A Question of Experience

16 Oct

One of the claims made by Hillary Clinton’s supporters is that she has plenty of useful experience to support her, when (if) she assumes the position of President of the United States. And yes, on the face of it, Hillary’s resume is impressive …

And yet, when I was looking at her Wikipedia page (I was researching for something altogether different), something kept nagging at my mind.

USA-ELECTION/CLINTON

Hillary had held many positions, some quite senior. But she has never been in a post with “the buck stops here” responsibility.

George W. Bush was Governor of Texas. Bill Clinton was Governor of Arkansas. George HW Bush was Director of Central Intelligence. Ronald Reagan was Governor of California. Jimmy Carter was Governor of Georgia. With the exception of Obama, about which more later, you have to look as far back as Gerald Ford to find a President without “the buck stops here” experience. And Ford was never expected to be President.

Now, there are certain kinds of experience that can be used in multiple roles. Eisenhower’s experience in WW2 prepared him for his term as President. He had a lot of experience with senior military officials, the logistics of war, foreign concerns and (among other things) knew when his advisors were trying to snowball him. This is, of course, sometimes a major problem – Jefferson Davis (who can reasonably be counted as a major US political figure) acted as his own Secretary of War, which caused headaches for the CSA).

Hillary Clinton does not have this sort of experience.

She was a Senator, true (and famously pledged to concentrate on her people before deciding to run for President in 2008). Bear in mind that she ran for a very safe democratic seat. I don’t think she faced a real contest before the 2008 battle for the nomination. Regardless, Senators are rarely in “the buck stops here” positions. I don’t believe she was ever in a position when she had to make a decision and stick to it, let alone face the consequences of her actions. The way politicians respond to crises is inherently unpredictable, but Hillary was never in a position where she could be tested in fire. Benghazi, perhaps the sole exception, was a complete disaster.

Obama had much the same problem, when he entered office in 2009. His political resume was thinner than just about every president for the last decade. He had very little experience in politics and next to nothing outside it. Obama was no military officer, no businessman … he wasn’t even a state governor. Is it any wonder that the praise showered on him by the media and foreign governments went to his head? And Obama has a fair claim to being the worst President since Buchannan.

The fundamental difference between Obama and Putin (and Hillary and Putin) is that Putin understands the realities of power while Obama does not. Obama is driven by wishful thinking, by the belief that he can adjust geopolitical realities at will; Putin is driven by hard-nosed realism, by the awareness that an understanding of the world is necessary before one seeks to change it. Obama thinks he can change his mind on a whim, that there will be no long-term consequences for his actions; Putin understands that one has to be consistent, that one always has to keep one’s eye on the prize.

Obama had a great hand and played it poorly; Putin had a weak hand and played it very well indeed. One does not have to like the man (and I think we will be fighting him sooner or later) to admire the scale of his achievement.

There is no reason to think that Hillary Clinton will do any better. Indeed, there is a great deal of reason to think the opposite. Hillary thinks nothing of selling out her allies – Britain and the Falklands – or simply betraying them when it becomes politically convenient – President Mubarak, for example. (Yes, President Mubarak was a swine – but turning on him set a dangerous precedent.) Nor does she give much of a damn about the damage she has caused to American national security or the sheer level of encouragement she has given to rogue regimes.

Hillary Clinton is an intellectual in the worst possible sense. Like most intellectuals, she commits the grievous error of mistaking her conception of reality for actual reality. (Like an author creating utopia on the page.) Unlike most intellectuals, she has been in a position to influence events on a global scale – and is reaching for the most influential position in the world. And yet, there is no sign that she understands either its limitations or the problems she will have to solve.

Hillary has not learnt from her experience, such as it is, or from anyone else’s experience. I don’t believe she will be any match for Putin, let alone any of the other challengers America will face in the coming years. And that will be very unfortunate as Putin – and the others – seek to consolidate their gains.

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49 Responses to “A Question of Experience”

  1. Don Yu October 16, 2016 at 10:29 am #

    Since Trump thinks that Putin is better leader as Pence too so I can see it going well for Putin if Trump wins the election.

  2. rhinorog October 16, 2016 at 10:43 am #

    The president is supposed to be a chief executive. A solid CEO knows their limitations and surrounds themselves with people that know what they are doing and gives them free rein to succeed. What a successful CEO is NOT is a bureaucrat that surrounds themselves with yes men.

  3. Bagsy October 16, 2016 at 11:23 am #

    I agree with Chris here. I do think Clinton will be at the best ineffectual as a president, if not a disaster (though she and her friends will probably do very well personally out of the presidency), But I must admit the Americans seem to be faced with two bad choices as Trump seems to be getting a little more loony each day. I think Clinton’s presidency (if it happens) will see decisions which will benefit The U.S’s enemies and dismay her allies. I can certainly see the Russians and China taking advantage by asserting themselves in areas of the globe where the West has let down their allies and are not trusted. China and Russia seem to be happy using “Real Politik” and are both strong enough to not worry about what other countries think especially as in recent years the West has proven itself more concerned with useless threats with no real will to back them up.
    To be fair to the US though, Clinton and Obama are not the only ones who do not seem to live in or have any experience of any sort of the real world. The vast majority of Western politicians seem to be the same most don’t understand how the real world works until it slaps them in the face even then they often continue to deny reality. The British establishment continually persecutes soldiers for doing their job in a war for instance whilst having no understanding of the stresses and strains placed upon a soldier. (I must add here I do not condone soldier killing for no reason) But the left seems to think it can apply civilian standards to war situations. The SNP is another instance of politicians living in a fantasy world thinking that Scotland can continue with its huge welfare state and its people paying the same taxes if it becomes independent. I have to wonder where Nicola Sturgeon thinks all of the extra money she would need will come from. It is not as if she can magic up masses of extra exports and to rely on the oil price would be foolhardy.
    The EU politicians are another example they live in a constant state of denial about what their own people want and need and indeed the EU’s strength and importance. Certainly Putin does not think of them as a united threat, indeed he has lots of evidence, to his mind, that the EU is a house of cards waiting to fall apart (which I think it will if it continues on its current path of actually ignoring the concerns of its citizens).
    These are not the only examples there are plenty more and as long as countries like the US and the UK etc.continue to have the option to only elect politicians whose only real experience is being a politician then we shall grow weaker and democracy itself will suffer as more and more people either do not bother to vote or turn to extreme politicians with possibly severe consequences indeed I can eventually see the return of dictators to the West if we continue down the path we are on now.

  4. PhilippeO October 16, 2016 at 12:21 pm #

    and Trump does ? he repeatedly avoided bankcruptcy by relying in his father, swindling his creditor and investor.

    beside, your criteria for ‘buck stops here’ seems undefined. you assume governor and military official make final decision, while civil official and legislative are not. governor do ask for federal help, cooperate with legislative, and several escape consequence by simple delaying consequence until their term over. civil and legislative also made many decision every day, most law and regulation depend on thousands of decision from hundred of people.

    what ‘realities of power’ that Putin understand and Western leader did not ? Putin plunge his country to Islamic conflict while 20% of his citizen are Muslims, make his countries economy depended entirely on oil, and weaken his country power groups making it depend entirely on KGB.

    conservative as whole seems to confuse aggressitivity, brutality, and every minor battle victory with ‘reality’. in the absence of war, None, none factor conservative or liberal use for their guidance is actually ‘reality’. any factor use to judge effectivenes, power, or national strength whether its weapon, military doctrine, int alliance, economic power, etc is actually ‘proven’. conservative ‘ reality’ could easily be as false or unimportant as liberal ‘reality’.

    in essence, since wwii over, no ‘prove’ has surfaced about whether any decision actually has ‘consequences’. even sputnik, apollo, korea, vietnam, afghanistan didn’t actually result in losing side defeated.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard October 16, 2016 at 2:26 pm #

      Yet people like you claim terrible “consequences” if Trump gets elected.

      • Don Yu October 16, 2016 at 2:52 pm #

        Yet people like you claim terrible “consequences” if Hillary gets elected.

      • PhilippeO October 17, 2016 at 12:40 pm #

        consequences to minority ? to rule of law ? to economy ? that absolutely will be terrible.

        what i mean is consequences about ‘realities of power’. realities could only be understood through war and societal collapse.

        i always think conservative boast that they understand ‘reality’ is foolish. its like argument that Zulu ‘toughness’, aggresivity, or ‘pureness’ would give them victory over soft British Empire, Germany also make same argument and lost two war.

        personally i think that absorbtion of minority, prevention of strong elite class, and help to the poor would make longer lasting society. But i dont have any evidence, only historical anecdote.

        for prove you had to wait until collapse. it might be ISIS religious society, Japan ethnically pure society, Russia Putinism, or Somaly libertarian society outlast multicultural social-democratic society like Sweden, USA, or India. if that the case, you will have prove that liberal socialism is mistake.

      • Richard Parks October 17, 2016 at 10:24 pm #

        Phil
        I don’t want to be the one on the bottom WHEN your experiment fails, and yes it will fail.

      • Jack Hudler October 18, 2016 at 4:44 am #

        With Hilary as a socialist elite, this maybe the determinant for your proof that ‘liberal socialism is a mistake’

  5. Billy October 16, 2016 at 2:54 pm #

    Ummm

    It’s already happening, showing where Hillary will lead us.

    Russia is calling all it’s people home to the homeland and getting the nukes ready. It is saying that on Drudge etc

    While the CIA is publicly saying they are getting ready to Cyber Attack Russia.

    Sooooo

    The CIA Cyber Attacks and Russia responds with Nukes.

    Our Prez and Liberal Hillary are (I don’t ever use profanity) but they are Dumb ***’s

  6. shrekgrinch October 16, 2016 at 3:05 pm #

    This is why most presidents voters elect are former governors, vice presidents and generals (pretty much in that order). Prior to Obama, only two candidates from Congress had ever been elected. JFK was the last before Obama…but even JFK had military executive experience as an officer. The PT-109 incident showed that.

  7. David Graf October 16, 2016 at 3:29 pm #

    I’m not sure why your blog is becoming more and more political. I’d rather read more about your books.

  8. Dan October 16, 2016 at 4:00 pm #

    It is unfortunate for me that I am in the last few books of the David Weber / Honor Harrington series.

    Cliton reminds me of High Ridge (and his cronies), while pre-Silesia Klaus Hauptamann is Trumps literary clone…

    Expect similar results.

    • Jack Hudler October 18, 2016 at 4:53 am #

      The last few books for me are horrendous reads. Because you’ve apparently read them back to back, I’d be curious see what you think of those last few.
      The Safehold series is the only remaining series I’m reading. It is also the last series that I began by reading from a brick and mortar Barnes Noble in the hardback edition. However, if he doesn’t hurry up and go somewhere with it, or publish at a fast rate, I may drop this series like Honor Harrington.

  9. Jack Hudler October 16, 2016 at 5:14 pm #

    Well reasoned and presented argument.
    Though at this point, with so many polarising views, I don’t think there are many fence sitters left over here.
    Still it’s refreshing to see an article that’s outside all the rhetoric being bandied about.

    I’m voting for Trump for three reasons; that he is the ultimate outsider; a mutli-billion dollar businessman; the only one left. And to borrow from you; he knows the meaning of ‘the buck stops (i guess that four now).

    HRC? You have to put blinders on to ignore her screwups from lack of leadership. You have to be out of your mind to vote for someone who’s failed every leadership test she ever been given.

  10. robert godfrey October 16, 2016 at 6:43 pm #

    Obama isn’t even the worse president since GW Bush, Not great, sure, but not terrible either. Trump however has spent his entire time dodging the ‘buck’ stopping anywhere near him, refusing to pay contractors, ruining cities with pie in the sky dreams that he comes out of hugely wealthy, a ‘charity’ that is under criminal investigation, declarations about the use and proliferation of nuclear weapons that are frankly terrifying, demands that US allies ‘hire’ the US military. Clinton is a politician, a probably corrupt one, but that can be survived, I am not sure a Trump presidency would not be a complete disaster, with Russia annexing large parts of Ukraine, and threatening Eastern Europe, an eastern europe that could no longer count on NATO..that is a terrifying vision.

    • Jack Hudler October 16, 2016 at 8:41 pm #

      Robert, You can’t make the money that Trump does by passing the buck.
      Why are you attributing the refusal to pay contractors as something bad.
      I’ve refuse to pay a contractor because they didn’t do the job to the satisfaction of not only myself but the city inspector whose job it is to that the job is completed correctly. Remember a contractor can place lien on the property. Mine did and was thrown out before it reached arbitration.
      Trump is a businessman, your comments would have weight if there were thousands of contractors with their concomitant lawsuits. But there’s not thousands of lawsuits, only a few that bitch and moan and allow themselves to be used by Hillary to show something nefarious about Trump. In the end it’s business, you do the job, you get paid, don’t, well…
      You have to look past the bullshit rhetoric to see what’s really going on.

    • sjallen343 October 17, 2016 at 10:46 am #

      The main problem that the US has is that it’s broke. Really, really broke. Staggeringly, stupidly, completely avoidably, broke.

      Until you see the scale of things that the US does then I don’t think you can completely understand just how much money it costs to run even a small war. Yes, you can say billions and trillions, but in your head thats just a really big number that nobody’s brain can really wrap itself around.

      But go and look and see what they do and you’ll understand… thats a whole lot of money.

      Trump makes money. He’s been broke before and got himself out of it. Does it matter how as long as it wasn’t illegal? He hasn’t been investigated for anything like that as far as I know. So what if he did ask daddy for help, the US is not without friends. They’re getting fewer by the day, but Trump understands money and the US needs a businessman right now.

      Or you can look at how things are going now and just imagine, for a few seconds, the utter chaos that would explode if all of those unemployed and unemployable rioters suddenly stopped getting their welfare checks. Country goes broke, welfare stops coming. Country then gets burned to the ground by the unwashed masses.

      Personally, I’d enjoy it.

      I don’t think that anyone without an incredibly dangerous mindset can make that claim though.

      Now how do we stop the above from happening? Well, you need to find jobs for the unemployable. Not easy, but you start with things that require no formal education. Jobs like those that illegal immigrants tend to get hired for. How to keep those jobs for US citizens who want to be paid more for lower quality work… Maybe building a wall would send the right sort of message?

      Then maybe, just maybe, you’d get to thinking that a country that cannot control it’s own borders is really more of a suggestion. How can you have any sort of real unity or loyalty if anyone can just wander in whenever they want? So harden and enforce border laws.

      Once the unwashed get paying jobs, they start paying taxes. Not much, but every bit helps. They also make money which goes back into the economy. All good things. Slowly getting rid of that debt here.

      How about we make it a bit easier on them then? Sounds fair enough. Looks like we might need someone who understands the tax laws inside an out so that the super rich pay their fair share.

      I could go on, but I think you get the point. For a quick comparison you can have a look at the ins and outs of how Clinton raised her money. The word bribery comes to mind. That always ends well…

      • shrekgrinch October 18, 2016 at 9:53 pm #

        The US isn’t really broke. All those stupid foreigners holding US Treasuries are.

        There’s a saying that applies here:

        When you owe the bank $10,000 and can’t pay, then you are in trouble. When you owe the bank $10 Trillion and can’t pay, then it is the bank who is in trouble.

        Always remember that.

      • Jack Hudler October 18, 2016 at 11:38 pm #

        $10 trillion would be impossible, $0 billion would be criminal.

      • shrekgrinch October 19, 2016 at 5:00 am #

        US debt exceeds $10 trillion right now. Where have you been?

      • Jack Hudler October 19, 2016 at 8:09 pm #

        It’s not held by one bank.

      • shrekgrinch October 19, 2016 at 11:28 pm #

        So what? Doesn’t matter. The concept is the same. In this case, the rest of the world is ‘the bank’..specifically, central banks that use US treasuries as their reserves or part of them. They pay interest instead of holding just cash, that is why.

        See, the day the US Dollar’s reserve currency status dies is the day that the majority of the world’s central banks go down the tubes too. It’s like a dead man’s switch.This is why the central banks are scared of dumping Treasuries all at once or threaten to in order to reel in Washington. And Washington knows this…hence why they keep on churning out more and more debt until the music stops on its own. And when it stops, massive hyperinflation will come to the dollar, which will wipe out all remaining dollar denominated debts everywhere, not just the Treasuries…and the US will start over again with a new, debt-free currency. I am betting that Gold will once again become the banking reserve commodity of choice again too.

        It’s a wonderful scam, you see. I am glad it is my country that runs it.

      • Jack Hudler October 19, 2016 at 11:44 pm #

        Wouldn’t call it scared, more like; shooting yourself in the head.

      • shrekgrinch October 19, 2016 at 11:55 pm #

        How is issuing out intrinsically worthless pieces of paper in exchange for real goods and services constitute ‘shooting ourselves in the head’?

        It is called, “bleeding the sucker dry” instead. The sucker in this case being the rest of the world.

  11. Don Yu October 16, 2016 at 10:34 pm #

    I got a serious question since there is lot of Trump supporters here. As Trump saying that the election is rigged if he does not win. Do people here think that the election fraud is wide spread and if Clinton wins then vote of Trump supporter was taken away?

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard October 16, 2016 at 11:34 pm #

      Concern about Voter Fraud by Democrats predates Trump’s run for the Presidency.

      When Nixon lost in JFK in Illinois there was plenty of concern about the Daley machine giving Illinois to JFK.

      Nixon decided not to challenge the Illinois vote against him.

      Now I don’t know if Trump can actually win a honest vote in Democratic controlled areas, but there is plenty of concern out there concerning Voter Fraud.

    • Jack Hudler October 17, 2016 at 1:30 am #

      I remember something about Johnson stuffing ballots in the 60’s. It was a lot easier back then. No doubt, ballot ‘irregularities’ have been going on since time immemorial.

      • Mike Strong October 17, 2016 at 4:22 am #

        They called LBJ Landslide Johnson because he won an election by 87 votes. This was after a recount. One of the oddities was that in District 13 202 ballots were cast for Johnson and all in alphabetical order. This was actually in the 1948 senate race in Texas.

      • Jack Hudler October 17, 2016 at 4:25 am #

        LOL 60’s what was I thinking. Yep it was the 40’s

  12. Billy October 17, 2016 at 1:49 am #

    I have been trying to figure out who all these Hillary Voters actually are.

    Hillary has a rally and very very few people show up.

    Trump has a rally and there are thousands upon thousands that show up.

    • Jack Hudler October 18, 2016 at 4:33 am #

      Makes you wonder about those polls doesn’t it?

    • shrekgrinch October 18, 2016 at 9:57 pm #

      And nobody is putting up lawn signs for Hillary but plenty are for Trump, too.

      Polls are all rigged. Mostly via weighting them with Democrats over Republicans. Or, they are flat out fraudulent like the one that got caught being founded/financed by a Hillary SUPER-PAC.

      This happened when the pollsters blew it on Reagan vs Carter in 1980, Daddy Bush vs Dukakis in ’88. The list goes on.

      GOP primary participation this year was 150% over that of 2008’s. Many of that were Democrats who switched parties. Meanwhile, Dems saw a drop.

  13. G October 17, 2016 at 4:54 am #

    The question of experience is that of experience in government–Hillary has it, Trump doesn’t–whether you view this as a positive or negative depends on your political views–but losing almost $1 billion in a single year either makes Trump a lousy businessman, or, if the losses were paper losses and he didn’t pay taxes for more than a decade, then he’s one of the 1% screwing the American public…

    • Jack Hudler October 17, 2016 at 6:04 am #

      Well if every investment went up in value, I’d agree. However, they do not. You try an invest intelligently and hope it works out, it’s no different from investing in the stock market. Trump doesn’t control the market, so you can’t expect him to always profit.
      Also this not paying taxes argument is ridiculous, he pays taxes, and he takes the legally allowed tax credits (no they’re not loopholes; no such thing) just like you or I do. You’d have to be a fool not too, that’s why they are there.

  14. thundercloud47 October 17, 2016 at 6:58 am #

    I’ve got to agree with you here Chis.

    I worked for almost 35 years at one job. I saw the rise and sometimes the fall of many people.

    Hillary reminds me of the people I called climbers at work. They never stayed in one position long enough for their mistakes to catch up with them. It was always the person who took their old position who wound up catching flack.

    When this type person does make a mistake they will make sure someone else is thrown under the bus. Preferably several someones because that takes attention away from them.

    I’ve brought serious problems up to folks like these only to be ignored. Sometimes they’d say ” Oh we will take care of that at the meeting next Tuesday.” The meeting comes and they allow it to be hijacked by idiots talking about their latest shopping trip or discussing some new fashion that was all the rage. I call them idiots because the situations we discussed were usually life or death.

    It did not matter to them. If something bad happened they could always fire someone like me. I did not get fired but many of my co-workers like me did.

    My wife worked at the same place as I did. One day a murder actually occurred. The people who worked in that area acted as if nothing at all happened. You’d have to know my wife to appreciate what I’m about to say here. She’s a nice person, a religous person who fussing at me occasionally about my language.

    The say after the murder she cornered me on the parking lot. Her eyes were like the muzzles of a double barrel shotgun.” She says to me ” We just had a murder and these clueless motherfuckers are pretending it did not happen.” ” I’m retiring and I want you to swear to me that you will too!” I did swear I’d retire. BTW I’m 6’6″ tall and weigh 350 pounds. She is 5’5″ and much lighter. She was so mad I think she could have taken me that day.

    We both retired. The leader of that area was fired. When I told a friend of mine about that he said; ” Oh I gotta have a cigarette!” ” News like that is just as good as sex.”

  15. Tarun Elankath October 17, 2016 at 12:50 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    First of all – I am not a clinton supporter. However, lets be brutally honest here – in contrasting clinton and trump on the point of experience, I see clinton as a clear winner. Trump has *zero* political experience, behaves like a surly and moody child whenever he is contradicted on facts and cannot seem to get along with any of his party members. A 13 year teenager can be a better president than Trump. (My niece of that age is better educated, more mature and educated in current affairs than Trump)

    If Clinton was not a warmonger, I would immediately vote for her (despite her corrupt dealings with the Clinton foundation). Unfortunately, she has way too many debts to pay to the military industries. Clinton tops the list of arms company donations and has done so now for several years. She will be extremely aggressive in pursuing covert and overt action in Syria against Assad, proceeding to initiate a Syrian collapse like the way it was orchestrated in Libya. Such a situation is a platinum deal for arms companies as it is an excuse for perpetual war and an infinite money sink where you can keep sending arms on the taxpayer money to the militia groups of your choice for years and decades without threat to American lives – all in the name of the War on Terror of course.

    Please note that the US already has ground troops (and yes these are ‘boots on the ground’) fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Libya. Adding Syria to that list is not a big jump if propaganda can make it happen.

    The only question is whether Putin will blink or not, accept SAA and some Russian casualties in a US campaign and withdraw support for Assad in a behind-the-scenes deal where Russia keeps their Syrian base and some limited autonomy in Syria at the cost of losing Assad. If he doesn’t blink, then the situation turns ugly, starting with a response against the USAF and probably expanding from there into an short, nasty war until enough American lives are lost to call for a ceasefire.

    I do not believe Putin will blink. He will accept Russian and SAA casualties until sufficient American casualties are inflicted to force Clinton into negotiations. The US is already stretched on several fronts. The Taliban are pushing the coalition back in Afghanistan, inflicting horrifying casualties on the Afghan military – over 4500 troops were killed in just four months this year. Also, if the US and Russia get into a limited war, then China has the opportunity to freely pursue their objectives in the South china sea. Taiwan can be easily annexed.

    The propaganda war has already begun against Russia. Casualties in Aleppo are being shown only from one side. ‘Al nusra’ and ‘al Sham’ head-cutters are now the ‘good’ guys – no matter if they shell children and civilians in West Aleppo and execute civilians who attempt to flee to government areas. This one sided reporting is a pretext to an American war in Syria against Assad. The planned clinton collapse of Syria hoping that Putin will back-off is a tremendous mistake and I shudder to think what might happen if this turns into an all out war.

    • Jack Hudler October 17, 2016 at 5:04 pm #

      Interesting, Trumps lack of political experience is one of the reasons I’m voting for him.
      America began as the great experiment; I see no reason to stop now.

  16. Big Ben October 17, 2016 at 6:28 pm #

    The only problem with the “buck stops here” debate is that you’re implying that Trump has been in that position when the consequences really mattered.
    I’m certainly not saying Hillary has, but neither has Trump, not when the security of a nation or lives were on the line.
    At least Hillary has been in situations where she’s had to (hopefully) work with political opponents. Trump is proving every single day that he is fundamentally incapable of working with a substantial portion of his own party, let alone the opposing party. He has conclusively proven to me that he can’t even work with his own VP pick, repeatedly contradicting things that Pence has said on several issues and occasions. During the second presidential debate Trump was asked why he and Pence espoused very different ideas on the Syrian issue. Trump said, “I haven’t talked to him and I disagree.” There was about a week between the VP debate and the second presidential debate. Is Trump saying that in the midst of a highly competitive campaign he and his number two man hadn’t spoken of a major geopolitical issue … at all?

    Trump has cut and run every time things got hard. Four major bankruptcies, two divorces (which the “family values” conservative crowd seems happy to ignore) … looks like this buck has never stopped anywhere.
    He is certainly a political outsider. According to Wikipedia he’s belonged to three political parties in the last quarter century, including the party he so vehemently denigrates now … the Republicans. This buck wanders everywhere.

    I just wish that both candidates and both campaigns would stop whacking at each other (and themselves) and focus on detailed policies – what they’re going to do and HOW they’re going to do it.
    Oh well, maybe next time.
    … why are you laughing?

    • Jack Hudler October 18, 2016 at 6:12 am #

      Four bankruptcies… I dunno if you’ve ever participated in a bankruptcy, but you’d soon find out where the buck stops. There’s no avoiding it and nothing immoral about declaring bankruptcy. In most cases it’s the only legal recourse you have to save a business and restructure it’s debt. Yes in the short term, it hurts people and creditors, no doubt about it, but a least they get their money in the end as opposed to Chapter 7, which he never used. He filed Chapter 11 which helped him reorganize his debt load and save his company.
      Don’t know how you can believe the buck doesn’t stop at Donald Trumps desk. He had to manage the restructuring until it was discharged. Ignore it, and the court steps in an finds a buyer or worst converts it to a Chapter 7 liquidates it all.
      As for CUT and RUN; you can’t do that and expect to ever start another company again. No company would do business with you on anything other than a cash only basis. That would make running a company as large as Trump’s, impossible without banking capital.

      Put yourself in Trumps shoes, if you CUT and RUN on your creditors and liquidated your assets giving contractors pennies on the dollar, would you ever be able to get contractors to work for you again? They maybe a little leery after a chapter 7, but you can always negotiate a new business relationship to assuage their fears.

      He’s a businessman, and apparently damn good at it. You can be that good with a reputation for shafting everyone around you, it’s just impossible.

      As for being divorced and the family values crowd; I’ve never heard of that group talking about divorce. While frowned upon, it’s a fact of life as we start living longer. Though if Trump was a dead beat dad like (liberal) Steve Jobs; you’d hear from them!

      • Jack Hudler October 18, 2016 at 6:18 am #

        Opps, ‘leery after chapter 11’, not Chapter 7

      • Big Ben October 20, 2016 at 9:24 pm #

        Here’s the only problem with your argument: Trump has said time and time again that he’s a fantastic businessman and he’ll use all his experience to run the United States like he runs his businesses.
        Yikes!!!!

        According to CNN, Forbes and other reputable publications, Trump’s Casino empire has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, “More often than any other major American corporation in the last 30 years.”
        More often than GM has been bailed out? Yep. Chrysler? Yep. More than any of the major airlines? Yep.
        …. More times than Argentina has defaulted? In the last 30 years, yep.
        Once is understandable. Twice … okay, stuff happens. But by the third time a pattern of incompetence and failure becomes established and by the fourth time it’s inexcusable.

        Five minutes of research at such publications as the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Bloomberg Financial, etc. and you’ll see that the big American banks and investment firms do not loan money to Trump, due almost entirely to his long history of failures. Where does he go to borrow money? Deutsche Bank, a German-based bank he owes more than $300,000,000.00 to.
        Now how would that work out if he becomes president, owing three hundred million to a foreign bank? Look up “Emoluments Clause” of the Constitution and you’ll see that the answer is not too well.

        Donald Trump is on record in an interview with Fox News saying that if he became president he would have his kids run his companies.
        When later asked if he would put his assets into a blind trust he dodged the question completely.
        In point of fact, having your kids or any other family member running your businesses and controlling your assets is not a blind trust.
        Just Google “Donald Trump blind trust” and see what a mess it would be. Don’t take my word for it, in just the first two pages of search results you’ll read remarkably consistent articles from publications such as The Wall Street Journal, CNN, LA Times, USA Today, Politico, NPR, Bloomberg, Slate, US News and World Report, the Washington Post and Newsweek.

        Every day more and more billionaire businessmen and women come out against Trump, from Buffett, Gates and Bloomberg to Cuban, Branson and Whitman. When true business titans from around the world excoriate Trump’s business acumen, I tend to pay attention.
        But the really telling is that many of these self-made billionaires speaking out against Trump are life-long republicans. Even the support and endorsement of the stalwart Koch Brothers is tepid, to say the least.

        Type “Trump employees lose pensions” into Google and see how many articles pop up. Thanks to all those bankruptcies, thousands of Trump’s employees have lost millions of dollars from their pension funds, as well as losing health care and other benefits negotiated in good faith.
        So Trump brags about his billions and how crafty he was utilizing the bankruptcy laws while walking away from his contractual obligations to those who don’t have the resources to fight back.
        Four times.

        Type in “Trump lawsuits” and be amazed. USA Today puts the number of lawsuits Trump has been involved in at around 3,500. Other websites put the number closer to 5,500. Either way, the overwhelming consensus is that Trump has been involved in more lawsuits than any other presidential candidate ever, “by a large margin.”
        Nothing illegal about that. But it does say something about the man, and none of it is complementary.
        Just to compare, since she became First Lady in the early nineties, Hillary Clinton has been involved in approximately 900 lawsuits. Through all the scandals, Travelgate, Whitewater, Lewinsky and Jones, Benghazi, the Clinton Foundation shenanigans, emails, etc., etc., etc., only 900 lawsuits to Trump’s 3,500+.

        I suppose if you only consider his current wealth and holdings, Trump could be considered an okay businessman for a billionaire. Most of his business contemporaries disagree, including Warren Buffett who basically said that a monkey has more business acumen than Trump. But I suppose an argument can be made.
        However when I consider how he got here, calling him a Modern Day Robber Baron isn’t far off the mark.

  17. Richard Parks October 17, 2016 at 10:07 pm #

    I think you hit the nail on the head Christopher.

  18. bexwhitt October 17, 2016 at 10:14 pm #

    Like Chris I’m a Brit so have no dog in this fight, but I would be a “I wish for a better candidate” voter. That said, letting Trump run riot for the next 4 years would probably make be vote for the career politician as business as usual is better than burning the house down IMOP.

    • Jack Hudler October 18, 2016 at 4:36 am #

      Continuing your burning metaphor; sometimes you have to burn an old growth forest to stimulate new growth and clear out all the deadwood lay around on the floor. Yellowstone National Park, (I believe) still has the let it burn policy on natural forest fires.

      • Jack Hudler October 18, 2016 at 4:38 am #

        Seen no reason it wouldn’t work in politics. Probably for the best.

      • bexwhitt October 18, 2016 at 4:31 pm #

        The political system in the US is a mess, that’s for sure but a doubt Trump will be the one to burn away any dead wood.
        Scrap the Tax code and start again, make the military justify every cent they spend, term limits, and I would suggest making congress a 4 year term so they spend more time working and less time begging for money.

  19. G October 19, 2016 at 5:11 am #

    Despite all its problems, the U.S. remains a wonderful country and the world’s pre-eminent power, locking in a pax Americana following a pax Europa that has given the world the last 500 years of technological and cultural advancement. Be careful what you wish for–once large forest fires are started, they can easily burn out of control far longer and further than you think…

  20. Bob October 22, 2016 at 5:49 pm #

    Chris, you have a point but I think it misses the mark. Outside of Al Gore, Dick Cheney or Joe Bidan, I don’t think we can point to any U.S. politician outside of maybe Jerry Brown who will have sufficient experience to be able to hit the ground running as President of the United States on Day one. I point to Jerry Brown only because he is a very long serving governor of a state that taken on its own has an economy, diversity, immigration issues, environmental issues and the list goes on that would rank it amongst the top democratic countries in the world. The other three are former vice presidents that we can look back to Bill Clinton making a significant change in the role of the vice president in the governing of the executive branch of the United States.

    That said there is a larger issue at stake and that is the interrelationship between the executive and legislative branches of the federal government. In addition, since 9/11 the executive branch has taken on a larger overriding control of governing domestic policies. I am not trying to setup to make an argument for or against this increased role as often when those arguments are made the nuances of the issues get lost in the rhetoric and often vitriol of conversations. This later issue is sadly why I look back to the days of Reagan and O’Neill. O’Neill and Bush Sr although of different parties and not always able to come to accord where able to retain civility. Much of that changes under Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich and slowly descended into a sluggish to visceral politics of today.

    Not long ago, I was reading an editorial about this and a comment was made that really hit home to me. What is the real cause of the change that has led to the inability of congress to get legislation through? The argument that you are making is that neither Barak Obama or now Hillary Clinton will have been in positions of top executive and for that reason they were unprepared to take ownership of poor decisions. I believe that is missing the boat by a large margin. What is interesting is that the advent of Cable News Networks begins with the presidency of Bill Clinton.

    We often hear the claim that CNN was liberal media but the very first time I ever heard this was until a few years after Fox News Network form in 1996 which happened to come about at an interesting time in political scandals. It is very clear now that Fox News Network takes a right slant but you could also say that they headline the news with provocative leads. They are not alone, Wolf Blitzer is famous for starting each of his 2 min segments with the words ‘Breaking News,’ even on items that are days old or that he may have previous stated just 30 min before. We now have numerous places to get fast and often slanted news coverage.

    So what has happened and where am I going with this. In years past most of us got our news either from a local paper or from a nightly news cast that went from 6:30 in the evening and tool half an hour. We might get a larger overview of a story on 60 minutes of Dateline. This meant there was more editing and often more vetting of a story. Today we are in a very different world and the speed to which an allegation or spin becomes ‘fact’ results in a polarizing environment. If a politician of either party tries to reach across the aisle or act civically with a counter part of the other party, this now becomes news fodder. We have become entrenched and we could if we want suggest this has led to populism and nationalism. Pandora’s box has been opened, the question now is how can we learn to communicate ideas across the political divide without it becoming so visceral.

    I am going to admit that I am not a Hillary Clinton supporter but I am by no means a Donald Trump supporter. We are at a difficult time and need leadership. This is at local levels, state levels and at all sides of the Federal Government. We have global and domestic issues that need discussion in more than a 2 min blurb on our news networks. It needs to be understood that politicians need to be able to seek council from their counter parts on both sides of the aisle. We need to cheer when different programs are tried and when the fail or don’t meant full expectations that it is ok. Learn, revise or try a new approach but let’s do so thoughtfully and respectfully. I do have one proposal that I would love to throw out there and see if it had merit. What if there was a bipartisan commission that any political advertisement had to go through that could rate the factual nature of advert? If the potential advert was proved to be false or misleading it could not be allowed if the campaign was falling under one of the tax free codes that either the campaign of their superpacs go through. Also what if they had to show two positively ranked ads for every negative ad that was used in paid advertisement? I suspect someone would think of a way around this but I for one would rather be judging my candidates on their policy agendas than on the radical slants the opposition party spins on a past event. I rather see the discourse of the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, than the National Inquirer.

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