Again, Trump completely disqualifies himself

They set the precedent, and Trump could not care less...

They set the precedent, and Trump could not care less…

Sorry I haven’t had time to post today, ere now… Anyway, to business…

As bizarre and grotesquely inappropriate as some of the things Donald Trump said in the second debate were (“tremendous hate in her heart”), the most important and instructive was his threat to imprison his opponent if he wins the election.

Similarly, as agog as we may be from such outbursts as “Such a nasty woman!”,  the one thing we heard in the third and final (thank the Lord) debate last night that was easily the most important, and instructive, was that Trump will not agree to abide by the results of the election. Something that was not a slip of the tongue or a momentary lapse, as he doubled down on it today.

As I said via Twitter last night:

If there were referees in American politics, Trump would have been thrown out of the game for the offense in the second debate (actually, much sooner, but let’s stick with the debates). He completely and utterly disqualified himself.

And if the refs had been deaf and blind in that instance, they would have tossed him out for the offense last night. He showed in both instances that he has no idea at all what elections are about in this country.

The gift that America gave to the world was not merely the promise, but the fact, of the orderly and peaceful transfer of power from one person, party or faction to another. As I said above, the miracle of the election of 1800 — one that for sheer nastiness at least deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as this one — was that Jefferson took over from rival Adams, and everyone accepted it.

This miracle has been repeated every four years, with one exception: South Carolina, and a number of other Southern states, refused to accept the results of the election of 1860. Thanks to the preternatural wisdom, leadership and political skills of the man who won that election, and the blood of hundreds of thousands, the nation was saved. But that was the central crisis of our history, as Lincoln himself explained. It was the great test as to “whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.”

So we got through that and made it all the way to 2016, and Donald Trump — a man who does not have a clue what this nation is all about, and does not care. Trump, the nominee of the party of Lincoln. God help us.

When he is asked whether he will accept the results of the election if he loses, he thinks it is a question about him, and what he wants, and how he feels. Because in his universe, everything is all about him.

The nation, and the things that make it exceptional and wonderful, matter not at all…

28 thoughts on “Again, Trump completely disqualifies himself

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Excellent point there, Jeff, although it took the writer long enough to get to it. In part, it’s similar to what I said in my first Tweet of the debate last night:

      And that prevailing liberal sentiment was what I was objecting to in this, my last column before the 2008 election:

      Sen. Obama seems to judge court rulings based more on their policy effects than on legal reasoning. In his autobiography, Dreams from My Father, he wrote, “The answers I find in law books don’t always satisfy me — for every Brown v. Board of Education I find a score of cases where conscience is sacrificed to expedience or greed.” That hinted to me that he cares more about good outcomes than law. But I forgot about it until I heard him say in the debate that “I will look for those judges who have an outstanding judicial record, who have the intellect, and who hopefully have a sense of what real-world folks are going through.” That third qualification disturbed me because it seemed to demand a political sensibility on the part of judges, but I wasn’t sure….

      That message was lost on a lot of my liberal friends at the time — they thought it was just that mackerel-snapper Brad objecting to abortion again, and being a one-issue voter. Why, I don’t know, because I thought my words were clear enough: I was saying that as much as I liked (and still like) Obama, I found his wish for an outcome-based court extremely disturbing. Why? Because I believe in the rule of law.

      Oh, by the way: Something I almost Tweeted about, but then got distracted by some other outrage, was this: When Trump said flatly that he would appoint “pro-life judges” — something I found as disqualifying as if Hillary had said she would appoint “pro-choice judges.” Since she didn’t go that far, I failed to notice the point that National Review rightly raises — which is a related problem.

      That’s not what the Judiciary is about, folks. It’s the president’s job to appoint qualified judges without reference to how they might rule in the future, and it’s the Senate’s job to confirm them if they ARE qualified. Anything beyond that is unacceptable…

      1. Bryan Caskey

        Gosh, I could write a whole blog post about this issue. However, I’m playing zone defense with two kids by myself tonight.

        Lots to unpack in those answers.

  1. Mark Stewart

    He started strong for 20 minutes, then it descended to his usual train wreck conclusion.

    You could see he knew he had embarrassed himself at the end, that was clear.

  2. Jeff Mobley

    As was pointed out on a radio broadcast I heard this morning, and echoing Brad’s point that to Trump, it’s all about Trump, notice how his first thought on the Supreme Court was, basically, “a justice said something bad about me.”:

    WALLACE: Mr. Trump, same question. Where do you want to see the court take the country? And how do you believe the Constitution should be interpreted?
    TRUMP: Well, first of all, it’s great to be with you, and thank you, everybody. The Supreme Court: It’s what it’s all about. Our country is so, so — it’s just so imperative that we have the right justices.
    Something happened recently where Justice Ginsburg made some very, very inappropriate statements toward me and toward a tremendous number of people, many, many millions of people that I represent. And she was forced to apologize. And apologize she did. But these were statements that should never, ever have been made.

    As Trump himself would say, if he had any perspective, “Sad!”

  3. bud

    Prediction time: popular vote – Hillary 54%, Trump-42%, Third parties-4%

    Odious Electoral College:


    1. Douglas Ross

      There is a close to zero percent chance of Hillary getting 50% of the total popular vote. Of thirteen national 4 way polls, Hillary gets 50% in only one of them. Third parties total are running between 7-12%. She will have no mandate.

      There are also models that show the same polling that misread the Brexit vote are in play in this election as well. People are not enthused to vote FOR Hillary and they are less likely to make the effort to make the effort to vote AGAINST Trump. Too many people live in the bubble of their own surroundings and assume everyone else is equally engaged, motivated.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        I don’t want Hillary to have a mandate. What I want is for Trump to be crushed, for Trumpism to be so soundly defeated that it shrinks to insignificance.

        I don’t think that’s going to happen, but it’s what NEEDS to happen, for the sake of the country…

        1. Douglas Ross

          Trump is just the start. It isn’t about Trump anyway. The rise of Trump AND Sanders is due to the general disgust Americans have for the government. There will be others coming along in 2020 when Hillary’ becomes a one termer. Mark Cuban will likely make an attempt when the time comes. He’s Trump without the baggage.

    1. Douglas Ross

      Which is why Brad’s support of Hillary is so disappointing. I thought he actually cared about limiting abortion. A vote for Hillary is a vote for no limits on abortions in the next generation or two. Anyone who claims life is important cannot vote for Hillary.

      1. Claus

        Which I found strange in the last debate. One minute she’s railing on about a woman’s right to abort a baby hours or days before deliver, the next minute she’s concerned about the young Syrian boy and other young children being killed.

      2. Brad Warthen Post author

        Only if one is a single-issue voter.

        It’s really awful the way Roe has distorted our politics. In a rational world, Supreme Court nominations would play a fairly small role in voters’ calculations. Thanks to Roe, there are plenty of people across the spectrum who will cite that as THE reason they are voting for this or that candidate.

        I find that appalling. The very idea that people would seek to stack the Supreme Court to guarantee rulings to their liking is staggering to me.

        You may find that confusing, because what I was saying in that column in 2008 was that Obama’s comments on the court helped solidify my support for McCain. But that was in an extremely broad sense; it wasn’t about this or that issue before the court.

        What I was saying was that I thought McCain had the court and its role in society in a proper perspective, and Obama, despite being a law professor, did not. It was about respecting the difference between the court and the political branches.

        Now subsequently, I’ve had little complaint with Obama and his respect for the rule of law. And McCain has let me down. While in that column I had occasion to praise him for having voted to confirm Clinton nominees Breyer and Ginsberg — while Obama had voted against qualified Republican nominees. Since then, while Lindsey Graham has stuck to the principle of respecting presidents’ prerogatives — oft stated in the past by McCain — McCain himself has broken with it.

        But at the time, the evidence was there that McCain came far closer to my ideal of how the political branches should approach the court…

        1. Douglas Ross

          You have made a moral choice to accept abortion and fund Planned Parenthood.

          No one is asking you to be a single issue voter. But then don’t come back later talking about abortion as being immoral. You are voting for that very thing with your support for Hillary. When you pull the lever for her, you’re saying you’ve accepted abortion as the law for the rest of your life.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            So basically, you’re saying that one can only vote for someone with whom you agree about everything. That’s absurd.

            There’s not one person on the planet who agrees with me on every important issue. So basically, if I followed your rule, I could not vote.

            I certainly couldn’t vote the way you’re voting, because I disagree with Libertarians on almost everything. I couldn’t vote for Trump because he is a nightmare, not only as a person, but on issue after issue — and his putative opposition to abortion is a complete joke.

            Anyone you propose to me will disagree with me on some critical, deeply held belief that I have. So I guess I’m just supposed to sit at home and gripe about the state of the world, keeping myself pure from participating in it…

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              And let me clue you in — abortion isn’t going away no matter how I vote. Not within my lifetime. It’s horrible, but it’s true.

              In any case, I’m not going to throw away my concerns about every other issue in the world in order to vote for someone who might someday nominate a judge who might get confirmed who might someday provide a vote on something that might provide some marginal limitation on something that pulls us somewhat away from unrestricted abortion on demand.

              As I’ve said over and over — other people can act like Supreme Court nominations are THE issue in presidential elections. I never will, because I could not disagree more…

            2. Douglas Ross

              Are you unable to prioritize the issues that you feel are important?

              I’m asking you to identify your core values and vote accordingly. A vote for Hillary means abortion is lower on your issue list than things like amnesty for illegals, free tuition for public schools, greater controls on guns, higher taxes, Obamacare continuing.

              I vote on issues. Thankfully the Libertarian platform is almost in complete agreement with my views. I have core values that I use to make my vote.

              You are voting for abortion to continue.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                No, I’m not, and this is not true:

                I’m asking you to identify your core values and vote accordingly. A vote for Hillary means abortion is lower on your issue list than things like amnesty for illegals, free tuition for public schools, greater controls on guns, higher taxes, Obamacare continuing.

                We are a LONG way from having the leisure of voting on the basis of someone whose positions on issues mesh with my own.

                I am voting for the one person who has a clue what the job of president entails, and has a chance of beating Trump, perhaps even beating him soundly, which is my one overriding priority in this election. I am trying to save the country from a man who neither understands nor cares about the foundational principles of this nation.

                I have stated that quite clearly, over and over, and it’s really not terribly complicated. I don’t understand why I am being misunderstood.

                All my life I have believed strongly in the power of words. But nothing has undermined that faith so much as the experience of being a blogger. I explain over and over what I think and how I am motivated, and people continue to come back at me saying, “No, what you really think is this…”

                It’s more than a little maddening…

                1. Douglas Ross

                  You choose to post your words but don’t accept any interpretation that would question your logic or motivation. It’s like you stick your fingers in your ears and cover your eyes and say “I said what I said. Don’t tell me what else it might mean.”

                  In this case, it’s pretty simple. You are putting the defeat of Donald Trump over any other issue. You won’t consider the consequences of your decision because that makes your words (in your view) subject to question. You are voting for Hillary Clinton and you will be responsible for the results of that decision – one of which is that abortion will continue to be legal in all forms for the rest of your life. You choose politics over your faith. It helps to define what you really stand for: government first and foremost.

                  As for “I am voting for the one person who has a clue what the job of president entails, and has a chance of beating Trump, ” that is about the weakest argument for supporting someone I can imagine. In this case, I go along with what Trump said in the debate “Hillary has a lot of experience. But it’s BAD experience.” She has very little to show for successes in her political career and numerous failures. She has no track record to show that she will be a good leader of this country: uninspiring, calculating, cold. We’re headed to four years of malaise at best.

        2. Bryan Caskey

          “Now subsequently, I’ve had little complaint with Obama and his respect for the rule of law.”

          Then you haven’t been paying attention, my fine fellow. Leaving aside the high-profile win of NFIB vs. Sebelius, the Obama administration has been absolutely battered by SCOTUS. In point of fact, from (January 2009 to June 2015), the Obama administration has lost unanimously at the Supreme Court 23 times, an average of 3.62 cases per year. Is that a lot?

          Yes. It’s staggeringly bad. For comparison, in all 8 years of George W. Bush’s presidency, Bush Administration lost unanimously 15 times (1.875 cases per year). So if you thought Bush had some government overreach, double it for Obama. And hey, that’s not coming from me, that’s coming from SCOTUS.

          I can go through the cases for you, but you can go find them. Go look at Noel Canning v. National Labor Relations Board; Arizona v. United States; United States v. Jones. There’s more. The cases have a wide range of issues, but the thing they all have in common is the Obama Administration’s view that federal power is virtually unlimited.

          The federal government keeps losing these cases in astounding 9-0 margins because the federal government advances extreme interpretations of what federal power it has. Sure, they don’t lose every case, but pretty much every time the feds push for more federal power, they get smacked around by SCOTUS. If the government can’t get even ONE Justice to agree with them, then it needs to realize that its theory of the argument doesn’t even pass the laugh test.

          So yeah, I’m going to go ahead and disagree with you there.

          And don’t even get me started on the abysmal answers Clinton and Trump gave on SCOTUS. I mean, those were their prepared answers. It’s not like they can each claim they were speaking off the cuff. They gave horrible answers which they practiced.

          Oh, and I saw Hillary trying to explain the Heller decision. Wow. Talk about a whopper. The problem is, she doesn’t believe that people should be able to bear arms, but she can’t come out and just say that, so she has to twist herself into a pretzel every time it comes up, by starting with “I respect the Second Amendment.” Saying that Heller is about “toddlers” is like saying Korematsu was about hotel accommodations.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            To quote my favorite judge, Chamberlain Haller, “That is a lucid, intelligent, well thought-out objection…. Counselor’s entire opening statement… with the exception of ‘thank you’… will be stricken from the record.”

            You are far, FAR better informed on this than I am. The fact remains that I have not been alarmed by Obama’s actions, at least not to the extent that the fears I expressed in ’08 were realized. Perhaps ignorance is bliss, because I haven’t paid attention as closely as you have, but there it is.

            As for Hilary and Heller, I like the way Alexandra Petri, in her column about the debate, described her response to the question:

            CLINTON: Thank you. Listen, I love the Second Amendment. I lived in Arkansas for 18 (twitch) WONDERFUL years. I oppose the way the Heller decision was applied, because I believe in toddlers. Hooray, toddlers….

            The part I loved, of course, was the (twitch)…

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Actually, strike that where I said “the fears I expressed in ’08.” I didn’t so much have FEARS. I just had a serious objection to the way Obama approached the court (an objection that, unfortunately, too few of my readers seemed to understand), which reinforced my preference for McCain.

              I very much liked both candidates, and felt no chills down my spine at the idea of either of them being elected…

            2. Brad Warthen Post author

              Actually, the best part of Alexandra’s column was probably this, at the beginning:

              HILLARY CLINTON: Hello. I am dressed as Saruman the White. My best moments this evening will occur when I am forced to defend the basic principles of democracy, a terrifyingly low bar that this election season has set. Thank you for making it so easy, but also, eeegh….

  4. Bill

    It’s way past time for that man to stop polluting our public space.
    Trump is the political equivalent of a toxic waste dump.

  5. Douglas Ross

    Yeah, I remember when the Democrats accepted Bush over Gore in 2000.

    And if Trump somehow pulls out a win, Democrats will surely accept the result (Hillary’s lip service about saying she will is b.s.). When Trump says the election is rigged, he’s a lunatic. When Hillary says the Russians are trying to fix the election, she’s correct. Both sides are equally stupid. If the Russians are trying to fix the election, why wouldn’t Obama DO something about it? If the very core of our democracy is being threatened, shouldn’t he maybe address it with some action? It’s a phony charge meant to deflect the actual content of the emails that show all sorts of unethical behavior.

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