Wow, THAT was certainly a sorry spectacle…

Trump in Cola

This was the part when he was, seemingly without end, telling us how AWESOME his victory in the 2016 election was…

I was upstairs on the elliptical tonight, doing something constructive, when my wife called to tell me the Trump thing was on WIS live.

I went down to see, curious: Surely one of our local commercial TV stations wasn’t handing over a live prime-time feed of a McMaster rally on the eve of his runoff. And in fact, that was not the case: TWO local commercial TV stations were doing that.

I watched in fascination. I had never watched a Trump rally all the way to its ignominious end (and I betrayed my inexperience when I Tweeted my surprise that he ended it with the supremely ironic “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” Aren’t his supporters insulted by that? I thought).

It was one of those spectacles that kinda made me feel a little embarrassed to belong to the same species. But there’s no point trying to put together focused commentary on such random rambling. I give you my real-time Tweets instead:

Sorry about not knowing about the Stones thing. My bad.

What a mess we’re in, ladies and gentlemen…

61 thoughts on “Wow, THAT was certainly a sorry spectacle…

  1. Richard

    “I was upstairs on the elliptical tonight, doing something constructive”

    Walking in place… constructive.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yes, I think so.

      I’ve been slacking off lately, since it’s too hot to walk in the middle of the day. But I still manage to stay over 10,000 steps a day.

      I do about 6,500 on the elliptical before I leave the house in the morning…

  2. bud

    Here are some of the factors I consider important when deciding how to vote

    1. Party Affiliation
    2. Issues
    3. Temperament (Sorry Alvin Greene)
    4. Enthusiasm for the issues he supports
    5. Health
    6. Honesty (Have to grade this on a curve to some extent)
    7. Command of the issues (Does the candidate know what she’s talking about)
    8. Political experience for higher offices.

    A few that are not relevant

    1. Military service
    2. Demographics (Age, race, sex, religion)
    3. Civilian career history (irrelevant if you’re a “successful” businessman)
    4. Appearance (Some people think have a beard is a factor. Sheesh)

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Since Bud went to that trouble, I’ll respond more fully.

      On his first list, the ones that matter to me are 2, 3, 6, 7 and 8 — with temperament, honesty and command of the issues being the top three. Actually, I’d wrap temperament and honesty into one and call it “character.” I want a candidate of good character with a good understanding of the issues (which usually, but not always, calls for the candidate to have had some experience in the political sphere).

      Since Bud goes out of his way to discount, military service, I’ll tell you what it does for me — it gets my attention. It’s so rare these days that it immediately causes the candidate to stand out as someone who has SERVED, whether or not he has done so in elective office.

      And, as I’ve said before, if all other factors were exactly equal, I’d pick the one with the military service.

      Bud is convinced I’m all about style over substance. That is apparently because I don’t explain myself well. I’ve made the point a number of times that Democrats haven’t seemed serious about winning GOP-held congressional seats, because none of their recent candidates could be bothered to shave.

      It’s a simple, minimal measure of commitment. If you can’t make that one, tiny concession to public proclivities (men with beards have seldom won elections in my lifetime), then you really don’t want to win.

      That’s my point, and the facts bear me out.

      I may think it’s silly for voters to be put off by a beard, but if a candidate doesn’t care enough to remove that as an objection, then he doesn’t care enough…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Oh, well — I didn’t notice that it wasn’t!

      I interact with comments differently from the way y’all do. I see them on the dashboard, in the guts of the blog, all together. Consequently, I often have to go to another tab to find out what you’re reacting to.

      So in this case, I just assumed the context was the previous post…

  3. Scout

    I was just thankful I didn’t recognize anybody in the crowd. Sometimes it’s better to not know.

  4. Scout

    How can McMaster have any self respect when his only message appears to be that he is not competent to speak for himself. His only message is I love Trump and Trump loves me.

    I would enjoy it if this message failed. Even though I’m worried that Warren would be a more challenging opponent for Smith, I think I still hope this message fails right now. But it probably won’t.

    Even if this was a candidate I otherwise liked, sucking up to someone else I liked, isn’t it bothersome that his only message is all about another person.

    Why would it be attractive to anyone to vote for someone who can’t or won’t speak for his or her self?

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      “Even if this was a candidate I otherwise liked, sucking up to someone else I liked, isn’t it bothersome that his only message is all about another person?” Yes, it is. It’s downright creepy, in fact…

  5. bud

    Voted in the Democratic runoff about 10:30. I was just the second Democrat. 53 Republicans had already voted. Seems like a pretty good turnout for the Republicans.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I voted about 8:30. I, too, was the second to choose a Democratic ballot (perfectly understandable with only one low-profile item on the ballot).

      And the person signing in next to me was the 52nd Republican.

      So almost exactly the same as at Bud’s polling place, but two hours earlier…

    1. JesseS

      A friend of mine is an AP stringer and he has opted out of photographing Trump for that very reason.

      “Man, the hardest ever was John McCain. You’d be there with other photographers and everyone was sighing while waiting for that one moment when that line of skin under his neck wasn’t in the way. For a while I thought it was just me, but everyone was having the same problem. The camera just doesn’t like the man. His wife? Easy. The Romney family? Too easy. Obama? The pictures take themselves. Trump? Oh Lord, AP doesn’t pay enough for that. Give me a hurricane.”

  6. bud

    “Even if this was a candidate I otherwise liked, sucking up to someone else I liked, isn’t it bothersome that his only message is all about another person?”

    Let’s put this to the hypothetical test. Suppose James Smith held a rally at Dreher High School, near the liberal enclave of Shandon, with Barack Obama as the featured speaker. Would progressive voters really be all that offended? I suspect not. Still, I understand the point. Slumlord McMaster has certainly worked the Trump connection aggressively to where it comes across as farcical. Is Trump that popular in South Carolina that that approach is the best for a general election? I suspect it will cost him a few points on election day.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yeah, but Election Day is 133 days away.

      What McMaster cares about TODAY is GOP primary voters. And we know what they’re like these days.

      But to answer your hypothetical test: You would know far better than I what “progressive voters” might do, but as for me, if Barack Obama came here and spent an hour ranting about how great he was, and about his hair, and Jimmy Fallon, and what an awesome victory he had two years ago, and generally airing all his personal insecurities — yeah, I know it’s hard to imagine Obama acting that way for one second, much less an hour, but try — and then all James could come up with to recommend himself was that he loved Obama and Obama love him….

      Yeah, you bet. I’d lose respect for James.

      In real life, James is quite pleased to have Joe Biden’s endorsement. But you don’t hear him talking about it, day after day, from noon until night. He has other interests, and loads of SC support. Which is why you don’t see him in a runoff.

      Whereas, think about it… can you name a prominent Republican here in SC who is publicly, prominently supporting McMaster? Most seem to be in the “anybody but Henry” camp. The man has little respect these days within his own party, within his own state…

  7. Claus2

    “What McMaster cares about TODAY is GOP primary voters. And we know what they’re like these days.”

    As compared to what… people who scream at people in movie theaters, refuse to serve them at restaurants, confront them when they’re out with their family, etc…? You Democrats (okay “Democrat supporters” since you tend to go off the deep end when I say that) aren’t exactly in your right frame of mind these days either. Maxine Waters is a good example of what I’m talking about.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          No, things just look that way sometimes to people who always support one side or the other.

          This year, I have a very definite preference for one gubernatorial candidate, which I am completely up-front about (and have been since his campaign began), and that guy happens to be a Democrat. He’s one of TWO people I particularly wanted to see elected this year, the other being a Republican (who, happily, is home free now, having won his primary and having no general election opponent).

          But people who are all one way or the other don’t see that. For instance, South Carolina is full of Democrats who think I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Republican because we always endorsed Republicans for president during my 15 years on the editorial board. They ignore the fact that overall, we endorsed more or less 50-50 in all races — people sometimes can’t see past that presidential thing.

          Similarly, at this sad juncture in our nation’s history, a lot of Trump supporters seem to think that someone who opposes THEIR guy — who frankly, is not what I call a Republican — must be a Democrat (or, even more ridiculously, a Hillary Clinton fan). Such people don’t look at the whole picture.

          They ignore the fact, for instance, that when I quote other people criticizing Trump, it’s usually not lefty writers. Why? Because I don’t find their arguments persuasive. They don’t think like me. I tend to quote such conservative public intellectuals as George Will, David Brooks, Bret Stephens, Ross Douthat, Max Boot, Jennifer Rubin, Bill Kristol, David Frum and the like.

          They tend to come a lot closer to thinking the way I do.

          I feel kind of silly even pointing these things out — again. Because these things should be obvious to anyone who READS this blog.

          Oh, by the way, did y’all see George Will’s column Sunday? This is how seriously he takes what Trump has done to the erstwhile conservative party: “Vote against the GOP this November.”

          And don’t bother saying “George Will’s not a conservative,” unless you want to be laughed out of town. If you’re disagreeing with George Will, you’re the one who’s not a conservative…

      1. Kay Packett

        “What McMaster cares about TODAY is GOP primary voters. And we know what they’re like these days.”

        Yes. Henry has lost his mind, or at least he has rented it to the S.C. Republican Party. Many of us remember a time when he was normal. That, of course, was before Mark Sanford drove the party right, and then Trump infected it and sent it straight across the cliff.

        But really, Claus2. What is this snowflakey complaint about restaurant servers and Maxine Waters? This is your guy:

        “Trump transformed himself into a political figure by leading a racist crusade charging that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States. He also demanded to see Obama’s college transcripts, on the theory that he could not possibly have gotten into Harvard Law School on merit. He mocked a disabled reporter. He encouraged his supporters to commit acts of violence when protesters arrived at his rallies (“I’d like to punch him in the face, I tell ya”). He retweeted racist memes. He made up belittling nicknames for all his opponents, and responded to the roughly dozen accusations of sexual misconduct by saying one of his accusers wasn’t hot enough for him to harass. He told those supporters that they no longer had to be “politically correct” or treat people they didn’t like with any respect; they responded with delight, donning their “Trump That B—-” T-shirts and giving reporters the finger. He sneers at and insults celebrities, athletes, political opponents, journalists — indeed, if he’s not in yet another feud with somebody where he’s tossing off nasty, puerile jibes, he will be soon. The idea that he would one day begin acting “presidential” — that is, like someone who has successfully graduated elementary school — is so absurd that no one even bothers to bring it up anymore. Trump is, without a doubt, the rudest and most uncivil president in U.S. history. ”

        You don’t really get to talk about incivility.

    1. Barry

      Thank goodness Conservatives and atepublicans NEVER stoop to that level. Ahem!,,,,,

      At one particularly hostile town hall meeting in Lebanon, Pa., a man in the audience rose to shout that then-Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., was “trampling on our constitutional rights” and that someday God would judge Specter and his fellow “cronies on the Hill.” The veteran senator left the meeting after being SHOVED and booed by other audience members.

      At the beginning of a rowdy forum hosted by Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., Mike Sola pushed his wheelchair-bound son up to the podium publicly accusing Dingell of condemning his son to death. Sola immediately got billing on Fox News where he threatened “lethal force” against those harassing him.

      Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., struggled to keep a health care town hall meeting in Tampa under control as protesters crowded the room and the struggle turned physical.

      1. Richard

        Those three examples you speak of are at political rallies, not a family out for dinner or a movie. There’s a difference.

        Are you saying a Republican has never been heckled at a town hall meeting?

        1. Brad Warthen Post author


          New rule: If it happened at a political rally, it doesn’t count!

          Seriously, incivility anywhere is wrong, in the normal course of life. At a rally, in a restaurant.

          But you’re right — doing it in front of people’s kids is especially wrong…

          1. Richard

            The Democrats can only dream about getting that many people to attend one of their political rallies. People lined up for hours in North Dakota today to get into the arena where Trump was speaking… North Dakota.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Yeah, I don’t think they’re really rally people. In fact, whether Republican or Democrat, I don’t especially want the person I vote for to be someone who’s into Trump-style rallies.

              It’s a big part of what’s wrong with him, and what’s disturbing about his fans…

  8. Bart

    Based on what has been and is happening now on both sides, civility has been tossed aside. Looks to me like both sides need to take a ‘time out’ and do some serious reflecting about the state of affairs between the politicians, political parties, special interest groups – both sides, and if this is what we want for the future of this country.

    Trump is a symptom, not the disease. If we refuse to treat the disease ourselves, then we will continue to elect the ‘symptoms’ to office. When telling lies, vulgarity, inciting violence, and lack of civility is defended by politicians on either side for the sake of party, then how can anyone expect their ardent and active supporters to do otherwise? So far even with the disagreements on this blog, I am not aware of anyone calling for going after the families of politicians by confronting them in their private lives or invading their home grounds or willing to refuse service to a patron because of their political or social differences. If we can have civil discussions here, is it not possible for us to at least do our part to try to foment the same behavior outside the Brad Warthen blog family? Anyone care to comment?

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I’m with you, Bart. As to this part: “Looks to me like both sides need to take a ‘time out’”

      Maybe we should make them all go stand in the corner. I’d actually kind of enjoy seeing a picture of that…

  9. bud

    Yeh Democrats need to go high. But really to condemn both sides equally for lack of civility is preposterous. Democrats are pissed. And for good reason. The Trump led GOP has gone completely off the rails.

    1. Bart

      If for one moment you thing Maxine Waters and Peter Fonda along with so many others on the left haven’t gone off the rails, you are deluding yourself bud and I expected more from you. My comment is no more preposterous than yours about ‘enabling’ the uncivil atmosphere that has invaded our political and social scene today. And consider the fact that the lady who owns the Red Hen followed Sanders to the restaurant across the street and encouraged protests. Now the same people who railed against the baker are doing the same thing they attacked him over. Hypocrisy is hypocrisy and application is not dependent upon the situation as to acceptability.

      I don’t agree with either side engaging in the nastiness we see or read about multiple times a day now. The old adage is apropos for what is going on: “If you can’t be part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.” For me, I would rather be part of the solution. You have to make your own decision about what you want to do.

      1. bud

        Sorry Bart but I disagree. Trump and his minions started all this uncivil behavior and some on the left are firing back. Peter Fonda walked his comments back. I watched Maxine Waters comments in full and she was basically just calling for a push back against the authoritarian extremism from the Trump administration. I might have chosen different word but I certainly agree with Waters sentiment. Heck given the extreme behavior from the right the response has actually been rather tame. Remember “lock her up” or Trump defending Nazis in Charlottsville or the Muslim ban or the constant name calling by Trump. And it’s not just Trump. We have a Holocaust denier and several convicted criminals including Joe Arpio and Rick Grimm running for Congress. Just tune in to Fox News or talk radio sometime to hear the constant bigotry from the right. The anger from the left, though regrettable, is very tame by comparison.

        1. Bart

          We will agree to disagree. The violence and outrageous behavior on both sides is well documented and Peter Fonda only walked back his comments about Trump’s son, not everything else he said.

          I don’t excuse either side and anyone can run for an office, even a convicted criminal. Holocaust deniers exist worldwide and some religions preach denial of the Holocaust or praise Hitler for slaughtering millions of Jews.

          The uncivil behavior started long before Trump burst upon the political scene. When the Tea Party first started, it was an organic movement but soon the movement was exploited by far right idiots and the confrontations started. Then the far left idiots retaliated and physically attacked members of the Tea Party. The local Tea Party were originally decent, concerned citizens who had never been actively involved in overt politics. But, as usual, a few unsavory elements infiltrated the locals and within a few months, it was disbanded because of their involvement. I knew one of the jerks and told the local head of the TP that if he became actively involved, it would destroy any legitimacy they had and sure enough, it happened.

          My point and always has been that neither side has all of the answers and only when reasonable people step forward and take over and work together to reach sensible solutions that is not favorable to just one side but for all will we be able to have some peace and return to a semblance of civility.

          Again, Trump is the manifest symptom, not the root cause of the disease. Until a cure for the disease is found, more and more manifestations like Trump will surface and it may not always be under the Republican banner.

          1. Barry

            That is true.

            The blowback to Trump for conservatives will be fierce.

            Conservatives have proven once and for all that the morality, lanugauge, and actions of a presidential candidate don’t matter. Their old oft repeated refrain about how a Preident’s personal morality matters is now dead as a snake in the road. All that matters is what he/she will do/say in office.

            1. Doug Ross

              So a President’s personal morality does matter? Is that the Democrat’s position in 2018? Good to see they have “evolved”.

            2. Bart

              I agree the blowback will be strong but will it be strong enough to wrestle control of Congress away from Republicans? The usual suspects won in SC but in another state, one long time Democrat lost to a newcomer who appears on the surface to be a Sanders supporter. He was supported by MoveOn and defeated a long time Democrat who was expected to challenge Pelosi for the minority leadership in the House. This November will be a seminal moment in our political history, we can only hope the decisions we make are the right ones.

              The economy is rolling along well – for now. The full impact of the tariffs has not completed the cycle and if they remain in place, the economy will be affected and if the impact is negative enough, it will be a topic that will garner a great amount of attention. In the real world when jobs are plentiful as they are now and the POTUS is responsible for the booming economy, deciding between keeping a job or a social issue, a paycheck usually comes out well ahead. You may not agree the good economy is due to Trump but when something succeeds, credit usually goes to the occupant of the White House at the time. Same goes for a failure, that is the perception for both.

              Godwin’s Law was once the accepted rule when discussing or debating a political or social issue. Hitler and/or Nazis were not to be used to make a point. However, Godwin’s Law has been repealed by BOTH sides and once it was, the door was opened to bringing up any past politician and his or her sins used as a club in any discussion. With this in mind, we all need to be reminded that morality of a POTUS or candidate has been ignored for decades depending on who the person represents. JFK was the impetus for my coming alive in politics but JFK was not a faithful husband but he projected the image of a dedicated family man and leader. His dalliances while POTUS were not a well kept secret inside the Beltway but most Americans were not aware. Then Bill Clinton entered the scene and his morality was non-existent. The major difference is that JFK and BC were well spoken, didn’t make outrageous comments on matters that were not of national or international importance. Obama is a good example of self-restraint and on occasion he would enter into the conversation about an issue POTUS wouldn’t usually personally engage.

              My point is that first of all, I don’t like Trump and the way he has diminished this country by his uncouth behavior and lack of morality on so many fronts. Was hesitant to use ‘uncouth’, not strong enough, but it is adequate enough to make the point. Second, several past presidents were not highly moral people either, they just kept it as well hidden as possible. And depending on their politics and social positions, their immorality was accepted even after it was exposed and made public.

              This point has been debated, argued, and used as a club by both sides to go after their ‘deadly ideological’ enemy or enemies. Each side finds excuses for supporting their political or social hero. They willingly ignore personal behavior depending on their standards of decorum and if their ‘hero’ falls within their accepted boundaries. But when necessary, boundaries like a balloon can be expanded to encompass and accept more and more moral failures – as long as it suits their purposes. This is a malady not restricted to just conservatives or liberals, it applies to both. You can argue ‘equality’ all you want but it only takes one drop of ink to discolor a gallon of clear water.

              Trump is an extreme example but is he the last one? Will we continue to accept and support the way our representatives, media, and personal interactions of divisiveness the way it is now, today? Or is this what you want to continue indefinitely? It is up to us to set the example and demand civility from our elected representatives.

              Your decision and your move, I can’t make it for you and you can’t make it for me, we all have freedom of choice.

  10. Doug Ross

    You read it here first: My guess is that Lindsey Graham’s golfing buddy routine with Trump is going to have some possible Supreme benefits.

    1. Bart

      I think when Harry Reid used the ‘nuclear option’ when he was the Senate Majority leader has come back to bite Democrats in the butt big time. A short term gain for Democrats is now a long term gain for Republicans when it comes to federal judicial nominees including the SCOTUS bench make-up. Now that Kennedy is retiring effective July 31st, unless there is a mutiny within the Republican Senate majority, the SCOTUS make-up will be 5 conservatives and 4 liberals. IMHO, this is not good at all. Do not like the idea of either having a majority, prefer 4 & 4 plus 1 moderate to help balance the scales.

      1. Doug Ross

        Ruth bader Ginsburg is 85. Think she’ll hang in there another two years? 6-3 is in play.

        1. Richard

          Ginsberg will kick the bucket in the next year or two or be forced to step down for health reasons, Thomas has said he’d retire as long as he was assured that he was replaced with someone who was equa in thinkingl to him. Sotomayer is a bad Type 1 diabetic… so who knows. Very good chance at it being 7-2 before Trump leaves office, 8-1 isn’t unrealistic.

        2. Bart

          If the rumor mill is accurate about her, she has been falling asleep during some oral arguments. Similar to Thurmond during his last years. She can’t be effective much longer if this is true. If Republicans hold onto the House and Senate, then it is a safe presumption Trump will have another SCOTUS appointee and then yes, it will be a 6-3 bench. The imbalance will be too one-sided.

          1. Barry

            She could have easily retired 4 years ago and secured a liberal for her seat for the next 40 years. As smart as she is that was a very selfish decision.

          2. Doug Ross

            Breyer, a Bill Clinton appointee, will be 80 this year. If Democrats don’t win the White House in 2020, it’s not a longshot that the court could go 7-2 conservative by 2024. The only remaining liberal judges would be Kagan and Sotomeyer.

            You’ve got Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer steering the ship for the foreseeable future and no identifiable frontrunner for the primaries that will start in Iowa in exactly 585 days. Good luck.

            1. Claus2

              I read in The State this morning about how Clyburn is bragging about he’s untouchable because he has the Congressional Black Caucus behind him. So the Democrats can expect to have this 78 year old “leader” representing them.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                If by “untouchable” you mean as a member of the leadership, he’s probably right.

                But he’s not the person most people are thinking of when they talk about the need for change. They’re talking about Nancy Pelosi. If I were a Democrat, and in the House, I’d be working to boost someone to replace her.

                The problem with her, to a great extent, is outside her control. It’s similar to the Hillary Clinton problem — the opposition has been demonizing her so long that she can’t overcome the negativity attached to her name.

                By contrast, most of the people across the country who despise Nancy Pelosi don’t even know who Jim Clyburn is, I suspect.

                The way Democrats can present a new face to the world is by deposing Rep. Pelosi…

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    I think that’s probably just talk. I can see Clyburn maintaining his current position, but I think most of the folks who want to see Pelosi step aside want someone new…

            2. Bart

              The win by the socialist Sanders supporter and campaign worker is most likely a “one-off”. Apparently the incumbent didn’t take her seriously and in politics, never underestimate your opponent. Just ask the defeated long term Republicans from just a few years ago and their surprise after the votes were counted.

              What is apparent to me is that the Democrat party is in just as much disarray as the Republican party is. The infighting is not reported on as much but once you get past the lack of in-depth coverage and analysis, Democrats are not experiencing smooth sailing within the party as they and the media try to present. Bernie Sanders made a major impact and the way he has influenced some segments of the party was made very public on Tuesday. The ‘revolt’ against Pelosi and Schumer is covered but without much in-depth analysis by the media.

              The point is there is disarray inside both parties and the one thing that bonds Republicans together more than Trump, tax cuts, etc. is control of the federal judiciary and SCOTUS. The ‘Blue Tide’ may be just a daydream. There is no assurance of any outcome in politics but thinking forward, the win by the young lady over a 10 term House member and her far left ideology may another wake-up call for Republicans and conservatives who may not have been very interested or invested in going to the polls in November.

              A story not well covered is one going on behind the scenes. Apparently Trump is filling federal judicial vacancies with conservatives and if history tells us anything, most decisions of initial importance are made at the circuit level and only if successfully challenged are they reviewed, upheld or reversed by the SCOTUS.

              1. Doug Ross

                Democrats struggle because they have to appease so many different factions. Republicans have less diversity to deal with.

                Democrats should pick three issues and stick to them: Single payer, shifting military spending to domestic spending, and education. Having to address all the progressive topics at once is guaranteed to splinter the party.

                And find a few candidates for 2020 who are under the age of 70 and get them out there now.

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  If they stick to those three, then I’ll seldom vote for one of them. Sure, I’m all about some single payer, but I’m completely against reducing military spending, and — I assume you’re talking federal level since you mention military spending — I believe that education is generally none of the federal government’s business.

                  So if a Democrat wants my vote, he or she will have to branch out — unless I’m convinced there’s really, truly a chance on single-payer, and that the rest of the platform is going nowhere.

                  I suspect if you came up with three issues for Republicans, I’d have the same problem.

                  But ultimately, issues don’t count as much with me as character. I’m sort of like Bill Kristol’s wife:

                  Give me someone I trust, someone with good sense, and let him or her deal with the issues as they arrive, within the context of the given situation. Sometimes I’ll agree; sometimes I won’t — but if I trust the person, I’ll give some leeway….

                2. Doug Ross

                  You can’t win elections on “Trust me”. You have to offer something specific.

                  Even your UnParty had a platform.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    That’s right. It has these, and we are not backing down on them:

                    Are there any fundamental, nonnegotiable tenets? Sure:
                    — First, unwavering opposition to fundamental, nonnegotiable tenets. Within our party would be many ideas, and in each situation we would sift through them to find the smartest possible approach to the challenge at hand. Another day, a completely different approach might be best.
                    — Respect for any good idea, even if it comes from Democrats or Republicans.
                    — Contempt for any stupid idea, even if it comes from our own party leaders.
                    — Utter freedom to vote however one’s conscience dictates, without condemnation or ostracism from fellow party members.

                    I think you might be confusing the UnParty with the Energy Party or the Grownup Party (with the battle cry, “Act Your Age!”). The Energy Party in particular has definite, state positions on issues.

                    The confusion is understandable, of course, since they’re all sort of different descriptions of the same thing…

                  2. Brad Warthen Post author

                    As for this part: “You can’t win elections on “Trust me”. You have to offer something specific.”

                    You may be right. But that’s not what I was talking about above. I was just talking about myself. If you come to me with those three policy proposals you mention, you’re going to fail to engage this voter’s enthusiasm.

                    Give me a smart, competent, honest candidate who’s shown he or she can do the job. Far as I’m concerned, start there and we can work out the policy details later.

                    The thing is… I think you’re being smart when you say keep the message strong and simple. But again, I was speaking personally, and I don’t much like strong and simple. I know that once in office, an elected official will face a wide array of complex issues. I don’t expect that person, as a candidate, to be able to predict all of those issues and say definitely how he or she would address them (in fact, I prefer the candidate NOT do that, to preserve flexibility). I just want someone I can trust to make good decisions when the issues do arise…

                    That goes back to why I want people with experience in public office. I want to have had the chance to observe them on the job, so I can make the kinds of judgments that matter to me as a voter…

      2. Barry

        Well Reid changed the rule for all President News miners except SCOTUS nominees.

        He did so because the republicans who are compla8n8ng about obstruction now were obstructing Obama at every turn.

        Then McConnel changed the rule for SCOTUS nominees.

        Both were bad moves.

        1. Bart

          You are correct about SCOTUS nominees. My point is that until Reid used the nuclear option, it had been sacrosanct and an option no one wanted to use. When he opened the door for federal nominees, he left it open for SCOTUS nominees and McConnel used it. Agree it was a bad move for both.

          But, it is too late in the foolish game to complain now.

          If Ginsberg stays a couple more years, Trump may still have a majority to work with. Based on one interview with a CNN analyst, SCOTUS nominees are one of the primary reasons Trump had and still has so many who will hold their noses and vote for him and Republicans. November is still a lifetime away when politics are involved.

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