I hate this. I really do.
I hate that the astoundingly biased and partisan news media and pundit class refuse to even make a fair pass at doing its job, forcing an ethics blog to place itself in the position of being accused of defending Donald Trump.
[Rueful but amused aside regarding the biased and partisan news media: Late Sunday evening, Chris Cillizza, who authors the political blog for the Washington Post, tweeted: “Let me say for the billionth time: Reporters don’t root for a side. Period.” This was a manifestly absurd assertion, and made me wonder about Cillizza, who may not “root for a side,” but whose own left-leaning and pro-Clinton bias creeps into his work at regular intervals. But the gods of irony were ready: Monday morning the Center for Public Integrity released its 2016 campaign analysis that showed that U.S. journalists gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to Clinton’s campaign. CPI identified 430 people as “journalists, reporters, news editors or television news anchors — as well as other donors known to be working in journalism.” 96 % gave money to Clinton, according to federal campaign finance filings. That’s 96. Ninety-six. NINETY-SIX. As in “all but 4%.” Got that? Are we clear? Those 430 journalists gave $382,000 to Clinton and $14,000 to GOP nominee Donald Trump. Fifty journalists gave to Trump; 380 gave to Clinton. Many more members of the media almost certainly donated, and almost certainly in a similarly unbalanced split, but the law only obligates candidates to disclose the names of donors giving more than $200 in a single election cycle. In its report, CPI noted that even though many news organizations have policies against donating to politicians, those organizations’ reporters donated anyway. Poor, naive, Chris Cillizza, having proven that as a reporter, his confirmation bias prevents him from seeing what is all around him, at least had the integrity to follow up his previous tweet (“Period.”) by tweeting…
“Well this is super depressing. NO idea why any journalist would donate $ to politicians.”
Well why don’t you think about it, Chris? I’m sure it will come to you. But I digress...]
I know this is a political campaign and that hyperbole and loose facts are as American as apple pie. However, Barack Obama is President of the United States, and he, even more than most, must not actively seek to re-write history, especially since so many of his supporters have the historical perspective of mayflies. Therefore he must not be allowed to escape proper condemnation for these statements he made in a campaign speech attacking Donald Trump. Yes, only condemnation will do, for his statements were dishonest, untrue, and constituted hypocrisy as its worst. Presidents should be better.
Obama had the gall to lecture Donald Trump with two head-exploding statements for anyone whose memory extends back before the Bush presidency, and one that should have triggered mass cranial eruptions from anyone conscious during the past 8 years:
1. “One of the great things about America’s democracy is we have a vigorous, sometimes bitter political contest, and when it’s done, historically, regardless of party, the person who loses the election congratulates the winner, reaffirms our democracy and we move forward.”
After the 2000 election was decided because the Supreme Court stopped a recount that would never end unless it was stopped, Al Gore indeed did the noble and statesmanlike thing and conceded, congratulated President Bush, and then sat by as Democratic Party Chairman Terry McAuliffe (a Clinton henchman, now governor of Virginia), Joe Lieberman and Democrats at all levels proceeded to pronounce the election stolen and rigged, not only undermining trust in the system, but also impugning the Supreme Court. Remember “Selected, not Elected,” a Democrat mantra, chanted among thousands of protesters at Bush’s 2001 inaugural? No? Neither does Barack Obama, apparently, because no Democrat would ever dream of attacking the legitimacy of an election after the votes are in. “We move forward!”
Democrats kept claiming fraud, or attacked the system itself (Gore won the popular vote and lost the Presidency in the Electoral College just like Jackson, Tilden, and Cleveland, but not having the historical perspective of competent citizens, Democrats treated this anomaly as a singular atrocity engineered by Republicans) with their usual assistance by the partisan news media, for eight years. The intent was to deprive President Bush of legitimacy for exactly the same reasons birthers like Donald Trump tried to deny Barack Obama’s legitimacy. It works.
The theme was repeated with variations after the 2004 re-election of Bush, when Democrats claimed that the state of Ohio was “stolen” by Republicans. John Edwards—remember him?—led the way; it is apparently losing vice-presidential nominees who the Democrats give the job of undermining public trust in democracy. Jesse Jackson—remember him?—former Democratic Presidential candidate, father of a Congressman (now jailed), called for an “insurrection” over the 2004 results. Jesse then, like Al Sharpton now, was never publicly rejected by prominent Democrats—reliable blue votes, you know. Go Jesse!
I wrote then (December 15, 2004), and I take pride that I wrote:
Jackson is intentionally inflaming a deep wound on our democratic institutions, inflicted by a random confluence of events in the election of 2000 that made a definitive result unattainable. The Democratic Party, egged on by its apparently scruple-free chairman Terry McAuliffe, continued…for four years!… to encourage the myth that the 2000 election was “stolen.” It was successful at this dubious objective: polls show that nearly 50% of the electorate, almost exclusively Al Gore voters, believe this untruth. (Indignant Kerry supporters in the media made much of the fact that about 70% of “ignorant” Bush voters believe that Saddam Hussein had a hand in the September 11 attacks. Well, guys, almost 100% of Kerry’s voters buy the stolen election lie….)
They believe the election was stolen despite the fact that no Florida vote count ever even had Gore in the lead; despite the fact that the multiple hand-recounts undertaken by the supposedly liberal-biased news media after the election showed Bush winning legitimately; despite the fact that the only significant and documented factors costing Gore votes (the candidacy of Ralph Nader and the inexcusably confusing “butterfly ballot” that probably gave Neanderthal conservative Pat Buchanan accidental votes from a decisive number of bewildered Gore voters) had nothing to do with the GOP; and most of all, despite the fact that the best result the Democrats could reasonably have hoped for, a disputed vote count in Florida with no clear victor, would still have resulted in a Bush victory by the Constitution’s mandated solution of a vote by the (GOP dominated) House of Representatives.
Of course, what really made this misrepresentation an easy sell was the fact that Gore won the popular vote. If you plumb the soul of the angry Gore voter, what he really believes is that the Constitution stole the election.
All right…it was cynical and intellectually dishonest for the Democrats to exploit this issue: it divided the country and robbed President Bush of any chance of a national constituency, but they thought it would win them the White House in 2004. ….Intentionally and deceptively eroding the public’s belief in the American democracy in order to win an election is a terrible and unethical trade-off… It is time to heal the wound and move to strengthen our democratic institutions and the public’s faith in them….
Jackson and others do not want to let the wound heal. They are playing a dangerous and irresponsible game with the future of America by clawing at the scab and pouring salt into the gaping wound. They are risking the creation of a permanently skeptical electorate that will always believe that if its favored candidate loses, it must be because the other side cheated. This can lead to more cheating. This can lead to violence….And because America is the role model for democracy all over the world, this can undermine democracy itself. Sad to say, it is likely that Jesse Jackson is risking all this, not because of a genuine belief that there was such massive election fraud that a recount in Ohio will change the election results, but for narrow and self-serving political objectives: he is willing to damage America’s bond of faith and principle with the American people to keep African Americans distrustful of the government and bolster Jackson’s fading prestige and influence.
It is hard to imagine anything more despicable.
“It is hard to imagine anything more despicable.” I agree with President Obama that it is despicable for Trump to do this, but I do not care to hear any Democrat lecture the country about the dangers of sowing suspicion, division and distrust. That was their game. What Trump is doing tears at a foundation of trust that Democrats intentionally weakened, and not just during one campaign cycle, but for years.
No, Obama daring to say now that he has never heard of such a thing isn’t as despicable, and at least his words now express what some Democrats should have had the integrity to express from 2001 to this point. It is incredible, however, that the man can be so hypocritical so arrogantly. If Trump’s conspiracy theory endangers us now, it is only because Democrats wounded our society by intentionally undermining public trust for political gain.
2. “I have never seen in my lifetime or in modern political history, any presidential candidate trying to discredit the elections and the election process before votes have even taken place. It’s unprecedented. It happens to be based on no facts.”
This is deceit. No, Presidential candidates haven’t tried to discredit elections prior to the vote, but it’s a technical point when prominent Democrats like Robert Kennedy, Jr and John Kerry , as well as the left-wing blogs and websites, have repeatedly implied that Republicans stole previous elections. (Ann Althouse makes the valid point that if you really think the election is going to be stolen, the time to say so is before it happens, not after.)
As for “It happens to be based on no facts”—KABOOM!
That one sent my head onto the ceiling. No facts? A court just ordered the IRS to finally stop playing games with conservative political non-profits. Reports show that State Department personnel tried to bargain with the FBI to declassify one of the e-mails incriminating Hillary Clinton. President Obama lied, saying that he had no knowledge of Clinton’s private server, and now we have evidence that he communicated through that server using a false name. The administration just pressured Ecuador to shut down Julian Assange’s e-mail access–you know, the guy who is dumping all of those embarrassing hacked messages and speeches? The press and media, except for a few islands of conservative bias, have, per the New York Times, suspended journalism ethics to defeat Donald Trump. Democrats have fought and demonized efforts to do something so basic as to require identification at the voting booth, all while encouraging illegal immigrants to come and stay….and maybe vote.
Meanwhile, the Democrats were perfectly willing to rig their nomination process to ensure Clinton’s nomination.
I don’t think that the 2016 election is rigged, but don’t insult my intelligence by telling me that there is no reason for Trump or anyone else to worry about it. This is an inept, corrupt and dishonest administration, supported by a partisan and unethical news media that allows its favored President’s administration’s transgressions and failures to be hidden, obfuscated and buried whenever possible. This is a President who hails from the most corrupt major city in the nation, and who had his path to the Senate cleared when the Chicago Tribune got the sexually provocative divorce files of his favored Republican opponent to be unsealed, with the resulting scandal forcing his adversary to drop out too late for the GOP to find a viable substitution. Obama’s administration has shown contempt for law and the Constitution on many occasions, and is dominated by a party that increasingly adopts totalitarian attitudes and methods, trying to restrict free speech and due process of law. Its current candidate for the White House favors government confiscation of guns, and we know that she intentionally acted to foil public access to her communications while risking national security to do it. She, her husband, and such minions as Cheryl Mills, John Podesta and Paul Begala have shown that they are full believers in the ruthless political principle that “the ends justify the means.” Would Hillary Clinton rig the election if she could?
3. “If whenever things are going badly for you and you lose, you start blaming somebody else, then you don’t have what it takes to be in this job.”
Do I really have to explain why it is–GRRRRROAAAWRRRYUJYYTTTTTAHHHHHHHH!—(sorry, I lost control there for a minute) infuriating to have to hear the single most unaccountable, excuse-making Chief Executive in U.S. history dare to say this about anyone, even an utter fool like Donald Trump?
I’m not going to bother. How dare this man, of all people, say that?
Is Obama right about Trump and the danger of talking the way he is? Of course. How disgraceful then, and typical, that he could not say so without setting a new record for political hypocrisy.