The important news all ran below the fold this week.
Americans like their politicians to engage in idiocy after periods of long reflection rather than upon impulse.
This helps explain the media pig-pile on Donald Trump for talking before thinking but praise of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for acting foolishly after much consultation, contemplation, and deliberation. Trump wants for prudence; the man he seeks to replace and the woman he runs against lack a related, broader, more important quality: judgment.
The neophyte pol but veteran media manipulator allowed longtime Clinton hand George Stephanopoulos to bait him into a fight with a Gold Star Family losing a son in a war that Trump opposed but his opponent voted for in the Senate. The Republican nominee continues to see the election as a chance to reorient the GOP rather than the USA by engaging in petty, parochial battles with John McCain, Paul Ryan, and others offering criticism alongside tepid support. Rather than kissing babies Trump presents that rare politician who tells them to shut up.
So instead of talking about Crooked Hillary we wonder about Crackpot Donald. The Branch Donaldians, a true-believing sect as fanatical as the Branch Davidians, regards constructive criticism as treason. They come across as the type of friends who refuse to tell you that your zipper resides in the Bill Clinton position. They instead give their best Kevin Bacon Animal House imitation: “Remain calm. All is well. All is well!”
One might say “well played” to the Democrats if only the referees didn’t play for their team, too. But that comes as no revelation even in the wake of the WikiLeaks digital document dump showing journalists colluding on messaging with the Democratic Party. The billionaire still in businessman mode regards any publicity as good publicity. His love for the press goes unrequited.
The unforced political errors obscure the forced march of policy errors by the president and his former secretary of state.
The Obama Administration rewarded Iran with $400 million for taking four Americans hostages. White House flack Josh Earnest said the deal for the release of the kidnapped “could not possibly have been more transparent” but it becoming a story seven months after it happened suggests otherwise. So, too, does the foreign currency with which the administration paid the ransom for fear of violating U.S. law by paying with dollars. The current president insists he provided no ransom but a former prisoner explains that Iran kept his plane on the tarmac for hours until the American money jet arrived.
Trump’s missteps relegate this to below the fold.
The president playing into Trump’s popular message of security at the borders and law and order within them also received second billing this week. In ordering over 200 criminals free, the president boasted on Wednesday: “I’ve commuted more sentences than the past nine presidents combined, and I am not done yet.” He called America “a country that imprisons its citizens at a rate far higher than any other” and “serves up excessive punishments.” Apart from turning loose dangerous Americans, Obama, the AP reported Thursday, approaches his goal of unleashing 10,000 Syrian refugees upon the nation this year. The State Department admits 2,340 refugees from the terrorist hotbed arriving last month alone, raising the 2016 total to about 7,900.
No sane American would travel to Syria. Why allow Syria to come here?
The woman who seeks to give the president — be it her husband or her former boss — four more years emerged from her convention with a blah more than a bounce — until Trump gave her an assist. The WikiLeaks July Surprise showing her minions in the Democratic National Committee conspiring to derail Bernie Sanders meshed neatly with the ongoing scandal of her conducting public business on a private server. That calculated decision to keep secrets from the American people likely handed over what she hid from us to the Russians. Hillary Clinton really put the secret in secretary.
But instead of talking heads talking about Mrs. Clinton lying to Chris Wallace about lying about her hidden emails (“Director Comey said that my answers were truthful and what I’ve said is consistent with what I have told the American people”), Donald Trump’s aversion to hiding any fleeting thought that enters his mind dominates the conversation.
Surely entreating Donald Trump to pause before he goes into Jack Kerouac stream-of-conscience mode or succumbs to his undiagnosed Tourette’s seems a pittance to ask from a man seeking the nation’s highest office. But worse sins exist beyond speaking without thinking. Repeatedly courting disaster despite acting after thinking strikes as one such offense.