The State’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton

I could write about this at great length (as I did four years ago in reaction to The State‘s decision not to endorse), but I need to wrap up a couple of things and get over to the Big DM for the radio show, so I’ll just toss this out for y’all to discuss.

In today’s editions, The State endorsed HIllary Clinton for president, explaining why South Carolina’s many conservatives really have no other acceptable option in this election — which, of course, they don’t. And as we all know, the most pertinent part of the argument is the utter unthinkability of the alternative:

Most voters are aware of what he has said he would do: build a wall along our southern border to keep out illegal immigrants; waterboard suspected terrorists; kill innocent family members of terrorists; stifle the news media. While he has changed some of those positions — especially the killing of terrorists’ relatives — it’s troubling he ever considered them.

Also disturbing are his statements about women, his mocking of a man with a disability and his inability to focus on the big picture if it means ignoring a personal slight.

Whatever intrigue his business resume generates is overshadowed by his character and personality. He is simply unfit for the presidency, or any public office.

That means we must rely on Hillary Clinton for any meaningful change in Washington politics.

Her resume suggests Mrs. Clinton is as prepared as any of this year’s candidates to be an effective president. She played a major role in formulating policy during her husband’s administration, especially in the areas of health care and children. As a U.S. senator from New York, she served on the Armed Services Committee, earning praise from Republican John McCain. She also became secretary of state….

The piece was carefully crafted and very low-key. It wasn’t the way I would have written it, but it was fine.

Given that this was the first Democrat endorsed by the paper since 1976 — long before I or anyone currently on the board worked at the paper, I would like to have seen a companion column about the decision process. But then, that was my style, peculiar to me — I liked bringing readers into the boardroom and walking them through our discussions. Not many editors like to let it all hang out that way.

I’m sorry not to have been there for this one. I always sort of hoped we’d endorse a Democrat some day, just to make our presidential endorsements less predictable, and to shut up all the Democrats who called us a “Republican paper.” As y’all know, I don’t like being accused of having leanings toward either party, because of my strong dislike of both. It was a ridiculous charge, since overall our endorsements were about 50-50 — but all too many people pay attention only to the presidential endorsement, rather than the dozens of others we did in a given election year. All our presidential endorsements indicated that the national Democrats tended to go for candidates a bit too far to the left for us, while the national Republican Party — back when it actually was a respectable center-right party, before it went careening out of control — was more our speed. In races closer to home, Democrats tended to be closer to the center and Republicans farther to the right, so we tended more to fall right between them. (Yes, this “left-right” talk grossly oversimplifies what was going on, but it’s one shorthand way to describe our actual pattern.)

We came close in 2008, because we all liked Barack Obama. But as y’all know, John McCain had long been one of my favorite senators, and I wasn’t alone, so that didn’t happen. I argued here on the blog that 2012 — which was after my departure from the paper — should have been the year to break the pattern, because I was pretty sure Cindi and Warren agreed with me that Obama was preferable to Romney. But it didn’t happen that time, either — for a number of reasons, from what I could tell. Which was OK, I guess, given that particular choice. The country would have been OK either way.

This time, though, it was extremely important for the paper to take a stand against the greatest threat to the presidency in any of our lifetimes. It was important especially for a paper with such a solid record of endorsing Republicans to say, No, absolutely not! to Donald Trump — just as papers with even longer GOP ties had already done across the country.

As of Friday, out of the top 100 papers in the country by circulation, 55 had endorsed Hillary Clinton, including some that had gone a lot longer than The State without backing a Democrat. Only one, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, had backed Trump. And I don’t know what was wrong with them (aside from being owned by Sheldon Adelson). I don’t see how anyone with a working knowledge of our government and issues facing it, with an understanding of what America is about — and those are pretty much prerequisites for being editorial board members at most papers — could possibly back the most singularly unfit candidate ever to capture a major party’s nomination.

Anyway, The State did what it had to do, what any newspaper with a conscience needs to do this year…

101 thoughts on “The State’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton

  1. bud

    I pretty much stopped paying attention to The States POTUS endorsements after the ridiculous endorsement of the vile GW Bush in 2004. How any thinking group of journalists could endorse a man who lies the nation into war is beyond rational comprehension.

  2. Doug Ross

    Check out the comments on the endorsement. I think they run about 20:1 anti-Hillary. Liberals who think Hillary is going to win easily are severely misreading the dislike and distrust many voters have for her.

    Also thought this was pretty laughable:

    “Build a wall along our southern border to keep out illegal immigrants; waterboard suspected terrorists; kill innocent family members of terrorists; stifle the news media”

    Let’s see. We already have a wall to keep out illegal immigrants. Trump just wants to make one that actually works. We already have waterboarded suspected terrorists (done by a President endorsed by The State). And we’re killing innocent family members of terrorists all the time (Obama, Bush).

    So the main premise of the endorsement is basically about Trump’s personality versus Hillary’s character.

    They had a third (or fourth) option and chose the establishment option. “We want to see change in our broken government!!! But not really…”

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      REALLY, Doug? I can’t decide whether this is monumentally naive or monumentally cynical. It’s probably both:

      Let’s see. We already have a wall to keep out illegal immigrants. Trump just wants to make one that actually works. We already have waterboarded suspected terrorists (done by a President endorsed by The State). And we’re killing innocent family members of terrorists all the time (Obama, Bush).

      Yeah. we have fencing in places along the border in places where it serves a practical purpose — as part of our extensive, energetic, expensive efforts to control the border — efforts that Trump’s supporters don’t believe exist. And this is a man who DEFINES himself in terms of hostility to people from south of the border, whom he terms rapists and murderers, whom he promises to humiliate by forcing THEM to pay for the way to keep THEM out, who doesn’t regard even citizens of Mexican descent as real Americans worthy of respect (such as the judge in his case), who would create a massive new police effort to impose his expulsion of millions of people from the country. And you think that’s the same as what we have now?

      Yep, things got extremely out of hand in those emotional first years after 9/11, with some folks thinking Jack Bauer had the right idea. But the nation said “no” and put a stop to it, because that’s the kind of country that we are. But the most extreme things we did — the water-boarding — were insufficient in Trump’s mind. “I like it a lot,” he says of waterboarding, but adds, “I don’t think it’s tough enough.” Just a few hours ago, he said “We have to be in some cases pretty vicious.” That’s his view of what we SHOULD be. He seems to think the War on Terror is a game, and the refs are being mean by letting the other side behead people while we don’t even get to waterboard or do other cool stuff. Personally, I’m with John McCain on this: “It’s not the United States of America. It’s not what we are all about. It’s not what we are.” I like people who were captured, you see.

      And then there’s your third point: “And we’re killing innocent family members of terrorists all the time (Obama, Bush).” Yep, in war, noncombatants DO get killed. Ours is a nation that has done more than any other in the history of the world to minimize that, in terms of developing and deploying increasingly accurate technology. But still, innocents do get killed. It is a terrible, tragic, heartbreaking side effect of going after enemy combatants. And normal, sane Americans who have consciences deplore every innocent casualty that occurs. But the only way not to have any is to follow an absolute pacifist approach — to never use force against those who wish us harm. I know you would be happy with that, but most of us recognize that its impractical.

      Now, I’ve just described where the United States and its leaders are and have been on the issue. Here’s where Trump is: He wants to, as a matter of public policy, deliberately GO AFTER the families of terrorists, to make the innocents themselves our targets.

      If you don’t see the moral night-and-day difference between the two situations — between a terrible thing happening despite your efforts to avoid it, and DELIBERATELY doing that terrible thing, as a matter of policy — there’s probably no point in our discussing it further…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        I wrote in my initial post that “It wasn’t the way I would have written it, but…”

        Well, one of the differences was that the language was too mild. The descriptions of what Trump proposes were stated so blandly, whereas if I were writing it you’d get more of an “Oh… my… God!” effect, because my terms would match Trump’s own outrageousness. Those descriptions seem to state Trump’s positions and views far more polite than the ones he uses, and therefore the sheer awfulness of his candidacy is not fully communicated….

        Not to criticize. Everyone approaches a task differently…

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          And the danger in stating things so blandly is that it tempts someone like Doug to say, “Oh we already do stuff like that; Trump’s no different.”

          No, we don’t, and yes he is…

          1. Doug Ross

            Why does it matter what Trump says? We don’t expect any President to actually do what they say, do we? Read through Hillary’s laundry list. Which ones do you think she will do in the first term? Free tuition? A path to citizenship? Raise taxes on the “rich”? She won’t do any of them.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Doug, as Dr. Evil said to Scott when he wanted to go get a gun and shoot Austin Powers, “You just don’t get it, do you?”

              Let me try, briefly, one more time…

              The things that Trump says are the things that a monster says, for a monster’s reasons. It’s PAINFULLY obvious that he’s not talking about reasonable border security (which Hillary Clinton, Lindsey Graham and others will emphasize); it’s about keeping THOSE PEOPLE out, which is what his admirers want to hear.

              This is simple. This is basic. This is IN YOUR FACE. I just don’t get your insisting upon being obtuse.

      2. Doug Ross

        “If you don’t see the moral night-and-day difference between the two situations ”

        I don’t. Killing an innocent person as collateral damage is killing an innocent person. When you drop a bomb, people can get killed. We know that. We place a lower value on the lives of others and people (Obama included) play the moral calculus game all the time.

        “we have fencing…”

        We have walls. Don’t play word games. There may be fences in places but there are also walls. Real walls (and tunnels under them for illegals to enter through).

        As for waterboarding and other torture activities — yeah, sure… that all stopped YEARS ago. We would never do that again or farm it out to other countries to do on our behalf. Nope, doesn’t happen. The prisoner, uh… DETAINEES, in Guantanamo have been treated to a country club experience. Obama’s got, what, three months to shut it down like he promised?

        My cynicism is only exceeded by your blind patriotism.

        1. Doug Ross

          Here’s an oldie but a goodie…

          January 22, 2009: Freshly inaugurated President Obama signs an executive order to close the Guantánamo Bay Detention Facility within one year. He says the action is meant to “restore the standards of due process and the core constitutional values that have made this country great even in the midst of war, even in dealing with terrorism.”

          Yeah, whatever happened to those standards and core values? Do we EVER hold a politician accountable for doing what he says he will do?

          1. Mark Stewart

            Note, Doug, that it is the NIMBY Republican Congressmen and Senators who have blocked the transfer of any of the detainees to the US.

            Personally, the Charleston Brig seemed like a good as place as any to me to send them. But some people have irrational fears about terrorism, etc. And, yes, they are irrational fears – and nothing but highly politicized ones.

            You can blame the whole Congressional delegation and Haley long before you look to Obama as the problem on closing Guantanamo.

            1. Doug Ross

              Then he should have said “I will close Guantanamo if Congress lets me”. Don’t say you’re going to do it if you can’t do it. He made a token effort and then gave in to political pressure once his re-election came around.

              “I tried” is not what leaders say.

            2. Brad Warthen Post author

              Yeah, I’m totally fine on moving them to the brig myself.

              But until the country can get its act together on something like that, I’m also OK on them staying at Guatanamo. Yeah, it’s an international PR liability, but it remains a pragmatic stopgap solution to a knotty problem…

              1. Doug Ross

                ” Yeah, it’s an international PR liability, ”

                Yeah, we should be concerned about our international PR and not silly things like due process and human rights. Just need a better marketing campaign!

      3. Michael Corleone

        “Yep, things got extremely out of hand in those emotional first years after 9/11, with some folks thinking Jack Bauer had the right idea. But the nation said “no” and put a stop to it, because that’s the kind of country that we are.”

        Now who’s being naive, Kay?

        1. Doug Ross

          Yeah, part of that emotional response was inventing WMD’s in Iraq to have SOMEBODY to go after… never mind that the hijackers were associated with Saudi Arabia. Look how hard it has been to even hold them accountable 15 years later. What (oil) could (oil) possibly (oil) cause the U.S. to treat (oil) the Saudi’s with kid (oil) gloves? No idea.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            OK, here we go again…

            No one “invented WMDs” in Iraq. They were there. Saddam had them. He used them. This is an established fact. What the hell he did with them before we invaded, or why he did, remains a mystery. To me, anyway — maybe someone has read something that satisfactorily explains the disappearance of the WMD. If so, please share.

            Oh, and with all that (oil) stuff, you must be confusing our nation’s leaders at the time with Donald Trump, who has shocked everyone who understands this nation and its relations with other countries (perhaps confusing us with such plunder economies as Nazi Germany and the Roman Empire) by saying we SHOULD have gone after the oil, because that’s what HE would have done. Thereby demonstrating that even Donald Trump, who knows almost nothing about anything, understands that we did not go in for the oil.

            Now the 1991 Gulf War — THAT was about keeping the oil flowing, in terms of that being why we cared about Saddam’s aggression. The 2003 invasion was about the opposite, about deliberately upsetting applecarts….

        2. Brad Warthen Post author

          Michael — I mean, Don Corleone — the other cinematic reference you could have used was Gary Oldman’s “smart bomb” line in “Air Force One.”

          By the way, the still you used is from the wrong scene. The “naive” line is from when Michael and Kay are reunited after his return from Sicily (see below). In the wedding scene with him in his Marine uniform, he’s all about disassociating himself from his family, saying, “That’s my family Kay, that’s not me.”

          Of course, by the time he says she’s “naive” to think pezzonovantes such as presidents don’t have people killed, he’s done a 180 and become his father…


          1. Bryan Caskey

            By the way, the still you used is from the wrong scene. The “naive” line is from when Michael and Kay are reunited after his return from Sicily. In the wedding scene with him in his Marine uniform, he’s all about disassociating himself from his family, saying, “That’s my family Kay, that’s not me.”

            You’re right. It’s this scene. I somehow placed it at the wedding.

            And Gary Oldman says the word “bomb” in that line from AF-1 so well.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              The exchange from “Air Force One:”

              Korshunov: You know your father has also killed, is he a bad man?

              Alice: That’s not true.

              Korshunov: Why? Because he does it in a tuxedo with a telephone call and a smart bomb?

              Kids, “smart bombs” were a forerunner of drones, way back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth…

              And yeah, “smart bomb” is his very best line, making the most of his Russian accent — the accent that won him a starring role in “Call of Duty: World at War”…

            2. Brad Warthen Post author

              Oh, and perhaps I should note:

              Morally equating the actions of terrorists and the actions of the United States is WHAT TERRORISTS DO.

              Just in case no one has noticed…

              1. Doug Ross

                Morally equating killing innocent people as unfortunate collateral damage is WHAT JINGOISTS DO. Just in case no one has noticed.

                1. Doug Ross

                  I don’t go out of my way at all. It’s right on my path. I am a pacifist libertarian. It’s very much a sane approach to life. Don’t kill, stay out of people’s business, and be a good steward with other people’s money. I know that’s outrageous…

                2. Claus

                  ” I’m going to take a little break again from conversing with Doug, who goes so far out of his way to be outrageous.”

                  (ring, ring)

                  bud on line 1.

                3. Brad Warthen Post author

                  OK, that one was borderline ad hominem, but I’m going to allow it because it made me smile a little.

                  I don’t so much see it as denigrating Bud, because as we know he and Doug hold similar views on the whole War and Peace spectrum.

                  Of course, if it offends Bud, I’ll take it down, because Bud is a Made Guy on this blog, and we are completely open about having a double standard. In short, people whose identity I know get more leeway…

                4. Claus

                  You’ve seen bud’s comments, and I’m the one with the ad hominem warning? He can go completely off on Doug or anyone else who even thinks negatively about Hillary Clinton and nothing is said.

                5. Doug Ross

                  I just find it funny that you consider me outrageous and nihilistic. There isn’t anyone who knows me who would use either word to describe me — and these people know my views on the world. I’ll accept “cynic with a smile”.

              1. Bryan Caskey

                You don’t have have to support Trump to see that Hillary is ethically unfit for the office of POTUS. By the way, if all the Democratic leaders really believe the stuff they’re saying about Comey, they should call on Obama to fire him.

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  And you don’t have to believe Hillary is Miss Probity 1969 to see that there’s no alternative. She’s the only qualified candidate with a chance — and now it’s down to only a chance — of STOPPING TRUMP.

                  Which at this point is all that this election is about. The rest is just distraction…

                  1. Bryan Caskey

                    What happens when she’s elected POTUS? Does the FBI keep investigating?

                    I mean, I don’t see how the FBI can just stop an investigation based on an election, but I also can’t see the FBI really doing anything to a President-elect or President even if they had a bunch of evidence.

                    Oh well. No matter what, having President Hillary Clinton will certainly be an adventure in exploring the powers of the Presidency.

                    1. Brad Warthen Post author

                      Yes. Brutus and the rest have called her ambitious, and in the Congress they are sharpening their knives.

                      It’s going to be ugly. But that ugliness is, at this point, the best we can hope for.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    Or maybe they would just be long-stemmed thorns, like Morticia in “The Addams Family”… “Don’t torture yourself, Gomez — that’s my job…”

                2. bud

                  Hillary is only “ethically unfit” in the world of Rush Limbaugh/Fox News. She remains un-indicted of any crime. That’s in spite of 25 years of the most intense and sometimes unethical attempts by the Republicans to find something, anything that will stick. The old saying that is you keep repeating the same lie over again for long enough it eventually becomes truth. That’s what’s going on with Hillary Clinton. And that drumbeat of lies has even smart people fooled into buying the Limbaugh talking points. Not that she’s perfect, who is, but she probably has fewer ACTUAL ethical lapses than any of the GOP candidates running. There are plenty of questions about Mike Pence but he is overwhelmed by is running mate.

                  Trump, on the other hand. will be on trial twice within 6 weeks of the election, for fraud and rape. Both are in civil court but still the man has 75 other pending law suits. He would spend his entire presidency testifying in court!

  3. Doug Ross

    “efforts that Trump’s supporters don’t believe exist. ”

    Doesn’t Hillary also agree that increased border security is a requirement? Hillary in 2015:

    “”Well look,” Clinton said, “I voted numerous times when I was a senator to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in. And I do think you have to control your borders.””

    In the Democratic debates:

    ” I think all of us on this stage agree that we need comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship. Border security has always been a part of that debate.”

    Then this:

    She may have been alluding to 2006, when she voted for the Secure Fence Act. That legislation, which Bush signed, required 700 miles of double-fence physical barriers along the southern border. It also required more vehicle barriers, checkpoints, cameras, satellites, and drones, as its page details.

    So a 700 mile fence is humane and welcoming, apparently. Concrete walls are racist.

  4. Bill


    The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders just added a new variety of mental disorder: Viewing Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in an equally negative light.

    As for viewing Trump more favorably, well, that’s positively certifiable!

  5. Jeff Mobley

    If there were ever a year not to endorse at all, then this year should have been it.

    Like Doug, I found some parts of the endorsement laughable, though not exactly the same ones. Here are a couple that stuck out to me:

    As president, she would have to be more careful about handling classified materials. After all the justified criticism she has endured, we’re confident she would.

    Were is the evidence that the Clintons have ever learned lessons from their scandals that caused them to modify their behavior?

    She embraces the fundamental values that have guided America for centuries…

    I think this is meant primarily to be understood as “[in contrast to Trump]”, and she certainly espouses some basic American values, but declaring that she embraces the fundamental values that have guided America is what I would call, “assuming facts not in evidence.”

    1. Jeff Mobley

      Good grief, I can’t get through even a short comment without a glaring misspelling or some other typo. My errors are like the toothpicks in the issues of Taste of Home magazine. Sometimes they’re harder to find than others, but they’re always in there somewhere.

      1. Doug Ross

        I blame poor eyesight related to age using small devices like phones, autocorrect, and just general laziness on going back to fix something. I do wish there were an edit or delete button that could be used within the first minute of posting.

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      Well, as I said, I would have written it differently. But as for “If there were ever a year not to endorse at all, then this year should have been it…”

      No. This is the one year that any newspaper with a conscience MUST endorse. As I said above, I was very disappointed that The State didn’t endorse in 2012 — I went on and on about it at the time — but if there was a year to do it — it was 2012. Or, to a greater extent, 2008 — my last endorsement at the paper — since we very much liked both candidates in the general election.

      Similarly, in 2012, it would not have been disastrous, either way.

      But THIS is the year that even publications that don’t normally endorse — such as The Atlantic — must stand up and be counted.

      For the survival of our democracy, it is essential that the neofascist Donald Trump be kept away from the Oval Office. We have never in my lifetime had such a crucial decision before us.

      And to the extent that smart, thoughtful guys like Jeff and Bryan can even consider not voting for the one person who can stop him (maybe), it is essential that every writer or editor with a platform step up and argue their hearts out….

        1. Bryan Caskey

          Personally, I find the Alexander Hamilton argument most persuasive, but your mileage may vary.

          “If we must have an enemy at the head of Government, let it be one whom we can oppose, and for whom we are not responsible, who will not involve our party in the disgrace of his foolish and bad measures.”

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Which reminds me…

            The election of 1800 was the first great test of our democracy, and an extremely nasty one.

            But hey, either way it went, we would have won. I don’t see how those early partisans got so worked up. Say you were a big John Adams supporter (which is what I would have been) — what was the worst that could happen? That Thomas Jefferson would be your president! And vice versa. It was a no-lose election…

            Boy, do I envy the voters of 1800…

            1. Claus

              Maybe instead of a vote, we should select the next President by a duel. Last one standing is President.

      1. Doug Ross

        Your mistake, Brad, is the level of hyperbole you have reached to label Trump. Neofacist doesn’t work. Makes you look unhinged. Trump is a boorish capitalist real estate developer. You should have stuck to that.

        1. Bryan Caskey

          I agree with Doug on this point. Trump is just a con-man who happened to recognize that a vast majority of GOP primary voters were easy marks based on their dissatisfaction and disillusionment with the GOP.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Fredo, you’re my older brother and I love you. But you’ve got to stop saying crazy things that oppose the family — like “I agree with Doug on this point.”


            I hesitate to use the proper, accurate term — fascist — because people overreact to it. Of course, lots of smart, decent, urbane Germans thought Hitler was just a buffoon who would soon fade away, and do no harm.

            Not that I’m saying Trump is a Hitler. He’s way more of a Mussolini.

            I’m not sure y’all are focusing on what fascism is. It’s not about Auschwitz, although that was one extreme expression of Hitler’s brand of fascism — as was the Second World War. Fascism, properly understood, is about celebrating the strong (“winners” over “losers”), race-based nationalism, and firm belief in a strongman who will take care of everything you don’t like — don’t sweat the details, HE knows what to do.

            I’ve never in my lifetime seen anyone fit that description so perfectly.

            Do you not see what’s going on? He doesn’t have to become a dictator, or succeed at trying to be a dictator. The thing is, that’s what he WANTS to be, and what his followers want him to be. Do y’all not even notice his oft-stated admiration of Putin and Saddam, as Strong Leaders Who Get Things Done? As opposed to all those liberal-democracy weaklings?

            This isn’t even a small leap, guys. This is fascism. I may try to soften it for you by saying “neo,” but this is fascism. As Robert Kagan argued more effectively than I seem to be doing, This is how fascism comes to America.

            1. Bryan Caskey

              Nice first graph.

              As for the rest, sure maybe it’s possible to think Trump’s a lazy, unthinking, intellectual light weight, con-man AND that he’s comfortable with neofacist tendencies because he’s all about himself and that ideology fits well. I just tend towards the former. I worry that he and Hillary would both be equally corrupting to our government. Hillary will just do it better.

              It’s like an election between Barzini and Tattaglia.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                You should be more specific.

                I think what you mean to say is, Hillary is Barzini and Trump is Tattaglia.

                Trump could never have outfought Santino…

                On the other hand, I don’t think Barzini would have made the mistakes Hillary has.

                “Women and children can be careless, but not men.”

                Hey, I didn’t say it! The Don did!

                I’m going to go hide somewhere now…

            2. Doug Ross

              “This isn’t even a small leap, guys. This is fascism. ”

              Except for Congress, the Supreme Court, the court of public opinion, the gridlock that we know exists in Washington, elections every two/four years… Trump will have enough trouble just trying to get a wall built on the border. He’ll be stonewalled from doing anything close to what he wants.

              If Trump wins and if the country doesn’t become the fascist nation you are warning us about, you may as well give up on trying to convince anyone of anything after that. You’ve gone all in on Trump being the end of democracy. You can’t walk this one back when the world doesn’t end.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Doug, the world won’t end. It just won’t contain the United States as we know it, the nation that Lincoln thought it was worth hundreds of thousands of lives to preserve.

                To give you just one small example of how degraded our nation will be: Every time any foreign leader has any dealings with a President Trump, he or she will spend the whole time thinking, Oh. My. God. I cannot believe this idiot is the head of the most powerful nation in the world! There’s no way in hell I’m dealing with this clown! Obviously, his country and mine have nothing in common, so I need to say the hell with the United States and what it needs and wants; I’ve got to scramble to preserve my own country by getting as far away from this guy as possible!

                That’s what our best friends will think. Putin and China will think, All right! This guy will be putty in our hands! It’s so easy to push his buttons! Which Putin has already shown by buttering up the pathetically needy Trump — just a few modestly kind words, and Trump was in love.

                I know this means absolutely nothing to you, Doug. You might think it pretty cool if the rest of the world held the United States in total contempt and we were a pariah among nations (and no, Bud and Doug, we are NOT that now, in spite of the Incarnation of All Evil, George W. Bush). But some others out there may care….

              2. bud

                Doug you get upset when Bush or Obama does torture, wiretapping or drones. Trump is likely to say F*** congress and the courts and just do what he damn well pleases. POTUS has emence power. This lunatic should NOT become POTUS.

        2. Mark Stewart

          I play with fire. But not handgrenades.

          I’m amazed at your Nihilistic delight in this. And that the issue remains opaque to you.

          1. Doug Ross

            Again, look up the word nihilism. Here, I’ll save you the trouble:
            “the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless”

            My view is the furthest from that position. Would you call an oncologist a nihilistic for wanting to eradicate cancer? I am looking for anything that will end corruption in politics. Hillary is the opposite of that.

            I WANT an ethical government. You and Brad and others want more of the same. You’re the ones voting for the path to destruction. I’m trying to turn the wheel of the bus before it drives the kids off the cliff.

            Yes, I will happily watch corrupt people like Hillary get what they deserve. We survived Nixon. We survived a Civil War. We’ll survive Donald Trump.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Nixon was a DREAM compared to Trump. I would vote for Nixon over Trump in a skinny minute, and count myself blessed for the opportunity.

              I was for Nixon in 1968, although I was too young to vote.

              I was also for him in 1960 over Kennedy, but I was only 7 years old then.

              However, I was a perceptive little guy.

              I was for Nixon because I didn’t like Kennedy’s tough-guy stance against the Soviets in one of the debates (yes, I was 7 and watched at least one of the debates).

              I didn’t understand then that Kennedy was trying to make himself sound strong enough, as a VERY junior senator running against a vice president with a huge rep as an anti-Communist.

              I just thought that he sounded more like a guy who would send my Daddy, a career naval officer, to war…

              Oh, and guess what! Seven years later, my Dad went off to Vietnam and spent a year in the mangrove swamps known as the Rung Sat Special Zone (a.k.a. “Forest of Assassins”) in charge of sailors on PBRs, marines, SEALs (which were still top-secret), and Army helicopter pilots in joint action against the VC, fighting to keep the river to Saigon open.

              Not a DIRECT connection, but still…

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Don’t ask me such hard questions so late in the day.

                  To me, that’s like asking whether I’d vote for Cruz over Trump. With both Cruz and Sanders, it would be deciding whether to vote for people with ideologies I find HIGHLY objectionable — even unthinkable — against someone who has no clue when it comes to political ideas, a vindictive man-child moved by how he thinks things affect him personally, a guy who would conduct foreign policy in accordance with who had insulted him most recently.

                  Forced to decide, I would. But boy oh boy, I’d have to think long and hard about the choice, and fortunately I haven’t had to do that this year.

                  Now, I will say this: I find both Bernie and Cruz to be more worthy of respect as people than Trump. I think they both have better characters. And I would say I think Bernie is far more LIKABLE than Cruz — he’s a cranky old cuss, but I think he’s a kinder, gentler sort than Cruz.

                  My problem in answering the question is that their visions for the country are just so very at odds with my own. I’m a guy who’s into ideas, and their ideas are just OUT THERE as far as I’m concerned — not all of them, but too many of them. The big difference is that they’re both extremely, rigidly ideological, and I like pragmatists.

                  Trump is grossly unfit for the presidency because of who he is and the way he relates to the world. He hardly has a clear idea in his head, but he is a natural-born tyrant, and dangerously capricious. And worse, he’s not someone willing to learn — about policy, or anything else.

                  Cruz and Bernie have a LOT of carefully-developed ideas. I just disagree with too many of them.

                  I’m just thankful that I don’t have to make that choice. If I HAD to, I would, and hopefully would be a lot more coherent about it than I am in this comment…

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    Some of you who think Hillary Clinton is just the devil will ask why I can support HER so easily.

                    Well, it’s not “so easily.” I’ve had a lot of years to decide what I think of her. I’m not crazy about her, but I think a lot of my conservative friends GREATLY exaggerate her flaws. Yeah, I think setting up her own email server was a terrible idea, and reflects a Nixonian sense of persecution by her “enemies.” That’s not an attractive trait. But in the scheme of things I just don’t think it’s as terrible as a lot of you do.

                    It’s kind of like my attitude about illegal immigration. Yeah, Doug, it violates the law. But it doesn’t make people CRIMINALS like robbers and rapists. It makes them — and my lawyer friends will probably correct my terminology — status offenders, like truants. People who aren’t doing anything more awful than working their butts off at menial jobs, but just came here and got those jobs without the proper paperwork — which yes, they should have gotten… assuming of course, they could get them.

                    Actually, maybe having such an insecure email setup is WORSE than being an illegal immigrant — Secretaries of State cannot afford to be careless. But I don’t see it as a disqualifier. I just don’t. I can’t quite get THAT indignant about it. I get that indignant about people who go out of their way to DELIBERATELY betray their country’ secrets, like Edward Snowden.

                    If there were another more or less centrist pragmatist I could choose out there who largely shared my notions about America’s proper role in the world — which, after all, is what I care about most in a POTUS — who had NOT done what she did with her email, I’d support that person over her.

                    But I’m not being offered such a choice. At no time in this election have I been offered such a choice, except in the Republican primaries, and I chose John Kasich. But I didn’t get my way. So I now stand at the stable door faced with Hobson’s choice: This is what I get, and I have to choose it in order to prevent something far, far worse….

                    1. Bryan Caskey

                      “But I don’t see it as a disqualifier. I just don’t. I can’t quite get THAT indignant about it. I get that indignant about people who go out of their way to DELIBERATELY betray their country’ secrets, like Edward Snowden.”

                      Okay, so just to make sure I understand your position on national security and classified information: You’re okay with someone intentionally being reckless with classified information and putting classified information onto an unclassified system which might or might not get revealed. Someone who does that can be POTUS.

                      But you draw the line at deliberately revealing it. Someone like that should be prosecuted.


                      Brad’s Philosophy on Handling Classified Information:
                      Intentionally revealing classified information (Snowden) = go to jail.
                      Reckless disregard for security of classified information (Hillary) = No prosecution, and BONUS! you get to be POTUS as long as the other person running for POTUS happens to be a knuckle-head.

                      And you think college football is silly!

                    2. Brad Warthen Post author

                      All those words were wasted except “the other person running for POTUS happens to be a knuckle-head.”

                      He is, of course, worse than that. And no lapse of judgment by Hillary Clinton, or any of her other flaws, come anywhere near cancelling that.

                      I’d probably vote for George B. McClellan over Trump, and his sins were far, FAR worse than hers…

                    3. Brad Warthen Post author

                      McClellan, after all, endangered the continued existence of the country, day in and day out, for the entire time he was in command.

                      Still, a man who had risen to a command like that would almost certainly be more qualified than Trump. Even though, I acknowledge, the military wasn’t quite the meritocracy we take for granted today. Today, a soldier rises to general, he at least has demonstrated some skills and gone through certain experiences that prepare him. Then, you could rise really high on having the right connections.

                      It’s often startling to read history from that era and see how often people jumped from major or lieutenant colonel to general.

                      Of course, Lee was an exception. The fact that Lincoln offered him command of the army when he was just a colonel is to Lincoln’s credit — he recognized talent. But it’s pretty tough to imagine today. I mean, he had JUST been promoted to colonel…

                    4. Bryan Caskey

                      Robert E. Lee had more honor in just his fingernail than all of Trump and Hillary combined. Also, didn’t Winfield Scott recommend Lee to Lincoln? I think he did, but I can’t remember for sure.

                      I don’t know what to make of Little Mac (McClellan). He was really popular with his troops, and he was great at organizing. His reluctance to attack and be aggressive is the knock on him. I think he would have excelled in a non-combat role.

                    5. Brad Warthen Post author

                      Maybe. But his refusal to use his overwhelming superiority of force to bring a quick and early end to the war, saving thousands of lives, makes him one of the least forgivable people in our history.

                      And for him to have the nerve to politically oppose the savior of our country, who had tried so hard to get him to do his duty…

                      Well, I regret that he’s not alive today, which means I can’t hunt him down and slap him upside the head…

                    6. Bryan Caskey

                      “But his refusal to use his overwhelming superiority of force to bring a quick and early end to the war, saving thousands of lives, makes him one of the least forgivable people in our history.”

                      Sure. It’s quite certain that his failure to pursue the Army of Northern Virginia following Antietam was a huge opportunity lost. The absolute slaughter of Union forces at the subsequent battle of Fredricksburg (A sort of Pickett’s Charge in reverse) is easily lain at the feet of McClellan.

                2. Doug Ross

                  If I choose to practice medicine and work REALLY, REALLY HARD at it to support my family, I’m just a status offender, right?

                  Or not pay my taxes. I’m just delaying my status of being a taxpayer.

                  The sad thing is you have spent more time advocating penalties for not wearing a seat belt than you have enforcing border security.

                  Should immigrants who cross the border illegally be arrested and deported if caught in the act? If so, how far across the border do you think they should have to make it to achieve “undocumented” status?

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    Of course, they are always undocumented. That is the nature of their offense. I don’t see what distance has to do with it. If they’re caught entering the country illegally, they should be turned back. The complication is when they’ve been here 10 years working hard and have three children born in this country — does their offense truly rise to the level that we need to expend considerable resources tracking them down, arresting them and throwing the whole family out of the country (or worse, just the parents)? I say not. I say the priority should be getting them into the system somehow so they aren’t in the shadows and we know who’s in our country.

                    Question: When have I written about penalties for failing to wear a seat belt?

                3. Doug Ross

                  Maybe I’m mistaken.. wasn’t The State editorial board firmly behind seat belt laws, helmet laws, and a number of other similar laws? I seem to remember reading those over the years.

                  Ok, so you’re now talking about undocumented immigrants who have been here for 10 years and worked hard. If I give in on that criteria, will you allow the deportation of anyone who has been here less than 3 years or does not have a job? What are the parameters you want for amnesty — I fear that it is anyone who has made it across the border since yesterday.

                  And I keep asking this question and never get a response from amnesty supporters — what if someone DOESN”T come forward for the pathway to citizenship? Then what? Can those people be deported? Can they be denied access to any public services? I don’t think you’re willing to accept any of that.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    I think the “does not have a job” is a pretty decent criterion. It would be pretty rare, though. They’re here for the jobs, which is one reason a lot of people resent them.

                    On your last question, I’m always puzzled how to answer: If they don’t come forward, how do we know they’re here, or where to find them? It always gets us back to whether we’re going to create this huge police force to go out hunting for illegals.

                    Back to seat belts: I still don’t recall writing about them myself, although it’s possible. Of COURSE we favored requiring seat belts as a board; we were in favor of saving lives.

                    But here’s the sticking point that is often a barrier in discussions with my libertarian friends. What you said was, “advocating penalties for not wearing a seat belt.” It always comes down to that. My interest would have been in requiring seatbelts; I would have had little interest in penalties.

                    That’s always a communications barrier. Libertarians see government as this coercive, punitive thing. Legally requiring seat belts is to me just that. Let’s have a rule that we all wear seat belts, and law-abiding people will comply, and lives will be saved. But libertarians are always about “What are you going to DO TO the people who don’t abide by the law?” Which frankly is a subject that doesn’t much interest me.

                    It’s the same with abortion. The pro-choice people are always about, “You want to punish poor women in desperate circumstances!” No, I don’t. Only an idiot who isn’t actually pro-life — Donald Trump — would even think about something like that…

                    1. Bryan Caskey

                      I wonder what percentage of people wear seat belts because they know it’s a safe thing to do and in their own interest vs. people who begrudgingly wear seat belts merely so they won’t get a ticket?

                      The former group has to be vastly larger than the latter group, right?

                      I mean, if the law requiring people to wear seat belts was repealed today, how many people would cry “Woohoo! Freedom! Time to unbuckle!“?


                    2. Brad Warthen Post author

                      You’re forgetting my favorite part of having it be a law: You can say to stubborn kids, “I’m not starting this car until you fasten the seat belt! It’s the law, and I don’t want to see you go to jail! Look! I think I see a police car…”

                    3. Brad Warthen Post author

                      Reminds me of a recent incident…

                      My wife had our two youngest grandchildren at the park. Our 6-year-old granddaughter said she needed to go home because she needed to go to the bathroom. So my wife put her into the car, and turned to her little brother, 4, to get him into his carseat as well.

                      My grandson didn’t want to leave the park, and he decided to show what he thought of sisters and their girlish ways by whipping it out and peeing right where he stood — none of that wimpy looking for a tree or bush to get behind.

                      My wife told him to cover up and get into the car before the police arrived.

                      My grandson laughed. I think he thought it would be cool if the police came, especially if they had their sirens and lights going…

                    4. Bryan Caskey

                      Ha. I just go with “You’re going to [fill in the blank] because I said so!

                      Funny story about threatening with the law though: When he was about six or seven, one of my good friends was on a car trip with his parents. They lived in Pennsylvania and they were traveling to somewhere in Florida for a beach vacation. So they’re driving through Georgia and approaching the Florida state line. For the past few hours in the car, his parents had been frustrated with how messy he was eating in the car. Apparently, he had some sort of sticky food item, and his hands and clothes were just absolutely covered in sticky mess. They had been trying to persuade him to clean up, but to little effect.

                      Accordingly, they convinced him that Florida had a “clean hand check” station at the state line, and that no one was allowed into the State of Florida unless their hands were clean. They made it sound like Checkpoint Charlie, where a stern law enforcement officer would be scrutinizing him. If he didn’t pass inspection, then he’d have to stay behind in Georgia while the rest of the family went through the checkpoint.

                      Needless to say, the specter of being left behind in Georgia was enough to motivate him to scrub his hands like never before at the next stop. When they got into Florida, they actually found a willing stranger at the rest area to pretend he was inspecting his hands.

                      He’s now 37 and still sore at his folks for pulling that one on him.

                4. Doug Ross

                  Brad – if we make it a requirement that in order to attend public schools, parents must provide documentation of legal status, wouldn’t that force many to come forward? And if they don’t, then it’s probably because they know there are other reasons they shouldn’t be here.

                  This goes back to your thoughts on not worrying about penalties. How about if we say there is no penalty for living undocumented in this country but there is no benefit either? That would be my first step before building a wall. Take away the carrot and the stick is not necessary. That means anyone who tries to come over the border tomorrow has less incentive to do so – kids can’t go to school, no government provided food or healthcare. Let those who want to remain in the shadows rely on the charity of others.

                  I don’t want to deport anyone except criminals. I also don’t want to provide any reward for entering illegally.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    I think those are ideas worth exploring. Although I hate to penalize kids. What if their parents — who in many cases don’t have much education themselves — say fine, we just won’t send the kids to school?

                    Which would be an awful thing for the parents to do, of course. But it would punish the kids, who haven’t done anything wrong…

                5. Doug Ross

                  If they’re smart enough to register their kids for school and sign up for any other programs, they obviously would be smart enough to sign up for the path to citizenship, right? The decision to not come forward would more likely be driven by other illegal activities like not wanting to pay taxes or immigration licensing fees.

            2. Brad Warthen Post author

              And Doug, the dictionary may not say it that way, but it’s very common to use “nihilism” in a broader sense than the original religious sense. It’s used to describe anything based in broad negation. I tend to use it in a political sense to refer to an attitude that opposes fundamental assumptions, such as the idea that you can’t have civilization without government.

              I use it to refer to someone who denies “all that’s holy,” but in a secular or figurative sense as well as a religious one. A nihilist is someone who rejects fundamental things that make civilized life possible…

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Wikipedia puts it this way:

                “Political nihilism, a branch of nihilism, follows the characteristic nihilist’s rejection of non-rationalized or non-proven assertions; in this case the necessity of the most fundamental social and political structures, such as government, family, and law. An influential analysis of political nihilism is presented by Leo Strauss.”

                Yeah. What they said…

              2. Brad Warthen Post author

                I’m pretty sure that when I learned the word “nihilist” in school, it was within the political framework.

                My use of the term is time-honored, and eminently legitimate.

                OK… so today I’ve defended two words that some of friends here object to: “fascist” and “nihilist.”

                And I think I’ve done so pretty ably…

                1. Doug Ross

                  I believe in government. Just one that is smaller and more ethical and less militaristic than the one you want. I believe in family. And I believe in the rule of law. So, you are zero for three.

                  The irony of the fact that you are afraid of a fascist Trump when you are by far the most authoritarian person I know is not lost on me. On issues big and small, you favor telling others what they must do. All under the misguided narcissism of thinking you know what is best for everyone else.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    No, Doug, that is not what I favor. I’m just not a libertarian.

                    I don’t see routine, sensible laws passed by majorities of elected bodies as some kind of huge menace to my essential liberty.

                    To live in a republic, we all have to accept that we live under such laws. And each of us won’t agree with all of them, but that’s the way it goes.

                    The discussions we have here are the kinds of discussions that free people living in a republic have about the kinds of laws we’re willing to live under.

                    You aren’t comfortable living under all the laws that I’m comfortable living under. That does not make me a tyrant.

                    And I’m sorry that my expressing my opinions makes me seem a misguided narcissist to you. Seems to me I make the same platform available to you and everyone else here…

                2. Doug Ross

                  You may have defined your version of nihilist but it doesn’t apply to me…so you don’t understand your own definition.

                  Have I ever rejected government, family, or law? I only reject intrusive government. So try again.

                3. Doug Ross

                  You want the government to influence other countries, control the rights of women to have abortion (you reject the law like a nihilist), reject border control laws, approve of spying on u.s. citizens, think it’s fine for the government to decide what a person puts in body, who he or she marries, and force children into falling schools. You even think it is fine for the government to decide what days of the week a store is open and what they can sell. Every choice you make is to side with the government doing more of what you think is right. That’s Trumpian in its arrogance.

        3. bud

          I don’t think Brad is hyperbolic enough! Trump is very,very scary. By the way among the clowns and princesses there was a very scary Trump at our door. Sent chills down my spine.

    3. bud

      Again we have all the “scandals” meme. No REAL scandals, just right wing endless CLAIMS of scandal. Even a blind squirrel occasionally finds an acorn. The State got this one right.

      1. Karen Pearson

        As much as I think that you usually go a bit overboard Bud, in this case I essentially have to agree with you. I’ve done some research on both Clinton and Trump, and find nothing criminal in Sen. Clinton’s background. I find plenty in Trump’s. She has made some, mistakes, yes, and she has taken plenty of positions that I disagree with, but I don’t see her as a criminal. Using her personal server was a bad idea. However, considering how often our various government servers have been hacked, I don’t think it rises to the level of criminal stupidity. So yes, if I had better choices I might vote for someone else, but given the choices that we have, I have no problem supporting Clinton.

  6. Doug Ross

    I just want to understand one thing – if Trump wins next week, Democrats will accept the results of the election without using any of the following excuses that it was “rigged”:

    1. Russians did it. (If they did, Obama has three months to declare war on them)
    2. FBI did it. (If they did, they can blame Hillary for not being forthcoming from day 1)
    3. Voter suppression. (Will need specific numbers in states where it makes a difference)
    4. Young people are lazy and didn’t vote. (Bernie had them, Hillary lost them)
    5. Black people didn’t vote. (Obama had them, Hillary lost them).

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