Ethics Alarms Inauguration Day Musings

trump-inaug

In preparation for this post, I just read over the post from December 5 titled “Reasons to be Happy About the Election of Donald Trump?” I wanted to see if any of those reasons on the list, beginning with three that I endorsed from the Glenn Reynolds essay with the same name, without the question mark. Here are the ten:

1.  “Killed off dynastic politics, at least for now.”

2. “Kept Hillary out of the White House.”

3. “Crushing the media’s sense of self-importance”

4. His election, and Clinton’s defeat, pushes back against group identification politics.

5. It demolishes the propaganda that Barack Obama was a successful President.

6. It might spur more citizens to vote next time.

7. Trump’s victory showed that cheating to win, and behaving as if the ends justify the means, still don’t go down well with a lot of the public.

8. The entire Clinton saga has been predicated on their belief that you can fool enough of the people enough of the time, along with a well-practiced regimen of deny-deny-deny. lie, obfuscate, stonewall, accuse and delay, to get away withe all manner of unethical conduct while achieving wealth and power. Finally, it didn’t work. Hooray.

9. Trump’s election exposed, and is exposing, the hypocritical, anti-democratic, bitter, ugly, hateful side of progressives and Democrats.

10.  It is the kick in the teeth of political correctness that this restrictive, arrogant, smug and stifling cultural trend had been begging for.

The post concluded,

I have not changed my analysis that the price we will pay for these boons is likely to be exorbitant and painful at best. Nonetheless, they are still things to be grateful for, and not insubstantial.”

Almost two months later, having experienced the Trump transition and observed the horrifying 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck, which of these ten bear amendment or repeal? All but a few are as accurate now as then. #9, relating to the Democratic and progressive freak-out and what it represents, has intensified since December 5 and has been longer-lasting and more outrageous than anyone could have expected. Reynold’s item #3 about the election crushing the news media’s sense of self-importance was clearly wishful thinking, for it joined the embarrassing and destructive Democratic reaction to the election rather than learning anything. Fools.

Finally, there is #5. Trump’s election should have demolished the mythology that Obama has been a successful President, because he obviously has not been, and if he had been successful, Hillary Clinton would be about to be sworn in today.But Barack Obama, who like Donald Trump lives in his own narcissistic fantasy world, exited with a series of self-lauding propaganda lines—some issuing from the mouths of his team, like John Kerry—that the news media and punditry have treated as if he were a burning bush. No, Obama improved race relations! His was a scandal free administration! He did most of the things he wanted to do, and if it wasn’t for obstructive Republicans, he would have done much more! Citizens who weren’t happy and voted against Democrats just didn’t understand how well off they are! America’s standing in the world is terrific!  He is proud of his handling of Syria, and those 400,000 dead don’t prompt any regrets! This has been followed by jaw-droppingly dishonest puff-pieces by writers who should know better.

Here are  additional observations on Inauguration Day:

1.  Presidential inaugurations are wondrous things, and no matter who is being sworn in, the event reminds the world of the inspiring success of the American experiment. I can’t bear the non-stop sneering on MSNBC, but I would like to hear Chris Matthews on the subject today. Race-baiting jerk that he has been the past 8 years, he is an old softy about American politics and institutions. He was emotional about George W. Bush sitting in the limo with Bill Clinton, and being inaugurated as his father, who had been defeated by Clinton, looked on. It wasn’t just the inauguration of the first black President that thrilled him; the process and tradition thrills him, as it does me. As for the angry Left, including so many of my family and friends, who can’t get past their bitterness to unite as citizens to admire and honor the nation today? I feel sorry for them, and for their nation, which they are wounding at a time when it needs to be nursed back to health. They sap the energy and vitality of America, and demonstrate profound historical and civic ignorance.

2.  I admit, I still can hardly believe this happened. That it can happen is a good thing, even if the particular proof that it can happen is unsettling in this case. Jefferson wanted a government that the people could grab, shake by the neck, and change. He wanted the people, not Hamilton’s elites or Adams’ aristocrats, to be the ultimate drivers of the engine of state. I’m sure Jefferson would have loathed Trump personally, but his inauguration shows that the author of the Declaration’s vision still lives.

3. History repeats itself, to be sure.  Trump’s attaining the Presidency and the shocked and frightened reaction to it among the Washington power establishment does harken back to Andrew Jackson, a rough, authoritarian, sometimes violent, natural leader out of the Tennessee back woods who led a populist electoral uprising to overthrow of the Virginia and Massachusetts monopoly on the Presidency. Jackson’s administration was a mixed bag indeed, but he was undeniably a skilled and transformation President who left the U.S government stronger than when he took office.

4. A friend posted on Facebook yesterday that she was “disgusted” by all the white people wearing “Make America Great Again” hats around the Capitol yesterday. This struck me as akin to the joke about the boy who murdered his parents seeking mercy from the court because he was an orphan. African Americans, especially around D.C., have been urged and in many cases bullied to boycott everything having to do with Trump, and now people like my friend are suggesting that blacks are being excluded, proving the racism of the new President.

Too many African American politicians, celebrities, activists and citizens are being stunningly irresponsible in their reaction to Trump’s election. A recent revolting example: when outspoken filmmaker Spike Lee learned that Chrisette Michele, a black singer whose music he’d been considering for one of his projects, had agreed to perform at the Inaugural, he decided to punish her, posting on Instagram:

“I Wuz Sorry To Read That ‘Sistuh Girl’ Is Singin’ At DT’s Inauguration (And To Use His Fav Word-SAD) I Wuz Thinkin’ ’bout Using Chrisette’s Song- BLACK GIRL MAGIC In My Netflix Series SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT…. NOT ANYMORE. And Dat’s Da Truth, Ruth.”

As Anderson Cooper asked regarding John Lewis’s declaration that Trump was not a legitimate President, how does this help? Well, it helps in one way: it marks Lee and those like him as every bit as cruel and intolerant as they claim Trump to be. It also diminishes their ability to have meaningful influence on the administration, and alienates members of the public, like me, who regard intentional divisiveness as the mark of the undemocratic—the nascent totalitarians.

5. I begin the Trump era wanting him to succeed….that is, to make America better, stronger, richer, more powerful, more just, wiser…greater. Eight years ago, talk show king Rush Limbaugh said that he wanted Obama to fail, a miserable, unpatriotic, stupid thing to say. I never listened to him for more than five minutes at a stretch again. Democrats, and fair and ethical Republicans, condemned the sentiment, and rightly. Now, as one more aspect of the Left’s hypocrisy-fueled self-immolation, a large segment, not all but apparently a majority, has loudly announced that they—feminists, blacks, Latinos, the LBGT community, the artistic community, educators, journalists, progressives and the Democratic Party—want Donald Trump to fail, which means the United States fails. This is a cataclysm for the nation, but mostly one for them. We cannot trust citizens who root for a duly-elected President to fail.

6.  Ethics Alarms has noted more than once that either Trump will make the Presidency worse, or the office will make him better. Today is the first day for us to begin to find out which will happen. Nothing in the President-Elect period indicated that the looming office will temper Trump’s worst proclivities.

7. Other institutions are at risk, notably the news media. It is clear that Trump will not continue the practice of treating journalists as respectable and objective commentators when they are not. That’s not necessarily a bad development, if he does not regard all criticism through fair journalism as equally hostile.

8. Trump will change the style and traditions of the office, which should not be confused with harming it.  Direct tweeting to the people, carefully, civilly and responsibly done, is an inevitable consequence of social media, and can have salutary effects. Not staying at the White House all the time isn’t a threat to the office either, though Trump would do well to respect the structure’s symbolic power.

I can only hope that he stops lashing out at every critic, punching down, engaging in crude insult wars and allowing his inner junior high school sexist to run amuck, because what the President does will become more acceptable to society. It is always thus. Watch: Trump affects a codspeice-like extra-long tie that extends well past his belt, a sloppy style that has been taboo for decades. I guarantee that we will soon see most men affecting this style. If that’s the worst impact he has on the culture, we will be lucky.

9.  Another Facebook friend wrote sadly that she would be saying “Thanks Obama!” for the last time. I thank Obama; I thank him like I thank anyone who accepts this job, and who shoulders the killing responsibility of steering  the United States of America through the always stormy seas it has, so far, braved so well.

I do not thank him for the disastrous results of his faltering leadership, of which the Left’s vicious treatment of Trump is a prime example. I do not thank him for attempting in many ways to make it more difficult for his predecessor to clean up the mess he leaves behind, something Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, did not do.

10. With great power and opportunity comes great risk and accountability. The Republicans blew it badly in the Bush years—the party betrayed the nation—yielding to greed, incompetence, dishonesty and corruption. They made Barack Obama President, just as Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi so botched their opportunity and betrayed the trust of the people that the GOP once again has control of all three branches of government.

Trump is really a non-partisan, non-ideological force. He wants to get things done and help the nation; if he didn’t there would be no reason for him to seek this daunting challenge. He needs to do what neither Bush nor Obama had the strength and integrity to do: keep their parties in line and focused on their duties, not holding power. Maybe  he will.

Today, after all, is about hope.

54 Comments

Filed under Citizenship, Ethics Train Wrecks, History, Journalism & Media, Race, U.S. Society

54 responses to “Ethics Alarms Inauguration Day Musings

  1. fattymoon

    Who’s the Trump kid with the tired eyes? He’s, um, different than the others.

  2. “I do not thank him for the disastrous results of his faltering leadership, of which the Left’s vicious treatment of Trump is a prime example”

    I think that’s overly harsh Jack. Should President Obama really bare responsibility for “The lefts vicious treatment of Trump”? Did he not have any roll in this based on what he said and did? Or do you think that Obama set a tone of hostility that was followed by the left?

    I was at Obama’s first Inauguration, and while not excited about Trumps, am watching, and showed it to my students. (after they finished a quiz of course!) I too am disappointed in those that show disrespect for the peaceful transition of power, and have behaved like spoiled children. It’s un-American, and serves to harm us all. I can only hope that the urge to get some false degree of payback will quickly pass. But much of it is an over reaction to the slights and insults, REAL and imagined, that a President they loved was forced to endure. It wasn’t right then, and it won’t be right right now. I continue to believe in our country and its institutions, even if today is not a day of celebration for me…

    Happy New Year, by the way….

    • Glenn Logan

      I think that’s overly harsh Jack. Should President Obama really bare responsibility for “The lefts vicious treatment of Trump”? Did he not have any roll in this based on what he said and did? Or do you think that Obama set a tone of hostility that was followed by the left?

      Speaking only for myself, in one sense I can agree with you — the template for the freak-out by the left was set back in the 2000 election. What we are seeing here is the same thing, louder, more vicious and likely more violent, but really just a reprise.

      Jack’s point that Obama’s lack of leadership exacerbated this freak-out is defensible, if not necessarily dispositive. A president truly interested in maintaining the dignity of the presidential transition would’ve made it his mission to condemn the excessive reaction, and insist his party act like adults. He not only didn’t do that, he appears to have tacitly approved of their actions, although that may just be my bias talking. Ultimately, though, the Left did this on their own. Obama’s weak leadership is certainly execrable, but I hardly expected more.

      In the end, this is something that presidents should lead their party away from. Will president Trump do it if the shoe is on the other foot? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean both he (and president Obama) shouldn’t do it.

    • And you as well, UR!

      Obama’s administration was hyperpartisan from the start, and the President kept making sure that the lines were hard drawn…all the talk about the GOP driving the nation into the ditch, all the blaming Bush long past the point where most Presidents duck accountability. Allowing the nasty partisan rhetoric of Pelosi and Reid, and the racially divisive words of the CBC…Obama had the power to manage that. He chose not to, which shows me that he approved of it. Obama didn’t make the nice, supportive comments about dissent and protest to describe the Tea Party that he used to excuse BLM and the Occupy movement. He allowed Democratic leadership to tar the Tea Party, substantially created by the undemocratic steamrolling of Obamacare through Congress, as a racist rather than a populist movement (with some obvious racists involved.)

      Many Presidents have had firebrands and hateful partisan extremists in their own party to deal with, and the effective leaders control them. They call them in to the Oval Office, and say, “Cut this out, or you will be sorry.” Lincoln, FDR, Ike, Nixon, LBJ, Reagan…they knew how to do this. Either Obama didn’t have the skill and guts to do it, or he wanted that partisan junk. Either way, he is accountable. Is there any doubt that if he called in Pelosi, Schumer, and the CBC, including Lewis, and said, “We are not going to make me and the Party look foolish and hypocritical by behaving like bitter losers. We are going to support the nation, the institution and the Presidency, and show that our party, however we oppose his policies, is party of the team, the government, and the US going forward.”

      It was a complete humiliation for Obama to have his core supporters in Congress boycotting the transfer of power. I was embarrassed for my own country.Obama had the power to stop it.

  3. As to the speech: Clear, no lofty rhetoric, clearly all Trump, and as populist a speech as any President has has ever delivered. Has any President ever set as explicit and ambitious an agenda and pledge? I don’t recall one. Gutsy, or naive? Those words can be used against him, and even if he is far more effective than anyone expects, they will be.

    Wow.

    • dragin_dragon

      Got to admit, though, the man writes and delivers a speech well. Unfortunately, I think he’s biting off more than he can chew. Hope not, but I’m guessing he is.

      • Glenn Logan

        You have to appreciate the brevity. The Bard called brevity “the soul of wit,” and I think that’s especially true in political speeches.

        Boldness and guts have never been Trump’s problem. Execution, however, bedevils everyone elected to this office. Here’s hoping for the best, but I’m not holding my breath.

  4. Glenn Logan

    As Anderson Cooper asked regarding John Lewis’s declaration that Trump was not a legitimate President, how does this help? Well, it helps in one way: it marks Lee and those like him as every bit as cruel and intolerant as they claim Trump to be. It also diminishes their ability to have meaningful influence on the administration, and alienates members of the public, like me, who regard intentional divisiveness as the mark of the undemocratic—the nascent totalitarians.

    I think this is an unalloyed Good Thing. America has far too much respect for pop culture gadflies like Lee. He has traded on his celebrity ostensibly in defense of the black Hollywood experience, but is revealing himself to be unworthy of plaudits or even respect (at least insofar as his political pronouncements go).

    I actually want celebrities to continue this self-immolation. The sooner (if it ever actually happens) the American people learn to ignore the pronouncements of self-proclaimed celebrity “activists,” the more rational and reliant on their own judgment people may become. If there is one truly good thing about Trump’s ascension to the presidency, it is seeing these fools destroy their own credibility before God and everybody.

    Four years of schadenfreude. Can I possibly survive it? Is “death by schadenfreude” even a thing?

    I can’t wait to find out.

    • Joe Fowler

      Is “death by schadenfreude” even a thing?- If so, at least I will die with a smile on my face!

    • joed68

      “If there is one truly good thing about Trump’s ascension to the presidency, it is seeing these fools destroy their own credibility before God and everybody.”

      Well, they actually did that a long time ago. Hopefully, they’re making a more durable impression.

  5. Wayne

    The comparison of Trump with Jackson is an interesting one: Both were elected as populists and Trump in his inaugural day speech made it very clear that he was not going to support business as usual politics instead working for “the forgotten man”. He certainly doesn’t have the warmth that Reagan had but neither did Jackson. Hopefully, his presidency will be a pleasant surprise.

    • I just re-read Andy’s first inaugural address. He took the opposite tack, a very short speech that was obviously designed to put those who he terrified at ease. And it was almost all a lie. Sure, Jackson was going to be cautious and stay well-within the limits of the office. Jackson. Did anyone believe this?

      • Wayne

        I believe with Trump’s speech, it’s a matter of what you see is what you’re gonna get. Whether he and his administration can make good on all the lofty promises is another matter.

        • More like “the only thing that matters,’ no?

          • Wayne

            If he can get half what he’s promised done, I will be satisfied: Maybe a stronger military, heath care for those US citizens and legal residents in poverty as a safety net, effectively end sanctuary cities, and trade deals with enforceable conditions.

            • Chris

              Maybe a stronger military

              May I ask why? What can the US military not do know that you believe a “stronger military” could?

              heath care for those US citizens and legal residents in poverty as a safety net

              We have this. It’s called the ACA. Trump and the Republicans have vowed to eliminate it, and they have no replacement planned.

              effectively end sanctuary cities

              This would take a Supreme Court decision.

              and trade deals with enforceable conditions.

              Good luck with that.

              • dragin_dragon

                health care for those US citizens and legal residents in poverty as a safety net

                We have this. It’s called the ACA. Trump and the Republicans have vowed to eliminate it, and they have no replacement planned.

                When the ACA went into effect, there were 44 million people who did NOT have health insurance. Because of the “mandates” (punishing taxes for NOT having insurance, 20 million people who did not want or need health insurance were forced to get it. 24 million people who wanted health insurance and could not afford it STILL could not afford it. Thus, Obamacare failed.

                effectively end sanctuary cities

                This would take a Supreme Court decision.

                Absolutely not. All it would take is a simple statement: “If you wish to be a sanctuary city, that is your right. However, receiving Federal monies is contingent on enforcing Federal law. Thus, if you will not enforce Federal statutes, you will receive NO Federal funds.” Sanctuary cities end overnight.

                • Chris

                  20 million people who did not want or need health insurance were forced to get it. 24 million people who wanted health insurance and could not afford it STILL could not afford it. Thus, Obamacare failed.

                  This is some amazing spin; in your formulation, there is no such thing as a person who wanted health insurance before the ACA but couldn’t afford it, who was then able to afford it once the law was passed.

                  Amazing.

  6. I decided to hear what MSNBC was saying. Almost immediately, I heard Joy Reid say that Trump’s speech was about “all these foreigners over-running the country and taking away our jobs.” That’s what she heard—an attack on “foreigners.” XENOPHOBE!! How is that fair, accurate or competent news reporting?

    • Wanna bet the talking points they were working off of were written yesterday?

    • carcarwhite

      Our ability to project is amazing huh? He’s been accused of all these things I see the left doing. It’s surprising but should not be really.

      We all see the same thing happen, and for each who sees it, there are that many stories of what happened. So there are as many Donald Trumps as there are people. Which is the real one?

      I’m proud today of this country and it’s traditions. I’m proud of Hillary for showing up, and all the others who were supportive and took the high road.

      I feel an excitement. I hope it’s not in vain. I am neither Dem or Rep, and it really seems we for the first time in a long time have a president who is truly not faking it to “get in.” I suppose for real change we need a person like him? We will see.

  7. Steve-O-in-NJ

    “as one more aspect of the Left’s hypocrisy-fueled self-immolation, a large segment, not all but apparently a majority, has loudly announced that they—feminists, blacks, Latinos, the LBGT community, the artistic community, educators, journalists, progressives and the Democratic Party—want Donald Trump to fail, which means the United States fails. This is a cataclysm for the nation, but mostly one for them. We cannot trust citizens who root for a duly-elected President to fail.”

    This is just the final widening of the crack between right and left that started with the end of the Cold War into a full on Biblical great gulf like the one that separates Lazarus in Heaven from the rich man who ignored him in Hell. In the short term trading on division can bring political rewards, as all of these sectors came together on one thing: hatred of all things Republican and all things connected with GWB. In the long term it brought disaster as those hated united and turned on them. Now they are out of power, out of ideas, and out of luck…for the moment. Donald Trump’s victory did give these sectors ONE thing they need: a target to focus on. Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell can disappear into their caucuses, and governors are usually no bigger than their states. However, NOW they can agree to focus on one goal and one goal alone – destroy President Trump. It’s easier than you think, especially when you still control Hollywood and all but one of the major networks.

    Every mistake he makes, make sure it leads the evening news and stays longer than it should. Everything he says that could be made to make him look bad, edit a clip to show only that soundbite and run it again and again, including getting it out there to share and retweet. Every questionable thing that emerges, no matter how long ago or how benign, turn it into a major scandal. Even if it’s a non-issue, like the Valerie Plame affair, turn it into the stubborn boil that never heals or the obnoxious party guest who just won’t leave. Even if it turns out to be unfounded, imply that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, it just means that someone lied, or someone got to someone, or someone covered his tracks too well.

    In the meantime minimize his successes as they come. The economy starts to get off the ground again? It was already on its way there and he just rode the wave. ISIS is finally defeated? They were a house of cards that was ready to come down anyway. Better yet, attack his successes. Securing the border? Stopping the rising violence against the police? Raaaaacist! Make sure you keep that mantra going too – he’s a racist, he’s a hater, he’s a xenophobe, he’s a proto-fascist, he’s a sexist pig. Say it loud enough, confidently enough, and often enough, and people will start to believe it. Keep up the unfavorable comparisons with Obama too, how he was more popular, more loved, etc etc.

    That’s just the role of the media. In the meantime, Hollywood needs to load up the theaters with endless movies about scrappy reporters, boy scout-like middle management guys and noble community activists who shout truth to power and bring down dangerous demagogues by whistleblowing or uncovering nefarious doings, then staying just one step ahead of the corrupt cops or military-intelligence-industrial axis. Throw in a few pseudohistorical productions about escapes from oppression, minority achievements, etc., and a few empowering princess cartoons for the girls. Those in the music end of things, put some clever anti-Trump insults or slogans to catchy tunes and make sure they get a lot of play.

    The role of those not in the media or the entertainment industry – clog both the streets and the internet with endless protests and blogs, so that Joe Average can’t ignore you. Every address or public hearing, be there in force. Every public speech by anyone from the GOP, be there in force. Try to have enough of you to split into two groups, one to create a diversion and tie up security, and a second one to make your point after the first has done their job. Every parade, airshow, fleet week, anything that showcases the military or high officials, be there too, with legal observers (try the National Lawyers’ Guild) to wave signs, chant, and generally make a nuisance of yourself. Nothing sells like peaceful people getting pushed around.

    • joed68

      You forgot the careful selection of still photographs that make him look like an ill-tempered ape.

    • Steve-O, I’m going to copy and save your comment here, just to see if the War on Trump proceeds as you describe. No, wait: I don’t mean “if” – I mean, “how precisely.” I think you nailed a great number of the predictable strategic and tactical maneuvers the Left will employ. But we’ll see. Starting today. Honeymoon? What honeymoon? (Actually, I think Trump is more prepared and accustomed to this kind of constant combat than his enemies. But don’t leak that little secret, or pin your hopes on it.)

      I can’t help asking, “If who Trump’s enemies are, and how they operate, is known so well, then why in the hell can’t they be defeated?!”

      I can’t help but sadly answer my own question with: Because the general public’s political literacy has deteriorated to the point where political contests are campaigns of emotion-provocation, bias-exploitation, and ignorance-perpetuation. The main contest is currently between two extremely large coalitions, nearly equally populated at this time, but demographically poised to swing soon and decisively in favor of one of them (namely, the Left, naturally, because they are so readily accepting of totalitarianism, and the enormous Executive Branch of the federal government is a totalitarian’s dream legion). So the Big War in our was-country right now is between Left and Center+Right. The top generals on both sides are utterly incompetent at doing anything to unite and lead the people toward sustainable greatness; they are only somewhat competent at all the aforementioned provocation, exploitation and perpetuation. I could be wrong, but it seems to me that the two coalitions are thus doomed to be led by only moronic leaders-of-morons. Thus, there is no favorable outcome for all, no matter who triumphs, but only multiplied miseries.

      I would love to be more optimistic, but Obama’s pitching of his tent in DC smacks of a leader-of-the-insurgency sort of signal. (And a perfect place to promote his spouse’s political fortunes. Another former First Lady! Not just the first woman president, but a black one too!) As long as Barack Obama is around to push his brand of socialism, secularism and subversion (how’s that for a 21st-century equivalent of “rum, Romanism and rebellion?”), the unity of the people in the middle North American latitudes will be elusive. A house divided against itself…produces a totalitarian. Worse times lie ahead.

    • Chris

      Raaaaacist! Make sure you keep that mantra going too – he’s a racist, he’s a hater, he’s a xenophobe, he’s a proto-fascist, he’s a sexist pig. Say it loud enough, confidently enough, and often enough, and people will start to believe it.

      Just to take the lowest-hanging fruit here:

      Do you really believe that people only think Trump is a “sexist pig” because the media has repeated that he is one?

      • So low that it’s lying in a pit.
        No, they think he’s a sexist because he is one.

        • Chris

          I’d go further and say that people believe he’s a racist, a proto-fascist, and a xenophobe because he is all of those things as well. But we’ve been down those roads before, so I’ll just say I’m glad we agree on the sexism.

          • Steve-O-in-NJ

            Yup, and the jackoffs in the media will never let us forget it for one minute, but of course they tried to bury Clinton playing swallow the leader in the Oval Office. He might have been a sexist pig, but he was their pig, dammit.

            • Chris

              The Monica Lewinski scandal wasn’t “buried” by anyone, and having an affair doesn’t make someone a “sexist pig.”

              Unproven allegations aside, I have no reason to believe that Bill Clinton has a low opinion of women. Unlike Trump, I can’t recall any sexist comment ever passing his lips in public, and there are no allegations of him making sexist comments in private either. One woman has accused him of rape, one of sexual assault, and one of harassment; many more women have accused Trump of the same, and his public sexism makes me more inclined to believe that at least some of those allegations are true, though they may be true of Bill as well.

              But I’m judging Trump’s sexism based on his public conduct, not unproven allegations, and I am holding Bill to the same standard.

              • “The Monica Lewinski scandal wasn’t “buried” by anyone, and having an affair doesn’t make someone a “sexist pig.”

                Not true. Journalist Michael Issikof’s report was buried, until Drudge leaked it. And non-sexists don’t turn their adoring low-level employees into sex toys for their own amusement, leading them to believe that the president of the United States is going to run off with the them, as Monoca said she believed when she was satisfying Bill by sticking his cigars in herself. He later wrote that he did this “because he could.” My terms would be utter disrespect for women and misogyny. Is misogyny not also sexism? Argue that if you wish.

                • Chris

                  Women sometimes use men as sex toys, too; that’s not always rooted in misandry. I agree that Bill Clinton treated Monica like crap. I don’t see any pattern of him treating women badly because they are women; he treated Monica badly because he wanted to fuck her and didn’t want to get caught. That’s awful, but it’s awful on an individual basis, not due to bigotry. Trump’s demeaning comments about women target them as women.

  8. …talk show king Rush Limbaugh said that he wanted Obama to fail, a miserable, unpatriotic, stupid thing to say.

    While I also cannot listen to any talk show very long any more, (I get too worked up by the frustration and helpless feelings) I have noted when Jack says this, several times in the post election writings. It was undiplomatic to state out loud, granted, but the headlines at the time are NOT what was said in context:

    …I’ve been listening to Barack Obama for a year-and-a-half. I know what his politics are. I know what his plans are, as he has stated them. I don’t want them to succeed.” (quoted from Rush’s site archives)

    This is different than “I want Obama to fail per se, and thus the nation.” Is this nuance swamped by the entire sentiment? It seems to me to be quite different to wish for POTUS to fail than to wish for his policies to not be successfully implemented. Is this an ethical thing to express, given the context?

    I am not defending Rush (who does not need me to do so), but asking what my fellow commentators think about this. (and Jack, should he decide to respond)

    I do not have any formal ethics training, other than a native (some might say naive) compass based in conservatism, observation and basic religious teaching. This site is interesting in that it brings up discussions that challenge my preconceived notions and gives me an opportunity to grow.

    How about it? Is this an ethical thing to express, given the context?

    • No. It’s a distinction without a difference. How does a President succeed if none of his plans succeed?

      • Captain Obvious

        The difference is that Obama’s plans for America were, in Rush’s view, disastrous for America. Thus, failure on the part of Obama to carry out his plans would be to the benefit of America. If America thrives, the President is seen to have been a success.

        The “I want Trump to fail” I’m hearing from the left don’t hold that same tone, in my thinking.

        • This is what I have always thought. But that still begs the question: Is is ethical to wish for someone’s plans to fail?

          Seems to me that this can be so. Am I missing something?

          Take the Rush example out of the question and treat it as a debate topic if that helps.

        • “The difference is that Obama’s plans for America were, in Rush’s view, disastrous for America.” That’s a tautology. “I disagree, but I hope he’s right and I’m wrong” is ethical. “I want disastrous plans to fail” is a stupid statement. Who doesn’t? And a plan that succeeds isn’t disastrous by definition.

          This how is how bias makes us stupid.

        • Chris

          The difference is that Obama’s plans for America were, in Rush’s view, disastrous for America. Thus, failure on the part of Obama to carry out his plans would be to the benefit of America. If America thrives, the President is seen to have been a success.

          The “I want Trump to fail” I’m hearing from the left don’t hold that same tone, in my thinking.

          What? You don’t think leftists are saying that Trump’s plans for America are, in their view, disastrous for America, thus failure on his part would be to the benefit of America?

          Really?

      • Chris Marschner

        Jack, If the unstated but clearly actualized plan was to divide and conquer through endless identity politics and flowery rhetoric then it stands to reason that one could want such ideas to fail. Keep in mind he said “we are five days away from fundamentally changing America”. This could be good or bad. He never said what that transformation would look like. Given the outcomes that you described above, his success is determined by what he meant by “transformation”. Equally, if Rush envisioned what has been the actual outcome of the Obama Presidency then it might be justified to hope for failure.

        If the negative characterization of Trump by the Left becomes manifest then I too would want Trump to fail even though I ultimately supported him in the election.

        • But Obama’s “plans” were at least as vague as Trump’s. I don’t care whether we have a national health care bill or not, as long as the system we settle on works, meaning that it does what it’s supposed to do and doesn’t cause more problems than it solves. being an America means wanting the nation and everyone in it to do as well as possible, not to insist that this happen only one acceptable way, or else failure is preferable.

      • joed68

        Couldn’t “republican obstructionism” then be viewed in the same light?

        • That’s a partisan way of viewing it. The system designates the two branches to collaborate on the same objectives: the best interests of the nation. Congress exists to make the President’s plans and its plans one set of successful plans. If I say, “I hope Obama’s plan for single payer fails, because I an certain that is not going to work,” that’s fair. And if someone says, “But what if it does work?” The ethical answer is, “Then I’m all for it. Convince me.”

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