Robert Campbell

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Everything posted by Robert Campbell

  1. Michael, I won't ask you what sort of hate is driving you. But I am morbidly fascinated by your own account of your guy's tactics. Perhaps you can explain what he got—cheaply, of course—by giving Mitch McConnell $60,000 to deliver a punch in the nose to Matt Bevin and other Tea Party opponents of sitting Republican Senators. As for the Club for Growth story, what is your evidence for the Club for Growth people telling him he would never win without them? The chairman of the Club sent Corey Lewandowski a letter asking for $1 million, apparently after having met with Trump at Trump Tower. I believe the letter, because Trump produced it. What leads you to suppose that the rest of the story is any more credible than Donald's "perfect statistics" (20% unemployment in Wisconsin!) or his claim to have invented the tired slogan, "Common-sense conservatism"? Though it has occurred to me that you may not care whether it's true or not, as long as it helps Trump win. And he is winning in Indiana, which probably makes him the Republican nominee. Robert
  2. Why should any participant on this list take Fred Reed seriously? Robert
  3. Adam, Thank you for your frank answer. But where you got the notion that spelling his first name "Raphael" instead of "Rafael" is hiding his ethnicity, I haven't a clue. His last name is Cruz. Not Cross, not Croix, not Kreuz, not Croce. And he doesn't exactly go around pretending not to be of Cuban descent. I figured your constant repetition of "Rafael" was intended to tie Ted to his father, so as to brand him as a dangerous religious fanatic. Robert PS. If you're so concerned about candidates hiding their ethnicity, why haven't you taken points away from Donald Trump for not restoring the ancestral surname?
  4. The man nobody wants to talk about. None of the Trumpians hereabouts have shown much interest in Paul Manafort. Not even when he appears to contradict his boss: He worked for Ronald Reagan once. He will insure Donald's triumph now. Leave it at that. The guy actually has a much more interesting résumé: The author is a Leftist, formerly with the New Republic. So there are occasional obligatory shots (for instance, at Ronald Reagen's 1980 campaign, insinuating racist appeals without evidence). They don't matter, because he's done his homework. Paul Manafort didn't just work for Bob Dole (or for Jerry Ford against Ronald Reagan, before he worked for Reagan). He worked for Mobutu Sese Seko, Ferdinand Marcos, at least one dictator out of the dynasty that's ruled Equatorial Guinea, and Mohammad Siad Barré (the last dictator of Somalia). He worked for Viktor Yanukovych. Visited him many times, at the gilded palace mentioned upthread. Whenever I've brought up Yanukovych, he's been the client nobody wants to talk about. Forget about Donald Trump's alleged integrity here. Just focus on the expedient for a minute. Why would a guy who expects to be the nominee, running against Hillary Clinton, employ the services of a man who has accepted large sums from foreign dictators and Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs? The Clinton Slush Fund Foundation has accepted large sums from foreign dictators and Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs. Robert
  5. Sycophancy, thy name is... I have never been an admirer of Ann Coulter. I have never bought one of her books. I often change channels when she is the next talking head. Her entire career has been built on cheap shots and mean-spirited remarks. Even with her training as a lawyer, I figure she has to practice them each morning in front of a mirror to stay in form. And, really, she should stick with the barbs. Enough people like them to bring her fame and money. She is embarrassingly bad at praise. Whenever she attempts it, she goes all sycophantic. She was all sycophantic for Mittens, four years ago. She's all sycophantic for Donald, now. Robert
  6. I see that Jon is not interested in netting out the principles expressed in Donald Trump's magnificent foreign policy speech. So let's try a simpler exercise. Here are two small portions: By the way, accepting the option to reformat the material gets rid of all the extra blank lines that Brant complained of. Of course, it also kills italics and bold (I restored them to the headers). Now, if France and Germany and Slovenia aren't putting sufficient resources into their respective militaries, what does President Trump do to make sure they commit their fair share? And how does he do it without further convincing them that they can't depend on the United States? This is just one stretch of the speech for which I cannot find a meaning that is noncontradictory. But I don't like Donald Trump. Surely those who admire him, and understand him far better than I, can find the noncontradictory meaning. Bonus item 1: Trump rips Obama for pulling the plug on missile defense systems for Poland and the Czech Republic. But wouldn't going ahead on those systems have contributed mightily to the very "cycle of hostility" with the Putinian empire that Trump deplores elsewhere in the speech? Bonus Item 2: Trump says, "Iran cannot be allowed to have a nuclear weapon and... will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon." Do you think that anyone, even the author of The Art of the Deal, can employ diplomatic means to get the Ruling Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his lieutenants to give up on getting nuclear weapons? If so, how? If not, are we to read this statement as a promise that a Trump administration will send American troops into war against Iran? Robert
  7. Michael, You say that you've kept on pointing to the sources that refute my arguments. In many cases, you haven't. You've either dropped the discussion, or just proclaimed that you see something with your own two eyes. If Donald Trump has in fact said any of the things about Social Security that you attribute to him, beyond it MUST BE PRESERVED and it WILL BE FULLY FUNDED, and he has done so during NTE 1, you should be able to find at least one interview (video, audio, text) and link to it. You are, after all, by far the greater expert on Donald Trump. Otherwise, the reasonable inference is that you're talking about your position on the matter, not his. Robert
  8. Adam, When I've asked Michael whether he really believes everything he says about Ted Cruz (which, taken seriously, would imply that Cruz should be run out of politics, no later than the end of his present term in the US Senate) he's insisted that he wants Cruz to stay in the Senate, where he can act as the faithful servant of President Donald Trump. How about you? Your rhetoric about Cruz routinely has a nastier tone, even, than Michael's. You seem to regard him with utter loathing. Do you think Ted Cruz should be run out of political office? If he has anything at all going for him, what is it? Another way to put it: If you had to choose between a US Senate with Mitch McConnell and without Ted Cruz, or with Ted Cruz and without Mitch McConnell, which would you prefer? Robert
  9. Michael, Isn't one of the selling points of interviewing politicians on TV precisely that viewers can see their faces as they talk? You know, because otherwise radio or podcasts would suffice? Robert
  10. Michael, First you said that you and I don't understand the political establishment the same way. The reason apparently being that I can't grasp what it is and you can. So I suggested that, if this is so, you must not be able to define the establishment, give clear examples of it, or explain it. Not, at any rate, to persons with my cognitive limitations (or my insidious and, to me, imperceptible ties to that establishment). You then turn around and give me instances of the establishment that, while kinda short on specifics, are in broad terms what I, too, consider instances thereof. Which doesn't exactly attest to my inability to grasp what it is. And you still haven't answered my questions about particular political actors. Establishment or anti-establishment? How do we know which they are? Is it possible for anyone, already on the political scene or in the media or in the commentariat, to be establishment one day and anti-establishment the next? If so, what are the indicia of this deep transformation? If the validity of your arguments really depends on whether Donald Trump wins recent and upcoming primaries; comes out on top in the contention for pledged and unplugged delegates; gets nominated at the Republican Convention; and wins in November... You could claim a lot of really wild stuff—much wilder than anything you've said about political establishments, their relation to Donald Trump, and the relative ability of Trump supporters and Trump opponents to understand and discern who belongs to one—and, given its pure dependence on Donald Trump winning or losing... then if Donald Trump is inaugurated on January 20, 2017, these claims will all be true. But this does lead me to wonder what will happen, if at any point in this sequence, Donald Trump loses. If he loses, will it suddenly then be the case that Mitch McConnell is part of the establishment, and Donald Trump sucked up to him? Whereas if Trump wins all the way to the White House, then McConnell was never part of the establishment—or, if he was, Donald Trump never sucked up to him? Robert
  11. Michael, You're not denying that this is a privilege. Nor do you seem to be claiming that it's a good idea, in general, to let candidates for high political office to give phone interviews to TV shows. For if that were the case, you'd be all for phone interviews from the non-Trumps of the world. I guess it's Le Droit du Donald. Robert
  12. Michael, You might want to ask Donald Trump what he actually plans to do. All he has said is that Social Security MUST BE PRESERVED and he will work an economic miracle that will insure it's all paid for (along with Medicare and what have you). The second portion of the claim is pure vaporware, but we have to admit it's unique to Trump. Neither Hillary nor Bernie is proclaiming an imminent economic miracle. Trump's Republican opponents are talking about promoting increased economic growth, but not at levels exceeding those claimed in official Chinese statistics. The first portion is exactly what every Democrat says (unless they're like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, and they add that Social Security MUST BE EXPANDED). If Trump wants to start phasing Social Security out for the young, while keeping current benefit levels for those who have reached a certain age, he could run on that proposition. Some Republicans have called for similar measures, and taken their lumps politically. Some are still in office. Since we are never to think that Trump adopts any position out of raw political expediency, we should conclude that if he intends to do as you say, he'll announce it. 'Cause otherwise, all you are doing is projecting your values, your factual assumptions, and your policy preferences onto your guy, without any evidence that he shares them. Robert PS. The Supreme Court has ruled that there is no right to receive "entitlement" benefits from the Federal government. Congress has ordained them, and Congress can modify them, or take them away, by passing a new law. Screwing over those who have seen money taken from them over many years that they could have saved or invested for themselves is politically imprudent as well as unfair to those affected. But the fact is that politicians lied to everyone when they created the system, and have persistently lied to everyone ever since (pretending it's "insurance," that there's a "Trust Fund," that there are individual accounts, that anything has ever been going on except taking this year's tax revenue from those who are in the workforce and transferring it to those who are retired this year). The Donald once realized, or claimed he realized, that politicians lied and have kept lying about Social Security; he even called it a Ponzi Scheme. But that was 15 or so years BNTE, and we're never supposed to construe any of his political stands then as having any bearing on his political stands as we approach NTE 2.
  13. Peter, Tracinski has run two good pieces in the last week, one on Social Security and one on the debt. In both cases, he rather pessimistically concludes that there is so little political will to deal with either that Social Security will have to run out of money (in 2035 or whenever) and benefits will be "automatically" cut 21% (or whatever the law says by then) to stay within current revenues. And the US government will eventually stop borrowing the way India stopped in 1991, because no one will lend it anything any more. We know that Donald Trump has declared that Social Security MUST BE PRESERVED and that the economic miracles he will work will enable it to be paid for. Nothing else. Any further interpretation (such as the one that Michael has presented on this site) appears to be the work of others seeing what they want to see in him. Trump has also claimed that the national debt will be totally retired in 8 years, without giving the slightest clue how he envisions accomplishing that. So maybe he will just be President Kick-the-Can-Down-the-Road. Only the size and weight of the can will be colossal, the driving distance unprecedented, the noise upon impact like nothing previously recorded. No one will kick that can better than he. Robert
  14. Michael, No, what Ted Cruz gave is not an answer. One reasonable answer would have been, "I have serious reservations about Trump, but I won't be in a position to decide, or announce a decision, till we get to the convention." I would have much preferred it. Cruz has standard responses (or nonresponses, depending on the occasion) that he trots out too often. Now it so happens I just happened to see a few minutes of Chris Wallace talking to Donald Trump today. I'll paraphrase. Wallace: How about your high negatives with women? (Poll numbers shown on screen: 24% favorable, 75% unfavorable). Can you win with these? Trump goes into a rapid-fire spiel about how he's knocked off all but 2 of 17 Republican opponents, being sure to name the two he may hate the most, Scott Walker and Jeb Bush, and how he has to finish knocking off Ted Cruz and John Kasich. Then, after having made no reference to women at all up to this point, not even to Carly Fiorina as one of the vanquished, he jumps to how he just did great with female Republican primary voters in New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, etc. He says "landslide" and "60%" but gives no breakdowns on male vs. female support. Wallace: With all due respect...I was asking you about female voters in the general election. Trump continues his highly caffeinated filibuster, finally getting to how he will take down Hillary, how awful she is, etc. Somehow this will make his negatives come down. Never actually answered the question. Have you ever called your guy out for employing a "political bullshit evasion tactic"? Once? Robert
  15. Brant, The speech was a hot, steaming mess. Of course, in American politics, one can produce a hot, steaming mess and a lot of people will either like it or pretend to like it. It can even be seen as representing progress. Robert
  16. Michael, Donald Trump wants you to lose your respect for Ted Cruz. So why shouldn't you? Robert
  17. Michael, I take this to mean that what you see with your own two eyes has no implications regarding anything else (whether the other thing can be seen with two eyes or not). All of these experiences are "loose and separate," as David Hume used to say. Robert
  18. Michael, How perfectly Establishmentarian of you! Why, Mitch McConnell is a permanent fixture in Washington, in Kentucky, in the Republican Party, in the United States of America, in the Milky Way, in the entire cosmos. So even the most courageous, the most brilliant, the most audacious, the most outspoken, the most generous, the most principled anti-Establishmentarian of all time, Donald J. Trump, is going to have to work with Mitch McConnell! (One is tempted to ask whether Trump ought to refrain from slamming any other Establishment Republican in either House of Congress—and every Establishment Democrat—because if he is elected, and they are not defeated for re-election, he will have to work with each of them. Maybe he's really thrilled to have gotten Bill Shuster's endorsement. Maybe he's fishing for Hal Rogers', as we speak. He must be dying for validation from Paul Ryan.) Sorry, but now the reductio is all the way to the absurdum. If you can justify Donald Trump sucking up to Mitch McConnell, you can justify his sucking up to any Establishment figure you or I would care to name. It's not like McConnell is, well, strong. (In fact, he needed money from Donald Trump to shore him up in 2014). The dude is unpopular in Washington. He's unpopular at home. He backed Trey Grayson, and Rand Paul won the primary. He beat Allison Lundergan Grimes because she was pro-Obama in a state that is now strongly anti-Obama, and she is a twit. Meanwhile, the guy he beat in the primary with Trump's help, Matt Bevin, is now the Governor. McConnell is unpopular nationwide. He's unpopular with Republicans. (The only constraint on his national unpopularity: lack of name recognition.) I find it plausible that his staunchest allies (say, Lindsey Graham or John McCain or Bob Corker or Orrin Hatch) privately despise him. Whereas Chucky Schumer and Dick Durbin unquestionably despise him, but if he were gone they'd miss him terribly, because he's been so easy to roll. It's not like McConnell is, well, effective. Unless you count Cromnibus spending bills and debt ceiling increases and the Gang of Eight legislation and restoring the Export-Import Bank and caving on the Iran deal ... fill in the blank, there's so much more... as proof of effectiveness. Since every Republican Senator opposed Obamacare, there hasn't been much either you or I would want to point to. If Donald Trump wanted to enhance his support with anyone not currently in his camp, Mitch McConnell is a target-rich environment unto himself. The Donald could attain new heights of creativity with his insults, and every one would be an applause line. If Donald Trump wanted to enhance views of his effectiveness, should he win the election and have to deal with Congress, he should already be at work now to push McConnell out, because a random selection among the remaining Republican Senators would give him somebody with more backbone and a greater prospect of getting his legislation through Congrees. Nope, Trump's too busy sucking up to him. Robert
  19. Michael, You might be leaving a couple of things out. (1) Trump can't live without publicity—he must have a Minimum Daily Requirement—has long known how to get it, and has long known how to hire people who know how to get it for him. This was already the case 40 years BNTE (Before New Trump Era). (2) Media outlets are willing to extend privileges to Trump that they wouldn't dream of extending to any other candidate. The most blatant manifestation is TV shows letting him do interviews over the phone. Robert
  20. Michael, You're actually supposing that I don't know who any of these people are, and can't identify them as part of an establishment. (By the way, I'm still seeing you not referring to any of them by name, unless it's Bush.) Your whole point seemed to be that you, along with all other Trump supporters, possess this special ability to discern who is a member of the Establishment, and I, in my duped, or befuddled, state, do not. If your special powers of discernment pick out Chuck Todd as part of an establishment, or Anderson Cooper, or Bill O'Reilly, or Nicholas Kristof, or anybody who works for Politico, or Tom Steyer, or anyone who gave chunks of money to Jeb! this past cycle... well, my grossly inferior, if not completely absent, powers of discernment managed to pick them out, too. So how about the cases where your special powers succeed, and my inferior powers fail? As my powers are so inferior, these must be abundant. If one Bush on Ted Cruz's team makes him part of the establishment, did one Barbour on Chris McDaniel's team make him part of the establishment? If Ann Coulter was part of the establishment when she was a sycophant of Mitt Romney, did she stop being part it of the day she became a sycophant of Donald Trump? If Paul Manafort was pure establishment when he worked for, say, Bob Dole, did he become pure anti-esabllishment the first day he received a paycheck from Trump? As one who knows the establishment far better than I ever could, you should have an easy time bringing clarity to these matters. That is, unless along with my inability to see the establishment, I have a further inability to see anyone else's ability to see the establishment. Robert
  21. Jon, I'll give my opinion of this speech soon enough. In the meantime, the question is not whether I can find any principles in it. It's what you think the principles are. You've been writing as though you know what they are, so you should be able to net them out. Robert
  22. Adam, Cogent data are always worth reviewing... My point was that the legacy media desperately want her in power and most of their people are, in effect, asserting that she will win. If they thought she was in serious danger from him, they would already be handling Trump in a sharply different fashion. Cutting down on their coverage of him, slanting it as heavily as possible against him, instead of cheering his impending nomination. Robert
  23. I've seen a better summation of Trump's speech now, from Anne Appelbaum (not coming from the same place as me politically, but she knows things Russian and knows how to write). Will link to it in a response to JL. Robert
  24. Adam, There is the additional perceived benefit that he will guarantee the election of Hillary. They may be misperceiving, but there it is. Robert