-Clinton crusade became – culminating, of course, in impeachment – the more congressional Democrats rallied around their ally in the White House. It wasn’t overly complicated: Dems may have been annoyed by the president triangulating, but they were far more disgusted with Republican extremism.

Nearly two decades later, consider how Donald Trump is shifting his focus to the 2016 general election: Trump is attacking Hillary Clinton over her gender; he’s blaming her for ’90s-era sex scandals; and in a line of attack that no sane person should consider normal, he’s suggesting that she might have had something to do with Vince Foster’s death. You’ve heard the cliche, campaigns are always about the future? The presumptive Republican nominee, who has no real policy agenda or specific goals of his own, has decided this campaign is entirely about the past.

There may be Republican voters who find all of this compelling, but let’s not discount the fact that these are the kind of attacks that also motivate Democratic and progressive voters in the opposite direction.

The number of liberal Sanders supporters watching the news this week, eager to hear more from Trump about Vince Foster conspiracy theories, is probably infinitesimally small. But the number of progressive voters watching all of this unfold, thinking about keeping “people like those jackasses out of power,” is probably quite high.

The question of how Clinton and Sanders will reconcile, keeping left-of-center voters together, obviously matters. But the question of how many of these same voters will gravitate to Clinton instinctively out of contempt for the Republican nominee may end up mattering just as much.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, May 25, 2016

May 26, 2016 Posted by | Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Hysteria Of The Hillary Haters”: An Exaggerated Animosity Lacking Any Rational Connection To Reality

Over the past few weeks, Republican politicians and party officials have begun the dreary and demoralizing work of reconciling themselves to the prospect of Donald Trump serving as the GOP’s presidential nominee.

Conservative writers and intellectuals, by contrast, have been more obstinate.

A few have come out in grudging and grumbling support of the likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Most of the others, meanwhile, have expressed disgust at the prospect of having to choose between Trump and Clinton at all. This has inspired a small group of dissenters to fasten onto the fantasy of sparking a “true conservative” third-party challenge to Trump.

But many of the rest seem inclined to settle into a pox-on-both-your-houses position: Trump’s unfitness to serve as president is obvious, running the gamut from wholesale ignorance about policy to temperamental volatility and authoritarian instincts that alarm every informed and responsible observer. But Clinton is no better. She’s corrupt! She can’t be trusted! She isn’t qualified to be president! And oh boy, is she unlikeable!

This implies that the most responsible thing for a conservative to do is refrain from voting at all.

That would be foolish. Does Clinton have flaws? You bet she does. But the Hillary hatred that seems to motivate the right’s most adamant objections to her ascending to the presidency is rooted in unfair and exaggerated animosity lacking any rational connection to reality.

The national threat posed by a potential President Trump more than justifies that conservatives promptly get over it.

I can certainly understand ambivalence about Clinton. I feel some of it myself, even though she’s pretty close to my ideological (neoliberal) sweet spot on domestic policy. My hesitation comes mainly from the air of scandal that, as I’ve put it before, seems to follow her and her husband around like the cloud of filth that trails Pig-Pen from Peanuts. If I also opposed her economic agenda, as most conservatives do, I could imagine that concern curdling into something harsher.

On the other hand, I have strong objections to Clinton on foreign policy, where I think her hawkish instincts (on Iraq, Libya, and Syria) have led her badly astray on numerous occasions — and where conservatives probably find her outlook pretty congenial.

That’s a mixed bag. But under present circumstances, it should be good enough to win her conservative support, however reluctant.

Those on the other side usually begin with the signs of corruption that trouble me as well.

The contrast with Barack Obama is instructive. Contending with a rabidly hostile Congress for five of his seven years as president, Obama has nonetheless managed to avoid becoming embroiled in any significant scandals. There have been no subpoenas of White House staff, no special prosecutors.

Is it even conceivable that a Hillary Clinton administration would be so clean? Not a chance. From the string of scandals during Bill Clinton’s presidency (including an impeachment proceeding) to Hillary Clinton’s email imbroglio to signs of questionable practices at the Clinton Global Initiative, the Clintons seem to be plagued by a mix of bad luck and congenitally poor judgment that we have every reason to assume would follow them back to the White House.

But here’s the thing: Every single accusation is trivial. Petty. Penny-ante. Yes, even the business about Clinton’s private email server. And especially the septic tank full of hyped-up, conspiracy-laden nonsense that goes by the name of “Benghazi.” (If well-meaning members of the conservative movement want to explore how the Republican electorate ended up hoodwinked by a transparent charlatan-demagogue like Donald Trump, they could do worse than reflecting on their own complicity in publicizing, or at least failing to defuse, this endless, cockamamie “scandal.”)

In an ideal political world, all administrations would be as clean as Obama’s. But as the events of this election cycle have demonstrated quite vividly, this is most emphatically not an ideal political world — and in the deeply troubling world we do inhabit, the prospect of a president dogged by minor scandals shouldn’t distract us from the far higher stakes involved in the upcoming election.

As for the other conservative objections to Clinton, they are even less compelling.

She’s unqualified? Compared to whom? Clinton’s been a successful lawyer. A first lady. A senator. A secretary of state. If that isn’t a stellar resume for a would-be president, I don’t know what would be. It’s certainly far more impressive than Barack Obama’s remarkably modest list of accomplishments when he ran for president — let alone Trump’s background of inheriting a few hundred million dollars and using that wealth to play a real-life game of Monopoly in the richest real estate market in the country (while still managing to file for bankruptcy four times).

Can Clinton be trusted? Probably no more or less than any other politician. Public servants go where the votes are, and in a primary season in which she’s had to fight a left-wing insurgency against the Democratic establishment and her husband’s centrist legacy as president, Clinton has undeniably moved modestly to the left. The question is whether it’s possible to imagine any presidential hopeful in the same situation not doing precisely the same thing. I think the answer is no.

Finally, there’s Clinton’s likeability. Follow conservatives on Twitter during a Clinton speech and you’ll hear the litany. She shouts. She hectors. She condescends. She’s shrill. She laughs in a really annoying way.

I’ll give Clinton’s conservative critics this: She isn’t the most charismatic politician in the world. But you know what? That’s her problem, not anyone else’s. If the voters find her sufficiently off-putting, they won’t elect her. The question is whether, when conservatives are presented with a candidate whose defects go far beyond style, they will be willing to put the good of the country ahead of what really is a merely aesthetic objection.

The path ahead for conservatives is clear. If they want to assure that Donald Trump loses, they need to assure that Hillary Clinton wins.

 

By: Damon Linker, The Week, May 19, 2016

May 22, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Election 2016, Hillary Clinton | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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