Graham back to giving doggy treats to Trump’s ego

Here we go again:

Graham on North Korea

 WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on reports of negotiations between North and South Korea in an effort to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.

“If there is an agreement reached between the United States, North Korea and the rest of the world regarding the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, the lion’s share of credit will go to President Trump for his strong stand.

“President Trump has been steadfast in his commitment to deny the North Korean regime the ability to strike the U.S. with a nuclear weapon. 

 “I hope the strong and unequivocal position by the President will lead to a major breakthrough that would be beneficial to the world at large.”


It’s like one of those daisy things: He loves him; he loves him not. He loves him; he loves him not….

You know, you’d think a guy like Graham, with his experience in foreign affairs, having been around a foreign policy establishment that has worked, soberly and diligently, to contain North Korea and its nukes over the past decade, would know better than to give all the credit to the guy who pumps out stuff like this:


Have some pride, senator….

112 thoughts on “Graham back to giving doggy treats to Trump’s ego

  1. bud

    Lindsey is merely stating a truism. Of course Trump gets the credit if NC gets rid of its nukes. Kind of a pointless comment

    1. Doug Ross

      Agreed. If it happens on Trump’s watch, Trump gets the credit.

      Now Democrats have to figure out a way to not let it happen before the midterms. They are playing run-out-the-clock on everything.

      1. Doug Ross

        Well, I think Reagan is given far too much credit for the breakup of the USSR… but that’s how it works. Same for Obama and the recovery from the recession.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          “that’s how it works”

          You mean, there’s a law? It’s a definite thing?

          No, it’s something people yell at each other about. Democrats, for instance, would give Obama credit for the recovery. But one big thing he did was follow up on measures started by Bush in the fall of 2008.

          Following wisely on the foundation built by your predecessor IS a good thing — a good thing we can’t count on Trump to do, ever. So looking back — yay, Obama.

          Of course, that’s the first thing people point to when they want to blame or praise a president — the economy. I think such praise and blame is almost always an exaggeration. I don’t judge presidents by the economy. I’ve always been rather disgusted by James Carville’s most famous dictum. Not just because he based his strategy on the cupidity of the voters, but because it’s almost always misleading to pin the economy on the president…

          1. Richard

            “Following wisely on the foundation built by your predecessor IS a good thing”

            You don’t follow bad ideas and programs.

            Will you change your mind for the next President?

  2. Claus2

    So you had to go back to November to find a Tweet you didn’t like… which by the way looks like it was retweeted 96,010 times with 215,716 likes… at the time you captured it.

    Why do you even bother getting concerned what Lindsey Graham does… he’s what people like Doug, Richard and I are against and you defend. He’s out for himself and no one else. Roll a microphone down the hallway anywhere in Washington and you’ll see Lindsey take off chasing it.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Actually, I didn’t have to go back to November. I was looking for an image of a Trump tweet through that crayon filter, and that’s the first one that comes up when you image-search for “trump tweet crayon.”


      I use that filter, so I wanted you to be able to be able to see it the way I see his Tweets (if I just embedded it, the crayon goes away — so I needed an image).

      If you want to find a stupid, embarrassing Trump tweet, you don’t have to search. Just wait a few minutes…

          1. Doug Ross

            Yet to be determined whether that was a good thing or not. It’s difficult to say the NAFTA was a success. Hurt a lot of people, probably helped Canada and Mexico more.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              “probably helped Canada and Mexico more”

              What do you base that on? What’s your evidence?

              Of course, I would HOPE it had helped Mexico more. The more we could integrate Mexico into the First World economy, the closer we’d come to removing the incentive for all those illegals to enter the country — which should make you happy.

              It’s not good to have low-functioning economies on our doorstep. That’s an insecure situation. We should want prosperity throughout our neighborhood.

              Of course, since this is the 21st century, the whole world is our neighborhood. Which is one of many reasons why it was insane to pull out of TPP.

              You always want to know what Trump’s done that’s so terrible — which is always an invitation to a fruitless discussion, because nothing he does sounds bad to you. But something that would definitely be a contender for the worst was that — abandoning TPP. It was a horrendous thing to do, economically, diplomatically and strategically. It shoved our future, and Asia’s future, into a really unproductive direction. The Chinese are doing everything they can to take advantage of that colossal blunder, and with Xi working on holding power for life, you can bet they’ll continue to do so. And in the absence of our participation, the region will go along.

              But why do I bother? You probably think it’s fine…

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Of course, that problem’s way bigger than Trump. Even Hillary Clinton was pulling away from TPP during the campaign, dragged by the populist insanity in her own party.

                It’s a real problem, a problem that helped produce Trump to begin with — an electorate twitching with populist spasms, and completely unwilling to listen to, even contemptuous of, people who know what they’re talking about…

              2. Doug Ross

                “the closer we’d come to removing the incentive for all those illegals to enter the country — which should make you happy.”

                So the NAFTA failed. Case closed. They didn’t stop coming in during the past 25 years. Didn’t slow it down a bit. Your the one who keeps telling me that they only come here to escape the terrible conditions there. Well, maybe they should try to fix the economy of Mexico…

                It’s not the responsibility of the U.S. to prop up the economy of Mexico or Canada. Trade deals should be made in favor of the U.S. – first, foremost, and always. We aren’t a charity.

          2. Doug Ross

            ” “U.S. stocks tumbled Thursday” apparently due to Trump. So when they rose to their high levels, I would assume you would credit Trump. If at the end of his term the market is say 15-20% higher than he took office, does he get credit for that or not.

            Most of the references in that link were to events that happened many months ago that we keep hearing about over and over. Every time it’s the big one that is going to take Trump down. Then it goes away.

            Really, if Trump was colluding with the Russians, how many months does it take for Mueller and his very large team to find some evidence??? If Trump is colluding with Putin, you’d think they wouldn’t want to delay any further. They must have SOMETHING by now, right?

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Doug, did you read anything I said? I go on and on about how ridiculous I think it is to give a president credit or blame for economic conditions, and you write this?

              ” “U.S. stocks tumbled Thursday” apparently due to Trump. So when they rose to their high levels, I would assume you would credit Trump. If at the end of his term the market is say 15-20% higher than he took office, does he get credit for that or not.

              Why should I answer, if you’re going to ignore everything I say, and act like I said something else?

              But since you ask, I would certainly hope the market would be up more than 15-20 percent when Trump leads office, even if it’s (please) next week. It rose 140 percent while Obama was in office. Of course, it started at a really low point.

              To be clear, ONCE AGAIN, I neither praise nor blame Obama for that. AGAIN, I don’t think markets rise and fall because of who the president is — for the most part. I suppose there are some policies that have some effect, but I don’t think it’s usually worth making a big deal over.

              And anyway, I don’t care. That’s not what I look to a president for…

            1. Richard

              You two do realize how these trophy hunts work don’t you? For it or against it, legally taken trophies are for the benefit of the herd. Old and aggressive animals are the ones selected to be culled. Any animal taken that hasn’t been selected is an illegally taken animal and good luck trying to get anything including pictures out of the country without getting caught. The lion the Minnesota dentist took for $50,000 has cost him many times that in reputation and loss of patients in his practice. This happened three years ago and his name is back in the news today… it’s not like it just goes away.

  3. bud

    It seems obvious but apparently Lindsey, Doug and Claus don’t understand this:
    Nothing has happened yet.

  4. Claus2

    “If you want to find a stupid, embarrassing Trump tweet, you don’t have to search. Just wait a few minutes…”

    You do realize that you’re falling for his plan don’t you… how many times a day did you think about Obama when he was in office? Now how many times a day do you think about Trump? On another forum it’s called Trump playing 4-D chess… and I believe he’s a whole lot smarter than people give him credit for. I’ve worked for people like him, you wonder what they’re doing and question their every move and comment… two years later you see everything come together and that short-term stupidity was actually long-term brilliant.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      “I believe he’s a whole lot smarter than people give him credit for.”

      I don’t. The depths of his foolishness continue to surprise…

  5. Mr. Smith

    No, this administration doesn’t deserve much if any credit for developments on the Korean peninsula. Kim has already achieved what he wanted: gain greater presence and standing for the DRPK on the world stage. He doesn’t need to launch more rockets – he’s already milked that for all its worth at this point. Plus, Trump’s rhetoric has helped push South Korea in his direction. (ICBMs didn’t pose any threat to the South that it hadn’t already been under for decades.) Now the old bait and switch game begins: give us something and we’ll consider giving up our WMD. Though the only way Kim might seriously think about giving it up would be if the US were willing to withdraw from the South. Meanwhile, Xi in China is demonstrating how Kim can modernize while maintaining authoritarian rule. And Russia is allegedly helping NK – including by planning a gas pipeline through NK to SK, thereby cementing the status quo in place even more. If anything, Kim has only gained in stature. Declaring he’s ready to negotiate now just embellishes that.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Maybe a little more, although Putin’s recent actions have made the presence in Germany more obviously important that it had been for awhile.

        And of course, we need to be in both places…

        1. bud

          Putin’s recent actions have made the presence in Germany more obviously important that it had been for awhile.

          Brad and the other neocons of the world would never, NEVER suggest a drawback of any kind, anywhere of American troops. It’s just not in the neocon DNA.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            That’s kind of nonsensical. But yeah, the troops we have should be deployed somewhere where their presence plays a strategically important role, such as preventing aggression — in Korea, Germany, the Balkans and so forth. Having them sit at stateside bases is kind of a waste of the resource, since I don’t think anyone seriously expects a ground invasion of the U.S.

            That’s why we have those nice bases in Germany — way nicer than we who grew up in the Navy had, let me tell you.

            It’s just common sense. It amazes me how many people don’t see that…

            1. bud

              Since we don’t expect an invasion of the USA we don’t need the troops. THAT is just common sense.

        2. Richard

          “And of course, we need to be in both places…”

          Explain this to me like I’m a 5 year old… I’m curious why we need to have major bases in either country. We need to be there as much as Germany and South Korea need to have a military base in this country.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author


            Once upon a time, there was a thing called the Second World War. At the end of it, we and our allies occupied Germany. The war had also ended with one of those allies grabbing and holding onto all of Eastern Europe. Almost right away, we were involved in another confrontation known as the Cold War. One of our chief concerns was to make sure the Soviets didn’t take the REST of Europe, so we kept a large number of our troops there. Today, the Russians are led by a guy who is nostalgic for the Cold War, and has been making such aggressive moves as occupying Korea, and — just last week — releasing an animated video showing Russian nukes taking out Florida.

            You know why he was able to take Crimea? Well, there are a number of reasons, but one of them — an essential one, actually, without which he couldn’t have done it — is that we didn’t have troops based in Crimea.

            There are other ways in which having those bases there are useful — you may have noticed that when Americans get hurt in Europe, the Mideast or North Africa, they often end up being treated at a U.S. military hospital in Germany — but since we’re keeping this at a kindergarten level, let’s not get into less-immediate reasons.

            We’ll talk about Korea another day. In the meantime, everybody go to recess…

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Yes, also how to tie your shoes, and how to share with your classmates.

                Shoe-tying is a more complicated matter than the uninitiated might imagine.

                I remember distinctly the day when I went to kindergarten having put on and tied my shoes myself. I felt proud of that.

                On the playground at recess — I can sort of remember right where I was standing, it was such an embarrassing moment — the teacher stopped me and told me my shoes were on the wrong feet.

                I didn’t argue with her; I let her fix them. I was thinking to myself, “It matters which one goes on which foot? Who knew?”…

                1. Claus2

                  So we’re supposed to listen to the guy who doesn’t know his left shoe from his right shoe…

            1. Claus2

              You forgot “The End”.

              So what you’re saying is that a war ended 70 years ago, yet European countries are still unable to protect themselves from Russia yet today. That without the US being in Germany, Europe would fall to the Russians. That the German, British, French, etc… military powers are just for show and would just lay down if Russia tried anything.

              Putin is all talk, he has missiles that can take out Florida, but he also knows that we have missiles that could take out any spot in Russia as well. He’s about as threatening as the short, fat guy in North Korea.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                What I’m saying is what I said.

                But only a fool would fail to take Putin, or the funny-looking fat kid, seriously. They’re both dangerous people…

                Unfortunately, our president is a fool…

  6. bud

    Here’s a short list of things that have gone wrong over the past few weeks on Trump’s watch:

    1. The elephant trophy ban has been lifted, reversing a reversal on this policy.
    2. Jeff Sessions has declared a bit of a war against California over immigration issues thus creating unnecessary angst for thousands of hard working people who are just minding their own business.
    3. POTUS has inexplicably started a trade war at a time when the economy is performing well.
    4, Defended a wife beater then lied about it, thus making a mockery of the so-called “family values” party.
    5. Lost key White House advisers (Hicks, Cohn) who have acted as a moderating force to this crazy man’s unstable proclivities.
    6. Flip flopped on gun control issues thus confusing everyone on all sides.
    7. Insulted his attorney general for no good reason.
    8. Exacerbated a long dormant sex scandal.
    9. One of his key advisers (Kushner) has lost his security clearance after it was discovered he influenced foreign policy decisions based on his denial of large loans by the nation of Qatar.

    1. Doug Ross

      “Minding their own business” — is that the term we are using now for being in the country illegally? Many of those being deported have criminal records or have been deported multiple times before. Meanwhile, my friends who are here legally on H1B visas and green cards are paying thousands of dollars and waiting many, many years to obtain legal status. I was told that the government is only up to 2008 on processing green card holders… Before we do anything about illegal immigrants, how about we take care of the people who have done it the right way and paid their dues?

      I don’t like Sessions. He’s completely wrong on marijuana legalization and is an insufferable prude. But he is right to go after sanctuary cities and those who do not enforce existing laws.

      The rest of your bullet points are the same stuff we’ve been hearing since November of 2016. Apparently Trump is the first President who has ever flip-flopped on an issue.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        He’s the only one who does it daily, and sometimes once or twice in the same meeting.

        The ability to change one’s mind in view of circumstances is a virtue. (Bush 41’s abandonment of his “no new taxes” pledge, in light of circumstances, was an example of that.) Trump does it because he’s an idiot (a point on which I seem to remember you agreeing with me during the election, although you seem to have forgotten it). He doesn’t understand the issues to start with, and just babbles whatever pops into his bizarrely-coiffed head.

        But to go to the earlier part of your comment: “Before we do anything about illegal immigrants, how about we take care of the people who have done it the right way and paid their dues?” I am completely with you. We need to make that process more efficient and fair.

        Similarly, we should be making it easier for more folks from south of the border to come here legally to take the jobs that are awaiting them. Make it easy enough for them so that it’s no longer worth it for them to risk their lives and pay a coyote $5,000 to smuggle them in. Stop resisting natural economic forces. Then you’ll see the number of illegals drop.

        So yeah — stop obsessing so much over the illegals and fix the system…

        1. bud

          Obama likewise changed his mind on the gay marriage issue. Changing your mind is certainly not the point here. What is important is that Trump can’t seem to adhere to any position on any issue for even a short news cycle. That creates confusion and chaos that renders coherent policy decisions impossible.

          1. Doug Ross

            ” That creates confusion and chaos that renders coherent policy decisions impossible.”

            Only for the people who devote their every waking moment to watching Trump. Trump’s administration has made plenty of policy decisions. The tax cut went about as smoothly as anything I’ve seen out of the federal government. It had a direct and immediate impact for millions of American workers.

        2. Doug Ross

          ” I am completely with you. We need to make that process more efficient and fair.”

          And do it first.

          I am also fine with changing the system GOING FORWARD but not for those who broke the law to enter the country (often many times after being deported) and continue to break the law every day by driving illegally, working illegally, and committing identity fraud. They deserve no special treatment. But if it moves everything forward, I am willing to accept giving everyone except those who have committed crimes amnesty but ONLY if anyone else who enters illegally after that point gets ZERO benefit for doing so.

      2. bud

        I don’t like Sessions. He’s completely wrong on marijuana legalization and is an insufferable prude. But he is right to go after sanctuary cities and those who do not enforce existing laws.

        See what you just did Doug? Your second sentence completely contradicts your first. You get on to Sessions for enforcing marijuana laws because you don’t like marijuana laws. But then praise him for enforcing immigration laws because you like immigration laws. So which is it? Do you believe in the enforcement of laws or not? Don’t give me this law and order BS unless you’re going to be consistent about it.

        I’m consistent on this. I believe any law that unnecessarily inflicts pain and angst on an otherwise law abiding person should be ignored.

        1. Doug Ross

          I believe the laws should be changed for marijuana and enforced until they have been. Same for illegal immigration… if you want to change the laws, do that. Until then, enforcement is what is required. Deport until they are legal. Deny services until they are legal. We enforce the laws related to pot where they are in effect, right?

        2. Brad Warthen Post author

          I’m consistent, too. I don’t think people should enter the country illegally. And I don’t think people should smoke dope. Because they’re both against the law, and the law exists for good reason in both cases.

          And I get about equally upset when people do those things anyway. Entering the country illegally is wrong, but in terms of how outraged I get about it, it’s pretty much on a par with how upset I get about people smoking dope…

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      I really appreciate your taking the time to list a few of his recent sins. But Doug will wave them all away as nothing, which is why I don’t bother. Mentioning the tariff madness was enough for me.

      As someone (I had thought it was E.J. Dionne, but I looked back and apparently it wasn’t him) noted yesterday, even congressional Republicans are rising up against that one. After letting all his other outrages slide, suddenly he’s gone too far for them…

      1. bud

        About number 9 on my list. Why hell is Jared Kushner still working in the White House? This is such an egregious violation of any kind of acceptable behavior that it defies explanation. And by the way this really did have real consequences. Apparently this policy contributed to the instability of the region thus costing many people their lives in Yemen.

      2. Doug Ross

        I wave them away because its all hyped up and then disappears.. day after day you keep pushing the narrative.. and yet what is different? We’re told repeatedly that Trump colluded with Putin. Where is the EVIDENCE? It was apparently happening before the election while Obama was President. Are our national security organizations so inept that they can’t determine what Trump did 18 months later? The guy was in the public spotlight every single day for all of 2016… I assume we have the technology to monitor the actions of people like Putin very closely.

        Did somebody do something? Maybe. Something on par with Watergate? Probably not. Iran-Contra? Maybe… we survived that. Benghazi? Maybe that’s about the extent of it.

        It’s just so sad to see people who wake up every day looking for a reason to hate Trump. Find something more productive to do.

        1. bud

          Doug you are just incoherent on this. You go on and on and on about how important it is to strictly adhere to the rule of law regarding immigrants and apparently even pot smokers. But when it comes to Trump you dismiss his growing list of transgressions and merely normal political behavior that people are irrationally becoming paranoid over. It is astonishing to see how someone can spin so. Your original metric for grading the Trump presidency was whether any real impact is inflicted on people. You dismiss as cosmetic many of the things Trump does like his daily tweet storms. It’s all just a matter of style for this eccentric billionaire POTUS. Yet when examples of actual harm to people like immigrants, Puerto Ricans or Yemenize are pointed out you dismiss those things with some type of spin. It is really remarkable how Trump’s defenders behave so erratically.

        2. Brad Warthen Post author

          Doug, I’m just not going to interact with you any more on the subject. I’m sick and tired of explaining to you “what is different.”

          It will never, ever do any good, I am finally convinced.

          Post what you like in response to what I say on the subject. I don’t intend to beat my head against a wall any more…

          1. Doug Ross

            I agree. I’m not going to convince you and never expected to. I am very comfortable with my opinion. All is ask is that you reflect upon how much energy you expend on Trump and what benefit you derive from that. You aren’t going to change anyone’s mind.

            1. Richard

              “All is ask is that you reflect upon how much energy you expend on Trump and what benefit you derive from that.”

              He’ll never do it, once he actually sits down and thinks about how much time he spends on the topic it’ll embarrass him.

              I hate Hillary Clinton, but I can go days without thinking about her… I don’t obsess over her every waking minute.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                And why on Earth would you? She has absolutely nothing to do what is going on in the world today. She’s gone. She’s history. She’s a nonentity. Which makes it pretty weird that you and other Trumpies keep talking about her as though she were somehow a topic of relevance comparable to talking about the guy who is currently the most powerful man in the world.

                Y’all really have a complex about that has-been, don’t you?

          2. bud

            Doug won’t be convinced but I think you still need to make at least a token effort to expose the nonsense he extols. Ignoring it should never be an option.

        3. Scout

          “I wave them away because its all hyped up and then disappears.. day after day you keep pushing the narrative.. and yet what is different?”

          Maybe not much for you. Maybe you live in a bubble, see what you want to see, and continue to have a comfortable life. Maybe you are of the right color, ethnicity, and socio-economic status to not be affected by what has changed. Maybe you have no empathy for your fellow man and don’t care that the social safety net is going away because nothing is different for you. Maybe you don’t care about negative effects on wildlife or the environment because nothing is different for you. Maybe you don’t care that the rest of the world has no respect for us anymore because nothing is different for you.

          A lot is different Doug. Apparently just not for you.

          1. Doug Ross

            Nope, none of those are the right reason. Must be something else. Keep trying, though. Someday you’ll achieve your goal of educating me on what a terrible person I am even though you’ve never met me. Good luck!

            1. Scout

              My goal is to communicate with you. Since you continue to think you know my goal no matter what I actually say, it seems unlikely that I will succeed.

            2. Brad Warthen Post author

              Scout seems to have offended Doug, but I don’t see how. Scout is probably the politest person on this blog. She certainly has me beat on that score, by light years…

      1. Doug Ross

        What was your alternative? Dropping bombs? Seems like the South Koreans want this, right? Shouldn’t their desire take precedence?

  7. Doug Ross

    Home page on Drudge Report has these headlines right now…

    RECORD 155,215,000 EMPLOYED…

    You think that is a bad sign for Trump? Jobs = votes. It will be interesting to see where the economy is at in November. Democrats are hoping for a recession…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      All of which means, to me… “blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, yadda-yadda.” As I’ve said over and over.

      Trump demonstrated in 2016 that, for the first time in our history, the voters will vote for a grossly unfit, ignorant, self-obsessed, hypersensitive, vindictive buffoon for president. If they did it once, they’d do it again.

      What’s needed is not for Democrats to win congressional seats, or for Trump to be impeached, or for the economy to go up or down, or for someone to break the president’s thumbs so he stops tweeting. What’s needed is for the American people to regain their sanity.

      And as I’ve said before, I don’t know how to make that happen.

      Liberal democracy (and for those who don’t understand what that is, it’s democracy with civil liberty guarantees, like the Bill of Rights) is in trouble across the globe. Certainly in Europe and in this country, it’s in crisis. Else there’d be no Brexit, no Trump, no Berlusconi, and for that matter no Bernie Sanders.

      The way back will be long and hard, especially given how many people in the West don’t seem to give a damn…

      1. Claus2

        “All of which means, to me… “blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, yadda-yadda.” As I’ve said over and over.”

        Because it’s a positive toward Trump… so it’s “fake news” to you.

        I don’t believe we saw numbers like this under Obama, had we you would have had an Extra Special News Flash announcement.

        All you care about is seeing Donald Trump out of office, for no other reason than because that’s what Brad wants and he’s not going to be happy about anything until he gets his way. It’s like dealing with a toddler in a candy store.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          You’re just not paying attention at all, are you?

          As I’ve explained over and over, Trump being out of office doesn’t solve the problem. It’s essential, in order to save our country, for it to be impossible (as it was for 288 years before 2016) for anyone like him to be elected again.

          He’s a symptom, not the disease. There are a lot of bad trends right now in this country and throughout the West, and all of them had to be present to bring about his election…

          1. Claus2

            So what you’re saying is everything changed on November 9, 2016. On November 8th everything was still fine and dandy, but because one person got elected the whole world is crumbling down around us. That’s what I get that you’re saying… I don’t recall you complaining about any of this larger problem when Obama was in office. So it must have happened overnight.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              It pretty much did. The first strong signs of it hit almost all at once, in the spring and summer of 2016. There was the Brexit vote, and Trump winning primaries over vastly better qualified candidates (who were actual conservatives), and Bernie Sanders giving the mainstream Democrat a run for her money. All were indications that something was really messed up in the electorate, across the political spectrum, and not only in this country.

              Sure, there were less-dramatic indications over the few years before that. For instance, South Carolina going for Newt Gingrich in the 2012 primary. That was nuts. South Carolina had been the one state you could rely on to pick the sensible mainstream Republican for decades.

              But the disease hadn’t fully taken hold. SC may have gone off the rails, but in the end the GOP picked the sensible guy, Romney. Huntsman would have been better, but Romney was acceptable.

              In 2016, the GOP failed to correct South Carolina’s even-worse mistake (say what you will about Gingrich, he’s light years more qualified than Trump). The disease had fully taken hold…

    2. bud

      Drudge Report Doug? Seriously? Yep the economy is humming along. Which make the tariffs that much more bizarre. Why mess with a good thing?

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Ditto with the tax cut package. Running up the deficit with tax cuts is something you do when you’re desperate need of stimulating the economy. Not when you’ve been humming along like this for the last few years…

        Unless, of course, you prefer ideology over facts, like Speaker Ryan…

      2. Doug Ross

        bud, those headlines On Drudge were links to: CNBC, Bloomberg, and Washington Examiner. Are you calling those fake news sites?

        Drudge is the best consolidator of news and has no popup videos, very few ads… there’s a reason he averages about a billion page views a month. It’s my first stop for links to the latest news.

        I’m willing to see what impact the tariffs have… the nice thing about them is that they can be shut off pretty quickly if there is a noticeable negative effect. I find it amusing that people think they know how to accurately predict the impact of anything like this. There are far too many variables to consider.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Doug, it’s not about predicting. Protectionism is bad policy, period.

          Perhaps George Will’s column will help explain it. An excerpt:

          The tariffs — taxes collected at the border, paid by American consumers — on steel and aluminum imports will be 25 percent and 10 percent, respectively, the most severe of the options proposed by his Commerce Department, which impedes the activity denoted by its name. But the 6.5 million employees in steel-using industries (46 times the number of steel-making jobs) and the hundreds of millions of consumers of steel- and aluminum-content products should not complain, they should salute: The president says the tariffs are national security necess­ities.

          Never mind that the Cato Institute’s Colin Grabow notes defense-related products require only 3 percent and 10 percent of domestic steel and aluminum production, respectively. Or that six of the top 10 nations that export steel to the United States have mutual defense agreements with the United States. Or that China, an actual military competitor and potential adversary, is not among the top 10. Or that Canada, a NATO ally, supplies more U.S. aluminum imports than the next 11 countries combined. Or that, as The Post reports, “For nearly a quarter-century under U.S. law, Canada has been considered part of the U.S. defense industrial base, as if its factories were American.” Or that the aluminum for military aircraft and the steel for military vehicles will be more expensive, so, effectively, the administration is cutting the defense budget. Cato’s Dan Ikenson says the administration’s argument seems to be “that an abundance of low-priced raw materials from a diversity of sources somehow threatens national security.”…

          Bottom line, the reasons offered for the tariffs are stupid and bogus. It’s bad policy, based on ignorant assumptions. You don’t have to predict what happens next to know that…

              1. Doug Ross

                He’s a pretentious prig with a thesaurus.

                It’s hilarious that Brad is using Will’s reference to the ultra libertarian Cato Institute to educate me. He’s even willing to jump onboard with the Ayn Rand crowd to feed his Trump obsession.

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  I don’t understand what you think is funny. Will is saying things that are true, but of course, you don’t care about any of those things.

                  I truly could not possibly care what sources he cites as long as what he saying is true.

                  Oh, and I feel pretty confident in saying that George Will has no need for a thesaurus. I’ve never needed one (my view is that if I need an aid to think of the word, I shouldn’t use it), and I’d be very surprised if Will ever did…

                2. Doug Ross

                  Cato says that the tariffs effectively defense budget. Is that a bad thing? Not to me.

                  I don’t pretend like you and George Will to be an expert on the global longterm economic impact of these tariffs. All I have said is that (much like the rest of the Trump presidency), I will wait to see what happens. Tariffs would appear to my untrained eye to be the easiest way to tweak certain markets to achieve competitive balance. Easy to implement, easy to turn off if they don’t work. And Trump is just doing what he said he would do when he ran for office – he’s paying back the Rust Belt for their role in helping him win. Elections have consequences. Too bad Democrats thought they had an easy path to the White House. They blew it and this is the result. Put up a better candidate in 2020.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    Why do you keep bringing this up, as though it had ANYTHING to do with any issue we’re discussing?

                    Too bad Democrats thought they had an easy path to the White House. They blew it and this is the result. Put up a better candidate in 2020.

                    You remind me of the Trump voters who answer any point made about their boy by saying, “Yeah, but Hillary…”

                    In both cases, I fail to see the relevance.

                    Unless, of course, you labor under the error of thinking you’re talking to someone who prefers Democratic presidents. Which my record, which lies before you and is searchable, would completely explode.

                    Much of my life has been spent differing strongly with the people who think the answer to the nation’s (or state’s) problems is to elect more members of this or that party. They delude themselves.

                    The answer, back in 2016, was to elect anyone but Trump. I preferred Kasich, or maybe Jeb!© Or in a pinch, maybe Marco Rubio. And when your back’s against the wall and no one else stands in his way, Hillary Clinton. (Since her party saw this as “her turn,” no other viable Democrats came forward that year, or else one of them might have made my list.)

                    It’s not about electing Democrats or Republicans. It’s about electing sane, qualified people. Neither party has a monopoly on that…

        2. Mark Stewart

          Basically, it’s about like pulling the pin of a grenade and tossing it a few feet away.

          There is a reason most people understand that high tariffs are a terrible way to address a specific, negatively-perceived situation.

      3. Claus2

        What part of the economy is hurting right now? Employment numbers?

        Seriously, have you ever taken an economics course? It’s like putting a car in gear pressing on the gas pedal… it’ll keep going faster and faster until it blows up. Which is why you back off at a certain point to slow or stabilize the current economic level. Look at the oil fields, they operate on booms and busts, do you want the economy to run in the same plan? Everyone making six figures one day, everyone unemployed the next.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          So… you’re saying that instituting tariffs is a way of applying the brakes — by raising the cost of these materials for Americans? That seems to be what you just said. In that case, bud might be agreeing with you….

          1. Richard

            Don’t we have tariffs imposed on several of our exported items?

            You know what happens to countries who shut down manufacturing within their country? Look around to this country over the past 50 years. Look at the state of Michigan to see what happened when Ford, GMC and Chrysler moved automobile manufacturing to Mexico and overseas. Would it be a horrible thing if Ford closed a plant in Mexico and moved it back to Detroit? We’re content being a country of service workers and Walmart shoppers. On average what pays better, a service related job or a manufacturing job? Remember the Walmart commercials that used to pride themselves as “Made in America”? How much of their inventory is now made in America… I’m guessing less than 5%.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              That is a complete non sequitur.

              How does it help manufacturing if the manufacturers who buy the steel and aluminum (say, automakers) have to pay more for it?

              1. Bryan Caskey

                A steel tarriff doesn’t help manufacturing. It only helps domestic steel producers by making their product (artificially) more competitive with foreign steel because imported steel will cost more.

                So anyone who needs steel and aluminum will pay more. Car manufacturers, construction and architecture firms, boat manufacturers, and everyone else who uses steel and aluminum.

                It’s really dumb. Most of our steel comes from countries that are our allies. Canada, Brazil, South Korea, and Mexico are the top three importers of steel to the US.

                Fortunately, Trump has figured out how to get Democrats to oppose tariffs. It seems like the next Democrat to run for President will be, in part, running on the platform of repealing Trump’s steel tariffs.

                Oh, and as an aside, Congress needs to get this authority BACK from the President. Congress should be setting this sort of thing, not delegating it to the Executive Branch. But hey, Congress never misses an opportunity to delegate out a tough call or get out of doing work that might upset people.

              2. Claus2

                If Mercedes, Toyota, BMW and Ford, GM and Chrysler/Fiat want to bypass the tariff they can just build plants in this country… just like we do overseas. Part of that “Made in the USA” thing that Walmart was famous for.

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  I’m not an expert on the manufacturing process, but it seems you have that exactly backwards. It seems that the way to avoid the tariffs is for those companies to build plants in the countries where the steel and aluminum come from…

                2. Bryan Caskey

                  Tariffs are another way that government picks winners and losers, which is one reason I’m against them. The steel tariff pits the domestic steel industry against the rest of the entire free market. Everyone else loses.

        2. bud

          The fed is slowly raising interest rates. That’s appropriate. Congress should likewise run a surplus. Tariffs are just ridiculous.

  8. Chris Larsen

    Brad, I appreciated your writings when on the Editorial Page. You were very forthright and direct. And, now more out of curiosity than anything else, I read your blog. I am left with the impression that you should get a life, doing something more worthwhile, amusing and rewarding than debating others on your blog. Mark me, you are excellent in your retorts. But how about reading a good book, taking (or giving) a course at Shepherd’s Corner or a swim at the Y? I love you, Bro, but really, relax and enjoy and
    try to find some humor and amusement to glisten your writings. Chris

  9. Doug Ross

    That’s your choice. If you’d accept that you aren’t ever going to change my mind, you’d save a lot of time. I’m not some young kid with no experience in the world. Accept that I am 1000% comfortable with what I believe and that your OPINION is just based on a different world view and set of life experiences than mine.

    1. Doug Ross

      And consider how much effort you have put into trying to convince bud that the government restructuring way back when was a good thing when he keeps telling you that it wasn’t. He worked to the DOT then and after. Why would you try to convince him that your view is the right one?

      1. Mark Stewart

        It was a step forward, Doug. Bud reacts to the uncertainty it brought to his department. But in the macro lens of state politics, the restructuring was a step forward. The trouble is, we still need SC to make a leap.

        As you always say, luck befalls those who work hard and with diligence day in and day out.

        1. bud

          No. I react to it because it was bad policy. And because The State NEVER did any research that would have clearly shown it was bad policy. I was actually pondering this earlier and found solid evidence that it was horrible policy. SC had a mileage death rate about 30% above the national average in 1992. After obliterating the old SCDHPT trooper strength and other highway safety measures were sharply cut. By 1999 traffic deaths were up sharply and the death rate was 50% above the national rate. Clearly restructuring failed. No that crap legislation was decidedly not a step in the right direction. And we should be extremely skeptical of restructuring talk now.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            OK, again…

            At the same time that certain changes were made — changes we had advocated — to other parts of the government, bogus “reform” measures were instituted at DOT. Those changes were most certainly NOT what we had advocated.

            THOSE — the measures we did NOT endorse — are what Bud is reacting to as “crap legislation.”

            It bore no resemblance to what we advocated then, or what I advocate now, for state government.

            Maybe if I say it a few more times…

            1. bud

              bogus “reform” measures were instituted at DOT.

              I can be pedantic too. The DOT was non-existent when the “so-called” reform measures were implemented. DOT along with DPS and DMV were the bastard children of the 1992 legislation. Prior to that it was called SCDHPT, South Carolina Department of Highways and Public Transportation.

              But this statement is more insightful:

              THOSE — the measures we did NOT endorse — are what Bud is reacting to as “crap legislation.”

              Ding, Ding, Ding. In a kind of clumsy way Brad has just acknowledged something important. Once the General Assembly starts monkeying around with structure issues there is a high probability (about 83.2% 🙂 ) that things will go wrong. Not sure the current performance of state government warrants that kind of risk. I maintain funding, and funding alone, is the culprit regarding performance by state government. The structure if adequate.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                And that is why I’ve always stopped short of endorsing a constitutional convention. Because THAT’S where anything can happen.

                But… I’m moving in that direction, thanks to more than two decades of relative inaction. I want to talk with Micah, next time I see him, about how he sees the delegate selection process, and otherwise how he thinks a convention can be prevented from flying off into la-la land.

                And yes, that was when they changed the name of the agency — which was one way they tried to hide the fact that they weren’t instituting actual reform.

                Of course, that wasn’t an instance of lawmakers charging off in a crazy new direction. No, they were all about keeping their power and prerogatives, and making sure real reform did not result.

                DOT has been through two rounds of “reform” since then. Only the last one, keyed to the gas tax increase, made any real progress toward making the agency accountable… although it’s a bit early to judge…

              2. Brad Warthen Post author

                And bud, I wasn’t being one bit pedantic.

                I was saying, again, that your experience of the changes as the highway department back in the early ’90s was NOT relevant in judging restructuring, because what lawmakers did was exempt the highway department from actual reform.

                So talk about how awful it was all day long. I’ll take your word on it. But it has no bearing on the kind of reform I’ve been advocating all these years, because that’s not what that was

                1. bud

                  I was saying, again, that your experience of the changes as the highway department back in the early ’90s was NOT relevant in judging restructuring, because what lawmakers did was exempt the highway department from actual reform.

                  That’s just about the dumbest thing you’ve ever written. Just for the record, my own personal experience was not changed all that much. My job was made a bit tougher perhaps but still not much. What matters is how this type of change can f things up. They made things tangibly, measurably worse. And it will happen again. Let’s just leave it alone and fund the various agencies better.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    How is it dumb? It stated a fact. Their failure to reform the Highway Department was one of the big disappointments of the 1993 restructuring…

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      That’s not likely to happen.

      It’s one thing to accept that you’re not going to change your mind. It’s another to accept that your and my views are of equal value when they differ.

      Sometimes they are, when it’s about which Star Wars movie was most awesome. I mean, who cares, right?

      But sometimes it’s a matter of right or wrong. For instance, if you say anything other than the original, a.k.a. “Episode IV: A New Hope,” then you are wrong… 🙂

      1. Bryan Caskey

        “Sometimes they are, when it’s about which Star Wars movie was most awesome. I mean, who cares, right?

        But sometimes it’s a matter of right or wrong. For instance, if you say anything other than the original, a.k.a. “Episode IV: A New Hope,” then you are wrong…”

        It’s The Empire Strikes Back, and it’s not even close.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          No, there’s a rule involved here. The Rule is:

          In any series that’s about some unremarkable young person who finds out that he is extremely special with special powers and a heroic, perhaps even messianic, destiny, the initial story is always the best one. The Sword and the Stone. Dune. Harry Potter. Even the Godfather (with that young person being Michael.)

          Admittedly, you can argue that in Luke’s case it takes the first two (or even three) movies for that reveal to come out completely. He’s not even fully a Jedi until the last of the three.

          But the original “Star Wars” is the one in which we first learn about Jedis, and the Force, and our hero is called to save the day (and does, thanks to his preternatural piloting skills honed by shooting womp rates back on Tatooine). It has a satisfying ending. And it does have all that incestuous (that hot chick you were competing for is your sister, dude!) and oedipal junk (I’m your father, Luke…) that gets introduced in the second film.

          I mean, it’s a fun space fantasy, George. Sophocles you are not, as Yoda might say…

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Oh, and no… Godfather II is not better than Godfather I, despite all the people who think it’s cool to say that. The flashback part with DeNiro (which was part of the original novel) is great, but the rest, not so much…

          2. Brad Warthen Post author

            Or maybe it’s just that I’m the kind of sap who likes happy endings — or at least endings that are actually endings. Which the original Star Wars has, while the sequel ends with all that inner turmoil and Luke losing his hand and Han being frozen. The first one is a complete story, that doesn’t really demand a sequel. “Empire” is obviously just setting you up for sequels, which means it is an internally incomplete story. The unities, or something, are violated.

            Similarly, the original Godfather is a complete story in which the “hero” comes to term with his destiny and vanquishes ALL of his enemies, all at once. That his destiny is a dark one is pretty well stated with that last shot of Kay realizing what he has become. I don’t need her coming to hate him and having that abortion and all later. I got the point in the first film.

            And I definitely don’t need him whacking a member of his own family, which I continue to insist is a most unCorleone thing to do. The whole point of what Michael is, and his father was before him, is a protector of the family, whatever dark places that might take him….

            Although I guess that was foreshadowed by “But don’t ever take sides with anyone against the Family again. Ever.”

            So never mind…

          3. Bryan Caskey

            Empire is way better. The battle of Hoth is awesome. You get Darth Vader at his most powerful, most villainous the whole movie. You get Yoda, who starts to school Luke on the force, you get Han and his crew running from the Empire all movie, and it’s got the best lightsaber battle in the entire series.

            Yes, A New Hope is a great story, but everything gets elevated in Empire.

            1. Claus2

              I haven’t seen one since the first one, I suspect like all sequels they all suck. Was Dumb and Dumber II better than the original, was Porky’s II better than the original? Was Grease II better than the original?

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