Archive for the ‘The 1916 Presidential election’ Category

Hillary’s pneumonia

September 18, 2016

So what was all the excitement about?  Shame, shame, she did not let the media know immediately when her doctor informed her that  she had a mild case of bacterial pneumonia.  And who thought this was so terrible?  Why, the MEDIA of course!

And what was the context that the media so feverishly crafted, days and even weeks before?  Over and over again coverage was given to Trump’s ridiculous attempts to paint a picture of Hillary with “one foot on a banana peel, and the other headed toward her grave.”  Yes, the media felt that it was appropriate to report Trump’s (and Fox news’s) repeated efforts to convince the public that Hillary Clinton was in poor health.

The media reported on this over and over again, somewhat extensively.  Even Rachel Maddow did a deep backgrounder identifying all of the persons who had fainted while Presidents and candidates spoke, and also all of the times that Presidents had become ill, or fainted.  What was missing from all of the reporting was any categorical denial that the reports on Hillary’s health had any basis in fact.

And so the Sunday of missteps came–and along with it the somewhat faltering response of the Clinton campaign.  She was overheated, and then, later in the day, disclosure of the diagnosis of pneumonia.  But did Hillary Clinton have any obligation to report this diagnosis before that Sunday?

Recognize that there are two types of people: those who deal with their illnesses and other things by sharing with the world, and those who prefer to mull over their illnesses in the privacy of their own mind.  After all of the charges, countercharges, accusations, speculations, etc. etc, that Hillary has  had to absorb over her public life, including recent speculations about her health, maybe this was one circumstance that she wished to cope with as a private citizen.

A final thought–women may be more inclined to deal with issues of personal health in the privacy of their thoughts than men.  Could it be that the charge that she failed to inform the media of her pneumonia diagnosis is just another example of the anti-feminine bias on the part of the media?  If so, once again, the media were playing right into Mr. Trump’s hands. Is that what they are being paid to do?


Trump’s Birther Denial

September 18, 2016

“President Obama was born in the United States, period.  Now let’s get back to the business of making America great again.”

Not so fast, Donald!  It is not that easy to reverse  course on an issue that you have been so outspoken about for so long.  You have given no indication of the evidence that led you to make the claim that he was not born in the United States.   And you have not given any indication of the evidence that led you to change your mind.

It appears that this statement was issued by Donald Trump only after it became evident to his campaign team that his “birther position” was possibly a liability to his  campaign.  This is just one of many reversals that Donald Trump has made so that he can appear to be a reasonable candidate for which  traditional Republicans can vote.  That may also be the reason he accused Hillary Clinton of being the originator of the birther movement in 2008, although fact-checkers find no evidence for this claim whatsoever,

But he can not walk away from the position so easily.  His constant assault on President Obama’s citizenship was a significant factor in undermining President Obama’s leadership.  The birther issue was used by Trump to question the legitimacy of Obama’s Presidency.  What price, if any, is Trump prepared to pay for the damage that  he has already done?


Trump’s Reversal of his “Birther position”

September 16, 2016

President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period.  Now let’s get back to the business of making America Great again.

Not so fast, Donald! You have not provided any account of the evidence that led you to take the position that President Obama was not born in the United States in the first place.  Nor have you provided any explanation of what has led you to change  your position.  Attributing the origin of “birtherism” to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign may tickle your followers.  But fact-checkers have found absolutely no basis for this claim.  This attribution makes clear that the only reason you have left this position behind is to make your candidacy more appealing to traditional Republicans.

But Candidate Trump can not walk away from this issue so easily.  He has questioned the place of President Obama’s birth for years.  His challenge to Obama’s birthplace has been tied to a challenge to the legitimacy of Obama’s presidency.  It has been one factor among many designed to make that presidency ineffective.  Certainly among Republicans and Trump-followers the perpetual challenge to Obama’s citizenship has contributed to an undermining both of his credibility and leadership.  What price is Donald Trump willing to pay for the damage he has caused, not only to Obama’s presidency, but to our country?


Does Business prepare one to be President?

July 23, 2016

Mr. Trump is not the first candidate to point to his business background as a key qualification to become President of the U.S.  George W. Bush also stood on his  business background.  Right at the top let me say that business can be as good a background of experience for a President as many other fields.  There are, however, two qualifications that must be made.

First, “business” is an accordion word.  There are many and diverse activities over which the word “business” can be stretched.  It can extend to being a real estate developer or owning a baseball club.  From my perspective the key question to ask of any business man seeking the Presidency is: “How much management experience have you had?  How many resources did you both acquire and manage?  How many people did you supervise?  What processes were required to produce the service or goods for which you agency was responsible, including skyscrapers and casinos?  How successful were you?  How did you relate to all of the people that were in some way involved in your enterprise?  How did people feel that you affected along the way in your career? What were your contributions to the community both through and beyond your career?

Trump’s daughter, when introducing him on the last night of the convention, spoke to some of these things.  But Trump himself has done little but claim that he has been successful, and the primary evidence that he has presented is that he got very, very rich. If one has had any acquaintance with Peter Drucker, then it is clear that there is a lot more to being a successful manager than getting rich.  If Trump himself does not elaborate on what his experience has done for him in preparing him to be President, the media should take this upon themselves.  The press, especially,  USA TODAY, has done this.  Sadly, what has been uncovered are some pretty dark dealings.  Cable TV should begin to join the exploration of Trump’s business career.

The second qualification of the statement that business can be a good background for becoming President is that business by itself is not politics.  Within most managerial structures there are elements of authority that increase as one moves up the management ladder.  Trump sat at the top.  He knows what it is to have authority.  But does he know what it is to be political.  You can’t order the American people to behave as you wish them to.  You can not tell the Senate, the House, or the judiciary what they must do.  Politics requires some measures of self-effacement, a considerable amount of other directedness, and quite a lot of compromise, not only of take, but also, of give.  To this point, there has been little evidence not only of Mr. Trump’s political prowess, but of any desire on his part to function as a politician.  In fact in his acceptance address all that he had to say about politicians was a series of negative accusations against them.

So a career in business can prepare one to become President.  But in Mr. Trump’s case, it is not at all evident that his career has prepared him for this very overwhelming task.




Will Trump “lead from behind?”

July 18, 2016

Last night on 60 Minutes Trump reiterated his position that ISIS must be wiped out.  Leslie Stahl asked if he would send in American troops to accomplish this.  Trump immediately responded that he would not.  He insisted that NATO and other countries adjacent to Syria and Iraq would be engaged to accomplish this.

In an article in the New Yorker, April 26, 2011 Ryan Lizza first suggested that the phrase “leading from behind” might describe the policy being followed by President Obama, particularly in the Libyan situation.  Based on some statements of Nelson Mandela, Lizza described the heart of the idea as “empowerment of other actors to do your bidding, especially, when other nations would withhold their cooperation if the United States acted unilaterally.

Once Lizza linked this phrase to President Obama’s foreign policy, Republican conservatives jumped all over this phrase not only because for them it summed up the weakness of Obama in the foreign policy arena, but also suggested that Obama himself perceived the United States to be operating from a position of weakness.  To this day, the phrase is enthusiastically used by Obama’s critics.

But in suggesting that American troops should not be used to wipe out ISIS,  but that NATO and other countries should take on the major task of accomplishing this, is Trump not suggesting that the United States should “lead from behind?”  Will Republican critics be as quick to criticize Trump for this stance as they were to criticize President Obama?  And, by the way, “Who will pay for the wall between the US and Mexico?”  In this case, too, it appears that Trump is ready to lead from behind.